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Motor Tutorial

Kevin M. Lynch Laboratory for Intelligent Mechanical Systems Northwestern University Evanston, IL USA

Types of Motors
DC (brushed)

RC Servo Solenoid

Types of Motors
DC (brushed) Workhorse, high power Simple to use, two wires Torque proportional to current, steady state constant-load speed proportional to voltage Requires gearing Requires feedback

RC Servo Solenoid

Types of Motors
DC (brushed) Useful for low-torque applications with no surprises No feedback required One step per pulse More involved driving circuit

RC Servo Solenoid

Types of Motors
DC (brushed) High torque, useful for positioning applications Feedback and gearing built in Position commanded by persistent pulse train Limited motion (less than 1 revolution)

RC Servo Solenoid

Types of Motors
DC (brushed)

RC Servo Solenoid For on-off applications Simple to use Short stroke Powered in only one direction; requires external spring for return

DC Motors
Lorentz Force Law: F=IxB F = force on wire I = current B = magnetic field Right hand rule: index finger along I, middle finger along B, thumb along F

Inside a DC Motor

DC Motors
V = IR + L (dI/dt) + kew t = kt I V I R L w t ke kt voltage current resistance inductance speed torque electrical constant torque constant

2 - permanent magnet 3 - housing (magnetic return) 4 - shaft 5 - winding

w speed-torque curves for two voltages

DC Motor Specs

Driving a DC Motor

Switches and relays Transistors Linear push-pull stage with op amp Ideally: H-bridge and PWM

H-bridge and PWM

PWM: Rapidly switch between S1-S4 closed and S2-S3 closed Averages to effective voltage across motor between -V and +V depending on time spent in S1-S4 and S2-S3 states Switch control signals are simply digital signals Use an H-bridge chip or build out of transistors

L293 H-bridge chip

Practical Issues

flyback diodes for inductive kick heat sinks for transistors capacitors to smooth voltage spikes other noise issues, isolation

Gear ratio G wout = win / G tout = h G tin

(h = efficiency)

Many types spur, planetary, worm, lead/ball screw, bevel, harmonic...

Encoder Feedback

Another option: potentiometer

US Digital

Feedback Control

Proportional (Integral-Derivative) Control

Multiply position/velocity error by a gain to get control signal (and perhaps add integral and derivative of that error multiplied by other gains)

Usually implemented on computer Can be implemented with op amps

Stepper Motor

Bipolar: 4 wires
1 A 2 3 B 4


Unipolar: 5 or 6 wires
+V alternately ground one end of coil or other

Animation of Unipolar

Taken from

Driving a Stepper

Use logic on/off signals at 2, 7, 10, 15.

RC Servo Motor
3 wires: power, ground, control

Control signal sets the position.

High pulse every ~20 ms determines set angle; pulse width between ~0.5 ms and ~2 ms, indicating the two ends of angle range Internal gearing, potentiometer, and feedback control.

Plunger attracted or repelled by current through a coil. May be driven by a relay or transistor.