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A Guide to Servo Motors: What Are They & How Do They Work?

A servo motor is a type of DC motor that has built-in control electronics, making it more precise and useful in feedback applications. These motors are used in applications like robotics, medical devices, and manufacturing machines. Read on to learn more about servo motors and how they work.

What Is a Servo Motor?

A servo motor is an electromechanical device used to convert electrical energy into mechanical energy. A servo motor is different from a normal DC motor in that it has an integrated control system that allows feedback. This control system consists of a rotor position sensor (usually an optical encoder or potentiometer) and a control circuit (analog or digital).

It is essentially a variation of a DC motor that can be precisely controlled using an encoder or potentiometer so as to produce a specific output at any given time.

The control circuit is part computer and part electromechanical circuit. It receives feedback from the rotor position sensor and uses that information to precisely control the motor. They are sometimes compared to stepper motors.

How do Servo Motors Work?

Servo motors are not like DC motors. They are extremely precise and have built-in feedback systems. The feedback system consists of a small magnet attached to the end of the motor and another sensor attached to the motor casing. The sensor connected to the motor reads the voltage from the sensor attached to the magnet and compares those readings to determine the position of the motor.

Here is a quick breakdown of how a conventional servo motor works:

A servo motor operates as a component of a closed-loop system, delivering torque and velocity in response to commands from a servo controller.

The loop is closed by a feedback device. The feedback device gives current, velocity, or position information to the servo controller, which modifies the motor’s behavior in accordance with the requested parameters.

The 3 Types of Servo Motors

There are several types of servo motors: analog, digital, and hybrid servo motors. Analog Servo Motors are less expensive but less precise than Digital Servos.

They typically use optical sensors to track the position of the rotor shaft and provide feedback to an external controller circuit capable of interpreting that information.

Analog Servo Motors

Analog Servo motors are the smallest type of servo motor and are intended for use in low-cost applications that do not require very high precision. They use an optical sensor (a light-emitting diode and phototransistor pair) to track the position of the rotor.

These Servo motors are less expensive but less precise than digital servo motors. They require an external controller circuit that can interpret the readings from the optical sensor.

Digital Servo Motors

Digital servo motors are the most commonly used type of servo motor. They are intended for use in high-precision applications. These servo motors use an optical sensor (a light-emitting diode and phototransistor pair) to track the position of the rotor.

They are more expensive than analog servo motors, but they provide greater precision and can be used without an external controller circuit.

Hybrid Servo Motors

Hybrid servo motors are a combination of analog and digital servo motors. They use a potentiometer to track the position of the rotor and an optical sensor to provide feedback to an external controller circuit. They are intended for use in medium-precision applications.

What Are Servo Motors Used for?

Servo motors are used in a variety of applications such as robotics, medical devices, and manufacturing machines. They can be used to precisely control the movements of mechanical arms, computer-assisted machining, and even the steering of cars.

The most common application for servo motors is to control the position of mechanical devices, such as camera lenses, computer-assisted machines, and the steering of cars.

There are many situations where a servo motor is required. A servo motor is essentially a device that uses an electrical signal to convert rotational motion into linear movement. When you need to control the position or orientation of an object, you can use a servo motor.

There are many applications for servo motors in robotics where it is necessary to move the arm of a robot or a machine tool accurately and quickly. You can also use a servo motor when controlling the rotation of a propeller or fan.

The application of servo motors also extends beyond robotics. For example, they can be used to control the position and rotation of fluid pumps, valves, and fans, as well as drones and drones.

Advantages of Servo Motors

No Backlash

Because there are no gears or cogs in the rotation system, there is no backlash or vibration. This is an advantage in applications like computer-assisted machines where there is a need for very precise and smooth movement.

More Precise than Stepper Motors

Stepper motors are another type of motor used in robotics, but they are much less precise than servo motors.

More Energy Efficient

Servo motors tend to be more energy efficient than other types of motors.

Drawbacks of Servo Motors


Servo motors are more expensive than stepper motors. That said, the precision and capabilities of servo motors make them worth the price for many businesses depending on the intended application.


Servo motors can malfunction when something gets busted which is why they should always have safety circuits.

They Need Gear Boxes to Maintain Higher Speeds

If your intended application requires your servo motor to run at a relatively high speed, you’ll need to install an electric gearbox.

Get Your Servo Motor From Telco and Put the Best to the Test!

Servo motors can be expensive which is why it pays to take the time to find the best one. Telco has earned a reputation for building some of the most dependable servo motors on the market. If you want a servo motor that you can depend on for many years to come, you’ll want to make sure that the motor comes from Telco!

Our customer service team is happy to assist you and answer any questions you may have to make the decision easier. Once we know what you’d like to use your servo motor for, we can point you in the right direction.

Don’t settle for less, get the quality you deserve, and shop for servo motors at Telco today!