I have purchased the undermentioned robot chassis with DC motors supported with plastic gears from a local store. There is a 3A battery holder and when I connect robot to that and put it on the ground both the motors working fine and smooth. But when I connect the L298N motor controller which was made by myself and tested with proteus, only one motor is working. When I switch the wires of both motors, still the motor which worked before is working and the other motor never runs unless I manually give a little rotation to the wheel.

I use a PIC18F4431 to control the motor controller and tried USB power and a 5V regulator created by myself and the result is the same in both occasions. What could be the issue here? If I tried oiling the malfunctioning motor will it work? I heard one of my friends having the same issue, one motor is not working. But both motors work with just two pen torch batteries and can't think of a valid reason that the motor is faulty. May be my motor controller? But when I swap the wires from faulty to the working one, the working one still works as I've mentioned above.

Robot car chassis

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  • $\begingroup$ It's possible the power supply (battery) just can't deliver enought current or voltage to run both motors at once. If you're just using 3 AA cells, you might get better results with more. Alternatively, if the wires from the battery, through the controller to the motors are very thin, this may restrict the current. $\endgroup$ – Andy Dec 18 '15 at 10:54
  • $\begingroup$ The motors work fine when connected to the stock motor controller but don't work when connected to your motor controller. Is this your problem? I would say that there's some mistake with your motor controller (and/or the batteries are low or dead as @Andy mentions). Can you post schematics for how you have everything setup? $\endgroup$ – Chuck Dec 18 '15 at 16:13
  • $\begingroup$ @Chuck No Chuck when I tried connecting the motors directly to the battery pack which is in my case two 3AA batteries, both motors work fine. But when I connect them to the motor controller and supply USB power, only one motor works. I have edited my post by adding schematics. $\endgroup$ – Blogger Dec 19 '15 at 2:18
  • $\begingroup$ @Andy But one motor is working and when I supply from 2 x 3AA batteries, both the motors work fine. But USB giving more current than those batteries right? $\endgroup$ – Blogger Dec 19 '15 at 2:20
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    $\begingroup$ continuing from @jwpat7 ; may you have hit the torque limit of the motors by giving less than required current to them? and maybe one of the motors is just a little bit less resisting the motion? $\endgroup$ – Gürkan Çetin Dec 19 '15 at 8:03

Sounds like a load balancing problem in combination with a current issue. Do you have another L298N to try? Make sure the IC isn't defective, or have you checked the current draw at each motor. Do these motors have a capacitor installed across the leads on each motor? I doubt you hit the torque limit of the motors, as it appears that they came in a kit and were probably selected for the kit by the manufacturer because of their specs. It seems like You're not getting enough current to get past starting torque, a capacitor on each motor will help with the initial current draw.

How are you powering the USB? Is it from a laptop? Most USB ports on laptops put out pretty low current to save on battery. Try a powered USB hub.

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