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Stepper motor chip compensates for sudden load increases

11 August, 2014

The German motion control specialist Trinamic has announced a controller-driver chip for stepper motors that incorporates a new technology that adapts the motor velocity automatically to cope with sudden increases in load. The TMC5062 chip is a monolithic dual-axis motor controller that can deliver up to 1.5A, making it suitable for stepper motors up to Nema size 17, and covering most typical hybrid stepper applications.

The new dcStep technology addresses the need for stepper motors to maintain positional (or step) self-awareness without costly feedback circuitry. Without these feedback circuits, safety margins are needed to ensure that the motor’s torque and velocity limits are not exceeded. The new technology allows momentary increases in torque to compensate for sudden increases in load resistance without losing step counts, thus reducing the safety margin that would otherwise be needed.

“Our new dcStep technology lowers system cost and energy consumption by shrinking excess safety margin, which reduces the motor size required for a specific application,” explains Trinamic’s founder and CEO, Michael Randt. “This, in turn, leads to cooler operating temps, more compact board design, and the elimination of fans and heatsinks. A single technology like dcStep accelerates miniaturisation, efficiency and ease-of use.”

With its integrated motion control hardware, the new chip can relieve a host microcontroller of real-time motor calculations, including positioning and velocity ramp calculation. A patented ramp generator calculates high-resolution current values with up to 256 micro-steps per full-step.

Trinamic's dcStep technology allows stepper motors to be operated with wider safety margins

The chip is connected to a microcontroller through an SPI or single-wire interface and executes all real-time position and velocity stepper motor calculations, as well as driving coil currents for dual integrated stepper motor drives. The chip, housed in a 7 x 7mm package, is said to be ideal for pan-and-tilt controls. It costs less than $5 in 1,000-unit volumes.

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