These are the motors that are commonly found in the toys and the tape recorders. These motors change the direction of rotation by changing the polarity. Most chips can’t pass enough current or voltage to spin a motor. Also, motors tend to be electrically noisy (spikes) and can slam power back into the control lines when the motor direction or speed is changed.
Specialized circuits (motor drivers) have been developed to supply motors with power and to isolate the other ICs from electrical problems. These circuits can be designed such that they can be completely separate boards, reusable from project to project.
A very popular circuit for driving DC motors (ordinary or gearhead) is called an H-bridge. It’s called that because it looks like the capital letter ‘H’ on classic schematics. The great ability of an H-bridge circuit is that the motor can be driven forward or backward at any speed, optionally using a completely independent power source.
This circuit known as the H-bridge (named for its topological similarity to the letter “H”) is commonly used to drive motors. In this circuit two of four transistors are selectively enabled to control current flow through a motor.
opposite pair of transistors (Transistor One and Transistor Three) is enabled, allowing current to flow through the motor. The other pair is disabled, and can be thought of as out of the circuit.
By determining which pair of transistors is enabled, current can be made to flow in either of the two directions through the motor. Because permanent-magnet motors reverse their direction of turn when the current flow is reversed, this circuit allows bidirectional control of the motor.
It should be clear that one would never want to enable Transistors One and Two or Transistors Three and Four simultaneously. This would cause current to flow from Power + to Power – through the transistors, and not the motors, at the maximum current-handling capacity of either the power supply or the transistors. This usually results in failure of the H-Bridge. To prevent the possibility of this failure, enable circuitry as depicted in Figure is typically used.
In this circuit, the internal inverters ensure that the vertical pairs of transistors are never enabled simultaneously. The Enable input determines whether or not the whole circuit is operational. If this input is false, then none of the transistors are enabled, and the motor is free to coast to a stop.
By turning on the Enable input and controlling the two Direction inputs, the motor can be made to turn in either direction.
Note that if both direction inputs are the same state (either true or false) and the circuit is enabled, both terminals will be brought to the same voltage (Power + or Power – , respectively). This operation will actively brake the motor, due to a property of motors known as back emf, in which a motor that is turning generates a voltage counter to its rotation. When both terminals of the motor are brought to the same electrical potential, the back emf causes resistance to the motor’s rotation.