It’s been almost 16 years ago when I’ve made my first Robot, A simple line-follower one. Since then, I was constantly dealing almost every time with Motors and their issues personally within the teams I was working alongside, Observing how crucial they are, and how it can get frustrating for non-technical and technical people to get their hands on them. I’ve witnessed how we spent hundreds of hours in different projects to deal with motors and I wish we could have had something that could speed us up so that we could focus on what really mattered in our projects, the real goals and results ( obviously running motors was not the final goal :) ).
That’s how we came up with the idea of SOLO in 2016 as a team in POLIFACTORYwhich is a FABLAB in Milan Italy. We are determined to eliminate the need for people to spend a vast amount of their time in prototyping and projects on Motors, helping them to speed up their product design with the minimum effort possible and giving them the chance to experiment and make mistakes and go on! Now after 4 years of constant work and 5 prototypes made, we have decided to share our results with the community with the hope to bring our project on a new level .
SOLO up to now supports 4 different types of Electrical Motors which cover a huge portion of the electrical motors being used in the market, simple DC brushed Motors which are some also knowns as CC or constant current Motors, Brushless DC motors known as BLDC motors, Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motors known as PMSM or even AC brushless motors (BLAC) as well as AC induction motors known as ACIM providing a wide range of power to support a huge range of projects.
In SOLO we are aiming to make things as much as possible Simple and Automatic, that’s why we put a huge amount of time into hiding the complexity of the design inside and leaving the simplicity outside for our users. SOLO in the simplest form can be commanded with a single analogue voltages signal as a Potentiometer or a single ARDUINO/RASPBERRY PI using a PWM enabled Pin without anything else, to tune the Speed or even the Torque of your motors. If you want to manage in a more advanced and complete way you can interact with it using USB, UART or CAN protocols. SOLO supports sensor-less and sensor-based controls for both Speed and Torque of the motors, it also provides position control using Encoders.
By design, SOLO has the aim to make running motors possible for everyone, from a total beginner to an expert, each could get what they want.
An overview about SOLO’s I/O:
The main features of SOLO are listed in Below:
- Wide input voltage supply range starting from 8V to 58 V
- The continuous output current of 32A, Max Current of 100A
- Capable of controlling DC, BLDC, PMSM and ACIM motors
- Over-current, Over-voltage, Over-Temperature, Under-voltage and Reverse Polarity Protection
- Selectable output PWM frequency from 10kHz to 80kHz
- Automatic self-tuning and identification of Motor parameters
- Open-loop or Closed-loop Control modes
- Speed, Torque or Position control
- Advanced Sensor-less and Sensor-based Control
- Advance Field Oriented Control
- PWM and Analogue voltage input for Controlling Speed and Torque
- USB, UART, and CAN protocols enabled
- SVPWM modulation
- Encoder and Hall Sensor Input with +5V supply
- +5V/1A (5W) output to supply external modules
- Updatable Firmware
- Heatsink mounted on the back of the board to enhance the thermal behavior
- 1820µF onboard BUS capacitance
As stated above one of the strongest points of using SOLO is its ability in controlling motors in Sensor-less mode, which makes you able to control the speed or torque of your motors without having Encoders or Hall sensors. Below is an example, you can see how is the quality of speed control in sensorless mode on a 150W Brushless DC motor with a sudden change of direction from clockwise to counter-clockwise and vice versa.
Another feature of SOLO is using advanced Space Vector Pulse Width Modulation known as SVPWM for Brushless...Read more »