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control motor

Questions about my Arduino Motor Controller

hi guys I have bought an Arduino and the Arduino Motor Shield from adafruit. The tutorial on Ladyada says that I can power a motor which has a capacity up to 36V. So i programmed my arduino to run a motor on M2 and then when I check the voltage supply over there its just 3.17 V. So how do I power a 5V motor. Also the amperage on the pin is only 0.49A whereas Ladyada says that I can power a motor upto 0.6A and 1.2A peak.Is everything correct with my shield. I have also read that I can power it from an external supply-How do I do that? How will it help me?

Thanks in advance.