Direct Back EMF Detection Method for Sensorless Brushless DC (BLDC) Motor Drives


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Virginia Tech


Brushlesss dc (BLDC) motors and their drives are penetrating the market of home appliances, HVAC industry, and automotive applications in recent years because of their high efficiency, silent operation, compact form, reliability, and low maintenance.

Traditionally, BLDC motors are commutated in six-step pattern with commutation controlled by position sensors. To reduce cost and complexity of the drive system, sensorless drive is preferred. The existing sensorless control scheme with the conventional back EMF sensing based on motor neutral voltage for BLDC has certain drawbacks, which limit its applications.

In this thesis, a novel back EMF sensing scheme, direct back EMF detection, for sensorless BLDC drives is presented. For this scheme, the motor neutral voltage is not needed to measure the back EMFs. The true back EMF of the floating motor winding can be detected during off time of PWM because the terminal voltage of the motor is directly proportional to the phase back EMF during this interval. Also, the back EMF voltage is referenced to ground without any common mode noise. Therefore, this back EMF sensing method is immune to switching noise and common mode voltage. As a result, there are no attenuation and filtering necessary for the back EMFs sensing. This unique back EMF sensing method has superior performance to existing methods which rely on neutral voltage information, providing much wider motor speed range at low cost.

Based on the fundamental concept of the direct Back EMF detection, improved circuitry for low speed /low voltage and high voltage applications are also proposed in the thesis, which will further expand the applications of the sensorless BLDC motor drives.

Starting the motor is critical and sometime difficult for a BLDC sensorless system. A practical start-up tuning procedure for the sensorless system with the help of a dc tachometer is described in the thesis. This procedure has the maximum acceleration performance during the start-up and can be used for all different type applications.

An advanced mixed-signal microcontroller is developed so that the EMF sensing scheme is embedded in this low cost 8-bit microcontroller. This device is truly SOC (system-on-chip) product, with high-throughput Micro core, precision-analog circuit, in-system programmable memory and motor control peripherals integrated on a single die. A microcontroller-based sensorless BLDC drive system has been developed as well, which is suitable for various applications, including hard disk drive, fans, pumps, blowers, and home appliances, etc.



Direct back EMF detection, Sensorless, start-up, BLDC