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Review on Motor driver FD04A (4-channel 2A)

Control up to 4 DC motors 7-25 VDC with extra capabilities
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FD04A_power_board_scratch_test_software.zip81.17 KB

Hi!
Today I´m writing on my test on this versatile motor driver from Cytron Technologies. You have its full specifications here. This driver answers the typical question on: how can I control a DC motor with my (put your microcontroller here)? 
In my case I tested with Raspberry Pi as I wanted to check some functionalities also with that computer for further developments.
So what this board can do? Prety much many things besides handle 4 motors in DC from 7 to 25 VDC, in 1.5 Amps countinuosly or 2.5 Amps peak. 
Some interesting extra details this board has are:
  • 2 LEDs as direction indicator for each motor.
  • 1 LED as power indicator.
  • Pluggable connector for more user friendly design.
  • Additional test/manual buttons for each channel for fast verification and manual control of motor.
  • Vmotor polarity protection.
  • 5V is more needed for operation.
  • Smaller toggle switch for ON and OFF.

FD04A (4-channel  2A motor driver)

The test

In order to give it a initial test, I connected this board in this way:

Raspberry Pi: was sending easy commands to turn on and off the motor thourgh GPIO pin to the input pin of the motor board.

Motor board:

  • recieves 24 VDC from power supply
  • is connected in Motor 1 output to the motor

Motor: it is a 24V DC 0.4 Amps motor.

I tested the motor and power supply first with the test buttons the board has and it worked fine. Then I connected the Raspberry Pi to the motor board and I did a little scratch program to test it, basically turn on and off a GPIO pin during some milliseconds. The motor driver was working fine. You can see my video test here, also at the top of this review.

Further tests includes:

  • more motors in the same output to test the maximum current output.
  • high and low frequency control of the motors, to test peak current and heating of the components.
  • feedback control of the motor to see how fast can control the motor board. It says 10 kHz in its user manual...

I let the whole thing working for several minutes and only some components in the motor board were a bit warm but nothing to be worried.

Comparison

We can directly compare by price and basic functionality this board with the "standard de facto" (for many hobbyists) motor driver test L298N based one:

 

  • This FD04A has 4 channels instead of 2, but the first it´s also twice the price, so they are at the same range.
  • FD04A can handle 1.5 Amps continuosly instead of the 2 Amps of the L298N, so the later is a bit more powerful also with a wider range of voltage.
  • FD04A has a footprint wider than two L298N boards but in volume and weight are more or less the same. 
  • Finally FD04A it also has some extra capabilities like the input connector, on/off switch, test buttons for each motor and LEDs to show status of each motor...

 

Having all these capabilities in only one board is very convenient when you are designing a robot, but as always you have to check that the specs of the board meet the motors you want to handle.