After installing the software and drivers for the Simple Motor Controller, it is a good idea to run the Pololu Simple Motor Control Center and look at the Status tab. The Status tab lets you monitor the status of your motor controller in real time and control the speed of the motor. The Status tab also shows what errors and limits are affecting your motor controller so it can help you quickly troubleshoot any issues you are having.
To use the Status tab, you should connect your Simple Motor Controller to your PC using a USB cable (not included) and run the Pololu Simple Motor Control Center. This is what the Status tab should look like initially, before you have modified any settings or connected anything to the Simple Motor Controller (besides USB):
Target Speed and Current Speed
The Target Speed is the speed that the motor controller is trying to achieve. The Target Speed source is determined by the settings in the Input Settings tab, and can come from serial/USB commands, analog voltages, or RC signals.
The Current Speed is the speed at which the controller is currently your driving your motor. There are several reasons why the Current Speed might be different from the Target Speed: errors, acceleration limits, deceleration limits, brake duration, maximum speed limits, starting speed limits, and gradual temperature-based speed limiting. If any of these things are affecting the Current Speed, the appropriate part of the Status tab will be highlighted to let you know. Anything that is stopping the motor completely will be highlighted in red. Anything that is limiting the speed of the motor will be highlighted in yellow.
The Simple Motor Controller represents speeds internally as a number from -3200 (full reverse) to 3200 (full forward). However, by default the speeds in the Status Tab are displayed as percentages so -3200 (full reverse) is shown as -100.00% and 3200 (full forward) is shown as 100.00%.
Below the Target Speed label is a two-dimensional diagram that represents the values of the inputs that are used to set the Target Speed. This diagram is especially useful in RC or Analog mode with Mixing enabled because it graphically shows you the value of both input channels and makes it easier to tell how well the Simple Motor Controller is calibrated for your controller is.
The Motor Limits box in the Status tab shows the current limits on the movement of the motor. These limits will be equal to the hard motor limits specified in the Motor Settings tab, unless you have temporarily changed the motor limits using the command-line utility (SmcCmd) or a serial command. For more information on these limits, see the section that documents the Motor Settings tab.
The Input Channels box in the Status tab shows the current status of the RC or Analog input channels of the device.
The Raw Value is the raw, unscaled value of the input channel. For RC channels, the Raw Value is the width of pulses received on the input line (RC1 or RC2). It is typically between 1000 μs and 2000 μs, and it is stored internally as an integer in units of quarter-microseconds (6000 corresponds to 1500 μs). For Analog channels, the Raw Value is the average voltage measured on the input line (A1 or A2). It is always between 0 mV and 3300 mV, and it is stored internally as a 12-bit integer (0 corresponds to 0 mV while 4095 corresponds to 3300 mV).
The Scaled Value is a number between -3200 and 3200 that is determined entirely by the Raw Value and the scaling parameters in the Input Settings tab. If the scaling parameters are set up correctly, then the Scaled Value should be 0 when the input is in its neutral position (if it has a neutral position), and they should be ±100 % (±3200 internally) when the input is moved to either extreme.
The Status column summarizes the state of each channel. Here are the different things you might see in the Status column:
The Conditions box in the Status tab shows miscellaneous information about the current state of the controller:
Manually set speed (Serial/USB mode only)
The Manually Set Speed box in Status tab allows you to control the speed of your motor over USB by using a scrollbar or by typing in a speed. To use this feature, the Input Mode (configured in the Input Settings tab) must be USB/Serial, and there must be no errors currently stopping the motor. You will need to press the Resume button if you have not disabled Safe Start or if you previously pressed the Stop Motor button.