Microchip Launches Tools, Libraries for Motor Control Applications

Microchip Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MCHP), a leading provider of microcontroller and analog semiconductors, announced expanded support for motor control applications that are based on the dsPIC® Digital Signal Controller (DSC). The dsPICDEM[TM] MCLV Development Board (part #DM330021) is a new low-voltage Brushless DC (BLDC) motor-control development platform supporting the dsPIC33F family of motor control DSCs. It provides a cost-effective method for evaluating and developing sensored or sensorless BLDC and Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor (PMSM) control applications.

Microchip dsPICDEM MCLV Development Board (part #DM330021)The board contains a three-phase inverter bridge circuit. This circuit drives a BLDC or PMSM motor using different control techniques, without requiring any additional hardware. The dsPICDEM MCLV board is capable of controlling motors rated up to 48V and 15 Amps, and supports multiple communication channels, such as USB, CAN, LIN and RS-232. It employs a processor-differentiated Plug-In Module (PIM) strategy to support a variety of dsPIC33F motor-control DSCs with different memory and pin configurations. A dsPIC33FJ32MC204 PIM (32 KB Flash and 44 pins) is included with the dsPICDEM MCLV Development Board.

Additionally, Microchip announced two new motor-control software solutions: One shows how Power Factor Correction (PFC) algorithms can be combined with sensorless motor-control algorithms on a single chip. The second software solution demonstrates how to run an AC Induction Motor (ACIM) faster than its rated speed for a class of applications, to lower cost, save space or reduce weight. Both are available today for free at www.microchip.com/DSCMOTOR.

“Microchip is dedicated to providing the industry’s most robust product offering and associated infrastructure for motor control,” said Rich Hoefle, marketing manager for Microchip’s Digital Signal Controller Division. “As the need for improved reliability, better performance, lower cost and increased efficiency builds, dsPIC DSCs — along with their comprehensive suite of tools and libraries — fill an ever more important role.”

Power Factor Correction plus Sensorless Motor Control on a single chip
The worldwide demand for improved power quality standards is driving the trend to add PFC to line-powered motor control applications. Power quality can be enhanced by implementing PFC, and efficient control of a motor can be realized using sensorless Field Oriented Control (FOC) techniques. Both can be achieved by integrating PFC and sensorless FOC algorithms on a single dsPIC DSC. Microchip’s Application Note 1208 describes the process of integrating these two complex functions in a PMSM application. This application note also lists the necessary hardware requirements, and provides the guidelines to optimize the development procedure. Source code is provided for dsPIC30F and dsPIC33F DSCs, along with the application note, on Microchip’s Web site at www.microchip.com/DSCMOTOR.

Sensorless Field-Oriented Control of an AC Induction Motor using Field Weakening
This algorithm provides high torque at low speed and high performance, with lower torque at extended speed. It is ideal for applications such as washing machines, automotive traction control, or any ACIM application that wishes to optimize torque per amp above the rated speed or constant torque region of an ACIM. The strategy is described in Microchip’s Application Note 1206, which provides source code for the dsPIC30F and dsPIC33F DSCs.

Enhancements to the MPLAB® IDE
To reduce motor-control development time, users can now tune motor parameters in real time, completely eliminating the “stop motor/build/reprogram/run motor” development cycle. The graphical Data Monitor and Control Interface (DMCI) in MPLAB IDE Version 8.15 has been enhanced to include a Real-Time Data Monitor (RTDM) function. DMCI enhanced with RTDM provides a graphical method to input and adjust motor parameters in real time and immediately see the effect, without halting the application. A serial USB or UART cable supports bi-directional information transfers between the host PC and the target dsPIC DSC. This tool is useful for modifying software parameters and visualizing historical data during debug sessions, so that the motor’s dynamic response can be analyzed. The MPLAB IDE Version 8.15 can be downloaded for free today.

“The motor-control market is diverse,” said Derek Carlson, vice president of Microchip Development Tools. “Our customers have a wide variety of motor performance requirements. At Microchip, we are committed to providing continuous enhancements to the MPLAB development environment to facilitate the variety of needs our customers encounter. We are pleased to add these new tools to enhance their success.”

Pricing and Availability
The dsPICDEM MCLV Development Board (part # DM330021) is available now for $150.00. Source code for the motor-control libraries is available now and can be downloaded for free from www.microchip.com/DSCMOTOR. The MPLAB Integrated Development Environment v8.15, including RTDM and DMCI, can be downloaded from www.microchip.com/mplab, free of charge. More resources and information on all of Microchip’s motor control solutions can be found at www.microchip.com/motor. For additional information, contact any Microchip sales representative or authorized worldwide distributor.

Microchip Customer Support
Microchip is committed to supporting its customers by helping design engineers develop products faster and more efficiently. Customers can access four main service areas at www.microchip.com. The Support area provides a fast way to get questions answered; the Sample area offers evaluation samples of any Microchip device; microchipDIRECT provides 24-hour pricing, ordering, inventory and credit for convenient purchasing of all Microchip devices and development tools; finally, the Training area educates customers through webinars, sign-ups for local seminar and workshop courses, and information about the annual MASTERs events held throughout the world.

About Microchip Technology
Microchip Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MCHP) is a leading provider of microcontroller and analog semiconductors, providing low-risk product development, lower total system cost and faster time to market for thousands of diverse customer applications worldwide. Headquartered in Chandler, Arizona, Microchip offers outstanding technical support along with dependable delivery and quality.

The Microchip name and logo, dsPIC, and MPLAB are registered trademarks of Microchip Technology Inc. in the USA and other countries. dsPICDEM is a trademark of Microchip Technology Inc. in the USA and other countries.