Open Source High Power IGBT Speed Controller

3 replies [Last post]
bradbunyard's picture
Joined: 07/13/2008
Points: 3

Hello people, I used to post on here a couple of years ago but I can't remember what my old account was or it might have be deleted but anyway a short introduction, I'm Brad the Design Engineer for the Lynch Motor Company.We manufacture axial gap PM DC motors in the UK, we are the parents of the ETEK motor.

Ok the Speed controller project I'm basically testing the water to see what the interest is in developing an open source controller. We already have a beta prototype stage unit that we have spent a few years on in house it is IGBT based, full H bridge and capable of up to 240V DC and 400Amp current. We have run out of time to really push it forward and instead of mothballing the project I'm trying to convince the company that letting it run free as an open source project would be the best thing to do. The only caveats would be some kind of non commercial development clause and no liability as 400amps at 240V DC is a lot of energy to play with.

So I'm Looking for your thoughts, feedback and any interest in working on it.

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Mik's picture
Joined: 12/11/2007
Points: 3739
Re: Open Source High Power IGBT Speed Controller


sounds like the closest thing to a motor controller replacement for the Vectux that I have heard of so far...

I'm very interested!

If Vectrix goes down or charges unreasonable monopoly prices for their controllers, then this could be the alternative!

And as open source one could most likely adjust it for top speed, acceleration, range, or for learner drivers etc. etc. etc.

Count me in for helping it along where I can.

Mr. Mik


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LinkOfHyrule's picture
Joined: 10/17/2007
Points: 730
Re: Open Source High Power IGBT Speed Controller

The 240V DC thing interests me. Not many controllers go that high.

bradbunyard wrote:

The only caveats would be some kind of non commercial development clause and no liability as 400amps at 240V DC is a lot of energy to play with.

I think that's covered by the nature of it being open source; nobody actually owns the design, so nobody's accountable. Besides, anybody who goes about building their own controller will probably have a pretty good idea of what they're doing. ;)

↓ I'm covered, in any case. :P


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reikiman's picture
Joined: 11/19/2006
Points: 8450
Re: Open Source High Power IGBT Speed Controller

hi Brad. FWIW 1.5 years ago the old died due to a hacker attack. So your old account "from a couple years ago" wasn't transitioned because everything on the old V was lost. Sorry.

Anyway.. your idea for an open source project is cool. I work in open source software in my day job, and for the last couple months have been toying with launching a site for instigating development of open source hardware designs for sustainable technologies.

FWIW There is on yahoo!groups an open source motor controller project (osmc) but it has almost zero traffic ...

A couple thoughts on what you've got here..

Having a controller design in the hands of the public that can work well with your motor could do positive things for the sales of your motor.

Yup, 400A @ 240 volts is (ulp) a lotta power. I understand the worry over liability. But this can be covered in the license.

Open source software licensing is the most understood .. there is at least one open source hardware license (link, link). There is an open hardware foundation (link, link) that's mostly related to graphics board designs...etc..

I've got a few links here:

A lot about the choice of license comes to what your goals are. How much freedom do you want to give the people, versus how much control do you want to exert, and how widely you want this distributed, how much collaboration you want to put on it, etc. Like if you just want to throw it over the wall there are licenses that say essentially "you're on your own, do what you will, credit us" and other licenses exert some control such as causing all modifications to the thing under the license to remain in the open.

The open source foundation has a really good statement of some principles which have been found to be useful in open source software:

It's not clear to me how well those principles would translate to hardware designs.


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