The small DC motor, is likely to use more power than an Arduino digital output can handle directly. If we tried to connect the motor straight to an Arduino pin, there is a good chance that it could damage the Arduino.

A small transistor like the PN2222 can be used as a switch that uses just a little current from the Arduino digital output to control the much bigger current of the motor.

The transistor has three leads. Most of the electricity flows from the Collector to the Emitter, but this will only happen if a small amount is flowing into the Base connection. This small current is supplied by the Arduino digital output.

The diagram below is called a schematic diagram. Like a breadboard layout, it is a way of showing how the parts of an electronic project are connected together.

The pin D3 of the Arduino is connected to the resistor. Just like when using an LED, this limits the current flowing into the transistor through the base.

There is a diode connected across the connections of the motor. Diodes only allow electricity to flow in one direction (the direction of their arrow).

When you turn the power off to a motor, you get a negative spike of voltage, that can damage your Arduino or the transistor. The diode protects against this, by shorting out any such reverse current from the motor.

Last updated on 2015-05-04 at 04.27.11 PM Published on 2012-12-17 at 10.54.43 AM