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Python library for the Pololu Dual MAX14870 Motor Driver for Raspberry Pi
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Python library for the Pololu Dual MAX14870 Motor Driver for Raspberry Pi

Version: 1.0.1
Release Date: 2018-04-03


This library runs on the Raspberry Pi (Model B+ or newer) and provides functions for controlling both channels of the Pololu Dual MAX14870 Motor Driver for Raspberry Pi. This library supports both Python 2 and Python 3.

Getting Started


This library depends on pigpio, and the instructions below explain how to set it up.

These instructions assume you are using Raspbian, Debian, or some other distribution that provides the apt command for managing packages. If you do not have apt, you will need to use a different method to install the required packages.

These instructions also assume you will use Python 2. If you want to use Python 3, you will need to:

  • install the python3-pigpio package instead of python-pigpio (it is okay to install both)
  • use the python3 command instead of python for running Python scripts

First, to download and install pigpio and its Python module, run:

sudo apt install python-pigpio

Then, to start the pigpiod daemon, run:

sudo systemctl start pigpiod

Optionally, to automatically start the daemon every time your Raspberry Pi boots, you can also run:

sudo systemctl enable pigpiod

Finally, to download and install the dual_max14870_rpi library, run:

git clone
cd dual-max14870-motor-driver-rpi
sudo python install

Running the example program

This library comes with an example program that drives each motor in both directions. To run the example, navigate to the dual-max14870-motor-driver-rpi directory and run:


Library reference

This library uses ultrasonic 20 kHz PWM to drive the motors.

Motor speeds in this library are represented as numbers between -480 and 480 (inclusive). A speed of 0 corresponds to braking. Positive speeds correspond to current flowing from M1A/M2A to M1B/M2B, while negative speeds correspond to current flowing in the other direction.

The library can be imported into a Python program with the following line:

from dual_max14870_rpi import motors, MAX_SPEED

After importing the library, you can use the functions below to enable the motors and set motor speeds:

  • motors.enable(): Enable the motor drivers.
  • motors.disable(): Disable the motor drivers.
  • motors.setSpeeds(m1_speed, m2_speed): Set speed and direction for both motor 1 and motor 2.
  • motors.motor1.setSpeed(speed): Set speed and direction for motor 1.
  • motors.motor2.setSpeed(speed): Set speed and direction for motor 2.
  • motors.getFault(): Returns True if there is a motor driver fault, False if no fault.

For convenience, a constant called MAX_SPEED (which is equal to 480) is available on all the objects provided by this library. You can access it directly by just writing MAX_SPEED if you imported it as shown above, or it can be accessed in the following ways:

  • motors.MAX_SPEED
  • motors.motor1.MAX_SPEED
  • motors.motor2.MAX_SPEED

If you are controlling multiple motor drivers, you might prefer to import the library using import dual_max14870_rpi, which requires the commands listed above to be prefixed with dual_max14870_rpi..

Version history

  • 1.0.1 (2018-04-03): Improved error behavior and exception handling.
  • 1.0.0 (2018-03-30): Original release.
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