Wheelchair motor driver

Hi there,
I just found out about the simple FOC project and I’m still somewhat buffed.

I’m trying to operate a wheelchair (2 separate motors, 1 controller). I’m trying to use a simple configuration with my MCU being an Arduino nano board.
What I’m looking for is a BLDC driver that will allow me to control the motor speed using either changing voltage (let’s say 0-4.5vdc), single pwm line (one for each motor), I2C or any other way of control the can be implemented using the Nano board.

Is there such a driver you can recommend me?
Over AliExpress or similar?

I think you will not be able to control 2 motors with the nano, the mcu (atmega328) is not suited for this task very well. is it possible to use something like the STM32G431KB nucleo? The form factor should be similar…
Do you need any encoders or position sensors?
I think these controls schemes are too simple for simpleFOC, you might need to find some driver with (3x PWM and one enable pin) per motor. If you don’t really need FOC, you can find some other drivers which already have this interface (1xpwm) built in.

You need two separate controllers for each wheel.

Also, the nano is way too small for running SimpleFOC. Please use two STM32F431-Nucleo32 boards, that’s the closest to nano with the lowest price.

I cannot recommend a driver unless we know your price/budget. Usually a driver to move a wheelchair would be around $50 per wheel, so total around $100 at best, most probably more.


1 Like

Please note that if you are limited to Aliexpress, one of the best options instead of the Nano, is to get one of the many STM32F411 Blackpill boards, orders of magnitude more powerful than a Nano, and still less than $5. Nucleo boards are insanely expensive on Aliexpress, assuming you can even get them

Something like https://www.aliexpress.us/item/3256804707075696.html, just make sure to get the STM32F411CEU6 variant, much more powerful than the F401. Usually those cost around $4 each

Is this setup supposed to move someone in the wheelchair? If you are shifting that weight then you are probably looking at similar power to hoverboard motors i.e. 360W a wheel.

Depending on KV of motor you might need 36V or more supply (10s battery). There are some well tested (expensive) boards such as dual VESC or odrive. Others on this forum have built boards that are cheaper but less tested and might have thermal issues with sustained usage like you’ll likely require. The official SimpleFOC boards (I think) are not suitable for > 50W.