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Smart Drivers Simplify and Optimize Motor Control

FEEDBACK Smart Drivers Simplify and Optimize Motor Control By David Morrison, Editor, Power Electronics Technology C

By David Morrison, Editor, Power Electronics Technology

C onsumer appliance and industrial applica- tions are generating demand for sophisti- cated motor control circuits that can simplify system designs, reduce space requirements for control circuitry and ensure high levels

of efficiency and robust fault protection. Semiconductor manufacturers have responded by developing motor driver and motor control components in the form of monolithic ICs as well as compact multichip modules. Some of the new components reflect trends in the appliance marketplace away from single-phase ac induction motors going to high-voltage brushless dc (BLDC) motors.

The latter offer higher levels of efficiency (from 50% to 90%), less acoustic noise and

vibration, and higher power density. The latest ICs and modules also reflect the trend toward variable-speed motor control designs.

Among the recently developed components is a family of monolithic smart motor drivers from STMi- croelectronics (see the table). These drivers are members of the powerSPIN platform (, which provides a basis for scalable motion control designs. The de- vice family includes eight drivers aimed at dual dc or bipolar stepper motors (part numbers L6205 , L6225, L6206, L6226, L6207, L6227, L6208 and L6228) and two drivers targeting BLDC motors (L6235 and L6229). Besides the chips, the platform supports product development with evaluation boards, PC software and application notes. The powerSPIN devices are fabricated in BCDIII, ST’s robust 60-V mixed-signal process that combines bipolar, CMOS and isolated DMOS structures. This process allows all of the control and power circuitry required to drive the motor to be integrated on a single die. For example, the L6208 integrates all the circuitry required to drive a two-phase step- per motor, including a dual DMOS full bridge, a constant off-time PWM current controller that performs chopping regulation, and a phase-sequence generator. Similarly, for driving three-phase brushless dc motors, the L6235 integrates a three-phase DMOS bridge, a constant off-time PWM current controller and decoding logic for single-ended Hall sensors. Both chips feature nondissipative overcurrent protection on the high-side power MOSFETs

and thermal shutdown. The L620x devices and the L6235 are rated at 5.6 A pk (2.8 A RMS ), while the L622x devices are rated at 2.8 A pk, 1.4 A RMS . Devices also can be easily con- nected in parallel to double these ratings and are designed for an 8-V to 52-V operating voltage range. Fairchild Semiconductor ( recently introduced the Motion-Smart Power Modules (SPMs) designed for low-power (below 100 W), BLDC motor applications such as those in home appliances. The Motion-SPM multichip modules combine six fast-recovery MOSFETs (FRFETs) and three half-bridge, high-voltage ICs (HVIC) in a 29-mm 120-mm Tiny-DIP, small enough for the control circuit to fit into the motor.

Some of the new components reflect trends in the appliance marketplace away from single-phase ac induction motors going to high-voltage brushless dc motors.

The Motion-SPMs’ FRFETs optimize system efficiency by lowering switching and conduction losses during low-current conditions.For ruggedness,they provide a wider reverse bias safe operating area than IGBTs of similar ratings. By using the MOS- FETs’ body diodes as freewheeling diodes, Motion-SPMs elimi- nate the need for additional components, improving efficiency and noise immunity. The gate-driver ICs increase reliability through a high-isolation,5-V CMOS/TTL interface and UVLO protection features. Additional features include high-speed level-shifting function that permits operation from a single power supply voltage, a technique that eliminates the need for opto-isolation. The 500-V, 2-A FSB50250 and the 500-V, 3-A FSB50450 are priced each at $7.20 and $8.26, respectively, in quantities of 100. From Zetex Semiconductors (, the ZXBM1015 is a single-phase motor predriver for variable- or fixed-speed control of single-phase BLDC fans, blowers and pumps. The ZXBM1015 includes a current monitor that enables supply current on startups and stall to be kept permanently within OEM specifications. The ZXBM1015 produces a PWM output to drive an external H-bridge that, in turn, drives the motor windings. Its integral current monitoring circuit measures the voltage across a low-value external resistor in the low side of the

Power Electronics Technology

June 2005


H-bridge and deduces how much current the motor is taking during each PWM cycle. If it takes too much, the pre-driver backs off the PWM drive to reduce the current drawn. The pre-driver IC also offers a configurable phase com- mutation delay, allowing OEMs to accurately meet the re- quirements of different motor sizes. In addition, the device is compatible with thermistor, voltage and PWM control inputs and is compatible with any type of Hall-effect sensor. The 1000-piece price of the ZXBM1015 is $0.88 each. International Rectifier (IR; has expanded its iMOTION integrated design platform with several new products. One is the IR3103 motor drive IC, a half-bridge FredFET with gate-driver IC. Packaged in an 11-pin mini- SIP, this device can drive applications up to 180 W without a heatsink. The IR3103 simplifies the design of compact, two- and three-phase half-bridge inverter motor drives for appliances such as fans and refrigerator compressors. Propagation delays for the high-side and low-side power FredFET devices are matched for better synchronization of switching characteristics and lower power dissipation. In addition, the device can operate up to a maximum input of 500 V at temperatures up to 150°C. Also featured is a boot- strap diode for the high-side driver section. The IR3103 is priced at $1.25 each in quantities of 10,000.


Meanwhile, IR also has released a series of high-voltage IGBT control ICs with a sophisticated set of protection func- tions. The series consists of 1200-V and 600-V gate-driver ICs and current-sense interface ICs for a variety of applications, including inverterized motor drives, general-purpose inverter circuits, switched-mode power supplies and UPSs. Although IR has previously introduced current-sensing ICs with 600-V ratings, the new parts are the first rated as high as 1200 V. Similarly, the company previously offered “dumb” 1200-V rated gate drivers. However, the new 1200-V gate drivers integrate safety features that previously required external glue logic or programming of the host system’s DSP. These gate drivers protect against ground faults and other overcurrent conditions, such as shoot-through and shorts to supply rails. For appliance motor drives and a wide range of general- purpose inverter circuits, the 1200-V HVICs also are available in 600-V versions. For more on these components, including pricing, see “HVICs for Motion Control Take on Higher Volt- ages and Safety Features”at hvic-motion-control. The theory behind the operation and application of these parts also is discussed in “ICs Protect IGBTs and Sense Currents in Motor Drives,”Power Electronics Technology, April 2005, pp. 34-39. PETech







FSB50250 and FSB50450 Motion-Smart Power Modules

BLDC motors in home appliances (below 100 W)

Modules combine six fast- recovery MOSFETs and three half-bridge, high-voltage ICs

29 mm x 12 mm, 23-lead Tiny-DIP



IR3103 motor drive IC

Two- and three- phase half-bridge inverter motor drives for ac induction and BLDC motors


Half-bridge FredFET with

11-pin mini SIP


gate driver

Needs no heatsink for motor drives up to 180 W


IR22381Q /2277S/22771S/


AC induction


1200-V IGBT gate driver ICs

64-lead MQFP,



motor drives up to 15 hp

protect against ground faults, shoot-through, and short to

16-lead SOIC,

1200-V gate driver ICs and current-sensing ICs

and 24-lead


BLDC and ac

supply rails



motor drives


1200-V rating on current-


(IR21381Q /2177S/21771S/ 2114SS/21141SS are 600-V versions of these devices)

400-V ac 3-phase systems


sensing ICs



Dual dc or bipolar stepper motors and BLDC motors

Two-phase stepper motor driver has:


6207/ 6227/6208/6228/ 6235/6229 smart motor drivers


Dual DMOS full bridgeand SO24

and SO24


PWM controller 


Phase sequence generator 


ZXBM1015 single-phase motor predriver

Variable or fixed speed control of single-phase brushless dc fans, blowers and pumps


PWM output to drive H-bridgemotor predriver Variable or fixed speed control of single-phase brushless dc fans, blowers and pumps •



Current monitoringSemiconductors TSSOP20



Configurable phase commutation delay

Table. Recently developed driver ICs and modules.


Power Electronics Technology

June 2005