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Kickstarter campaign aims to fund universal motor controller

19 May, 2014

A British manufacturer of electric golf trolleys has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise £28,000 ($47,000) to design and build a universal motor controller for DC brushed and brushless motors. The company, called CompactCaddy, realised the need for such a controller when it could not find a suitable controller for testing an axial flux motor that it had developed.

It wants to modify an existing two-channel controller so that it can run brushed DC and three-phase brushless motors with sinusoidal or trapezoidal waves. It points out that a sinusoidal drive will generally result in motors running quieter and give a better rotor resolution.

The controller, called a Power Brick, will have an input voltage of 12–48V and will be able to supply motors with 20A (or 40A using a daughterboard). It will be able to operate independently, but could be hooked up to a Arduino, Raspberry Pi, MicroPython or similar controller.

CompactCaddy suggests that possible applications for the controller include robotics and electric bicycles.

The company has launched its KickStarter campaign partly because it needs funds to buy at least 5,000 Mosfet devices to get them at an affordable price (each controller will need 12 Mosfets).

To get the project running, CompactCaddy needs to raise £28,000 by 18 June. It has several “stretch goals” beyond this amount. If it can raise £45,000, the controller will be able to support stepper motors and there will be an option to control the direction of rotation of brushed DC motors. £60,000 will allow extras to be added, including USB ports and SD slots. And if the company can raise £75,000, users will be able to program logic into the controller and make more use of the I/Os.

If it achieves its funding, CompactCaddy hopes to start shipping the controllers in September, 2014. It plans to design and build the boards in the UK.

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