Connecting to the Arduino

The PWM/Servo Driver uses I2C so it take only 4 wires to connect to your Arduino:

"Classic" Arduino wiring:
  • +5v -> VCC (this is power for the BREAKOUT only, NOT the servo power!)
  • GND -> GND
  • Analog 4 -> SDA
  • Analog 5 -> SCL
Older Mega wiring:
  • +5v -> VCC (this is power for the BREAKOUT only, NOT the servo power!)
  • GND -> GND
  • Digital 20 -> SDA
  • Digital 21 -> SCL
R3 and later Arduino wiring (Uno, Mega & Leonardo):
(These boards have dedicated SDA & SCL pins on the header nearest the USB connector)
  • +5v -> VCC (this is power for the BREAKOUT only, NOT the servo power!)
  • GND -> GND
  • SDA -> SDA
  • SCL -> SCL
The VCC pin is just power for the chip itself. If you want to connect servos or LEDs that use the V+ pins, you MUST connect the V+ pin as well. The V+ pin can be as high as 6V even if VCC is 3.3V (the chip is 5V safe). We suggest connecting power through the blue terminal block since it is polarity protected.

Power for the Servos

Most servos are designed to run on about 5 or 6v.  Keep in mind that a lot of servos moving at the same time (particularly large powerful ones) will need a lot of current.  Even micro servos will draw several hundred mA when moving.  Some High-torque servos will draw more than 1A each under load.

Good power choices are:

It is not a good idea to use the Arduino 5v pin to power your servos. Electrical noise and 'brownouts' from excess current draw can cause your Arduino to act erratically, reset and/or overheat.

Adding a Capacitor to the thru-hole capacitor slot

We have a spot on the PCB for soldering in an electrolytic capacitor. Based on your usage, you may or may not need a capacitor. If you are driving a lot of servos from a power supply that dips a lot when the servos move, n * 100uF where n is the number of servos is a good place to start - eg 470uF or more for 5 servos. Since its so dependent on servo current draw, the torque on each motor, and what power supply, there is no "one magic capacitor value" we can suggest which is why we don't include a capacitor in the kit.

Connecting a Servo

Most servos come with a standard 3-pin female connector that will plug directly into the headers on the Servo Driver.  Be sure to align the plug with the ground wire (usually black or brown) with the bottom row and the signal wire (usually yellow or white) on the top.

Adding More Servos

Up to 16 servos can be attached to one board.  If you need to control more than 16 servos, additional boards can be chained as described on the next page.

This guide was first published on Oct 16, 2012. It was last updated on Dec 10, 2023.

This page (Hooking it Up) was last updated on Oct 10, 2012.

Text editor powered by tinymce.