Differing Boards

Hello, I am new to this forum, so I apologize in advance if this is the incorrect forum.

I am at a college that is starting a team to design a car for a competition and we are likely to use an Arduino or Arduino variant board to control the engine. The car will be a serial hybrid electric car, if this helps. I was wondering if anyone could tell me the difference between the Arduino Pro and the Duemilanove or Diecimila. As far as I can tell the pro is slightly worse.

Also if anybody knows, what does the motor shield do, I can’t figure out what it does that is special. Thanks in advance.

The Duemilanove and decimila are similar to each other, the newer Duemilanove has an auto-detect power (USB or external) feature.

As far as I can tell the pro is slightly worse

I don’t know if that’s the right way to put it.

Here’s a description of different boards

http://arduino.cc/en/Main/Hardware

Pro:

Pros
Cheapest
Smallest
Can choose male or female headers, may be more flexible for your prototyping environment

Cons
Can’t replace AtMega chip if something goes wrong
No onboard USB - have to provide your own programming interface

There’s no one right choice for everyone - it all depends on how you will be using it. For example no onboard USB may not be an issue for you if you already have a USB-TTL cable.

The Motor Shield allows you to… use motors! You can’t just hook a motor directly to the arduino pins - the microcontroller can’t supply enough current to make it move. The motor shield allows you to hook up a variety of motors (optionally with their own power supply) and send commands to control their direction and speed.

Ok, thanks.