Real-time controllers get new connectivity capabilities

In the current industrial landscape, there are multiple solutions and architectures available for a wide variety of motor drive, factory automation and high-power grid applications. Many of these offer solid performance and connectivity but at a price – they can be complex, costly and often multiple chips are required to meet system needs. In an ever-evolving market place, design differentiation is important, but efficiencies and performance are vital to the life cycle and ultimately the long-term sustainability of a business.

You may be asking yourself, “How can I compete?” or “What’s the right choice to help sustain my business and propel me to the future?” The heart of the matter is integrated functionality where real-time control meets real-time connectivity.

A new series of C2000™ real-time controllers, F2838x, offers enhanced connectivity options and increases control performance while enabling system-level flexibility in industrial and high-power-grid applications. The easiest way to describe the new series (Figure 1) is that it is an F2837x device with performance enhancements and a new connectivity manager, an Arm® Cortex®-M4-based subsystem, which offloads processing-intensive communications and optimizes connectivity.

Figure 1: TMS320F28388D block diagram 

By enabling functionality typically performed by an FPGA/complex programmable logic device, application-specific integrated circuit, and communications microcontroller (MCU)/microprocessor, the F2838x enables a near single-chip solution for connected servo drives, AC drives, factory automation and industrial power equipment.

Real-time communications are enabled by a dedicated Arm® Cortex-M4 based Connectivity Manager. With EtherCAT capability integrated there is no need for an external ASIC. 10/100 Ethernet, CAN FD, USB and various high-speed serial ports are also supported. Additionally, the fast serial interface (FSI) enables up to 200 Mbps communication and a low cost path across an isolation barrier

Typical FPGA/CPLD functions are addressed by multiple F2838x capabilities. The Configurable Logic Block (CLB) allows for:

-          Creation of absolute encoder interfaces,

-          Specialized pulse train logic

-          Customized timers, serial interfaces and inverter protection schemes.

Fast Current Loop (FCL) technology can process the critical servo drive field oriented control loop in less than 500ns. Also included are Sigma Delta Filter modules that allow interface to popular isolated Delta Sigma converters, more class-leading high-resolution PWMs (up to 32 ePWM channels) and a premium comparator sub-system for inverter protection and flexible timer synchronization.

High-performance loop control is made possible by:

-          Class leading C28x™ DSPs cores enhanced with the Trigonometric Math Unit (TMU) to accelerate critical arctan, sin and cos functions;

-          New fast integer division hardware for efficient calculations;

-          64-bit floating-point unit for extended precision in servo motion control.

Control Law Accelerators (CLA) are available for added parallel control or signal processing. Four independent 16-bit precision analog to digital converters with post processing hardware are available with a new single-ended mode which doubles available channels. Off-loading of host and communication tasks to the Connectivity Manager frees cycles to dedicate to real-time control.

Once in full production, the F2838x series will be available in six configurations (Table 1). All of the devices include the connectivity manager and Ethernet as standard. Options include single (1.0-MB flash) or dual (1.5-MB flash) C28x-plus-control law accelerator (CLA) sub-systems, configurable logic block access and EtherCAT functionality. The F2838x is available in a 16-mm-by-16-mm 337-ball fine pitch ball grid array package with a -40°C to 125°C junction temperature rating.

Table 1: F2838x configurations

Additional resources


  • The F2838x series has started full production!  F28388D is now available in 337-ball BGA in industrial temp.  Other variants (F28388S, 386D/S, 384D/S) will start production in the next two months.

    176-pin version will start production end of November, and AEC Q100 versions of both will start production end of February.

    Also want to point out the new TIDM-02006 reference design.  This uses F28388D as the main control processor in a decentralized servo drive architecture.  F28388D receives logic commands over EtherCAT, controls a high-voltage servo motor, and then does the outer position and velocity control loops for multiple low-voltage servo torque controllers communicating over TI's Fast Serial Interface (up to 200 Mbps).  

    For the high-voltage servo, current sense can be done by in-line LEM current sense or SDFM.  Motor position can be provided by incremental encoder or absolute encoder.  Tamagawa T-format is shown, enabled by F28388D Configurable Logic Block (CLB).  

    This solution - and others - are supported in the C2000Ware-MotorControl-SDK.