Development tool sets up stepper motor parameters

July 03, 2014 // By Graham Prophet
A PC-based GUI control panel eases design & debug for robotics, lab automation and other motion control applications; German company Trinamic Motion Control’s TMCM-1043-KIT development system is released for its integrated, NEMA 17-compatible TMCM-1043 stepDancer stepper motor module.

The development kit offers designers an easy-to-use PC-based GUI that allows one-click modification of motor drive current, micro-stepping and other key parameters.

“Stepper motors offer comparatively high torque at low speed, which allows for omission of gearboxes and enables reliability as well as precision at low cost -- that´s why they are so popular, especially in high growth markets like lab automation, medical technology and 3D printing,” said Michael Randt, Trinamic CEO and founder. “Our stepDancer motor development system enables designers to quickly setup, evaluate and implement motion control solutions on our most popular motor drive board.”

The new intuitive kit is custom designed for use with Trinamic's highly integrated TMCM-1043 electronic assembly, which is developed for direct mounting on a NEMA 17 motor. Pre-programmed and pre-configured with all operating parameters to support standard 1.5A (peak) motors, the TMCM-1043 board uses Trinamic´s single-axis TMC2660 stepper motor driver IC, which integrates a motor pre-driver and power MOSFETs. Controlled by industry standard step/direction pulses, the TMCM-1043 module automatically performs all motor coil current calculations, while driving an external NEMA 17 motor with the industry’s lowest RDS(on) MOSFETs, resulting in minimal power dissipation.

While the TMCM-1043 module is designed for off-the-shelf use, the new development kit enables engineers to quickly optimise their designs through modification of key parameters. For example, a wider range of motor capabilities can be accommodated by modifying current specifications; legacy software can easily be re-used by modifying the number of micro-steps per full rotation; and motor holding torque can be optimised by modifying standby current.

The TMCM-1043-KIT is a turnkey solution with PC control software, programming adaptor, power supply, three TMCM-1043 modules and a NEMA 17 frame test motor, priced at under $300. TMCM-1043 modules cost $30 - $40 (1 – 1000).

Trinamic Motion Control,