Hardware is the physical makeup of an Avionics system. These components are the means through which software and microcontrollers are able to interact with the physical world.
Note that even though microcontrollers are technically hardware, they have been placed in their own subcategory for organizational purposes.
Electromechanical components are devices which translate mechanical loads and energy into electrical signals, and vice versa.
There are several classifications for the most common electromechanical hardware, including:
A motor is a device which uses electrical energy to generate a torque on a rotating component. Motors can be clasified into several different categories, including:
A DC motor generates torque from the supply of a DC signal. These motors are commonly used in smaller devices where an AC power supply may not be accessible. In rocketry, DC motors are ideal due to their compactness and simplicity to integrate into a system.
An AC motor requires an AC signal to operate. These motors are used more frequently in industry where AC power is more readily available. Types of AC motors include synchronous and asynchronous motors, as well as induction motors.
For proper operation, many DC motors require a commutator. These commutators include carbon-tipped brushes which run along the rotor. These brushes can accumulate wear-and-tear, but such motors are also cheaper to manufacture and less complicated.
Brushless DC motors avoid commutators, but must implement a different method of applying continuous torque as the rotor rotates.
Stepper motors accomplish the above by using two perpendicular coils and permanent magnets. This grants them precise angular control, but presents the additional need of a stepper motor driver.