Space qualifed motor controller combines key satellite functions into single, compact IC

09 November 2020

The need to reduce size, weight and power on satellites and other space systems continues to challenge the aerospace market. Combining more than 20 commonly used functions into a single chip, Microchip Technology Inc. announced the LX7720 radiation-hardened mixed signal motor controller, the latest addition to its Space System Manager product family.

Source: Microchip TechnologiesSource: Microchip TechnologiesAs the industry’s first highly integrated radiation-hardened by design motor control integrated circuit, the LX7720 significantly reduces weight and board space relative to conventional discrete motor control circuits. By reducing the number of components on a system, developers can inspect and test fewer parts, while also minimizing the physical points of potential failure due to a smaller number of connections and solder joints.

The LX7720 controller offers a unique solution for satellite manufacturers sensitive to board area and weight reduction by consolidating essential functions for the motor control and position sensing circuitry required for robotics, multi-axis pointing mechanisms and precise motion control of optical elements. Microchip’s controller combines four half-bridge N-channel MOSFET drivers, four floating differential current sensors, a pulse modulated resolver transformer driver, three differential resolver sense inputs, six bi-level logic inputs, power drivers via external FETs, loop control electronics for voltage or current control, position read-back (e.g., resolver, potentiometer, limit switches), fault detection and more into a single device.

The LX7720 serves as a mixed signal companion IC to the selected digital IC used in the application. Microchip’s radiation tolerant PolarFire and RTG4 FPGA products and recently announced SAMRH71 radiation hardened microcontroller are ideal companion chips, from a single supplier. The LX7720 is MIL-PRF-38535 Class V and Class Q qualified and has already been adopted by customers to enable various motor control applications in space robotics and human-rated space programs. It is the ideal solution for spacecraft applications involving motor driver servo control, linear actuator servo control and for driving stepper, brushless direct current and permanent-magnet synchronous motors. The LX7720 offers radiation tolerance to 100 krad total ionization dose, 50 krad to enhanced-low-dose-rate-sensitivity exposure and is single event immune.

Microchip offers both hardware and software support. Hardware includes the LX7720 daughter board that interfaces with Microchip’s SAMRH71F20-EK Evaluation Kit. The daughter board can also connect to Microchip’s RTG4 FPGA Development Kit. These development platforms offer motor control software to allow application specific evaluation with the LX7720-DB.

For additional information and to learn about purchasing options, visit Microchip’s website.

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