AC Motor Proto-Controller

A passion project by a mechatronics enthusiast / engineering student, aiming to understand and share basic motor control concepts

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Special thanks to Clyde, Casi, and Sean, my mentors.

Mechatronics and energy (two fields that I think could come in hand-in-hand) have always interested me, and although I've made things before that classify as mechatronic engineering and energy-related projects, it still feels as if I am lacking in the most basic of mechatronics concepts. So, I took on what I believe is found within the heart of mechatronics - electric motors!
As such, I aim to further understand the basic concepts of electric motor control. Learning these concepts would then allow enthusiasts to go into fields like electric vehicles and renewable energy! With all that in mind, I present my project: the AC Motor Proto-Controller!\(^o^)/

This project will remain open-source, so that interested makers could try making it too!

Note: This project is still on-going, and is subject to improvement. Please feel free to leave comments once I update the first project log!

The Idea

The AC Motor Proto-Controller, as a circuit, aims to teach the basic concepts of electric motor control. In this case, DC will be used to drive the AC motor, as sort of a way to "train" the designer and user into understanding how concepts such as Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) and MOSFET logic

The Components

The project will consist of the following fairly basic, but useful components:

1.) Six (6) N-Channel MOSFETs (In this case, the IRF1010E);

2.) Six (6) 10 kilo-ohm resistors

3.) One (1) Arduino Nano

4.) One (1) Three-Phase Electric Motor

Note: The Three-Phase Electric Motor may either be AC or DC, as long as it allows for voltages no less than 20 volts

The Concept, Summarized

Using Pulse Width Modulation (PWM), we would be able to control the speed and direction of the Three-Phase Motor by sending pulses of 20 volts DC to the positive terminal of the circuit and by automating the transmission of electrical signals that will come from the Arduino Nano to the gate of each MOSFET simultaneously, energizing the motor's coils. The direction of the motor's rotation will depend on how the user (a.k.a. you, the maker) programs the Arduino Nano.

Adobe Portable Document Format - 30.60 kB - 10/19/2022 at 16:38


  • Project Log #1​

    Sean Francis Natividada day ago 0 comments

    30 January 2023

    Hello, hello, project log 1. It's been a while since I got back to this project, university can be very heavy workload-wise.

    Well, it seems that I have made an oversight with my first schematic design. The high-state MOSFETs (Q1, Q3, and Q5) might burn if the Arduino applies 5 volts at the gate (thank you Timo for pointing that out). It's a good thing that I haven't even tested this design, it might cost me some money if I had. O.o 

    I'll get back to revising my design, and once it's all good, I'll be developing the PCB. Cheers everyone.

    Shoutout to my fellow electrical/electronic engineering students by the way, we got this. \(^o^)/

View project log

Enjoy this project?



Timo wrote 5 days ago point

Hi Sean,

unfortunatly your driver will not work like that. There are some issues, but the main problem is that your high-side switches Q1, Q3 and Q5 don't get enough gate voltage to turn on.

NMOS transistors are controlled by the voltage drop between gate and source. The Arduino will apply 5V to the gate. The source is conected to the motor. If the treshold voltage of the NFET is 2V then the highest voltage at the output will be 3V.

Your motor might turn, but Q1, Q3 and Q5 should be on fire. ^^

If you want i can send you an improved schematic.

Nice project. 


  Are you sure? yes | no

Sean Francis Natividad wrote a day ago point

Hey Timo, thanks for the feedback! I haven't been able to improve the circuit since university work has been keeping me extra busy. I was in contact with some of my seniors and I got the same feedback from them, and they said the same thing as you. I'd love to get some improvements and learn a thing or two from fellow makers. Feel free to email me here:

Thank you!

  Are you sure? yes | no

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