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Motor Controllers | Get Help with Motor Controllers
motor controllers

Motor Controllers

What is a Motor Controller?

A motor controller takes a low current low voltage input signal and drives a motor with higher voltages and currents. The input signal can be serial, I2C, RC input, PWM, etc. Listed below are the many types of motor controllers with a brief explanation of each one. For full details of each motor controller go to the item page. Each motor controller item page has supporting links to data sheets, manuals, etc.

How a Motor Controller Works

The output of a motor controller is PWM based, which stands for pulse width modulation. The concept of a PWM signal is to switch the output power on and off really fast in order to reduce the average voltage supplied to the motor in order to precisely control the speed of a motor.

Pulse Width Modulation Pulse Width Modulation

Available Motor Controllers

Below is a grouped listing of various available motor controllers grouped by company.

SuperDroid Robots

Motor Controller Capacity and Voltage Control Inputs Size Other Features
PWM Motor Controller PWM Motor Controller Channels: 1 Voltage: 12-55VDC Current: 3 Amp (slow blow fused)

PWM input (a simulated 0-5V output from a microcontroller). Also needs input for direction and brakes.

1.25 x 2.5 in 31.75 x 63.5 mm

Brake and direction have pull down resistors on them so you do not have to hook up IO to them if you don't wish to use them.

We offer hookup kits for these: PWM to PIC Hookup Kit.

PWM Motor Controller 30A 5.5-36V PWM Motor Controller 30A 5.5-36V Channels: 1 Voltage: 5.5-36VDC Current: 30 Amp

PWM input (a simulated 0-5V output from a microcontroller). Also needs input for direction (INA, INB)

1.25 x 2.5 in 31.75 x 63.5 mm

ENA and ENB have pull up resistors on them so you do not have to hook up IO to them if you don't wish to use them.

We offer hookup kits for these: PWM to PIC Hookup Kit.

Devantech

Motor Controller Capacity and Voltage Control Inputs Size Other Features
Devantech MD22 Dual Channel Speed Controller Channels: 2 Operating Voltage: 50V Current: 5A continuous*

With added heat sinks it can handle 27 Amps continuous current with a suitable heat-sink and up to 290 Amps in very brief repetitive pulses.

The MD22 has Multiple methods of control: I2C, servo pulse input, PWM. MD22 has independent and speed + direction operating modes, making it the ideal driver for differential drive (tank style) robots and more.

4.33 x 2.04 x 0.984 in 110 x 52 x 25 mm

The MD22 is not equipped with a regulator and requires a separate 5V source.

Dimension Engineering

Motor Controller Capacity and Voltage Control Inputs Size Other Features
Sabertooth 2x5 Channels: 2 Voltage: 6-18VDC Current: 5A continuous, 10A peak per channel

Analog voltage, radio control, serial and packetized serial. Sabertooth has independent and speed + direction operating modes, making it the ideal driver for differential drive (tank style) robots and more.

1.8 x 1.6 x .5 in 45 x 40 x 13 mm
Sabertooth 2x12 RC Channels: 2 Voltage: 24VDC Current: 12A continuous, 25A peak per motor

Radio control only. Sabertooth has independent and speed + direction operating modes, making it the ideal driver for differential drive (tank style) robots and more.

2.3 x 3 x .7 in 59 x 75 x 17 mm

This motor controller has a 1 Amp Switching BEC, which is very useful power the 2.4GHz receivers (that draw about 130mA during sync).

Sabertooth 2x12 Channels: 2 Voltage: 24 VDC Current: 12A continuous, 25A peak per motor

Analog voltage, radio control, serial and packetized serial. Sabertooth has independent and speed + direction operating modes, making it the ideal driver for differential drive (tank style) robots and more.

2.3 x 3 x .7 in 59 x 75 x 17 mm

This motor controller has a 1 Amp Switching BEC, which is very useful power the 2.4GHz receivers (that draw about 130mA during sync).

SaberTooth 2x25 Channels: 2 Operating Voltage: 24VDC Current: 25A continuous, 50A peak per channel/span>

Analog voltage, radio control, serial and packetized serial. Sabertooth has independent and speed + direction operating modes, making it the ideal driver for differential drive (tank style) robots and more.

2.6 x 3.2 x .8 in 65 x 80 x 20 mm
Sabertooth Dual 60A Channels: 2 Voltage: 6-30V (33.8V max) Current: 60A continuous, 120A peak per channel

Analog voltage, radio control, serial and packetized serial. Sabertooth has independent and speed + direction operating modes, making it the ideal driver for differential drive (tank style) robots and more.

3.0 x 3.5 x 1.8 in 76 x 89 x 46 mm

This motor controller has a 1 Amp Switching BEC, which is very useful power the 2.4GHz receivers (that draw about 130mA during sync). Thermal and overcurrent protection and Lithium protection mode.

SyRen 1x10 Channels: 1 Voltage: 12-24VDC Current: 10A continuous, 15A peak

Analog voltage, radio control, serial and packetized serial.

1.4 x 2.25 x .6 in 35 x 57 x 14 mm
SyRen 1x25 Channels: 1 Voltage: 12-24VDC Current: 25A continuous, 45A peak

Analog voltage, radio control, serial and packetized serial.

2.4 x 2.3 x .8 in 61 x 58 x 21 mm
SyRen 1x50 Channels: 1 Voltage: 6-30V Current: 50A continuous, 100A peak

Analog voltage, radio control, serial and packetized serial.

3.0 x 3.5 x 1.3 in 76.5 x 89 x 33 mm

Multiple operating modes configurable via an on board DIP switch.

Easy speed/direction control for pumps, conveyors and automation.

Sabertooth 2x32 Channels: 1 Voltage: 6-30V Current: 32A continuous, 64A peak

Analog voltage, radio control, serial and packetized serial.

2.75 x 3.5 x 1.0 in 70 x 90 x 25 mm

Multiple operating modes configurable via an on board DIP switch.

Easy speed/direction control for pumps, conveyors and automation.

Pololu

Motor Controller Capacity and Voltage Control Inputs Size Other Features
Dual MC33926 Motor Driver Shield for Arduino Channels: 2 Voltage: 5-28V Current: 3A max per channel

Arduino pins 4, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 12

Arduino compatible

Simple motor control through an Arduino with the use of supplied libraries located here.

Dual VNH5019 Motor Driver Shield for Arduino Channels: 2 Voltage: 5-24V Current: 12A continuous, 30A peak

Arduino pins 4, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 12

Arduino compatible

Simple motor control through an Arduino with the use of supplied libraries located here.

Pololu DRV8833 Dual Motor Driver Carrier Channels: 2 Voltage: 2.7-10.8V Current: 1.2A continuous, 2A peak

PWM and Digital Inputs. See datasheet for details.

0.5 x 0.8 in 12.7 x 20.32 mm

Forward & Reverse Speed Control. In a small package with optional current limiting configuration.

RoboteQ

Motor Controller Capacity and Voltage Control Inputs Size Other Features
RoboteQ SDC2130 - 2x20A 30V Motor Controller with Encoder Input Channels: 2 Voltage: 12  30V Current: 20A with a 50A peak

Radio Control Input, Serial Input, Analog Input

2.6 x 2.6 x 0.75 in 70 x 70 x 19 mm

Forward & Reverse Speed Control. Separate or Mixed. Encoder Input for Speed and Position Control.

RoboteQ SDC2160 - 2x20A 60V Motor Controller with Encoder Input Channels: 2 Voltage: 12  60V Current: 20A with a 50A peak

Radio Control Input, Serial Input, Analog Input

2.6 x 2.6 x 0.75 in

Forward & Reverse Speed Control. Separate or Mixed. Encoder Input for Speed and Position Control.

RoboteQ MDC2230 - 2x60A 30V Motor Controller with Encoder Input Channels: 2 Max Voltage: 30V Current: up to 60A per channel

Radio Control Input, Serial Input, Analog Input

5.5 x 5.5 x 1 in

Forward & Reverse Speed Control. Separate or Mixed. Encoder Input for Speed and Position Control.

RoboteQ MDC2460 - 2x60A 60V Motor Controller with Encoder Input Channels: 2 Max Voltage: 60V Current: up to 60A per channel

Radio Control Input, Serial Input, Analog Input

5.5 x 5.5 x 1 in

Forward & Reverse Speed Control. Separate or Mixed. Encoder Input for Speed and Position Control.

RoboteQ XDC2460 - 2x150A 60V Motor Controller with Encoder Input Channels: 2 Max Voltage: 60V Current: up to 150A per channel

Radio Control Input, Serial Input, Analog Input

9 x 5.5 x 1.6 in

Forward & Reverse Speed Control. Separate or Mixed. Encoder Input for Speed and Position Control.

Schematics

Below are some schematics that may not apply directly to what you wish to do, but will give you a starting point or you can use pieces of it:.

Hooking Up SuperDroid Robots PWM to a RC Controller

Our PWM motor controller can be hooked up to our RC Interface board to allow you to control motors with a standard RC unit. We sell a PWM to RC Hookup Kit that connects 2 PWMs to the RC interface board as shown in the picture to the left. This is our preferred way of controlling a robot with a RC controller and seems to work the best out of all the other methods that we have tried. The top picture is using 1 PWM per pair of motors on our mini ATR, the bottom picture uses a single PWM per motor for our Deluxe ATR. The boards are labeled, you just hook up the brake lines, PWM lines, and Direction Lines together. Wire the PWMs with power, and plug in the receiver to the RC interface board.

Hooking Up and OOPic II/II+ Expansion Board to the MD22

Our PWM motor controller can be hooked up to our RC Interface board to allow you to control motors with a standard RC unit. We sell a PWM to RC Hookup Kit that connects 2 PWMs to the RC interface board as shown in the picture to the left. This is our preferred way of controlling a robot with a RC controller and seems to work the best out of all the other methods that we have tried. The top picture is using 1 PWM per pair of motors on our mini ATR, the bottom picture uses a single PWM per motor for our Deluxe ATR. The boards are labeled, you just hook up the brake lines, PWM lines, and Direction Lines together. Wire the PWMs with power, and plug in the receiver to the RC interface board.

Hooking Up and OOPic-R Expansion Board to the MD22

The MD22 can be easily hooked up to an OOPic-R using the Trekker-R Expansion board and our single ended jumpers to go from the headers OOPic-R to the terminal block of the MD22 allowing you to still use all the features of the Trekker-R Expansion board/OOPic-R. Or you can build custom connectors with receptacles to go from the headers to the MD22. You can hook up to the I2C connection or you can drive the MD22 with any servo I/O pins using the oServo object. The advantage of this is you then end up with an interface board that allows you to hook up all the I/O the Trekker-R Expansion board supports.

Hooking up the MD22 to the OOPic II/II+

The MD22 can be easily hooked up to an OOPic II/II+ by using our double ended jumpers to go from the headers of the OOPic to the header of the MD22. You can hook up to I2C connection or you can drive the MD22 with any of the I/O Pins using the oServo object.

As an Extension to this hook-up you can utilize the Trekker OOPic II/II+ Expansion board and drive the MD22s using the servo outputs or I2C and you get all the great features of the expansion boards and your robot will be just like a Trekker only bigger! You can add all the sensors, etc. that the expansion boards support and most of the programs for the Trekker will be applicable. See our controller hook up page for more details. These kits also provide you with battery trays for your controller power.

Hooking up the MD22 to the OOPic-R

The MD22 can be easily hooked up to an OOPic-R by using our double ended jumpers to go from the headers of the OOPic to the header of the MD22. You can hook up to I2C connection or you can drive the MD22 with any of the I/O Pins using the oServo object.

As an Extension to this hook-up you can utilize the OOPic-R with an Trekker OOPic-R Expansion board and drive the MD22s using the servo outputs or I2C and you get all the great features of the expansion boards and your robot will be just like a Trekker only bigger. You can add all the sensors, etc. that the expansion boards support and most of the programs for the Trekker will be applicable. See our controller hook up page for more details. These kits also provide you with battery trays for your controller power.

Hooking up the MD22 to the CM02 RF04 Transceiver Link

The MD22 can be easily hooked up to an CM02 R04 by standard wire from one terminal block to the 4 pin headers on the CM02. You will want some crimp receptacles to attach the wire to the header. Other devices like a compass or SRF08 can be attached to the CM02 Header too.

Hooking up the MD22 to a standard RC system

The MD22 can be easily hooked up to a standard RC Receiver with wire from one terminal block to the 3 pin headers of an RC Receiver. You will want some 3-ping crimp receptacles to attach the wire to the header.

Be Sure to follow this on our forum and post questions and comments. We will update this page based on the discussion. Thank You.

Get the basics regarding motor controllers for robots and robotic devices.  We offer Sabertooth, Devantech, and Pololu motor controllers as well as our own PWM controller.
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