will it help using shielded cable in DC motor to reduce noise?

will it help using shielded cable in DC motor to reduce noise? if yes how should i do it? just connect the shield to the motor housing and to the ground? will it help in any way or it neglectable relatevly to the commutator noise?

thank you eli

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It will make very little difference, because the current is mostly DC. Even if you are using PWM to drive the motor, the inductance of the coils will even out the current flow.

Do you actually have a noise problem, or are you just thinking premptively? I have never taken any special precautions to reduce RF noise from my motors, and I have never had any problems.

Here are a few things you can do that should be more effective than shielded cable:

  1. Use good motors, not cheap toys ($).
  2. Use motors with graphite brushes ($$).
  3. Use brushless motors ($$$).
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If you have encoders or other sensitive TTL level signals, shielding the motor leads will help. PWM from MOSFET H bridges can have rise times in the 50 nS region = ~1v/nS with 48V power = pretty nasty for electrostatic coupling to nearby wires. Also if you have a brush noise suppression capacitor mounted at the motor, a large current spike will happen eveytime the HBridge switches...

Peter Wallace

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Peter Wallace

It should help. At the very least use zip wire [close-parallel wires] or twisted cable, and/ or shielded multi-conductor cable.

First off, the motor brushes in brushed motors sparking over generate a huge amount of high-frequency noise, which can be propagated as radio waves. Try running your electric drill, and watching the TV screen. PWM'ing also will generate large spikes at the on-off points.

Secondly, this translates into current noise in the leads to the motor controller, those wires will have significant inductance if not extremely short and heavy, and you will have a nice inductive loop which will then act as an antenna, and propagate the current noise as RF. This can be especially detrimental to your controller board sitting a few inches away. You can reduce this by using twisted pair to reduce the inductive loop, and further shielding the pair to contain the residuals. Normally the shield is only tied to ground on one end, to prevent ground loops, and you can experiment regarding which end works best for your situation.

Thirdly, besides this you also want to do all the other things to reduce the noise generation in the first place. Caps or snubbers on the motors, bypass and reservoir caps on the motor controller, etc. The following site has a wealth of info ....

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- dan michaels

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dan michaels

OK, shielded cable can help reduce small amounts of noise, but you need to reduce the noise as much as possible first.

(1) Put a small ceramic (0.1uf) capacitor at the motor terminals. This will kill a *lot* of noise and a *lot* of the big spikes.

(2) If it is practical for your circuit, design an L/C filter to put between the PWM driver and the motor. This will smooth out the current spikes of the PWM and put mostly DC over the wire. (See Note)

(3) Shielded is good, but twisted pair will do just as well.

Note: There is a big debate here over the use of L/C circuits between PWM drivers and motors. This is pretty much and engineering question, and it has been argued to death. Suffice to say, assuming permanent magnet motors, torque is directly related to current, and voltage at the motor represents the back EMF (and internal coil resistance times current) of the motor. An LC circuit driven by a PWM source becomes very near a current source and it is ideal for driving motors.

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Hi Eli.

I ran shielded cable to my drive motors, but found that what really helped was to put a ferrite bead around the motor leads, as close to the motor casing as possible. This made my microcontroller a lot happier.

It would still reset occasionally, until I found that the real problem was a ground loop (acting as an antenna) on a reset line.


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Jeff Shirley

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