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Microcontrollers are more and more common in motor control applications and are replacing Application-Specific Standard Products (ASSP) and ASICs. Since microcontrollers feature embedded peripherals, they provide more flexibility and offer a better cost solution compared to other solutions.

Typical applications:

  • Compressors and fans in refrigerators
  • Fans in cooker hoods
  • Drums and pumps in washing machines

Atmel® AVR® microcontrollers are well suited for Motor Control applications.

Features and Benefits

  • Flash memory provides flexibility that enables developers to use the same microcontroller for multiple applications and to easily upgrade the program during the application's lifetime.
  • Code compatibility allows to port existing development to other Atmel AVR microcontrollers according to new application requirements, for faster time-to-market.
  • The extended family of Atmel 8-bit AVR microcontrollers lets developers choose a perfect fit for a given application, while keeping costs under control.
  • Dedicated peripherals such as high-end PWM modules and ADC are ideal for motor control applications.
  • Numerous application notes, reference designs and development kits are available to customers for a seamless design and easier development.

Motors

  • Three-phase BLDC: On these motors, the brushes and commutator have been eliminated compared to a brushed DC motor. The control electronics replace the function of the commutator and energize the proper windings to create rotation. Three-phase BLDC devices provide excellent performance characteristics, with or without position sensors, are inexpensive, and long-lasting.
  • Two-phase BLDC: These devices are preferred over brushed motors because they provide long life time, low level of electrical noise and low acoustic noise level. They commonly use hall-sensors.
  • Asynchronous AC: Traditional AC motors run directly from AC voltage at one speed only. Introducing motor control enables speed variation, which can reduce power consumption, acoustic noise and mechanical vibration.
  • Stepper Motor: A stepper motor will rotate in discrete steps when its coils are energized. Position and rotating directions are easily controlled without the need for a feedback system. Speed is controlled by the rate at which coils are energized. Depending on the control type, full steps, half steps or micro-steps can be achieved. Atmel AVR microcontrollers provide an ideal solution for stepper motors.

Sensor-based Three-phase BLDC

3p_bldc_400x241.jpg

Sensor-based three-phase BLDCs are used when initial load is unknown or varies, or when high initial torque is required. The Atmel AVR microcontroller is an excellent fit for this application, supporting TWI, SPI, and UART communication.

Atmel Products

Microcontroller
ATmega48PA / 88PA / 168PA

AVR with three PWM outputs

Sensorless Three-phase BLDC

3p_ss_bldc_400x240.jpg

Sensorless three-phase BLDCs are typically used in fans. The Atmel AVR microcontroller provides superior support for this device, and supports over-current monitoring with ADC or analog comparator.

Atmel Products

Microcontroller
ATmega48PA / 88PA / 168PA

ATmega64A

AT90PWM3B

Sensor-based Two-Phase BLDC

2p_bldc_400x244.jpg

The Atmel AVR microcontroller is excellent for this application, providing support for TWI/SMBus communication. Two hardware PWM channels control driving transistors, and speed is controlled by varying the PWM duty cycle.

Atmel Products

Microcontroller
ATtiny25 / 45 / 85 family

AC Motors

Atmel Products

Microcontroller
AT90PWM3B

Stepper Motors

Atmel Products

Microcontroller
ATmega48PA / 88PA / 168PA

ATtiny87 / 167

Relevant Application Notes with covered motors and functionality

App Note2-phase BLDC3-phase BLDCAC motorStepper motorSensorSensorlessBlock driveSinus driveCAN/LIN
AVR138X
AVR172XXXX
AVR194XXXX
AVR275XXX
AVR435XXX
AVR441XXX
AVR442XXX
AVR443XXX
AVR444XXX
AVR446X
AVR447XXX
AVR448XXX
AVR449XXX
AVR452XXX
AVR470X
AVR471X
AVR493X XX
AVR494XX
AVR495XX
AVR496XX
AVR498XX
AVR675X
AVR32710XXX
AVR32723XXX

Learn more about the Atmel solution Application Notes, Devices, and Tools and Software