A Custom Programmed ZDBL50DC for a Robotics Application

A key advantage (and one that you might have heard us mention before!) of the Zikodrive range of motor controllers is that they are completely custom programmable to meet you requirements. Whether it be a simple preset speed range on the ZDSP stepper motor controller or something more complex such as was used in this case study. 

The customer in this case was a small agricultural robotics company. Their aim was to develop a range of robots which would allow the user to monitor, plant and maintain a range of crops in a variety of different environments. The robots were therefore required to deal with both uneven ground, but also with potentially challenging terrain (including mud, steep slopes and puddles). 

The result of this thinking was that there was a clear need for a driver which could be flexible but also had the power and intelligence to be able to manage the constantly changing terrain in an energy efficient manner. It was for this reason that they opted to go with the ZDBL50DC Sensored Brushless DC Motor Controller.

The next challenge was ensuring that the team was able to interface with the controller in a way that would enable them to quickly develop and test the unit. It was for this reason that we opted to develop a customised UART protocol which would enable them to make quick and easy commands to the controller which the controller could then implement. Rather than having a complete PLC at the centre of the system this enabled the team to then pass on some of the intelligence required to to run the robot to the ZDBL50DC controllers. 

The result was a much faster development and a smoother and simpler running mode for the development team working on the robot. By ‘contracting out’ some of the intelligence and control required from the system it was much simpler to run and meant that the team did not need to spent significant time and resources developing their own motor management and operation methodology. Instead, they were simply able to use the ZDBL50DC to take care of all of this and concentrate on the wider robotic architecture and design.