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Motor Types

Overview: NXP Semiconductors and Motor Control

Electric motors are all around us, from common appliances to our most sophisticated computers. In fact, the technology has been present for over a century, with many of the earliest motor types still in broad use. Motors provide motion. Whether rotating or linear, motors enable us to move people and machines. They impact every aspect of our daily lives. Electric motors are clean and relatively efficient for the tasks they perform when compared to pneumatic or hydraulic alternatives.

NXP offers comprehensive motor control solutions for virtually all electric motor topologies, including:

Stepper Motor

Stepper motors consist of a doubly salient structure (teeth on both the rotor and stator) and are used primarily in applications requiring precise position control which cannot justify the cost of expensive position feedback sensors. Stepper motors are a fairly new motor type, designed as a replacement for expensive servo motors. As current is switched from one set of stator coils to the next, the magnetic attraction between rotor and stator teeth results in the rotor moving by a small amount to the next stable position, or "step". Since it takes time for the current to be removed from one coil and established in the next (commutation), and since this process results in very little angular displacement of the rotor, stepper motors are typically limited to low speed position control applications.

Brushed DC Motor

DC motors typically consist of a rotating armature coil inside of a stationary magnetic field which is generated by either a permanent magnet or a stationary electromagnet connected in series or parallel with the armature coil (the series connection often being referred to as a Universal Motor). The fact that these motors can be driven by DC voltages and currents makes them very attractive for low cost applications. To convert the armature current from DC into AC (which is required for rotation), a mechanical solution consisting of brushes and a commutator is employed. However, the arcing produced by the armature coils on the brush-commutator surface generates heat, wear, and EMI, and represents the most significant drawback of this motor type.

Brushless DC Motor (BLDC)

Although the name implies a DC motor, it is actually an AC motor. Concentrated coil windings on the stator work in conjunction with surface mounted magnets on the rotor to generate a nearly uniform flux density in the airgap. This permits the stator coils to be driven by a constant DC voltage (hence the name brushless DC), which is simply switched from one stator coil to the next. This process (referred to as COMMUTATION) must be electronically synchronized to the rotor angular position, and results in an AC voltage waveform which resembles a trapezoidal shape. Since there are no brushes or commutator, the BLDC motor does not exhibit the arcing problems associated with a brushed DC motor.

Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor

Very similar to their BLDC cousins, PMSM motors are driven with sinusoidal voltages and currents which can achieve lower torque ripple than BLDC motors. A sinusoidal flux density exists in the airgap which has been traditionally generated by sinusoidally distributed multi-phase stator windings. However, newer designs achieve this flux density with concentrated stator windings and a modified rotor structure. Rotor magnets may be surface mounted for lowest torque ripple, or buried inside the rotor structure for increased saliency, which increases the reluctance torque of the machine. Field Oriented Control (FOC) is often employed to control these motors, which requires precise knowledge of the rotor angular position.

AC Induction Motor (ACIM)

Invented at the tail end of the nineteenth century, AC Induction Motors were the electric workhorse of the industrial revolution. The rotor consists either of multiphase windings, or the more popular copper or aluminum bars arranged in a structure that resembles a squirrel cage. Essentially a rotating transformer, currents are "induced" in the rotor conductors (secondary) from the stator coils (primary). The absence of permanent magnets makes AC induction motors extremely rugged and robust. Sinusoidal flux density is created in the airgap which is generated by sinusoidally distributed multi-phase stator windings. Field Oriented Control (FOC) is often employed to control these motors, which requires precise knowledge of the rotor angular position. However, due to the damping action provided by the moving rotor conductors, AC induction motors are also capable of simply running open loop from a multi-phase AC supply.

Switched Reluctance (SR) Motor

One of the oldest motor topologies, SR motors utilize concentrated stator windings and contain no permanent magnets. The rotor is a very simple construction of soft iron laminates with no coils. Since the rotor cannot generate its own magnetic field, there is no reactive torque (magnet to magnet) in an SR machine. Instead, both rotor and stator poles demonstrate salient protrusions (doubly salient design) where the flux length is made to vary as a function of angle. This results in the magnetic reluctance also changing as a function of angle, which gives rise to saliency torque. This is the only torque producing mechanism in an SR motor, which tends to result in high torque ripple. However, due to their simple design, SR motors are very economical to build, and are perhaps the most robust motor available. Unfortunately, the high torque ripple also gives rise to audible noise during operation, which has limited the application of SR motors in many applications.

NXP offers complete solutions for every type of motor control application. Our superior portfolio and breadth of devices includes:

  • 8-bit microcontrollers (MCUs)
  • 16-bit digital signal controllers (DSCs)
  • 32-bit embedded controllers
  • Acceleration and pressure sensors
  • Analog and mixed signal devices

NXP solutions deliver wide ranging banks of flash and RAM memories, pulse width modulators (PWMs), and configurable timer options. Please refer to our brochure, "Motor Control Technologies" for specific product suggestions to serve each type of motor control application.

NXP Motor Control Solutions

We are dedicated to providing comprehensive system solutions that not only improve motor efficiency but also minimize system cost and development time.

NXP's Complete Motor Control Solution

Product Order Description
FXLN83xxQ The NXP FXLN83xxQ analog accelerometers are designed to support analog capability for industrial, medical tamper detection applications.
FXLS8471Q NXP Accelerometer, I2C/SPI, 1.91-3.6V, XYZ, 2/4/8g, 14bit
K10_120 Kinetis K10 120 MHz MCUs feature serial communication, analog integration and a custom system expansion for medical, industrial, and consumer devices.
K20_120 Kinetis K20 120 MHz MCUs offers advanced analog integration, serial communication, and a customizable system expansion for consumer and industrial devices.
K22_120 Kinetis K22 MCUs have been optimized for cost-sensitive applications requiring low power flexibility and processing efficiency.
K24_120 Kinetis K24 120 MHz MCUs target low-power, cost-sensitive applications requiring high-performance processing efficiency and large memory densities.
K70_120 Kinetis K70 MCUs offer low power and mixed-signal analog integration for control panels, navigational displays, POS terminals, and medical monitoring.
KL0 The Kinetis KL0 MCU family is the entry point into the Kinetis L series based on the ARM® Cortex®-M0+ core.
KL1x Kinetis KL1x is a general purpose ultra-low-power MCU family, with memory, communications and peripheral options beyond the Kinetis KL0x MCUs.
KL2x Kinetis KL2x is an ultra-low-power MCU family that adds a full-speed USB 2.0 OTG controller or a full-speed crystal-less USB 2.0 device controller
KV1x Kinetis KV1x - 75 MHz, BLCD, PMSM Motors, Entry Level Microcontrollers (MCUs)
KV3x The Kinetis KV3x family of MCUs delivers a high-performance solution for motor control applications (BLDC, PMSM, ACIM).
KV4x Kinetis KV3x - 150 MHz, Precision, Sensing, Motor and Power Control, High Performance Microcontrollers (MCUs)
KV5x High performance, cost-effective 32-bit ARM Cortex-M4 based MCU family for BLDC, PMSM and ACIM motor control.
MC3PHAC The MC3PHAC is a high-performance monolithic intelligent motor controller designed specifically to meet the requirements for low-cost, variable-speed, 3-ph...
MCF5441X The MCF5441x offers microcontroller (MCU) peripherals with microprocessor (MPU) performance, including integrated analog, an L2 switch and dual Ethernet. A...
MPC17C724 The NXP MPC17C724 is a compact dual channel H-Bridge power IC, ideal for portable electronic applications such as camera lenses and shutters.
S12XE The S12XE is a 16-bit MCU that delivers enhanced system integrity and greater functionality. Learn more.
USB2SER USB2SER is a USB to UART bridge controller on 5x5 mm lead free QFN24. It is a simple low cost solution to enable USB for an embedded system with a UART por...
VF3xx The Vybrid VF3xx family is a single-core (ARM Cortex-A5) solution in 176 LQFP
VF5xx The Vybrid VF5xx family is a single-core (ARM Cortex-A5) solution in 364 MAPBGA
VF6xx The NXP VF6xx family is a heterogeneous dual-core solution that combines the ARM® Cortex®-A5 and Cortex-M4 cores.