If you design for Industry 4.0 and other high-end consumer electronics systems, the just-announced STSPIN32F0 motor control system-in-package may be for you. Combining a microcontroller and an analog IC in a tiny 7mm x 7mm QFN package, the STSPIN32F0 delivers the flexibility and power of a microcontroller-based motor drive with the convenience, simplicity, and space-efficiency of a single chip.
ST is a pioneer in the field of motor and motion control and offers a wide range of motor drivers covering the requirements of brushed DC motors, stepper motors and brushless DC motors (BLDC) over an extensive range of voltage and current ratings. The newest addition to the product line – the STSPIN32F0 – is geared to provide the freedom to optimize BLDC motor control strategy while providing the high processing performance that enables autonomous operation with minimal intervention from a central controller.
Even better, the STSPIN32F0 makes these qualities accessible in a convenient and space-efficient system-in-package. It takes advantage of the power-control libraries and algorithms available from the rich STM32 ecosystem, which helps streamline and simplify development of smart, feature-packed, precision motion controls. These capabilities make the STSPIN32F0 ideal for smart-manufacturing equipment, power tools, and cooling fans, as well as emerging high-tech product categories such as drones, small robots, and home appliances containing high-efficiency motors, such as high-performance portable vacuum cleaners or air purifiers.
The STSPIN32F0 significantly simplifies design challenges by building on the extensive — and cost effective — STM32 development ecosystem, which includes a full range of software tools, firmware libraries, and middleware. Of course, these include popular motion-control algorithms including Field-Oriented Control (FOC) and 6-step control and are aimed squarely at streamlining firmware development.
Open up the tiny QFN package and you’d find an STM32F0 microcontroller (MCU), which features the ARM® Cortex®-M0 core. The MCU hosts the motor-control algorithms and provides the fast algorithm execution times needed for precision control of torque and speed up to high rpm. The MCU also has the bandwidth and headroom to support additional functionality.
You’d also find a highly integrated analog IC that implements a three-phase, half-bridge gate driver with integrated bootstrap diodes. With a gate-drive current of up to 600mA, designers can select from lots of power MOSFETs based on the rating of their motor.
And to protect the motor, the analog chip features built-in protection mechanisms including real-time programmable over-current protection, cross-conduction prevention to eliminate potentially damaging shoot-through currents, and under-voltage and over-temperature protection. The analog chip also integrates op amps for maximum flexibility to design cost-effective sensorless or Hall-effect sensor feedback systems and simplifies design even more by containing an internal 3.3V DC-DC buck converter and 12V LDO linear regulator. These further enhance efficiency by providing the voltage rails to supply the MCU, the external circuitry, and the gate drivers.
In the interests of energy efficiency, the IC can be put into standby mode, which disables all the internal circuitry apart from the DC-DC converter that supplies the MCU, thus reducing power consumption to a minimum.