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Microchip Motor Control Starter Kit Review - DM330015

At ebm-papst are well known as a fan manufacture so I was keen to see the latest development kit from Microchip, the Motor Control Starter kit DM330015. So I was interested to see how easy it is to setup and use as a development platform for getting used to using Brushless DC motors (BLDC).Image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BLDC motors or Permanent magnet motors are the best technology when it comes to energy saving and speed control applications due to their design. However you can’t just switch them on and watch them go and that’s because you need electronics to drive it. The motor is constructed from permanent magnets and then a number of coils that can be switched on and off in turn to rotate the magnets, and hence the motor. The speed and timing at which you switch these coils or winding on and off allows for the differences in speed, control of acceleration, breaking and even direction.

The kit comes complete on one PCB in the normal Microchip style of on board programmer and debugger (in this case a PIC24 with USB interface) the main target microcontroller, a dsPIC33 and a small 1,400 rpm three pole BLDC motor. Between the micro and the motor is the key drive circuit which has level shifters and then FETs. The circuit also includes a current and voltage sensing circuit to allow for monitoring of the motor and speed via back EMF. As an addition feature the board also has a capacitive touch slider control that during the demo code can be used to speed control the motor.

So powering up the board was straight forward and I found downloading the example code no problems either, I then complied and programmed the board. The board has the demo code on it, but I like to see that you can compile the code and program it too. This all worked great and as indicated I could start and stop the motor, change speed using the slider and see speed of motor via blinking LEDs.

The kit come with little else however and I needed to go get the user guide and the AN1160 application note to find out more about how the kits works. The user guide was OK from the hardware setting up point of view and also includes all the circuits, parts list etc to go make your own board - almost open source in a way. The Application note was also very good at explaining how BLDC motors work and how to fire the windings and control the PWM again from an electronics point of view.

My only issue was understanding the software. There is good well commented code and its well structured as always with Microchip example code. However I would have liked this written up to explain what function do what. A nice quick guide to the code would allow people to find things like rpm limits or allow for direction of rotation control.

So for an introduction kit I think its quite good as I easily got the board working, including compiling the code myself, in under half an hour. There is plenty of documentation online and if you are willing to dig into the code then I think this is a good way to get started before moving onto the large development BLDC kits that microchip make.

Paul
( @monpjc )

none

16 Jan 2012, 10:10

Comments

May 18, 2013 20:59

Hello again Sneuper

[quote:ag926lx9]... Why no ZENER symbol? It's a very old well known device from good old Fairchild.[/quote:ag926lx9]

Yes, that's why I corrected my post with RS 507885 which has the normal zener symbol, that you could use.

Homegirl has responed with the 3D points, you will not get a perfect 3D image, but a useful spacial awareness. You can as suggested improve your own components with the tools available.

[quote:ag926lx9]Another problem is finding a transistor, for instance your BC327-25ZL1G.
If I type BC237 in the FIND window, I do not get your transistor, but only a BC237BG. Do I have to type the EXACT type number?? Don't hope so...
Typing BC237* does'nt work. No wildchars possible??
I hate to tell you, but I am not convinced Modelsource is going to work for me. It still has a lot of dissapointing "errors" for me.[/quote:ag926lx9]

I'm not sure if your confusing the Library Manager and ModelSource here. ModelSource is a tool to select components and copy them into your local libraries. The Library Manager manages these component libraries. "FIND" is part of the Library Manager or "Add Component"
If you use ModelSource to copy the component BC327-25ZL1G into your local library (via the "Use Component" button), then "FIND" should have no difficulty in locating it.

I actually just did this to check. ModelSource instantly locates the BC327-25ZL1G using Quick Search.
In DesignSpark PCB using "Add component" and "FIND" the BC327-25ZL1G was located using contains "BC327-25ZL1G" or "BC327", without any problems.


[quote:ag926lx9]For now I will trying to use the old libraries of DesignSpark PCB and see if they work for me. ( is this possible ? )[/quote:ag926lx9] Yes, but they are unsupported, whereas ModelSource will be corrected and updated.

[quote:ag926lx9]I will keep following the Modelsource idea because the idea is nice but the implementation is not satisfying.[/quote:ag926lx9] As with DesignSpark PCB and the DesignSpark webpage, ModelSource is under a regular development and improvement plan, but obviously there is a limit to available resource for a totally free package. BUT the resource to-date has been significant.

0 Votes

May 17, 2013 07:52

As has been mentioned before on many of the threads on this forum, the 3D view is not an exact 3D representation, it's simply for space allotment. There are ways to make your 3D objects look like the device you have inserted but it means creating a new 3D model (or adding your part to one that already exists of the same format).

HomeGirl

0 Votes

May 14, 2013 21:46

Thanks for your fast reply.
I tried your transistor (BC327-25ZL1G) and YES it has a common schematic PNP transistor wat I want to see. Fine!
But still in 3D view it looks as a cubic block with no round edges as the common TO92 package has. Dissapointing...

The zener I used is a BZX79C12.
Its schematic symbol is a diode and no [u:phq7eo6v]ZENER[/u:phq7eo6v]diode symbol . Why no ZENER symbol? It's a very old well known device from good old Fairchild.
And its package shows cubic in 3D view with no wires attached . It seems to "float" above the pcb.
In fact all the components I have chosen from Modelsource appear as red or black cubic boxes in my 3D view.
And all package types I used as a test now do exist for a long time now, so why is'nt it possible to translate this directly to a good 3D package view??

Another problem is finding a transistor, for instance your BC327-25ZL1G.
If I type BC237 in the FIND window, I do not get your transistor, but only a BC237BG. Do I have to type the EXACT type number?? Don't hope so...
Typing BC237* does'nt work. No wildchars possible??

I hate to tell you, but I am not convinced Modelsource is going to work for me. It still has a lot of dissapointing "errors" for me.
And I did'nt mention very new or exotic devices in my examples, did I ?
Pitty, because a really like the design software.

For now I will trying to use the old libraries of DesignSpark PCB and see if they work for me. ( is this possible ? )
I will keep following the Modelsource idea because the idea is nice but the implementation is not satisfying.

Kind regards.

0 Votes

May 14, 2013 19:27

The zenershould have been RS 507885, sorry.

0 Votes

May 14, 2013 19:25

Hello Sneuper

Firstly have another look! ModelSource has just been updated.

[quote:g5k9o5f6]When choosing a component (PNP transistor TO92 ) from the Modelsource tab, all I get is a rectangle shematic symbol and no PNP transistor symbol.[/quote:g5k9o5f6]
Yes, some parts are as you describe, this depends on the manufacturer, however there are some work arounds to achieve what you want. For example from the ModelSource selector, select PNP and TO-92 from here you can view all the options and looking at the first in the list RS463072 has the schematic as you want. Check down the list to find one that suits your style and is accurate for your part, use it and on the schematic change the type and part number.
You could also do as above and create a new user component for the future.

[quote:g5k9o5f6]Also an ordinary zener appears as a rectangle in the schematics and has a cubic package in stead of a cilindrical package.[/quote:g5k9o5f6]
I did a quick search and all the ones I looked at had a diode symbol for the schematic, RS507873 has the more convetional zener symbol.

[quote:g5k9o5f6]Do I have to make all the symbols myself??[/quote:g5k9o5f6] It is quite easy to make or adapt symbols especially 2 or 3 pin devices. Many users/companies have their own drawing standards and do this.

[quote:g5k9o5f6]I desperately need some kind of Library tutorial, including working with Modelsource which is UP TO DATE ![/quote:g5k9o5f6]
Yes these are coming as is evident from the DesignSpark PCB home page http://www.designspark.com/page/designs ... -home-page
We are producing many updates to DesignSpark PCB and ModelSource as is evident from todays update and keeping tutorials up to date is a major task underway.
I hope this helps and encourages you to stay with this very comprehensive free package.

0 Votes

May 14, 2013 11:16

Hi,
I am a newbie starting with Designspark.
I chose to learn this software because of the many enthousiatic people out there AND its huge library.
I am learning the program pretty fast, but the libraries are very confusing and not working in my case.

The problem is that I cannot get any component nice looking in my schematics and PCB.
When choosing a component (PNP transistor TO92 ) from the Modelsource tab, all I get is a rectangle shematic symbol and no PNP transistor symbol.
The PCB footprint seems OK, but in 3D view it is an ordinary cubic block and not a TO92 package.
Also an ordinary zener appears as a rectangle in the schematics and has a cubic package in stead of a cilindrical package.
What am I doing wrong? There must be something better then rectangles I think ? Is it a program setup problem?
Where are all the thousands of prefab components? Do I have to make all the symbols myself??

I desperately need some kind of Library tutorial, including working with Modelsource which is UP TO DATE !
Some tutorials seem to be old and written for older versions.

Hope someone can help me with the libraries, its very frustrating because I like the rest of the software very much!

Thanks!

0 Votes