The Pololu Simple High-Power Motor Controller makes basic control of brushed DC motors easy, with our free Simple Motor Control Center software enabling quick configuration over USB. The controller supports four interface modes: USB, TTL serial, analog voltage, and hobby radio control (RC). This version operates from 5.5 to 40 V and is efficient enough to deliver a continuous 12 A without a heat sink. It ships with the power capacitor and connectors included but not soldered in, allowing for custom installations.
The Pololu Simple Motor Controllers are versatile, general-purpose motor controllers for brushed, DC motors. A wide operating range of up to 5.5–40V and the ability to deliver up to several hundred Watts in a small form factor make these controllers suitable for many motor control applications. With a variety of supported interfaces—USB for direct connection to a computer, TTL serial for use with embedded systems, RC hobby servo pulses for use as an RC-controlled electronic speed control (ESC), and analog voltages for use with a potentiometer or analog joystick—and a wide array of configurable settings, these motor controllers make it easy to add basic control of brushed DC motors to a variety of projects. Although this motor controller has many more features than competing products, a free configuration utility (for Windows 8, 7, Vista, Windows XP, and Linux) simplifies initial setup of the device and allows for in-system testing and monitoring of the controller via USB.
For 24 V applications, we recommend the 24v12 or 24v23 versions. We strongly recommend against using the 18v7, 18v15, or 18v25 with 24 V batteries, which can significantly exceed 24 V when fully charged and are dangerously close to the maximum voltage limits of these lower-voltage controllers.
Note: A USB A to mini-B cable (not included) is required to connect this controller to a computer.
This video demonstrates the versatility of the Simple Motor Controller by showing how it can be controlled directly from the analog output of a Sharp analog distance sensor—there is no intermediate control board and no programming involved. For more information on this example, including the SMC settings file and a list of parts used, see our blog post about the demo.
Simple Motor Controller Comparison Table
The Simple Motor Controllers are available in several input voltage ranges and output current ranges:
1 We do not recommend using the 18v7, 18v15, or 18v25 versions with 24 V batteries, which can significantly exceed 24 V when fully charged. The 24v12 and 24v23 are the much more appropriate controller for 24 V applications.
Most Simple Motor Controllers are available “fully assembled”, with the power capacitor and connectors pre-installed, or with these components included but not soldered in. For example, a fully assembled 18v15 ships as shown in the left picture above, and an 18v15 with included hardware ships as shown in the right picture above (the included hardware consists of a power capacitor, a 40×1 straight 0.1" male header strip, a 5mm-pitch 4-pin terminal block, and a blue shorting block).
The connector-free version allows flexibility in choice of connectors and placement of the power capacitor (e.g. on the other side of the board) to accommodate compact installations or to make room for a heat sink.
Note: The power capacitor has a significant effect on performance; the included capacitor is the minimum size recommended, and bigger ones can be added if there is space. A bigger capacitor might be required if the power supply is poor or far (more than about a foot) from the controller.
The included terminal blocks are only rated for 16 A, so we recommend soldering thick wires directly to the connector-free version of the board and using higher-current connectors for applications that will exceed the terminal blocks’ ratings.
Warning: Take proper safety precautions when using high-power electronics. Make sure you know what you are doing when using high voltages or currents! During normal operation, this product can get hot enough to burn you. Take care when handling this product or other components connected to it.
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