Pololu Blog (Page 15)

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.

Black Friday deals abound!

Posted by Ben on 29 November 2013


Pololu shipping department on Black Friday (November 29) 2013.

Our Black Friday sale is in full swing and it is a little crazy around here. If not for the lack of snow and elves, one might be excused for mistaking our manufacturing and shipping departments for Santa’s high-tech workshop, with motor drivers fresh from the oven and that new-Zumo smell wafting through the air. Thanks to their tireless efforts, our stock levels are so far holding strong, and orders are making it out at a record pace. If you have already placed an order, thank you! If you are still trying to decide if you want to take advantage of our amazing deals, don’t wait too long—the sale ends Monday night.

Pololu Robotics and Electronics Black Friday Sale 2013


In related Black Friday news, Pololu distributor Banana Robotics is having a Black Friday – Cyber Monday sale with some great deals!

Banana Robotics


And fellow purveyor of cool electronics stuff, Adafruit, is having their biggest sale ever today, with free stuff plus 10% off:

Adafruit Black Friday Sale

Three new high-performance Power HD servos

Posted by Ben on 27 November 2013
Tags: new products

We are now carrying three high-performance servos from Power HD that offer an excellent combination of strength and speed for their size.

Power HD Low-Profile Digital Servo 1207TG – This servo is very fast and strong, despite being much shorter than a standard-size servo, making it great for applications with tight space constraints.


Power HD Digital Servo 8312TG – Much stronger than the 1207TG while nearly as fast, this servo is great for applications that require both high speed and high torque. All of the gears are made of titanium-shielded aluminum.


Power HD High-Torque, High-Voltage Digital Servo 1218TH – With a whopping 290 oz*in (21 kg*cm) of torque, this is our strongest standard-size servo, and unlike most hobby servos, it has an operating voltage range of 6 V to 7.4 V. Like the 8312TG, this servo has gears made of titanium-shielded aluminum.

All three of these servos feature coreless motors, all-metal gears, and digital control electronics, and all of them support pulse frequencies up to 333 Hz. For our full selection of Power HD servos (which are on sale right now for Black Friday for 25% off!), see our servo category.

Black Friday Sale details revealed; doorbusters start at midnight tonight (08:00 UTC)!

Posted by Paul on 26 November 2013


Our Black Friday sale is back, and this one is our biggest yet. We are discounting hundreds of products by 30% to 60% and offering an additional 11% to 15% off orders over $100. The sale coupons and price changes become active in just over 6 hours. We hope these deals give all you robotics and electronics enthusiasts out there a happy start to the holiday season! For coupon codes and sale information see our Black Friday Sale 2013 page.

Video: Introducing the Zumo Robot for Arduino

Posted by Emily on 25 November 2013

Our Zumo Robot is a great platform for getting into robotics with your Arduino. The Zumo was designed with Mini Sumo competitions in mind, but that’s not the only thing you can do with it. This video gives an overview of the Zumo’s features and some ideas on what you can do to make it your own.

Quaternion-based AHRS using AltIMU-10 & Arduino

Posted by David on 19 November 2013


Quaternion-based AHRS using AltIMU-10 & Arduino

Pololu forum user Camel recently posted the Quaternion-based AHRS using AltIMU-10 & Arduino. This is an Arduino program that can read data from our AltIMU-10 sensor board, compute the orientation of the board, and output it over serial. It uses quaternions internally to represent the rotation, but can output Euler anglers, a rotation matrix, or a quaternion. The MinIMU-9 v2 is just an AltIMU-10 without a pressure sensor, so the code can be made to work with a MinIMU-9 v2 by commenting out a few lines.

The AHRS program is part of the Firetail UAV System, an open source UAV autopilot system that is currently under development. You can follow the the project’s progress on its blog.

New product: LSM303D 3D Compass and Accelerometer Carrier

Posted by Kevin on 15 November 2013
Tags: new products
New product: LSM303D 3D Compass and Accelerometer Carrier

As smartphones and tablets become more popular and more advanced, they drive the rapid development of progressively better and cheaper inertial sensors, and we’ve come to expect a new 3D compass/accelerometer chip from ST every year or so. We’re catching up again with their latest technology (for the time being) with the release of our LSM303D 3D compass and accelerometer carrier.

The LSM303D offers a number of improvements over its predecessors, including a wider maximum magnetic sensing range (up to ±12 gauss). It also features a more unified I²C interface and adds support for SPI communication. Our carrier board includes a 3.3 V voltage regulator and level shifters that make it easy to use with 5 V systems. For more information, see the product page.

We’ve also lowered the price on our previous generations of compass/accelerometer carriers: the LSM303DLHC carrier is now $11.95, and the LSM303DLM carrier is only $9.95.

New product: Raspberry Pi

Posted by David on 15 November 2013
Tags: new products
New product: Raspberry Pi

We are now carrying the Raspberry Pi Model B, Revision 2.0!

In case you haven’t heard of the Raspberry Pi, it is a popular credit card-sized computer that can run Linux. It was designed by the Raspberry Pi Foundation in order to provide an affordable platform for experimentation and education in computer programming. The Raspberry Pi can be used for many of the things that a normal desktop PC does, including word-processing, spreadsheets, high-definition video, games, and programming. With its 0.1″-spaced GPIO header and small size, the Raspberry Pi also works as a programmable controller in a wide variety of robotics and electronics applications. We have seen a lot of our customers do neat things with the Raspberry Pi, and we have featured several of those projects on this blog.

Related past posts featuring the Raspberry Pi:

For more information on the Raspberry Pi, see the product page.

New product: 75:1 Micro Metal Gearmotor HP with Extended Motor Shaft

Posted by Ben on 13 November 2013
Tags: new products
New product: 75:1 Micro Metal Gearmotor HP with Extended Motor Shaft

Our 75:1 HP micro metal gearmotor is now available with an extended motor shaft that works with our recently released optical quadrature encoders. If there are other gear ratios that you would like to see available with extended motor shafts, we would love to hear about it.

For more information on this gearmotor, see the product page. For other options, you can take a look at our full selection of micro metal gearmotors.

New product: AR-3606HB Continuous Rotation Servo

Posted by Ben on 12 November 2013
Tags: new products
New product: AR-3606HB Continuous Rotation Servo

When properly modified for continuous rotation, hobby RC servos become an inexpensive, compact, easy-to-use actuator system for robotics projects, and servo manufacturers are increasingly answering the growing demand for such products with servos designed specifically for robots. One example is Power HD’s new AR-3606HB continuous rotation servo, which offers open-loop speed control rather than the closed-loop position control you typically get with a servo. It is the fastest and strongest continuous rotation servo we carry (up to 71 RPM and 93 oz*in of torque), with performance well suited for driving a small robot.

For more information on the AR-3606HB, see the product page. For other options, you can check out our full selection of continuous rotation servos or our entire RC servo category.

Related post: Understanding continuous-rotation servos and multi-turn servos

USPS closed Monday, November 11

Posted by Paul on 11 November 2013


The United States Postal Service is closed today in observance of Veterans Day. Pololu will be in operation and will ship orders via FedEx as usual. Orders scheduled for shipping via USPS on Monday will be shipped tomorrow.