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Increase options for stepper motor control

Posted: 02 Jan 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:ASSP? drive electronics? stepper motor control? sensorless control?

Stepper motors have become the dynamic positioning solution of choice in applications ranging from vehicle climate control to industrial dose pumps and theatrical stage lighting. Better performance, decreasing size and lower cost have all contributed to their move into mainstream use. Just as the motors and their applications have evolved, so have the drive electronics needed to control them. In particular, automotive designers have implemented distributed processing strategies that inject increasing levels of intelligence close to the motor. This kind of control approach has permeated into more general-purpose application areas, making the typical motor/driver combination more akin to a mechatronic subsystem than a simple actuator.

Designers have three fundamental choices when settling on an architecture for stepper motor drive electronics. The traditional approaches are to use a general-purpose microcontroller or a DSP, in combination with analog driver electronics and a sensor-based feedback loop. Increasingly, however, cost, time-to-market and complexity constraints are leading engineers to use ASSPs dedicated to motor control. Such solutions themselves fall into two types: single-chip or two-chip implementations.

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