I am making a remote controlled Arduino robot. I has 4 DC motors for wheels. I have 2 motor drivers available that control two dc motors each. I was wondering what the downsides are of wiring 2 dc motors together. The DC motors are 6v and the maximum current per channel of my motor driver is 1.2A which should be plenty for the motors. The motor driver that I am using can be found here. Each motor is getting controlled using a PWM signal. The DC motors are controlled separately.

  • what sort of motor controllers? do they amplify a PWM signal or do they interface over SPI or something else. When you say that each motor controller can control two motors, do you mean that two motors on one controller will always drive the same (as if you Y'd the cables, which would be a good choice, if you want a tank-drive operation) or does each controller control two motors on individual channels? – redbow_kimee Jul 21 '16 at 3:46
  • I added some more info into the question. Each driver controls 2 DC motors individually in both direction and using PWM for speed. @KissMeKimmi – shurup Jul 21 '16 at 18:01

it looks like you have two channels on each controller, so you have some options here. but first I'm going to talk a bit about your motors. If you have a spec sheet for them you can gather most of this info through that, but it doesn't hurt to do some experimentation. A motor will draw max current when it is stalled (is trying to drive but it can't), and you can determine this "stall current" with a multimeter or from the spec sheet. when you're driving the robot, this can occur when you drive up to a wall and try to push through the wall (hint, no robot this size will damage a well built wall) but likely the driver will reach a wall and stop driving (unless she can't see the robot while driving, idk). the lowest current it will draw (aside from zero when it can't...) is it's "free speed" current, this is when it's spinning as fast as it can with no load on it. while you're driving the robot you can expect the current to be between these numbers, if you want to get super fancy (and you want to equip your robot to do this) you could log the instantaneous current every 10ms or however often (this can be useful if you want to diagnose faults, but again its a small robot)... so if you have two motors in parallel (which you want to do because in series one will drive harder than the other), then the current drawn by each will add, so you can double it for two motors.

anyways, here's a few options for the motor configuration:

if two of your motors in parallel draw less than continuous 1.2 amps, you could use a single controller for one robot, controlling left wheels on channel 0 and right on channel 1.

if your motors draw more than that in parallel, you will have to use two channels per side, however you could Y the PWM lines between the motor controller and the arduino

if you are using something like omni wheels and want control over every single wheel, obviously you will want one channel per wheel...

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