Hackaday Prize Entry: Industrial Servo Control On The Cheap

[Oscar] wonders why hobby projects ignore all the powerful brushless motors available for far less than the equivalent stepper motors, especially with advanced techniques available to overcome their deficiencies.  He decided it must be because there is simply not a good, cheap, open source motor controller out there to drive them precisely. So, he made one.

Stepper motors are good for what they do, open-loop positioning along a grid, but as far as industrial motors go they’re really not the best technology available. Steppers win on the cost curve for being uncomplicated to manufacture and easy to control, but when it comes to higher-end automation it’s servo control all the way. The motors are more powerful and the closed-loop control can be more precise, but they require more control logic. [Oscar]’s board is designed to fill in this gap and take full advantage of this motor control technology.

The board can do some pretty impressive things for something with a price goal under $50 US dollars. It supports two motors at 24 volts with up to 150 amps peak current. It can take an encoder input for full closed loop control. It supports battery regeneration for braking. You can even augment a more modest power supply to allow for the occasional 1 KW peak movement with  the addition of a lithium battery. You can see the board showing off some of its features in the video after the break.

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BPSK on 433 MHz European ISM band


[WaveRider] is using a type of phase shift keying called BPSK to transmit digital sound and video for remote telemetry. Though a higher signal to noise ratio (SNR) is generally sought after with communications, legal limitations are imposed on total radiated power. To balance the two headed beast, he opted out on frequency shift keying due to binary shift keying’s ability to work with lower SNR. This adds the difficulty of properly reconstructing the digital signal at the receiver. A PLL based carrier regeneration circuit is used to reconstruct the signal. Using the Rabit2000 processor as the host controller on both transmitter and receiver, 96KB/Sec serial data is obtained. On the other side of the spectrum is the Homemade regenerative tube radio.