Firmware vs Hardware

SunTech Drive’s development team is guided by the simple mantra: “Have reliable hardware, shift complexity to firmware”! That means that the hardware is designed to be robust, while the entire application specific complexity is shifted to software which is embedded in the microprocessor.


Instead of building a mechanically and electrically unique configuration for every combination and permutation of application variables, the PicoCell uses adaptive firmware to achieve a “one controller fits all” objective.  A series of clearly labeled dip switches are configured at installation to select application variables and the controller then uses the appropriate adaptive firmware to provide appropriate control of the loads.

 This takes the complexity out of the hands of the user or installer and automates the process in software. Rather than having to integrate several different functional components, the PicoCell runs one holistic and integrated algorithm that incorporates all of these functions.



The PicoCell effectively provides five sometimes separate system components into one fully integrated controller:

  1. Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) Controller
  2. Variable Frequency Drive (VFD)
  3. Voltage Boost
  4. Inverter
  5. Phase Initiator

Of these functional elements it is the PicoCell’s patented voltage boost that has the most dramatic impact on customer economics.  As an example, 80% of the total cost of a typical solar pumping installation is comprised of the PV capacity.  For small AC pumps (up to 1HP), the PicoCell is capable of cutting that PV capacity requirement in Half, which removes 40% of the total project cost.

PicoCell’s adaptive firmware allows it to be deployed with any nanogrid scale pump or motor regardless of voltage, phase, configuration or frequency.  Our microcontroller simply loads the appropriate firmware to emulate any combination of variables.  This not only improves energy efficiency, it also simplifies system integration on any project.

For Distributors the universality of the controller represents an opportunity to reduce and simplify inventory. Pick any AC pump, any panels, add a PicoCell to the mix and you are done.

One Device now does the job.