An article in the magazine “Embedded Systems Design” describes an algorithm that produces linear acceleration in stepper motors, but without the heavy math overhead often required. This technique, presented by Pramod Ranade, CTO at SPJ Embedded Technologies, appears in the April 2009 issue of ESD: www.embedded.com/design/multicore/21640186.The author’s algorithm uses only addition and subtraction operations to produce a triangular or trapezoidal speed profile for a stepper motor. Due to space limits in a printed magazine, this article covers only the triangular algorithm. You can download the complete C code at: /www.embedded.com/code.new. You’ll find other code on this page, too.Although the author implemented his algorithm in a combination of an MCU and an FPGA, you can still adapt his code to an MCU-firmware-only approach. The C code should compile properly regardless of which compiler you use. The author used Microsoft’s C compiler.Stepper motors require a linear increase in speed based on the motor’s characteristics and the load it will drive. If you attempt to start a stepper motor by giving it a high-speed start–akin to stomping on your car’s gas pedal–the motor can stall and take time to get up to speed with many drive pulses wasted by generating heat. That’s not what you want. Most vehicle drivers realize they cannot get from 0 to 60 mph instantly. The same holds true for stepper motors. –Jon TitusFor more information about stepper-motor drive techniques, refer to:Austin, David, “Generate stepper-motor speed profiles in real time,” embedded.com/columns/technicalinsights/56800129. (Lots of math.)–, Industrial Circuits Application Note, “Stepper Motor Basics” www.solarbotics.net/library/pdflib/pdf/motorbas.pdf.–, “Stepper Motor Reference Design,” AN155, Silicon Laboratiories, www.silabs.com/Support%20Documents/TechnicalDocs/an155.pdf. (Reference information, circuit, and code.)
During a teardown of the iPad Air and Microsoft Surface Pro 3 at the Medical Design & Manufacturing Show in Schaumburg, Ill., an engineer showed this "inflammatory" video about the dangers of maliciously mishandling lithium-ion batteries.
Science fiction author Isaac Asimov may have the best rules for effective brainstorming and creativity. His never-before-published essay, "On Creativity," recently made it to the Web pages of MIT Technology Review.
Much has been made over the potentially dangerous flammability of lithium-ion batteries after major companies like Boeing, Sony, and Tesla have grappled with well-publicized battery fires. Researchers at Stanford University may have come up with a solution to this problem with a smart sensor for lithium-ion batteries that provides a warning if the battery is about to overheat or catch fire.
In this new Design News feature, "How it Works," we’re starting off by examining the inner workings of the electronic cigarette. While e-cigarettes seemed like a gimmick just two or three years ago, they’re catching fire -- so to speak. Sales topped $1 billion last year and are set to hit $10 billion by 2017. Cigarette companies are fighting back by buying up e-cigarette manufacturers.
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