Open source ESP32 motor driver development board for electric (BLDC) motors

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SwarmDrive is a motor driver (development) board intended for learning and experimenting with electric motors. It’s an approachable mechatronics platform for users who want to learn and start experimenting with (small) electric motors and BLDC motors in particular.

The SwarmDrive board contains a basic motor driver setup together with a powerful microcontroller (ESP32) and USB connectivity. It enables professionals as well as students to learn about different commutation algorithms and all other aspects of electric (BLDC) motors in a convenient way.

The ‘Swarm’ aspect is hinting upon the vast communication possibilities of the ESP32, such as bluetooth or wifi, which enable the board or motor to communicate with other boards/motors. This allows for ‘Swarm’ type implementations or just plain remote control of the board/motors.

Specially designed console firmware as well as example code can be downloaded to get started quickly and easily. The code is well documented and open source. SwarmDrive can be used as a starting point for getting insight into the inner workings of algorithms for driving a motor.

Features & Specifications

  • ESP32 dual core, 240 Mhz, 4 Mb flash
  • WiFi: 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
  • L6234 triple half bridge motor driver, 5 A peak current
  • USB to UART bridge, micro USB serial + power
  • Power supply/battery conn. 7-13 V
  • Motor out + IN/EN breakout
  • All GPIOs + 5 V/3.3 V and GND
  • Boot/reset switch

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.

Open source documentation

You can find all hardware and software documentation in GitHub. Firmware has it’s own dedicated page, and you can get a thorough overview including introduction and theory on the SwarmDrive website

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