Let's Make Robots!

Review: Guibot's Motoruino

Intro

The Motoruino is an Arduino based robot brain, which includes everything needed for a small robot onboard.

From GuiBot Review

The board features:

  • ATMega 328 Microcontroller - preloaded with the Arduino bootloader 
  • L293D motor driver
  • 5V voltage regulator
  • Standard Arduino female headers
  • Pin headers for each output with power added
  • Selectable power source on the PWM outputs 3, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11
  • Selectable power source for L293 VSS
  • Selectable power source for the board 
  • Screw headers for motor and power connections
  • Selectable pins for driving the L293
  • ISP header and Reset switch
  • Serial header for progamming

Part 1 - Packaging 

guibot packages his kits very nicely, everything well protected:

From GuiBot Review

Opening the little white box:

From GuiBot Review

Part 2: The Kit

The kit contains  the PCB, and all parts required.

From GuiBot Review

The PCB is very nicely fabricated, white with black silkscreen, pretty good quality in my untrained opinion.

From GuiBot Review

All pads and vias are tinned and have the correct size. Every component appears on the silkscreen making things easy to identify.

Part 3 - Instructions and soldering

While no instructions are supplied in the package, on guibot's website in the Motoruino section, very detailed assembly instructions are provided.

The instructions are written in a beginner friendly fashion and accompanied with pictures for every step on the way, assembling the Motoruino should be easy and fun for anyone having some basic soldering skills.

Below is how it came out for me after about 2 hours and two beers ;)

From GuiBot Review

... and the back side ...

From GuiBot Review

No part was missing, all pads have the correct hole diameter I had absolutely no problem soldering the Motoruino.

Part 4 - Usage

The board has been designed with a lot of care and flexiblity in mind. Usage instructions are available on the website covering all usage scenarios making it easy to get started.

The L293D driver inputs are not hardwired in anyway to the ATMega 328, instead the inputs are available as clearly marked pins on the board. The enable pins are pulled high by default while the inputs are pulled low. This allows one to reconfigure the board very easily for the project at hand.

The Motoruino allows the selection of the input voltage between 5V and the power source voltage for both the L293D chip and the I/O pins tied to the PWM outputs 3, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11.

 

Using servos or sensors  with the Motoruino is as straightforward as it get's using the 3 pin headers.

I have mounted the board on Z-39, it's a perfect fit:

From GuiBot Review

 

Part 5 - Conclusion and final thoughts 

The Motoruino is a great board, nicely routed and electrically sound. It is easy to solder and to programm using the Arduino IDE. It has very nice and innovative features and it looks simply gorgeous.

There are however a few things I'd like to see improved/added in future revisions below in random order:

  • A power switch on board would be a great addition
  • While I preffer ISP programming, most potential users will want to use the USB serial programming. It would be great if an usb to serial cable would be included with the kit.
  • Arduino form factor compatibility - I do not have any shields to try but I think some of them might not fit due to the filtering capacitors near the voltage regulator
  • Related to the arduino compatibility - a version without it would also be great with a smaller size
  • A jumper to disable the pull-up on the enable pins could be usefull - but on the other hand the pins can simply be grounded 

 

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
TinHead's picture

Please let me know if you spot any problems I'll have it updated.

ignoblegnome's picture

Nice review, TH. It looks like a very capable board.

fritsl's picture

Nice review, thanks!

And it is a great board, and I agree, the quality is really good - IMHO it is really practical to have "everything you need" for a small robot right there.

XicoMBD's picture

I like very much this board, too :D

It is big, but it doesn't need any extra shields or breadboards to build a robot, and it is easy and very practical to use.