I'm new to Arduino and need some clarification on motor drivers.

I was wondering if I can use a L298N instead of the Motor Shield R3, I hope not to be comapring apples to oranges, the doc of the Motor Shield R3 say "The Arduino Motor Shield is based on the L298" and more or less I see similar projects (Robot cars) using both but as mention I don't if I can use one or the other as "replacement".

(L298N) L298N

(Motor Shield R3):

Motor Shield R3

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    There are many pages, both here and on electronics.stackexchange.com which explain that all boards based on the very old L298 and L293 are best avoided in favor of newer FET drivers, especially if you are using battery power. If you already have one you can give it a try, but it would be a waste of money to buy one. Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 16:13

1 Answer 1


Yes. The shield is easier to user, but the breakout board you've shown uses the same chip. I'd suspect that the breakout board, which has a much bigger heat sink, can handle larger motors, though. You'll need to put wires from PWM and digital pins to the breakout board you're showing, but it's not super challenging to use those. I've used extremely similar boards in the past, as well as shields, and both work great. How big are your motors? If they're WAY too big (the breakout board can only handle 2 amps IIRC) then you'll need something else anyway.

  • Actually, all L298 based boards should be avoided, especially in something battery powered, as they are obsolete and very lossy. Choose something based on an FET bridge IC instead, or for larger motors a bridge made of discrete FETs. Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 16:04
  • OP's question related to whether the two boards are interchangeable. For many applications the readily available motor shields, or possible the shield that OP already happens to own, are sufficient. I still have a lot of L298 boards lying around from old projects, I'm not going to throw them out and buy new things if I'm happy with their performance. Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 16:08
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    The problem is that the losses mean you need an extra cell in your battery pack just to heat up the driver chip. That might be okay if you have a 12v pack and a motor that really wants a bit less, but it's a disaster whenever someone tries to do something with a lower voltage pack, and wasteful in any event. So no, "work great" is not really a helpful statement. Essentially the only reason these horrible parts remain in circulation is inertia and popular lack of understanding of how bad they are. Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 16:10
  • But they're not bad, they're just not optimal. They actually do work fine. If OP is running this from an adaptor, for example, and doesn't care about efficiency, and already has some of these things lying around there is absolutely no reason not to use them. When OP wants to optimize for power use, then I do agree that better options are available. But that's not what OP was asking Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 16:43

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