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issue: November 2005 APPLIANCE Magazine

Motor Technology
MCUs for BLDC and AC Induction Motor Control

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ZiLOG launched the Z8 Encore! MC generation of Flash microcontrollers (MCUs) targeted at sensorless brushless DC (BLDC) and AC induction motor control applications.

ZiLOG®, Inc. (San Jose, California, U.S.) engineered the Z8 Encore! MC™ generation of Flash MCUs to offer six channels of 12-bit PWM with fast shutdown, analog-to-digital converter (ADC), internal reference, and 2.7-V to 3.6-V operation. Units are offered with a standard operating range of 0°C to 70°C and with an extended range of -40°C to 105°C.

The series is engineered with a 20 MHz CPU core and 512 bytes of RAM, and is initially offered with a choice of 16 KB (Z8FMC16100), 8 KB (Z8FMC08100) or 4 KB (Z8FMC04100) of Flash memory. It is targeted at the growing number of motor control applications in HVAC, power tools, household appliances, pumps, and others.
“These solutions will help solve engineering challenges such as fast over-current detection and fault control, reliable operation and back-EMF sensing at a wide range of speeds including very low speeds, along with extremely smooth start-up and reversal of the direction of rotation,” says ZiLOG Chairman and CEO James Thorburn.
The Z8FMC16100’s key benefits, designed to improve performance, add scalability and keep overall system cost to a minimum, is said to include the ability to seamlessly operate the motor at slower speeds, which helps reduce power consumption and increase energy efficiency. The on-chip integrated analog-to-digital converter, with its unique Time Stamp feature, is coupled to the three-phase pulse-width modulation (PWM) output module, said to enable accurate speed control. The advanced integrated analog modules allow for current sampling as well as on-the-fly implementation of torque or speed control.
In many applications, electrical noise generated by a motor can interfere with microcontroller operation. The new ZiLOG MCUs combine a highly accurate internal precision oscillator as the system clock source (one of several system clock options) with a robust chip design to provide increased noise immunity. Other key features include direct routing of the current sensing module to the PWM module, designed to provide very fast system shutdown during an overcurrent fault.
The MCU-based design offers the option to add more complex and differentiating features. The 16 KB of onboard Flash memory and 17 general purpose I/Os allow for incorporating a variety of new system functions. Another benefit comes from multiple integrated communication peripherals (I2C, SPI, UART, and LIN), for expanded compatibility with the communication protocol the end-user device uses.
“One of the key advantages of the Z8 Encore! MC family is that peripherals such as the Operational Amplifier are all integrated in the hardware, compared to a number of competing solutions which, due to design constraints, are integrated in the software,” Thorburn explains. “This ‘on-chip’ hardware solution also eliminates the need for customers to write complex algorithms in order to address this problem, thus freeing up CPU resources, improving performance and ease of use. Our approach allows more design flexibility for the engineer, reduces bill-of-material costs and printed circuit board space, cuts time to market and delivers better performance by minimizing external interfacing.
ZiLOG’s motor control solution includes the actual silicon along with the firmware, development tools, turnkey solutions, and application support.

Suppliers mentioned in this article:
Zilog Inc.

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