MCU motor control kits from TI spin BLDC motors in minutes

Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) has announced four new compatible motor control kits that the company claims can spin three-phase brushless DC (BLDC) motors in minutes. The kits include object-oriented software functions and drivers that enable simple and cost-effective portability across TI MCU and motor driver families. Each motor control kit includes a reliable, fully protected motor driver monitoring cycle-by-cycle over-current, over-temperature, cross-conduction, and under-voltage situations. This level of integrated protection reduces design complexity and board space and ensures higher system reliability.

Developers can now scale their product lines using TI’s broad portfolio of microcontrollers (MCUs) ranging from 16-bit ultra-low-power MSP430 devices to 32-bit ARM-based, floating-point Hercules safety and Stellaris MCU solutions. All four kits are part of a robust and growing ecosystem that provides all of the hardware, software, and documentation necessary to get motors spinning out of the box in minutes.

A plug-in controlCARD module lets developers choose the right combination of motor driver for voltage, current and experimentation with different MCUs for control. All of the kits have the required firmware to run TI’s sensorless InstaSPIN-BLDC motor control software solution out-of-the-box. InstaSPIN-BLDC is an innovative and free back-electromagnetic field (EMF) technique that sensorlessly spins any motor in seconds without knowledge of a motor’s parameters. Unlike traditional back-EMF zero crossing techniques, InstaSPIN-BLDC extends sensorless operation to lower speeds and is highly immune to miscommutation caused by rapid speed changes. The Stellaris kit also includes a sensorless sliding mode observer (SMO) field oriented control (FOC) speed plus torque control application while the Hercules kits add firmware for sensored (encoder) speed plus torque control with SMO as sensorless redundancy for safety systems.

Additionally, all motor control kits contain TI’s Code Composer Studio integrated development environment (IDE), as well as a graphical user interface to run examples and demonstrations with either the included or a self-provided motor.

The MSP430 DRV8312-430FR-KIT motor control kit:

  • Includes a controlCARD module with MSP430FR5739 MCU features 24 MHz performance, 16KB FRAM, five 16-bit timers, 10-bit ADC and more features that allow developers to create robust yet cost-efficient motor control designs with a tiny footprint
  • Ultra-low-power, non-volatile ferroelectric random access memory (FRAM) technology on-board allows for incredibly fast read and write time, unified memory capable of storing program and info data on one memory block and virtually unlimited write endurance
  • Free supporting software includes motor control source code and InstaSPIN-BLDC library, as well as access to MSP430Ware – a complete collection of software resources including peripheral driver libraries and APIs
  • DRV8312 motor driver spins sub-50V, 3.5A continuous three-phase motors.


Click on image to enlarge.

The Hercules DRV8301-LS31-KIT (TMS570) and DRV8301-RM48-KIT (RM4x) safe motor control kits:

  • Include a controlCARD module featuring a dual core, lock-step Hercules ARM Cortex-R4F safety MCU with floating point with up to 220 MHz performance, 3 MB of Flash and a safety architecture that is ideal for transportation (TMS570) and industrial (RM4) safe motor control.
  • Enable customers to meet safety standards such as IEC61508 and ISO26262 by leveraging the Hercules safety MCU architecture.
  • Generate PWMs and decode the quadrature encoder signal with example microcode for the flexible, integrated 32-channel timer coprocessor.
  • Include a state-of-the-art servo motor from Teknic with built-in encoder and hall sensors for providing robust rotor angle measurements to complement the shunt current based rotor angle estimation from the sliding mode observer.
  • Leverage standard Hercules software to ease the development of safe motor control solutions with peripheral support and configuration via HALCoGen, connectivity stacks and example motor projects.
  • Build upon the highly-integrated DRV8301 motor pre-driver which includes self protection and two programmable gain amplifiers to control sub-60V inverters with external FETs.


Click on image to enlarge.

The Stellaris DK-LM4F-DRV8312 motor control kit:

  • Includes a controlCARD module with Stellaris LM4F211 MCU featuring 80 MHz ARM Cortex-M4 floating point core, 256 KB Flash and two 12-bit ADCs for applications including industrial pumps, fans, blowers, compressors, vacuums, tools and robotics
  • Stellaris LM4F211 MCU with floating point provides all the necessary computational requirements to run technology variety of motor control solutions, StellarisWare software libraries and other customer-developed applications
  • DRV8312 motor driver spins sub-50V, 3.5A continuous three-phase motors


Click on image to enlarge.

Pricing and availability
The Hercules DRV8301-LS31-KIT and DRV8301-RM48-KIT safe motor control kits are $499 USD and include the Teknic servo motor and a 24V power supply.
The MSP430 DRV8312-430FR-KIT and Stellaris DK-LM4F-DRV8312 kits are available for purchase for $299 USD and include a 24V NEMA17 BLDC motor with hall sensors and 24V power supply.
Developers with a compatible motor driver base can also buy the Hercules TMDX570LS31CNCD   or TMDXRM48CNCD controlCARD modules for $99 USD. The MSP430 MSP-CNCD-FR5739 and Stellaris MDL-LM4F211CNCD   controlCARD modules are available separately for $49 USD.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.