1. Introduction

Orangutans’ integrated motor drivers set this robot controller line apart from other programmable microcontroller boards like the Basic Stamp and Arduino controllers. By tying a high-performance AVR microcontroller directly to a powerful dual H-bridge capable of driving two DC brushed motors, we have produced platforms that can serve as both the brains and brawn of your robot.

This application note is intended to give you the information you need to easily interface with the motor drivers on your 3pi robot, Orangutan SV-xx8, Orangutan LV-168 or Baby Orangutan B. The Orangutan LV-168 uses a dual H-bridge made of discrete, low-voltage MOSFETs while the Orangutan SV-xx8, Baby Orangutan B, and 3pi robot all use the TB6612FNG dual motor driver (308k pdf). All three devices have the same AVR pin connections to the TB6612FNG IC, so the same motor-driving code will work on all three devices, and the motor driver characteristics will be the same as well.

Note: Since this application note was first written, we have released a Pololu AVR Library that provides functions based on the code in this document that make it easy to control the motor drivers on the Orangutan robot controllers. If you’re just getting started with Orangutans, we recommend you use the library. If you are interested in learning about the low-level details of motor control, please read on.