Freescale bridges electrical/hydraulic systems with integrated valve driver

June 04, 2015 // By Graham Prophet
Precision valve controller SoCs are designed to provide safe and robust connected hydraulic systems; Freescale says its highly integrated solution with connected diagnostics for IoT-based preventative maintenance reduces costs, simplifies design and speeds time to market.

The introduction comprises two highly integrated valve controller system-on-chips (SoCs) with high precision current measurement, SPI connectivity and sophisticated functional safety management features for hydraulic and pneumatic systems control.

SB0410/SB0800 SoCs are single-chip analogue controllers engineered to simultaneously manage up to eight valves, regulating current and running the motor. The devices are suitable for loads with high inrush current and allow driving to high frequency (up to 5 kHz). Target applications include hydraulic and pneumatic systems, oxygen concentrators, medical equipment, 3D printers, drink dispensers, farming and factory equipment as well as water control for irrigation.

When connected to a network, the integrated SoCs enable predictive maintenance and diagnostics in harsh environments. The diagnostic capability also allows the controllers to detect bad connections, high temperatures or other safety concerns, and then shut down automatically.

The devices incorporate both motor pump and valve control functions. This level of integration not only makes the SoCs significantly smaller than competitive solutions based on discrete products, but also helps to simplify design and reduce costs. To accurately measure the current that controls the valve in hydraulic networks, discrete solutions must spend time calibrating and re-calibrating the different end products due to the various resistor and capacitor value differences. Moving from discrete devices to Freescale’s integrated SoCs, engineers can reduce the time and effort they spend on software, lowering development time and costs, and speeding time to market.

These features are all programmed through a simple serial peripheral interface (SPI) that enables users to perform control and diagnostic functions directly on the chip. The devices include self-recovery features that are benefits of the embedded supervision that allows extensive safety monitoring.

Features include:

- Integrated valve drivers with current regulation or PWM mode

- Real-time current regulation (no shunt, no op amp)

- Valve protection and diagnostics

- Safe switching-off mode for safety and robustness

- Motor pump pre-driver

- SPI interface to command all functions