Sauer-Danfoss Microcontrollers Offer Machine Control for Off-Road Vehicles

Sauer-Danfoss Inc., Ames, Iowa, has introduced its MC038-010 and MC050-055 microcontrollers, expanding the range of control functions and design options available to OEM designers for off-road vehicles. As part of the growing PLUS+1 family of mobile machine management products, these new microcontrollers are versatile. They are general purpose controllers, equally suited for use as part of a distributed machine control system, with intelligence in every node, or as a stand alone controller—for both hydraulics and other machine functions.

“When we first introduced PLUS+1 in 2004, we envisioned an easily programmable and versatile family of control system tools for OEMs to use in their new machine designs,” said Dan Ricklefs, product portfolio manager. “In addition to the essentials of hydraulic control, we’re now able to offer options for control of small DC motors, lighting and other electrical functions plus expanded input functionalities. The bottom line is the new microcontrollers help address machine productivity and the effect of emission requirements on machine design so that vehicles will work faster, longer and with lower fuel consumption. They also add new vehicle differentiation possibilities to the PLUS+1 family. Now designers can create new solutions that leverage the electronics of a vehicle, controlling anything from dome lights, to raising ladders or opening hoods.”

Designed as a 38-pin controller, the MC038-010 features 15 inputs and 13 outputs, including 6 amp and 10 amp outputs. With the highest output current capability in the PLUS+1 family, it’s suitable for night lighting, control of variable speed DC electric motors and high current solenoids and can reduce the need for fuses and relays.

The MC038-010 is also the first PLUS+1 controller to feature a “sleep mode”. When in sleep mode, outputs are disabled and the microcontroller enters a low power consumption condition. When one or more inputs change state, this micro “wakes up.” This enables the designer to power certain functions without the machine running, opening the possibility for more automotive-style features.

The MC050-055 features 36 input pins, three Controller Area Network (CAN) ports, three output pins and three levels of sensor power supply. With its high number of inputs and multiple CAN ports, this 50-pin controller facilitates CAN bus system capabilities and data management between multiple CAN bus systems. This microcontroller can capture several operator inputs and make data available to the CAN networks. It’s ideal for machines requiring a large number of switch and analog inputs on the operator control panel. Due to multiple sensor voltage levels, it can be used for digital signal fault detection, making a broad range of digital diagnostics possible. Machine designers now have an easily employed tool to increase vehicle system safety, reliability and serviceability.

“Our two new controllers add valuable capabilities for the OEM designer who wants to look beyond hydraulic control and add functionality to machines,” said Ricklefs. “Obviously these controllers are well suited for many applications in agriculture, construction and road building.”