I am currently creating a design project that involves controlling several servo motors for a raspberry pi 3. I want to use a keyboard to control the direction of the motors, and I am using curses to take in the keyboard input. My program runs, and the print function shows the correct key that was pressed, but the servos won't spin. I am using the pigpio library to drive the servos. The code I have is below. Any idea what i am doing wrong? Disclaimer: I am not a seasoned programmer, this is my first project with a raspberry pi and python.

import pigpio
import curses

screen = curses.initscr()

if __name__ == '__main__':

while True:

    Char = screen.getch()

    if Char== ord('q'):
        pi.set_servo_pulsewidth(16, 1600)
        print ("rotate left")

    if Char==ord('e'):
        print (" rotate right")

    if Char==ord('a'):
        pi.set_servo_pulsewidth(12, 1600)
        pi.set_servo_pulsewidth(13, 0)
        print ("turn left")

    if Char==ord('d'):
        pi.set_servo_pulsewidth(12, 0)
        pi.set_servo_pulsewidth(13, 1400)
        print ("turn right")

    if Char==ord('s'):
        pi.set_servo_pulsewidth(12, 1400)
        pi.set_servo_pulsewidth(13, 1600)
        print ("backwards")

    if Char==ord('w'):
        pi.set_servo_pulsewidth(12, 1400)
        pi.set_servo_pulsewidth(13, 1400)
        print ("forwards")
    if Char == curses.KEY_UP:
        pi.set_servo_pulsewidth(18, 1600)
        print ("telescope up")

    if Char==curses.KEY_DOWN
        pi.set_servo_pulsewidth(18, 1400)
        print ("telescope Down")

    if Char==ord('x'):
        print("Program Ended")

curses.nocbreak(); screen.keypad(0); curses.echo()
curses.endwin()enter code here
  • 1
    How are the servos connected? A photo of the connections may be useful. Ordinary hobby servos don't spin - they go to the commanded angle and then stop. Which servo model do you have?
    – joan
    Feb 18, 2019 at 22:49
  • Ah sorry, they are continuous servo motors who's control wires are connected to GPIO 12, 13, 16, and 18 respectively. They are powered by a battery pack separate from the pi. Feb 18, 2019 at 23:09
  • Have you connected the -ve of the battery pack to a Pi ground pin?
    – joan
    Feb 19, 2019 at 8:14
  • I just connected the battery pack to ground pin, and I have a result. I can now use one motor. the one associated with the arrow keys GPIO(18). Whats weird is that its spinning the motor attached to GPIO (12), Feb 19, 2019 at 14:36
  • I found out my GPIO problem...I was looking at the pins upside down lol. But the applying -ve from the battery pack to a ground pin of the pi board worked. Everything is up and running, thank you very much for your help. Feb 19, 2019 at 15:45

1 Answer 1


If you're new to this, you might find it easier using GPIO Zero rather than pigpio, as it's a more friendly API, and provides a built-in Servo class. You can still use pigpio as your back-end (it's the best one for servos).

Example servo code:

from gpiozero import Servo
from time import sleep

servo = Servo(14)


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