Adafruit has upgraded the original MotorShield kit to make the best, easiest way to drive DC and Stepper motors. This shield will make quick work of your next robotics project! The ability to drive up to 4 DC motors or 2 stepper motors has remained, but many improvements have been added:
Instead of a L293D darlington driver, it now has the TB6612 MOSFET driver: with 1.2A per channel and 3A peak current capability. It also has much lower voltage drops across the motor, so you get more torque out of your batteries, and there are built-in flyback diodes as well.
Instead of using a latch and the Arduino's PWM pins, we have a fully-dedicated PWM driver chip onboard. This chip handles all the motor and speed controls over I²C. Only two pins (SDA & SCL) are required to drive the multiple motors, and since it's I²C you can also connect any other I²C devices or shields to the same pins. This also makes it drop-in compatible with any Arduino, such as the Uno, Leonardo and Mega R3. (Due's Wire support is still in beta, but once that works well we can test it on the Due)
Completely stackable design: 5 address-select pins means up to 32 stackable shields: that's 64 steppers or 128 DC motors!
There are lots of other little improvements such as a polarity protection FETs on the power pins and a space for prototyping. And the shield is assembled and tested at Adafruit, so all you have to do is solder on straight or stacking headers and the terminal blocks.
It comes with an assembled & tested shield, terminal block, plain header, jumper. Some soldering is required to install the headers. Stacking headers not included, but we carry them in the shop so if you want to stack shields, please pick them up at the same time. Arduino and motors are not included but we have lots of motors in the shop and all our hobby servos, DC motors, and stepper motors work great.
With the Adafruit Learning System you can find a great tutorial with a lot of documentation and example code.