The SparkFun 3-Phase Brushless Motor Driver, featuring the TMC6300

"The SparkFun 3-Phase Brushless Motor Driver, featuring the TMC6300 from ADI + Trinamic, is a powerful and easy-to-use three-phase motor driver that was designed to control our Brushless Gimbal Motor. It can be used to control any 3-phase BLDC or PMSM motor with up to 2A (1.4ARMS) of total drive current. Separate high-side and low-side control of the three half-bridges allows for incredible control of each phase of the motor commutation. The driver also provides temperature and short circuit protections, and a diagnostic output to indicate system faults. With a 1.8V regulated power output and an operating voltage down to 2V, the TMC6300 is suitable for low-power microcontroller and battery-powered designs (min. two AA/NiMh cells, or one to two Li-Ion cells).

Our board layout has been designed with the LEDs and labels facing up, IC down. This allows the thermal pad on the board to be accessed if cooling is required. Additionally, the breakout pins are specially aligned to fit perfectly onto a breadboard and hold the headers more perpendicular to facilitate assembly.

Controlling 3-phase motors is not trivial and this board requires six PWM signals to fully control one motor. We’ve found the Arduino Simple Field Oriented Control library to work well with the board; however, there are some hardware limitations such as supported microcontrollers for 6PWM Mode. With additional considerations, for integrating position sensors into the feedback control loop."


This fills an important unfilled niche in the ecosystem, but it’s only a fraction of what you need. I dig and appreciate the addition to the ecosystem and probably would have bought one of these when I needed it, but what we really need is a flagship board with microcontroller and other stuff, like the lepton.

The mosquito is already the same current and includes a microcontroller for the same price. Why didn’t you just take the mosquito and give it a spin and see if it does what you need? To be fair there are some advantages of 6 pin pwm and the mosquito uses 3 pin. Perhaps others could weigh in on how big a deal these differences are.

However I think it has become clear that the microcontroller should really be included as the hardware of the MCU like the timers and communication peripherals etc. need to work, and getting it working every time with every different MCU people use is quite time consuming and not really sensible for everyone to repeat. You can’t use the microcontroller for anything else anyway, really.

I have spoken in favor of the division between the power stage and the microcontroller board but that’s only in the context of someone quickly trying to roll something, because you may encounter issues with your microcontroller if you do otherwise. In the case of a company offering a finished board, the sensible thing to do is choose a suitable microcontroller and make a board which includes that and get all the peripherals working and so on. That’s what needs doing, basically.

You can kick the can down the line, but someone has to do this sooner or later.

It has become clear in my journey that designing and building even a crude motor controller is no mean feat and cannot be sensibly undertaken even with the help of SimpleFOC unless you have a pretty good reason. It is also clear that people keep repeating the same effort over and over again. A single board will not be able to meet all requirements, but I think a single board could meet say the top 80th percentile most important applications we see on this forum.

The lepton already gives everything this board does for cheaper, and considerably more. Granted no one is actually selling those, but as a company you have the resources to undertake an effort to make a more valuable item for the same price or less? These trinamic chips are kind of expensive and as far as I can tell are no better than some mosfets and Fortior type driver.

Consider for a second: Suppose this is say 1/5 the importance of a driver solution. Not including the substantial labor requirements to assemble configure and troubleshoot a novel combination of components. at $17 after tax, say, you need 4 other components of comparable value/importance. That’s $85. If people have to pay this much for every component of comparable value, it’s too much. This component is too costly compared to it’s minor roll in the system. It’s indispensable, yeah but… It’s kind of like selling resistors for a dollar each. They may be great resistors, but you can’t make stuff if everything is that expensive. You may be able to get away with it and it may be unavoidable sometimes, but if it is possible to do better, as I think it is apparent here that it is, then it’s important to do so or ultimately progress cannot really be made.

Somehow, miraculously, people have been able to get the price of resistors down to unbelievably low levels, in a certain context. Clearly, assembling a smartphone from components would not be practical or economical if you had to do it with components like resistors obtained at the price they could viably be sold retail. However you don’t need to. Assembly must be done farther up the chain, and useful modules delivered for downstream use. Unless a component is useful on it’s own, there isn’t much point in selling it in isolation at any reasonable price. A small 6 pin pwm power stage may have some uses, but I think it’s pretty clear that 95 percent of people who buy it would much prefer a complete driver board.


Just to be clear I don’t work for Sparkfun, just sharing their text and board. I did send them a link to this thread on Twitter though.

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Cool. On another note, I think it’s interesting to note that companies seem to be trying to snag low hangin fruits but often actually end up spending considerable amounts of capital offering very marginal value propositions as a result. It would have been a good idea for them to ask the community what we needed, it seems. I looked at these TMC chips, all of them to be honest, and they are rather expensive anyway so I doubt the profit margin on this thing is very high. Lots to think about, always lots to do.