Motordriver and interface IC

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Motordriver and interface IC

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Brushless DC motors (BLDC), or electronically commutated motors (ECMs) have become more relevant in today’s environment where efficiency and minimizing power losses are a key objective of designs in all markets. Brushless DC motors provide significant improvements in efficiency, mechanical reliability, and offer superb torque-to-weight properties.

Allegro MicroSystems plays a key role in enabling brushless DC motor adoption by simplifying the complexities of electronic commutation. Allegro offers a range of products targeted at BLDC applications which span the industrial, consumer, and automotive markets. Depending on the needs of a given application, Allegro products can offer integrated features such as:

  • Self commutating six-step / trapezoidal state machine with Hall sensor inputs
  • Sensorless and sinusoidal commutation
  • Back EMF sensing capability
  • Automotive grade ICs with diagnostics and robust protection features

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Stepper motor drivers are brushless DC motor drivers that can be used for both positioning and velocity control applications without the need for external position feedback. Typical stepper motors consist of a rotating permanent magnet (rotor) surrounded by electromagnets (stator). When the electromagnets are supplied current in the correct polarity and sequence a torque is created that moves the rotor in steps. These steps can be sequenced together to move the rotor at various speeds corresponding to the sequence rate. Positioning can be accomplished by controlling the number of sequenced steps.

By precisely controlling the current in each motor phase you can divide a motor’s fundamental step angle into smaller microsteps. Microstepping results in better positional resolution, less resonance issues and lower audible noise.

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Brush DC motors are the most widely used drivers due to their low cost and simple drive control options. Typical brush DC motors consist of a rotating electromagnet surrounded by a permanent magnet. Rotational torque is produced by the interaction of the magnetic fields and continuous rotation is produced by changing the polarity of the rotating coil with a mechanical commutator and brushes.

Typical brush DC motor drivers consist of a half bridge for single direction operation and an H-bridge configuration for bidirectional control. PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) control can be used to regulate motor speed, torque, or position.


Allegro offers a complete lineup of DC motor drivers for all markets, including office automation, automotive and industrial. Depending on the needs of a given application, Allegro IC solutions can include features such as:

  • PWM Control
  • Internal DMOS outputs or gate controllers to drive external MOSFETs
  • Forward, Reverse, Coast and Brake Modes
  • Commercial grad an fully automotive qualified drivers
  • Synchronous rectification
  • Diagnostic outputs
  • Protection features: Under-voltage lockout, thermal shutdown, shoot through, overvoltage, over-current protection
  • Package options include exposed pad QFN, TSSOP, SOIC and DIP packages all lead (Pb) free

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Allegro has developed a new series of three phase BLDC fan drivers that result in low audible noise and vibration in addition to improved efficiency. These new sinusoidal driven ICs include both sensor-based and sensorless commutated ICs. Typical IC features include: PWM duty or analog voltage for speed control; adaptive phase advance for improved efficiency; rotor lock detection with auto restart; FG speed output; overcurrent protection; under voltage lockout; thermal shutdown and few external components for small PCB footprints and reduce system cost.

Target applications include desktop and notebook PCs, refrigerator and other white good products, ceiling and consumer fans and industrial fans and blowers. For automotive applications Allegro has a series of AEC-Q100 qualified fan driver ICs targeted at seat cooling fans, LED headlamp fans, and battery cooling fan applications

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Many electronic systems today include some type of mechanical actuator, whether it is a solenoid, relay, or motor. Typically such a system has an intelligent controller which communicates its commands to the various system actuators through low voltage logic level communications. This communication can be done through simple parallel communications. Complex systems might use one of many serial communication protocols such as Serial Parallel Interface (SPI).

Most actuators are not able to respond directly to low voltage signals. Driver ICs are needed to take these low voltage control signals as inputs and convert the digital commands into an analog voltage to drive the actuator.

Allegro specializes in the power interface role in which these driver ICs perform. These ICs are rated up to voltages of 60 V and may include automotive capable temperature ranges and diagnostic capabilities.