Free PC software speeds Cortex-M3 motor control designs

Toshiba Electronics Europe has announced a free PC software package that speeds and simplifies the development, prototyping and testing of embedded motion control applications built around ARM Cortex-M3 motor control microcontrollers. Through MotorMind, designers can quickly and easily set up, modify and manage key motor control parameters via a graphical user interface (GUI). This GUI also supports a digital storage oscilloscope (µDSO) function that can take ‘snapshots’ of internal motor parameters at critical points during system operation. The new MotorMind software is compatible with Toshiba’s TMPM37x family of microcontrollers, which feature integrated motor control functions including a vector engine (VE) and programmable motor drive (PMD) outputs.
MotorMind gives designer full access to motor, PI-control and system behaviour settings, making it very easy to customise and configure motors without recompiling firmware.

Parameters set via the GUI are transferred directly to an evaluation board (supplied with the relevant MCU starter kit) and the motor can be immediately run with the new settings. In most cases customised set-up of the motor can typically be achieved in under an hour.

The new software provides various views – including a speed and torque display, a ‘statistics view’ and a CPU load monitor. These allow the designer to observe in real time how modifying various motor control parameters effects motor behaviour and MCU performance during acceleration, operation at target speed, and deceleration. Parameters can be easily exported to a header file for subsequent compiling into firmware. A storage and loading function allows the software to be used with different motor applications.

By offering an integrated µDSO capability, MotorMind allows designers to quickly identify and resolve bugs and problems during prototyping and testing. The µDSO allows trigger points to be set for data trace and provides a view into the MCU vector engine. Up to eight VE and firmware parameters and variables can be logged. The µDSO resolution is 50µs at a PWM frequency of 20kHz. As with a conventional DSO it is possible to trigger on rising and falling edges and left and centre. For longer log time periods it is possible to log every ‘n-th’ value (where n is up to 256).

Toshiba’s TMPM37x ARM Cortex-M3 microcontroller family suits industrial and home appliance applications requiring efficient and accurate field oriented control (FOC) of fans, pumps and compressors. Integrated hardware vector engines and programmable motor drive outputs ensure precision control and rapid response without additional hardware, CPU overhead or time-consuming software development. Toshiba’s proprietary PMD3+ technology comprises a three-phase PWM generator, dead time controller, protection circuit and ADC timing network and allows complete control of a three-phase motor through a simple register setting.

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