Pololu Blog (Page 5)

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.

3D-printed mecanum wheel rover

Posted by Grant on 9 February 2016

One of our forum members, gchristopher, posted about his 3D-printed mecanum wheel rover. The rover uses our D24V10F5 5V regulator and some of our TB6612FNG dual motor drivers.

You can find more information on his blog. Additionally, you can find the CAD files on the Thingiverse page, and his original forum post on our forum.

New product: A-Star 32U4 Robot Controller SV with Raspberry Pi Bridge

Posted by Kevin on 5 February 2016

Our A-Star 32U4 Robot Controller SV with Raspberry Pi Bridge is now available, joining the LV version we released six months ago.

Similar to its lower-voltage sibling, the Robot Controller SV is a general-purpose robot controller that includes dual motor drivers and other useful peripherals like pushbuttons and a buzzer. It also has the same level shifters and power circuit that allow it to easily power and communicate with a Raspberry Pi when mounted as an auxiliary controller. Like our other A-Star controllers, the A-Star Robot Controller SV built around an ATmega32U4 microcontroller and ships preloaded with an Arduino-compatible USB bootloader.

This SV version of the A-Star Robot Controller uses an efficient step-down switching regulator, enabling it to operate (and optionally supply power to an attached Raspberry Pi) with input voltages from 5.5 V to 36 V. Compared to the LV version, the Robot Controller SV can also supply substantially more current across its wide operating voltage range:

We’ve been working on some (long-awaited) I²C software to allow the A-Star to be used as a slave controller with a Raspberry Pi master, as well as an example project that shows how to build a robot with this setup. They’re nearly ready, so watch for them on the blog in the coming weeks. But don’t forget that the A-Star board can also be used by itself as a capable robot controller, as my recent sumo robot demonstrates.

To facilitate both of these uses, the A-Star 32U4 Robot Controller SV is available either assembled for use as a Raspberry Pi add-on or in a more barebones configuration that is suitable for customized assembly or standalone use. See those product pages and the user’s guide for more information about the robot controller.

New products: MinIMU-9 and AltIMU-10 v5 IMU boards

Posted by Ben on 4 February 2016
Tags: new products

We have released new versions of our MinIMU-9 and AltIMU-10 inertial measurement unit (IMU) modules, which use an I²C interface to provide nine independent rotation, acceleration, and magnetic measurements that can be used to calculate the sensor’s absolute orientation (the AltIMU also includes an altimeter). These v5 editions feature ST’s new LIS3MDL 3-axis magnetometer and LSM6DS33 3-axis accelerometer and gyro, which allow them to offer improved performance over previous versions at lower prices. The new versions are pin-compatible with the previous ones, though software written for older IMU versions will need to be changed to work with the v5 since the sensor ICs have changed.

We think these new boards combine the best ST MEMS sensors into compact boards at great prices. However, our older MinIMU-9 v3, AltIMU-10 v3, and AltIMU-10 v4 are still available for now at reduced clearance prices, so if you don’t absolutely need ST’s newest sensors on your IMU, these previous versions are still very good sensor boards to consider.

Here’s an updated version of our diagram showing where the new v5 modules fit in:

Evolution and release dates of Pololu carriers for ST’s MEMS sensors through January 2016.

Grant's mini sumo robot: Rattata

Posted by Grant on 26 January 2016
Grant's mini sumo robot: Rattata

Remember my super cool sumo robot? My sumo robot is different from regular sumo robots. It’s like my sumo robot is in the top percentage of mini sumo robots. Continued…

Video: Phone-controlled BB8 droid build tutorial

Posted by Ryan on 25 January 2016

TechBuilder’s life-size phone-controlled BB8 droid uses a Pololu dual VNH5019 motor driver shield to drive two 19:1 37D metal gearmotors.

For step-by-step instructions for building this droid, see his DIY BB8 Instructables page.

Video: Rubik's Cube-solving robot

Posted by Ryan on 25 January 2016

This “World’s Fastest” Rubik’s Cube-solving robot uses six DRV8825 stepper motor driver carriers, one for each face.

New products: 12V 25D mm gearmotors with encoders

Posted by Ben on 13 January 2016
Tags: new products

All of our 25D mm metal gearmotors, including the newest versions with 12V motors, are now available with quadrature encoders. That’s 37 new products in all! With five different motor winding options and gear ratios available from 4.4:1 through 499:1, our total selection of 25D mm metal gearmotors has grown to nearly 100 options:

Motor Type Stall
@ Rated Voltage
@ Rated Voltage
Stall Torque
@ Rated Voltage

With Encoder

Without Encoder
6 V high-power
6.5 A 10,000 RPM 5 oz-in 1:1 HP 6V w/encoder
2150 RPM 20 oz-in 4.4:1 HP 6V w/encoder 4.4:1 HP 6V
990 RPM 39 oz-in 9.7:1 HP 6V w/encoder 9.7:1 HP 6V
460 RPM 75 oz-in 20.4:1 HP 6V w/encoder 20.4:1 HP 6V
280 RPM 90 oz-in 34:1 HP 6V w/encoder 34:1 HP 6V
200 RPM 115 oz-in 47:1 HP 6V w/encoder 47:1 HP 6V
130 RPM 150 oz-in 75:1 HP 6V w/encoder 75:1 HP 6V
97 RPM 210 oz-in 99:1 HP 6V w/encoder 99:1 HP 6V
56 RPM 350 oz-in 172:1 HP 6V w/encoder 172:1 HP 6V
6 V low-power
2.4 A 6200 RPM 2 oz-in 1:1 LP 6V w/encoder
1300 RPM 8 oz-in 4.4:1 LP 6V w/encoder 4.4:1 LP 6V
590 RPM 17 oz-in 9.7:1 LP 6V w/encoder 9.7:1 LP 6V
290 RPM 33 oz-in 20.4:1 LP 6V w/encoder 20.4:1 LP 6V
170 RPM 50 oz-in 34:1 LP 6V w/encoder 34:1 LP 6V
120 RPM 65 oz-in 47:1 LP 6V w/encoder 47:1 LP 6V
78 RPM 95 oz-in 75:1 LP 6V w/encoder 75:1 LP 6V
58 RPM 130 oz-in 99:1 LP 6V w/encoder 99:1 LP 6V
34 RPM 200 oz-in 172:1 LP 6V w/encoder 172:1 LP 6V
25 RPM 220 oz-in 227:1 LP 6V w/encoder 227:1 LP 6V
15 RPM 300 oz-in 378:1 LP 6V w/encoder 378:1 LP 6V
11 RPM 400 oz-in 499:1 LP 6V w/encoder 499:1 LP 6V
12 V high-power
5.6 A 10,200 RPM 5.5 oz-in 1:1 HP 12V w/encoder
2250 RPM 23 oz-in 4.4:1 HP 12V w/encoder 4.4:1 HP 12V
1030 RPM 44 oz-in 9.7:1 HP 12V w/encoder 9.7:1 HP 12V
500 RPM 85 oz-in 20.4:1 HP 12V w/encoder 20.4:1 HP 12V
290 RPM 120 oz-in 34:1 HP 12V w/encoder 34:1 HP 12V
210 RPM 165 oz-in 47:1 HP 12V w/encoder 47:1 HP 12V
130 RPM 240 oz-in 75:1 HP 12V w/encoder 75:1 HP 12V
100 RPM 300 oz-in 99:1 HP 12V w/encoder 99:1 HP 12V
12 V medium-power
2.1 A 7800 RPM 2.7 oz-in 1:1 MP 12V w/encoder
1700 RPM 11 oz-in 4.4:1 MP 12V w/encoder 4.4:1 MP 12V
770 RPM 22 oz-in 9.7:1 MP 12V w/encoder 9.7:1 MP 12V
370 RPM 42 oz-in 20.4:1 MP 12V w/encoder 20.4:1 MP 12V
220 RPM 63 oz-in 34:1 MP 12V w/encoder 34:1 MP 12V
160 RPM 85 oz-in 47:1 MP 12V w/encoder 47:1 MP 12V
100 RPM 125 oz-in 75:1 MP 12V w/encoder 75:1 MP 12V
76 RPM 165 oz-in 99:1 MP 12V w/encoder 99:1 MP 12V
43 RPM 250 oz-in 172:1 MP 12V w/encoder 172:1 MP 12V
33 RPM 320 oz-in 227:1 MP 12V w/encoder 227:1 MP 12V
12 V low-power
1.1 A 5600 RPM 2 oz-in 1:1 LP 12V w/encoder
1200 RPM 8 oz-in 4.4:1 LP 12V w/encoder 4.4:1 LP 12V
560 RPM 15 oz-in 9.7:1 LP 12V w/encoder 9.7:1 LP 12V
260 RPM 29 oz-in 20.4:1 LP 12V w/encoder 20.4:1 LP 12V
150 RPM 43 oz-in 34:1 LP 12V w/encoder 34:1 LP 12V
110 RPM 60 oz-in 47:1 LP 12V w/encoder 47:1 LP 12V
71 RPM 85 oz-in 75:1 LP 12V w/encoder 75:1 LP 12V
55 RPM 115 oz-in 99:1 LP 12V w/encoder 99:1 LP 12V
31 RPM 180 oz-in 172:1 LP 12V w/encoder 172:1 LP 12V
23 RPM 240 oz-in 227:1 LP 12V w/encoder 227:1 LP 12V
14 RPM 320 oz-in 378:1 LP 12V w/encoder 378:1 LP 12V

New products: LSM6DS33 accelerometer/gyro and LIS3MDL magnetometer carriers

Posted by Kevin on 11 January 2016
Tags: new products

LSM6DS33 3D Accelerometer and Gyro Carrier with Voltage Regulator.

LIS3MDL 3-Axis Magnetometer Carrier with Voltage Regulator.

We’re getting 2016 started with the release of two new products: an LSM6DS33 3D accelerometer and gyro carrier and an LIS3MDL 3-axis magnetometer carrier.

As with other ST sensors, these chips can be configured and read through I²C or SPI interfaces, and our compact breakout boards incorporate voltage regulators and level shifters to make them easier to use with 5 V systems. Compared to the inertial and magnetic sensors we’ve used previously (most recently the LSM303D accelerometer and magnetometer and the L3GD20H gyro), these two new ICs offer different combinations of capabilities: the LSM6DS33 integrates an accelerometer and rate gyroscope into a single package, while the LIS3MDL is a standalone magnetometer.

LSM6DS33 3D Accelerometer and Gyro Carrier with Voltage Regulator, bottom view with dimensions.

LIS3MDL 3-Axis Magnetometer Carrier with Voltage Regulator in a breadboard.

For more information about these boards, see their product pages at the links below.

Pololu and LVBots CES Open House 2016

Posted by Ryan on 4 January 2016
Tags: lvbots

Are you attending CES or in Las Vegas this Thursday evening? You can join Pololu and LVBots on January 7 any time from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. for CES Open House 2016! Like last year, LVBots members will be showcasing their robotics and electronics creations, Pololu will be giving tours of our manufacturing and other operations, and you can present your company or your projects. We will provide pizza. Registration and other details are on the LVBots Meetup page.

VertiGo robot drives up walls with propellers

Posted by Ryan on 29 December 2015

VertiGo is a novel robot designed with one main goal: the ability to drive on floors and walls, even if the walls aren’t perfectly flat. To accomplish this, it uses tiltable propellers for propulsion rather than motorized wheels. The propeller tilting is controlled by two Pololu Jrk 21v3 USB motor controllers with feedback. Students at ETH Zurich made this robot in collaboration with Disney Research Zürich.

You can visit the VertiGo website for pictures and project news.

New Products

Motor Driver and Power Distribution Board for Romi Chassis
Romi Chassis Kit - Red
Romi Chassis Base Plate - Blue
Pololu 38 kHz IR Proximity Sensor, Fixed Gain, Low Brightness
XYZrobot Smart Servo A1-16
Romi Chassis Ball Caster Kit - Black
Romi Chassis Ball Caster Kit - Red
Romi Chassis Kit - White
Pololu 38 kHz IR Proximity Sensor, Fixed Gain, High Brightness
Romi Chassis Base Plate - White
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