Sensorless technique for BLDC motors

Masters Thesis

Gambetta, Daniele Morco. 2006. Sensorless technique for BLDC motors. Masters Thesis Master of Philosophy. University of Southern Queensland.

Sensorless technique for BLDC motors

TypeMasters Thesis
AuthorGambetta, Daniele Morco
SupervisorAhfock, Tony
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameMaster of Philosophy
Number of Pages129

Commutation is a fundamental feature of all DC machines. In conventional DC machines the commutation function is performed by the commutator and brushes. These act as both position sensors and switches. The mechanical commutator has obvious disadvantages. Overcoming those disadvantages has been a major reason behind the development of brushless DC (BLDC) machines. In brushless DC machines commutation is performed by power electronic devices forming part of an inverter bridge. However, switching of the power electronic devices has to be synchronised with rotor position. Position sensing is therefore an essential requirement. This can be done by using sensors such as Hall Effect devices or a sensorless approach may be adopted. Advantages of sensorless techniques include reduced cost and wiring. The most common sensorless method is based on detection of the zero crossing of back EMF signals. But this technique works only above a certain speed since back EMF is directly proportional to speed. As a result BLDC systems which rely solely on back EMF signals for commutation suffer from relatively poor starting performance characterised by back rotation of up to one hundred and eigthty electrical degrees and large fluctuations in electromagnetic torque resulting from non-ideal commutation instants. This may not be acceptable for some applications and many researchers have attempted to overcome those problems. The aim of this project has been to investigate the possibility of a sensorless technique which does not cost more than the back EMF method but with a performance at start-up comparable with that obtained when Hall sensors are used. Initial investigations led to a saliency based method. Detailed theoretical analysis is presented which shows that the method is insensitive to variations in operational parameters such as load current and circuit parameters such as power device voltage drops and winding resistances. There is a close parallel between it and the back EMF method and this makes it easy to swap to the latter method at high speed if necessary. A starting strategy, relying on saliency related measurements, is proposed which offers starting performance much better than the back EMF method and almost as good as Hall sensor based techniques. Experimental evidence is provided to confirm that commutation instants determined by the proposed method are practically coincident with those obtained when Hall sensors are used.

KeywordsEMF method, DC machine, development of brushless DC (BLDC), inipolar switching, bipolar switching
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020401799. Mechanical engineering not elsewhere classified
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