New product: Motoron M3H256 Triple Motor Controller for Raspberry Pi

via Pololu Blog

Our Motoron M3H256 Triple Motor Controller for Raspberry Pi is now available! The M3H256 is a stackable I²C motor controller that can drive up to three brushed DC motors bidirectionally at voltages between 4.5 V and 48 V and continuous currents up to 2 A per channel. Unlike its M3S256 sibling, which is designed as a shield for an Arduino, the Motoron M3H256 is intended to stack on top of a Raspberry Pi (Model B+ or newer), similar to a HAT (Hardware Attached on Top). With an I²C address that can be configured uniquely for each board, a stack of Motorons let you control many motors at once without taking up lots of GPIO pins and PWM outputs from the Pi.

A robot with three omni wheels and motors controlled by a Raspberry Pi with a Motoron M3H256 Triple Motor Controller. A D24V22F5 regulator powers the Raspberry Pi.

If you decide not to plug it into a Raspberry Pi, the Motoron M3H256 can also be used in a breadboard or another custom setup with your own wiring:

An Arduino Micro on a breadboard using a Motoron M3H256 to control three motors.

Motoron M3H256 Triple Motor Controller for Raspberry Pi pinout.

The Motoron M3H256 is available in three different configurations similar to its Arduino shield counterpart: you can get one fully assembled with stackable headers and terminal blocks already soldered, a kit that lets you pick which of the included connectors to solder in yourself, or the board alone if you already have or don’t need connectors and standoffs.

And to help you get started using the Motoron with a Raspberry Pi, we have a Python library you can use to configure the M3H256 and send it commands:

import motoron

mc1 = motoron.MotoronI2C(address=17)
mc2 = motoron.MotoronI2C(address=18)

# Clear reset flags to allow Motorons to run
mc1.clear_reset_flag()
mc2.clear_reset_flag()

# Set up acceleration limits for Motoron #1
mc1.set_max_acceleration(1, 200)
mc1.set_max_acceleration(2, 200)

# Set up acceleration and deceleration limits for Motoron #2
mc2.set_max_acceleration(1, 75)
mc2.set_max_deceleration(1, 250)
mc2.set_max_acceleration(2, 80)
mc2.set_max_deceleration(2, 300)
mc2.set_max_acceleration(3, 75)
mc2.set_max_deceleration(3, 250)

# Drive the motors

mc1.set_speed(1, -100)
mc1.set_speed(2, 100)

mc2.set_speed(1, 300)
mc2.set_speed(2, 200)
mc2.set_speed(3, 50)

We’re sure there are plenty of applications where the convenience and scalability of Motorons will be useful. What kind of projects can you think of that would make good use of one (or several)?

For more information about the Motoron M3H256, see the product pages and the comprehensive user’s guide.

Elektor Has Two New Shows!

via SparkFun: Commerce Blog

Our friends over at Elektor Magazine recently launched two new shows to discuss a range of topics in the huge world that is electronics. Looking to learn more about Elektor Magazine? Looking to learn more about Elektor Magazine? Check out their tag to learn more!


Elektor Engineering Insights

Elektor Engineering Insights is a show for those who want to stay in the know and hear from electronics industry experts. Join Stuart Cording (Editor, Elektor) and industry experts for conversations about engineering challenges and their potential solutions. Audience members can send in questions during the show to receive live feedback and solutions. (How cool is that?)

Light blue background with schematics. ElektorTV logo in upper left and text that reads Elektor Engineering Insights by Stuart Cording. Picture of Stuart next to electronics equipment.

Tune in monthly to the live conversation via LinkedIn, Twitter, and the Elektor TV channel on YouTube. If you're interested in joining Elektor as a guest, or have a topic you'd like them to cover, simply get in touch at stuart.cording@elektor.com.

The next episode on June 8, 2022 at 4 PM CEST will focus on Embedded & IoT topics in preparation for a special episode from the tradeshow floor at Embedded World 2022!


Elektor LabTalk

For our DIY crowd, Elektor’s other new show, "Elektor LabTalk," features Elektor Lab team engineers and editors as they talk shop, share engineering tips, and more! Mathias Claussen (Senior Engineer, Elektor) and Jens Nickel (Editor in Chief, Elektor) take you on deep dives into a wide range of topics, including rapid prototyping, embedded programming, DIY microcontroller projects, retro electronics, and lab equipment.

Light blue background with ElektorTV logo in upper left and text that reads Elektor LabTalk, Jens Nickel, and Mathias Claussen with head shots of both

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Why we translate our free online projects for young people to learn coding

via Raspberry Pi

All young people deserve meaningful opportunities to learn how to create with digital technologies. But according to UNESCO, as much as 40% of people around the world don’t have access to education in a language they speak or understand. At the Raspberry Pi Foundation, we offer more than 200 free online projects that people all over the world use to learn about computing, coding, and creating things with digital technologies. To make these projects more accessible, we’ve published over 1700 translated versions so far, in 32 different languages. You can check out these translated resources by visiting projects.raspberrypi.org and choosing your language from the drop-down menu.

Two young children code in Scratch on a laptop.
Two young children in Uganda code on a laptop at a CoderDojo session.

Most of this translation work was completed by an amazing community of volunteer translators. In 2021 alone, learners engaged in more than 570,000 learning experiences in languages other than English using our projects.

So how do we know it’s important to put in the effort to make our projects available in many different languages? Various studies show that learning in one’s first language leads to better educational and social outcomes. 

Improved access and attainment for girls

Education policy specialists Chloe O’Gara and Nancy Kendall describe in a USAID-funded guide document (1996, p. 100) that girls living in multilingual communities are less likely to know the official language of school instruction than boys, because girls’ lives tend to be more restricted to home and family, where they have fewer opportunities to become proficient in a second language. These restrictions limit their access to education, and if they go to school, they are more likely to have a limited understanding of the dominant language, and therefore learn less. Observations in research studies (Hovens, 2002; Benson 2002a, 2002b) suggest that making education available in a local language greatly increases female students’ opportunities for educational access and attainment.

In rural India, a group of girls cluster around a computer.
In rural India, a group of girls cluster around a computer.

Improved self-efficacy

Research studies conducted in Guinea and Senegal (Clemons & Yerende, 2009) suggest that education in a local language, which is more likely to focus on the learner’s circumstances, community, and learning and development needs, increases the learner’s belief in their abilities and skills, compared to education in a dominant language.

young people programming in Scratch on a Raspberry Pi, Co-creation Hub, Nigeria.
Young people program in Scratch on a Raspberry Pi, at Co-creation Hub, Nigeria.

Improved test scores

Learning in a language other than one’s own has a negative effect on learning outcomes, especially for learners living in poverty. For example, a UNESCO-funded case study in Honduras showed that 94% of pupils learned reading skills if their home language was the same as the language of assessment. In contrast, among pupils who spoke a different language at home, this proportion dropped to 62%. Similarly, a UNESCO-funded case study in Guatemala showed that when students were able to learn in a bilingual environment, attendance and promotion rates increased, while rates of repetition and dropout rates decreased. Moreover, students attained higher scores in all subjects and skills, including the mastery of the dominant language (UNESCO Global Education Monitoring Report, Policy Paper 24, February 2016).

Three teenage girls at a laptop.
Three girls in Brazil code on a laptop in a Code Club session.

Improved acquisition of programming concepts

A survey conducted by a researcher from the University of California San Diego showed that non-native English speakers found it challenging to learn programming languages when the majority of instructional materials and technical communications were only available in English (Guo, 2018). Moreover, a computing education research study of the association between local language use and the rate at which young people learn to program showed that beginners who learned to program in a programming language with keywords and environment localised into their primary language demonstrated new programming concepts at a faster rate, compared with beginners from the same language group who learned using a programming interface in English (Dasgupta & Hill, 2017).

A group of Coolest Projects participants from all over the world wave their flags.

You can help with translations and empower young people

It is clear from these studies that in order to achieve the most impact and to benefit disadvantaged and underserved communities, educational initiatives must work to make learning resources available in the language that learners are most familiar with.

By translating our learning resources, we not only support people who have English as a second language, we also make the resources useful for people who don’t speak any English — estimated as four out of every five people on Earth.

If you’re interested in helping us translate our learning resources, which are completely free, you can find out more at rpf.io/translate.

The post Why we translate our free online projects for young people to learn coding appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

App note: Effects of setting the wiper at end set on cermet resistors

via Dangerous Prototypes

Tips from Bourns on using trimming potentiometers. Link here (PDF)

Potentiometers normally have a small region at the extreme ends of the adjustment range where the output is irregular. This can be seen when there is a sudden drop to essentially zero resistance. Alternatively, the change in output will stop at some small residual value of resistance, depending on the design of the trimmer.
Although this unstable region is usually less than 1 % or 2 % of the total range of adjustment, it is important to remember to make allowances for avoiding it in your applications.

App note: Experiments in waterproofing / Overmolding vibration motors

via Dangerous Prototypes

App note from Precision Microdrives experimenting on which is the best method to waterproof their vibration motors. Link here

We have mentioned some interesting vibration motor applications which may benefit from being waterproof or water resistant. For example, performance indicators for athletes, or stroke rehabilitation gloves would require regular cleaning. Naturally, the most convenient method for cleaning clothes and garments would be through a washing machine, and removing several vibration motors to do so, isn’t particularly pragmatic.
So we decided to look at some of our vibration motors and see if it would be possible to make them waterproof using fairly simple and easily implemented methods. This means that this Application Bulletin will differ slightly from our normal instalments which are full of industry best practices and advice. Instead, this is a more a report of an experimental/investigative process, in which we conclude with tips from our experiences, should you wish to try it yourself.

Don’t Change that Channel!

via SparkFun: Commerce Blog

Hello and welcome to another Friday Product Post here at SparkFun Electronics! This week, we have another motley crew of new products to show off, and it all starts with two new SparkFun Original Boards, the 8 Channel Level Shifter utilizing the TXS01018E and the OpenLog Artemis (without IMU). Both of these boards are products of the times so be sure to check them out to see how they differ from their cousins! Following those, we have a new Qwiic PC Fan Controller from SparkX, as well as two new Fast Charging USB-C Cables with LCDs! Now, let's jump in and take a closer look at this week's new products!

SparkFun Level Shifter - 8 Channel (TXS01018E)

SparkFun Level Shifter - 8 Channel (TXS01018E)

BOB-19626
$4.95

The SparkFun 8 Channel Level Shifter features the TXS01018E 8-bit, bi-directional logic level translator from Texas Instruments. This board allows you to easily shift logic between devices running at different common microcontroller voltages such as 1.8V, 3.3V and 5V. The TXS0108E can transmit data between ports at max speeds of 110Mbps (push/pull) or 1.2Mbps (open drain) so you can use a 3.3V SPI device with a 5V microcontroller, like the SparkFun RedBoard Plus, without sacrificing data transmission speeds.


SparkFun OpenLog Artemis (without IMU)

SparkFun OpenLog Artemis (without IMU)

DEV-19426
$44.95

The SparkFun OpenLog Artemis is an open source data logger that comes preprogrammed to automatically log GPS, serial data, and various pressure, humidity, and distance sensors - all without writing a single line of code! OpenLog Artemis, or "OLA," automatically detects, configures, and logs Qwiic sensors. The OLA is specifically designed for users who just need to capture a lot of data to a CSV and get back to their larger project.

This version of OpenLog Artemis has the ICM-20948 IMU sensor removed as the IC is becoming increasingly difficult to locate. This version still supports auto-detection and logging of over a dozen sensors and GNSS receivers.


Qwiic PC Fan Controller

Qwiic PC Fan Controller

SPX-18570
$19.95

Whether for active cooling or ventilation, a tiny fan can make a big difference. And by that logic a big fan can make an even bigger difference! The Qwiic PC Fan Controller allows you easily control almost any PC fan over the Qwiic bus using the on board ATtiny microcontroller and control firmware. The control firmware monitors the tachometer output of the fan in order to implement PI Control over the fan speed, allowing you to set your desired speed in real units. It's also possible to disable the PI control loop and set the speed as a proportion of the maximum.


RTK Facet Kit Carrying Case

RTK Facet Kit Carrying Case

PRT-19642
$26.95

The RTK Facet Carrying Case helps protect your valuable high-precision GNSS receiver from the harsh elements in the field. Custom slots are molded into the case for the RTK Facet receiver, a 915MHz radio + antenna, as well as a large open slot for power supplies, cables, and adapters. It's almost as if we are planning a new product... hmm...


Fast Charging USB C to C Cable with LCD - 4ft (100W)

Fast Charging USB C to C Cable with LCD - 4ft (100W)

CAB-19717
$10.95
Fast Charging USB A to C Cable with LCD - 4ft (6A)

Fast Charging USB A to C Cable with LCD - 4ft (6A)

CAB-19718
$9.95

Charging or powering your USB Type C device can be daunting. Finding a cable that fits both your interface and provides safe power levels is a new challenge presented with USB Type C. These 4ft long USB Type A to Type C or USB Type C to Type C cables from USAMS fit the bill at a great price with some extra cool features. The power draws can be seen on an LCD screen built into the USB Type C connector.


That's it for this week. As always, we can't wait to see what you make. Shoot us a tweet @sparkfun, or let us know on Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn. Please be safe out there, be kind to one another, and we'll see you next week with even more new products!

Never miss a new product!

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