This motor driver expansion board and its corresponding Python library make it easy to control a pair of bidirectional, brushed DC motors with a compatible Raspberry Pi (Model B+ or newer), including the Pi 3 Model B+ and Model A+. The expansion board uses a pair of Toshiba TB9051FTG motor drivers, which operate from 4.5 to 28 V and can deliver a continuous 2.6 A per channel (up to 5 A per channel for a few seconds). Other features include a reverse battery protection circuit and logic gates that reduce the number of I/O pins required to control the driver ICs effectively. It is available either as a partial kit, with a female header and terminal blocks included but not soldered in, or fully assembled with these connectors soldered to the PCB.
The board’s default configuration uses six GPIO pins to control the motor drivers, making use of the Raspberry Pi’s hardware PWM outputs, and it uses two additional pins to read status outputs from the drivers. However, the pin mappings can be customized if the defaults are not convenient, and other control inputs and outputs of the TB9051FTG ICs are accessible on the board for more advanced applications.
The board matches the Raspberry Pi HAT (Hardware Attached on Top) mechanical specification, although it does not conform to the full HAT specifications due to the lack of an ID EEPROM. (A footprint for adding your own EEPROM is available for applications where one would be useful; pull-ups on SDA, SCL, and WP are provided.) It is not practical to use this expansion board with the original Raspberry Pi Model A or Model B due to differences in their pinout and form factor.
- Dual-channel H-bridge motor driver in the form factor of a Raspberry Pi expansion board
- Wide operating voltage range: 4.5 V to 28 V
- Output current: 2.6 A continuous (5 A peak) per motor
- Automatic current chopping feature helps prevent overheating by gracefully reducing power rather than abruptly shutting down
- PWM operation up to 20 kHz, which is ultrasonic and allows for quieter motor operation
- Motor indicator LEDs show what the outputs are doing even when no motor is connected
- Board can optionally power the Raspberry Pi base through added regulator like the D24V10F5 or D24V22F5 (not included)
- Python library makes it easy to get started using this board as a motor driver expansion board
- GPIO pin mappings can be customized if the default mappings are not convenient
- Remaining motor driver pins are exposed for advanced use
- Exposed solderable ground pads below the driver ICs on the bottom of the PCB
- Reverse-voltage protection on motor supply
- Robust drivers:
- Transient operation (< 500 ms) up to 40 V
- Under-voltage lockout and protection against over-current/short-circuit and over-temperature
- Active-low error output indicates over-current, over-temperature, under-voltage, or VCC over-voltage condition
- Prototyping space for easier/cleaner construction of custom circuits
Using the motor driver board:
This section explains how to use the dual TB9051FTG motor driver add-on board and provides some basic information about the motor driver pins to help get you started. However, strongly encourage you to consult the TB9051FTG datasheet (2MB pdf) for detailed pin descriptions, truth tables, and electrical characteristics. This expansion board is essentially a breakout board for two TB9051FTG motor driver ICs with additional logic circuitry to simplify the motor control, so the datasheet is your best resource for answering questions not covered here.
In the board’s default state, the motor driver outputs and the Raspberry Pi are powered separately, though they share a common ground. The board’s 3.3 V and 5 V logic supplies are provided by the Raspberry Pi. When used this way, the Raspberry Pi must be powered via its USB Micro-B receptacle, and the motor driver board must be supplied with 4.5 V to 28 V through its large VIN and GND pads. However, the motor driver board provides a set of three through-holes where you can conveniently connect an appropriate voltage regulator, allowing the motor supply to also power the Raspberry Pi (see the Powering the Raspberry Pi from the motor driver board section below).
A reverse-voltage protection circuit helps prevent damage to the board in case the motor power supply is connected backward. The reverse-protected input voltage can be accessed for use in other circuits through the two pins labeled VM on the left side of the board.
The board includes logic gates that enable drive/brake operation of the TB9051FTG drivers with only two control pins per motor (PWM and direction). As drive/brake operation usually provides a more linear relationship between PWM duty cycle and motor speed than drive/coast operation, generally recommend using drive/brake operation when possible.
- 1x Dual TB9051FTG Motor Driver expansion board
- 1x 0.100" (2.54 mm) Female Header: 2x20-Pin, Straight
- 1x Screw Terminal Block: 2-Pin, 5 mm Pitch, Side Entry (3-Pack)
- 1x Aluminum Standoff for Raspberry Pi: 11mm Length, 6mm M2.5 Thread, M-F (4-Pack)
- 1x Machine Screw: M2.5, 6mm Length, Phillips (4-pack)
- 1x Machine Hex Nut: M2.5 (4-pack)
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