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Can someone please explain the difference between an octal inverter and a hex inverter? Would I use either of these to "invert" the positive and GND to motor controller if I wanted the motor to go forward and reverse?
An inverter is probably the simplest logic device you will come across. It has one input, and one output. If you put in a logical HIGH signal, you get a logical LOW at the output, and if you put in a logical LOW, you get a logical HIGH out of it.
A "hex" inverter is simply 6 inverters in one chip. An "octal" inverter has 8 inverters in one chip.