Fine positioning of brushless motors to arbitrarily low speeds


The NearZero (NZ) controller allows fine, slow motion, or positioning control of all brushless motors for direct drive applications, open or closed loop. Intended usage includes controlling hub motors for domestic robots, self-balancing devices, actuators for manipulators and robotic arms, and motorized or stabilized gimbals and mounts.

  • Control brushless motors at arbitrarily low speeds
  • Command with a few lines of Python on Raspberry Pi and other SBCs
  • OR use the PWM inputs with an R/C receiver
  • 2 independent channels
  • Bi-directional command of velocity or position, as well as current
  • I2C interface allows connecting up to 119 boards
  • 25kHz pure sine commutation for "squeal-free", totally silent operation
  • Encoder input headers for odometry and "servo" mode
  • 1A continuous, 3A peak per channel powered by 7 - 36VDC

  • Documentation:

  • Quick Start + Manual: An actual manual with everything you need to know in one place
  • Python files: To get up and running in minutes on a Raspberry Pi or Nvidia Jetson
  • Video: A brief demonstration
  • Video: A thorough description of the NearZero and the Robowheel
  • Open Source Files:

  • Firmware: Arduino-compatible
  • Electrical:The KiCad files
  • Mechanical:STEP files and PDFs
  • License: Read before forking

  • Related Products:

    RoboWheel -- Brushless hubmotor with integral encoder
    Robotics Mobility Package -- 2 Robowheels and 1 NearZero controller, discounted

    Personal note from the maker:

    I started designing this in 2018 when I first decided I wanted to base a company on building open source domestic robots. I was surprised to find an utter lack of (affordable) pre-existing options for the kind of brushless motor control one would want for robotics applications. It took many iterations, but I wound up with something that I feel is intuitive enough to start using immediately while being extensible enough to empower all the domestic robotics ideas I've been daydreaming about for so long. To assist others in realizing their electronic dreams, whether they be individuals, research groups, or companies, the NearZero is -- and always will be -- available as a stand-alone open source product, even once I'm producing complete and dexterous domestic robots using these for the motion controllers.

    ~Justine Haupt


    Superseded by the NZ2