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.

New products: 10-20 AWG and 20-30 AWG wire strippers

Posted by Ben about 3 hours ago
Tags: new products
New products: 10-20 AWG and 20-30 AWG wire strippers

Inevitably, if you work with electronics long enough, you will encounter a wire that is too long, too insulated, or too connected (to the wrong thing), and while you might be able to MacGyver your way out of the situation with a pair of scissors or a suitably hardy set of teeth, nothing beats a good wire stripper. With that in mind, we set off in search of some good, basic wire strippers that would get the job done well without breaking the bank. Our favorites were a set of multi-purpose wire strippers and cutters that feature comfortably curved and cushioned grips and a nose that can be used as pliers. One version works with 10 to 20 AWG wires and another works with 20 to 30 AWG wires. (The stripping holes are labeled with the gauge of solid-core wire for which they are intended; for stranded wire, use the next larger hole.)

Wire stripper 10-20 AWG solid (12-22 AWG stranded).
Wire stripper 20-30 AWG solid (22-32 AWG stranded).

MiniTrack three-sided tracked robot

Posted by Grant about 4 hours ago

Let’s Make Robots user rhughes posted about MiniTrack, his custom-built tracked robot that features the ability to drive on each of its three sides. It uses our 30T track set and an extra pair of our 42×19mm sprockets. The tracks are driven by a pair of medium power 150:1 micro metal gearmotors, which are controlled by a DRV8833 dual motor driver carrier. MiniTrack also uses two Sharp GP2Y0D805Z0F digital distance sensors for object avoidance:

You can find pictures of various stages of the assembly of this robot and learn what else was involved in making it inside rhughes’s post.

Get a free A-Star 32U4 Micro with orders over $100!

Posted by Paul on 22 April 2014


We recently released the A-Star 32U4 Micro, an Arduino-compatible ATmega32U4 breakout board intended to be cheap enough to go into (and stay in) almost any project. To help our customers put A-Stars in everything, we are announcing a new, limited-time offer: on any order over $100, you can get a free A-Star 32U4 Micro with coupon code FREEASTAR.

Taking advantage of this deal? What are you planning to use your A-Star for? Please tell us about your project in the comment section.

Footage from quadcopter at LVBots

Posted by Paul on 18 April 2014
Tags: lvbots

This aerial video was filmed at an LVBots meeting on a DJI Phantom 2 quadcopter.

About LVBots

LVBots is a robotics club that has been meeting at the Pololu office in Las Vegas, Nevada for almost ten years. Our meetings are open to all ages and skill levels, and everyone is encouraged to bring their projects to share – even projects that are not capable of flying hundreds of feet into the air. Do you live in the area, or are you passing through? Check out our schedule and join us!

Maker Faire demo: Simple Motor Controller and Sharp analog distance sensor

Posted by Claire on 18 April 2014


Maker Faire demo: Simple Motor Controller and Sharp analog distance sensor

The Las Vegas Mini Maker Faire 2014 was on April 5th, and as you might have heard, we had a booth there with demos of our products. For more about the faire and a video, see my previous blog post. This post details the Simple Motor Controller and Sharp analog distance sensor demo that we brought. The demo was popular at the faire with both kids and adults, and though it is simple, it is a great tool for showing those who are just getting interested in robotics what one of the first steps to building a robot might look like. Continued…

PID line follower with 5" robot chassis

Posted by Claire on 18 April 2014

This PID line follower, originally featured in this Let’s Make Robots post by user Enigmerald, uses our 5" Robot Chassis along with 30:1 MP micro metal gearmotors, extended brackets, and our 42×19 mm wheels. Our QTR-8RC Reflectance Sensor Array is used to sense the line and our TB6612FNG carrier, along with an Arduino-compatible controller, is used to control the motors. A diagram of how everything is connected and the code for the robot are available in Enigmerald’s post. The post also has a link to a basic tutorial on PID tuning using the QTR array.

New products: Colored miniature tank tracks

Posted by Brandon on 17 April 2014
Tags: new products

We have expanded our selection of miniature tank tracks to include a variety of colors. The new tracks are identical in function to the black miniature track links, but now come in blue, red, and yellow. Track links of different colors can be combined to create fun and interesting patterns to give your robot some added character.

These miniature track links work great for small indoor robots, especially on carpet, and they are compatible with a variety of injection-molded sprocket sets such as:

Free Circuit Cellar magazine April 2014

Posted by Ben on 17 April 2014
Tags: new products
Free Circuit Cellar magazine April 2014

Get a FREE copy of Circuit Cellar magazine’s April issue with your order while supplies last. To get your free issue, enter the coupon code CIRCUIT0414 into your shopping cart. The magazine will add 6 ounces to the package weight when calculating your shipping options.

For other issues and more information, see our Free Circuit Cellar Magazine Offers page. All issues are now available for shipping worldwide!

Free Elektor magazine April 2014

Posted by Ben on 16 April 2014
Tags: new products
Free Elektor magazine April 2014

Get a FREE copy of Elektor magazine’s April issue with your order while supplies last. To get your free issue, enter the coupon code ELEKTOR0414 into your shopping cart. The magazine will add 7 ounces to the package weight when calculating your shipping options.

For other issues and more information, see our Free Elektor Magazine Offers page. All issues are now available for shipping worldwide!

L3-G0: the full-size, LEGO R2-D2

Posted by Brandon on 14 April 2014
L3-G0: the full-size, LEGO R2-D2

Shawn and Lara Steele, known on the Pololu forum as kresty, built a functional, full-size, LEGO R2-D2 named L3-G0. L3-G0’s design is based on plans from the R2-D2 Builder’s Club, and it is made from around 16,000 LEGO bricks. It weighs roughly 30 kg (65 lbs) and can travel at a speed of 8 km/h (5 mph). The astromech has a fully functional rotating dome with multiple blinking lights. The dome is rotated using our 80mm wheel fitted with a high-traction sticky tire and powered by one of our 37D gearmotors. L3-G0 is controlled using a 9-channel RC transmitter and features an Arduino along with dedicated motor controllers and sound boards. Electric scooter motors were used for the drive wheels. The astromech also uses Pololu motor controllers and voltage regulators, as well as a SparkFun MP3 Trigger for audio. Continued…