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3.1. Installing Windows drivers and software

To install the drivers for the Simple Motor Controller G2 on a computer running Microsoft Windows, follow these steps:

  1. Download the Simple Motor Controller G2 Software and Drivers for Windows (550k zip)
  2. Open the ZIP archive and run setup.exe. The installer will guide you through the steps required to install the Simple Motor Control Center G2, the Simple Motor Controller G2 command-line utility (smcg2cmd), and the Simple Motor Controller drivers on your computer. If the installer fails, you might have to extract all the files to a temporary directory, right click setup.exe, and select “Run as administrator”.
  3. During the installation, Windows will ask you if you want to install the drivers. Click “Install” to proceed.
  4. After the installation has completed, plug the Simple Motor Controller G2 into your computer via USB. Windows should recognize the controller and load the drivers that you just installed.
  5. Open your Start Menu and search for “G2”. Select the “Simple Motor Control Center G2” shortcut (in the Pololu folder) to launch the software.
  6. In the upper left corner of the window, where it says “Connected to:”, make sure that it shows something like “18v25 #33FF-7006-4D4B-3731-4818-1543”. This indicates the version and serial number of the controller that the software has connected to. If it says “Not connected”, see the troubleshooting section below.

The SMC G2’s native USB interface implements Microsoft OS 2.0 Descriptors, so it will work on Windows 8.1 or later without needing any drivers. The USB serial ports will work on Windows 10 or later without drivers.

The Simple Motor Controller G2 software consists of two programs:

  • The Simple Motor Control Center G2 is a graphical user interface (GUI) for configuring the controller, viewing its status, and controlling it manually. You can find the configuration utility in your Start Menu by searching for it or looking in the Pololu folder.
  • The Simple Motor Controller G2 Command-line Utility (smcg2cmd) is a command-line utility that can do most of what the GUI can do, and more. You can open a Command Prompt and type smcg2cmd with no arguments to see a summary of its options.

USB troubleshooting for Windows

If the Simple Motor Controller G2 software cannot connect to your controller after you plug it into the computer via USB, the tips here can help you troubleshoot the SMC’s USB connection.

If you are using the Simple Motor Control Center G2, try opening the “Connected to:” drop-down box to see if there are any entries in the list. If there is an entry, try selecting it to connect to it.

Make sure you have a Simple Motor Controller G2 (blue board). The G2 software does not work with the original Simple Motor Controllers (green boards). If you have one of those products, you should refer to its user’s guide instead of this user’s guide.

Make sure you are using software that supports the Simple Motor Controller G2. The original Simple Motor Control Center does not work with the SMC G2. The SMC G2 controllers have new USB product IDs. Third-party software for the older controllers might need to be updated, depending on how the software works. If you are a developer of such software, see Section 1.4.

If you have connected any electronic devices to your Simple Motor Controller besides the USB cable, you should disconnect them.

You should look at the LEDs of the Simple Motor Controller. If the LEDs are off, then the controller is probably not receiving power from the USB port. If the green LED is flashing very briefly once per second, then the controller is receiving power from USB, but it is not receiving any data. These issues can be caused by using a broken USB port, using a broken USB cable, or by using a USB charging cable that does not have data wires. Using a different USB port and a different USB cable, both of which are known to work with other devices, is a good thing to try. Also, if you are connecting the controller to your computer via a USB hub, try connecting it directly.

If the controller’s green LED is on all the time or flashing slowly, but you can’t connect to it in the software, then there might be something wrong with your computer. A good thing to try is to unplug the controller from USB, reboot your computer, and then plug it in again.

If that does not help, you should go to your computer’s Device Manager and locate all the entries for the Simple Motor Controller. Be sure to look in these categories: “Other devices”, “Ports (COM & LPT)”, and “Universal Serial Bus devices”.

If the driver for the Simple Motor Controller’s native USB interface is working, you should see an entry in the “Universal Serial Bus devices” category named something like “Pololu High-Power Simple Motor Controller G2 18v15” (or the corresponding name if you have a different version).

If the drivers for the Simple Motor Controller’s USB serial ports are working, you should see an entry in the “Ports (COM & LPT)” category named something like “Pololu High-Power Simple Motor Controller G2 18v15 Command Port”. The serial port might be named “USB Serial Device” instead if you are using Windows 10 or later and you plugged the controller into your computer before installing our drivers for it. The generic name in the Device Manager will not prevent you from using the port, but we recommend fixing the name by right-clicking on each “USB Serial Device” entry, selecting “Update Driver Software…”, and then selecting “Search automatically for updated driver software”. Windows should find the drivers you already installed, which contain the correct name for the port.

If any of the entries for the Simple Motor Controller in the Device Manager has a yellow triangle displayed over its icon, you should double-click on the entry to get information about the error that is happening.

If you do not see entries for the Simple Motor Controller in the Device Manager, then you should open the “View” menu and select “Devices by connection”. Then expand the entries until you find your computer’s USB controllers, hubs, and devices. See if there are any entries in the USB area that disappear when you unplug the controller. This might give you important information about what is going wrong.

Do not attempt to fix driver issues in your Device Manager using the “Add legacy hardware” option. This is only for older devices that do not support Plug-and-Play, so it will not help. If you already tried this option, we recommend unplugging the Simple Motor Controller from USB and then removing any entries you see for Simple Motor Controller by right-clicking on them and selecting “Uninstall”. Do not check the checkbox that says “Delete the driver software for this device”.

Windows 10 Device Manager showing the Simple Motor Controller G2.

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