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Brushless motor reference design debuts at APEC 2024

28th February 2024
Mick Elliott

Amber Semiconductor has teamed its AC Direct DC Enabler power conversion technology with STMicroelectronics STM32 microcontrollers to develop a reference design for brushless motors.

It is making its debut at APEC 2024 in Long Beach, California (February 25-29).

The reference design takes a direct AC input through AmberSemi's patented AC Direct DC Enabler technology and powers the ST microcontroller, gate drivers and Hall sensors for brushless motor applications.

Compared to typical brushless DC motor-control design, AmberSemi's off-line solution provides up to 5 watts of regulated output, enough to drive today's requirement of control logic and sensors, with additional headroom for expanded intelligent functionality.

The Enabler offers selectable output voltages determined by internal, configurable register settings or with a simple external voltage-divider feedback circuit. 

An adjustable current limiting feature on the VDC output offers protection and notification via an interrupt signal.

Generation of the DC output is controlled by an internal register selection of regulator switching frequencies.  This allows the designer to easily optimize between efficiency, reduced ripple, interference with sensitive system circuitry, and board space footprint.

In addition to meeting the tasks of a high-performance AC-DC offline converter, the Enabler also provides integrated functionality for supporting the next generation of intelligent applications in IoT/IIoT/AIoT.

Through the integrated SPI communication port and coupled with an SPI-equipped MCU, such as one from the STM32 family of microcontrollers, the designer can set alarm bits, protection thresholds, monitor status bits for over-current, over/under voltage, over-temperature and interrupt signals on the Enabler.

Achieving real-time reporting and telemetry monitoring of the motor load are key building blocks towards a preventative maintenance plan required in industrial applications.

"The reference design for brushless motors shown at the APEC 2024 conference is set to demonstrate the advantages the Amber and ST technologies are capable of delivering to the AC-powered application landscape, simplifying the power-supply circuitry, reducing the overall BOM and PCB footprint, and improving efficiency," said Sean Newton, Applications Director, Microcontrollers, Microprocessors, and Wireless Products at STMicroelectronics.

"We are excited to showcase with ST, a global, market-leading semiconductor company, a reference design around our breakthrough technologies at APEC 2024," said Thar Casey (pictured), CEO at AmberSemi. "The timing of this reference design, as we enter the commercialization phase for our first semiconductor products, could not be more ideal. It is timed with the expansion of our design-in evaluations of our semiconductor engineering samples in 2024 with our electrical product manufacturing partners."

AmberSemi discovered a way the physics of electricity is managed differently - digitally - in silicon chips. The company's mission is to transform electrical product power management architecture globally from outdated, 1950's-era electro-mechanical power technologies, standard today in every electrical product, to smaller, safer, and smarter silicon chips.

Casey explained, "Our products enable a change in the design possibilities for electrical products by delivering smarter, smaller more dynamic power systems to electrical products not only enabling the possibilities of more streamlined product designs and form factors, but also opening the possibilities to pose a significantly broader set of features within these products."

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