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Discussion Starter #22
I've been looking around and am unable to find a 6 volt power source with anything more than about 2 amps---not enough to power all the servos I'm using (10 total, all may be in use at the same time during the routine, so I think I need somewhere between 5 and 10 amps).

The Cat 5 cable runs are less than 20 feet.

What do you all use as a power supply?
 

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Discussion Starter #24
I have a solid 5 volt mega-amp power supply--an ATX from an old computer. Problem is that I'm apparently loosing too much voltage along the cat 5 cable run, hence the need for a 6 volt supply. This thread has a conversation about adding resisters to 'step down' 12 volts to 6 but I read later how that might not work.
 

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BAD INFLUENCE
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I just checked the one I have , it is a 5v 10 amp, and the output voltage is somewhat adjustable. It goes from a low of 4.2volts to a max. of 5.7 volts. It is a different model , but the same company. The only thing I saw in this thread that referenced resistors was in the beginning where the value was too small , but they got it to work .
 

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Discussion Starter #27
thanks. Two good options (buckaneerdude's suggestion is out of stock! ug!).

bfjou812, I think I saw on another post where you were planning to go the cat5 route for wiring. Have you tried it yet? You're still using a Parallax board, correct?
 

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I have'nt done the cat 5 route yet. I've got 3 more skulls to do and then I want to lay it out with all the skulls together. I'm still trying to comre up with something that will be easy to do and maintain and look good also. I am still using the Parallax boards.
 

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Bucky Brain Surgeon
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I didn't mention this power supply the other day because it's 5 volt. However, I pulled it out today to mess with it and noticed that it had a voltage adjustment screw. Well, well, well, whaddayah know. I now get 6 volts, of course that's without load but this power supply has 40 amp capacity at 5 volts so I don't think it would be much less at 6 volts. I will say though that the supply has two inputs. 230 and 115. When connected to the 115, the unit puts out 5.8 volts for an instant and then stops (actually my volt meter would show a slow decline in voltage down to less than half a volt over a minute or two). When I connect 115 house current to the 230 volt input, the unit puts out consistant 6.0 volts dc. The unit I got was manufactured in 1990. It doesn't appear to be used but I wonder if it was maybe a factory reject or something. Anyway, I did get it to work.

http://cgi.ebay.com/5-Volt-40-Amps-Power-One-Regulated-Power-Supply-/220803767172?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3368ee1b84
 

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Discussion Starter #31
For anyone thinking of using the USB Parallax (Propeller) servo controller board, you may run into problems using Cat5 and/or runs of any distance.

Older boards may not have this issue but a couple of years ago the chip on the board was replaced (right about the time I placed my order, or course). The name of the board changed to Propeller servo controller board--if you go to the website you'll notice that the "Parallax USB board" is discontinued but that they have "Propeller USB boards" in stock.

I had found last year that certain brands of servos required the addition of a resistor wired in line in order to get it to work--and I mean when plugged directly into the board. Other brands of servos worked fine. Now it turns out that the addition of a 1000uF capacitor may be needed near the power source, and resisters wired in-line between the board and the Cat 5 (or any sort of wire up to a certain distance) to make this work. I dont know the max distance a run can be without adding all this, but I'm not optimistic---I was told by someone using the board with Cat5 that they've gotten up to 10 feet, AFTER adding resisters and a capacitor.

All I wanted to do was avoid having to deal with a USB to serial converter on the SSC32. Bad move in retrospect.
 

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For USB connection, I use a Pololu Micro Maestro 6 Channel Servo controller. http://www.pololu.com/catalog/product/1350 It works great.

It was $20, it only has room for 6 servo's but it has some bigger versions too. I use it with my 3 axis and it's compatible with VSA. I avoided the Propeller board after reading reviews that mentioned that exact problem on robotics forums.

I don't use Cat-5 yet but plan on rigging it up this weekend. I use an old PC powersupply that I will reduce to 6v.
 

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Gumba, Are the servos an "off" brand servo? Apparently I bought my boards before they were discontinued.I'm wondering if Johnny Mac ,from EFX-TEK could help? JUst a thought. He was a tremendous help for a question I had. Just a thought........
 

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Discussion Starter #34
Gumba, Are the servos an "off" brand servo? Apparently I bought my boards before they were discontinued.I'm wondering if Johnny Mac ,from EFX-TEK could help? JUst a thought. He was a tremendous help for a question I had. Just a thought........
I have a variety of servos, some 'off brand' but others that are not (they came with the GYS kit). Same problem no matter what type of servo. I got some help from the Parallax Propeller forum (along with a couple of very clear, clean schematics to show me what to do), unfortunatly it requires soldering a capacitor and resistor (or resistors) to each and every servo motor's signal wire. The capacitor needs to be near the motor, between it and the servo connector, and as everyone knows it is already a tight fit in the skulls---plus I know the first thing I'll do is get pos and neg crossed up somewhere and end up blowing a 1000 capacitor inside a skull.

Just venting here, but is seems a little ridiculous to have to add a bunch of electronic components to get a board to do what it is designed to do---and apparently did very well prior to the Propeller chip switch. No offense, I am aware that some love the Propeller products, AND, I am not very technically savvy---but seriously.

I'm about the bite the bullet and buy a ssc 32---and then fight through the USB serial converter problem.
 

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HELLoween Ubber Lord
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I went with the SSC32 & had no probs with the USB to serial converter ( used a keyspan unit ).......up & running in a heartbeat. I think I would have tossed everything into the trash can before going thru what you are,...& adding more stuff to it in the skull. You would be finished programming by now if not with all the delays your going thru with that parallex board.......
 

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if you do the USB to serial conversion, make sure you get the right cable, the instructions at grave yard skulls recommends Keyspan USA19HS USB to Serial Adapter (http://www.amazon.com/Keyspan-Speed-Serial-Adapter-USA-19HS/dp/B0000VYJRY)
http://www.graveyardskulls.com/tutorials/electronic-computer-software/hooking-up-the-ssc-32.html
by the way guys, I just got my skulls programmed after building them 2 years ago, man its hard to get to the fun part of haunting some times :D
now I’m converting to cat5, man its tough to muster the faith to cut those servo lines now that frank is talking so sweet. but I totally appreciate your insight, tomorrow, frank gets a hair cut! is there a limit on how far you run the cat5 cable? inquiry mind wants to know (hey is this hijacking, should I start another post?)
 

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HELLoween Ubber Lord
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if you do the USB to serial conversion, make sure you get the right cable, the instructions at grave yard skulls recommends Keyspan USA19HS USB to Serial Adapter (http://www.amazon.com/Keyspan-Speed-Serial-Adapter-USA-19HS/dp/B0000VYJRY)
http://www.graveyardskulls.com/tutorials/electronic-computer-software/hooking-up-the-ssc-32.html
by the way guys, I just got my skulls programmed after building them 2 years ago, man its hard to get to the fun part of haunting some times :D
now I’m converting to cat5, man its tough to muster the faith to cut those servo lines now that frank is talking so sweet. but I totally appreciate your insight, tomorrow, frank gets a hair cut! is there a limit on how far you run the cat5 cable? inquiry mind wants to know (hey is this hijacking, should I start another post?)
Check EBay for that keyspan, I found mine there for less than $20 shipped.... & most stay with 20 - 25' cat cable without signal loss / problems ( i'm at 25' )
& no your not really hijacking, but there are a few other threads as this one dealing with cat5 cable distances & problems with signal / servo's.........
More than welcome to start your own thread on this,.....but it merges here fine.

Welcome to the 3AS club :D
 

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Bucky Brain Surgeon
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I have a couple of CAT5 cables that are over 40'. I recommend using stranded cable as I think it is possible that the properties of stranded cable somehow make it less susceptible to transmitting and receiving stray signals. For the heck of it I threw together a video of some of the stuff we're doing for this year and I purposely got shots of the wire "mess".

 

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HELLoween Ubber Lord
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40', cool. I've heard a few run up to 50'. Love the vid & the banter. Hope you get a chance to film this when it's all set up on Halloween, really like to see the finished scene !
 
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