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.

Pololu relay module used in custom ESP8266-based plant watering system

Posted by Jon on 20 July 2016

Forum user LuisLabMO posted about his WiFi-controlled plant watering and monitoring system. The system uses SparkFun’s Blynk ESP8266 board to read various sensors that monitor sunlight, moisture content of the soil, and detect the level of water remaining in the watering reservoir. The Blynk signals our 5V relay module to activate the system’s water pump, which irrigates the plants through a drip system. You can read more about LuisLabMO’s watering system in his post, which also has a link to his Hackster.io project page and GitHub repository.

New version of our USB Micro-B breakout

Posted by Kevin on 11 July 2016
Tags: new products

We’ve updated our USB Micro-B Connector Breakout Board with some minor improvements that should make it a little nicer to work with.

On the original version, the mounting cutouts didn’t work as well as we wanted: they were shallow, and the board was often prone to slipping out of place between two screws. The new version is wider and its cutouts are deeper to allow for more secure mounting, and it is slightly shorter in the other direction (0.4″ × 0.6″ with the connector).

For more information, see the board’s product page.

New 12 V micro metal gearmotors

Posted by Kevin on 8 July 2016
Tags: new products
New 12 V micro metal gearmotors

Our micro metal gearmotors are now available in 12 V versions! These high-power motors have long-life carbon brushes (HPCB) and offer the same performance as the 6 V HPCB motors at their respective nominal voltages; the only difference is that the 12 V motor draws half the current at twice the voltage.

The new 12 V gearmotors are available across our usual range of 11 gear ratios and in single- and dual-shaft versions. Along with our existing selection of micro metal gearmotors, this brings the total number of unique options available to 107:

Rated
Voltage
Motor Type Stall
Current
@ Rated Voltage
No-Load
Speed
@ Rated Voltage
Approximate
Stall Torque
@ Rated Voltage


Single-Shaft
(Gearbox Only)


Dual-Shaft
(Gearbox & Motor)
12 V high-power,
carbon brushes
(HPCB)
800 mA 6000 RPM 2 oz-in 5:1 HPCB 12V 5:1 HPCB 12V dual-shaft
3000 RPM 4 oz-in 10:1 HPCB 12V 10:1 HPCB 12V dual-shaft
1000 RPM 9 oz-in 30:1 HPCB 12V 30:1 HPCB 12V dual-shaft
625 RPM 15 oz-in 50:1 HPCB 12V 50:1 HPCB 12V dual-shaft
400 RPM 22 oz-in 75:1 HPCB 12V 75:1 HPCB 12V dual-shaft
320 RPM 30 oz-in 100:1 HPCB 12V 100:1 HPCB 12V dual-shaft
200 RPM 40 oz-in 150:1 HPCB 12V 150:1 HPCB 12V dual-shaft
140 RPM 50 oz-in 210:1 HPCB 12V 210:1 HPCB 12V dual-shaft
120 RPM 60 oz-in 250:1 HPCB 12V 250:1 HPCB 12V dual-shaft
100 RPM 70 oz-in 298:1 HPCB 12V 298:1 HPCB 12V dual-shaft
32 RPM 125 oz-in 1000:1 HPCB 12V 1000:1 HPCB 12V dual-shaft
Continued...

Independence Day weekend sale

Posted by Ben on 1 July 2016


In celebration of Independence Day (July 4th), we are discounting selected products by up to 25% and offering an upgrade to the next best price break for everything else in our store. Please note that we will be closed Monday, so orders will not ship until Tuesday, July 5.

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

Happy 4th of July!

Pololu ball casters used as "feet" for quadcopter

Posted by Grant on 21 June 2016

One of our customers, Jeff, found a creative way to use some of our 1″ ball casters. He was having a problem with the legs of his quadcopter “grabbing” when he landed, so he attached a ball caster to the end of each leg. You could read more about his modification and find more pictures of his quadcopter in his post on the RCGroups.com forum.

Memorial Day weekend sale

Posted by Ben on 27 May 2016



We are having a big Memorial Day sale now through Monday, with discounts on over 800 products when you use the coupon code MEMORIALDAY16. Stock up on robot parts now so you can build cool things all summer long! Note that we will be closed on Monday, so orders will not ship until Tuesday, May 31.

For more information, including all of the sale items, see the sale page.

New product: Raspberry Pi 3 Model B

Posted by Ryan on 6 May 2016

We are now offering the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B. The Raspberry Pi is a popular credit card-sized computer that can run ARM Linux distributions. As the successor to the Raspberry Pi 2 Model B, the Pi 3 has a more powerful processor and adds wireless connectivity. Here are the specific improvements:

  • 1.2 GHz 64-bit quad-core ARMv8 CPU
  • 802.11n Wireless LAN
  • Bluetooth 4.1
  • Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)

Along with these improvements, the Raspberry Pi 3 maintains compatibility with and the form factor of the previous Pi 2 (and Pi 1 Model B+). With its 0.1″-spaced GPIO header and small size, the Raspberry Pi also works as a programmable controller in a wide variety of robotics and electronics applications. It can also be combined with our A-Star 32U4 Robot Controller LV with Raspberry Pi Bridge to make a great controller for a small robot. We also carry a selection of Raspberry Pi expansion boards.

This comparison chart can help in selecting the right Raspberry Pi for your project:


Raspberry Pi
Model A+

Raspberry Pi
Model B+

Raspberry Pi 2
Model B

Raspberry Pi 3
Model B
CPU: BCM2835 BCM2836 BCM2837
CPU cores: 1 4
CPU speed: 700 MHz 900 MHz 1.2 GHz
RAM: 256 MB 512 MB 1 GB
Ethernet: No Yes
WiFi: No 802.11n
Bluetooth: No 4.1
Bluetooth Low Energy: No Yes
HDMI: Yes
Analog video: Yes1
SD socket: microSD
Onboard regulators: switching
Expansion header pins: 40
USB ports: 1 4
Mounting holes: 4
Dimensions2: 2.5″ × 2.2″ × 0.47″ 3.35″ × 2.2″ × 0.8″
Weight3: 23 g 42 g

1 Audio and analog video provided by a single four-pole 3.5 mm jack. This 3.5 mm jack also has its own dedicated low-noise power supply for improved audio.

2 Length and width measurements are for the PCB only; several of the connectors extend past the edge of the board.

3 Weight does not include microSD cards.

Tru.D 3D

Posted by Jon on 4 May 2016

On Monday, Colin McGinn launched a Kickstarter in order to create a 3D short film using Tru.D 3D, which is a volumetric display system that he designed and patented. The system quickly feeds 3D volumetric objects into a specific viewing area, and each 3D piece forms a frame of an animation to tell a story that can be viewed from any angle.

Included among the Kickstarter rewards is a mini Tru.D 3D machine, which uses our micro metal gearmotors and magnetic encoders to perform a short, two-second animation. The machine is small enough to hold in your hands, and backers have the option of choosing from one of three different animations.

You can find more information on Colin’s project, including the full digital version of the short film, on his Kickstarter.

Sixteen new micro metal gearmotor versions!

Posted by Ben on 22 April 2016
Tags: new products

We just added 16 new micro metal gearmotors to our already huge selection, including three totally new MP (medium power) gear ratios: 5:1 MP, 210:1 MP, and 250:1 MP. With these new additions, we now have dual-shaft versions available in any combination of our 11 gear ratios and four motor types, giving you 44 different options that work with encoders like our magnetic encoder pair kit.

Magnetic Encoder Kit for Micro Metal Gearmotors assembled on a micro metal gearmotor with extended motor shaft.

In all, this increases our total selection of micro metal gearmotors to 85 unique options:

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 6000 RPM 2 oz-in 5:1 HPCB 5:1 HPCB dual-shaft
3000 RPM 4 oz-in 10:1 HPCB 10:1 HPCB dual-shaft
1000 RPM 9 oz-in 30:1 HPCB 30:1 HPCB dual-shaft
625 RPM 15 oz-in 50:1 HPCB 50:1 HPCB dual-shaft
400 RPM 22 oz-in 75:1 HPCB 75:1 HPCB dual-shaft
320 RPM 30 oz-in 100:1 HPCB 100:1 HPCB dual-shaft
200 RPM 40 oz-in 150:1 HPCB 150:1 HPCB dual-shaft
140 RPM 50 oz-in 210:1 HPCB 210:1 HPCB dual-shaft
120 RPM 60 oz-in 250:1 HPCB 250:1 HPCB dual-shaft
100 RPM 70 oz-in 298:1 HPCB 298:1 HPCB dual-shaft
32 RPM 125 oz-in 1000:1 HPCB 1000:1 HPCB dual-shaft
high-power
(HP)


(same specs as
HPCB above)
1600 mA 6000 RPM 2 oz-in 5:1 HP 5:1 HP dual-shaft
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 210:1 HP dual-shaft
120 RPM 60 oz-in 250:1 HP 250:1 HP dual-shaft
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 4400 RPM 1.5 oz-in 5:1 MP dual-shaft
2200 RPM 3 oz-in 10:1 MP 10:1 MP dual-shaft
730 RPM 8 oz-in 30:1 MP 30:1 MP dual-shaft
420 RPM 12 oz-in 50:1 MP 50:1 MP dual-shaft
290 RPM 17 oz-in 75:1 MP 75:1 MP dual-shaft
220 RPM 21 oz-in 100:1 MP 100:1 MP dual-shaft
150 RPM 28 oz-in 150:1 MP 150:1 MP dual-shaft
100 RPM 36 oz-in 210:1 MP dual-shaft
90 RPM 41 oz-in 250:1 MP dual-shaft
75 RPM 46 oz-in 298:1 MP 298:1 MP dual-shaft
22 RPM 80 oz-in 1000:1 MP 1000:1 MP dual-shaft
low-power 360 mA 2500 RPM 1 oz-in 5:1 5:1 dual-shaft
1300 RPM 2 oz-in 10:1 10:1 dual-shaft
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 75:1 dual-shaft
120 RPM 12 oz-in 100:1 100:1 dual-shaft
85 RPM 17 oz-in 150:1 150:1 dual-shaft
60 RPM 27 oz-in 210:1 210:1 dual-shaft
50 RPM 32 oz-in 250:1 250:1 dual-shaft
45 RPM 40 oz-in 298:1 298:1 dual-shaft
14 RPM 70 oz-in 1000:1 1000:1 dual-shaft

New version of the Wixel Shield for Arduino

Posted by Kevin on 14 April 2016
Tags: new products

We’ve updated our Wixel Shield for Arduino with a few minor improvements. The Wixel Shield provides an easy way to connect a Wixel wireless module to your Arduino or A-Star 32U4 Prime, enabling wireless communication and even wireless programming (on some Arduinos). However, the original version of the shield was released many years ago, so it was not designed with the modern pinout of the Arduino Uno R3 in mind.

The Wixel Shield v1.1 adds pass-throughs for the four new pins—SCL, SDA, IOREF, and an unused pin—introduced by the R3 and present on all newer Arduinos, making it easier to stack other shields with it (especially ones that make use of the new I²C pin location). It also features improved level shifter circuits that make use of the IOREF voltage provided by the Arduino, allowing the shield to work automatically with both 5 V and 3.3 V Arduino boards.

The Wixel Shield for Arduino v1.1 is available by itself and as part of a combination deal that includes a pair of Wixels and a USB cable. See the user’s guide for the shield for additional information.

New Products

T1-3/4 (5mm) RGB LED with Diffused Lens (5-pack)
USB Micro-B Connector Breakout Board
298:1 Micro Metal Gearmotor HPCB 12V with Extended Motor Shaft
Hakko FA-400 Smoke Absorber
100:1 Micro Metal Gearmotor HPCB 12V with Extended Motor Shaft
150:1 Micro Metal Gearmotor HPCB 12V
75:1 Micro Metal Gearmotor HPCB 12V
10:1 Micro Metal Gearmotor HPCB 12V
30:1 Micro Metal Gearmotor HPCB 12V with Extended Motor Shaft
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