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.

Independence Day weekend sale

Posted by Ben on 2 July 2015


In celebration of Independence Day (July 4th), we are putting our entire catalog on sale at 10% to 25% off through the end of Monday, July 6. Note that we will be closed tomorrow, so orders will not ship until Monday, July 6.

For more information, including all the discount coupon codes, see the sale page.

Happy 4th of July!

New products: RoboClaw 2x5A, 2x15A, and 2x30A motor controllers (V5)

Posted by Kevin on 30 June 2015
Tags: new products

We’re now selling the latest V5 versions of the RoboClaw 2x5A, 2x15A, and 2x30A dual motor controllers from Ion Motion Control. Like the previous V4 RoboClaws, they can drive a pair of brushed DC motors at voltages from 6 V to 34 V, but the 2x5A now has a USB serial interface (in addition to TTL serial, RC, and analog inputs) like its larger siblings, and the 2x15A and 2x30A have a new heat sink design that should improve cooling. We expect to have updated documentation for the new versions soon.

Ion Motion Control RoboClaw 2×5A dual motor controller (V5).
Ion Motion Control RoboClaw 2×15A or 2×30A dual motor controller (V5).

New products: 0.1″ (2.54 mm) screw terminal blocks

Posted by Ben on 29 June 2015
Tags: new products
New products: 0.1″ (2.54 mm) screw terminal blocks

We are excited about our new 0.1″ terminal blocks because they can typically be soldered to PCBs in place of standard 0.1″ male and female headers, offering alternative board-to-wire connection options that can be especially convenient in cases where you know you will be dealing with stripped, unterminated wires. For example, the following picture shows an 8-pin terminal block spanning the control connections of a VNH5019 motor driver carrier:

There are some low components (e.g. resistors and capacitors) near the motor driver’s 0.1″ holes, but the terminal block is able to comfortably sit on top of them. In cases where there is not sufficient clearance from tall, nearby components, it might be possible to use the terminal blocks on the bottom side of the PCB. The following picture is an example of this, with a 4-pin terminal block used for the motor and motor power connections of a DRV8801 motor driver carrier:

And in case these pictures are giving the illusion of large PCBs rather than tiny terminal blocks, we have for your viewing pleasure a picture of these terminal blocks in a 0.1″ prototyping board (Adafruit’s Perma-Proto prototyping PCB) next to some standard 0.1″ male header pins:

These terminal blocks cannot be combined into longer strips or placed side-by-side on a 0.1″ grid, so you will need to get the exact lengths required by your application. Fortunately, we have nine lengths to choose from, from two pins through ten pins!

New product: shorter 12 mm hex wheel adapter for 6mm shafts

Posted by Ben on 26 June 2015
Tags: new products
New product: shorter 12 mm hex wheel adapter for 6mm shafts

We now have a shorter (20 mm) 12 mm Hex Wheel Adapter for 6 mm Shaft as an alternative to our original 35 mm extended version. These adapters work well with our 37D mm metal gearmotors, allowing you to use them with many common hobby RC wheels.

12mm Hex Wheel Adapter for 6mm Shaft connecting a Wild Thumper Wheel to a 37D mm Metal Gearmotor.

For our full selection of these adapters, see our hex wheel adapter category.

New motor driver carriers for the BD65496MUV and MAX14870

Posted by Ben on 22 June 2015
Tags: new products
New motor driver carriers for the BD65496MUV and MAX14870

We have two exciting new DC motor driver carriers to introduce, one for ROHM’s BD65496MUV and one for Maxim’s MAX14870:

BD65496MUV Single Brushed DC Motor Driver Carrier, labeled top view.
MAX14870 Single Brushed DC Motor Driver Carrier, labeled top view.

These drivers each offer wide operating voltage ranges, with the BD65496MUV operating from as low as 2 V up to 16 V and the MAX14870 operating from 4.5 V all the way up to 36 V. They can each supply over an amp to a single, bidirectional brushed DC motor. These are the highest-performing integrated motor drivers we know of short of substantially larger units such as the MC33926 and VNH5019. For more information on these drivers, click on the related products below:

New products: Hakko tools

Posted by Ryan on 19 June 2015
Tags: new products
New products: Hakko tools

Most electronics projects (and many Pololu products) require soldering. That’s why we’re excited to offer a soldering station and other accessories that we can wholeheartedly recommend! We are now carrying Hakko soldering and desoldering tools and Hakko hand tools (cutters and pliers). We use Hakko tools in our own manufacturing, and we believe they offer a great mix of reliability, performance, and price. Continued…

New distributors in South America

Posted by Paul on 16 June 2015
Tags: distributors

Continuing with our belated new distributor introductions, we are happy to welcome these six new Pololu distributors in South America:

Baú da Eletrônica is a new Pololu distributor in São Paulo, Brazil. Check out their Pololu category for the 3pi Robot, Zumo, and more.


BUILDBOT, also in São Paulo, is now carrying the 3pi and Zumo as well as a variety of Pololu sensors, relay modules, and mechanical parts.


FILIPEFLOP is yet another new distributor in Brazil (bringing the total to eight), located in the city of Florianópolis. Make sure to check out their blog, which is full of useful-looking tutorials.


IMPORTRONIC, a robotics and electronics store in Quito, Ecuador, now features a Pololu category with a selection of our popular motors and servos.


Paruro.pe, in Lima, Peru, carries a large selection of electronics parts. Search for Pololu on their site to find our 3pi and Zumo, Arduino and Raspberry motor drivers, the Arduino-compatible A-Star Mini, and more.


Eneka is a new distributor with an interesting history. The store was founded by four brothers as a radio assembler/installer in Paris, France, and moved to Montevideo, Uruguay, in 1936 due to the deteriorating situation in Europe. Since then, they have become a distributor of electronics equipment and components, and they recently started adding robotics to their product line. Our first distributor in Uruguay, Eneka carries a number of Pololu parts including voltage regulators, sensors, motors, and wheels.

See the full list of over 200 distributors to find one in your area.

Robot contest in Mexico to be held at 14th National Congress of Mechatronics

Posted by Brandon on 15 June 2015


Robot contest in Mexico to be held at 14th National Congress of Mechatronics

A contact at Mexican distributor Cosas de Ingeniería wrote to let us know about a contest he is helping organize in Juriquilla, Querétaro, Mexico. The Mexican Mechatronics Asociation (Asociación Mexicana de Mecatronica A.C.) will be hosting the 14th National Congress of Mechatronics (14º Congreso Nacional de Mecatrónica) 2nd Robotics Competition on October 15th through 17th this year. The three-day event will host several robotic competitions:

  • Autonomous Vehicle Competition (based on the Sparkfun Autonomous Vehicle Competition)
  • Insect Robot Race (insectoid robots try to be the first to travel 2 m over obstacles and uneven surfaces)
  • Mini-Sumo Competition (autonomous robots, similar to the one pictured above and our Zumo robots, fight to stay in a designated area)
  • Line Following Competition (autonomous robots follow a line-marked course as quickly as they can)

To keep up with the latest news about this competition, see the RoboticaAMM Facebook page, which also has dozens of pictures from the last competition.

Micro metal gearmotors now available with long-life carbon brushes

Posted by Ben on 12 June 2015
Tags: new products

We are excited to introduce new versions of our high-power micro metal gearmotors with long-life carbon brushes in place of the standard precious metal brushes:

Micro metal gearmotor HPCB long-life carbon brushes (left) next to micro metal gearmotor HP precious metal brushes (right).

So far, we only offer these on motors with HP windings, so the brushes being a lot more robust can just move the failure point if you try to push the motors too hard. However, if you use them at around 6 V and keep the continuous load under around 20% of the stall torque, the carbon brushes allow the HPCB motors to last several times longer than HP versions with precious metal brushes.

With the addition of this new HPCB motor variant in ten different gear ratios (10:1 through 1000:1), our selection of popular micro metal gearmotors now spans more than fifty options, giving you control over the motor winding, gearbox, and shaft arrangement:

Motor Type Stall
Current
@ 6 V
No-Load
Speed
@ 6 V
Approximate
Stall Torque
@ 6 V


Single-Shaft
(Gearbox Only)


Dual-Shaft
(Gearbox & Motor)
high-power,
carbon brushes
(HPCB)
1600 mA 3000 RPM 4 oz-in 10:1 HPCB
1000 RPM 9 oz-in 30:1 HPCB
625 RPM 15 oz-in 50:1 HPCB
400 RPM 22 oz-in 75:1 HPCB
320 RPM 30 oz-in 100:1 HPCB
200 RPM 40 oz-in 150:1 HPCB
140 RPM 50 oz-in 210:1 HPCB
120 RPM 60 oz-in 250:1 HPCB
100 RPM 70 oz-in 298:1 HPCB
32 RPM 125 oz-in 1000:1 HPCB
high-power
(HP)


(same specs as
HPCB above)
1600 mA 6000 RPM 2 oz-in 5:1 HP
3000 RPM 4 oz-in 10:1 HP 10:1 HP dual-shaft
1000 RPM 9 oz-in 30:1 HP 30:1 HP dual-shaft
625 RPM 15 oz-in 50:1 HP 50:1 HP dual-shaft
400 RPM 22 oz-in 75:1 HP 75:1 HP dual-shaft
320 RPM 30 oz-in 100:1 HP 100:1 HP dual-shaft
200 RPM 40 oz-in 150:1 HP 150:1 HP dual-shaft
140 RPM 50 oz-in 210:1 HP
120 RPM 60 oz-in 250:1 HP
100 RPM 70 oz-in 298:1 HP 298:1 HP dual-shaft
32 RPM 125 oz-in 1000:1 HP 1000:1 HP dual-shaft
medium-power
(MP)
700 mA 2200 RPM 3 oz-in 10:1 MP 10:1 MP dual-shaft
730 RPM 8 oz-in 30:1 MP
420 RPM 13 oz-in 50:1 MP
290 RPM 17 oz-in 75:1 MP 75:1 MP dual-shaft
220 RPM 19 oz-in 100:1 MP 100:1 MP dual-shaft
150 RPM 24 oz-in 150:1 MP
75 RPM 46 oz-in 298:1 MP
low-power 360 mA 2500 RPM 1 oz-in 5:1
1300 RPM 2 oz-in 10:1
440 RPM 4 oz-in 30:1 30:1 dual-shaft
250 RPM 7 oz-in 50:1 50:1 dual-shaft
170 RPM 9 oz-in 75:1
120 RPM 12 oz-in 100:1 100:1 dual-shaft
85 RPM 17 oz-in 150:1
60 RPM 27 oz-in 210:1
50 RPM 32 oz-in 250:1
45 RPM 40 oz-in 298:1 298:1 dual-shaft
14 RPM 70 oz-in 1000:1

Note: Stalling gearmotors can greatly decrease their lifetimes, occasionally resulting in immediate damage to the gearbox. This is especially true for the higher gear ratios, such as the 298:1 and 1000:1 versions, which can generate enough torque to damage themselves. The stall torque values given for the two 1000:1 motors are theoretical, and we strongly recommend you avoid stalling them. Prolonged stalls (on the order of seconds) can result in thermal damage to the motor windings and brushes, especially for the versions that use high-power (HP) motors.

Bohlebots at the German Open in Robocup Soccer 1v1

Posted by Grant on 9 June 2015
Bohlebots at the German Open in Robocup Soccer 1v1

In March, I wrote a blog post about the Bohlebots robotics team winning the West German Robocup Soccer 1v1. Since then, the Bohlebots team has gone on to win first and third in the German Open Robocup Soccer 1v1 with their two robotics teams.

Bohlebots’ soccer robot.

Good job Bohlebots!

New Products

Hakko FX-888D Digital Soldering Station
Hakko T18-B Soldering Tip
Hakko 599B-02 Solder Tip Cleaning Wire Sponge with Holder
Hakko FR-300 Desoldering Tool with Carrying Case
Hakko FS100-01 Tip Cleaning Paste, 10 g
RoboClaw 2x15A Motor Controller (V5)
Screw Terminal Block: 3-Pin, 0.1″ Pitch, Side Entry (3-Pack)
0.100" (2.54 mm) Breakaway Male Header: 1×40-Pin, Straight, White
0.100" (2.54 mm) Breakaway Male Header: 2×40-Pin, Right Angle
150:1 Micro Metal Gearmotor HPCB
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