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How to Choose a Motor Drive and Motor Controller

A  motor controller is an integrated circuit used to control motors in robots across several applications. The robots could be self-driving cars or simple school projects. The function of a motor driver is to take small low-currents and subsequently amplify it to higher currents to drive a motor.

 

A motor driver acts as a bridge between the processor or microcontroller and the engine. There are several types of engines, such as Servo motors and DC motors, among others. The selection of motors depends on their application/use, and there are several ways to operate them. Let’s explore insightful information on how to go about choosing motor drivers. 

A  motor controller is an integrated circuit used to control motors in robots across several applications. The robots could be self-driving cars or simple school projects. The function of a motor driver is to take small low-currents and subsequently amplify them to higher currents to drive a motor.

A motor driver acts as a bridge between the processor or microcontroller and the engine. There are several types of engines, such as Servo motors and DC motors, among others. The selection of motors depends on their application/use, and there are several ways to operate them. Let’s explore insightful information on how to go about choosing motor drivers. 

Motor Controller– Uses of Motor Drivers

Standard motor drivers used in robotics need a driving current that is larger than 250 Ma. 

A timer IC or a microcontroller cannot quickly provide such massive flows to the motor, and there are chances of the engine getting damaged. Hence, this is where a motor driver comes into the picture. As mentioned earlier, they act as a ‘bridge’ or interface between the motor and the micro-controller. 

In short, motor drivers handle large amounts of voltage and current, allowing you to control a higher load using a small signal. It is important to note that the motor must is crucial when referring to motor controllers and drivers. Those diving into the robotics field often faces some confusion regarding the difference between a motor controller and a motor driver. A motor driver handles the power to drive motors, while the digital control and every other logic get done by a microprocessor. 

Motor Controller 1

Motor Controller–Application of Motor Drivers

Motor drivers have got varied applications in a variety of fields. Their use is plenty in industries and applications such as:

  • Incandescent displays and LED
  • Stepping motor
  • Solenoid and relay switching
  • Automotive applications 
  • PC peripherals
  • Robotics
  • Car navigational systems

As you can see, motor drivers usage is in a variety of applications/fields. Their applicability is vast and varied. 

Motor Controller 2

Motor Controller–Specific introduction of the application

Motor drivers have got varied applications in a variety of fields. Their use is plenty in industries and applications such as:

  • Incandescent displays and LED
  • Stepping motor
  • Solenoid and relay switching
  • Automotive applications 
  • PC peripherals
  • Robotics
  • Car navigational systems

As you can see, motor drivers usage is in a variety of applications/fields. Their applicability is vast and varied. 

Selecting a Motor Driver

4.1.Voltage 

There are plenty of things to look out for when selecting a motor driver. The first thing that you may have to consider is the current and voltage ratings compatible with your chosen motor and application. The best thing is that finding suitable energy is not that difficult as there are plenty of devices whose supply-voltage range is broad.

Of importance to note here is that the current isn’t just about the present. You have to choose a motor driver that has got capabilities of accommodating a huge current drive. If the motor driver will have to undergo stressful internal temperatures, go for one with an exposed thermal pad. As a general rule, you may have to go for a motor driver with an operating voltage of around 1.5x to 2x. You can easily find the current and motor driver energies on the nameplate of the motor. A majority of engines can get connected for several voltages and have got a list of multiple amperages.

4.2. Applicability

Secondly, before choosing a motor driver, you need to consider its use or applicability. Motor drivers have got several methods, and must you must choose according to your specific application requirements. There are those applications that may need powerful motor drivers, while other applications may not require such. Applicability matters a lot when it comes to the selection of the motor drive. 

4.3. Environmental Factors 

Thirdly, the environmental condition under which the motor driver must function has to dictate its choice. Things such as dust, vibration, temperature, and other airborne contaminants must be factored in during the selection process. You have to go for a motor controller that tolerates a lot of hardship and other harsh conditions. 

4.4. Type of driver

Fourth, when choosing a motor driver, you need to factor in the kind of motor driver that will suit your needs. There are two common types of motor drives; brushed motors and brushless motor drivers. 

l  Brushed motor drivers are the most frequently available in the market and the simplest ones to operate. Their low-budget applications and essential industrial equipment make them a favorite among many users. On the other hand, 

l  brushless motor drivers are efficient and highly reliable. They are also known for their long life of operating slightly more than 10,000 hours. 

4.5. Frame size

Apart from the type of motor driver you may require depending on its applicability, you need to factor in the configuration and the frame size. Is there some limited space within the application that will restrict the motor driver choices available to you? Still, is there a need to position your motor drivers’ output shaft in a certain way? It would help if you considered this aspect when shopping for a motor driver to serve your needs. You need to factor in important issues such as an inline gearbox and angle configuration, among others. 

4.6. Weight and velocity

When it comes to choosing the right motor driver, its mass and speed also matter a lot. Depending on its intended use, you may have to go for a motor driver that will fit the intended purpose. Again, you do not want to go for a motor driver whose weight will be troublesome to you. Regarding velocity, the general rule is that most motor drivers run efficiently at high speeds, though it’s not always possible if gearing is necessary. Additional gears will reduce the motor drivers’ efficiency, and it’s essential to factor in speed and the reduction of torque. 

Motor Controller 3

4.7. Torque

Torque is equally another vital thing that you need to consider when selecting a motor driver. If you are using applications or working in industries where heavy lifting is the order of the day, you’ll need stronger motors. To turn a motor shaft effectively, your motor driver needs to have a certain amount of torque. Depending on your needs, you may need a motor driver with specific amounts of torque. If you are working in industries where a lot of movement and heavy lifting is familiar, you may have to go for motor drivers with a lot of torque. 

4.8. Current

Current is another thing that needs careful consideration when choosing a motor driver. Existing powers the motor driver, and a lot of it will damage it. How much current can the motor driver accommodate? There has to be a minimum and maximum flow that the motor driver should help. If the motor driver has to run at faster speeds, then it has to provide higher currents. There has to be an average amount of current that the motor driver has to draw or operate under standard torque. 

4.9. Motor Controller–Motor speeds

The maximum speed of the motor driver is another important thing that you need to factor in when choosing one. How fast can the motor driver serve you? If you work in industries where speeds are essential, you may go for faster motor drivers. You may deal with or power your machines using fast motor drivers in an age where rates matter greatly. The motor driver’s price while operating a specific load matter a lot during the selection process. 

4.10. Motor Controller–Wheel diameter

Lastly, the width of the wheel use is something of importance when choosing a motor driver. The bigger the wheel, the bigger its tires will be, meaning a higher rolling resistance. As something continues to resist, a lot of energy is required to move it. Therefore, a bigger wheel means that you will need a lot of fuel to run it. 

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Motor Controller–You Can Trust WellPCB

WellPCB has a wide range of PCB components for motor drives sold, designed for a wide range of applications. We have many PCBs available for purchase online and work with our partners to find the right PCB design for you. WellPCB ensures seamless procurement of PCBs for you. Whether you want to buy in bulk or small quantities, please believe that WellPCB is available.

As a PCB supplier, we focus our activities on reliable, cost-effective, and energy-efficient designs. We support a complete ecosystem and meet all your design requirements from discrete to fully integrated solutions in the shortest possible time. We believe we can provide WellPCB.

Conclusion

Motor drivers act as a ‘bridge’ or interface between the motor and the microcontroller and are used in several industries and applications such as PC peripherals, car navigational systems, and robotics. Their function is to take or convert a low-current signal to a higher-current signal to drive a motor as required. While out there shopping for a motor driver. There are a few things that must be paid attention to. Some of the most important things to consider are its weight, speeds, velocity, and current, to mention a few.

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Hommer Zhao
Hi, I am Hommer, the founder of WellPCB. So far, we have more than 4,000 customers worldwide. If you have any questions, you can feel free to contact me. I really appreciate any help you can provide.

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