Kitronik Motor Driver Board for the BBC micro:bit - V2.1

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Stock code: 5620
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Description

AttributeValue
Operating Voltage (Vcc) 3V to 10V.
Number of motor channels 2 (2 motors with forward + reverse control, controlled by P0, P8, P12 & P16).
Digital only inputs 2 (button A / B)
Digital or analog input / output pins (P1 & P2) 2 (P1 & P2)
Typical motor output Voltage (Vm) @ 1.5A output per channel Vm = Vcc – 0.3V.
Max Current per motor channel 1.5A.
Digital output drive current 5mA

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Further Information

Please note: Instructions for using this product (if available) can be found in the product description.
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Q:
I have bought 5 of your super motor boards v2, and am running robots from them. I have coded them in makecode blocks, but am now trying to teach myself Python. How can I control the motors via python? Thanks for your help!
Asked by: Richard Swain
A:
Hi Richard,

Thank you for your question, best thing to do is to have a look at the sample python code we have on our github repository. We have a guide / directory for those on the link below. 

micropython-kitronik-bbc-microbit

The code for the robotics board is the closest we have to a guide on the motor driver as they work very similarly. 

Best Regards

Cullen
Answered by: Cullen Lewis
04-Apr-19


Q:
I've bought two of the motor driver boards, but for both of them MOTOR2 does not power. Is there a bad batch in circulation?
Asked by: Baptiste Guittet-Carriere
A:
Hi Baptiste, I'm sorry to hear your having issues, we are not aware of a fault and all units are individually tested to make sure they fully work. As such the best option is to use the test code found on page 3 of the following 5620 Motor Driver Board V1.1-2.pdf.
Answered by: Michael Lockhart
11-Jul-18


Q:
Hi
I am building a robot and have the motors working, driven by 4 AA batteries. I now would like to use an ultrasonic sensor to avoid obstacles. This needs 5V - how do I get this supply?
Thanks
John
Asked by: John Morris
A:
Hi John,

Thank you for your question, you wouldn't be able to draw the power directly from the board. You would need to power the sensor separately and twin the ground with one pin reading the data.
Answered by: Cullen Lewis
09-Apr-20

Q:
Is it possible to add an ultrasonic sensor directly to the motor board, i.e for the Zumo buggy?
Asked by: Stuart C
A:
Hi Stuart,

In theory it is yes you could link it to an input pin on the Pin break out for the motor driver board.

Best Regards

Cullen
Answered by: Cullen Lewis
08-Apr-20

Q:
can it be used for RC helicopter control ?
Asked by: Tycoon Druce
A:
Hi there,

Thank you for the question, in theory you could use this with an RC, though it would depend on the specifics of what you are trying to build e.g the voltage and current of the motors you want to run. The board operates the motors directly connected to it so it is not set up to be a hand held controller for motors but could receive radio commands from another micro:bit to control the motor outputs.
Answered by: Cullen Lewis
04-Nov-19

Q:
Is there a way to that I could use 3 buttons?, I have a claw project, and I want to use A and B to control it moving up/down, right/left, but I also want to use AB to return to its orignal place. Is there a way for that with this board, or is there another board designed for that?
Asked by: Julio Ocampo
A:
Hi Julio,

Thank you for your question, that should be possible. Simply attach a switch to the 3V and one pin 1 or 2 on the gold break out strip. You could then code it so that pin being high or low acts as an extra input for the code.

Best Regards

Cullen
Answered by: Cullen Lewis
03-Sep-19

Q:
Hi. I use the microbit to help control a lot of games that my high school students make. Without the motor controller attached, the microbit can take inputs from real switches connected to pins 0, 1, and 2 and use the inputs to get a scoreboard to count up by 2s or 5s or whatever. Very useful for target ranges and basketball games

I have now connected the microbit to the motor controller and I am able to get the motor controller to turn on a 6 V relay when I press the start button. What I now want to do is to get the 6 V relay to turn on in response to switches being turned on that are connected to pins 0, 1, and 2 of the microbit (or their equivalent since these portions of the board are no longer accessible; they are buried in the motor controller). I see the motor controller has a ground and pin markings for 0, 1, and 2, but when I connect a switch across ground and pin 1 and press it (with the code I wrote for my other games), it doesn't seem to work the same way. Do you know what is going on? (I realize my question is a little complicated!!).

By the way I am trying to get the motor controller to turn on the relay for a few seconds when a switch is triggered so that I can control a 12 V pump and make games that spray water but only for a few seconds (everything is working except my ability to get the relay to respond to the pin value jumping from 0 to 1 due to the switch being turned on).

Thanks for any help you can give. I do appreciate it!!
Asked by: Douglas Biedenweg
A:
Hi Douglas,

Thank you for your message, I have had a look for you and it is because pins 1 & 2 are the pins used to run the motor so if you swap to a different set of pins that should all work for you!

Best Regards

Cullen
Answered by: Cullen Lewis
21-Jun-19

Q:
Hi,
I am in the process of developing step by step wiring diagrams for students using your break out motor board. Have you any CAD drawings for your motor driver board that could be used to show connections etc. Also I use Fritzing mainly for producing circuit diagrams in school and students respond well to it. Does Kitronik have any part blocks available for Fritzing or any plans to develop same. At present I can use a Microbit part in Fritzing but students become confused when using a breakout board.
Thanks in advance.
Asked by: Gary Doherty
A:
Hi Gary,

Thank you for your question I have been looking into this for you unfortunately we cannot supply the CAD files for a lot of our kits. Any we do have are already available on the product pages. We have had a look into fritzing as it is not something we currently use and while it might be something we look at for future it is not something we currently have.

best Regards

Cullen
Answered by: Cullen Lewis
19-Jun-19

Q:
I'm a complete n00b and can't see anywhere on your website how to use the "github" code... is there a step by step guide? Kai asked for his 8 year old, but the link you posted is now defunct (thanks to the micro:bit site being updated).
Asked by: Philip Thompson
A:
Hi Philip,

Thank you for your question so the micro:bit sites updated guides for getting started are here below. I believe that is the link that was on the previous question.

https://support.microbit.org/support/solutions/folders/19000126498/page/1?url_locale=

By the Github code I assume you mean adding the extra packages such as for the motor driver board that are hosted on github?

You can add these extensions to your project by clicking on the advanced section on the right hand side of the screen. You should then see an extra set of options at the bottom of these is a plus sign with the word "Extensions" next to it. If you press this you should then be presented with various extra packages you can add to the code. If you cannot see the one you want you can always search for it in the search bar.

I hope this helps!

Cullen
Answered by: Cullen Lewis
10-Jan-19

Q:
is there anyway of modifying a servo cable so that it fits in this board
Asked by: joe curran
A:
Hi Joe, This board is designed to drive either motors or stepper motors, not servo's. If you want to drive servo's using the micro:bit we have 2 boards which would be better suited as both have been designed to drive servos. The
16 Servo Driver Board allows up to 16 servo's to be driven by the micro:bit at any one time. The
All-in-one Robotics Board allows for up-to 4 motors or 2 stepper motors and up-to 8 servo's to be driven at any one time by the micro:bit.
Answered by: Michael Lockhart
28-Nov-18

Q:
Is it possible to run a stepper motor of this driver board?
Asked by: Yodatheoak
A:
Hi there,

Thank you for your question, it should work fine from this though you would likely need to do the coding manually rather than use one of our pre packaged block packs.

Best Regards

Cullen
Answered by: Cullen Lewis
06-Nov-18

Q:
Hi.. I am going to use your board to drive an automatic chicken coop door opener, based on levels of daylight. I have written the code in JavaScript Blocks successfully and tested it. I am using Input 1 and Input 2 to read the status of magnetic door sensors (alarm sensors) to know if the door is open or closed and Motor 1 terminals to drive the single motor. I have been using the microbit display as the light sensor in the prototype but this is not sensitive enough and I want to use your 5105 Light Sensor. The problem is that I need another analog input pin. I have tried using Pin 3, but to use this I believe I need to turn the display off, but there is not the ability to do this in JavaScript Blocks. There is in MicroPython but I don't want to recode. So my question is, can I use Pin 0 as the Signal Pin, as I am not using this for a Motor, or will the way the board is wired not allow this? Thanks and sorry for the long explanation, but you may have some other suggestions if P0 won't work!!
Asked by: Daimon
A:
Hi Daimon, There is a feature in the MakeCode/Java editor to let you do this, it is hidden under the 'LED' set of blocks. Details of how this works can be found here . Hopefully that allows you to access the pin.
Answered by: Michael Lockhart
08-Oct-18

Q:
If a motor is stopped (Hysteresis stress, say it's force stopped by being grabbed or comes to the end of a travel) does the motor supply shut down? Is there anything that lets the running program know the motor has stopped?
Do you have anything I could use for 4 motors rather than two?
Asked by: Gary
A:
Hi Gary, The motor driver board doesn't have a stall detection function on the board. However we tried this with one of our Plastic Gear Motor, we powered this with the motor driver at full speed, then stopped the motor by obstructing the turning of the wheel/motor, after around 5 minutes the motor was still trying to turn. It is possible that if your motor was put under conditions of this you could damage the motor by stalling it.
Also, we are in the process of releasing a board that can control 4 motors and 8 servo's. This should be coming in the next couple of weeks.
Answered by: Michael Lockhart
21-Sep-18

Q:
Dear Kitronik,

I would like to use the motor driver pins 0, 8, 12 and 16 to control up to 4 x 5V relays. Normally when controlling motors you need to add a "flyback diode" to protect electric components when the magnetic field inside the motor or relay collapses. Can you please indicate if there is inbuilt protection on the motor driver board v2 or if I should add "flyback diodes to each of my relay circuits. One terminal of the relay will be connected to pin 0,8,12 or 16 and the other terminal will be connected to the ground of the supply terminal to the motor drive board.

Thanks again - enjoying the versatility of the motor drive board.

Edmond Lascaris
Asked by: Edmond Lascaris
A:
Hi Edmond, Unfortunately from what you have detailed you wouldn't be able to do this as the board is designed to run motors and as such the pins are connected in pairs. The motor driver board uses a H Bridge driver chip, and as such if you try to run both pins at the same time the H bridge will automatically shut down to prevent damage. There should be flyback diodes built into the driver chip, however I haven't been able to confirm this currently.
Answered by: Michael Lockhart
24-Jan-18

Q:
What do I need to control four servos? Your robotic arm project for is an instance of this. Thank you.
Asked by: Unver Ciftci
A:
Hi, We have recently launched a 16 servo driver board, so this would be the most suitable item, 5612-kitronik-i2c-servo-driver-board-for-the-bbc-microbit
Answered by: Michael Lockhart
21-Dec-17

Q:
Hi!
I´m driving two servo with the board and when I use pin 8 and pin 16 everything seems ok.
Pin 8 is a 0-180 servo and pin 16 is Servo CR.
If I instead use pin 12 and pin 8, both for motor 1 there seems to be a problem.
Should I use different "motor"-pins or could I use both pins for Motor 1.
If I could use both pins for Motor 1 och both for Motor 2, then I thought I could use four servos, but that shouldn´t be possible?

It looks like this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8-5NXMeBN4&index=6&list=PLmwZRQqL38s34xMUckBFNk0Cz8wpV_FNM
Asked by: Magnus
A:
Hi Magnus, The issue is you can't drive 2 servos from the same motor terminal. You could power one from motor 1 and 1 from motor 2. However there is no benefit in having the motor driver for this as it doesn't provide any additional use. You would be better using the Servo:Lite board or even our new 16 Servo driver board which is coming soon. I will drop over an email with further details on.
Answered by: Michael Lockhart
29-Nov-17

Q:
Hi. I have had no problem getting the board to drive a motor, but the micro bit is not drawing power from the board and I have to supply it with power directly. Is there anything I need to do to enable the board to power the micro bit? (I am supplying the board with 6V.)
Thanks Nick
Asked by: NIck
A:
Hi Nick, I'm really sorry to hear that the motor driver board isn't working as expected. After a quick chat here we have decided the best method to get this resolved would be to get the item back for testing. As such we will send you details of this via an email.
Answered by: Michael Lockhart
19-Jul-17

Q:
It would be awsome to have the schematics, as it would help to tweak the board towards beeing able to use the full voltage range of the DRV8833, e.g. by cutting the traces towards the regulator and power the micro on other ways. you should consider for V3 a jumper to feed the regulator, or simply put in a regulator for tho whole voltage range, as that range is much more valuable as any regualtor at all.
Asked by: wiebel
A:
we have had a look into this on our side, we would not be able to publish our schematics of this unfortunately but i have looked at the regulator and it is currently close to it's maximum volts so I would not recommend trying to run anymore through this.
Answered by: Cullen Lewis
23-Jun-17

Q:
Hello, any chances for v3.0 of the board with a speaker or buzzer connected to P0 and different pin for the motor control? Now the pxt can do pwm out in many pins so please free P0 for speaker control. Is there a way to play notes or sound frequencies to other than p0?
Asked by: Antonis Kanouras
A:
Hi Antonis, We don't currently have any plans to redesign the motor driver board, and in the new PXT coding program you are able to change what the default pin is that the music block use. In the PXT editor, you would select the following 'Advance' 'Pins' 'More' then 'analog set pitch pin P0'. If you drop this block of code into the on start log you can then change which pin is set to be the fault music pin. Hope this helps.
Answered by: Michael Lockhart
31-May-17

Q:
Can I use my Motor Driver Board to drive a DC motor (or two?) AND a servo at the same time? If so, how would I connect them? (I've searched every where for an answer to this with no luck...). Thanks for a great product!
Asked by: Paul
A:
Hi Paul, The motor driver board can drive two motors with PWM, two motors with PWM and one servo, or two motors with on/off control and two servos. We have recently done a blog where we have built a tank which controls two DC motors and one servo, this can be found here klawsome-microbit-controlled-tank. The main point to remember is that the motors must be connect to the motor terminal blocks, the positive and negative connections from the servo come from the power input terminal on the motor driver and the control for the servo is connected to either P1 or P2 through the input terminal block. If you have any further questions please let us know.
Answered by: Michael Lockhart
23-May-17

Q:
Is it possible to influence the speed of the motors? If I understand the DRV8833 data sheet correctly, the motor driver IC should be able to. Is it?
Asked by: Marcus
A:

Hi Marcus, It is possible to control the motor speed by using the Analogue Write Pin block. Because the micro:bit is limited to 3 analogue out channels at any time the technique to do this is: Use the Analogue Write Pin to drive one pin of the motor, and use Digital Write Pin to set the other pin to zero To drive the motor in the other direction swap the pins which are analogue and digital write over.


Answered by: Michael Lockhart
25-Apr-17

Q:
Are the schematics of the motor driver board available?

Is there any chance to access P19 and P20 (I2C) if the LED matrix of the micro:bit is oriented towards the DRV8833?
Asked by: Marcus
A:

Hi Marcus, Unfortunately it isn’t possible to access pins 19 and 20 while the BBC micro:bit is facing the terminal blocks on the motor driver, you can only access this when it faces outwards.

Answered by: Michael Lockhart
21-Feb-17

Q:
I have just bought the motor controller for my 8 year old son. Are there any links I can follow to learn how to program the microbic to use this board? My son has a basic idea of Scratch, but neither of us has tried to connect stuff to the microbic before.
Asked by: Kal
A:

Hi Kal, We don’t have any resources designed to give a step by step on creating circuits with the motor driver board, however we do have a few resources that might be helpful. Anything BBC micro:bit related can be found here bbc-microbit-kitronik-university, and we do have a breakdown of what the different blocks do to help understand what each section would do, getting-started-microsoft-block-editor. We also have the code for the line following buggy kit, 5604 available here to download so it may be that you could create your own buggy with son and adjust the code to suit your design, https://www.microbit.co.uk/app/#list:installed-scripts:script:5c7ac527-2145-475e-0c20-2280d1412664:overview:id=lapexp

Answered by: Michael Lockhart
03-Feb-17

Q:
1. When a micro:bit is inserted in (reverse) orientation to use the breakout pads on the edge of the Motor Driver board, is the regulated 3V supply of the Motor Driver board still connected to the micro:bit's power inputs? This seems to be implied by the data sheet, but not explicitly stated.

2. Do the breakout pads contain plated-thru holes to insert and solder a 21-position, 0.1 inch terminal strip? This seems implied by the mention of "PCB pin headers" in the description, but the photograph appears to show small (via sized) holes in the pads plugged by solder mask.
Asked by: Bill K
A:

Hello Bill, The answer to your first question is yes the BBC micro:bit would still receive power from the motor driver board regardless of which way it is placed into the connector. With regards to your second question the holes on the board shouldn’t contain and solder mask and I believe that the ay the image has been taken it applies they are blocked. The holes doe go completely through the board and a suitable item to use on these pins would be 4133-straight-single-row-pcb-pin-headers-254mm-36-way.

Answered by: Michael Lockhart
10-Jan-17

Q:
I saw that Vcc range is listed as 4.5-6V however the DRV8833 data sheet shows a recommended range of 2.7-10.8V. I wanted to check whether it would be possible to drive the motor controller with a 7.2V RC battery pack (which would be convenient for my application) however wanted to check the rating for the 3V regulator to make sure that this doesn't fry the micro:bit.
Asked by: Paul
A:

Hi Paul, The 6V’s that we state would be the maximum that the board could handle, this would be due to limitations on other components such as the regulator, however I don’t have full details all the maximum voltage for all the components so there might be a few more.

Answered by: Michael Lockhart
04-Jan-17

Q:
Is the output voltage at the motor terminals the same as the input voltage to the unit (4.5V to 6V less some slight losses)? The Technical Data on website suggests Vcc of 0.3V (but it could be I'm reading the formatting wrong)
Asked by: Brendan
A:

Hi Brendan, The formula in the datasheet states that typically at 1.5A as an output current the output voltage (Vm) will be 0.3V less than the voltage input(Vcc). So if you put 6V’s into the motor driver board you would typically get 5.7V’s as an output on the motor terminals.

Answered by: Michael Lockhart
01-Dec-16

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