A Smart Motor monitors the angular position, the speed of rotation, the acceleration and torque applied to the output pin.
Applications connect to these motors through a USB port and tell the motor where to go, acceleration, the maximum speed and torque. And the engine responds the current state of all parameters, mainly location, speed, couple, current, voltage and temperature.
The Smart Motor is the Holy Grail of automation!
Only two well thought out models could replace the 90% of industrial and civil drives
(stepper, servant, selectors, solenoids, pumps, lathe and mill machines, 3d printers, laser engravers…)
Smart Motors basically eliminate all the defects of other motors, they don't lose steps, are adjustable, easy to control and reliable, they require no external electronics and they won't break your fingers if you stop them, so they can be “cooperative”.
Unfortunately, the current models still have some shortcomings. But we are one step away from completing them and will soon be able to replace any other engine, in the cutters, in printers, and in any other drive of industrial and civil automation.
Considering that classic engines need additional electronics and software the price of FeeTech Smart Motors is already almost competitive today. By producing millions of copies, it will be able to go down further and cover ever wider market segments.
The next step will be to provide them with an IPV6 address and make them uniquely addressable objects throughout the universe (and we're not kidding).
Evolution of engines
Until a few years ago, Smart Motors cost a lot 500 euro up, they were large and awkward and needed a large control box and complex connecting cables to drive them. But currently it is possible to integrate all the control electronics directly into the engine itself.
Control FeeTech and Dynamixel motors with RS485 protocol
The Theremino RS485 application connects the Slots of our system with the Smart Motor registers.
This application uses the Dinamixel V1 protocol (DXP1) which we recommend to communicate with FeeTech or Dynamixel Smart Motor. Its instructions are efficient and it is possible to communicate with many engines at the same time, maintaining high repetition times. If you use the right instructions you can overcome the 500 repetitions per second.
Download the application
Control FeeTech motors with the ModBus protocol
The Theremino ModBus application connects the Slots of our system with the Smart Motor registers.
This application uses the ModBus protocol which is less efficient than the previous RS485 and which works only with FeeTech Smart Motor. We provide it only for compatibility with those used to using PLCs.
Hardware PLC controllers have a very low repetition rate (even less than 20 communications per second), so using the ModBus does not penalize them much. But given that in the theremino system we are used to at least 300…500 repetitions per second, it is preferable to use the RS485 protocol explained in the previous chapter of this page.
Download the application
Program the FeeTech motors for RS485 or ModBus
When you buy them the FeeTech motors are already programmed. The following instructions are only needed if you want to reprogram them or want to change the communication protocol from RS485 to ModBus or vice versa..
In the ZIP file “Feetech_Motors_Programming_Kit” you will find the firmware files and the application to program them “FD_1_9_8_1.exe”. And you will also find an application “FDUpdate.exe” which could be used in the future to download newer versions of FD_xxx_.exe.
Read the following documentation for full details on firmware programming.
Download the firmware and application to write it
Feetech Motors Programming Kit Download - Version 1.1
For all systems from Windows XP to Windows 10, both 32 which in 64 bit (Linux and OSX with Wine)
And athe experiments with robotic arms date back to 2010
We have not published anything since then because the obtainable results were poor compared to the calibration difficulties of the 3D direct and inverse kinematics algorithms.
Today (2021), after over ten years of experiments, we have found incredibly simple solutions, that do not require difficult dimensional and angular parameter settings. Just indicate how many motors are connected and what type and you can immediately move and program them collaboratively.
The Theremino_Cobot software does not need to know anything about how the robot is composed, it doesn't matter if it's big or small and if the motors are connected on top, below or to the side. A robotic arm could be in Cartesian configuration, CoreXY, Articulated, Delta or Scara and you can immediately start moving it without configuring the software with this information.
The following video is just a taste of what can be done with Cobot and SmartMotors: