This package wraps the Robotis dynamixel_sdk in an easy to use, fast and scalable driver that makes configuring and controlling many dynamixels very straightforward. Simply create a single custom yaml file specifying the ports, ids and some simple configuration info then load it into the driver at launch time.


  • Fast C++ implementation capable of controlling 10's of dynamixels at very high (>>100Hz) rates.

  • Easily configure all dynamixels in a single yaml file
  • Synchronous across multiple serial ports (using threaded IO)
  • All dynamixel states/commands are exchanged via a single sensor_msgs/JointState message
  • Supports position, velocity and current* control modes.
    • In position control mode, can supply profile velocities as well

*current control not available on all models.

Currently the following series of motors are supported:

  • AX
  • RX
  • DX
  • EX
  • MX
  • XM
  • PRO
  • PRO+
  • P



  • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and ROS Melodic; or
  • Ubuntu 20.04 LTS and ROS Noetic


Building from source

   1 mkdir -p catkin_ws/src
   2 cd catkin_ws/src
   3 git clone
   4 cd ..
   5 rosdep install --from-paths src --ignore-src -r -y
   6 catkin build


For detailed instructions, consult the tutorials on github:


To use the dynamixel_interface_controller to operate servos:

  1. Create a controller_config.yaml with the necessary parameters for each servo (see the tutorials as well as the example in the config/ folder for an example and explanation of the various configuration options)
  2. Launch the dynamixel_interface_controller_node, loading in the custom config file (see the example in the launch/ folder)

During operation:

  • The controller communicates using the sensor_msgs::JointState message.

  • Current joint states are published to /joint_states
  • Commands should be sent to /desired_joint_states
  • For each control mode
    • Position Control: only position and velocity are considered in the command message, velocity controls the moving speed to the goal position of the dynamixel. If no velocity is specified the default is used
    • Velocity Control: only the velocity value is considered
    • Torque Control: only the effort value is considered
    • Note that all non-empty arrays must have the same length as the array of joint_names, otherwise the command is invalid

A note on units:

  • Positions are in radians
  • Velocities are in radians/second
  • Effort is in mA of current

Improving Driver Performance

Got too many dynamixels? Driver running too slow? Well, this driver is designed with goal of achieving the maximum possible loop rate for a given configuration of dynamixels. To that end, there are three key optimisations that we recommend:

Baud rate

The baud rate used to communicate on the bus directly affects the maximum achieveable loop rate on the bus. A higher loop rate will result in faster update rates but can reduce the noise the bus can tolerate, for most applications the recommended baud rate is the maximum of 3Mbps.

Return delay time

The return delay time is a parameter on the dynamixels that sets the amount of delay in microseconds before they respond to a packet, by default this value is quite large (250, which equates to 500 microseconds). Lowering this value will reduce the total round-trip time for any comms on the bus. It is recommended to set this value very low (tested at 5, or 10 microseconds).

Both the above values will need to be configured PRIOR TO OPERATION using the dynamixel wizard available from robotis.

FTDI Driver Latency For Serial Communications

Since 16.04, the default latency_timer value for the ftdi usb driver was changed from 1ms to 16ms. This value represents how long the kernel driver waits before passing data up to the user application. It significantly affects the speed the driver will be able to communicate with the dynamixels, resulting in very low achievable loop rates. To correct this, a script is included that can change a serial port into 'low latency' mode (a latency_timer value of 1), which requires the installation of the setserial command:

Related Links

Wiki: dynamixel_interface (last edited 2021-09-07 05:28:03 by TMolnar)