In the future, it is possible that we will see the role of IMCs expand to include reluctance motors such as variable reluctance or switched reluctance motors. From a capability side, it is also likely that we will see IMCs that offer advanced sensorless capabilities, but so far these products, like the dedicated motor control ICs of old, are generally still application-specific.

IMCs usually come with a developer’s kit that includes Windows software and a working amplifier card that uses that IMC. The card can be used as a test bed for development, or as a template for your own design.

The software that is provided with the IMC IC itself is also important, and should not be overlooked. The software that is included should make setting up the developer’s kit with your motor easy, and provides features such as auto tuning. Additional features include a trace feature to optimize performance, and communications via serial, CANBus, or Ethernet to the PC.

Intelligent motor controller ICs are useful wherever a designer is tasked with building a high performance drive for a multi-phase motor such as a brushless DC motor or AC Induction motor. Because they provide simple, command-oriented interfaces, IMCs are compatible with general purpose micros, or they may be used for standalone drive operations. At the core, they are intended to provide all of the intelligence needed to assemble a high performance motor drive.

This article was written by Chuck Lewin, Founder and Vice President of Engineering at Performance Motion Devices Inc., Lincoln, MA. For more information, please contact Arthur Chabot of Performance Motion Devices at +1-781-674-9860 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., visit the company’s website at http://www. pmdcorp.com, or go to http://info.hotims.com/22932-330.

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