Newbie question about Navio+ control options

I’m considering using Navio+ to control an autonomus boat I’m building. However, before I purchase and dig more into a Navio, I’d like to get a better feel for how much its outputs can be changed to handle non-standard devices.

In my case, I’m expecting to control the steering with a stepper motor. Is this inherent in the PWM pins that I see on the Navio? I thought PWM was for DC motors, but it also looks like you can control stepper motors with that.

Also, I will either have a PWM controlled throttle, pretty standard. Or a series of four binary switches that switch on the various motor windings in a binary sequence. Can Navio be set up to use multiple digital GPIO pins as the throttle? Or is it restricted to PWM?

In other words, I see a lot of info on PWM signals, but can Navio control other interfaces?


Hello Mark,

PWM in Navio+ case is only logical interface, it can’t drive a significant load. The easiest way for you if you intend to use Navio+ with APM code would be to get a controller that will take PWM as input and change motor speed accordingly.

So are you saying that the only way that Navio can control steering or speed is through PWM?

For the motor I guess I can control its speed, set my turning on or off various relays, though non-Navio GPIO pins. Naivo really doesn’t control the speed anyway, does it?

Still, for the steering, can a PWM stream from Navio be used to step a stepping motor, varying numbers of steps, say +/- 25 steps, for a 220 resolution stepping motor, to move the steering varying amounts left or right?

I do understand that the PWM stream drivers may not be very powerful and that I may have to amplify them. That is the case with most TTL level drivers.

Thank you. That is what I’ve done. Unfortunately the first controller (ESC) only lasted for about 30 minutes in my first run. I’ve got another on order, with a higher voltage (16V instead of 12V) and I hope that one will last longer.