DC Motor Control Using an H-Bridge using arduino

DC Motor Control


In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to control a DC motor’s direction using an H-bridge.

To reverse a DC motor, you need to be able to reverse the direction of the current in the motor. The easiest way to do this is using an H-bridge circuit. There are many different models and brands of H-Bridge. This tutorial uses one of the most basic, a Texas Instruments L293NE or a Texas Instruments SN754410.

DC Motor Control

If you simply want to turn a motor on and off, and don’t need to reverse it, for example if you’re controlling a fan, try the tutorial on controlling high current loads with transistors.

(:toc Table of Contents:)


For this lab you’ll need:

Prepare the breadboard

Connect power and ground on the breadboard to power and ground from the microcontroller. On the Arduino module, use the 5V and any of the ground connections:

Add a Digital Input (a switch)

Connect a switch to digital input 2 on the Arduino.

Find a motor

Find yourself a DC motor that runs on low DC voltage within the range of 5 – 15V. RadioShack often sells several small DC motors, the NYU Computer Store on occasion has small a few, the junk shelf is almost always a goldmine for discarded motors and fans. Asking classmates and second years is another good approach.

Solder leads to the motor’s terminals. With DC motors, there is no polarity regarding the motor terminals so you can connect it any way you’d like.

Optional: Consider testing your motor with a bench power supply from the equipment room. Ask a teacher or resident if you need help setting one up. Begin by adjusting the voltage on the bench power supply and observe its effects. Take note of its speed at different voltages without dipping to low or too high. Running a motor at a voltage much lower or much higher than what it’s rated for could potentially damage or permanently destroy your motor. When the motor doesn’t spin, the voltage is too low. When the motor runs hot, or sounds like it’s straining, the voltage is too high.

This example uses an H-bridge integrated circuit, the Texas Instruments L293NE or Texas Instruments SN754410. There is one in your Physical Computing Kit, and the NYU Computer Store and many distributors such as DigikeySparkFunMouser and Jameco sell them as well.

How your H-bridge works

The L293NE/SN754410 is a very basic H-bridge. It has two bridges, one on the left side of the chip and one on the right, and can control 2 motors. It can drive up to 1 amp of current, and operate between 4.5V and 36V. The small DC motor you are using in this lab can run safely off a low voltage so this H-bridge will work just fine.

DC Motor Control

The H-bridge has the following pins and features:

  • Pin 1 (1,2EN) enables and disables our motor whether it is give HIGH or LOW
  • Pin 2 (1A) is a logic pin for our motor (input is either HIGH or LOW)
  • Pin 3 (1Y) is for one of the motor terminals
  • Pin 4-5 are for ground
  • Pin 6 (2Y) is for the other motor terminal
  • Pin 7 (2A) is a logic pin for our motor (input is either HIGH or LOW)
  • Pin 8 (VCC2) is the power supply for our motor, this should be given the rated voltage of your motor
  • Pin 9-11 are unconnected as you are only using one motor in this lab
  • Pin 12-13 are for ground
  • Pin 14-15 are unconnected
  • Pin 16 (VCC1) is connected to 5V


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