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MicroView Learning Kit

09 Spinning a Motor


Remember before when you played around with a servo motor? Now we are going to tackle spinning a motor. This requires the use of a transistor, which can switch a larger amount of current than the MicroView can. When using a transistor, you just need to make sure its maximum specs are high enough for your use. The transistor we are using for this circuit is rated at 40V max and 200 milliamps max – perfect for our toy motor! When the motor is spinning and suddenly turned off, the magnetic field inside it collapses, generating a voltage spike. This can damage the transistor. To prevent this, we use a "flyback diode", which diverts the voltage spike around the transistor.


Component Reference Image
330Ω Resistor 330Ω Resistor Diagram
Transistor Transistor Diagram
Diode Diode Diagram
Motor Motor Diagram
Red Jumper Red Jumper Diagram
Red Jumper Red Jumper Diagram
Blue Jumper Blue Jumper Diagram
Yellow Jumper Yellow Jumper Diagram

Checkout our breadboard guide and MicroView Pinout for more information.

Breadboard Setup

MicroView Arduino Code

What you should see

The DC Motor should spin if you have assembled the circuit’s components correctly, and also verified/uploaded the correct code. If your circuit is not working check the troubleshooting section below.

Code to Note

In this code we use the command setPwmFrequency(motorPIN,1); to call a function (an encapsulated section of resuable code) for setting the PWM Frequency. Pulse Width Modulation, or PWM, is a technique for getting analog results with digital means. Digital control is used to create a square wave, a signal switched between on and off.

The setPwmFrequency function is defined on line 25.

void setPwmFrequency(int pin, int divisor){


USB Port not providing enough power or tripping?

Some USB ports don't provide enough current to spin the motor. If that's the case with a USB port on your computer we recommend powering your MicroView and motor with a powered USB hub or by using batteries. Checkout this circuit for powering your motor with batteries.

Motor Not Spinning

If you sourced your own transistor, double check with the data sheet that the pinout is compatible with a P2N2222AG (many are reversed).

Still No Luck

If you sourced your own motor, double check that it will work with 5 volts and that it does not draw too much power.

Still Not Working Sometimes the MicroView will disconnect from the computer. Try un-plugging and then re-plugging it into your USB port.

Still No Success?

A broken circuit is no fun, send us an e-mail and we will get back to you as soon as we can:

Continue on to circuit 10 Relays