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True single-chip motor controller integrates digital, analog and power

Posted: 23 Nov 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:motor drives? motor-control system on a chip? digital SPIN?

High-performing motor drives for equipment such as security cameras, cash dispensers, ticketing machines, stage-lighting, printers and vending machines may now be realized more quickly, at a lower cost and better performance utilizing a complete motor-control system on a chip designed by STMicroelectronics, provider of intelligent power ICs.

The 'digital SPIN', or dSPIN, integrates all the necessary digital control, analog measurement, and power electronic circuitry for controlling stepper motors using ST's advanced BCD fabrication process. It is the first offering in ST's dSPIN family of monolithic motor-control ICs which bypass specialized hardware and software design tasks, reduce component count and pc-board area, while speeding up time to market. Implementing motor-control calculations in hardware simplifies software design by necessitating only acceleration, deceleration, speed and target position commands from the application microcontroller. In turn, this liberates microcontroller resources to support other differentiating features.

Additionally, the dSPIN ensures extremely smooth movement of the motor by using an innovative voltage-mode control algorithm. The voltage-mode approach enables full digital control, feeding the motor phases with an accurate sinusoidal waveform and resulting in position resolution of 128 microsteps per step. Other advantages include reduced resonances, mechanical noise and low-speed vibration, as well as deminished speed and torque ripple at low speeds.

Group VP and General Manager of the Industrial and Power Conversion Division at STMicroelectronics, Pietro Menniti cites, "Nowadays motor-controlled applications require very high performance in terms of resolution, motion smoothness and system robustness. The high steps resolution, the digital motion management, the full set of protections and a dual H-bridge power switch array connecting directly to motor phases, enable the dSPIN to deliver a competitive edge in applications requiring one or more motors up to 100W."

ST has leveraged analog integration using its advanced BCD process to implement reliable protection features on the chip. These consist of over-temperature protection, low bus voltage protection, non-dissipative over-current protection and motor stall detection; thus, simplifying the design of fully protected solutions for today's demanding applications.

The main features and benefits of dSPIN include: Expands ST's PowerSPIN family of motor-control solutions; Dual low R(DS(ON)) (0.28 Ohms) DMOS full bridge; Standard SPI control interface; 7A peak output current (3 Arms); 8V to 45V operating voltage range; Programmable speed profile and positioning; Non-dissipative current control; Low quiescent and standby currents.

Pricing and availability: The dSPIN (part number L6470) is currently available for full production in the thermally enhanced HTSSOP28 package (L6470H), priced at US$4.50 in 1000 unit-quantities. It will also be available in PowerSO36 packages within the first half of 2011. For large order quantities, alternative pricing options may be availed.

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