Pololu Blog (Page 3)

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.

Popular tags: community projects new products raspberry pi arduino more…

Rolling out free shipping at Pololu

Posted by Jan on 26 October 2017

Everyone wants free shipping, right? Well, today I am happy to announce an important step in bringing free shipping to Pololu, at least for our US customers. We are beginning to offer free shipping in these two senses:

Free shipping within the United States

Some items are eligible for free shipping within the United States. If your shopping cart consists only of items eligible for free shipping, you will be presented with a “Free Shipping” shipping option during checkout. Free shipping will be shipped by a carrier and service we select, which will typically be the lowest-cost, slowest service. Currently, that would likely be First-Class Mail through the US Post Office or a ground service by FedEx, depending on the contents of the order.

Free add-on shipping within the United States

Some items are eligible for free add-on shipping for orders within the United States. These are typically very light items that should not significantly impact our shipping cost, and we pass on those savings to you. No additional shipping will be charged for these items, independent of your shipping method. Orders that consist only of free add-on shipping items will cost the minimum shipping cost for each service as the item sizes and weights will not be added to the shipping cost calculation. Orders with at least one free shipping item and the rest free add-on shipping items will have a free shipping option.

Because items with free add-on shipping will not be considered in the calculation, it is possible for the shipping method you select to be invalid because the package exceeds the limit for that method. In such cases, we will substitute a similar shipping method. For example, if you pay for First-Class Mail as your shipping method but your order actually ends up weighing more than the limit for First Class Mail, we would ship by Priority Mail.

By controlling these two aspects of free shipping on an individual product level, we can really offer free shipping, without raising prices. We are rolling this feature out with a few items we would like to promote:

Products initially eligible for free shipping and free add-on shipping:

Pololu Dual VNH5019 Motor Driver Shield for Arduino

Tic T825 USB Multi-Interface Stepper Motor Controller (Connectors Soldered)

Tic T825 USB Multi-Interface Stepper Motor Controller

Products initially eligible for free shipping only:

Zumo 32U4 Robot (Assembled with 50:1 HP Motors)

Zumo 32U4 Robot (Assembled with 75:1 HP Motors)

Zumo 32U4 Robot (Assembled with 100:1 HP Motors)

Products initially eligible for free add-on shipping only:

A-Star 32U4 Micro

A-Star 32U4 Mini ULV

A-Star 32U4 Mini LV

A-Star 32U4 Mini 2V

VL53L0X Time-of-Flight Distance Sensor Carrier with Voltage Regulator, 200cm Max

VL6180X Time-of-Flight Distance Sensor Carrier with Voltage Regulator, 60cm Max

As we work on our system and monitor the results with these initial products, my goal is to make free shipping, or at least incrementally free shipping, available for more and more of our products. We still do not have a solution for those of you who write us angry emails about the ridiculousness of our charging $3.95 to ship a $2 part (and yes, I am aware of 39-cent listings with free shipping on AliExpress; for now, we cannot compete with them on price alone). But rest assured that since shipping is one of our biggest expenses, we will continue to work hard on keeping that cost as low as we can.

If you see a product that you feel should qualify for free shipping or free add-on shipping but does not, please contact us, and we can evaluate the product’s eligibility. I would also like to hear what you think of this approach and whether you expect it will be helpful to you.

Update (31 October 2017): We are now offering lots more free shipping.

Parallax Boe-Bot Robot Kit - USB

Posted by Ryan on 12 October 2017
Tags: new products

We are now carrying the Parallax Boe-Bot Robot Kit - USB, which incorporates a USB-to-serial adapter into the board, so it does not require a separate serial adapter.

The Boe-Bot Robot Kit is an educational kit complete with parts and a textbook for building and programming your own robot. No previous robotics, electronics, or programming experience is required; the kit does not require soldering.

Free Circuit Cellar magazine October 2017

Posted by Ben on 2 October 2017
Tags: new products

Get a FREE copy of Circuit Cellar magazine’s October 2017 issue issue with your order, while supplies last. To get your free issue, enter the coupon code CIRCUIT1017 to your shopping cart, or click the link. The magazine will add 6 ounces to your order weight when calculating your shipping options.

For back issues and more information, see our free Circuit Cellar magazine offers.

Aerial photography kite rig

Posted by Ryan on 29 September 2017

Pololu customer Yvon Hache made this 3D-printed aerial photography rig that he shared in a forum post. The rig, trailing 100 feet below the kite, automatically triggers a camera to take pictures at three tilt angles and sixteen pan angles. It incorporates an ARM Cortex-M4 microcontroller from Texas Instruments (32-bit, 80 MHz, TM4C123GH6PZ), an AltIMU-10 v5, Pololu voltage regulators, and a Zigbee module for wireless remote control. Yvon uses a pair of Pololu micro metal gearmotor extended brackets per motor—one mounts the motor to the frame and the other protects the encoder assembly.

More kite rig information and pictures can be found on Yvon’s website.

1″ (2.5 cm) and 2″ (5 cm) premium jumper wires and wires with pre-crimped terminals

Posted by Ben on 27 September 2017
Tags: new products

Premium Jumper Wire 60-Piece 6-Color Assortment M-F 2".

Wires with Pre-crimped Terminals 60-Piece 6-Color Assortment M-F 2".

Our popular premium jumper wires and wires with pre-crimped terminals are a convenient way to make quick, neat connections to 0.1″ (2.54 mm) connectors and solderless breadboards, and they are now available in shorter 1″ and 2″ lengths. Each new length is available in three gender combinations (female-female, male-female, and male-male) and seven color combinations:

  • black 10-pack
  • red 10-pack
  • yellow 10-pack
  • green 10-pack
  • blue 10-pack
  • white 10-pack
  • multi-color 60-pack (10 each of all six colors)

Our wires with pre-crimped terminals work with our 0.1″ crimp connector housings to make custom cables with the pin arrangement of your choosing. You can easily make cable harnesses or assemblies that branch from one connector on one side to multiple connectors on the other, and you can also cut off one pre-crimped end and solder the wires directly to components to make swapping connections easy:

The premium jumper wires are just wires with pre-crimped terminals that have 1×1 crimp connector housings already installed over the crimp pins.

You can use the following selection boxes to get to a specific pack of premium jumper wires:

Select options:

and you can use the following selection boxes to get to a specific pack of wires with pre-crimped terminals:

Select options:

New track sets and colorful Zumo sprockets

Posted by Ben on 22 September 2017
Tags: new products

Pololu 22T Track Set – Red.

We have replaced our original Pololu track sets with new versions featuring our newer style of spoked Zumo sprockets. The sprockets are available in three colors, and like our original sets, we have two different track lengths to choose from:

Each track is made of a single piece of flexible silicone, and the drive sprockets are designed to work with 3mm D-shafts, such as those on our micro metal gearmotors and most of our mini plastic gearmotors.

Dimensions of the Pololu 22T track set.

Dimensions of the Pololu 30T track set.

Additionally, we are offering sprockets by themselves (without tracks or fasteners) for use as replacements for the black sprockets included with our Zumo robots: you can use the red sprockets to add a splash of color, and you can use the white sprockets for painting (or just leave them white!).

Zumo 32U4 robot with red sprockets.

Zumo 32U4 robot with white sprockets.

High-altitude balloon for the solar eclipse

Posted by Patrick on 11 September 2017
High-altitude balloon for the solar eclipse

This summer, Jon and I participated in NASA’s nationwide Eclipse Ballooning Project with the University of Nevada. Specifically, we were members of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) section of Nevada’s team which also had a section from the University of Nevada Reno (UNR). Our goal was to make a payload to collect interesting video footage and scientific data, then fly that payload on a high-altitude balloon that would ascend to around 100,000 ft in the totality zone during the 2017 solar eclipse on August 21. Continued…

Labor Day weekend sale

Posted by Ben on 1 September 2017



We are having a Labor Day sale all weekend long with site-wide discounts of up to 25%! Check out the sale page for more information. Please note that we will be closed Monday, so orders placed after 2 PM Pacific Time today (Friday, September 1) will be shipped on Tuesday, September 5.

Introducing the Tic T825 USB Multi-Interface Stepper Motor Controller

Posted by David on 20 July 2017
Tags: new products

I am excited to announce our new product, the Tic T825 USB Multi-Interface Stepper Motor Controller. The Tic makes basic speed or position control of a stepper motor easy, with support for six high-level control interfaces:

  • USB for direct connection to a computer
  • TTL serial operating at 5 V for use with a microcontroller
  • I²C for use with a microcontroller
  • RC hobby servo pulses for use in an RC system
  • Analog voltage for use with a potentiometer or analog joystick
  • Quadrature encoder input for use with a rotary encoder dial, allowing full rotation without limits (not for position feedback)

You can select which of these interfaces you want to use and configure the other settings of the Tic over USB using our free software.

The Status tab of the Pololu Tic Control Center.

The Input and Motor Settings tab of the Pololu Tic Control Center.

The Tic T825 can operate from 8.5 V to 45 V and deliver up to approximately 1.5 A per phase continuously without a heat sink or forced air flow. With a digitally adjustable current limit that can be set over USB, serial, or I²C, you can save power while holding position or increase the motor’s torque while it is moving. The Tic offers six different step resolutions, from full step through 1/32-step (32 microsteps per full step). We designed the Tic’s firmware to be capable of taking up to 50,000 microsteps per second, which lets you use those finer microstepping modes while still keeping a high motor speed. The Tic also supports acceleration and deceleration limiting for smooth movements, and very slow speeds down to 1 step every 200 seconds (or 1 step every 1428 seconds with reduced resolution). The Tic T825 is based on the DRV8825 stepper motor driver IC from Texas Instruments (for which we also have a basic carrier board), and we plan to make other versions of the Tic that are based on different drivers with different performance characteristics.

Tic T825 USB Multi-Interface Stepper Motor Controller, bottom view with dimensions.

The Tic T825 is available with connectors soldered in or without connectors soldered in.

For RC/hobby servos, we have a similar family of products called the Maestro servo controllers. For brushed DC motors, we offer the Simple Motor Controllers and the Jrk Motor Controllers.

Independence Day weekend sale

Posted by Ben on 30 June 2017


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 Tuesday, so orders placed after 2 PM Pacific Time on Monday, July 3 will be shipped on Wednesday, July 5.

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

Happy 4th of July!

New Products

Glideforce LACT12-1000BPL Industrial-Duty Linear Actuator with Ball Screw Drive and Feedback: 450kgf, 12" Stroke, 0.66"/s, 12V
Free Circuit Cellar magazine January 2018
63:1 Metal Gearmotor 20Dx43L mm 6V CB with Extended Motor Shaft
FEETECH High-Torque Digital Servo FT5313M
Mounting Clevis for Glideforce Industrial-Duty Linear Actuators - Aluminum
MP6500 Stepper Motor Driver Carrier, Potentiometer Current Control
Glideforce MD122010-P Medium-Duty Linear Actuator with Feedback: 100kgf, 10" Stroke, 0.58"/s, 12V
FEETECH Sub-Micro Servo FS0403
FEETECH Continuous Rotation Servo FS5106R
Glideforce MD122008-P Medium-Duty Linear Actuator with Feedback: 100kgf, 8" Stroke, 0.58"/s, 12V
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