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ROS Arduino Sabertooth Controller

asked 2018-01-27 12:53:58 -0500

nathanspotts gravatar image

updated 2018-01-27 14:56:15 -0500

Hi, I am trying to control a sabertooth 2x60 motor controller with an arduino interfaced to a raspberry pi using rosserial_arduino. I have the connection working great, but whenever I try to publish a command to the topic that the arduino is subscribed to, the sabertooth controller does nothing. I can verify that the callback is working because of the receipt of various loginfo back to the terminal. Also, I uploaded code to control the sabertooth (with no ROS), and it worked fine, so I know I have everything connected right. Any ideas what is wrong/missing in the following code? Thanks

#include <Sabertooth.h>
#include <ros.h>
#include <std_msgs/UInt16.h>

ros::NodeHandle nh;

Sabertooth ST(128);

void sabertooth_callback(const std_msgs::UInt16& cmd_msg){
  int power =;
  nh.loginfo("Got Command");
  // Ramp motor 1 from -127 to 127 (full reverse to full forward),
  // waiting 20 ms (1/50th of a second) per value.
  for (int power1 = -power; power1 <= 127; power1 ++)
    nh.loginfo("Got Command to Drive"); 

  // Now go back the way we came.
  for (power = 127; power >= -127; power --)
    ST.turn(power); // Tip for SyRen users: Typing ST.motor(power) does the same thing as ST.motor(1, power).
    nh.loginfo("Got Command to Turn"); 

ros::Subscriber<std_msgs::UInt16> sub("Sabertooth", sabertooth_callback);

void setup()
  SabertoothTXPinSerial.begin(9600); // 9600 is the default baud rate for Sabertooth packet serial.

void loop()
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i want to make an autonomous indoor Mobile robot for my study, can you explain to me how to interface with hardware systems, I have Sabertooth 2X60 and Zed stereo Camera and Adruino Microcontroller and RPLIDAR. Thank you very much.

tean chen gravatar image tean chen  ( 2020-05-18 03:19:43 -0500 )edit

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answered 2018-01-28 00:50:05 -0500

I have found that the Sabertooth software doesn't work with ROS. Just do a direct Serial.write instead. You'll lose the nice, similar number placement, but it will work. 1-127 is motor1, 128-255 is motor 2. Check out

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Thanks for the response. I figured there was something wrong with the Serial connection and reverted to using Sabertooth in RC mode. However, I tried to use Serial.write and it didn't work as expected. What version of serial do I need to put the Sabertooth in? Simplified Serial or Packet Serial?

nathanspotts gravatar image nathanspotts  ( 2018-01-28 19:52:03 -0500 )edit

The Sabertooth should be in simplified serial mode. Use 9600 baud. Works perfectly. Did you check the sample code?

Rodolfo8 gravatar image Rodolfo8  ( 2018-01-29 10:11:10 -0500 )edit

That's what I tried to do. I need to experiment a little more with it. Do you use the tx and rx pins on the Arduino Uno. Also, just checking that the SoftwareSerial Library is not needed. How does writing 2 different values to serial.write work? The second range doesn't overwrite the first?

nathanspotts gravatar image nathanspotts  ( 2018-01-29 10:15:28 -0500 )edit

Mine is a Mega. I use TX2 which is #16. So my commands are Serial2.write. Like this: if (millis() > motorTimer + MOTOR_TIMEOUT_MS) { Serial2.write(64); // apply brakes Serial2.write(192); } else { Serial2.write(pwrLeft); // motor speed Serial2.write(pwrRight);

Rodolfo8 gravatar image Rodolfo8  ( 2018-01-29 11:11:21 -0500 )edit

Thanks so much for your help. That makes complete sense to me. I'll see if I can get it set up and working later today.

nathanspotts gravatar image nathanspotts  ( 2018-01-29 11:13:54 -0500 )edit

Well, for others with this same issue using the Arduino Uno, I couldn't get it to work on pins 0 and 1 (Rx, Tx). I had to include the library SoftwareSerial and assign different pins for the communication (for me I used 10 & 11, but only the Tx is needed). Then it worked great!

nathanspotts gravatar image nathanspotts  ( 2018-01-30 12:15:04 -0500 )edit

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Asked: 2018-01-27 12:53:58 -0500

Seen: 811 times

Last updated: Jan 28 '18