A l298n motor controller or dual H-Bridge is useful for offloading the control of speed and direction from the main logic controller like a Raspberry Pi. A single board computer (SBC) like the Raspberry Pi has not enough power to directly supply a DC motor or stepper motor with energie. Normally a SBC  works with 3.3V or 5.0V and a very low current of some 30 mA. A DC Motor normally works with 3V – 24V and a high current of 0.600A – 4A. A stepper motor as well normally works with 0.400mA to 1,2A and 12V.

There are different types of l298n motor controllers available depending on the type of motor that is being used (DC Motor, stepper motor, brushless motors etc.). For small robots with DC motors between a voltage of 3V – 24V and a current of 0,3A – 2A a motor controller based on a H-Bridge is sufficent. For high performance brushless motors from RC cars an electronic speed controller (ESC) is required.

L298N Dual H Bridge DC Motor Controller Module for Arduino and Raspberry Pi

The following motor driver is a cheap one with no LEDs to show the status of the channels. I normally use this type of H-Bridge motor driver in my robot cars. This motor driver is sufficient to drive small DC motos in a robot car. With a Pulse-width modulation PWM signal it is possible to control the speed of your motors for each channel.

Amazon link to buy the controller: H-Bridge to control the dc motor speed

Specification:

Driver chip: L298N Dual H Bridge DC Motor Driver IC
Driven part of the terminal supply voltage: VMS 5V ~ 12V
Driven part of the peak current IO: 2A per bridge
The logical part of the terminal supply voltage: VSS 4.5V ~ 5.5V
The logical part of the operating current range: 0mA ~ 36mA
Control signal input voltage range: 4.5V ~ 5.5V (high) / 0V (low)
Max power consumption: 25W
Operating temperature: -20°C to +135°C
Size: 43 x 43 x 27mm
l298n motor controller

l298n motor controller

The second motor driver shows with four LEDs the status of the channels. This makes it very easy to find failures in your circuit or controlling program you use to steer the robot car. With this motor controller motos up to 2A and 35V could be used.

Specification l298n H-Bridge:

Driver chip: L298N Dual H Bridge DC Motor Driver IC
Driven part of the terminal supply voltage: VMS 5V ~ 24V
Driven part of the peak current IO: 2A per bridge
The logical part of the terminal supply voltage: VSS 4.5V ~ 5.5V
The logical part of the operating current range: 0mA ~ 36mA
Control signal input voltage range: 4.5V ~ 5.5V (high) / 0V (low)
Max power consumption: 20W
Operating temperature: -25°C ~ +130°C
Size: 55 x 60 x 30mm
l298n motor controller LED

l298n motor controller LED

5V supply voltage

The 5V supply voltage / out which is available over one of the screw terminals is not stable enough to run a Raspberry Pi. I you use more than 12V as supply voltage VMS you may damage your single board computer if you use the 5V supply voltage / out because the voltage converter is not good enough to use it for boards like an Arduino or Raspberry Pi.

Stepper motor driver

With this two motors controllers you could not only drive DC motors. It is also possible to drive a four phase stepper motor. The current and voltage supplied by the L298N H-Bridge is suffient for common stepper motors like a NEMA17 stepper motor.

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