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Connecting Hardware (Pololu Maestro)

Botszy is a rigging control application. At this stage of the documentation we are assuming that users have a fundamental level of electronics knowledge as well as basic experience in dealing with equipment such as servos, batteries and tools.

Please choose one of the following options for your preferred control hardware:

Pololu Maestro

Pololu Maestro 12 Channels

Botszy supports several kind of controllers for motors, servos and actuators. In this tutorial we will use Pololu Maestro boards from Pololu Corporation for a simple servo control example.

Pololu Maestro boards are available in 6, 12, 18 and 24 channel configurations, and are designed to connect multiple RC servos to a PC. Botszy supports all of these variants in servo output mode.

Pololu Maestro is NOT a part of the Botszy control system. You can purchase the boards separately from distributors and online stores:

  • Pololu web store
  • Amazon.com
  • TME

Installing drivers

You should download and install the Maestro Servo Controller Windows Drivers and Software before connecting the board. The installer is available to download from the Pololu Maestro resources page.

Once installed, connect your board by USB, open the Pololu Maestro Control Center application, and check if your board is recognized and available for use.

Pololu Maestro Channels

In order to use the board with Bostzy, please ensure that is configured in USB Dual mode and all channels are in servo mode. This is the default setting.

Pololu Maestro Configuration

For more details about Pololu Maestro configuration and different settings, please check the documentation on Pololu's website.

Once the board is configured, it is time to wire up the servos and the power supply. For safety reasons, please disconnect the board from USB port before moving to the next steps.

Wiring the board

Now is the moment to connect your hardware.

Safety first

Always disconnect power and batteries when you are connecting the hardware. Double check that all wiring is correctly connected before powering up the setup. Please check all the instructions of your hardware for detailed safety procedures.

Beware of moving parts

Keep your body parts away from moving servos and mechanisms. While Botszy includes some safeguards to limit movements, make sure you step back from any moving part. Installing a safety switch is recommended in some cases.

Connecting servos

To connect a servo to the Pololu Maestro, you can use any of the channels outputs of the board. Make sure you connect your servo correctly, if wired incorrectly it might be damaged. The signal wire (usually white, orange or yellow) should be towards the inside of the board, and the ground wire (usually black or brown) should be connected closest to the board's edge.

Pololu Maestro with a connected servo

Servo connected to Pololu Maestro

Connecting the battery

There are two different power sources to run the board: The logic part is powered from the USB cable from your PC; the servos are powered from an external power supply or battery connected to the VSERVO input. The power supply should output a voltage within the servo's operating range. Please check the datasheets of your servos for an appropriate power supply. Most of the typical RC servos requires 6V with a current drawn of 1A.

In the Mini Maestro 12, 18, and 24 servo controllers, it is recommended to open the VSRV=VIN jumper to avoid drawing current from the USB port to the servos.

Pololu Maestro with a connected servo

Open the jumper when powering from battery

Power on

Once all the wiring is complete, double check that the connections are correct and then connect the board to the USB port on your PC. The green LED should come on and the yellow LED should be flashing. You can now check the servo movement with the Pololu Maestro Control Center to verify that the connections are correcly configured.

Pololu Maestro with a connected servo

Checking servo movement

Once the board is configured, and Botszy is running with your hardware, you can close the Pololu Maestro Control Center window.

For additional information, you can check the Pololu Maestro User's Guide

Detecting hardware

By default, Botszy will autodetect all supported USB hardware and add it to the device list. Just open Botszy with a new project and check that all the hardware is displayed in the device list.

If for some reason you don't see the board, see the troubleshooting FAQ.

Botszy with connected Pololu board

Botszy auto-detect USB devices

Next Step: Setup Channels