Pololu High-Power Motor Driver 18v15

pololu.com/catalog/product/755

I recently purchased this for a project involving a linear actuator. I have a few questions on the parts fabrication.

First, in the picture on the website, the male/female part that attaches to a breadboard. The male part is soldered facing up. Is this correct? how would you interface this with a breadboard unless you put it on the very edge?

Second, this is more of a safety question. If the capacitor is accidentally touched during use, will it discharge into a person?

Also, since the capacitor is “optional” what is its purpose?

Any help with these questions would be greatly appreciated. This is my first time using a motor driver. Thank you!

Hello.

You can solder the header pins on whichever side of the board is most convenient for your application. If you want to use it in a breadboard, you probably want to solder the pins so they protrude down. The orientation in the picture is convenient if you want to use custom cables or jumper wires.

Touching both capacitor leads could cause it to discharge through you, but it’s not something you need worry about (it’s not big enough to cause any harm). The capacitor helps smooth ripples on the supply voltage and can significantly increase performance for moderate- to high-power loads. Unless you are using a very light load, we strongly recommend using a capacitor at least as big as the one included.

If you find the motor driver learning curve to be steep or if you have trouble with the low-level interface to the driver, you might also consider our new Pololu Simple Motor Controller 18v15. The motor-driving performance is nearly the same as the High-Power Motor Driver 18v15, but the controller supports a number of high-level interfaces–USB, RC pulses, analog voltages, and serial commands–that make it very easy to use. It also makes incorporating limit switches into your system easier, which could come in handy for your linear actuator.

- Ben

I was referred to this motor driver, because the person said it was easily interfaced with an Arduino Duemilanove. Now I just needed to solder this driver, connect it to the processor, and program. Thank you for answering all of my questions, Ben!