TI to add machine learning to codeless brushless motor drivers

TI to add machine learning to codeless brushless motor drivers

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

Texas Instruments is planning to add machine learning to its latest family of brushless DC motor drivers.

The 70W BLDC motor driver combine analog and digital chips in a single package to provide code-free, sensorless trapezoidal and field-oriented control (FOC) for quieter consumer applications.

“There is a very big need for quieter appliances and motors in general,” said  Kannan Soundaraparran, Vice President & GM – Motor Drive Business Unit at Texas Instruments. “There are challenges in transitioning from older technologies to newer ones with permanent magnets. Moving to BLDC increases board size and cost and we have had BLDC motor drivers for a while but we are excited about the new technology as code free BLDC motor drivers eliminate software development but are difficult to optimize,” he said.  

The MCF8316A and MCT8316A BLDC motor drivers include a set of commutation control algorithms that eliminate the need to develop, maintain and qualify motor-control software, which eliminates months of design time. The algorithms, along with a high level of integration, enable these motor drivers to manage critical functions such as motor fault detection, while implementing protection mechanisms to increase system reliability. Because these motor drivers integrate sensorless technology to determine rotor position, they eliminate the need for external Hall sensors, which reduces system cost and increases reliability.

“70W is a sweet spot for appliances and we think this will have a wide area of applicability,” said Soundaraparran.

The MCF8316A sensorless FOC motor driver intelligently extracts motor parameters, enabling designers to quickly tune a motor while delivering consistent system performance regardless of motor manufacturing variations. This has the ability to modify these parameters over time to optimize the performance during operation.

“It is possible to do but I don’t  know if we have switched it on. This capability does exist. These are things we will figure out as we interface with customers,” said Soundaraparran.

Next: Patented BLDC dead time compensation 

The MCF8316A also uses a patented, precise automatic dead-time compensation technique that compensates for current distortion to enable engineers to optimize motor acoustic performance.

The MCT8316A sensorless trapezoidal control motor driver enables designers to tune a motor using only five hardware pins, simplifying systems by eliminating the need for a microcontroller interface. This operates up to 3.5kHz for more powerful motors in application such as robotic vacuum cleaners.

The co-packaged design integrates three gate drivers and six high- and low-side MOSFETs with 50 mΩ of on-state resistance (RDS(on)) each, making the devices the first BLDC motor drivers to enable up to 70 W of power with 8 A of peak current for 12- and 24-V systems. The motor drivers also integrate components such as a low-dropout regulator, DC-DC step-down regulator and current-sense amplifiers, eliminating as many as 18 discrete integrated circuits. In a 2cm2 package, this can reduce the board footprint by up to 70 percent.

Pre-production versions of the MCF8316A and MCT8316A are available in a 40-pin, 5-mm-by-7-mm quad flat no-lead package. Pricing starts at US$1.75 in 1,000-unit quantities. and

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