STMicroelectronics Innovates True Single-Chip Motor Controller

High-performing motor drives for equipment such as security cameras, cash dispensers, ticketing machines, stage-lighting, printers and vending machines can now be realized more quickly, at lower cost and higher performances using a complete motor-control system on a chip perfected by STMicroelectronics. The ‘digital SPIN’, or dSPIN , combines all the necessary digital control, analog measurement, and power electronic circuitry for controlling stepper motors using ST’s advanced BCD fabrication process. It is the first device in ST’s new dSPIN family of monolithic motor-control ICs that will bypass specialized hardware and software design tasks, reduce component count and pc-board area, and speed up time to market. Implementing the motor-control calculations in hardware simplifies software design by requiring only acceleration, deceleration, speed and target position commands from the application microcontroller. This frees microcontroller resources to support other differentiating features.

In addition to increasing integration over competing solutions, the dSPIN ensures extremely smooth movement of the motor by using an innovative voltage-mode control algorithm. The voltage-mode approach allows full digital control, feeding the motor phases with an accurate sinusoidal waveform and resulting in position resolution of 128 microsteps per step. Other advantages include reduced resonances, mechanical noise and low-speed vibration, as well as reduced speed and torque ripple at low speeds.