Let's Make Robots!

Everyone's Favorite Motor Controller Board

Hi Guys,

I'm having problems with my Arduino's motor shield controlling my 4wd motors and I'm thinking about going another way.  So I was wondering what everyone's favorite motor controller board might be.  I need to control four wheel motors and I don't wanna spend more than 40 bucks or so at the most....

 Any ideas?


Annie :) 

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my favorite motor controllers are the ones built onto servos!!  :D

ST L293D as above , 600 mA, 5 to some volts (30?)

Texas Instruments SN754410  1 A  , sim to L293

Allegro A3951SW 3 A, FET based, 3 A, obsolete but findable in small quantities

Tex Inst TPIC0108B and 0107B, FET, 2 A  low 2 kHz PWM rate required

National LMD18200 , FET 3 A, 12 volt minimum,  excellent features

Infineon TLE5206, FET, 5 A

ST VNH2SP30 , FET, ~9A+ 



Motor controller on a chip.  These are a FET based H-bridges.  I suspected they were with the little boost capacitors, then when I actually tried one I confirmed it was when it did not turn off until the control line was grounded.  I guess I could have read the documentation :)   

You might be able to order a couple of free samples to experiment with.  There are a couple of good interface schematics out there too, like this one, and Mr. Spickles detailed write up.  With proper heat sinks these can sink about 3 Amps !

I tend to build my own as well. In our component section there are a few including at least one using a L298N. The problem with boards using the L293 or L298 is they tend to get hot as they are not very efficient. I've noticed recently that Pololu have some new FET based motor control boards that seem reasonably priced.


I tend to build my own as well, sometimes so I can make the motor driver circuit really tiny, other times so that I've got a driver that'll work in the tricky 2.5-4.5V range. They're normally just built using typically BJTs, or maybe Darlington BJT pairs, although I would like to use MOSFETs more often (sadly they're hard to get locally, which is a turn off when you need a wide range).

Hi Annie,

I have had good luck with this model from RK Education. I like this board as the size is 35mm square and has (3) mounting holes. Pretty easy to place almost anywhere. Screw terminals add to the ease of wiring and moving to other projects.


  Are you giving up on your Arduino Motor Shield? I have the identical Arduino and AdaFruit boards as you. I will try your posted code and see if I can get it working with (4) motors and 4-AAA NiMH batteries tonight. Looking at the current ratings on your motors they seem to be in the range of the L293D's chip in less than stall current.

Hi Tinhead and Gary,


Thanks for the replies!  Tinhead, I may just build one eventually but I'm considering a board just in case my motor shield doesn't work out. :)


I'm not giving up on the motor shield yet, but it is bugging me, lol...I looked at all my soldering under a magnifying glass and all looks well, so no cold solder joints.  Today I'm going to try some 3 volt hobby motors with it just to see if they run okay...then I'll know that the shield isn't powerful enough for my drive motors...also, I just bought some nimh batteries and a charger...once the batteries are charged I'll try them....they're C size with 2500 milliamps....that's enough current capability for my motors I think..

 Thanks for all your help!


Annie :) 

HI i like remote controlling toys...

My favorite is my own controller :)  I build my own stuff to do the job, a couple of l293d should to the job nicely. If I got it right you use an Arduino, so you have 6 PWM pins to play with, you need 4 to control the enable inputs of the l293d.