Feather can make a great base for your next robotic project. We've got three Wings that make easy work of adding motors.
Best of all, these FeatherWings only use I2C, so they work with all Feathers. The I2C address can be changed with a solder jumper, so you can add multiple Wings for lots of motors, or use them with any other Wings. (Just make sure you have each wing with a unique I2C address)
Both of these Wings are designed for driving fairly powerful motors, easily 1A draw each. For that reason, we do not run the motors off of USB or the LiPo battery - they are dedicated for running the Feather only. Instead, the 'loud and messy' power supply for the motors is provided via a terminal block.
We recommend something like our 4 x AA battery pack, with NiMH rechargeable batteries.
Crickit is our Creative Robotics & Interactive Construction Kit. It's an add-on to the popular Feather ecosystem that lets you #MakeRobotFriend using CircuitPython, MakeCode, or Arduino.
Plug in any Feather mainboard you want into the center, and you're good to go! The Crickit is powered by seesaw, our I2C-to-whatever bridge firmware. So you only need to use two I2C data pins to control the huge number of inputs and outputs on the Crickit. All those timers, PWMs, sensors are offloaded to the co-processor.
The only thing that is not managed by seesaw is the audio output. We provide a small jumper you can solder to connect the audio amplifier to the first analog pin. On our Feather M0's this is a true analog output (DAC) and you can play audio clips with CircuitPython or Arduino. Other Feathers may not have a DAC! In that case, you can solder a wire to jumper the audio amp to a PWM pin.
You get to use all the non-I2C signal pins on your feather and get a boat-load of extra in/out pins, motor controllers, capacitive touch sensors, a NeoPixel driver and amplified speaker output. It complements & extends your Feather so you can still use all the goodies, including stacking FeatherWings on top. But now you have a robotics playground as well.
- 4 x Analog or Digital Servo control, with precision 16-bit timers
- 2 x Bi-directional brushed DC motor control, 1 Amp current limited each, with 8-bit PWM speed control (or one stepper)
- 4 x High current "Darlington" 500mA drive outputs with kick-back diode protection. For solenoids, relays, large LEDs, or one uni-polar stepper
- 4 x Capacitive touch sensors with alligator-pads
- 8 x Signal pins, digital in/out or analog inputs
- 1 x NeoPixel driver with 5V level shifter - The NeoPixels are buffered and controlled by the seesaw chip
- 1 x Class D, 4-8 ohm speaker, 3W-max audio amplifier - the audio input pin is available as a solder-able pad for your configuration, you can connect it to your Feather's DAC or PWM output as you desire.
Most of our Feathers do have PWM/Servo outputs, but often they are shared or there's not enough of them. With this Wing you need not worry about jitter or timer allocation. The 8 x servo outputs are completely driven by a I2C-controlled chip. All the outputs have the same PWM rate, but have individually controlled duty cycles @ 12-bit resolution.
- There's an I2C-controlled PWM driver with a built in clock. That means that, unlike the TLC5940 family, you do not need to continuously send it signal tying up your microcontroller, its completely free running!
- It is 5V compliant, which means you can control it from a 3.3V Feather and still safely drive up to 6V outputs (this is good for when you want to control white or blue LEDs with 3.4+ forward voltages)
- 6 address select pins so you can stack up to 62 of these on a single i2c bus, a total of 992 outputs - that's a lot of servos or LEDs
- Adjustable frequency PWM up to about 1.6 KHz
- 12-bit resolution for each output - for servos, that means about 4us resolution at 60Hz update rate
- Configurable push-pull or open-drain output
If stacking these, we recommend using right-angle servo connectors:
Motors require both GPIO and PWMs, and they quickly start hogging all your pins up. With this Wing, you get 4 full H-bridges, so you can control up to 4 DC motors, 2 steppers, or 1 stepper and 2 motors.
Motor FeatherWing Specs:
- 4 full H-Bridges: the TB6612 chipset provides 1.2A per bridge with thermal shutdown protection, internal kickback protection diodes. Can run motors on 4.5VDC to 13.5VDC.
- Up to 4 bi-directional DC motors with individual 12-bit speed selection (so, about 0.02% resolution)
- Up to 2 stepper motors (unipolar or bipolar) with single coil, double coil, interleaved or micro-stepping.
- Motors automatically disabled on power-up
- Big 3.5mm terminal block connectors to easily hook up wires (18-26AWG) and power
- Polarity protected 2-pin terminal block and jumper to connect external power, for separate logic/motor supplies
- Completely stackable design: 5 address-select jumper pads means up to 32 stackable wings: that's 64 steppers or 128 DC motors! What on earth could you do with that many steppers? I have no idea but if you come up with something send us a photo because that would be a pretty glorious project.