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Open-spec motor control kit runs Linux on Zynq SoC

Aug 3, 2015 — by Eric Brown — 1,000 views

Avnet’s revamped, Linux-based “ZIDK-II” kit for motor control combines its ZedBoard SBC, featuring an ARM/FPGA Zynq SoC, with improved Analog Devices gear.

Avnet Electronic Marketing’s “Zynq-7000 All Programmable SoC/Analog Devices Intelligent Drives Kit II,” or “ZIDK-II,” is a major upgrade to a previously released kit of the same name, featuring an enhanced Analog Devices ” brushless DC motor control reference design. As before, the system is built around Avnet’s community-backed, Ubuntu Linux-based ZedBoard single board computer, which showcases the Xilinx Zynq-7020, a SoC that combines see farther below).

ZIDK-II kit, showing Avnet’s ZedBoard SBC (lower left) with Analog Devices controller board (lower center), low voltage drive board (lower right), and optional brushless motor “Dynamometer Drive System” (top)
(click image to enlarge)

The open-spec ZIDK-II kit is designed to provide “a flexible platform for motor control and industrial networking development in sectors including industrial automation, smart energy, medical and embedded systems,” says Avnet. The new kit features a higher precision, “enhanced performance” Analog Devices “AD-FMCMOTCON2-EBZ” motor control reference design that enables data conversion and digital isolation for motor control applications, says the company.

ZIDK-II block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

Specifically, the Analog Devices drive system on the ZIDK-II features improved data converters with greater precision than the previous version. The drive system is also said to provide higher frequency direct drive of the H-bridge power stages, as well as the ability to simultaneously drive two motors, including bipolar steppers or a brushless DC electric motors (BLDC) with electronic brake.

ZIDK-II kit interconnection details
(click image to enlarge)

The AD-FMCMOTCON2-EBZ provides multi-axis systems control, and can control of up to two motors. Fully isolated analog and digital interfaces are said to ensure “robust system operation and reliable functional and safety isolation.” There’s also an optional system level dynamometer system for prototyping a full dynamometer, which boosts the $1,995 price of the overall kit to $2,550.

The kit ships with open source HDL source, Linux drivers, schematics, and full documentation. It integrates a Xilinx Zynq-7000 reference design with Xilinx Vivado-based IP, as well as an Analog Devices Linux framework designed to streamline the development of custom control algorithms. Developers can implement Model-Based Design for the Zynq using an optional package that combines Simulink with C/HDL code generation using MathWorks Embedded Coder and HDL Coder packages.

Major components of the ZIDK-II include:

  • Avnet ZedBoard Z7020 SBC
  • Xilinx Vivado Design Edition voucher
  • Analog Devices AD-FMCMOTCON2-EBZ module
  • Brushless DC motor — 24V, 4000 RPM, Hall sensors, and 1250 CPR indexed encoder
  • 8GB SD card programmed with application
  • Ethernet cable
  • HDMI cable
  • Micro-USB cable
  • 12V ZedBoard power supply
  • 24V AD-FMCMOTCON2-EBZ power supply
  • Linux drivers, applications software, HDL source, reference designs, full schematics, and Gerbers
  • MathWorks Motor Control Design Package (optional, North America only)
  • Dynamometer dynamically adjustable load system (optional)

ZedBoard background

The ZedBoard that drives the ZIDK-II does not appear to have changed since we reported on an updated model in 2013. It still costs a hefty $395, although it ships free as part of the ZIDK-II.

ZedBoard key components and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The open-spec board integrates a Xilinx Zynq-7020 SoC, which tightly links two Cortex-A9 cores running Linux with an FPGA subsystem. The Zynq is found in a number of embedded products including the Parallella SBC and Avnet’s own hybrid COM/SBC MicroZed board.

The ZedBoard provides 512MB of DDR3 memory and 256Mb of QSPI (Quad SPI) flash. There’s also full-sized SD/MMC card cage on the back of the board featuring an optional 4GB (or in the case, of the ZIDK-II, 8GB) SD card with a Linux reference system.

Real-world ports on the ZedBoard include gigabit Ethernet, micro-USB OTG, and a second micro-USB port for JTAG debugging. There’s also an HDMI, VGA, and audio ports, as well as an onboard connector for a 128 x 32-pixel OLED status display. Expansion connectors expose I/O functions from both the ARM CPU and FPGA fabric subsystems of the Zynq-7020.


“Control systems engineers are turning to advanced algorithms to create more intelligent industrial drives that dramatically reduce power consumption while adhering to critical safety standards and prolonging equipment life,” stated Matt Brown, technical marketing engineer, Avnet Electronics Marketing. “Combined with Xilinx Vivado-based IP and a Linux infrastructure provided by Analog Devices, the ZIDK-II platform allows engineers to explore the power of an SoC for creating intelligent drives that require fast control loops and precision analog measurement, with the option to add industrial networking interfaces like Powerlink and EtherCAT.”

“The Zynq Intelligent Drives Kit II unleashes the unique capabilities of the Zynq. All Programmable SoCs on our new development platform that supports engineers who are researching algorithms by prototyping complete motor drive systems,” stated Christoph Fritsch, director of the industrial, scientific and medical market segment at Xilinx. “The kit is enabled for system level design flows and allows fast exploration of architecture trade-offs between software and hardware implementations of highly sophisticated motor control applications.”

“The high frequency power stage combined with the precision analog signal chain provide highly dynamic system response and make this an ideal platform for implementing high performance control algorithms,” stated Andrei Cozma, systems engineering manager, Analog Devices. “Freely available reference designs are provided to give customers a head start on designing their own system and help reduce the time needed to move a motor control system from concept to production.”

Further information

The Zynq-7000 All Programmable SoC/Analog Devices Intelligent Drives Kit II (ZIDK-II) is available for $1,995, or $2,550 with the dynamometer option. Contact Avnet for quotes on the MathWorks option (North America only). More information may be found at the ZIDK-II product page. Those wishing to take a deep dive into details of the motor control subsystem may wish to visit the Analog Devices AD-FMCMOTCON2-EBZ User Guide wiki page.

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