Let's Make Robots!

Best Arduino (compatible) board?

I want to make the next generation of the "Start Here"-instructions be based on Arduino instead of Picaxe.

Some will say that it was about freakin time, but so far the advantage of the Picaxe has been that I could chose a single board that "did it all": Hook up Motors, Servos, sensors and everything.

This, and the fact that the Picaxe Basic Language needs very little introduction, made it the choise - even though the Arduino series has been a lot more popular recent years.

However, now there are such boards as The uBotino V2 Kit that does it all: You can connect servos and motors and sensors and all.

It is not that I mind the Arduino shields, it is a nice way of thinking IMHO, but for a start robot, I need AT LEAST motor control on the main board.

But it is a open source jungle out there, so I need your knowledge;

What other boards are there, that at least has motor control on the board, and even better if it can also control servos, and or other stuff? And has this board good community support, and can it be purchased assambled?

Thanks friends :)

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I think having a single board such as the uBotino (you mentioned) that does everything you need is a great approach for beginners and simplicity in general.  It would be nice if the board used a beefier H-bridge than the SN754410, such as an L298N which requires flyback diodes.  Here is a link to an arduino motor sheild with the 298: http://www.sparkfun.com/products/9815

I also think the baby urangutan (328) would be a small, awesome platform (running the arduino environment if so inclined - http://www.pololu.com/docs/0J17) for a beginner, mini breadboard robot.  I think if more peeps on here were supporting coding in C it might not be as scary to the newbies.  Could even start a lets make robots AVR GCC library... #include <lmr.h>.  Best of luck with start here v3, I'm sure it will be a winner.

I have been thinking of using a L298N h-bridge on the uBotino, but the board would have been larger. Then of course, the board was designed for small robots, most of them do not need more than 1A per motor. And even if they do, you only have to solder another SN754410 on top of the first one, but you also need to add a heat sink for them. This way you get the same amperage per motor as with the L298N but on a smaller board and without the need for external fly back diodes.

I'd like to know a heatsink part no that works with the SN754410 if anyone has one, I tried searching Mouser a while back without results.  I had some f150 (I believe thats the part no) Tamiya motors that had too great a stall current for use with these low current H-bridges.  Not fun when your first robot stops working after ~10 seconds because of thermal shutdown.

I haven't looking too hard on a heat sink yet, but I remember I saw a board not long ago on LMR that had 4 SN754410 wired in parallel and all with a heat sink on them. I'll try to find it and ask the maker where he got the heat sinks from.

That would be gr8


I ordered a couple of SN754410 chips and an Atmega32u4 Breakout Board. I need to investigate what it will take for some of my projects to go to "straight" AVR instead of Arduinos for manufacturing. It should not be bad; I knew it was coming and have been avoiding objects in my code and only use a couple from libraries that will also be easy to convert to plain old C. But, as long as I have to do that, I feel inclined to make a toy come to life with it, hence the motor controllers. Some of my stuff is not proprietary and could be shared. When I start working with the ultrasonic distance finder, I will almost certainly be in a mood to share as that will be difficult to get worked out using just my test case. 

You have the motoruino board which is like the AXE020, it has the L293D, servo plugs and it is still compatible with the arduino's shields:




Yes, but of course! Thank you!!

I know you said no PICaxe but,


This is a PIC compatible board, works with PICaxe or great cow. It's cheap, very cheap and you can plug in Arduino shields.