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  1. I have been interested in making a servo motor controller. I wanted a microcontroller with a hardware quadrature encoder so when TI had a call for projects utilizing the Extended Scan Interface of the MSP430FR6989, I thought this might be a good fit. Servo motors have several advantages over stepper motors including increased torque, lower power consumption, feedback control to eliminate missed steps. The problem is that servo motors are rather expensive compared to stepper motors. I obtained several surplus double-shafted, coreless DC motors with planetary gearboxes for $14. They turn easily with an old AA battery but can also be driven at 24V for increased speed and torque. I also purchased slot photointerrupters to use as quadrature encoders. I cut an encoder wheel from a tin can, drilled a hole in the middle and cut out two 90 degree wedges. The wheel was mounted on a short nylon bolt that had a 1/16" hole drilled down the center and clamped between two nuts that were rounded to provide clearance against the photo-interrupters. The photo-interrupters were mounted 135 degrees from each other. To give a proper quadrate signal, the angle between the detectors needs to be an odd multiple of half the encoder disk wedge angle, i.e. n * 90/2 where n is an odd number. 45 degrees caused physical interference between the mounting lugs of the photo-interrupters so 135 degrees was chosen. This gives 8 pulses per rotation. I am not sure what the exact gear ratio is but somewhere around 80:1. This gives about 0.56 degree per step which is on the order of the gear backlash. Here is a picture of the entire servo motor assembly. Here is an oscilloscope trace of the quadrature signals. Hopefully I can have the MSP430FR6989s driving the servo motors and doing something interesting soon. Thanks once again to TI for sponsoring the contest.
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