Plug and Spin Brushless DC Motors in Just a Few Seconds with STMicroelectronics’ STM32 Motor-Control Nucleo Pack

Geneva, September 24, 2015 – STMicroelectronics has introduced a $35 starter kit plus a new free-of-charge software algorithm to help engineers and hobbyists implement efficient vector control in a very short time for motor-driven projects such as drones, appliances, E-bikes, home-automation, health care, and industrial machinery.

The  P-NUCLEO-IHM001 Motor-Control Nucleo Pack in combination with new software elements from the STM32 Motor Control Ecosystem enables users to ‘plug and spin’ synchronous motors without any dedicated skills or additional equipment. The pack contains an  STM32 F3 Nucleo microcontroller board, plug-in 48V/1.4A motor-driver board based on the STSPIN  L6230 motor-driver IC, and a low-voltage brushless motor in a convenient blister pack.

After connecting the boards and motor, the motor is ready to run using the sample trapezoidal (6-step) or sinusoidal (FOC [1]) control algorithms that are pre-loaded on the microcontroller. With the motor running, users can compare and understand control techniques, and then customize the controller (in the FOC mode) by changing settings with MC WORKBENCH configurator and code generator.

The free, PC-based MC WORKBENCH tool simplifies customizing motor-control libraries ( STSW-STM32100), and can also help the user set up a different motor or a different driver board from ST’s Motor Control Ecosystem. The latest library version (v4.2) introduces a convenient “Motor Profiler”, which automatically detects the motor parameters for self-configuration of the motor-control library with zero additional equipment needed, and “One-Touch Tuning” that simplifies adjustment for load and inertia over a wide speed range.

The  STM32F302 microcontroller at the heart of the Motor-Control Nucleo Pack has high arithmetic performance with its DSP extensions for superior feedback-loop control and integrates valuable peripherals including a dedicated motor-control timer, op-amp, and comparators. The pre-loaded sample algorithms are standard firmware from ST’s motor-control library and STM32Cube tool, and can be customized as required. Like the entire motor-control library, they are available in source code free of charge and can be used on most STM32 devices and various hardware boards.

Today, roughly half [2] of the electricity generated worldwide is consumed by electric motors. Using better motor-control technologies, such as vector control, could deliver a 15% reduction in the world’s overall electricity consumption by 2030. By assisting that change, the new STM32 Motor Control Ecosystem helps make a greener planet.

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