We understand that it can be a little complicated to distinguish between actuators. There are position feedback actuators, limit switched actuators, internally controlled actuators, RC actuators, and that's just the micro stuff. When you move into larger actuators there's a whole different host of options and styles for you to choose from.

Today, I'm going to walk you through what a position feedback actuator is, how it works, and what types of applications they are intended to be used in.

What is a Position Feedback Actuator?

Simply put, a feedback actuator is capable of telling you what position it is at. Position feedback actuators can be operated the same way as -S series actuators using reversing polarity on the positive and negative leads. However, because they don't have end limit switches, the feedback signal is intended to be used with a device that can stop the actuator at it's end limit. Running a feedback actuator into it's end stop can reduce it's lifespan considerably.

How Do Feedback Actuators Work?

Feedback actuators feature an internal potentiometer. This potentiometer sends out a position signal that can be read by our LAC board. It is possible to monitor the position of a feedback actuator remotely using our LED position indicator.

How Is A Feedback Actuator Different From A Standard Actuator?

A standard linear actuator has 2 wires and is very simple to operate. When you apply appropriate power to the 2 wires, the actuator will extend. Reversing polarity on the two leads will cause the device to retract. Generally, they feature end limit switches and are designed to stop when they hit their end stroke. Running them to the end of their stroke is considered normal use and typically,  shouldn't shorten the life of the device.

How Can I Spot A Feedback Actuator

There are two ways that you can tell if an Actuonix device is a feedback actuator. The first is by looking at the model number. All of our feedback actuators end with a 'P', for example 10-210-12-P. The other way you can tell is by looking at the lead. 'P' series actuators all feature a 5-wire plug. 

Why should you choose a feedback actuator

A feedback actuator is the best choice for applications where you want to remotely monitor the position of your actuator. Using a position feedback device with our Linear Actuator Control Board also gives you control over how you drive your actuator and how it functions.

Using the LAC Board you can control your actuator via:

  • RC Input
  • PWM
  • Voltage
  • Current
  • USB
This setup also allows you to adjust your actuator's:

  • Speed
  • Sensitivity
  • Extend limit
  • Retract limit

As you can see, using a feedback actuator can be a little bit more complicated than a standard device, but it offers a lot more flexibility when it comes to adjustment and customization.

All of our feedback actuators can be found here.