Do i need a motor controller?

I’m a newbie at this, I’m in this grade 11 computer engineering class and for the project we need to buy a robot kit and modify the hell out of it so it can race and fight

Me and my group decided on this kit
it is basically a microcontroller, motors, and other stuff.

i read somewhere that the motors each have a motor controller built into it (which i do not want to desolder), but I would like to use one of the tamiya gearbox, thus i would like the microcontroller to control on of those 3v motors directly without a motor controller. so my question is:

do i need a motor controller? (and if you want, explain what does a motor controller exactly do)


It’s very likely that you will need a separate motor controller since the microbric motors look very small and very permanently connected to their motor controllers.

The motor controller we recommend for the Tamiya gearboxes is our low-voltage motor controller (, but you will need to determine whether or not your robot controller can generate the necessary communication signal (asynchronous serial).

If you are asking someone to take time to give you information, you shouldn’t phrase your request as your granting permission or even the privilege of your audience. (Since I suspect you added the “if you want” part to be less demanding, I assume you weren’t trying to be rude. A better request might be: 'If you don’t mind, could you explain…") The user’s guide for the low-voltage motor controller has some information about how the motor controller works.

- Jan

thanks for the help, but i read through the manuals of the motor controller, and the manual of the microbric kit, and i found a example code in there that is (this is a screen shot from the pdf, the text select didnt work):

it seems to me like that i dont need the serout, instead i can use this 5v (i realize the motors are meant for 3v) to power my motor without a controller

this means if i dont have a motor controller, i can go forward via one port and backwards via another port, correct? and i cannot adjust the motor speed at all (without constantly turing my motor on and off), correct? so i know i probably should use a motor controller.

The Tamiya motors draw a few amps, and the output pins on a microcontroller can typically drive up to about 25 mA. At the very least, you’ll need a motor driver, such as the TI SN754410 ( It’s a bit weak for the Tamiya motors, but if you use the two outputs in parallel, you should get useable results.

- Jan