Freescale introduces highly integrated controller for automotive brushless motor control applications

March 01, 2012 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Freescale Semiconductor has announced the most highly integrated automotive brushless motor (BLDC) control solution available today. The S12 MagniV 16-bit S12ZVM family of mixed-signal microcontrollers (MCUs) is designed to support the the transition from direct current (DC) to BLDC motors. By using this single-chip motor control solution, designers can shrink the size, reduce the audible noise and improve the power efficiency of their applications, Freescale claims.

The S12ZVM family combines four elements of a system – MCU, MOSFET gate drive unit, voltage regulator and local interconnect network (LIN) physical layer – into a single-chip solution. Implementing these four functions typically requires two to four chips. Through on-chip integration, Freescale is able to reduce the physical footprint of a printed circuit board by up to 50 percent compared to alternative discrete solutions.

Auto manufacturers are continually looking for potential vehicle weight and power consumption reductions, which can ultimately lead to improved fuel economy. Electronic system suppliers and electric motor manufacturers are embracing this trend, but often struggle with sub-optimal or non-scalable solutions when working with custom solutions. The S12ZVM family offers a wide range of product versions, supporting CAN and LIN communication protocols with multiple memory sizes and package options. This will allow customers to develop true platform solutions with hardware and software design reuse for applications such as HVAC blowers, wipers, fuel pumps and water pumps.

“None of today's single-chip BLDC motor control solutions provide the memory capability and performance scalability to run real field-oriented control,” said Ray Cornyn, vice president of Automotive Microcontrollers at Freescale. “The introduction of the enhanced S12Z core as part of the S12 MagniV portfolio is a key enabler for our highly efficient and extremely compact motor control solutions.”

At the heart of the new S12ZVM family, an enhanced S12Z core running at 100 MHz provides significant design benefits over prior versions. The addressing space was made linear (no memory paging required), simplifying software development and allowing it to port across applications. Also, new instructions have been introduced to accelerate fractional math operations heavily used in sophisticated motor control techniques, such as field-oriented / vector control algorithms. Other incremental improvements, such as code size reductions, have been made possible through close collaboration with Cosmic Software, a key development tool partner. Software libraries will further complete the offering by shortening the learning