NKC electronics motor shield used with other parts

Hi all, I recently bought and assembled this motor shield from NKC electronics: http://www.nkcelectronics.com/freeduino-arduino-motor-control-shield-kit.html It works great and I'm happy with it. However, I was going to use it and some other components, (ultrasonic range finder, infrared LEDs, etc) to make a robot. There is just one problem. The motor shield takes up all of the digital pins (and the rest of the pins for that matter, except the analogs and TX and RX). So, I have two questions:

1) can I use the Tx and Rx pins to control components? or are they just for communication with a computer?

2) if not, any ideas about how to get some digital pins, or an equivalent, available?

Thanks!

That board only USES 4 pins. The other 9 (7 not counting TX and RX) digital pins and the 6 analog pins (which could also be used as digital pins) are still available for you to use.

Since that's a do-it-yourself kit, you could replace the short header pins with these:

http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=9280 http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=9279

This allows you to expose the pins on top of the motor shield.

Yep i was planning on doing the same thing with this version of the motor shield. Then i'll probably bock the pin holes the shield uses. http://www.makershed.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=MKAD7

This shield has the ICs soldered directly to the board so i also got some sockets. I figure the ICs can be pulled and used in other ways if needed.

You can use a Protoshield, or a board like this one, built with the stackable headers Paul suggested, to get access to the pins the motor shield isn't using.

Ran

Wow, you guys are great. Thanks!

Hmm. Using those stackable headers, you could stack adafruit’s protoshield on top, right? If so, I’d have to replace the current 100uf capacitors on the motor shield, as they are too tall to allow the protoshield to fit on top. Just to make sure, I could replace those with shorter capacitors with otherwise same specs, right?

Here’s a pic of my motor shield:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-media/product-gallery/B002VH9APQ/ref=cm_ciu_pdp_images_all

Thanks!

If you soldered the capacitor on, it probably came with longer legs. It will operate just fine laying down.