Tag Archives: Motor

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]

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]

RELATED POSTS

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]

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]

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]

Pulurobot – An Open Source Heavy Load Bearing Application Robot Powered by the Raspberry Pi

If you have seen the starship delivery robots by Starship Technologies, you will know how cool delivery robot can be. Pulurobotics have released a set of low-cost opensource robots that are capable of carrying heavy loads and can be reconfigured to do several tasks.

Pulurobots
Pulurobots

Application robots are robots that can be configured to do several tasks. The Finish based company Pulurobotics have launched the Pulu set of robots called Pulurobots. Just like the way we have the Starship robot and other delivery robot, Pulurobots are low cost (low cost as compared to other robots), load bearing (can carry a payload of over 100kg), and are autonomous robots. Pulurobot can be used as – a delivery boy, a recycle bin, a nightguard, telepresence, shopping carrier, and many more.

The Affordable autonomous open source mobile robot is set to be published at Fosdem 2018, at the ULB Solbosch Campus in Belgium on Sunday 4th February 2018. At the heart of pulurobots is the Raspberry Pi, it needs one Raspberry Pi for navigation and communication with RobotBoard but can feed up to five Raspberries if you need more power or multiple Operating Systems to your application. The robot does Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM), charges automatically and fulfills the definition of an autonomous mobile robot.

Pulurobot was built from the ground up and doesn’t use ROS (Robots Operating System), even though it is compatible with it. Pulurobot comes in three models:

  • Pulurobot S
  • Pulurobot M
  • Pulurobot L

The Pulurobot S is the smallest version of the robot family with a footprint of about 400 x 300mm, Pulurobot S is capable of carrying over 50Kg of load, tested with 58Kg. Based on the same software and controller board that powers the other robots, Pulurobot S is ideal for applications that require small spaces or offices and a perfect fit for homes.

pulurobots parts
pulurobots parts

Pulurobot M is a medium size agile robot and comes in size of 650mm x 470mm with height 230mm and 304mm from the ground. It is powered by 2 pcs of 300W 24V BLDC wheel hub motor, uses LIDAR for navigating and mapping, 4 x 3D TOF (Timer of Flight) cameras and sonar sensors for obstacles. Pulurobot M is capable of carrying over 90 Kg of load, tested with about 118Kg and found no mechanical problems. It is meant to be an application platform. If you need more batteries for your application, you can stack it onto the robot. Inside the robot is a space for 240Wh 18650 battery array, but can easily accommodate around 1KWh on the chassis.

Pulurobots Sonar Sensors and Controller Board
Pulurobots Sonar Sensors and Controller Board

The following are some specification of the Pulurobot M:

  • Controller board
    • MCU – STM32 microcontroller for sensor management & low-level navigation
    • SBC – Slot for Raspberry Pi 2 or 3 for running mapping (SLAM)
    • Connectivity – WiFi and/or 3G/4G
    • Sensor –  MEMS gyroscope, accelerometer, compass
    • Motor controllers –   4pcs BLDC motor controllers, 700W peak, to support four-wheel drive computation
    • Power Supply – 5V/10A
    • Charger – 100W Lithium-ion charger
  • Vision
    • 2D 360 degree LIDAR
    •  Low-cost off-the-shelf 3D Time-of-Flight camera (SoftKinetic DepthSense) for mapping close obstacles
  • Chassis
    • Riveted, laser-cut aluminum chassis
    • Robust suspension: always four wheels on the ground
    • Two-wheel drive, BLDC hub motors (similar to hoverboards)
    • Supports at 90kg when moving, mechanical structure can withstand a lot more 
  • Battery – 18650-based lithium ion battery
  • Charging –  Can find and mount to its charger automatically

Pulurobot L is the largest of all the Pulurobot series and is expected to carry around 300Kg load. Pulurbot is currently not yet available, still on the drawing board. Pulurobot L will find applications in industries.

While most of the robots are still under development and labeled to be open source, they haven’t yet released their SW-HW design to the public domain yet. It is quite possible that their design could be available after the publication on 4th of February.  The Pulu S is available and will be available for pre-order for 999.00 EUR only during the Fosdem event, the Pulu M is available for purchase at about 3000 EUR, with delivery taking about 2 months.

Pulurobots could be a game changer in the robotics industries and could help foster more innovation, with the hope of bringing down the cost of building small but yet powerful robots in the future.

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]

XMotion All In One Controller for Robotics

If there is a motion, it must have XMotion. Recreating Arduino & interface circuits user focused.

XMotion is Arduino Compatible all in one robot controller. Which designed specially for robotics, IOT and maker projects.

It includes powerful Motor drivers, switching mode regulator, interface circuits and more. With protected features, it is all in one board for lots of different type robot projects.

But not only this. Also we added some supporting materials, like starter codes, libraries. If you want to do line follower, mini-sumo or any basic robot we have ready-made codes for beginners.

XMotion All In One Controller for Robotics – [Link]

50V – 10A Bidirectional DC Motor Driver Using A3941

This tiny board designed to drive bidirectional DC brushed motor of large current. DC supply is up to 50V DC. A3941 gate driver IC and 4X N Channel Mosfet IRLR024 used as H-Bridge. The project can handle a load up to 10Amps. Screw terminals provided to connect load and load supply, 9 Pin header connector provided for easy interface with micro-controller. On board shunt resistor provides current feedback.

The A3941 is a full-bridge controller for use with external N-channel power MOSFETs and is specifically designed for automotive applications with high-power inductive loads, such as brush DC motors. A unique charge pump regulator provides full (>10 V) gate drive for battery voltages down to 7 V and allows the A3941 to operate with a reduced gate drive, down to 5.5 V. A bootstrap capacitor is used to provide the above-battery supply voltage required for N-channel MOSFETs. An internal charge pump for the high-side drive allows DC (100% duty cycle) operation.

50V – 10A Bidirectional DC Motor Driver Using A3941 – [Link]