Allegro Microsystems introduced a line of motor drivers that integrate the company's own control algorithms, potentially curbing costs and time to market for customers. The chips contain field-oriented control (FOC) algorithms that customers normally have to program themselves into a microcontroller to drive a motor. Allegro described the product line as "customer code-free."
The algorithms inside the brushless DC—more commonly known as BLDC—motor drivers are designed to enable smooth and quiet performance, according to Allegro. The chips, part of its Quiet Motion product line, are also designed to cut bill of materials costs, improve reliability and reduce complexity. The chips support input voltages ranging from 5.5 to 50 volts. Their operating temperature range is -40° to 105°C.
BLDC motors are used in a broad range of electronic devices due to their high efficiency, high speeds and small size. They don't require much maintenance and are effective at suppressing electromagnetic interference. But as microcontrollers grow more and more capable, more designers are using FOC algorithms to enhance what they can do. These algorithms allow BLDC motors to run more efficiently and smoothly.
The first 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 chip in the product line, the A89301, supports slower speeds but compensates for that with quieter performance and programmable features for premium appliances and ceiling fans. Both chips measure 4-mm by 4-mm, 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.”