Sensorless, brushless DC motor driver spins motors instantly

May 23, 2013 // By Graham Prophet
Single-chip solution reduces board space, extends battery life and requires no external protection components.

Texas Instruments has added to its sensorless, brushless DC (BLDC) motor drivers with a device designed for high efficiency and low noise, which requires a low external component count of only one capacitor. The DRV10963 is a 5-V, 3-phase sensorless BLDC motor driver that simplifies layout and reduces board space by 80%, allowing designers to create smaller, more innovative designs. It includes integrated commutation logic, which enables instant motor spin with no code development, while its 180-degree pure sinusoidal outputs provide an efficient and quiet drive.

Low operating range of 5.5 to 2.1V, low RDSON of less than 1.5 Ω and ultra-low sleep currents extend battery life up to 25% compared to nearest competition in fans and portable, battery-powered personal health care and grooming devices, including electric razors and toothbrushes. It provides the lowest quiescent current to further extend battery life – 15 µA compared to 30 µA for the closest competitor. It uses a 16-bit, ultra-low power MSP430G2452 Value Line microcontroller with built-in timers, up to 16 I/O touch-sense enabled pins, built-in communication and a versatile analogue comparator, allowing wake-up from low-power mode to active mode in less than 1 µsec.

Integrated commutation logic eliminates code development, while advanced on-chip protection reduces design complexity and improves system reliability. This cuts development time from months to minutes. The single-chip solution cuts board space and integrated power MOSFETs simplify layout.

The DRV10963EVM evaluation module (EVM) is a cost-effective, sensorless solution for running a 3-phase BLDC motor. The EVM includes a TLC555 low-power timer configured to supply pulse width modulation (PWM), and a potentiometer to adjust the speed of the motor. The DRV10963 comes in a thermally efficient, 10-pin 3x3 mm USON package with an exposed thermal pad for $0.49 (1,000).


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