chipKIT® Development Platform

Inspired by Arduino™


Created Sun, 04 Nov 2012 17:04:41 +0000 by Solo123


Sun, 04 Nov 2012 17:04:41 +0000

I want to make a microcontroller that can power up to four motors. However, I was deciding between an Uno32 vs the max32 chipkits. I'm not sure which one I should purchase. I was told that the Uno32 would need shields in order to work, but the motor shields are not compatible with it, and that I would need to hack a library or something. That is why I was thinking of switching to the max32.. because it does not require motor shields. I don't understand though.. why do I need a motor shield? Can't I just get the motors to work without the shield? Also, I need it to provide a heating component. Which one do you think would withstand my requirements? It should also be able to sense temperatures.. but agian I was told I would need another shield? I don't understand..


Sun, 04 Nov 2012 17:26:50 +0000

Solo, no Arduino or chipKIT board can power a motor directly from their pins (except for very, very small motors like the vibrating pager motors). So you will need a motor driver of some type no matter which type of board you choose.

The AdaFruit Motor Shield works just fine with Uno32 (and it should work fine with Max32 as well) - I ported the library last month to chipKIT/MPIDE platform and it runs quite well. So that library work is already done - if you use that shield.

For a heater - you should probably use an SSR, since they're cheap and easy to drive from the chipKIT board.



Sun, 04 Nov 2012 20:25:00 +0000

Thank you Brian :) That was really helpful.


Sun, 04 Nov 2012 21:07:28 +0000

So I'm guessing the motor shield plays the same role as the motor controller. So why why would I need a motor shield? Can't I just purchase motor controllers to work the motors on my board?


Sun, 04 Nov 2012 22:30:58 +0000

A shield is just a small "lab" environment, small add-ons to perform a single (usually) task. You can build or use whatever you'd like to control and use any Chipkit product to control it, as long as it's operated via electrical signals.


I realize this is among your first posts, but please - choose a suiting topic for your case, and do not double post. You'll get more attention with a well formulated topic that describes the issue you're having.


Mon, 05 Nov 2012 01:07:29 +0000

Either/or, honestly. A motor shield will work (as it has motor drivers on it) and is easier to hook up. A motor driver on its own will also work, but is a bit more complex to hook up. For the same features, the shield will be (obviously) a bit more expensive.

And what rasmadrak said is true - you only need to post a single topic with your question - 3 is 2 too many.

Tell us more about what you're trying to do and we can help better. What motors are you using? What do they have to do? How are you going to control them?



Mon, 05 Nov 2012 15:21:11 +0000

Sorry about that, I`ll post only once.

Well, I was looking into using massage motors to hook up to the board and also using a LiPo battery. I just wasn't sure if I needed to buy the motor shield, or if I could just use a motor controller. But since I can use motor controllers that's good.. but wouldn't it be bulkier with motor controllers? Cus I need to keep size and weight in consideration. Also, can I connect the battery directly to my board or will it burn out. I was told that it would burn if I connected it to my Vin pin because it only handles a maximum of 12V. But I need enough energy to power the motors. And do you think that the board will be powerful enough to power 4 motors and a heating element? Or should I resort to the max32 chipkit? Sorry for all the questions. I really appreciate the help =)


Mon, 05 Nov 2012 15:25:29 +0000


How big are your motors? Can you provide a datasheet so that we can know what type of motor driver they require? What are the specs on your heater? Datasheet?

Either board (MAX32 or UNO32) will have plenty of 'power' (in terms of compute cycles) to do what you need to do, I'm sure.

I think the much bigger issue is one of electrical power. I think you have some learning to do before understanding how a system like this is assembled. The motors are never powered from the Max32 board. Only controlled from there. You will run separate lines from your battery to the motor drivers, so very little actual 'power' goes through the Max32 board.

There are thousands of different types of motor drivers/controllers out there. You will need to pick one based upon what type of motor you need to drive.

Make sure you're sizing the battery properly too. Have you figured out how much power each motor will need, and how much the heater will need, and if he battery can supply that much power?



Mon, 05 Nov 2012 15:29:16 +0000

I'm still at the start of my project so I haven't decided on which battery and motors yet. But once I do, I'll definitely let you know. You're right, I look into this more and then get back to you. Thanks again.