Linear actuators come in hundreds of different varieties. 6V, 12V, 24V, different stroke lengths and control options etc. There's a lot out there to choose from.

It can still be difficult however to find a device that suits your specific needs. In a previous post we covered how to adjust linear actuator end limits. Today I'm going to show you four ways that you can adjust the speed of a linear actuator. Depending on your needs, skills and budget, you have some options.

1. Use an LAC board or motor controller

linear actuator control board gives you control over an actuator's speed, end-limits and sensitivity. It also gives you the option of controlling your actuator with one of five different input signals. An LAC board can only be used with Actuonix 'P' series micro linear actuators, as well as some large-scale actuators that have position feedback.

The board has a pot that is used to control the speed of the actuator. The maximum speed can not be increased this way but it makes it easy to slow an actuator down.

2. Use an Arduino

If you're controlling your actuator via Arduino, you have some control over the speed at which it travels. The code you use is going to be specific to your project but a discussion on the topic can be found on the Arduino forums here.

3. Adjust input voltage

A simple way to lower the speed of a linear actuator is to reduce the voltage at which you drive it. The speed of Actuonix actuators is approximately proportional to voltage. This means that if you were to drive one of our 12V actuators at 6V, the speed would be roughly half of what it is a 12V. This is approximate but if you have access to an adjustable power supply you can dial your voltage down to get the speed you need.

4. Buy an actuator with different gearing

I realize this doesn't exactly qualify as "adjusting" actuator speed but it's worth noting. Actuonix models come in several different gearing ratios to help accommodate the speed and force specs of your project. 

For example, the three gearing ratios in our T16 linear track actuators offer speeds of 4.8mm/s, 18mm/s and 46mm/s. Simply using a different gearing ratio can bring you much closer to the speed that you're trying to achieve.

If you can find a gearing ratio that works for you out of box, that's the best case scenario. If you need control over the speed it's best to purchase an actuator that's a little faster than you need as you can slow it down without damage. Trying to speed an actuator up by increasing the operating voltage will more than likely decrease the lifespan of the unit.

Need help choosing the correct actuator for your project? Contact our knowledgeable sales staff for assistance.

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