ArbotiX-M / DYNAMIXEL Buying Guide

The ArbotiX-M is a great Arduino based microcontroller that allows you to control DYNAMIXEL servos. This page will help you pick everything you need to get started with the ArbotiX-M and DYNAMIXEL Servos.

Kits

If you're looking for everything you need to build a robotic platform, take a look at some of our InterbotiX Robotic Kits. Each kit comes with everything you need to build and program your robot. We have a variety of different kits available.

ArboitX-M Robocontroller

Every InterbotiX Robot Kits comes with an ArbotiX-M Robocontroller, but it can also be purchased separately so you can build your custom robot. 3-Pin TTL DYNAMIXEL servos can be plugged directly into the ArbotiX-M robocontroller, and the Arduino example code and libraries will help you get started with your DYNAMIXEL servos right away. We also make all of the code for our robotic kits available, so you can get a head start on your custom robot.

For more information about the ArbotiX-M Robocontroller, see the ArbotiX-M Overview.

DYNAMIXEL Servos

The ArbotiX-M Robocontroller can directly control and power 3-pin TTL DYNAMIXEL servos like the ones listed below.

300° / 10-bit resolution servos
360 ° / 12-bit resolution servos

RS-485 DYNAMIXEL servos like the RX and MX-R servos can be controlled from the ArbotiX-M, but require custom hardware and are not officially supported. See here for more information.

Programming

The ArbotiX-M Robocontroller does not have a built in USB port or USB-serial converter. To program the ArbotiX-M you will need an FTDI USB to Serial Converter.

The UartSBee is a a great option if you plan on using XBee modules, as the UArtSBee can also program XBee modules. It also has advanced features like 3.3v power options

The Standard FTDI Cable is a standard FTDI programmer and will work perfectly for programming the ArbotiX-M

The ArbotiX-M can also be programmed via a USB AVR programmer. Typically this programmer is used to save space on the ArbotiX-M (this programmer does not need the Arduino Bootloader to be present to work) or when programming the board when an XBee is present (XBee modules must be unplugged for the FTDI programmers to work.) This programmer cannot be used as a standard FTDI progammer, and cannot relay serial communications. This means that you cannot use this programmer to link your ArbotiX-M to any of our serial based PC applications.

For more information on programming the ArbotiX, see this article

Power

We recommend that you run DYNAMIXEL servos at 11-12v. MX series servos can be run at up to 14.8v, but AX servos can not.

12v SMPS(Switched Mode Power Supplies) cab be used with the ArbotiX-M. These supplies will plug directly into the ArbotiX-M via barrel connector.

To choose the power supply for your project, add up the stall current for all the servos in your chain. Your power supply should exceed this calculated current.

The MX-64 and MX-106 servos require additional hardware when working with an SMPS. The SMPS2DYNAMIXEL will help smooth the SMPS voltage. You will also need a Plug Adaptor and extra cables.

Batteries

The ArbotiX-M and DYNAMIXEL are commonly used with 11.1v 3-cell LiPo (Lithium Polymer) batteries. Different batteries have different capacity (mAh/Milliamp hours) and different maximum discharge rates (C);

LiPo batteries are great because of their high power-to-weight ratio and their ability to source high amounts of current, which is perfect for large current loads created by multiple DYNAMIXEL servos.

Before you use LiPo batteries, make sure you are faimiliar with our Lithium Battery Saftety Instructions and Warnings document. Lipo batteries that are not cared for properly can be damaged or even combust.

LiPo batteries need special equipment to recharge like the basic Mini balance charger or the advanced Imax B6 Multi-Function LiPo Balance Charger. Batteries should never be left charging unattended or charged while in a robot.

We also reccomend the following accessories when using LiPo batteries

Other types of batteires can also be used, as long as they meet the voltage and current requirments of the DYNAMIXELS.

Coming Soon: Communication and Control

Frames and Hardware