Motor wires + rack and pinion steering system

Thread Starter


Joined Aug 3, 2007
I am making a robot with gear motors attached directly to the wheels. For the steering I am using rack and pinion steering system.

My problem is that the motors are attached to the wheels, and when I turn the robot, the motors wires including wires from motor encoders, (6 wires in total), bend every time the wheels turn.

I assume, in time those wires will break from bending so much.

What are some ways to fix this problem?

Obviously I cannot power the motors wirelessly...


Joined May 8, 2010
How about flexible/silicone wires? These have a high strand count of small-diameter copper, plus silicone jacket, and are meant for situations like this.

I imagine that anything of this nature will eventually break down, but the flex/sililcone wires should last a lot longer than the garden variety hookup wire you'd use elsewhere.

Caveat: My only experience with this is in electric R/C models where the battery pack is removed for every flight, something that does exert a good amount of wear & tear on wiring.


Joined Sep 26, 2009
One easy way to prolong the life of the wires from bending is to increase the length of the wires where they bend to form a rounded loop, the larger the loop the less the wires have to move...... or, you will need to come up with a swiveling electrical connector with six contacts, kind of like the old phone line detangler connectors that kept the phone handset wires from getting twisted up..... but then again, most of those were just 4 wire....

Thread Starter


Joined Aug 3, 2007
Though.... There might be a problem with slip rings... when it rotates, it will make contact by friction, won't that mess up the encoders signal?

For the motor power it should be fine because the friction noise is small, but for encoder signal, it might be a problem.



Joined Nov 30, 2010
Ford used a "hairspring" shape for some steering columns. Six very flexible wires formed into several turns inside a round hub. As the steering wheel is turned, the loops of the coil loosen or tighten as required.

Thread Starter


Joined Aug 3, 2007
Ford used a "hairspring" shape for some steering columns.
I think BMorse is describing the same thing...

Even though the slip rings is a cool idea, I think I will go the "hairspring" way because there is always contact.

Now I have to find 6 wires or pieces of metal that are very flexible.

I think I will just start by having a long wire coiled like a hairspring (times 6), and later on, if I find something more flexible, I will change it.

Thanks to everyone for all the ideas!