I was loosely following this tutorial to drive some DC motors with an L293D chip via GPIO. Each chip can control two motors each, but what if I want to use 5 motors? I can use 2 chips to control 4 motors, but when I want to add a third chip I have run out of 5V ports, as the Pi 3 has two. GPIO Is there any way I can add this third chip? For example, could I take two lines off of one 5V port, where each line is 5V?

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    Run the 5 volt and ground lines from the pi to a breadboard then connect your motor driver board to the breadboard. The limiting factor will be can your Pi's power supply provide enough current. The other alternative would be to power one or more driver boards with a separate 5 volt power supply - just remember to tie all the grounds together. Jun 24, 2016 at 18:25
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    @SteveRobillard I don't think current should be an issue - the motors are being powered using an AA battery pack through the chip, so I assume the 5V from the Pi just powers the chip itself. Jun 24, 2016 at 18:33
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    That would be my understanding Jun 24, 2016 at 18:53

1 Answer 1


The two 5V power pins on the GPIO header are not ports in the sense that ports may be isolated from each other. These power pins are part of a common power bus. There is more than one pin simply as a convenience for multiple plug-in connections (same is true for the 3.3V pins).

As you suggested, you can connect one or more 5V lines to each pin. So two or even three of your chips can connect to a single 5V power pin.

When connecting to the power pins on the GPIO header, you must ensure your current draw is within the available supply of power without causing an adverse voltage drop that might impact other power consumers. Based on the comments above, you are only powering the chips themselves which is not a heavy load so you should be fine as long as your power supply is sufficient.

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