Has anyone tried using a TI L293D IC as the driver for your circuit? Just for basic operations with motors (at the very early stages of the learning curve), is it any good? or are there any alternatives that would work better for the more beginner, low power designs?
This one will work, especially if you are using it as a couple of H-bridges for motors. You'll have to use inverters to drive the alternate inputs (2 is inverse of 1, 4 is inverse of 3). I use that as the direction and the Enable input for the PWM input.
The L298 handles higher currents, and it is used on the Arduino Motor Shield - handy if you're experimenting with Arduino or Netduino.
In any case, you'll want to watch your power dissipation so you don't burn up a good proto board (like I have done :-)