Quartet of microcontroller motor control kits help to spin BLDC motors in minutes

August 31, 2012 // By Paul Buckley
Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) has unveiled four new compatible motor control kits that spin three-phase brushless DC (BLDC) motors in minutes.

Developers can now scale their product lines using TI’s broad portfolio of microcontrollers (MCUs) ranging from 16-bit ultra-low-power MSP430 devices to 32-bit ARM-based, floating-point Hercules safety and Stellaris MCU solutions. All four kits are part of a robust and growing ecosystem that provides all of the hardware, software and documentation necessary to get motors spinning out of the box in minutes.

The four new motor control kits include object-oriented software functions and drivers that make coding extremely easy and compatible, which enables simple and cost-effective portability across TI MCU and motor driver families. Each motor control kit includes a reliable, fully protected motor driver monitoring cycle-by-cycle over-current, over-temperature, cross-conduction and under-voltage situations.  This level of integrated protection reduces design complexity and board space and ensures higher system reliability.

A plug-in controlCARD module lets developers choose the right combination of motor driver for voltage, current and experimentation with different MCUs for control. All of the kits have the required firmware to run TI’s sensorless InstaSPIN-BLDC motor control software solution out-of-the-box. InstaSPIN-BLDC is an innovative and free back-electromagnetic field (EMF) technique that sensorlessly spins any motor in seconds without knowledge of a motor’s parameters. Unlike traditional back-EMF zero crossing techniques, InstaSPIN-BLDC extends sensorless operation to lower speeds and is highly immune to miscommutation caused by rapid speed changes. The Stellaris kit also includes a sensorless sliding mode observer (SMO) field oriented control (FOC) speed plus torque control application while the Hercules kits add firmware for sensored (encoder) speed plus torque control with SMO as sensorless redundancy for safety systems.

Additionally, all motor control kits contain TI’s Code Composer Studio integrated development environment (IDE), as well as a graphical user interface to run examples and demonstrations with either the included or a self-provided motor.

The MSP430 DRV8312-430FR-KIT motor control kit includes a controlCARD module with MSP430FR5739 MCU that features 24 MHz performance, 16KB FRAM, five 16-bit timers, 10-bit ADC and more features that