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I'm doing an RC car with arduino and I got stuck on the H-bridge part.

I'm using an old RC car as a base, so I'm taking advantage of the structure (including the engine and battery) and changing only the electronic part.

I started using a module with an L298N, but after 15 minutes it started to smell burned and stopped working. Every datasheet I find is for the L298 without the N, which tells me they support up to 50v and 2A, but nothing tells me about the L298N exactly.

I need a H-bridge to finish it, I wish it would be possible to control the speed without PWM.

The battery is 9.6V and the motor consumes 2A.

Is there any H-bridge module I can buy? Or, what components should I use to build a H bridge?

_I'd rather buy some module, because if I need to build my H-bridge, I'll have to do it on boards like this: Board Example

Board Example

PS: I live in the interior of Brazil and it is difficult to find good electronics stores, even to buy over the internet.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The letter code after the L298 is just manufacturer-specific packaging and performance information. I don't think you'll have much luck getting 2A with the L298, you can find plenty of questions and answers on this site about its performance. \$\endgroup\$ – user133493 May 2 '17 at 2:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ For your information, shopping suggestions are off topic here. \$\endgroup\$ – Bradman175 May 2 '17 at 2:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'd recommend staying with parts that are either cheap enough that you can buy a supply of them or else easily available in your area. If you could design, I'd recommend you use discrete BJTs and work out a crafted design that works. A linear arrangement to avoid PWM would likely burn up the circuit, which is a reason why PWM is used. I think you are stuck figuring out how to operate PWM without mistake and stuck finding some local metal mass to use as a heat sink, too. You may need to find a discrete design using parts you can find locally, too, if the L298 (and similar) is hard to find. \$\endgroup\$ – jonk May 2 '17 at 4:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ See this about the L298(N) and note how usually crappy it is: electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/108686/… \$\endgroup\$ – Andy aka May 2 '17 at 7:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Bradman175 Thanks for the information! Just for clarify, I want to know if there is a good replacement for the L298N, or is easier to build my own H-bridge. And if build is easier, what components should I use? \$\endgroup\$ – Wtamaso May 3 '17 at 3:03
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For an electronic part, always refer to the datasheet. Note that the link I gave is from ST Microelectronics, the manufacturer and not other alternative source (Sparkfun, Arduino forum, etc). Reliable source of information is important in engineering.

Right a the top of the datasheet, you will find this

enter image description here

L298 is the name of the circuit, but it does not refer to a orderable part number. L298N is a part you can order and it refers to the Multiwatt15 version of the L298.

As for the device that burned. You are right, maximum absolute ratings are 50V, 2A continuous, but these are the very high limit. You should stay away from these value unless you are sure that you need to.

Even though the device can supports 50V and 2A, it doesn't mean it can dissipate the heat it produces. If you look at the voltage drop of the transistor when saturated at 2A, you will find : \$V_{drop} = 4.9V\$. Which means \$P=4.9V*2A=9.8W\$. 9.8W of heat needs to be dissipated by the device, and that is only for a single H-Bridge, the chip has 2!.

Now, look at the junction to air thermal resistance of this IC :

enter image description here

\$\Delta T = 9.8W * (35+3) = 372^{\circ}C\$

Is that too much ? Well..

enter image description here

Yes, it is too much!

In other word, the device can drives 2A if you can dissipate the heat it produces. To do so, you will have to add a heat sink. The physical case of the L298N is designed to be mounted on a heat sink, that is why there is a hole and a metallic back plate.

Adding a heat sink will reduce the thermal resistance, therefore reducing the temperature rise of the IC. Here's a heat sink that could fit for the L298N

According to its datasheet, its thermal resistance with the air is about \$2.70^{\circ}C/W\$ and this value decrease with air velocity (i.e. cooling). I am not sure what would be the thermal resistance between the L298N and the heat sink, but I assume it would be quite negligible if you mount it well with thermal paste. Assuming this, we can say that \$\Delta T = 9.8W * (3+2.7^{\circ}C/W) = 55.86^{\circ}C\$

With this heatsink, oeprating a single H-Bridge at 2A would mean that you could approximately operate your RC car at an ambient temperature of 70 celsius degree and it wouldn't overheat. Make the dissipated power twice as big if you drive the 2 H-Bridge circuits.

The datasheet also mention an absolute maximum rating of total power dissipation of 25W. This is maximum peak value. If you go there, you might need a bigger heat sink, or some cooling.

I know you said that electronics part are not easily available where you are, but I would say that a voltage drop of 4.9V is not very good performances in my opinion. If you can find another H-Bridge that creates less heat, that could be a good thing. Making your own H-Bridge is not very hard, but yes, you would need something to hold the aprt together, just like the board you showed.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for this very informative answer! I'm lerning a lot with it! I was using a module like this imgur.com/1NPj2aA, that already have some heat sink, but it proves not be enough. I thought to use some small cooler like this imgur.com/a/89uQd (maybe without the fan) if I need to build my H-bidge. \$\endgroup\$ – Wtamaso May 3 '17 at 3:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ You're welcome. Please, mark this message as the answer if you consider it is. \$\endgroup\$ – Pier-Yves Lessard May 3 '17 at 13:02

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