Explorer HAT: motors and external powering


Hi, I really like the look of the Explorer HAT for driving motors and I’m interested in using it with some cheapo DC motors. I’m a bit confused about the power arrangements on the Explorer HAT, though… I can see that it’s 5V at 200mA per motor (which I think will be OK with most DC motors which seem happy with anything between 3 and 6v).

However, I was wondering if it’s possible from me to provide power from a separate battery pack for just the motors (e.g. 3 x AA batteries). I’ve read something that it suggested it was possible, but can’t see where the power supply would connect on the HAT pinouts.

TBH, it’s probably not a problem if it’s not possible, but I was just curious!



Are you after more voltage- to deliver more “power” to your motors? Or just a separated power supply for the motors?

It’s a tricky one, since there are lots of things you can do but most of them wont make any difference to how the motors perform.

You can use the breadboard to fit a 5V regulator, and connect this to the 5V/GND connections on the headers, but this isn’t much different from just connecting a bigger battery to your Pi.

You can also remove the Explorer HAT Pro from your Pi and feed a completely different power supply in place of 5V, but beware that the 5V rail is also used for the LEDs so you can’t, for example, feed 9V to your motors without almost certainly making your LEDs go pop!


Thank you… I think maybe I’m worrying unnecessarily - I suppose I was just reluctant to draw too much current from the 5v pin and thought I ought to use a separate PSU! However, thinking about it, I suppose the 5v pin on the GPIO is just connected straight to the Pi’s power input and not via any regulator so perhaps I’m just being a worrypants for nothing.

Cheers for the response!