Seeking advice on Microcontroller to control servos, solenoids, and camera

Thread Starter


Joined Jul 9, 2011
Hello All,

I am working on a project that consists of the following components and I would greatly appreciate some advice:

3 Servos (all 3 are same and specs are listed below)
4 Solenoids (all 4 are same and specs are listed below)
1 camera (something very basic to take pics)

I am looking for a microcontroller that controls the above eight components and also communicates with a wireless router to receive instructions and provide status. I am a complete newbie on microcontrollers and I would greatly appreciate advice pointing me in the right direction (e.g. microcontroller name, software tools, etc) so I start reading up on it.


Control System: +Pulse Width Control 1500usec Neutral
Required Pulse: 3-5 Volt Peak to Peak Square Wave
Operating Voltage: 4.8-6.0 Volts
Operating Temperature Range: -20 to +60 Degree C
Operating Speed (4.8V): 0.19sec/60° at no load
Operating Speed (6.0V): 0.15sec/60° at no load
Stall Torque (4.8V): 42 oz/in (3.0 kg/cm)
Stall Torque (6.0V): 49 oz/in (4.5 kg/cm)
Current Drain (4.8V): 7.4mA/idle, 160mA no load operating
Current Drain (6.0V): 7.7mA/idle, 180mA no load operating
Dead Band Width: 5usec
Operating Angle: 45° one side pulse traveling 450usec
Direction: Multi-directional
Motor Type: Cored Metal Brush
Potentiometer Drive: 4 Slider/Direct Drive
Bearing Type: Top Resin Bushing
Gear Type: Nylon
360 Modifiable: Yes
Connector Wire Length: 11.81" (300mm)
Weight 1.52oz (43g)

Open-Frame Pull Solenoid
Nominal voltage 12VDC
Coil resist. 36 ohms (±10%)
Power consump 4.0W
Holding force 1.10 lbs.
Stroke 0.24
Size 1.5"L x 1.0" x 0.8"Dia.
Shaft Dia 0.310
Weight 0.21 lbs.
Size (inch) 1.5 x 1.0 x 0.8
Type Open frame-pull
Shaft Dia (in) 0.31
Stroke 0.24
Weight (lbs.) 0.21


Joined Jul 4, 2011
This will depend a lot on what exactly you intend to do with the camera. If you just need the MCU to push the shutter button, that's one thing. If you need the MCU to actually transmit images from the camera over the network, you're talking about another class of device entirely. If your camera needs are closer to the former option, take a look at the Arduino platform. The whole platform is open source, is really easy to get started with, and there's tons of support with code and peripherals. I know there's an ethernet 'shield' module for it, and I think there's a wifi module as well. Perhaps the best part, the whole platform uses AVR-GCC, so it'll give you a leg up into getting to know the bare silicon of the AVR microcontrollers the Arduino platform is based on, should you ever need to. (The Arduino libraries sacrifice a lot of speed and flexibility for the sake of ease of use, so chances are good you'll eventually find them limiting.)

If you need to do more with the camera, it will depend on what resolution, what frequency, how much processing you're doing, and how fast you need to do it.

Thread Starter


Joined Jul 9, 2011
Thanks for the response. The camera is needed to take a low resolution picture and transmit/email it on the internet using wifi/bluetooth without storing it on the device. And this is just 1-2 pics a day. I think a serial jpeg camera module may be a potential candidate. Do you know of any links/reading material out there that can give me a head start on this? Thankfully speed/flexibiity are not critical to this project. I was surprised at the cost of the wifi shields ($70-80) that I would have to get in addition to the arduino uno. I recently purchased a kodak photoframe that communicates with a router and fetches facebook photos for $115. I guess once I get my contraption to work I can start thinking of lowering costs.