Tag Archives: motor control

Motor control with AVR MCUs

Microcontrollers (MCUs) are becoming more and more common for motor control applications as they replace Application-Specific Standard Products (ASSP) and ASICs. Simply put, MCUs are equipped with embedded peripherals – thereby offering considerable flexibility while reducing costs.

Typical applications for motor control MCUs – such as Atmel’s extensive AVR lineup – include compressors and fans in refrigerators, fans in cooker hoods, as well as drums and pumps in washing machines.

“Atmel AVR MCUs are particularly well suited for motor control applications. First off, Flash memory provides flexibility that enables developers to use the same microcontroller for multiple applications, all while easily upgrading the program during an application’s lifetime,” an Atmel engineering rep told Bits and Pieces.

“Secondly, code compatibility allows engineers to port existing development to other Atmel AVR microcontrollers based on new application requirements. Thirdly, the extended family of Atmel 8-bit AVR microcontrollers helps engineers choose a perfect fit for a specific application, while keeping costs under control. And lastly, dedicated peripherals such as high-end PWM modules and ADC are ideal for motor control applications.”

Numerous motors  can be appropriately paired with Atmel AVR MCUs, including a three-phase BLDC, two-phase BLDC, asynchronous AC and stepper.

Interested in learning more? Additional information about using Atmel AVR MCUs for various motor control applications is available here.

Atmel’s SAM D20 can power this next-gen appliance UI control unit

An appliance user interface (UI) enables easy control of items such as washing machines and dishwashers, while providing visual and audio feedback in real-time. The UI accomplishes this by communicating with various subsystems, including motor controllers and wireless modules.


Key design considerations of a next-gen UI include capacitive touch, as well as full compliance with safety and energy standards such as EMC, IEC 60730 Class B, FMEA and EnergyStar.

As noted above, the UI is in constant communication with multiple subsystems such as dedicated modules that control motor tasks like drum rotation and compressor drives – or modules that offer wireless capabilities for linking home automation, remote control units and diagnostic tools.

A number of Atmel components can be used as a platform to help power a next-gen appliance UI control unit – supporting all of the above-mentioned features. These include the SAM D20 ARM Cortex-M0+based MCU, 86RF233 or AT86RF212 IEEE802.15.4 ZigBee radios, various MCUs for motor control, SHA204 Authentication IC for security, 30TS temperature sensor and AT24/AT25 Serial EEPROM.

“The SAM D20 offers an integrated UI, eases standards compliance and supports multiple communications interfaces, which reduces BOM cost and board space, increasing system reliability,” Atmel engineering rep Bob Martin told Bits & Pieces.

“In addition, there is hardware support for self and mutual-capacitive touch interfaces with up to 16×16 channels requiring virtually no external components. All of this enables quick response to touches in all power modes with high button count panels.”

Martin also noted that hardware-based 32-bit Cyclic Redundancy Check (CRC) and Memory BIST help customers achieve IEC 60730 Class B compliance, with EMC compliance eased by flexible PCB routing from SERCOM modules and integrated touch control. Plus, each of the 6 SERCOM interfaces can be configured as a USART, I2C or SPI to more efficiently communicate with multiple subsystems.

On the software side, the SAM D20 boasts an extensive development ecosystem, including Atmel Studio 6 (free IDE with compiler), free SW libraries of production-ready source code, a gallery open to extensions via Atmel’s app store and the SAM D20 Xplained Pro Kit – which offers an integrated programmer and debugger with connectors for expansion wings.

Additional information about the SAMD20 can be found here.