Allegro Microsystems introduced a line of motor drivers with integrated control algorithms, which could potentially curb costs and time-to-market for customers. The motor drivers contain field-oriented control—more commonly called FOC—algorithms that its customers typically have to program themselves into a separate microcontroller. The company said that its latest product line was "customer code-free."
The brushless DC (BLDC) motor drivers are designed to enable smooth and quiet performance, the company said. The driver ICs, which belong to Allegro's Quiet Motion product line, are also designed to reduce bill-of-materials costs, improve system reliability and reduce overall design complexity. The chips support input voltages ranging from 5.5 to 50 volts and their operating temperature range is -40° to 105°C.
Thanks to their high efficiency, fast operation and small footprint, BLDC motors are used in a broad range of devices. These devices require little maintenance and are able to suppress electromagnetic interference. As microcontrollers grow more and more advanced, electronics engineers are increasingly using FOC algorithms to improve performance. These algorithms help BLDC motors run more efficiently and smoothly.
The first new motor controller in the product line, the AMT49406, is targeted at household fans and other applications that have to suppress audible noise as efficiently as possible. The second new chip in the product line, the A89301, trades some of its overall speed for quieter performance and programmability. The chip is targeted at premium appliances and ceiling fans. Both drivers measure 4mm by 4mm, according to Allegro.
“This is the way of the future for motor drivers,” said Vijay Mangtani, vice president of Allegro's power semiconductor business unit, in a statement. He added that the chips "allow customers to tune and evaluate various motors effortlessly, reduce development time and implement product designs with very few external components.”