Pololu Blog (Page 2)

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: G2 High-Power Motor Driver 18v25 and 24v21 (and price drops for other G2 drivers)

Posted by Kevin on 3 March 2016
New products: G2 High-Power Motor Driver 18v25 and 24v21 (and price drops for other G2 drivers)

Our second-generation family of high-power motor drivers continues to grow with the release of our G2 High-Power Motor Driver 18v25 and G2 High-Power Motor Driver 24v21, discrete MOSFET H-bridges that can supply a brushed DC motor with up to 25 A of continuous current at up to 30 V or up to 21 A of current at up to 40 V, respectively. In addition, we’ve lowered the prices of the 18v17 and 24v13 versions to make them even more affordable.

The new G2 18v25 and G2 24v21 drivers’ double-sided design allows them to retain the same board dimensions as their 18v17 and 24v13 siblings, even though they can deliver significantly more power. The G2 drivers are half an inch shorter and can handle the same (or slightly more) current compared to the original 18v25 and 24v20 they are designed to replace, and they are less than half the size of the original 18v25 CS and 24v23 CS while offering basic current sensing functionality that can eliminate the need for a dedicated current sensor in some applications. As with previous G2 drivers, they also include reverse-voltage protection and a current limiting feature.

Pololu G2 High-Power Motor Driver 24v21 next to original high-power motor driver 24v20 and 24v23 CS.
Pololu G2 High-Power Motor Driver 24v21 and 24v13.

For more information about the G2 motor drivers, see their product pages at the links below.

Room mapping robot based on the Rover 5 chassis

Posted by Claire on 19 February 2016

This robot, created by theophil on Let’s Make Robots, uses a Rover 5 chassis with encoders, a MinIMU, sonar sensors, and a few expansion plates to do room mapping. Theophil modified the chassis to use Dagu Wild Thumper wheels, and made a custom 3D-printed adapter for connecting the wheels in a compact way. The program for the robot, which is available on GitHub, collects data from the sonar sensors about how far away objects are and creates a grayscale map where the darkness of a pixel corresponds to the robot’s confidence that an obstacle exists in that spot.

Example map made by theophil’s mapping rover.

The program also includes a movement algorithm meant to drive the robot along paths that take it close to many obstacles to increase the accuracy of the sonar sensors. More about theophil’s room mapping robot can be found in his Let’s Make Robots post.

Building a Raspberry Pi robot with the A-Star 32U4 Robot Controller

Posted by Paul on 16 February 2016
Tags: raspberry pi
Building a Raspberry Pi robot with the A-Star 32U4 Robot Controller

In this post I will show you how to build an expandable robot platform based on a Raspberry Pi and an A-Star 32U4 Robot Controller. With this platform, the powerful Raspberry Pi can take care of high-level tasks like motion planning, video processing, and network communication, while the A-Star, which mounts to the Pi’s GPIO header, takes care of actuator control, sensor inputs, and other low-level tasks that the Pi is incapable of. The total cost of the parts I used is about $120. Continued…

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

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

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:

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


With Encoder


Without Encoder
6 V high-power
(HP)
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
(LP)
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
(HP)
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
(MP)
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
(LP)
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

Addressable RGB 8x8-LED Flexible Panel, 5V, 10mm Grid (APA102C)
Addressable RGB 16x16-LED Flexible Panel, 5V, 10mm Grid (APA102C)
Wixel Shield for Arduino, v1.1 + Wixel Pair + USB cable
Pololu USB AVR Programmer v2
Addressable RGB 8x32-LED Flexible Panel, 5V, 10mm Grid (APA102C)
700:1 Sub-Micro Plastic Planetary Gearmotor 6Dx21L mm
250:1 Micro Metal Gearmotor MP with Extended Motor Shaft
DRV8880 Stepper Motor Driver Carrier
Pololu G2 High-Power Motor Driver 18v25
75:1 Micro Metal Gearmotor with Extended Motor Shaft
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