Why You Shouldn’t Buy Pololu 36V20CS Motor Controllers

Why You Shouldn’t Buy Pololu 36V20CS Motor Controllers

In this review, I will write some bad things about Burnt Pololu 36V20CS Robot controllers.


First of all, I will start with me. I am not beginner at motor controllers or at least implementing motor controllers to robot systems. When I bought I was very excited and curious about these motor controllers… But I get disappointed with performance and lack of guarantee.


  • Small Terminals (12-14AWG Cables Don’t fit, How Can 20 Ampere can be Drawed by this small Terminals?!)
  • Not Open Source (At least they can not burry IC’s top face, I think It is one model of Allegro mosfet driver Chip)
  • Very small mosfet transistors (They won’t conduct heat because of small metal area)
  • Too close Power lines (Motor output PCB lines close as 0,2mm so at high amperes we saw a lot of sparks!)



Very Very Small MOSFETs!

I added comparison photo of MOSFET transistor sizes. Small size causes small heat transfer area, small currents and small things..


How I burn’t Motor Controllers?

These motor controllers rated for 36V battery voltage. So I used with maxon RE35 motors at 25V. But when I applied voltage it started to work with small smokes (Because of power line sparks). It worked 4-5 times after first one motor driver stopped.

When I compared to another motor controllers Pololu drivers look like empty ballon. Sabertooth, RoboClaw motor controllers are better options… Or best of them is custom made motor controllers.


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Comments (2)

  • MakerMan Reply

    Dear Firat,

    Nice post but I have to make some remarks.

    In the pololu product page (http://www.pololu.com/catalog/product/1457), it states “Note: The terminals blocks are only rated for 15 A; for higher power applications, use thick wires soldered directly to the board”. So they have addressed your first Con already.

    For the current rating, they have a statement as follows again in product page: “Because there is no internal temperature limiting on the motor driver, the entire system should be designed to keep the load current below the 20 A limit. An easy way to achieve this is to select a motor with a stall current below that limit. However, because a good motor can have stall currents dozens of times higher than the typical operating current, motors with stall currents that are hundreds of amps can be used with this driver as long as the running current is kept low. For example, a motor with a 100 A stall current might run well at 10 A, leaving a safe margin for the current to double for several minutes at a time or to triple for several seconds. If the motor does stall completely for a prolonged period, however, the motor or driver are likely to burn out.”

    For open source hardware issue, pololu is not a company developing products with OSH concerns. So it is not an issue related with this product, it is related with all pololu products. You can read their thoughts at this link: http://www.pololu.com/blog/27/thoughts-on-open-source-hardware

    August 9, 2013 at 11:20 AM
  • MertKahyaoglu Reply

    I was used to this motor driver, I am surprised of boards low quality. It is doesn’t make any useful to soldier wires because of so near connection points.

    August 10, 2013 at 7:21 PM

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