Tracey Schelmetic

August 25, 2015

3 Min Read
Avnet Upgrades Development Kit for Motor Control and Industrial Networking

Avnet Electronics Marketing already produces an Analog Devices intelligent drives kit for motor control and industrial networking development that’s used in a variety of settings, including industrial automation, smart energy, medtech, and embedded systems. The company recently announced a kit update, which has been released as the Zynq-7000 All Programmable SoC/Analog Devices Intelligent Drives Kit II (ZIDK-II).

As with the first version of the kit, the ZIDK-II is built around the ARM Cortex-A9 dual-core processor and Avnet Electronics Marketing's ZedBoard, which contains everything needed to create a Linux, Android, Windows, or other OS/RTOS-based design. (Avnet Electronics Marketing runs the ZedBoard.org community, where engineers can collaborate and share design ideas.) The Zynq-7000 is the popular platform from Xilinx.

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The upgraded kit, however, features an enhanced Analog Devices reference design that enables better data conversion and digital isolation for brushless DC motor control, as well as improved precision, according to the company. In addition, the higher switching frequency of the gate drive allows for implementation of much higher performance control algorithms. The kit sells for $1,950 and includes a ZedBoard. An option that also features a dynamometer sells for $2,550.

Matt Brown, technical marketing manager for Avnet Electronics Marketing, told Design News that nearly every new feature of the ZIDK-II came as a direct response to feedback from engineers who had purchased the original kit, seen its demonstrations, or attended a design seminar that Avnet held in conjunction with partners Analog Devices, MathWorks, and Xilinx. The updated kit is useful to a wider variety of developers working on a broader set of applications.

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“The higher switching frequency of the gate drive allows implementation of much higher performance control algorithms,” Brown said. “Another example is the Zynq Intelligent Drive Kit’s ability to control two motors in parallel, which gives designers of multi-axis robotic control systems a platform to prototype algorithms before committing them to production hardware.”

The Xilinx Zynq SoC has high-speed programmable logic that customers are using to create real-time multi-axis control loops that don’t suffer the sequential operation delays associated with a standard microcontroller, according to Brown. For example, designers are achieving control loop times below 2 microseconds, which makes it possible to detect and react to system disturbances that are very transient in nature. This results in motor drives that are more efficient and last longer between service operations.

The updated kit will assist with the push toward Industrial Internet of Things machine-to-machine strategies, which depend on reliable and deterministic network communication. The ZIDK-II provides dual 10/100/1000 Mb/s Ethernet PHYs with IEEE1588 time stamping capability, allowing the platform to address the highest bandwidth and most stringent network timing and synchronization requirements.

“The PHYs are connected directly to the Zynq SoC programmable logic, where multiple real-time Industrial Ethernet protocols can be accelerated and, once deployed in the factory, can be easily updated as standards evolve,” Brown told Design News . “Industrial equipment often has a long service lifetime, so having future-proofing capabilities offered by Zynq make it a compelling choice for industrial drives and factory automation. The ZIDK-II gives designers a platform to prototype both the high-performance drive and the high-speed industrial network connectivity.”

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Tracey Schelmetic graduated from Fairfield University in Fairfield, Conn. and began her long career as a technology and science writer and editor at Appleton & Lange, the now-defunct medical publishing arm of Simon & Schuster. Later, as the editorial director of telecom trade journal Customer Interaction Solutions (today Customer magazine) she became a well-recognized voice in the contact center industry. Today, she is a freelance writer specializing in manufacturing and technology, telecommunications, and enterprise software.

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