Robot building with the Sabertooth 2x60 Motor controller. Step one: Tips
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Step 1: This Simple Instructable Will Hopefully Save You a Bit of Trouble When Working With a Dimension Engineering Sabertooth Motor Controller. It Will Be the First in a Series Helping You to Build a Robot From Scratch.
Step 2: Defining the Problem
The Sabertooth is a excellant piece of tech. Its simple to use, very well built, and one of the most affordable options once you start using larger motors. I have owned 3 different models the 12x2 the 25x2 and now i will be featuring the 60x2 in this instructable.
The issue I was trying to avoid with this controller was that there is a opening behind the screw terminals that can allow high amperage wires to ground directly to the board. This will make a loud pop and release the magic smoke all tinkerers fear. Attached is the post-mortem shots of my dearly missed Sabertooth 2x25 controller.
Step 3: A Simple Fix for a Simple Problem
This is a issue with the terminals on the 2x25 and 2x60 contollers and may affect others. All you need to do is put something non conductive between the screw terminals and the backing plate. I am not sure why there are gaps in the plastic behind the terminals but if a wire works loose through vibration and gets back there you are going to have a bad day. In this case I hot glued a piece of 3/4 inch wide shrink wrap. Anything thin enough and non conductive will work.
Step 4: Wrap Up
I hope this instructable save you this pain of watching your baby robot go up in smoke. I will be adding more to this series as I rebuild my robot. I find myself using this fix for all kinds of electronic clearance issues. the pictures on this page show using this same trick on a Arduino Mega where the attached shield was grounding out on the Ethernet port.
Thanks for reading!