How to Synchronize up to 4 Electric Linear Actuators

How you Synchronize Linear Actuators

In this blog post, we will explore the process of synchronizing up to four electric linear actuators using the advanced Firgelli Automation control board. The control board offers a range of features and allows precise control over the actuators' movements. Whether you're working with one, two, three, or four actuators of different types, this guide will provide you with a detailed overview of the synchronization process, including wiring instructions and configuration settings.

Video Transcript Overview: The video begins with an introduction to the Firgelli Control Box, highlighting its built-in LED touch screen for easy control. The control box can sync up to four actuators, enabling simultaneous operation at the same speed. It supports various types of actuators with built-in feedback, such as Hall sensors or optical sensors. The control box operates on 12 or 24 volts and can be controlled through the control panel, a separate switch, or even integrated into an Arduino or PLC system. The video demonstrates the wiring process, calibration, and synchronization of multiple actuators, showcasing different types and their synchronization capabilities.

Introduction to the Firgelli Control Box: The Firgelli Automation Control Box is a versatile device designed to synchronize and control multiple electric linear actuators simultaneously. With its user-friendly LED touch screen, it offers a seamless control experience for your automation projects. The control box supports a wide range of actuators, including utility actuators, Super Duty actuators, and P-Series actuators, and allows for precise adjustments to speed, limit switches, and more.

Wiring and Setup: To begin, connect the control box to the power source using the provided green connectors. The control box accepts 12 to 24 volts of power, and the polarity is indicated by the left and right terminals. Additionally, you can wire in an external switch for manual control or integrate it into an Arduino or PLC system using the designated wires.

Calibration and Actuator Configuration: Once the initial setup is complete, it's important to set the time on the control box. This ensures accurate synchronization and timing for your actuators. The control box also offers various settings, including the option to adjust the backlight and enable a buzzer for audible feedback.

To configure and calibrate individual actuators, access the actuator set menu on the control box. Calibration is essential for accurate synchronization. The calibration process involves extending and retracting the actuator to establish its range and position. Multiple actuators can be calibrated simultaneously, saving time and effort.

Synchronization of Two Actuators: To synchronize two actuators, set the dip switch on the control box to indicate the number of actuators being used. Connect the actuators to the control box using the green connectors. Ensure proper wiring by following the instructions provided, which may vary depending on the actuator's feedback type (Hall sensors or optical sensors).

Initiate the calibration process for the connected actuators. Once calibrated, the actuators will run at the same speed and reach their endpoints simultaneously, ensuring precise synchronization. The control box's LED screen will display the stroke position of each actuator, confirming their synchronization.

Expanding to Three or Four Actuators: Expanding the synchronization to three or four actuators follows a similar process. For each additional actuator, adjust the dip switch accordingly to indicate the total number of actuators in use. Wire and calibrate the additional actuators following the provided instructions.

With proper calibration and synchronization, all three or four actuators will operate harmoniously, moving at the same speed and stopping at the same endpoints. The control box's LED screen will display the stroke positions for each actuator, ensuring accurate monitoring and control.

Why is it so important to run Actuators syncronized?

Having multiple actuators running in sync, where they all move at the same time, can be highly advantageous in various applications. Here are a few examples:

  1. Robotics and Automation: In robotics and automation systems, synchronized actuators allow for precise and coordinated movements. For tasks that require multiple components to move simultaneously or in a coordinated sequence, synchronized actuators ensure smooth operation and accurate positioning. This is crucial in applications such as pick-and-place robots, assembly lines, and automated machinery.
  2. Motion Control Systems: In applications where precise control over movement is essential, synchronized actuators are invaluable. For instance, in CNC machines or 3D printers, synchronized actuators enable coordinated movement of different axes, ensuring accurate and synchronized positioning. This results in high-quality output and eliminates potential errors that could arise from misaligned or unsynchronized movements.
  3. Ergonomic Furniture: Synchronization of actuators is commonly used in adjustable ergonomic furniture, such as sit-stand desks or height-adjustable tables. With synchronized actuators, the different segments of the furniture can move smoothly and evenly, providing a stable and consistent adjustment experience. This allows users to easily and precisely position the furniture according to their needs.
  4. Medical Equipment: Many medical devices and equipment rely on synchronized actuators for precise movement and positioning. Operating tables, patient lifts, and hospital beds often incorporate synchronized actuators to ensure smooth and coordinated adjustments. This enhances patient comfort, facilitates medical procedures, and enables healthcare professionals to make accurate positional changes.
  5. Entertainment and Stage Effects: In the entertainment industry, synchronized actuators play a vital role in creating captivating visual effects. Whether it's synchronized movements of animatronics, moving stage props, or synchronized lighting fixtures, coordinated action enhances the overall experience and creates a seamless performance.

How does a Sync box work to syncronize Actuators?

The Firgelli Control Board is a sophisticated electronic system used in desk lifts and other applications that require multiple legs to operate in sync. One of its key features is the synchronization functionality, which ensures that all legs move at the same speed, maintaining stability and balance. In this article, we delve into the intricate details of how the Firgelli Control Board operates, specifically focusing on the hall sensors, optical sensors, pulses, and the role of the program in achieving synchronization.

Hall Sensors and Optical Sensors: The Firgelli Control Board incorporates either hall sensors or optical sensors within each leg of the desk lift system. These sensors are responsible for monitoring the rotation and movement of the DC motors in the legs. Let's take a closer look at each type of sensor:

  1. Hall Sensors: Hall sensors are electronic devices that detect changes in the magnetic field. Within the context of the Firgelli Control Board, hall sensors are strategically placed to measure the rotational movement of the DC motors. As the motor shaft rotates, it interacts with the magnetic field generated by the hall sensor, resulting in a pulse output.
  2. Optical Sensors: Optical sensors, on the other hand, utilize a light-emitting diode (LED) and a photodetector to detect motion. The motor shaft is equipped with a disk containing evenly spaced slots or reflective surfaces. As the shaft rotates, the light emitted by the LED passes through the slots or reflects off the surfaces, and the photodetector detects these changes, generating pulses.

Pulses and Synchronization: The pulses generated by the hall sensors or optical sensors serve as a crucial feedback mechanism for the Firgelli Control Board. These pulses provide information about the position and movement of each leg. By analyzing and comparing the pulses received from each leg, the control board determines if synchronization is required. Here's how the synchronization process unfolds:

  1. Load Imbalance: During operation, if one leg of the desk lift experiences a greater load than the others, it slows down due to the increased weight. Consequently, the pulses generated by that leg fall out of sync with the pulses from the other legs.
  2. Pulse Deviation Detection: The control board continuously receives and analyzes the pulses from the hall sensors or optical sensors in real-time. It detects any deviations or discrepancies between the pulses of the different legs.
  3. Speed Adjustment: To rectify the pulse misalignment and ensure synchronous operation, the control board adjusts the speed of the slower leg(s). By modifying the power supplied to the DC motor in the affected leg(s), the control board can effectively synchronize the pulses.
  4. Real-Time Synchronization: The control board continually monitors the pulses and makes immediate adjustments to the motor power output as needed. This real-time synchronization compensates for changes in load distribution during operation, allowing all legs to move at the same speed.

The synchronization feature of the Firgelli Control Board plays a vital role in ensuring that multiple legs in a desk lift systems or Actuators in other applications operate in harmony. By employing hall sensors or optical sensors to measure pulses per revolution, the control board detects any deviations in leg speed and promptly adjusts the power output to achieve synchronization. This sophisticated programming approach guarantees that the desk lift moves evenly and smoothly, maintaining stability and balance, even when faced with uneven weight distribution.

By leveraging the power of sensors and intelligent programming, the Firgelli Control Board revolutionizes the way desk lifts and other multi-leg systems function, providing a seamless and synchronized lifting experience.

Sit stand Desk lifts use a built in sync feature. 

Electronic desk lifts with multiple legs, such as dual-leg or multi-leg systems, utilize a sync feature to ensure that all legs lift at the same speed and maintain proper alignment. Here's how this type of programming works:

Sit stand Desk lifts use a built in sync feature

  1. Leg Feedback: Each leg of the desk lift is equipped with built-in feedback mechanisms, such as hall sensors or optical sensors. These sensors monitor the pulses generated by the DC motor inside each leg. The pulses per revolution provide information about the position and movement of the leg.
  2. Pulse Synchronization: When the desk lift is in operation and one leg experiences a greater load, it slows down due to the additional weight. As a result, the pulses generated by that leg become out of sync with the pulses of the other legs.
  3. Control System: The control system, typically housed in a central control unit, receives the pulse feedback from each leg's sensors. It continuously compares the pulses generated by each leg to determine any deviations or discrepancies.
  4. Speed Adjustment: To ensure synchronous operation, the control system adjusts the speed of the slower leg or legs. It does so by modifying the power supplied to the DC motor in that particular leg. By increasing or decreasing the power, the control system effectively synchronizes the pulses between all the legs.
  5. Pulse Alignment: Through precise speed adjustment, the control system aligns the pulses per revolution of each leg, bringing them back into sync. This synchronization ensures that all legs lift or lower the desk at the same rate, maintaining stability and preventing uneven movement.
  6. Continuous Monitoring: The control system continuously monitors the pulses from all legs throughout the lifting or lowering process. It makes real-time adjustments to the motor power output as needed, keeping the legs synchronized even if the load distribution changes during operation.

By utilizing feedback from sensors and performing pulse synchronization, the control system of the desk lift ensures that all legs operate in unison. This programming approach allows the legs to adjust their speed individually to maintain synchronization, ensuring that the desk lifts evenly and smoothly, even when there are variations in weight distribution.

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