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Six Ways to Get a Jump Start Designing with Motor Control

Six Ways to Get a Jump Start Designing with Motor Control

Semiconductor manufacturers are striving to simplify motion control designs by integrating motor-specific hardware and software into their motion control ICs. More and more also offer development boards and kits to help engineers do quick prototyping and validation. Here's a look at six of the newest offerings.

1: 32-Bit Digital Signal Controller with RAM

Freescale Semiconductor 56F8357

Price: $17.92 in quantities of 1,000 MC56F8357EVM Evaluation Module ($299)

Freescale's 56F8357 hybrid core blends digital signal processor (DSP) performance with microcontroller (MCU) ease of programming. The unit also integrates motor control specific peripherals including two 6-channel pulse width modulation (PWM) modules. With new software tools like Freescale's Processor Expert, and PC Master, software engineers can complete motor control designs in less time. The MC56F8357EVM evaluation module uses an enhanced JTAG interface for a host computer to send commands over a parallel cable for noninvasive source code debugging. Capabilities include full speed execution, multiple hardware breakpoints, memory dumps, RAM or Flash program targets, trace buffering, and real-time data exchange.

2: Configurable Digital ac Servo Control IC

International Rectifier IRMCK201

Price: $8.75 in quantities of 10,000 IRMCS2031 iMOTION(TM) Development System ($1,999)

The IRMCK201 contains motion peripheral functions implemented in hardware, including PWM, encoder counter circuit, and current sensing interface as well as a complete field orientation control algorithm and speed control algorithm. Usually these tasks are performed in software requiring the development of several thousand lines of code. A synchronous execution mechanism for closed loop velocity control and closed loop current control is included in the logic hardware. The IRMCS2031 development system provides engineers the IRMCK201 plus high voltage IC gate drive and current sensing, and IGBTs in the latest module package to drive a 1hp motor. The IR solution eliminates software development time with a simplified graphical user interface (GUI) tool called ServoDesigner.

3: Motion Processor

Performance Motion Devices (PMD) Inc. Magellan MC58420

Price: $14.75 per axis in quantities of 10,000 Developer's Kit ($995)

PMD's Magellan IC is a software-programmable IC designed to be used with a microprocessor or a host computer, communicating via a parallel, serial, or CANBus interface. High-level C or C++ commands are sent to the motion IC form the host that are then converted into the specific control sequences required for smooth and accurate motion. The IC provides the typical functions of a complete motion control card including quadrature encoder input, commutation, profile generation, servo loop closure, pulse, and direction generation. "With the Magellan Developer's Kit," explains Chuck Lewin, president, "not only do you have a working example of the motion IC you want to use, but you have a system that will let you capture motion data, evaluate different servo parameters, profiles, and experiment with the performance of your hardware." PMD says that they expect this approach to save six months or more of project development time.

4: Flash Microcontroller with NanoWatt Technology

Microchip Technology PIC18F4431

Price: $5.20 in quantities of 10,000 PICDEM MC Development Board ($299)

Intended to provide a starting point for engineers with limited motor control design experience, the PIC18F4431 8-bit MCU features three motor control specific modules: (1) a power control module, (2) a motion feedback module, and (3) a high-speed A/D converter. The combination allows users to drive 3- and/or 4-phase motors with precise speed and position tracking and up to 200K samples per second conversion rate. The PICDEM MC development board for the PIC18Fxx31 family provides designers with the capabilities to evaluate and develop both AC and DC motor control applications. The board comes with a Motor Control Graphical User Interface (MC-GUI) that provides a quick and easy method to configure and monitor motor and system parameters.

5: 8-Bit MCU for Three-Phase Brushless Motor Control

ST Microelectronics ST7MC1

Price: $2.86 in quantities of 10,000 ST7MC Starter Kit ($695)

The ST7MC1 integrates analog and digital motor drive components, including an on-chip motor control peripheral for three-phase PWM, into a dedicated on board macrocell that leaves 70% of CPU's resource free for tasks such as the user interface. ST designed the IC to be compatible with a variety of sensor and sensorless motor drive topologies for BLDC, BLAC and AC induction motors using current or voltage modes. ST says the kit includes a user- friendly interface to allow engineers to easily set various motor control parameters, as well as a 12Vdc to 240Vac 1,000W hardware inverter. The kit includes integral programming tools, a built-in Flash memory burner, and an on-chip low cost debugging tool and debugger interface so engineers can develop both the motor control and non-motor control portions of their application.

6: 32-Bit Digital Signal Controller with RAM

Texas Instruments TMS320R2811

Price: $9.11 in quantities of 1,000 TMS320R2812 eZdsp(TM) Starter Kit ($495)

TI's TMS320R2811 offers engineers the combined benefits of digital signal processing technologies and microcontroller peripherals providing 32-bit precision and 150 MIPS for fast program execution. The IC contains two event managers with 16-bit compare/PWM. The 20K bytes of single access RAM (SARAM) allows engineers to add external memory via a serial protocol interface port. The TMS320R2812 eZdsp module allows both experienced and novice designers an easy way to evaluate the TMS320R2811 as well as develop, demonstrate, and run software. The kit contains an embedded IEEE 1149.1 JTAG controller with USB emulation and can be operated without additional development tools such as an emulator.

Motor Control IC Tools At a Glance
Here's a quick look at the key features of the development boards described above.
Company Part No. Description Motor Types1 Features Memory A/D I/O Package2
1 Freescale Semiconductor 56F8357 16-bit DSP/MCU Hybrid (60MIPS @ 60MHz) ACIM, BDC, BLDC, SRM, VRM, and Stepper Motors. 12 PWM outputs (6 individually programmable) 256K Flash 4 4-channel, 12-bit ADCs 76 160-pin LQFP
2 International Rectifier IRMCK201 AC Servo Motor Control IC. Uses external MCU or host. ACIM or ACPM Servo Drive System Space Vector PWM with 12-Bit resolution 128 x 8 EEPROM 4-channel, 12-bit ADC 54 100-pin QFP
3 Performance Motion Devices Inc. MC58420 Motion Processor with over 130 commands. Uses external MCU or host. DC servo, BLDC Microstepping, and Pulse and Direction Motors 10-bit 20 kHzPWM or 160bit DAC motor control output Not Available Not Available 256 144-pin TQFP
4 Microchip Technology PIC18F4431 8-bit MCU (10 MIPS @ 40 MHz) ACIM and BLDC 8 Channels 14-bit Power Control PWM 16 KB Flash 256B EEPROM 9 channels of 10-bit ADC 36 44-pin TQFP
5 ST Microelectronics ST7MC1 8-bit MCU (8MHz) ACIM and BLDC 6 high-sink PWM output channels for sinewave or trapezoidal control 24KB Flash 10-bit ADC with 16 input pins 60 64-pin TQFP
6 Texas Instruments TMS320R2811 32-bit DSc (150MIPS @ 150MHz) Servo Control 2 Event Managers each with 16-bit Compare/PWM 20K x 16-bit SARAM 12-bit, 16-channel ADC 56 128-pin PBK
1Abbreviations: ACIM (AC Induction Motors); BDC (Brush DC motors); BLDC (Brushless DC motors); SRM (Switched Reluctance Motors); PM (Permanent Magnet); SARAM (Single Access RAM)
2Highest Pin count

Web Resources on Motion Control System Designs
Free Design News E2E webcasts on motion control/automation, October 19, 2004. Register for this informative discussion on the latest trends and qualify to win a swiss army knife. Attend and qualify to win a flat-screen TV. Register today at Microchip AN899, Brushless DC Motor Control Using PIC18FXX31 MCUs Freescales' "Understanding the 56F8300's ADC Specifications and How to Get the Best Performance in Applications" describes the meaning of the data sheet specifications for the Analog-to-Digital Converter (ADC), how they are calculated, and how they relate to real-world signal impairments in general and provides specific information for improving the performance of the 56F8300's ADC.
International Rectifier "Complete Encoder Based Servo Drive Design Platform iMOTIONTM Development System" reference design More Literature for Texas Instrument's TMS320C28x DSP Generation from software to sensing and measurement as well as 3rd party algorithms for motor control is available at
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