Which Motor controller would work for high torque Geared DC Motor & Raspberry Pico?

Hi, I am familiar with RC/UAV planes using flight controllers & brushless ESC motors, but fairly new to python microcontrollers & brushed DC motors.

What Motor Controller - Motor Driver setup would you guys recommend for operating a Raspberry Pico Tank (1.5kg Hiwonder Tank)?

  1. Motors I currently have: Two 8V (6V -12V) 37mm High Torque Geared DC Motors (JGB37-520R131-08)
    (without Encoders, No-load current: ~0.2 A, Stall current: ~2.2 A, Gear Ratio 131:1)

  2. How do I control the speed / rotation of the motors, without Encoders?
    (I suppose, automation of the tank would then be complicated without Encoders?)

I was initially thinking of using either Kitronik Simply Robotics Motor Driver Board for Pico (SKU: KT-5348) or a 4.8V-46V, ‘‘L298N’’ 2A Dual Motor Controller (SKU: DRI0002).

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Hi Jaco,

Welcome to the forum!!

From the specs you list here I’d take a look at the following motor driver:

Unfortunately a driver isnt available in the product page but a search around the net and some GPT ought to help out a ton!

The speed can be set with a PWM signal to the motor, encoders can be used for closed-loop feedback - but for getting started setting PWMs will work fine.
But raises the question, what are you trying to Automate?

Unfortunately both of the motor drivers listed are a bit below the max rated stall current (this current is usually reached when starting to move the tank).

Super keen to see this one come together!
Liam

Thanks @Liam for the feedback.
Righto, I will do some more googling for alternative motor driver options with larger max current ratings.

Regarding ‘automation’ - I was actually referring to setting up this tank platform as an autonomous grass-cutting rover for my lawn, potentially using a combo between the Raspberry Pi Pico & Pixhawk flight controllers with some ultrasonic sensors, etc.

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Hi Jacob,

Sounds like a plan and what an interesting project!

I’d definitely check out some Rover Projects:

Liam

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Hi Jayco
I think it would need to be a pretty big platform to handle a lawn mower.
Cheers Bob

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Hey Bob,

“Lawn Mower” is probably a bit of a stretch for small robots like this or those you can buy pre-made.

Usually they’re basically just a small whipper-snipper or have some rigid blades on a rotor. Knife spinning robot that drives on grass is probably a better definition :sweat_smile:

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Hi Bryce
I have only seen one of these in action. A plant and landscape supplier at Warners Bay NSW has a Husqvarna robot mower running around cutting their lawn. Undoubtedly a sales demo but interesting. It was quite large but not quite as big as a regular mower.
Cheers Bob

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