Spin It! - Designing Your Own Motor Drive and Control System (Part 1)


Part 1: Series Introduction

 

Howdy!

For those of you unfamiliar with the saying, it is common in Texas and the official greeting at Texas A&M University, where I attended school! I’ll kick off this series with a story from my college career…

Everyone remembers that one professor in college, the one who seems to know every nook and cranny of their field while also being just a genuine friendly person. I just happened to work in the lab of such a uniquely talented professor. A few times a year, he would bring food to share with the students who worked in his lab. These were quite the exotic dishes and always a hit. One day, someone asked how he became such a fantastic cook. Much to our amazement, we learned that before going into engineering he had apprenticed professionally and acquired the rank of Chef de Cuisine with specializations in French and Mediterranean fare! He began his path in engineering on a bet from a friend and realized it was his true passion.

I tell you this story not to encourage becoming a professional chef, but to encourage those that have never bread boarded a circuit, designed a PCB, or spun a motor, to give it a try. I am always astonished by the amount of resources that are available to anyone!

This series will follow me as I design a motor drive and control system based on the DRV8711 stepper motor controller NexFETTM Power MOSTFETs and MSP430 LaunchPad . I’ll also share knowledge on many key issues people experience in this process, such as proper component selection, critical layout paths, and common debugging tricks. The end result will be a finished product that you can use in the evaluation and design of your own system! The series will cover topics including…

  • PCB development tools
  • Key components of a motor drive and control system
  • Things to keep in mind for schematic capture
  • Deep dive into considerations  and proper layout for a motor drive and control PCB
  • A look into controller firmware
  • Debuging your design and spinning that motor!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before I sign off today, let’s take a brief look at some of the tools out there for PCB development. For this series I will develop with Altium Designer. There are a few other good options for freeware tools as well including Eagle and KiCad. Each software suite has its upsides and downsides, coming down to personal choice for most.

Electronic Design Automation (EDA) tools generally contain a few similar features including:

  1. Library creator/manager in order to build components that will be the building blocks of your schematic capture and PCB layout.
  2. Schematic editor to create your schematic, perform basic electrical checks, and generate a netlist.
  3. Layout editor to place physical footprints, route traces, and design the physical PCB.
  4. Gerber generator in order to create files that will go to the PCB manufacturer.

With one of these tools in hand you can begin the first steps in designing your own motor drive and control system! We will get into this more next time. Also, feel free to ask any questions or provide feedback along the way; I’d love to hear from you!

You can visit the TI Motor Driver Forum or check out the TI Motor Drive & Control home page for more information.

Nick Oborny, Motor Applications Team, Texas Instruments