Dongbu Announces New Herkulex Servos
Dongbu Robot, makers of the Herkulex line of servos and the Hovis humanoid kits, has announced two new servos: the DRS-0401, packing 40 kg cm of torque, and the DRS-0601, at 60 kg cm. That means the DRS-0601 could lift 60 kg (that’s 132 pounds, for the luddites) with a lever arm of 1 cm, or lift 6 kg at a distance of 10 cm. These new servos complement the existing models, the DRS-0101 (12 kg cm) and DRS-0201 (24 kg cm).
These powerful servos are surprisingly compact: both the new servos have a 35 by 56 mm profile, while the DRS-0401 is 38 mm deep, and the DRS-0601 is 47 mm deep. In addition to the greater strength, the servos also have double the precision of previous ones, with 320 degrees of servo angle divided into 2048 steps (rather than the current 1024).
Both new servos will use the same Herkulex full-duplex serial communications protocol. These servos have the unique ability to go to a specified position, over a precisely specified amount of time — and with a single command packet, you can drive many servos to their targets all at once, or over different time periods. Over 50 adjustable parameters let you control the acceleration and deceleration curves, the PID (feedback) loop, and much more. In addition, like any modern smart servo, Herkulex servos can report back to the host computer on their current position, temperature, torque load, and so on.
In case you hadn’t noticed, I’ve become a big fan of the Herkulex servos. Their engineering and customer support are both top-notch, and their prices are the same or better than other brands. I really like the smooth, compact form factor, as well as their very sensible firmware and communications protocol. See my previous post on getting started with Herkulex servos, and watch this blog for an upcoming post on controlling Herkulex servos from an Arduino. But when you get into larger humanoids (say, pushing 1 meter tall or more), 24 kg cm just isn’t enough torque. So I’m quite excited to see Dongbu coming out with the powerful servos larger robots need; it means that you can start with something Hovis-sized, and work your way up to bigger bots later, without having to change your code or assembly techniques.
For more details, see this news story. Prices for the new servo have not been set yet, but I’ve been assured that they will compete very favorably with comparable servos from other manufacturers. Anticipated release date is January or February 2013.