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I'm planning to drive the steering of a AWD rover using stepper motors. Is it usually a good idea to use sprockets and chains for that? Would the precision typically be too low for steering? The sprockets would spin along the direction of gravity - would that pose a problem as the chains would always sit on the same face of the sprockets?

Any advice appreciated.

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  • Is there any special requirement for a very precise steering?
  • Do you heavily rely on dead reckoning and your sensors are before the chain?

If not, you can add a tensioner for the chain and it should be fine for steering.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks. No to first, but how come having sensors before or after the chain could make a difference? $\endgroup$
    – John M.
    Jan 15 at 16:10
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They use of sprockets over synchronous belts depends on the power you need to move the rover steering.

I wouldn't use sprockets + chains, mostly because moving the chains requires more power than moving the synchronous belts, so you're basically wasting power there. Of course, if you need a high power steering.

With regards to the precision, it should be fine if you have a chain tensor.

Now, with the chain always resting on the same side, that could cause more wear in the long term, but I believe the rover will end it's useful life before you worry about changing the sprocket or the chain (in a motorcycle a sprocket+chain kit can last 20-25k km / 12-15k miles).

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