ST: motor driver simplifies motion control for battery-operated robots and appliances

STMicroelectronics’ STSPIN32F0A programmable motor controller contains fully integrated gate drivers for three external MOSFET half-bridges, an STM32F0 microcontroller, as well as a 3.3V DC/DC switching converter plus a 12V LDO, giving designers flexible motor-control options in a lightweight and compact 7 x 7mm outline. The 48MHz microcontroller, with 32Kbyte on-chip Flash, can run motor control algorithms such as 6-step sensorless, field-oriented control or position-sensed control, as well as the user application.

The STSPIN32F0A has an extended operating-voltage range from 6.7 to 45V and can run from batteries as small as a pair of LiPo cells in mobile robots, gimbals, or drones. It is also ideal for power tools, portable appliances like air purifiers and small refrigerators, as well as server cooling fans and 3D printers. Developers can take advantage of 16 programmable I/O pins and microcontroller peripherals that save CPU involvement to handle motor back-EMF or position/Hall-sensor feedback and allow precise control down to near-zero rotor speed. These include a 12-bit 9-channel ADC, and three operational amplifiers that can also be used for tasks such as current sensing through a shunt resistor. Further MCU resources include five general-purpose timers and I2C, UART, and SPI interfaces. Users can also access the boot loader, gaining flexibility to upgrade or update firmware over the air.

The gate-driver IC can deliver up to 600mA per channel, enabling designers to choose from a wide variety of MOSFETs to control motors of various power ratings. Integrated bootstrap diodes ensure reliable startup, and built-in protection includes real-time programmable over-current protection, cross-conduction/shoot-through prevention, under-voltage lockout (UVLO), and over-temperature protection.

The STSPIN32F0A also integrates a 3.3V DC/DC converter to supply the microcontroller and a 12V LDO for the gate-driving circuitry, which further simplify system design and streamline the bill of materials. The MCU-powered motor driver connects with ST’s extensive STM32 development ecosystem that includes STM32Cube software packages, STM32 Nucleo hardware, and approved third-party resources in the STM32 Partner Program.


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