Motor driver SoC features integrated RISC-V Core

13th November 2018
Posted By : Lanna Cooper
Motor driver SoC features integrated RISC-V Core

At the electronica show in Munich taking place this week (Hall B5, Booth 449), TRINAMIC Motion Control is unveiling its new family of motor drives with an embedded RISC-V core, dubbed ‘Rocinante’. Components in the new family combine Trinamic’s decades of experience in embedded motor and motion control together with the flexibility of the open RISC-V ISA microcontroller.

The family is suitable to drive Stepper or BLDC motors, brushed DC-motors, and even voice-coil motors found in rapidly growing markets like service robots, home and office automation, light electric vehicles and power tools.

At the core of any embedded motor-controlling system is a microcontroller, running the application layer, providing a user interface or executing bus protocols.

Trinamic has a history as a provider of motor drivers and according to the company remains the only European manufacturer of dedicated motion control ICs. As a total solutions provider, Trinamic draws upon decades of experience providing embedded board-level microcontrollers. The single chip solution enables miniaturised and highly embedded standalone devices.

Actuators, motors and mechanical components typically have a much longer product lifetime than e.g. user interfaces or protocols, so the longevity of the components is crucial for device manufacturers.

RISC-V is a suitable platform for long product life times: the RISC-V ISA is stable and battle-tested, and there are no obligations or license agreements which could prohibit long term road-mapping, development or technology transfer. Trinamic chose RISC-V as the foundation for the future of embedded motion control.

“Embedding powerful processors into motor controllers gives us a new degree of freedom and enables features that will be indispensable in the future, e.g. condition monitoring and predictive maintenance,” explained TRINAMIC CEO and Founder Michael Randt.

“There are companies who excel in analogue, and a lot of companies doing digital ICs. There’s also mixed-signal and, even more challenging, smart power. The monolithic mixed-signal smart power IC with an embedded processor core is the full culmination thereof, offering ultimate flexibility and reliability at attractive price point.”

Trinamic is an early member of the RISCV group. The company has already successfully implemented RISC-V cores in an early stage on FPGAs, meeting the specific requirements of customers who were looking for a reliable and stable architecture for the long term. Trinamic is committed to the idea of an open instruction set. The design uses self-developed IP in combination with carefully selected, thoroughly tested and strictly European-sourced IP blocks.   

The debut members of the new component family will be a dedicated BLDC/PMSM driver with six integrated gate-drivers and a dedicated stepper motor and stepper servo driver with eight integrated gate drivers. Both components share a rich set of integrated diagnostics and interfacing features.

The whole family is equipped with a 32-bit RISC-V core, hardware-based field oriented control, serial interfaces, USB, CAN-FD and gate drivers for 2-phase or 3-phase motors. Integrated switching regulators allow for one-chip drive solutions. 128k EEPROM based non-volatile memory and 32k SRAM make it powerful enough to handle everything from standalone applications to high-level industrial protocols like CANopen or CANopen-FD. 

According to the company, the components are also the world’s first RISC-V implementation in a monolithic high voltage technology, allowing direct driving of N-channel MOSFETs controlling BLDC, stepper, brush-DC and voice-coil motors.

The first engineering samples, together with 'Landungsbrücke' evaluation boards and comprehensive motion control and application code libraries are expected in Q1 2019.

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