Highly integrated motor controller consolidates essential functions for motor control

27-10-2020 | Microchip Technology | Semiconductors

The demand to reduce SWaP on satellites and other space systems continue to challenge the aerospace market. Integrating more than 20 commonly used functions into a single chip, Microchip Technology has revealed the LX7720 radiation-hardened mixed signal motor controller, the most recent addition to its Space System Manager product family. As the industry’s first highly integrated radiation-hardened by design motor control IC, the device greatly reduces weight and board space relative to traditional discrete motor control circuits. By decreasing the number of components on a system, developers can inspect and test fewer parts, while also minimising the physical points of potential failure due to a lesser number of connections and solder joints.

The controller provides a unique solution for satellite manufacturers sensitive to board area and weight reduction by consolidating essential functions for the motor control and position sensing circuitry required for robotics, multi-axis pointing mechanisms and precise motion control of optical elements. The company's controller combines four half-bridge N-channel MOSFET drivers, four floating differential current sensors, a pulse modulated resolver transformer driver, three differential resolver sense inputs, six bi-level logic inputs, power drivers via external FETs, loop control electronics for voltage or current control, position read-back (resolver, potentiometer, limit switches, etc.), fault detection and more into a single device.

“As the reduction of weight and board space on satellites continues to challenge the aerospace market, we are pleased to reinforce our commitment to developing innovative solutions with this highly reliable and highly integrated radiation-hardened motor controller,” said Bryan J. Liddiard, vice president of Microchip’s mixed signal linear business unit. “The LX7720 enhances our ever-growing space product portfolio as we continue to expand a total system solution for our customers building these sophisticated satellites.”

The device functions as a mixed signal companion IC to the selected digital IC used in the application. The company's RT PolarFire and RTG4 FPGA products and recently announced SAMRH71 radiation-hardened MCU are ideal companion chips, from a single supplier. The device is MIL-PRF-38535 Class V, and Class Q qualified and has already been adopted by customers to enable various motor control applications in space robotics and human-rated space programs. It is the ideal solution for spacecraft applications involving motor driver servo control, linear actuator servo control and for driving stepper, BLDC and PMSM motors. The device provides radiation tolerance to 100krad Total Ionization Dose, 50krad to ELDRS exposure and is single event immune.

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