Welcome to Synthiam!

The easiest way to program the most powerful robots. Use technologies by leading industry experts. ARC is a free-to-use robot programming software that makes servo automation, computer vision, autonomous navigation, and artificial intelligence easy.

Get Started
Asked — Edited

Sabertooth 2X32 Won't Drive Motors

I've got a Sabertooth 2x32 motor controller from Dimension Engineering that I'm using to drive two wheelchair motors off of an old Pride Mobility Jazzy motor. When I was using the two original batteries (see attached PDF) I had no problem with the Sabertooth; I had the batteries wired in parallel without issue.

I had the wheelchair out in the garage this winter, and for whatever reason, my charger wasn't working right and so the batteries sat all winter discharged and are junk now.

I bought two new 12V 35AH SLAs to replace the original ones. They came in at 12.7V each; I wired them up in parallel like I had the old ones, but couldn't get the Sabertooth to drive the motors. I used the DEScribe software from Dimension Engineering to ensure that RC signal was being passed to the Sabertooth and it was, but the motors still won't function. I got the continuity tester out and checked connections and everything seemed good.

The status LEDs appear okay. Depending on the DIP switch configuration for battery protection it will either be solid green or blinking three times green. This was a little odd to me, the manual for the Sabertooth says in battery protect mode the LED blinks out the number of cells detected. I would think there should be four blinks if the batteries are in parallel, but maybe I'm mistaken.

I'm going to try to wire the batteries up in series tomorrow; the Sabertooth 2x32 says it can take a maximum of 33.6V so I don't see that being an issue. My only guess is that it is detecting an error with the battery charge and isn't running for that reason. Brakes have been removed from the motors, so that shouldn't be an issue.

Attached is a schematic of my build. Any ideas would be very welcome, I'm at my wits end with this.


User-inserted image


Upgrade to ARC Pro

Experience the latest features and updates. You'll have everything that is needed to unleash your robot's potential.


There are many people around here that use the Sabertooth that might be able to offer suggestions, but I would contact Dimension Engineering directly using
http://www.dimensionengineering.com/contact. They have great support and would probably be able to offer a solution that is more accurate and complete.

Not trying to be rude at all, it is just a suggestion.
From in the DEScribe software save your settings. Name your saved file something you will remember. Then do a factory reset to clear out the old settings. Check your dip switches and manually make any changes and save new settings back to the tooth. If that doesn't do it then you still have the original setting that you can reinstall.

Sounds like a battery issue though. That battery watchdog circuit in the tooth is real touchy. I had it set wrong once and it shut down the motors. However in my case I was feeding it with a power supply and not a battery. It knew the difference so make sure that the battery attached is what you settings are expecting.
From what I can see from your drawing, you have your batteries is parallel and not series, the Jazzy motors are usually 24 VDC not 12 VDC which is all you will get with the way you have it wired. The series wiring is usually done inside the Jazzy battery box. see pic below:

User-inserted image
Probably low voltage, too little to trip the brakes on the jazzy chair