Friday, 7 December 2012

Modifying a Pololu Shield for the Due

The Arduino Due is a 3 volt board all through, except for providing a 5 volt line on the same pin as the Uno. The Pololu Dual VNH5019 Motor Driver Shield for Arduino is compatible with either 3 volt or 5 volt logic, however it takes its VDD from the 5 volt pin on the Arduino headers. To make it safe for the Due I tied the 3 volt pin to VDD on the end of the card (red wire) and cut the trace from the 5 volt pin (lower right near the mounting hole). As a result the logic returns come at 3V rather than 5V, safe for the Due and still works with the Uno.

My first thought (and test) was to jump the 3 volt and 5 volt pins and cut off the 5 volt pin so the board gets all its feed that way. Problem: boards stacked on top of the driver shield may still be expecting 5 volts to drive displays, etc.

I have a feeling there are going to be a bunch of 3/5 volt challenges ahead, but on the plus side, the Due has capabilities we spent about $20K to get in our lab in 1984!

From Pololu's User Manual on 3V systems:

"Logic power at the same level as your controlling device should be supplied to the VDD pin. This will typically be between 2.5 and 5 V, but the VNH5019 motor drivers are guaranteed to treat any logic input voltage over 2.1 V as high. The only purpose of the VDD pin is to power the pull-up resistors on the EN/DIAG lines."


"Current sense output. The pin voltage is roughly 140 mV per amp of output current when the CS_DIS pin is low or disconnected. The current sense reading is more accurate at higher currents. (Note that while the CS voltage can potentially exceed 3 V at high currents, the current sense circuit is safe for use with 3V analog inputs. The MCU’s analog input voltage will be clamped to a safe value by its protection diode, and only a few hundred microamps at most will flow through that diode.)"