Three Options For Wireless Actuator Control

As micro linear actuators increase in popularity, people are turning to drive more and more sophisticated systems. For most applications, wiring is straightforward. For some applications however, a wireless linear actuator control is exactly what's needed to realize the functionality you want. With some wireless options, you can integrate actuators into your existing smart home setup, drastically increasing your smart home options. Below we will show you three different ways of achieving wireless control of a micro linear actuator. These range from a simple, push-button option through to more complex options that are suitable for those with some programming experience. 

Remote Control Kit

The Actuonix Remote Control kit is the simplest and most cost-effective way to wirelessly control a linear actuator. It works with 2-wire ‘S-Series’ actuators and comes with everything you need to achieve wireless control. At the push of a button, you can extend or retract an actuator. It will stop automatically when it reaches its stroke end limit. There is no way to command the actuator to a specific position using the remote control kit, it will always go to its end of stroke limit. 

While the upside of the remote control kit is its simplicity, it’s also the downside. There’s not much available in the way of customization. You can use external limit switches to adjust the stroke of the actuator but that’s about it. 


IOT Servo Shield/IFTTT

The Actuonix IOT Servo shield is a board designed by Actuonix for wireless actuator control. Plug in a Particle Photon WIFI module and you'll be able to control up to 4 of our "R" series actuators using your cell phone (Android or IOS) or many of the Home Automation options offered by IFTTT.com.  

The IFTTT service supports Google Home, Apple Homekit and Amazon Alexa, giving you custom voice control options. The Actuonix IOT Servo Shield simplifies wiring and makes custom smart home projects more accessible. Unlike the remote control kit, the IOT servo shield affords you the option to command the actuator to specific positions along the range of travel.

Arduino

For the the highest level of customization and control, you might want to consider a WiFi/Bluetooth-enabled Arduino board. Controlling an actuator via Arduino is more complex than using a remote control kit or IFTTT as it requires some knowledge of code. That said, it can also be considered the most versatile option as it offers nearly limitless options for control and customization. From bluetooth to wifi and environmental sensors such as photocells, temperature, humidity, pressure, light and UV levels, arduino is highly customizable. 

If you want to use an arduino board to wirelessly control a linear actuator, the best option is to use an -R series actuator. -R series are linear servos that are plug and play interchangeable with standard RC rotary servos. If you choose to use another type of actuator, just be aware that additional components may be required. 

Additional control and functionality can be realized by pairing the Arduino with an LAC board and a P-series linear actuator, rather than an R. This setup offers position feedback as well as other standard LAC board customization options.

No matter why you need wireless control of your actuator or project, you have options. If all you want is simple in/out functionality and speed/distance/custom control options are not important to you, the Remote Control Kit will probably work just fine. If you’re looking for something that gives you more flexibility and customization, than the IOT Servo Shield/Photon or pairing with an Arduino board are probably your best bet.

Common Questions About Wireless Actuator Control

Can you help me with Arduino?

Unfortunately, we do not offer support for Arduino hardware or code. Your best bet is to visit the official Arduino forum.

Can the Remote Control Kit control two actuators at once?

Our remote control kit is capable of controlling only one actuator at a time. Multiple actuators would require multiple controllers.

How can I control multiple actuators wirelessly?

If you want to use 4 or less actuators, the IOT Servo Shield/Photon will get you there. If you want to control even more actuators at one time, from a common input, a custom control circuit will be required.

Browse Actuators From Actuonix Today

This article's breakdown of “What is an actuator” should help you identify exactly what you need. View our collection of actuators by model or industry today. As a leading manufacturer and innovator in the micro motion marketplace, Actuonix services companies big and small in a number of industries including aerospace, medical, robotics, and more. Get in touch with us today to submit an order or to submit an inquiry.