Yannis of Backyard Robotics is known for his quadruped robot, autonomous robocars, and quadcopter designs. Most of his projects require a motor controller, but instead of buying one, he decided to create his own for precision control of three-phase brushless motors. The Tinymovr motor controller was designed for hobbyist-types of brushless motors for robotics, which Yannis states are affordable and offer high-performance.
Under the hood, the Tinymovr is equipped with Qorvo’s PAC5523 MCU, which packs an Arm Cortex-M4F 32-bit microcontroller (128Kb of Flash), with integrated 70V DC/DC buck or SEPIC controller. It also packs integrated 70V/1.5A gate drivers, an integrated PGA (3X differential, 4X single-ended), DACs and comparators, as well as UART, CAN, I2C and SPI serial interfaces.
The Tinymovr has the ability to control torque, velocity, or position modes using FOC (Field Oriented Control), and it can be positioned at the back of the brushless motors for a compact setup. The board is still under development, and the current design features a 44mm x 44mm footprint, and Yannis points out that future revisions could be even smaller.
He also notes on his project page, “Tinymovr development is nearing completion and extensive testing in robotic applications is next. Following testing, the revised version of Tinymovr will be available for purchase. I've just completed the first implementation of CAN Bus for Tinymovr. A basic set of instructions is implemented so far, but more to follow.” A video of his CAN bus demo can be seen below, which shows the Tinymovr achieving a command rate of 500MHz for both velocity and position commands.