Motor category

uStepper – Controlling Stepper Motor with ease

But what is uStepper?

In short, uStepper is a product, improving performance of a motor type called “stepper motors”. Stepper motors are used in a wide range of applications where you have to move something, a certain distance, precisely! For example, they are used in your inkjet printer for moving the ink cartridge back and forth over the paper. Stepper motors are precise and really cheap compared to the alternative, Servo motors.

There are one drawback of the steppers though – you actually can’t tell if they move to the position you tell it. If you try to block the path of the ink-jet head, while your printer is printing, it will not recover from this. The printer is rather dependent on the stepper operating with high precision so that you get something readable on your paper!

The same happens in most of the applications using stepper motors, including 3D printers where the type of steppers, which uStepper is designed for, are primarily used. What uStepper does, is that it removes this drawback by continuously monitoring where it is, and where it should be. Thus, uStepper can compensate if anything goes wrong – this is what we call operating with feedback.

uStepper both has the ability to drive the stepper motor, monitor position and has an onboard programmable microcontroller with a wide range of available inputs and outputs. All this is packed into a very small printed circuit board that fits right on the back of those small stepper motors (which are referred to as NEMA 17).

To make uStepper accessible for both professionals, hobbyists and students, it is compatible with the Arduino IDE. Here you can easily program your uStepper to do exactly what you need it to do!

Who is the target audience for uStepper?

As mentioned previously uStepper is Arduino based and addresses both students, hobbyists and the technician/engineer making for example a test-setups. We focus a lot on the educational sector and have made a product which we believe makes learning with Arduino a lot more fun! Besides the uStepper board, we have made an application example – the uStepper Robot Arm, which gives uStepper a new dimension and addresses the more advanced users. We have sold the uStepper and the uStepper Robot Arm to several Universities around the world, including Aalborg university where we still have a close bond to the professors and employees.

Where is uStepper today?

We started the company behind uStepper, ON Development, back in August 2015 and have since then sold around 2500 uStepper boards. During that time, we have continuously developed the code and applications for the product, and recently expanded our team by hiring an electronics engineering student from Aalborg University. Since 2015 a lot has happened on the market for electronic components, and we have therefore decided to launch a new line of uStepper boards which we will finance by the use of crowdfunding. The line of products will of course offer a uStepper board with improved performance on all parameters, a cheaper “lite” version and potentially a large and powerful version if we reach stretch goals in our campaign. The exact details of the new product line specifications will be disclosed at campaign launch !

We will launch the campaign on 15th of August 2018 – precisely 3 years after we founded ON Development IVS. We (both founders) graduated at Aalborg University one year ago and have alongside uStepper full time jobs as developers within hardware and embedded software.

Why crowdfunding again?

Crowdfunding is a funny thing where success is not necessarily coming to those that have the smartest product, but depends heavily on the publicity you get and the graphic material you provide on the campaign page. Non-the less, it’s a way which provides a good indicator of market potential and also makes it possible to finance the production of the first batches by pre-orders. The value of publicity provided by crowdfunding alone should not be underestimated either, and is exactly for these reasons that we chose to do yet another crowdfunding campaign.

If you want to know more about uStepper and maybe even support our campaign, visit www.ustepper.com where there will also be a link to the campaign page shortly!

OPEN MOTOR CONTROL – An open source motor controller for everyone

It is open source and based upon the ATmega32U4 microcontroller, and provided with drivers for two DC brush motors and a stepper motor. It receives commands via USB or serial ports, or via the I²C bus.

For those dealing with robotics, one of the problems to solve is the management of the motors used for the traction, that is to say: how to correctly power the motors needed in order to make your robot advance. If you work with Arduino, the first and immediate solution is to use a shield. Several of them can be found available for sale, from the simplest ones that allow to control separately the two small DC motors, to the most advanced ones that are able to measure the current drawn as well. Regardless of the manufacturer, the shields are all based on the usage of a power driver (usually the L298), that is directly interfaced to Arduino’s PWM outputs, and encircled by a few other components. Surely the usage of a shield is a valid solution, but then we need to use at least four Arduino outputs: usually two to adjust the speed and two for the direction. If, on the other hand, you use a generic microcontroller, or a stand-alone Atmel chip, or a board that is different from Arduino, things get a bit more complicated, since on the market it is difficult to find drivers with a more flexible interface, and the price starts to rise quickly.  If you then have the need to command two motors, things get very complicated, even for those using an Arduino board, because problems arise both on the hardware and on the device programming point of view.

[source: www.open-electronics.org]

High-resolution motor-driver board targets open-source 3D-printer

STMicroelectronics’ EVALSP820-XS motor-driver board brings ST’s industrial-control expertise to the RAMPS (RepRap Arduino Mega Pololu Shield) open-source 3D-printer platform, enabling 3D printer makers to unleash the full potential of their machines for faster printing and smoother surface finish.

The RAMPS modular platform is making Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) 3D printing accessible to makers, small businesses, and home users, for fast prototyping, making replacement parts, or education. The Arduino Mega 2560, or Arduino DUE, baseboard provides basic control, ready for users to plug-in their own choice of motor driver, extruder controller, and any other desired functions using Mega-compatible expansion shields. As a plug-and-play expansion board, ST’s EVALSP820-XS can drive RAMPS printers at an unprecedented speed for greatly increased throughput ensuring superior smoothness with microstepping resolution from ½-step to 1/256-step per microstep. Key to this giant leap in 3D-printing performance is ST’s STSPIN820 stepper-driver IC which embeds high-speed motor-control input circuitry and algorithms developed for industrial applications. The 4x4mm QFN package also integrates a 1.5Arms output stage.

STmicroelectronics – www.st.com

By Julien Happich @ eenewseurope.com

PIC Arduino for Motor Control Projects

This board created for makers, who want to use various Arduino UNO shields with PIC micro-controllers from Microchip. Board facilitates the use of any 28 PIN DIP PIC microcontroller with or without crystal. Omit Y1 , C9 and C10 in case of internal oscillator . Project can also be used to develop RS485 applications with the help of on board SN75176 IC. Two regulators provide 3.3V and 5V DC outputs. ICSP connector provided to program the PIC IC using PICKIT2/PICKIT3 programmer. On board DC jack connector and additional CN2 Header connector helps to power up the board. Input supply 7V-15V DC. This board has been tested using PIC16F886 IC. The board also supports PIC18F2331 and PIC18F2431 PICs mainly used for motor applications. Solder R9 and C8 if Motor PICs are used or left open for normal microcontrollers. Switch 1 helps to reset the board. Refer to PCB top layout for Arduino to Microchip Pin configuration.

PIC Arduino for Motor Control Projects – [Link]

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Fan Speed Control Is Cool!

App note from Maxim Integrated about their MAX6650 and MAX6651 fan controllers chip.

Temperature-based fan control is a necessity in a growing number of systems, both to reduce system noise and to improve fan reliability. When fan control is augmented by fan-speed monitoring, a speed-control loop can be implemented that is independent of manufacturing variances and wear on the fan. In addition, a fan that is about to fail can be identified so that it can be replaced before it fails.

Fan Speed Control Is Cool! – [Link]

IQ Motor Module – An Integrated Motor With A Closed Loop Controller And Position Sensor

The drone industry is booming, and the technology is just… cool, to put it plainly. Flying robots, many of which are completely autonomous delivering our goods and also spying on us. Makers and hobbyist are getting on the bandwagon, making their customized drones with available parts. With the boom of UAV (Unmanned Autonomous Vehicle) and Drone technology also comes the growth of issues.

IQ Motion Module

Electric motors are one of the most fundamental parts of electric based flying objects like drones. Drones usually use brushless DC paired with an ESC (electronic speed control) unit for speed regulation and a possible flight controller for position handling. Building your own drone either for the fun of it or a special purpose means you have to go through the hurdle of selecting the Motors, ESC, controller etc. You also have to choose which strength to prioritize and not to mention of potential compatibility or over/under powering issues. But with IQ Motor Module, you don’t have to worry about all those. The drone industry has relied on hobby-grade motors and controllers for too long. Now, IQ is bringing advanced motor control to the drone industry and other robotics fields at an affordable price.

The IQ Motor Module from IQ Motion Control is an integrated motor and controller with an embedded position sensor that is designed to change some of the challenges faced with drone, flying object set up by combining all of those capabilities (motor, electronic speed control, controller, position sensing) into a single versatile unit. The module is made up of three major components: a brushless DC motor, a motor controller, and a position sensor. With position-sensing and advanced calibration and control algorithms, IQ can optimize motor performance and give users unprecedented control over their vehicles and machines.

The IQ module provides serial communication interface as well as standard hobby protocols making it widely compatible with the possible vehicle and drone design. It also comes with some features built in like, a 40 ms response time, over-current protection, active freewheeling, anti-cogging, mo delay with zero crossing, jitter-free startup, regenerative and active braking, and many others. The velocity and position control is based on a tunable PID + Feed Forward control.

The controller is built on a 32-bit 64 MHz Arm Cortex MCU and has two firmware options, a high-speed module, and a precision module both in a 2306 size. The high-speed module provides a constant rpm of 2200 KV, and the precision module a constant rpm of 220 KV. Both motor will have an estimated peak current of 30 A and estimated peak voltage of 25.2 V. The speed firmware is specially designed to drive propellers or any application with a target velocities. A position firmware for precision is useful for 3D printers, robots, and machine tools. The firmware can be reflashed at any time by the user, so you can always reuse your IQ Motor Modules. It comes with a power and efficiency boost; Sinusoidal commutation to give a 20% increase in battery life and Trapezoidal commutation to provide about 4.8% more shaft power.

The IQ Motor Module is suitable for a wide variety of applications including consumer and enterprise drones, as well as many other robotic projects. The new IQ Motor Module will offer “unparalleled performance.” You can back the Crowd Supply campaign until May 10th, and a single IQ Motor Module will cost you $80, or $305 for a pack of four. Orders will be shipped in September 2018.

Mini Infra-Red Remote Robot Controller Shield For Arduino Nano

The Mini Infra-Red Remote Robot Controller shield for Arduino Nano is designed to drive mini mobile robots. Low voltage DC Motor controller interface allows Infrared wireless control of two DC motors, two PWM and 2 Direction signal outputs to drive two motors separately. TB6612 IC is the heart of the project. IC can handle constant current up to 1.2A, Supply 6-12V DC. One LDR connected to Analog pin A7 for application like light sensitive robot controller. Infrared receiver TSOP1738 used as IR receiver which is connected to Digital pin D2 of Arduino Nano. Nano D7-Direction Motor A, D4 Direction Motor B, D5 Motor A PWM signal, D6 Motor B PWM signal.

Mini Infra-Red Remote Robot Controller Shield For Arduino Nano – [Link]

MC33035 Brushless motor driver breakout board

The board shown here is a breakout board for MC33035 brushless motor controller. It requires an output buffer IPM module or Mosfets to complete the closed loop brushless motor driver. MC33035 IC is the heart of the project; the project provides 6 PWM pulses as well 6 Inverse pulses outputs. On board Jumpers helps to change the Direction, Enable, Brake, and 60/120 phasing Header connector provided to connect the Hall sensors and supply, on board LED for Power and fault, P1 potentiometer helps to change the speed.

The MC33035 is a high performance second generation monolithic brushless DC motor controller containing all of the active functions required to implement a full featured open loop, three or four phase motor control system. This device consists of a rotor position decoder for proper commutation sequencing, temperature compensated reference capable of supplying sensor power, frequency programmable saw tooth oscillator, three open collector top drivers, and three high current totem pole bottom drivers ideally suited for driving power MOSFETs. Also included are protective features consisting of under voltage lockout, cycle−by−cycle current limiting with a selectable time delayed latched shutdown mode, internal thermal shutdown, and a unique fault output that can be interfaced into microprocessor controlled systems. Typical motor control functions include open loop speed, forward or reverse direction, run enable, and dynamic braking. The MC33035 is designed to operate with electrical sensor phasings of 60°/300° or 120°/240°, and can also efficiently control brush DC motors.

MC33035 Brushless motor driver breakout board – [Link]

PCB Motor – A smaller and cheaper brushless motor.

by Carl Bugeja @ hackaday.io designed a brushless motor using a 3D printer and a 4-layer PCB. He writes:

The PCB motor is my solution for trying to design a smaller, cheaper and easier to assemble brushless motor.

The motor’s stator is a 6 spiral PCB coil in a star configuration. Although it has less torque compared to an iron core stator, it still suitable for high-speed applications.

The current prototype has a 3d printed rotor with a 16mm diameter.

PCB Motor – A smaller and cheaper brushless motor – [Link]

3.5A Unipolar Stepper Motor Driver

Unipolar stepper motor driver can drive unipolar stepper motor up to 3.5A and supply range is 10 To 50V DC. The board has been designed using STK672-442AEN IC.  The STK672-442AN is a hybrid IC for use as a unipolar, 2-phase stepper motor driver with PWM current control and Micro-stepping.

Features

  • Supply Up to 50V DC Input
  • Logic Supply 5V DC Input
  • Load Current 3.5Amps
  • Stepper Motor: 5 Wires, 6 Wires, 8 Wires (Unipolar)
  • Built-in over current detection function, over heat detection function (Output Off)
  • Fault 1 signal ( Active Low) is output when overcurrent or over heat is detected
  • Fault 2 signal is used to output the result of activation of protection circuit detection at 2 levels.
  • Built-in power on reset function

3.5A Unipolar Stepper Motor Driver – [Link]