Tag Archives: control

Open-BLDC SMD prototype and final prototypes

Open-BLDC SMD Prototype

Open-BLDC SMD Prototype

It has been again a long time since the last post. (I have the feeling to repeat myself here)

There have been some news on the Open-BLDC front. I have been on Motodrone two weeks ago. Because I took the plane to get there I realized that it will be too difficult to take the breadboard prototype with me. So on a short notice I soldered together a smaller version using smd parts. As an extra feature this prototype includes Allegro hall based current sensors. These will enable us to investigate vector control (aka. field-oriented control).

At first it worked perfectly. Sadly after some tests I burned two of the three bridge drivers. I only had one spare to replace, so I could not work on the software for long. Today I got replacement bridge drivers. Now I should have enough spare ones to compensate for more burning. 😉 So no news on the vector control front yet.

Open-BLDC Logic Board V0.1

Open-BLDC Logic Board V0.1

Open-BLDC Powerstage V0.1

Open-BLDC Powerstage V0.1

But I was not lazy while waiting for the replacement parts. I finalized the circuit and routed the logic board and powerstage. The powerstage was more or less straight forward but I am not very happy about the size and dimensions. I just am not sure if it is fittable on a standard Quadrocopter. Still it should be good enough as first etched prototype.

A much bigger challenge was the logic board. I somehow came up with this crazy idea to constrain the size of it to 45mm X 20mm. Still after many many hours of struggling with that puzzle I managed to squeeze all parts and wires into 45.5mm X 21mm! Yes you are right I am pretty proud of myself. I am still a routing beginner so the result seems to be good for me. 🙂

Now I have to wait so some other people review the work I did to try decreasing the amout of possible bugs in this boards. (If you like you can clone the repository here and check the stuff out, and give feedback on the mailinglist. (please subscribe before posting! :/ )) When I feel confident enough I will order some boards for testing and we can finally concentrate more on the software. 🙂

Open-BLDC Sensorless Commutation Detection


As promised I made some videos. First one is showing the maiden run of a motor connected to the breadboard prototype of Open-BLDC.

(There is also a Vimeo version: Maiden Run of Open-BLDC from Piotr Esden-Tempski on Vimeo)

Yes the motor sounds like a truck. The reason is that I am making forced commutation (not detecting the right time to commutate but do it in fixed time) and the PWM duty cycle is higher then it should be. This way the motor is just jumping between the magnets and has a lot of vibrations.

The second video is a demo of sensorless commutation detection.

(There is also a Vimeo version: Open-BLDC Sensorless Commutation Detection Test from Piotr Esden-Tempski on Vimeo)

We are using a novel way without a virtual crosspoint. (you can read it up in this paper) We do it even a little bit differently then described in the paper, there are no comparators and latches. What we do is condition the signal to be in the range of 0V to 3.3V and sample it with the ADC at the right times. This is probably the simplest way to do something like this in the STM32. One can now play around with the data that the ADC delivers. I think there is a lot of stuff that can be done using such an approach.

In the video you may also wonder why it is so loud. Well the PC fan that I just forced onto the rotor is not really the best payload, also it is not balanced well and the bearings in the motor are not the best anymore because of the unbalanced load. ^^ I am also using the simplest and worst PWM scheme that I know of. The so called H PWM L ON scheme.

“H PWM L ON” PWM scheme. Click on the Image to see other PWM schemes.

You can also see in the video that the motor is pretty robust to external disturbances when running in the commutation detection closed loop. Still I am sure that it can be improved. (If you are interested the sourcecode running this can be seen here)

If I am not mistaken then only current measurement is missing in the circuitry. When that is done then I can design the first etched prototype of Open-BLDC. WOOO! 🙂

Cheers Esden

P.S. If you have any comments/ideas feel free to write them in the comment section. ^^