Looking for Needed Components for a Project

Hi Y’all,

I’m very new to electronics and this is going to be a first. I work in a lab and one of our experiments do involve getting these motors running. I do want to record voltage, amps, and collect motor data as part of our data analysis to understand performance over time.

We have 3 DC Gear Motors that we got as part of a recent purchase with 1.2A current and 12V specs. Ideally we want to have these motors controlled separately, reversible (I’m assuming we have to switch the polarity for these motors), and then either controlled manually or connected to a computer. I was hoping to look into something off the shelf and plug and play, but I am also pretty clueless as to what other parts we need. Some advice and guidance on how to do this would be extremely beneficial.



It would be helpful if you could be more specific about your goals and objectives; it sounds as if you’re trying to characterize performance/behavior of these devices, and if that’s the case you’d want to be very specific indeed about what you’re going to measure and how. If you’re trying build an animatronic frog or something, that’s rather a different story.

Assuming these are brushed DC motors, they’re pretty simple; speed/direction is to a first approximation proportional to magnitude/sign of applied voltage, and current to load torque. A person can make that happen in many different ways, but some would prove more convenient than others depending on what you’re trying to achieve.

Hi Rick, sorry I got to this late.

We’re trying to study the wear of certain devices under certain extreme conditions (temperature, abrasion, vacuum), and only one motor will be used to test that, the others are simply just going to help us provide an additional degree of freedom. It may be something odd to need, but it’s a bit of a long term goal.

Either way, we do need to collect data from the Voltage and Amps and use that to convert to mechanical data. We’re almost running a Taber test in a vacuum but without exactly using Taber? In essence, characterization and performance of components with the use of different materials. I was hoping to measure the Voltage used and determine the overall rotational speed of the material and if that changes over time with wear.

I believe there’s a way to convert electrical input into velocity? It’s been a while and I’m going back into my textbooks to remember!

This sounds as if you’re attempting to use said motor(s) as both a mechanical driving agent and transducer for measuring the driven system; this varies from my understanding prior.

In the ideal brushed motor, rotational speed is directly proportional to applied voltage, and current is directly proportional to load torque, both according to some characteristic constant. Reality’s first intrusion upon this fantasy is that winding resistance is non-zero, causing interaction between the speed and torque, due to ohm’s law; the second is the presence of nonlinear frictional factors that make otherwise linear-ish characteristics look somewhat bendy at the extremes.

In other words, if data about the driven system is the end goal, the technique of using the driving motor as the transducer for this information will likely introduce uncertainties in the data; measuring the desired quantities more directly may be preferable.

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