Thorlabs Inc

Model BBD203 - Benchtop Brushless DC Motor Controllers

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The BBD Series of Brushless DC Motor Controllers are ideal for motion control applications demanding operation at high speeds (hundreds of mm/s) and with high encoder resolution (

Integrated into the apt family of products, these controllers offer Thorlabs' standard control and programming interface, allowing for easy integration into automated motion control applications. These units are capable of being reprogrammed in-field, allowing the option of upgrading the units with future firmware releases as soon as new programming interfaces (such as microscopy standard command sets) are added.

USB connectivity provides easy plug and play PC operation. Multiple units can be connected to a single PC via standard USB hub technology for multi-axis motion control applications. Coupling this with the user friendly apt software allows the user to get reasonably complex move sequences up and running in a short space of time. For example, all relevant operating parameters are set automatically for Thorlabs stage and actuator products. Advanced custom motion control applications and sequences are also possible using the extensive ActiveX programming environment described in more detail on theSoftware tab.

We have ensured that the software interfaces to the BBD series are highly integrated with all other apt family controllers, providing easy system integration and reduced learning curve. As one of the newest members of the apt family of controllers, these units are backed up by the fully featured apt suite of PC software tools for immediate and easy out-of-the-box configuration and usage.

This controller is designed for use with high power, brushless DC servo motors. For control of the Thorlabs brushed DC servo motor devices, please see the TDC001 DC Servo Motor Driver T-Cube or the
BDC Series Benchtop DC Servo Motor Controller

Optional Joystick Console

The MJC001 joystick console has been designed for microscope users, to provide intuitive, tactile, manual positioning of the stage. The console features a two axis joystick for XY control. In most applications, the default parameter settings saved within the controller allow the joystick to be used out-of-the-box, with no need for further setup, thereby negating the requirement to be connected to a host PC, and allowing true remote operation.

  • Supports Thorlabs' Range of 3-Phase, Brushless DC Servo Motor Products
  • Encoder Feedback for Closed-Loop Velocity and Position Control
  • USER I/O Port Exposes Encoder Signals for Monitoring
  • AUX I/O Port Exposes Digital Input and Output Signals
  • ActiveX Software Graphical Panels
  • Fully Supported by the apt Software Control Suite
  • Seamless Integration with All apt Family Controllers

Driver Flexibility

A wide range of brushless DC servo motors and associated actuators are available, each with its own operational specifications. For this reason, the apt DC Servo controllers are fully configurable (parameterized) to support different motor/actuator combinations. Key settings such as PID control loop values, min and max stage position, leadscrew pitch, and limit switch configuration are exposed through the supplied apt software. Moreover, relative and absolute motion can be initiated with move profiles set using velocity profile parameters. Homing sequences for establishing a zero datum are also fully configurable for a particular stage or actuator. For simplicity of operation, the apt software incorporates pre-configured settings for each Thorlabs' stage and actuator including the MLS203 stage.
All key parameters can be adjusted through direct interaction with the graphical software panels supplied. However, for custom motion control applications, all controller settings and commands are also accessible through the ActiveX  programming libraries. These programming libraries are very comprehensive, providing hundreds of functions and parameters that can be accessed from user-written programs.

They are language independent in nature and consequently are supported by a large variety of programming environments that are ActiveX  compliant. These include LabVIEW, Visual Basic, C++, Matlab, and HPVEE.

Note that all such settings and parameters are also accessible through the ActiveX programmable interfaces for automated alignment sequences. Refer to the Software tab for further information on the apt software support for the BBD10X series.

Full Software GUI Conrol Suite & ActiveX Controls Included

A full and sophisticated software support suite is supplied with the BBD controllers. The suite includes a number of user utilities to allow immediate operation of the unit without any detailed pre-configuration. All operating modes can be accessed manually and all operating parameters can be changed and saved for next time use. For more advanced 'custom' motion control applications, a fully featured ActiveX programming environment is also included to facilitate custom application development in a wide range of programming environments. Note that all such settings and parameters described above are also accessible through these ActiveX programmable interfaces. For further information on the apt software support for the BDC10x refer to the Software tab. Demonstraton videos illustrating how to program the apt software are also available for viewing from the Video Tutorial tab.

The ActiveX apt system software shipped with these units is also compatible with other apt family controllers including our multi-channel rack-based system and smaller optical table mountable T-Cube Controllers. This single unified software offering allows seamless mixing of any apt benchtop, table top and rack based units in any single positioning applicaiton.
The key innovation of the apt range of controllers and associated mechanical products is the ease and speed with which complete automated alignment/positioning systems can be engineered at both the hardware and software level. All controllers in the apt range are equipped with USB connectivity. The multi-drop USB bus allows multiple apt units to be connected to a single controller PC using commerical USB hubs and cables. When planning a multi-channel application, simply add up the number and type of drive channels required and connect together the associated number of APT controllers.

Software Developers Support CD

A developers’ kit is shipped with all of our apt series controllers. This additional software support is intended for use by software developers working on large, system integration projects that incorporate apt products. The kit contains an extensive selection of useful code samples as well as a library of Video Tutorials.

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