On Semi’s Motor Development Kit Prioritizes Energy Efficiency

November 16, 2020 Rich Nass

Design engineers love development kits, for a bunch of reasons. One, they enjoy seeing how things work and the kits expose the technology. Two, they like to tinker with the boards and see if they can get the board to do what it’s intended to do, as well as some things that it may not have been intended to do. And three, it gives them a nice head start on the development path.

The latter reason is generally why the vendors produce these boards—the sooner they can get their customers into production, the sooner those customers will put in an order for lots of ICs.

On Semi is no different in its thinking, and it recently put out a few boards aimed at motor-control applications. Such boards are usually well received, partly because they straddle the line between electrical and mechanical engineering, an area where engineers of either discipline can struggle. For example, ask the EE to optimize the electronics for a motor is akin to asking the ME to design an RF circuit.

To that end, ON Semiconductor has introduced its advanced and flexible Motor Development Kit to accelerate the development of more efficient motor control solutions. An important spec here is that the kits operate with applications that range from less than 1 kW to over 10 kW.

With such a high percentage of AC induction motors in use, which don’t necessarily have a high level of efficiency. To help improve on that efficiency, motor drives designers must understand how these and other types of motors operate under all load conditions, and intelligently compensating for variable conditions. The Motor Development Kit addresses the need for improved energy use.

The motor controllers are enhanced by the use of device from the Xilinx Zynq-7000 SoC family, a flexible and programmable approach. The SoCs are based on two ARM Cortex-A9 processor cores alongside an FPGA fabric. The board also features a 10-channel differential ADC, 12 PWM channels and a number of configurable digital peripherals. Communication ports include USB, JTAG and UART, as well as a Gigabit Ethernet PHY.

About the Author

Rich Nass

Richard Nass is the Executive Vice-President of OpenSystems Media. His key responsibilities include setting the direction for all aspects of OpenSystems Media’s Embedded and IoT product portfolios, including web sites, e-newsletters, print and digital magazines, and various other digital and print activities. He was instrumental in developing the company's on-line educational portal, Embedded University. Previously, Nass was the Brand Director for UBM’s award-winning Design News property. Prior to that, he led the content team for UBM Canon’s Medical Devices Group, as well all custom properties and events in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Nass has been in the engineering OEM industry for more than 25 years. In prior stints, he led the Content Team at EE Times, handling the Embedded and Custom groups and the TechOnline DesignLine network of design engineering web sites. Nass holds a BSEE degree from the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

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