We're proud to introduce our new line of Actuators featuring Optical Sensors to provide feedback.
When you need to know the exact positioning of your actuators, the OS Series is what you need. This powerful Linear Actuator with feedback comes with a built-in optical sensor that provides feedback when you need it. The OS Series has no built-in controller but does provide single-phase pulses as a position feedback signal that can be input to an external controller such as an Arduino.
The OS series is equipped with a 10 hole optical encoder disk that with the gearing to the actuator output shaft will send 100 pulses/inch of stroke ( +/- 5 pulses).
There are three force options available ranging from 35 to 400 lbs. These units come equipped with built-in limit switches, are manufactured with high-grade aluminum outer and inner tubes, and come in various stroke lengths from 1" - 30".
Feedback Actuators have either built-in Potentiometers, Hall sensors, or Optical Sensors.
We offer Linear Actuators with position feedback that have all 3 Feedback options. (Optical, Potentiometer, and Hall sensor) each Feedback type has its own benefits and drawbacks. As such we wrote an article about the advantages and disadvantages of each one, so you can really understand the difference to help you decide which will best suit your application.
Potentiometer style. These Actuators offer 3 wire voltage divider systems. Basically, the Potentiometer has 3 wires, where one wire represents 0v to represent the retracted position of the Actuator, +ve input voltage to represent 100% of the max travel. So if you put 12v into the potentiometer that 12v will represent the maximum stroke. and the 3rd wire is used to actually measure the voltage along the actuator stroke.
Optical feedback style. These actuators use an optical sensor and a rotating disc with holes in it that are attached to the gearbox inside the Actuators. The position is created by counting the pulses from a starting position. These are very reliable with very resolution.
Hall Sensor Effect. These Actuators are very similar to Optical, and in fact, the voltage input is the same and the output signal is the same. The Hall effect simply uses a magnetic disc that spins within the Gearbox, and the sensor just measures the number of revolutions by counting the positive and negative poles of the magnet.
We also have separate Linear Potentiometers that could be used alongside a regular non-feedback linear actuator if you cannot use any of our feedback actuators. They are offered in strokes of up to 50" Inches, however, you only need to use whatever stroke you require to get the feedback you need.
Synchronous Control Board for Feedback Actuators
The Synchronous Control Board allows you to move multiple Linear actuators with feedback in sync with the same speed irrespective of load. Non-synchronized actuators can lead to bending loads which is likely to cause damage to the actuators.
The FA-SYNC-2 will allow you to move two actuators in sync and the FA-SYNC-4 will allow the movement of four actuators. Operate with our Optical Feedback (not the 35lb model), Bullet 36, or Bullet 50 actuators (compatible with both 12V and 24V)
There are only two reasons you need a Linear actuator with feedback.
You need to know the position of the actuator because you need to move it to a specific location/s over and over again.
You need to control two or more actuators to run at the same speed or in sync with each other.
The level of precision you require and the controller you are going to use really dictate which type to use. For creating a control system an Arduino Controller is by far the most common.
If you would like to learn how a Linear Actuator works or what the inside of a Linear Actuator looks like click here.
To learn the difference between all the different types of feedback types click here