What costs are involved in modifying an existing 'off the shelf' stepper motor controller or BLDC motor driver?

Every motor control project is unique

Perhaps not surprisingly, the costs of modifying an existing stock stepper motor controller or BLDC Motor Driver to turn it into a customised motor controller depend largely on the extent of the modifications that you require.

As a basic guide we would split this cost up into the tooling costs involved in making changes to the board and then the design and testing time required to ensure the motor controller meets the exact specifications you require. A simple modification which requires only a change of connector or something similar will require very little design time. However, the addition of extra features or a reworking of the motor controller into a smaller design will potentially take quite a lot of time and therefore add cost. We will however put together a fully costed proposal before we start so you are clear and what you are getting into.

Tooling costs to get your motor control project off the ground running

Any modifications that are made will require custom made tooling to be made in order to then deliver them as full production units. Typically the cost of this is £1000. Depending on the customised motor controller you are looking for we may be able to achieve what you are looking for with a plugin board which could save you money on this (See below for more information on this). However, any physical changes which are required will inevitably attract these types of costs.

Development time to get your motor control project from concept to success

The development time required to deliver your modifications obviously depends on two main factors. The first of these is the complexity of what you require and how different it is to the standard version of the stepper motor controller or Brushless ESC. To provide a basic idea our charges for this are £25/hr for design and testing time and £50/hr for any on site work that may be required. If it is as simple as adding one or two onboard features to an existing stepper motor controller or BLDC Motor Driver then this may only require 1-2 days work to get done. For more complex changes it could take several days or a few weeks.

The second major factor is how many projects we are already committed to. As a small firm we have limited technical resources available and if all our team are tied up with projects then we may not be able to start the project immediately. If this is the case we will be very clear about this from the start and will be able to provide you with a date when we can start work. Whilst we understand that this can be frustrating if you are keen to get your project moving as fast as possible, it is always better to be clear at the start rather than making promises we cannot keep.

Please note that we are always more than happy to provide fixed price quotes for changes if preferred. 

Please also note that the development times associated with customisations and modifications tend to be much shorter than bespoke design.

Whatever you are looking for or contemplating for your project we would strongly encourage you to get in touch with us via phone, online chat or email to start a conversation about how we may be able to help. Please note approximately 50% of our work is based on bespoke and custom design and as we almost always retain the IP of these designs we may have something in our library that is very close to what you require and can be quickly modified.

What about optional break-out or plugin boards for your motor control project?

For some applications it may be more cost effective to use an existing stepper motor controller or brushless ESC and purchase a custom made plugin board to deliver the features you require. This is generally the case where modifications are much more about physical user interfaces such as additional buttons, pots or displays and is often also true where additional communications types or similar are required. If you are anticipating relatively high volume (200+ a year) then it will probably be lower cost to get a custom made board. For anything below this, adding a plugin board could save you money.

Categories: Brushed DC Motor FAQs, Brushless Motor Controller FAQs, Commercial, Stepper Motor Controller FAQs
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