This programmable module is designed to be the core of a small robot, either as an auxiliary controller atop a Raspberry Pi base or as a complete control solution on its own. Its ATmega32U4 AVR microcontroller comes preloaded with an Arduino-compatible bootloader. On-board hardware includes dual motor drivers that can deliver 1.7 A per channel and an efficient voltage regulator that allows the controller to work with a 5.5 V to 36 V input voltage, along with level shifters that enable it to interface with a Raspberry Pi. This version (item #3118) does include any through-hole components or connectors, allowing for customized assembly or standalone use.
The A-Star 32U4 Robot Controller SV with Raspberry Pi Bridge is a programmable module well-suited for robotics applications, designed to work either as an auxiliary controller mounted to a Raspberry Pi or as a standalone control solution for a small robot. This A-Star (abbreviated A*) is based on the ATmega32U4 AVR microcontroller from Microchip (formerly Atmel), which has built-in USB functionality, and it ships with a preloaded Arduino-compatible bootloader. Its complement of peripheral hardware includes dual motor drivers capable of delivering a continuous 1.7 A per channel, along with pushbuttons, LEDs, and an optional buzzer for building a user interface. An efficient switching voltage regulator allows the controller to work over a wide range of input voltages (5.5 V to 36 V).
The robot controller board conforms to the Raspberry Pi HAT specification, allowing it to be used as an add-on for a Raspberry Pi with a 40-pin GPIO header (Model B+ or newer, including Pi 3 Model B+ and Model A+). On-board level shifters make it easy to set up I²C communication and interface other signals between the two controllers, and the A-Star automatically supplies 5 V power to an attached Raspberry Pi. In this setup, the Raspberry Pi can handle the high-level robot control while relying on the A-Star for low-level tasks like reading analog sensors and controlling timing-sensitive devices (e.g. servos).
We provide a library that helps establish communication between the A-Star and a Raspberry Pi, as well as a tutorial that demonstrates how to use the library and its included example code to build such a robot.
More technical information at Pololu.