Orangutan X2 with VNH2 and LCD

This robot controller is by far the most powerful Orangutan, and it is intended for small and medium-sized robots. The design features a dual-AVR architecture that leaves an ATmega1284P AVR microcontroller almost completely available to the user while taking care of low-level motor control tasks on a pre-programmed mega328, which also doubles as a programmer for the master processor. This is our top-of-the-line version, featuring VNH2SP30 motor drivers and a 4-line x 20-character LCD.


The Orangutan X2, the most powerful member of Pololu’s line of Orangutan robot controllers, is designed to be a compact, high-performance control center for robotics and automation projects. The Orangutan X2’s two-board design allows the unit to maintain the compactness characteristic of the Orangutan line while offering substantially more electrical and computational power: the X2 can deliver up to a horsepower across two motor channels, and the twin-microcontroller architecture allows maximum access to the primary microcontroller, an Atmel ATmega1284P AVR running at 20 MHz with 128 KB of program memory and 16 KB of SRAM. It has an outline smaller than a credit card, which makes it small enough to fit in a mini-sumo or small maze solver, yet it is powerful enough to run a 1/10th-scale monster truck. The board features an integrated dual motor driver capable of delivering 14 A continuous (30 A peak) per channel, a buzzer for simple sounds and music, an LCD port with optional 20×4 character LCD, three user pushbuttons, five user LEDs, a built-in programmer and USB connectivity, and more; a battery, motors, and sensors can be connected directly to the module for quick creation of advanced, powerful robots.

Pololu Orangutan X2 Robot Controller, top view with top and bottom board and labels (power capacitor orientation may vary).

Note: The motor driver (top) board pictured above is also available separately as a dual high-power motor driver.

The Orangutan X2 has two microcontrollers: a user-programmable Atmel ATmega1284P AVR for the main application, and an auxiliary ATmega328P that is pre-programmed to interface with most of the dedicated hardware on the X2 and serve as an AVR ISP programmer for the main processor, which means that no external programmer is required. The two-microcontroller design simplifies multitasking by relieving the main processor of common tasks such as motor control and melody generation, and the approach also leaves almost all of the mega1284 hardware peripherals, such as timers and interrupts, and most of the mega1284 I/O lines to be used for your higher-level design.

The Orangutan X2 is compatible with freely available development software for Atmel’s AVR microcontrollers, including Atmel’s AVR/Atmel Studio, the WinAVR GCC C/C++ compiler, and AVRDUDE. We provide an extensive set of software libraries that make it easy to interface with all of the integrated hardware, including the auxiliary microcontroller. Using these libraries, it takes just a few simple lines of code to write to the LCD, read button presses, drive motors, and control servos. These libraries come with a number of sample programs that demonstrate how to use the various components on the Orangutan X2.

Key Features and Specifications

    Overall unit dimensions: 3.00" x 1.86"
    Input voltage: 6-16 V
    2 high-power, bidirectional motor ports deliver 30 A maximum (9 A continuous for VNH3 and 14 A continuous for VNH2 without heat sink)
    Programmable 20 MHz Atmel ATmega1284P AVR microcontroller (128 KB flash, 16 KB SRAM, 4 KB EEPROM)
    18 general-purpose I/O lines, 8 of which can be used as analog input channels (and the 11 LCD I/O lines can serve as additional user I/O lines)
    4 hardware timers (2 8-bit timers and 2 16-bit timers)
    Integrated programmer and USB connectivity
    Battery voltage monitoring and self-shutdown option
    Removable 20-character x 4-line LCD with contrast control if your Orangutan X2 package includes an LCD
    Push-on, push-off power control enables multiple power switches
    Buzzer controlled by auxiliary mega328 microcontroller
    3 user pushbutton switches
    5 user LEDs
    User potentiometer
    Upgradable firmware
    Extensive software library support

Orangutan X2 Package Options and Pricing

Components included in the Pololu Orangutan X2 Robot Controller with LCD.

    Orangutan X2 main board
    Motor driver (VNH2SP30 or VNH3SP30) daughter board
    USB A to Mini-B cable
    4-line x 20-character LCD with LED backlight (with LCD option)
    Extra IDC connector for LCD (with LCD option)
    15" LCD cable (with LCD option)



Size:     3.00" x 1.86"

General specifications

Processor:     ATmega1284P with slave ATmega328P @ 20 MHz1
RAM size:     16384 bytes
Program memory size:     128 Kbytes
Motor driver:     VNH2SP30
Motor channels:     2
User I/O lines:     182
Max current on a single I/O:     40 mA
Minimum operating voltage:     6 V
Maximum operating voltage:     16 V
Continuous output current per channel:     14 A
Peak output current per channel:     30 A
Continuous paralleled output current:     25 A
Current sense:     0.13 V/A
Maximum PWM frequency:     19.5 kHz
Reverse voltage protection?:     Y3
External programmer required?:     N
LCD included?:     Y


1    The slave ATmega328P comes preprogrammed with firmware to control the on-board hardware.
2    All 18 can be used as digital I/Os and 8 can be used as analog inputs.
3    There are unprotected electrolytic capacitors that will be damaged by reverse voltage.

Robot Controllers: