what is the difference between a motor driver(like L293D) and a motor shield?

what are the advantage?disadvantages of both?

And which one do you suggest ?


A motor driver is a chip that drives motors. A motor shield is a circuit board with connections on it that contains a motor driver chip that drives motors.

A shield is convenient since you can just plug it in to your Arduino and wire the motors direct to it, but it lacks the flexibility of a raw driver chip which you can wire up precisely as your project demands.

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  • Not sure if it's correct, but my definition of shield is: something that is pluggable on the arduino, iow has connectors and board that allow for stacking. There are a variety of boards that are not stackable and must be connected with wires, even if they contain more than just the driver. – Igor Stoppa Jun 2 '15 at 11:14

The differrence is usablilty and, in some cases, the protection of your chip; if there is a surge of more than 5V to your driver it will fry, which is why some drivers have onboard voltage regulators and a heatsink for overheating problems. Advantage of motor driver is that you can use it as per your requirements, whereas a shield is fixed and you cannot change any aspects.

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