Open Source Motion

Over three decades I’ve been a part of the evolution that has combined the microcontroller with power electronics. Over that time, motor drives have evolved into building blocks, however they have become “black box” building blocks. While they may use standard communication protocols such as Rs485, Ethernet or Can, each manufacturer created different twists to […]

Motion and the “Internet of Things”

The “Internet of Things” as defined by Kevin Ashton in 1999 was “to empower computers with their own means of gathering information, so they can see, hear and smell the world for themselves, in all its random glory”. In 2008, SRI Consulting Business Intelligence expanded the concept and charted a possible roadmap for the “Internet […]

Fieldwork

Have you ever found yourself troubleshooting an application at a remote site but without the necessary tools available? I learned a long time ago that the scout motto of “Be Prepared” applies to fieldwork as well. Back then, this involved dragging a suitcase with oscilloscope, bulky isolated probes, a “luggable” computer (remember the old Compaq’s?) […]

The Nearest Exit May Be Behind You

One of my hobbies is the History of Technology. As I travel, I’ll visit nearby historical sites that have a tie to technology. What fascinates me about these sites is how our math, science and engineering predecessors tackled the challenges of the day and mastered them working only with what they had at the time. […]

Scotty… I Need More Power!

If you are a geek like me and are ever in Detroit, don’t miss the automakers’ museums. The sheer size of the Ford museum is astounding. It even includes a working late 19th century factory, complete with steam engine, overhead shafts and belt and pulley drives to the machine tools. But my inspiration for this […]

No Motor is an Island

(with appologies to John Donne) No motor has value unless it’s in an application. The same is true of a motor/ controller drive system. Yet, as even the smallest of drives gets smarter their flexibility to contribute to the overall performance of the application has not kept pace. Deep down, the drive is performing the […]

Look Ma… No More (added) Wires!

I firmly believe that at some point, 100% of all electric motor power will pass through at least one semiconductor. Most, if not all will be under microcontroller control and will be able to communicate with the outside world. But just how will that be done? Last month I touched on the software side of […]

Digital Power

Welcome to the Digital Power blog. I’m Gary Box, CTO of Software Defined Power and I’ll be blogging from time to time on all things related to converting energy digitally. Note I’m not limiting myself to just converting electrical energy to mechanical energy (or vice versa), but I’ll be stepping back to look at the […]