Pololu Blog

Welcome to the Pololu Blog, where we provide updates about what we and our customers are doing and thinking about. This blog used to be Pololu president Jan Malášek’s Engage Your Brain blog; you can view just those posts here.

Coming soon: Pololu Black Friday/Cyber Monday Sale

Posted by Ben about 11 hours ago


Our annual Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale is less than a week away! We have put up some of the special offers on the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale page. Stay tuned for more details!

New products: Pololu T-shirts

Posted by Jon about 12 hours ago
Tags: new products

We have a new batch of T-shirts available, just in time for winter! These shirts are very similar to the ones we released in 2012, featuring a printed circuit board (PCB) design in the shape of the Pololu logo on the front and the Pololu slogan “Engage Your Brain” on the back.

The shirts are available in a variety of youth and adult sizes, and this time we have two new colors available in addition to our standard royal blue: cardinal red and charcoal gray.

You can find our full selection in our T-shirts category.

New products: Stackable headers for the Raspberry Pi

Posted by Ben on 19 November 2014
Tags: new products
New products: Stackable headers for the Raspberry Pi

Stackable 0.100″ Female Header: 2×20-pin, Straight.

We now have special extended, stackable female headers for the Raspberry Pi:

The 2×20 versions work with the Raspberry Pi Model B+ (and the just-released A+), while the 2×13 versions match the I/O header on the older Raspberry Pi Models A and B.

See our Raspberry Pi category for our full selection of Raspberry Pi accessories.

ToyCollect: A robot that collects toys from hard-to-reach places

Posted by Brandon on 19 November 2014
ToyCollect: A robot that collects toys from hard-to-reach places

The people at Seewald Solutions posted about their Raspberry Pi-based robot they call ToyCollect. Inspired by the creator’s daughter, who hides her toys under the couch, the robot is controlled via Android and can be driven under the couch to allow the user to view the hidden toys via a Raspberry Pi camera module and retrieve them. Along with a Raspberry Pi, the ToyCollect robot uses a Zumo Chassis Kit, 100:1 Micro Metal Gearmotors HP, Qik 2sv1 Dual Serial Motor Controller, and a Zumo blade to push the toys. The video below shows the robot in action (in German; subtitles available):

For more information, including the source code and instructions for building your own ToyCollect robot, see the ToyCollect post on the Seewald Solutions website.

New product: Parallax BASIC Stamp Discovery Kit (USB)

Posted by Ben on 19 November 2014
Tags: new products
New product: Parallax BASIC Stamp Discovery Kit (USB)

We are now carrying the USB version of the BASIC Stamp Discovery Kit. Please see the product page for more information.

New products: Brackets for mini plastic gearmotors

Posted by Brandon on 14 November 2014
Tags: new products

Our mini plastic gearmotors make great low-cost actuators for small robots, but they have one major shortcoming: they are not easy to mount (the offset versions have just one mounting hole and the 90° versions don’t have any). Well, today I am pleased to announce that we now have two mounting solutions!

Mini Plastic Gearmotor Bracket Pair – Wide.
Mini Plastic Gearmotor Bracket Pair – Tall.

These new plastic brackets, available in a wide version and a tall version, are designed specifically for our mini plastic gearmotors, with internal ridges that fit into recessed features on the gearmotors to hold them securely in place. Both brackets are compatible with all of our mini plastic gearmotors, and the two versions allow for different mounting orientations, some of which can be seen in the pictures below:

In some orientations, features of the mini plastic gearmotor cases prevent them from being flush with a flat mounting surface. To address this, we include a spacer plate with each bracket that fits between the gearmotor and the mounting surface in these orientations, keeping the motor level. If you look closely at the pictures above, you can see the spacer plate being used in three of them.

These new brackets are sold in pairs along with mounting hardware (two M3 screws and nuts per bracket).

See the product pages for additional information:

Video: Introducing the DRV8835 Dual Motor Driver Kit for Raspberry Pi B+

Posted by Jeremy on 12 November 2014

We have a new video for our DRV8835 Dual Motor Driver Kit for Raspberry Pi B+. The video gives an overview of some of its features and mentions a few considerations for working with it. Check it out, and get some ideas for a cool Raspberry Pi robot!

New products: Brackets for Sharp GP2Y0A02, GP2Y0A21, and GP2Y0A41 distance sensors

Posted by Brandon on 6 November 2014
Tags: new products
New products: Brackets for Sharp GP2Y0A02, GP2Y0A21, and GP2Y0A41 distance sensors

Our new stamped aluminum L-brackets are specifically designed for Sharp’s popular analog GP2Y0A02, GP2Y0A21, and GP2Y0A41 distance sensors, making it easy to mount them to your project in a variety of ways. The brackets are made of 0.8mm-thick aluminum, so they are light and bendable by hand if your application calls for something other than their default 90° angle, yet they are rigid enough to hold their position while in use.

These new brackets are sold in pairs and are available in three different versions: compact perpendicular and parallel versions, and a slightly larger but more versatile multi-option version.

The appropriate bracket for your project depends on the specifics of how you would like to mount it. For example, if you want a low-profile installation on a horizontal surface, the parallel bracket (pictured above on the left) is a good choice. For a low-profile installation off of a vertical surface, the perpendicular bracket (pictured above on the right) might be most appropriate. The multi-option bracket (pictured above in the center) allows the sensor to be mounted to either face, so it supports both perpendicular and parallel orientations, and the long slots offer a lot of flexibility in sensor placement relative to the mounting surface.

See the product pages for additional information:

Raspberry Pi-controlled chicken coop

Posted by Jon on 6 November 2014
Raspberry Pi-controlled chicken coop

Forum user bennard posted about his WiFi-enabled chicken coop, which uses a Raspberry Pi to monitor and log data about its environment, serve a web page, send emails, and open and close the coop door. The system has sensors for detecting temperature, humidity, motion, and light, and includes a 50W solar panel and solar charge controller for recharging its batteries. The automated door is a hinged piece of wood that is connected to a linear actuator (via this mounting bracket) and controlled by a jrk 21v3 motor controller.

You can learn more about bennard’s project in his forum post.

Simple Animatronic Skull, Part 2

Posted by Jeremy on 31 October 2014
Simple Animatronic Skull, Part 2

As promised in my previous animatronic skull post, this is the update where I integrate the skull with a baby doll. I would like to introduce you to Daisy Spooks. Continued…