List of smart servo manufacturers

I thought it would be interesting to build a list of all the smart/serial servo manufacturers. While picking a reliable vendor is always suggested, there are many options these days…

So here’s the ones I’ve managed to find:

  • Robotis/Dynamixel. High quality, known brand. What more to say? Use a half-duplex UART.
    Entry level model: AX-12A
    Cost: ~$45
    Torque: 15.3 kg·cm

  • Dongbu/Herkulex. Also a fairly established brand. These are nice because they use a full duplex UART, so can be connected to any old microcontroller with nothing special needed. When I used these a couple years back they did pretty nicely.
    Entry level model: DRS-0101
    Cost: ~$40

  • Makeblock. I couldn’t find any details on the protocol for these servos, just an arduino library. These seem to have position feedback over the full 360 degree rotation range, and use a full duplex UART.
    Entry level model: MS-12A
    Cost: ~$40

  • LewanSoul/Lobot/LX-??/LDX-??.There are a range of them available for quite cheap prices from aliexpress and banggood. I have no idea who the manufacturer actually is, but Aliexpress has many of these servos including in kitset quadrupedal and hexapedal robot chassis, so someone somewhere is using lots of them. The protocol is the dynamixel protocol with the first byte changed from 0xFF to 0x55! Considering these are cheaper than most regular RC servos I may have to buy a couple to test.
    Entry level model: LX-16A
    Cost: ~$17

  • Feetech. Another china brand. They seem to make a whole range including both their own form factors and clones of dynamixel casings. The range includes micro-servos. The one listed below is a normal hobby “9g” servo with a UART interface. Only one of the smart servos is available on their main webpage, but are available on their aliexpress store. It seems many of their hobby-RC-range are actually “hidden” smart servos as they sell a programming board for them.
    Entry level model: SCS0009
    Cost: ~$12

FWIW, the low end of Robotis is the XL-320 at about $22… It’s not a very strong servo, but it speaks the same protocol, and can be used for “light” class mechs. You can also buy a bunch of them together with a OpenCM book and plastic brackets, in the form of the Darwin Mini humanoid robot kit.

Also RoboStar, but google cache says they were mentioned in a trossen thread as having kinda sketchy durability. Looking for those again on HobbyKing led me to find they now sell full-blown gas turbines from Swiwin at 6kg and 12kg thrust burning kerosene/diesel.

I figured a list of just manufacturers wasn’t the most useful, so I’ve started putting a table together of all the smart servos I could find. I’ve done the main ones (Dynamixel/Herkulex) and will do the others when I get around to it.

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