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TI Motor Drive Bundle, MotorWare, Personal Trainer - Review

Scoring

Product Performed to Expectations: 9
Specifications were sufficient to design with: 10
Demo Software was of good quality: 10
Product was easy to use: 7
Support materials were available: 8
The price to performance ratio was good: 7
TotalScore: 51 / 60
  • RoadTest: TI Motor Drive Bundle, MotorWare, Personal Trainer
  • Buy Now
  • Evaluation Type: Development Boards & Tools
  • Was everything in the box required?: Yes - null
  • Comparable Products/Other parts you considered: null
  • What were the biggest problems encountered?: Learning how to use CCS software. A few unclear minor instructions.

  • Detailed Review:

    Introduction

    Thank you Texas Instruments and Element 14 for giving me chance to face with Piccolo development platform accompanied with motor drive together with BLDC motor.

    This roadtest took a lot of time and to be honest several hesitations. But finally I’m able to sort out all observations, remarks and issues compiling it into let say complete report.

    I’m not going to copy tons of information and data-sheets concerning above equipment and accompanying it software suite. That information is available on official Ti site as well as on their fantastic forum. On the other hand, because of some doubts and my  reflexions concerning encountered problems, I decided to put my two cents to make clear some blurry subjects.

    Ok lets start it:

     

    TI Motor Drive Bundle consist of three main hardware components:

    • 24V BLDC Motor
    • Motor Drive BoosterPack featuring DRV8301

    The BOOSTXL-DRV8301 is 10A, 3-phase brushless DC drive stage based on the DRV8301 pre-driver and CSD18533Q5A NexFET™ power MOSFET. The module has 3x low side current sense amps (2 internal to DRV8301, 1 external). The module also has a 1.5A step down buck converter, is fully protected with short circuit, thermal, and shoot-through protection, and is easily configured via a SPI interface. This boosterpack is ideal for those wishing to learn about sensorless brushless control techniques and drive stage design. This kit was designed to work with any LaunchPad XL, with primary software support using MotorWare to support the InstaSPIN™-FOCsensorless control solution.

    • C2000 F28027F LaunchPad

      following Ti papers:

    The C2000™ Piccolo LaunchPad is an inexpensive, modular, and fun evaluation platform, enabling you to dive into real-time, closed-loop control development with Texas Instruments’ C2000™ 32-bit microcontroller family. This platform provides a great starting point for development of many common power electronics applications, including motor control, digital power supplies, solar inverters, digital LED lighting, precision sensing, and more.

     

    The above mentioned set is accompanied with very comprehensive package of software suite reach of functions capabilities etc.:

    Code Composer studio

     

    MotorWare

    The cohesive set of software and technical resources for developing InstaSPI-FOC™ and InstaSPIN-MOTION™ based applications. From device-specific drivers and support software to complete system examples and technical training, MotorWare provides support for every stage of development and evaluation MotorWare software has been developed to enable easy integration of best-in-class motor control techniques.This software has been developed to enable:

    • Modular and portable across MCU, power electronics and control techniques
    • Object Oriented software design
    • Special identification and auto tuning components for rapid system development
    • Most robust sensorless motor control
    • Highest performance sensored motion control
    • API based

     

    Additional "bonus" part is 1+6 hr Personal Trainer online Motor Control expertise and support.

     

    One more resource

    After several weeks of intensive exploration of the CCS & Motorware I want to put here information about another important tool
    this is  the TI E2E Support Community.

    and specially its Code Composer Studio Section as well as C2000 Microcontrollers Section.

    The great platform to look for answers and solutions of my present issues related to the hardware as well as software.

    Most questions are answered quick, on the other hand you can share knowledge, explore ideas and help solve problems with fellow engineers.

     

    Additional Resources

    Unfortunately listed below additional links don't work in my case:

    Get inspired by TI's most popular Motor Drive Reference Designs to spin your Motor!

    Reinforced Isolated Inverter

    http://www.ti.com/tool/tida-00366

    Isolated IGBT Gate Driver

    http://www.ti.com/tool/tida-00446

    Single-Chip Resolver-to-Digital Converter

    http://www.ti.com/tool/tida-00363

    Find more TI Designs

    Keep yourself updated around Motor Drive & Control

    New Motor Drive & Control Solutions Guide

     

    http://www.ti.com/lsds/ti/motor-drivers/brushless-dc-bldc-drivers-overview.page

    I've encountered following problem with the access to Office Outlook Web Access screen

     

     

    Basic technical specifications

    Hardware

    C2000 Piccolo

    -  MCU F28027F LaunchPad Development Kit (LAUNCHXL-F28027F)

    Piccolo LaunchPad with TMS320F28027FPTT , InstaSPIN-FOC capable with support through MotorWare

    Evaluation and development tool compatible with various plug-on BoosterPacks.

    LaunchPads are the lowest cost way to evaluate a C2000 MCU. They include the C2000 MCU, isolated JTAG emulation,

    a standard pin-out to headers, as well as various additional connectors, LEDs, and buttons.

    LaunchPads can be used completely standalone for device evaluation or they can be connected to application specific BoosterPacks.

    LaunchPads are often used in TI Designs as a flexible way to demonstrate the needed control capability for the application.

    The LaunchPad provides a standardized and easy to use platform to use while developing your next application.

    More details from Ti here: http://www.ti.com/tool/launchxl-f28027f

     

    BOOSTXL-DRV8301 Motor Drive Booster Pack

     

    Configuration:

    Configuring the LaunchPad    (from: slvu974.pdf  and qsg_gui_universal.pdf page 22)

     

     

    24V BLDC Motor

    Features

    • NEMA17 Framesize
    • 8 poles (4 pairs), 24V, 26W, 4 kRPM, 3.66 V/KRPM
    • U,V,W phase wires with NO integrated mechanical sensor (Hall or Encoder)

    Description & Features:  http://www.ti.com/tool/lvbldcmtr#descriptionArea

    Above link leads also to motor data  necessary to add to our user.h file necessary to properly run CCS project.

    Software

    Here is the set of software necessary to start the equipment and experiment with.

    According to my experience the following order matters (details later)

    Code Composer studio

    Code Composer Studio (CCS) Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for C2000 Microcontrollers

    CCSTUDIO-C2000 Code Composer Studio (CCS) Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for C2000 Microcontrollers | TI.com

    Code Composer Studio is an integrated development environment (IDE) that supports TI's Microcontroller and Embedded Processors portfolio.

    Code Composer Studio comprises a suite of tools used to develop and debug embedded applications. It includes an optimizing C/C++ compiler,

    source code editor, project build environment, debugger, profiler, and many other features.

    C2000Ware for C2000 MCUs

    http://www.ti.com/tool/c2000ware

    C2000Ware is a cohesive set of software and documentation created to minimize development time. It includes device-specific drivers,

    libraries, and peripheral examples. C2000Ware is the recommended content delivery tool vs. controlSUITE, but is required for the Piccolo F28004x series.

    C2000Ware is the successor to controlSUITE as the centralized, interactive, software repository for everything C2000.

    differences between the packages when migrating from controlSUITE. C2000Ware (http://www.ti.com/lit/ug/sprui45/sprui45.pdf)

     

    ControlSUITE™ Software Suite

    CONTROLSUITE controlSUITE™ Software Suite: Software and Development Tools for C2000™ Microcontrollers | TI.com

    controlSUITE™ for C2000™ microcontrollers is a cohesive set of software infrastructure, tools, and documentation

    designed to minimize system development time. From device-specific drivers and support software to complete examples

    in sophisticated system applications, controlSUITE™ provides the needed resources at every stage of development and evaluation.

    MotorWare

    http://www.ti.com/tool/MotorWare?HQS=dis-far-null-spinyourmotor-etxt-sw-roadtest-eu

    MotorWare™ is the software and documentation package for developing InstaSPIN-FOC™ and InstaSPIN-MOTION™

    based applications for Piccolo F2802x, F2805x, and F2806x series.

    Features

    Software Features

    • InstaSPIN-FOC technology brings powerful sensorless field oriented motor control technology to all skill levels of designers.

              InstaSPIN-FOC auto-identifies, auto-tunes, and fully controls 3-phase motors in minutes

    • InstaSPIN-MOTION builds on InstaSPIN-FOC technology to provide robust motion control,

              allowing you to accelerate, position, and plan your movement

    • Multiple projects show various features of the InstaSPIN solution

     

     

    GUI Composer Runtime Installation and Webapp for MotorWare

    http://www.ti.com/tool/instaspinuniversalgui

    GUI Composer Runtime Installation and GUI source (Webapp) for MotorWare Universal GUI.

    This GUI instruments the existing variables in any MotorWare InstaSPIN-FOC or InstaSPIN-MOTION project,

    meaning you can recompile the .out to add your own settings and other system code.

     

    On the picture below you can see the most important files downloaded and ready to install

    The package arrived!

    It comes in quite huge outer package oversized a little but nevermind, it was very save delivered - filled with extra paper and air bags.

    Nice painted boxes, some formal papers (mostly safety conditions and related issues),

    without detailed and heavy instruction, which is common and obvious In the era of the web tutorials (saving the environment is important indeed!).

    the Ti packageDRV8x

    It was also accompanied with "postcard" with invitation to Readtest and contact with personal advisor.

    As well as the nice Ti advertisement gadget: miniature "all in one" screwdriver with integrated leveler set.

    The complete set looks very promising it encourages to familiarize nad start project development.

     

    Technical documentation overview

     

    At the beginning I suffered the lack of simple "go through" instruction dedicated to the set!

    I miss manual for the set: 28027F/ 8301 prepared according to this one: GUI Quick Start Guide: InstaSPIN_FOC_F2806xM

     

    TI InstaSPIN Motor Control Solutions

     

    BOOSTXL-DRV8301

    First switching on

    At the beginning I decided to install the proper environment for my incoming experiments.

    According to the manuals and advises on Ti websites, I started to install Motor Ware and CCS.

    I must honestly admit, that I encountered some strange issues during the installation.

    The first attempt produced several error messages.

    screen after installation below:

     

    I found that the right sequence of installation matters as I had problem after run of motorware without CCS. In that case, the result was as follow:

    The motorware installed successfully but the initial screen was inadequate to the standard view from the manual.

    At last reinstallation of the all suite helped.

    BTW I have another installation on the same WIN7 platform

    with the strange looking Motorware window - the problem similar to:

    https://e2e.ti.com/support/microcontrollers/c2000/f/902/t/587245

    but the example describes issue related to v.18 and v.17 discrepancy in my case both are v18!

    At last I managed to put everything together.

    Having CCS and MotorWare, I decided to install aditionally controlSUITE

    Although there were some issues:

    It gave me extra examples for C2000 launchpad as well as tons of documentation.

    Basic, preliminary tests of Launchpad

    I think it was obvious at the very beginning,

    that I brought the Piccolo Launchpad to the forefront of my research.

    My first task was to familiarize with C2000 only.

    Following well descripted instruction I started the launchpad

    following driver installation:

    and enthusiastically run the demo:

    LED cheser worked nice! then I switch to mode 2 of the demo, ran the Putty terminal emulator to see amazing Ti screen and temperature readouts.

    The LED temperature changes signalization worked as well!

    Before next experiments and unit programming I wondered if I can prevent this lovely program. I found it in C2000ware demos. Thus my first C2000 programming exercise was to play a little with this demo program and download/ debug it.

    I had to learn a bit about philosophy of project importing to the CCS workspace.

    Verifying the communication:

    Encountering some minor issues as follow:

    or:

    My first attempt to import and biuld/ debug was totally failed

    Nevertheless after re-import it works perfect!

    I gained the new experience and I was ready for new challenges related to launchpad with boostpack programming.

    Before the work I decided to learn more. Among myriads of the documentation, manuals and forum discussion helped to understand these  issues

    I found the most valuable the video instructions: https://training.ti.com/c2000-instaspin-foc-motor-control-launchpad-and-boosterpack-6-part-series as well as instaspin_labs.pdf.

    I'm afraid that without the consultation with my Ti support guy, I would be lost among the heaps of materials and information. He guided me suggesting the proper path of experiments conduct and papers to read.

     

    I found that indeed:  "It should therefore be noted that the normal automated process of copying a project to your workspace and then importing into Code Composer Studio are NOT recommended."

     

     

    I had to change default command file to F28027F.cmd

     

    Software review

    Despite of fact it costed me many time to dig through the documentation, manuals with demos and discussions on the Ti forum, using the support "bundled" to this roadtest I found the software quite convenient.

    The Suite provides even more to support comfortable programming Launchpad equipped with Boostpack.

    below I would like to share very interesting tool for project build optimization:

     

    You can do it manually (as shown above)

    or automatic - below:

     

    but sometimes optimisation advise is wrong:

    nevermind it's really good and convenient functionality!

     

     

    Booster board demo projects review

    As stated previously, to avoid some hesitations regarding providing safe and fluent plan of exercises, I wish there is paper referring 28027F/ 8301  similar to this one:

    "GUI Quick Start Guide: InstaSPIN_FOC_F2806xM". That board (together with the driverBOOSTXL-DRV8305EVM) has generally better documentation.

    Of course I know: the answer is Qsg_gui_universal.pdf but as written it is "universal" and there are still some doubts before switching on the power.

    I hope every 28027F/ 8301 beginner could understand my fears...

    Talking about the manual I must state, that "InstaSPIN Projects and Labs User’s Guide " is good enough to walk through  exercises suite.

    That paper became my Motorware bible for several weeks!

    OK stop complaining lets review the results of my attempts:

     

    The building and debugging is visible on the video below:

     

    starting identification in CCS:

    the two flags have to be set to 1

    just enable the system and start the identification

     

    copying the parameters is simple and easy

     

     

    The motor parameters must be precisely defined in the programm

    - edit the user.h file according to the motor documentation or above copied calculations.

    You can see the result (taken from two exercises)

    PROJ 2B (12V)

    PROJ 5B (12V)

    are quite close to figures from the documentation.

     

    Thus - there are no obstacles to fill  user.h with individual data of my motor.

     

    Following you can look at my experiments with LAB 5B. Watch the process of motor identification.

     

     

     

    There are many examples related to our set.

    Thank to remarkable instruction the learning - experimenting process goes smoothly

    Some hesitations could be quickly cleared. btw there is still Ti forum and few hours of the support

     

     

    MOREOVER...

    The Motorware comes with excellent tool to experiment with the motor (and the driver of course)

    Starting the GUI is simple

    I must confirm that after honest study and review of papers, all necessary instructions are available and everything is well described.

    On the other hand, I need to repeat, unfortunately there lot of related papers, sometimes I became confused, wondering which manual concern my set of board,

    which should be used. After the "fraternization" phase it appear clear, but the beginning was full of doubts.

    Remembering to switch off the project in CCS and copying appropriate lab file as "universal" one I was ready to test FOC GUI

     

    After successful motor identification:

    Easier indeed, especially for the beginner, I didn't feel lost among columns of mysteriously described parameters with strange values

    (look at tables with raw CCS identification in chapter above)

     

    movie with my tests of the FOC

     

    When debugging you don't need to use external measurement equipment.

    Example of use of inbuild scopes:

    It looks nice using Lab 5h

    Unfortunately I couldn't run it "dynamically". Every time I had to refresh the process, to get the change of the scope view...

     

     

    Besides...

    As usual when programming sometimes error occurred:

    But the suite is perfect tool for error correction debugging etc.

    You can't feel lost thanks to supporting Ti forum - I found answer for most my questions using archive posts. But I believe, that even the new issue will be answered soon by kind members of Ti forum society!

     

     

     

    Here is also the place to emphasize the very important and convenient toll: BoosterPack Checker  https://dev.ti.com/bpchecker/#/

    Using this tool I can easily realize which connector is occupied and otherwise, which could be used.

    Excellent to explore the IO's, when  planning to go beyond "classic" labs and work with own, individual project.

    It was suggested by my Ti "teacher" and helped well!

    But on the other hand unfortunately my experiments with the set equipped in external hall sensors can't exceed early designing phase... to be continued anyway!

     

    Final tests of  the quality/ immunity

    I didn't find any cons regarding board quality. Reliable, aesthetic quite handy besides some doubts mentioned below.

    Boards fits good but in my opinion the coupling idea isn't designed perfectly

    board fitting 1

    probably I should use extra fixing to ensure proper distance.

     

    board fitting 2

    well, well sorry for nit-pick!

     

    Conclusions

    After relative long time of dealing with Piccolo LaunchPad and its "friendly" Motor Booster DRV8301,

    spending several hours configuring and experimenting Code Composer Studio (CCS) accompanied with MotorWare suite,

    I feel ready to put some words as the summary.

    At the final stage of that roadtest I have quite different feelings as at the beginning. I feel quite comfortable navigating through the software suite, plugging the Piccolo board and the Booster, jumpers configuration isn't the mystery anymore!

    Nevertheless I still remember my hesitation when installing the soft, doubts when the order of the installation matters and could cause errors. Another remark - documentation. Too much... of it... Well Ti produce lot of boards, there are even more possibilities of coupling them therefore it's hardly possible to prepare comprehensive set of manual for each combination of boards. I agree, but on the other hand I miss the step- by step manual for our TI Motor Drive Bundle. The 6 hours of personal trainer and "deep mine" of myriads of advices in Ti-enthusiast forum help a lot, indeed.

    The usage of the program suite - CCS isn't good for beginners. Some programmings skills are necessary. I suppose that roadtest isn't the place for discussion if any user friendly extra interface should be introduced. Ti helps us operating the motor/Booster in MotorWare giving Instaspin GUI but low (semi) level programming in CCS is still necessary.

     

    Possibilities of LaunchPad are outstanding indeed! I haven't even used few percent of its functionality. I focused on motor control but the tool is extremely universal. The pair Piccolo + DRV8301 is powerful equipment providing control of BLDC motors. Having the skills and experience you can take on any engine related challenges.

     

    Bibliography

    Texas Instruments papers and website         Texas Instruments Incorporated  Texas Instruments Copyright Information

     

     

     

    Thank you again for selecting me as the roadtester and give me the opportunity to deal with these extraordinary and amazing tools.

    Marek


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