Let's Make Robots!

Help me choose a Arduino microcontroller


Hi guys looking for a bit of advice , hoping to buy a few bits and pieces shortly, and after checking out various places feel YourDino shop is going to be the place for me to shop from.

Just stuck on which microcontroller to go with.  So here is the link to the microcontroller page on YourDino http://arduino-direct.com/sunshop/index.php?l=product_list&c=1 ...  only controller I don’t want is the Red back spider controller.

Ok my needs ...

Need it to run motors  (probably only two ... 4 max)

Will need it to run servos (initially only one or two ... just to turn object sensors which will be stuck to the servos)

Later when I feel more comfortable I would like to be able to add more servos eg for adding a lifting arm and such. Or even make a simple quad bot that walks .

Programming memory ... which has the most .

If you think x microcontroller is the most suitable just let me know if ill need a separate motor board to connect to the microcontroller to run the motors , be a bit of a pain to buy a board and then realise I need to purchase a motor controller to connect to the microcontroller.

As this is probably the only board I can get for a while ill be using it for a robot and also using it just for creating circuits on a bread board and experimenting with eg looking up sites like Tronixsstuff and trying out any of the tutorials I can use it on.

These are the 6 choices

YourDuino328 (Arduino Compatible)(Free USB Cable) 

YourDuinoRobo1 (Robot Features) (Free Cables+USB)

YourDuino-UNO 328 (Open Source Copy of Arduino UNO)(Free Cable) 

Magician Robot Controller (Arduino Compatible) 

YourDuino MEGA1280 (Arduino MEGA Compatible)  

YourDuino MEGA2560 (Arduino MEGA Compatible)

Thanks in advance for your help.


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If you were just buying your first Arduino to learn and experiment with, I'd suggest an Uno, or compatible and call it a day.  This would give you the best "tutorial compatibility."  Since you mentioned needing "the most memory" You might consider An Arduino Mega 2560.  (The Mega is similar to the 2650, except it has half the memory.)  Another nice feature of the Mega and Mega 2650 is that it has quite a few more pins than a standard Uno sized Arduino. (One comparison that you might hear from time to time is that an Uno will support 12 servos, while a Mega or Mega 2650 will support 48.)

Since you already know you want to use an Arduino in a robot project, it's a matter of comparing features.

If you get an Arduino (any sort) with the standard physical configuration, (in other words--if it accepts standard shields.)  You're going to want some other stuff.  I would suggest an appropriate "sensor shield" and a bunch of YourDuino three pin cables.  The sensor sheilds arrange male pins in ground/5v/signal pin arrangement.  So you'll be able to plug servos and three pin sensors directly in without having to route power from somewhere else.  Also, you can run the sensor shield and the Arduino off separate power sources.

But you specifically mentioned motors  So you're going to need a motor controller, or an Arduino with motor driver circuitry built in.

The Magician Controller, is an Arduino software compatible board with a different form factor.  It won't accept Arduino shields or (probably) directly mount where an Arduino is meant to.  Going by the name, it's probably sized to fit a Magician chassis, which is a low-cost 2 wheel platform.  It's got the a bunch of three pin male connectors like the sensor sheild, and a motor driver, tho 1.5 amp total is a little on the low side.  It won't work with the popular Tamiya twin gear box, for example.  Also, it uses a lower power (as in ability) Atmel 8 chip, as opposed to the newer, more capable 328.  You could swap out the processor for a 328 with Arduino code burned in but it's an additional (small) expense.

The "robot features" Arduino is a more standard sized Arduino compatible board, again with the three pin male connectors, but it's already got the more powerful 328 chip in it, along with motor drivers.  No word on the current capacity, but I'd assume it's got the same low power controller that the Magician uses.  (Edit--Terry corrected me on this a few posts down.  No motor drivers) But going by It's standard size, and better processor, the RFA is probably a better overall choice than the Magician.

There are other Arduino compatible boards out there with similar features, but you mentioned YourDuino specifically.  I can't off-hand think of any that will directly handle more than two motor channels, (as opposed to servos.)  So if you want 4 motor drive, you're going to have to do add on a motor driver shield or board.  YourDuino has some nice ones at their typically low cost.batteries

It's ironic that you immediately dismissed the spider controller.  It's basically a Mega, with the three male pins arrangement  AND a built in 5V3A power supply built in.  It fits well with a low cost 4WD motor controller, which happens to fit well with a popular 4WD tank treaded robot base.  (Rover 5.)  You can also add a breakout shield to it that adds other interface options.  Compared to a Mega with a sensor shield, it's possibly, a better option.  Compared to a Mega 2560 with a sensor shield, somewhat less so, but the built in power supply might make up for the lack of memory.

As for the other boards, their small size comes with a lack of pins.  But if you intend to plug one directly into a breadboard and add circuitry around it, they may be a good option.

If you're interested, I have a Mega 2650 that I'm developing code for a Rover 5 with 4wd and encoders, that I'm going to connect to the 4wd controller I mentioned.  When it comes time to button it up, if the code fits, I'm going to use a spider controller--Unless Oddbot comes up with an upgraded Spider before I get to that point.


The microcontroller at the heart of an arduino dev board can be puchased blank and then you could flash the arduino bootloader to it. Once you have the chip, you could put the chip on a breadboard and practice with it without pulliing out the whole dev board.

I am only mentioning this to be in addition to whatever board you finally settle on.


If you're interested, I have a Mega 2650 that I'm developing code for a Rover 5 with 4wd and encoders, that I'm going to connect to the 4wd controller I mentioned. 


Hi, still learning Frits's crazy system here :-)

DWR, I'd be very interested in the code you develop.  I'll probably be answering questions about the Rover and the encoder stuff in the future.  

RE: Which Arduino. The YourDuinoRobo1 controller: http://arduino-direct.com/sunshop/index.php?l=product_detail&p=225

is just a regular Arduino328 board with the added 3-pin connectors that make it easy to connect servos and many other devices, plus a better 3.3V regulator that provides up to 500ma. It does NOT have built-in motor drivers. You'd need to add a motor driver like this: http://arduino-direct.com/sunshop/index.php?l=product_detail&p=127  if you are using the Rover or other DC motors..  

The Dagu 4-channel motor controiller looks great: http://arduino-direct.com/sunshop/index.php?l=product_detail&p=232

Oddbot has some very nice designs! 

Let me know if there are any other questions about YourDuino stuff...

Regards, Terry King...On the Mediterranean in Italy




Thanks for the correction there Terry.

I'm still working my way through ROS tutorials at this point, and waiting for shipment of my Rover 5 and motor controller.  As soon as I have something interesting to show, I'll post. 

If you are looking for all in one, i'd recommand following 2 board from our folks in LMR:


Undershield for nano

As you said you might build quadbot, i am not sure it would be 2,3,or 4 DOF you migh have but I suggest you to concider external servo board such as SSC-32 or one of this 32 servo board on ebay.

Even arduino MEGA, they can't operate servos over 12. You will need external board and external power for sure.


Oddbot describes the Spider controller as being Mega compatible.



Thanks guys

With so many to choose from and not just the ones on yourdino site its good to get a bit of advice.  Probably should of said best general purposes board as I wont be putting it into a robot and keeping it there ....

will want to make a robot using it (simple one just object sensors and couple of motors to get around .... only require two motors but one of the robot bases im looking at on yourdino is a 4 wheel drive base kit ....  but as there other base kits there with only 2 motors ... controlling 4 motors is not  a major factor. And as there motor controllers for sale on the site too I shouldn’t go too far wrong

After that will be disassembling  it and using it for learning purposes , and trying things out.

So thanks again for your input