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 Use Utilite To Control RC Servos 
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Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2012 3:16 am
Posts: 351
Post Use Utilite To Control RC Servos

Utilite can easily control the movement/position of small analog servos. This project explores one way to do it.

TypicalServo.jpeg [ 2.53 KiB | Viewed 3823 times ]

Possible Applications

1. Remotely Controlled Vehicles
2. Autonomous Robotics
3. Directional Control of Sensors (Infrared, Microwave, Ultrasonic)
4. Etc.


Small analog servos such as those used in radio controlled equipment consist of a control board, motor, gearing, feedback/position potentiometer, housing, etc. The angular shaft position of such servos is controlled by sending the servo a repeating Pulse Width Modulated (PWM) signal. Minimum duration pulses cause the servo shaft to rotate to the 0 degrees position, and maximum length pulses produce a 180 degrees shaft position. Shaft positions between 0 and 180 degrees are produced by sending the servo PWM signals whose duration are proportionally between the minimum and maximum values.

ServoTheory.jpeg [ 64.09 KiB | Viewed 3823 times ]

While Utilite cannot directly issue multi-channel PWM signals to multiple servos, it can issue a single channel Pulse Position Modulated (PPM) Signal via its sound output which can be broken into multi-channel PWM signals by additional equipment.

PPM Theory.jpeg
PPM Theory.jpeg [ 110.54 KiB | Viewed 3822 times ]

In Pulse Position Modulation (PPM), various human inputs such as throttle position, rudder position, aileron position, and elevator position, are encoded by the remote controller into a serial string of varying width/position pulses which are transmited via rf to a radio control receiver. The typical PPM frame is around 20 mSec in length and repeats about 50 times per second. Each PPM frame consists of a series of pulses (1 per channel of data) followed by a blanking period. The value of each channel is propotional to the duration of the corresponding pulse (leading edge of present pulse to leading edge of next pulse).

At the receiver, the PPM signal received from the transmitter is broken into multiple PWM signals. These PWM signals are sent to and control the attached servos.

Last edited by hassellbear on Mon Aug 11, 2014 5:43 am, edited 5 times in total.

Mon Aug 11, 2014 4:36 am

Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2012 3:16 am
Posts: 351
Post Re: Use Utilite To Control RC Servos

The hardware required is:

1. Utilite
2. Radio Control Transmitter which will accept PPM input.
3. Compatible multi-channel Radio Control Receiver with PWM outputs.
4. Analog Servos

UtiliteServoCtrlEquip.JPG [ 224.43 KiB | Viewed 3822 times ]

The block diagram of the system is:

UtiliteServoCtrlBlock.png [ 18.48 KiB | Viewed 3822 times ]


The software required for Utilite to produce PPM control signals is a Python routine named It can be found here:

The program allows Utilite to generate PPM control signals via its analog sound output. The PPM data link is established by connecting Utilite's sound output to the RC Transmitter's PPM input. Below is an example of Utilite's PPM output.

Utilite_PPM_Loop.gif [ 245.37 KiB | Viewed 3822 times ]

Last edited by hassellbear on Sun Dec 21, 2014 2:40 am, edited 2 times in total.

Mon Aug 11, 2014 4:52 am

Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2012 3:16 am
Posts: 351
Post Re: Use Utilite To Control RC Servos

The results of the Utilite Servo Control Project were good. The program easily and accurately controls the positions of multiple servos. The one drawback is there is a bit of time lag between the control input and the servo response. This lag is likely due to being an interpreted program as opposed to an efficient compiled version.

Below are actual Utilite control inputs and the resulting servo responses.

UtiliteServoInputSmall.gif [ 38.8 KiB | Viewed 3820 times ]

UtiliteServoResponse.gif [ 214.54 KiB | Viewed 3820 times ]


1. Fun project
2. Utilite again demonstrates its versatility

Mon Aug 11, 2014 5:15 am
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