SwarmDrive – An ESP32 Based Development Board for Learning and Experimenting with BLDC Motor Commutation Algorithms

SwarmDrive Development Board
SwarmDrive Development Board
SwarmDrive Development Board

NickStick has introduced the SwarmDrive development board for learning and experimenting with small electric motors such as Brushless Direct Current (BLDC) motors. The SwarmDrive board has been designed with a basic motor driver setup and a powerful ESP32-based Wi-Fi-and-Bluetooth-enabled microcontroller with USB connectivity.

 

With the help of this single integrated SwarmDrive board, Professionals and students can easily learn about different commutation algorithms and other aspects of electric BLDC motors. For an easy and quick start, users can easily download the specially designed console firmware and example codes that are well documented based on Espressif’s ESP-IDF.

 

The ESP32's great Bluetooth-and-Wi-Fi communication capabilities allow the device to communicate with several other boards. This allows for a ‘Swarm’ type of implementation or just remote control of the board/motors.

 

SwarmDrive could be used for a range of applications, such as exploring and experimenting with different types of commutation strategies, PID experiments for balance plateau or balance robots, cartesian gantries and spatial navigation, drive by wire and wireless, swarm intelligence experiments, etc.

SwarmDrive Pin Description

 

Features of SwarmDrive Development Board

  • Microcontroller: ESP32 dual-core, 240 MHz, 4 MB flash
  • Wi-Fi: 802.11 b/g/n/d/e/i/k/r (802.11 n up to 150 Mbps)
  • Bluetooth: v 4.2 BR/EDR and BLE specification
  • Driver: L6234 triple half-bridge motor driver, 5A peak current, 3x enable pins are broken out to a bridging connector
  • Communication: USB-to-UART bridge, micro USB serial + power
  • Input voltage: 7-13 V via screw terminal or pin headers
  • Motor connection: via screw terminal
  • GPIO: 26 from the ESP32 module
  • Power output pins: 5 V, 3.3 V, and GND
  • Boot and reset: via pushbuttons

 

The board is currently being crowdfunded on Crowd Supply and shipping is expected to begin in early February 2021. More technical information can be found on the SwarmDrive development board product page.

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