A servomotor is a specific type of motor that is combined with a rotary encoder or a potentiometer to form a servomechanism. This assembly may in turn form part of another servomechanism. A potentiometer provides a simple analog signal to indicate position, while an encoder provides position and usually speed feedback, which by the use of a PID controller allow more precise control of position and thus faster achievement of a stable position (for a given motor power). Potentiometers are subject to drift when the temperature changes whereas encoders are more stable and accurate.
Servomotors are used for both high-end and low-end applications. On the high end are precision industrial components that use a rotary encoder. On the low end are inexpensive radio control servos (RC servos) used in radio-controlled models which use a free-running motor and a simple potentiometer position sensor with an embedded controller. The term servomotor generally refers to a high-end industrial component while the term servo is most often used to describe the inexpensive devices that employ a potentiometer. Stepper motors are not considered to be servomotors, although they too are used to construct larger servomechanisms. Stepper motors have inherent angular positioning, owing to their construction, and this is generally used in an open-loop manner without feedback. They are generally used for medium-precision applications.
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