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4998

IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON POWER ELECTRONICS, VOL. 30, NO. 9, SEPTEMBER 2015

A Novel Drive Method for High-Speed Brushless


DC Motor Operating in a Wide Range
Chenjun Cui, Gang Liu, and Kun Wang

AbstractIn this paper, a novel drive method, which is different from the traditional motor drive techniques, for high-speed
brushless DC (BLDC) motor is proposed and verified by a series
of experiments. It is well known that the BLDC motor can be
driven by either pulse-width modulation (PWM) techniques with
a constant dc-link voltage or pulse-amplitude modulation (PAM)
techniques with an adjustable dc-link voltage. However, to our best
knowledge, there is rare study providing a proper drive method for
a high-speed BLDC motor with a large power over a wide speed
range. Therefore, the detailed theoretical analysis comparison of
the PWM control and the PAM control for high-speed BLDC motor
is first given. Then, a conclusion that the PAM control is superior
to the PWM control at high speed is obtained because of decreasing the commutation delay and high-frequency harmonic wave.
Meanwhile, a new high-speed BLDC motor drive method based
on the hybrid approach combining PWM and PAM is proposed.
Finally, the feasibility and effectiveness of the performance analysis comparison and the new drive method are verified by several
experiments.
Index TermsBrushless DC (BLDC) motor, commutation delay,
drive method, high-speed, pulse-amplitude modulation (PAM).

I. INTRODUCTION
ECENTLY, high-speed brushless DC (BLDC) motor,
which is with the advantages of high efficiency, compactness, low cost, and maintenance compared with the traditional
brush dc motor [1][3], is getting more and more interest in
industrial automation area, especially on blowers and compressors. Because the rotation speed of high-speed motor can reach
up to tens of thousands revolutions per minute (r/min) due to
the development of bearing technology [4], [5], a proper drive
method to ensure low loss and high efficiency in a wide speed
range is a critical issue.
Generally, the BLDC motor can be driven by either pulsewidth modulation (PWM) or pulse-amplitude modulation
(PAM) techniques. However, it is well known that the inverter,
which is applied to most of the BLDC motor drive systems,

Manuscript received March 17, 2014; revised June 14, 2014 and August 19,
2014; accepted October 1, 2014. Date of publication October 8, 2014; date of
current version April 15, 2015. This work was supported in part by the National
Nature Science Funds of China under Grant 61374029 and Grant 61403015,
and in part by the National Major Project for the Development and Application of Scientific Instrument Equipment of China under Grant 2012YQ040235.
Recommended for publication by Associate Editor P. C. Loh. (Corresponding
author: G. Liu).
C. Cui and K. Wang are with the School of Instrumentation Science
and Optoelectronics Engineering, BeiHang University, Beijing100191, China
(e-mail: cuichenjunupc@163.com; wangkunggg@163.com).
G. Liu is with the School of Instrumentation Science and Optoelectronics
Engineering, BeiHang University, Beijing100191, China (e-mail: lgang@buaa.
edu.cn).
Color versions of one or more of the figures in this paper are available online
at http://ieeexplore.ieee.org.
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/TPEL.2014.2361752

is controlled by the PWM scheme for varying the voltage.


Moreover, the PWM control is extensively used in high-power/
low-power BLDC motor drives [6], [7], and the motor performance is decided by the commutation control techniques.
The common PWM control contains six different PWM techniques namely, H-PWM-L-ON [8][10], H-ON-L-PWM [9]
[12], PWM-ON [13], [14], ON-PWM [15], H-PWM-L-PWM,
and PWM-ON-PWM [16], [17], respectively. For example,
when H-PWM-L-ON is employed, the high-side power device is
controlled by the PWM chopper signal every consecutive 120
in a fundamental period. Meanwhile, the low side of the same
leg control signal is shifted by 180 without the PWM chopper
signal, as compared to its high-side one, to clamp the related
inverter output to the negative dc-link rail. The control signals
for the other two legs are shifted by 120 and 240, respectively.
Unfortunately, the PWM techniques can induce serious current and torque ripples for the ironless stator motor that will tend
to very low inductance [18]. Moreover, the high-frequency and
large-range current ripple will inevitably increase the copper
and iron losses [18], [19] at high speed. The assessment of the
aforementioned PWM techniques for the BLDC motor drives at
low speed is given in [20]. The criteria for assessment include
the drive circuit, reversal dc-link current, circulating current of
the floating phase, and back electromotive force (back-EMF) detection. In addition, the advantages and disadvantages of these
PWM techniques for the BLDC motor drives are analyzed by
several experimental results. A comprehensive analysis on the
generated torque ripples of trapezoidal back-EMF due to the
phase commutation in the six-switch three-phase inverter BLDC
drives is proposed in [21]. The consultation that the PWM-ON
pattern achieves the smallest torque ripple due to the current
commutation is also given. The performances of the PWM techniques at low speed are compared in the efficiency, reliability,
torque ripple, EMC, and vibration [16] through the theoretical analysis and simulation verification. It is shown that the
PWM_ON_PWM method is superior to the other PWM methods. A novel PWM technique is introduced in [22] to reduce the
motor loss, but only suits for the motor with very small power.
In summary, the aforementioned studies are all based on the
low-speed operations instead of the high-speed performance.
Moreover, there are no detailed analyses about the performance
improvement.
The PAM control is another popular control method for the
BLDC motor. For PAM control, 120 commutation control, i.e.,
the so-called six-step mode is generally used and the dc-link
voltage can be adjusted according to the error between the
speed and its reference. It is shown that the PAM control is
superior to the PWM control [23]. Due to the PWM period

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CUI et al.: NOVEL DRIVE METHOD FOR HIGH-SPEED BRUSHLESS DC MOTOR OPERATING IN A WIDE RANGE

interruption caused by the commutation and limitation of the resolution of PWM generator, more torque ripple can be produced
in the performance of PWM-controlled BLDC motor drives.
This phenomenon will become more serious when the motors
work at high speed. Moreover, it will lead to high motor loss.
But it does not give enough theoretical analysis. The advantages
and disadvantages of PWM and PAM are assessed in [24] using
BLDC motor drives which are applied to the refrigerator. The
result shows that the PAM control can provide higher efficiency
than the PWM control. However, it only gives several low-power
experimental results without any detailed analysis. A so-called
PAM/PWM method [25] is proposed to control the adjustable
speed drives. The realization of PAM relies on a current source
rectifier which adjusts the dc-link voltage. As compared to the
conventional PWM inverter with a constant dc-link voltage, this
method can reduce the dc-link current ripples and prolong the
lifetime of the capacitor effectively. However, the performance
of controlling a BLDC motor is not involved. In order to improve
the motor efficiency and provide the desired current waveform,
a quasi-current source inverter is employed in [26] to adjust the
dc-link voltage. The high-speed performance is improved, but
the analysis and performance comparison with the PWM control are not mentioned. A PWM-controlled buck-type dc-to-dc
power converter in front of the three-phase bridge inverter is
employed for the low-inductance and low-power BLDC motor [27][29]. The variable dc voltage is adjusted by the buck
converter, and the inverter legs participate only in commutation
instead of involved in modulation. But the detailed analysis is
not discussed although the power consumption is reduced.
To the best knowledge of the authors, the detailed analysis of
whether the PWM control is suitable for the high-speed BLDC
motor in a large speed range or not has not been fully investigated. Therefore, it attracts the authors to give the analysis
and performance comparison between the PWM control and
the PAM control at high-speed region, thus providing a proper
drive method in a wide speed range.
In this paper, the theoretical analysis comparison between the
PWM control and the PAM control at high-speed region is first
given. Then, a new BLDC motor drive method over a wide speed
range based on the analysis results is proposed. Therefore, the
organization of this paper is as follows. Section II describes the
detailed analysis about the advantages and disadvantages of the
PWM control and the PAM control. Section III presents the new
high-speed BLDC motor drive method. Section IV introduces
the experimental results to validate the effectiveness and feasibility of the performance comparison analysis and the new drive
method. Some important conclusions can be found in Section V.
II. PERFORMANCE ANALYSIS COMPARISON BETWEEN
THE PWM CONTROL AND THE PAM CONTROL
The criteria of the performance comparison include the commutation delay analysis, harmonic component analysis, and motor power factor analysis.
A. Commutation Delay Analysis
In this paper, TI TMS320F28335 digital signal processor
(DSP) is taken as the controller to generate the PWM signals.

Fig. 1.

4999

Scheme of the PWM generator based on the DSP.

The frequency of PWM events is controlled by the time-base


period (TBPRD) register and the mode of the time-base counter.
The time-base counter has three modes of operation selected by
the time-base control register, i.e., up-down-count mode, upcount mode, and down-count mode.
The up-down-count mode is selected to generate the triangular carrier as shown in Fig. 1. In this mode, the time-base counter
starts from zero and increments until the period (TBPRD) value
is reached. When the period value is reached, the time-base
counter will decrement until it reaches zero. At this point,
the counter repeats the pattern and begins to increment. When
the time-base counter value is increasing to the counter-compare
value, the output signal will be active high. On the contrary,
when the time-base counter value is decreasing to the countercompare value, the output signal will be active low.
In the BLDC motor control system, if the PWM control is
selected, the period value and the PWM period will be constant.
The speed adjustment is achieved by changing the countercompare value (counter-compare A/B register) to modulate the
pulse width, i.e., the duty ratio D. If a high-speed is needed, a
large counter-compare value will be set to increase the output
voltage. On the other hand, if a low speed is needed, a small
counter-compare value will be set to decrease the output voltage.
However, it is noted that if a new counter-compare value is
written, the new value will not work immediately. Because the
new value will be first written to the shadow register associated
with the counter-compare A/B register. Only when the counter
value reaches zero, the new value will be loaded into the countercompare A/B register from the shadow register.
Assuming at a particular commutation process that the current
transfers from phase C to phase A. This transfer is performed by
switching OFF VT2 and switching ON VT4. Before the transfer,
VT3 is ON and VT2 is controlled by the chopper signal. When a
commutation signal interruption occurs at t2 as shown in Fig. 1,
theoretically, VT2 should be turned OFF and VT4 should be
turned ON simultaneously. However, because the new counter
value cannot work immediately until t4 , the ideal conduction
signal of VT4 as shown in the dashed line of Fig. 1 cannot be

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IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON POWER ELECTRONICS, VOL. 30, NO. 9, SEPTEMBER 2015

satisfied. If the new counter-compare is loaded at t4 , the counter


starts from zero and increments until the new counter-compare
value at t5 when the actual conduction signal of VT4 works and
VT4 is ON. Therefore, there is a lag time deviation t between
the ideal conduction signal and the actual conduction signal,
which can be expressed as
t = t5 t2 .

(1)

The lag angle caused by t can be expressed as


=

360
t
Tk

(2)

where Tk is the electrical period of the motor.


From (2), we can see that if the speed is low, will be very
small and negligible due to t < Ts << Tk (Ts is the PWM
period). However, if the speed is too high to ensure Ts < Tk ,
will be large enough because t may be close to the PWM
period Tk which is the same order of magnitude with Ts . For
example, for a motor with two pole pairs, if it runs at 30 000
r/min with a 10 k carrier frequency, Tk will be 1 ms (Tk = 1/
1000 Hz) and may be close to 36. The large will result in a
large commutation delay. Even though this commutation delay
can be neglected for a medium speed range, it has a significant
influence on the phase current and drive performance at high
speed, since the 60 interval in which the commutation arises
is relatively small. Moreover, the large lag angle will increase
the motor loss and decrease the motor efficiency [29].
In Fig. 1, assuming that a commutation signal interruption
occurs in the interval (t1 , t4 ], we can also see that if the interruption near t1 , the large t will lead to a large , while if the
interruption near t4 , the small t will lead to a small . Moreover, is variable because the commutation signal interruption
time varies with the speed.
However, if the PAM control is employed, the PWM chopper
signal will be no longer needed, since can be eliminated by setting the PWM generator port as the general-purpose input/output
(I/O) port. When a commutation signal interruption occurs, the
associated (I/O) port will immediately output a high/low level
to turn ON/OFF the power device without delay.
B. Harmonic Component Analysis
In this paper, the adopted drive circuit structure for high-speed
BLDC motor control is shown in Fig. 2.
For facilitate analysis, only the fundamental waves of the
back-EMFs are considered, which can be expressed as

2E sin(t) = Em ax sin(t)
=
e

Af

eBf = 2E sin(t 2/3) = Em ax sin(t 2/3)

eCf = 2E sin(t + 2/3) = Em ax sin(t + 2/3)


(3)
where eAf , eBf , and eCf are the fundamental waves of the backEMFs,
E is the virtual value of the fundamental wave, Em ax =

2E is the maximum value of the fundamental wave.

Fig. 2. Adopted drive circuit structure for high-speed BLDC motor control.
u d is the output voltage of the rectifier, eA , eB , and eC are the back-EMFs,
R is the phase-winding resistance, L is the phase-winding inductance, N is
the neutral point, S is the virtual neutral point, O is the midpoint of the dc
bus, and the voltage between S and O is used to generated the sensorless
commutation signals [30].

Fig. 3.

Scheme of the PWM generator.

Also, the fundamental waves of the line-to-line back-EMFs


can be obtained as

eABf = 6E sin(t+/6) = 3Em ax sin(t+/6)


eBCf = 6E sin(t /2) = 3Em ax sin(t /2)

eCAf = 6E sin(t + 5/6) = 3Em ax sin(t + 5/6)


(4)
where eABf , eBCf , and eCAf are the fundamental waves of the
line-to-line back-EMFs.
For PWM control, the line-to-line voltages are modulated by
the chopper signals. In this paper, uAB is taken as an example
to be analyzed, and its fundamental wave can be expressed as
uABf = M Um ax sin (t+)

(5)

where uABf is the fundamental wave of uAB , Um ax is the maximum value of uABf , 0 M 1 is the modulation ratio, and
is the angle between uABf and eAf .
The scheme of the PWM generator is shown in Fig. 3, where
1 and 2 can be described as

M sin(t+)

1 =
2
2

sin(t+)

2 = +
.
2
2

(6)

CUI et al.: NOVEL DRIVE METHOD FOR HIGH-SPEED BRUSHLESS DC MOTOR OPERATING IN A WIDE RANGE

From Fig. 3, uAO can be obtained by the Fourier decomposition as






ud
4
uAO =
M sin(t + ) +
2
n
n =1


M n
n
sin(t + ) +
sin
cos (ns t) (7)
2
2

5001

Fig. 4. Equivalent circuit of the fundamental wave and the harmonic wave.
(a) Fundamental wave equivalent circuit. (b) Harmonic wave equivalent circuit.

where s is the carrier angular frequency.


Also, uBO can be obtained as





4
ud
2
+ +
uBO =
M sin t
2
3
n
n =1




M n
2
n
sin t
+ +
sin
cos(ns t) .
2
3
2
(8)
Therefore, uAB can be expressed as
uAB = uAO uBO = uABf + uABh

(9)

where uABf and uABh are the fundamental wave and the harmonic wave of uAB , respectively.
From (7)(9), uABf and uABh can be described as



ud
2
uABf =
M sin(t + ) M sin t +
2
3



3
1
=
M ud sin t + +
(10)
2
6

 


ud 
4
M n

(n +1)/2

(1)
Jk

2 n =1
n
2

k =2

k


sin (k ns )t + k
2 sin

3
3

(n = 1, 3, 5, . . . , k = 2, 4, 6, . . . , )
uABh =
(11)
 


u 

4
M
n

(1)n /2
Jk

2 n =2
n
2

k =1

k


cos (k ns )t + k
2 sin

3
3

(k = 1, 3, 5, . . . , n = 2, 4, 6, . . . , )
where Jk is the k-order Bessel function.
From (11), we can see that the harmonic waves with the
frequency of k ns are introduced because of the PWM
control.
The equivalent circuit of the fundamental wave and the harmonic wave are shown in Fig. 4(a) and (b), respectively. It can
be seen that the distorted voltage uABh will induce the distorted
current iABh , which will inevitably increase the copper loss of
the motor. It is well known that the iron loss of the motor also
increases with the frequency. Therefore, the harmonic wave will
increase both the copper loss and the iron loss.
C. Motor Power Factor Analysis
The vector diagram illustrating the relationship between uAB
and iAB (iAB = iA ) after the transfer is shown in Fig. 5.

Fig. 5. Vector diagram about the relationship between u A B and iA B after the
transfer.

Generally, the power factor of the fundamental component,


i.e., the displacement factor, can be obtained from the angle
between UAB and IAB as shown in Fig. 5 and expressed as
= cos 1

(12)

where is the displacement factor and 1 is the displacement


factor angle.
However, if the PWM control is employed, the actual current

will lag the ideal current IAB of about electrical degrees
IAB
due to the lag angle mentioned above. Therefore, the actual
displacement factor angle equals 1 + , and the displacement
factor can be expressed as
= cos (1 + ) .

(13)

It is obvious that the PWM control decreases the displacement


factor.
In addition, we should note that (12) and (13) are only associated with the fundamental component. If the harmonics wave
is considered, the motor power factor can be expressed as
P
=
PF =
S

U1 I1 cos 1 +

n

h=2

UI

Uh Ih cos h
(14)

where PF is the power factor, P is the active power, S is the apparent power, and 1 = 1 + is the displacement factor angle.
U is the RMS magnitude of the line-to-line voltage and U1 is the
RMS magnitude of the fundamental component, I is the RMS
magnitude of the total current and I1 is the RMS magnitude
of the fundamental component, Uh is the RMS magnitude of
the line-to-line voltage harmonic component and Ih is the RMS
magnitude of the current harmonic component, and h is the
angle between Uh and Ih .

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IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON POWER ELECTRONICS, VOL. 30, NO. 9, SEPTEMBER 2015

TABLE I
MOTOR PARAMETERS
Surface Mounted BLDC Motor
Rated DC voltage
Rated current
Rated speed, n
Number of pole pairs, P
Phase resistance, R
Phase inductance, L
Line-to-line back-EMF constant, K e -l i n e
Moment of inertia, J

Fig. 6.

480 V
218 A
32 000 r/min
2
1.5 m
0.053 mH
0.0127 V/ r/min
0.024059 kgm2

Common drive circuit structure for the BLDC motor control.

The first term, i.e., U1 I1 cos1 , shows the main power term,
which is associated with the fundamental frequency. The second
(summation) term accounts for the harmonics powers absorbed
by the loads and other system components. Because of the PWM
control, the lag angle and the harmonic component decrease
the power factor. It is well known that when the active power
is constant, the small power factor will increase the reactive
power, apparent power, and motor loss.
III. PROPOSED DRIVE METHOD
A. Drive Circuit Selection of High-Speed BLDC Motor
As analyzed above, the PAM control for the BLDC motor
can provide less motor loss and higher efficiency than the PWM
control at high speed. So the PAM control should be employed,
especially at high speed. However, from the specification of the
experimental BLDC motor as shown in Table I, it is interesting
to find that the phase-winding resistance and the phase-winding
inductance of high-speed BLDC motor are far smaller than those
of the common low-speed BLDC motor. When the motor starts,
the initial DC voltage of the three-phase inverter should be
smaller enough to limit the startup current, as the back-EMF
is too small to counteract a large dc voltage at the very low
speed. Therefore, a suitable drive circuit should be first selected
to reduce the initial dc voltage and guarantee the safe motor
starting process. During the experimental process, the authors
have tried three drive circuit structures to limit the startup current
as shown in Figs. 2, 6, and 7.
Fig. 6 shows the common drive circuit structure for the BLDC
motor control. The dc voltage, i.e., the output voltage of the
three-phase uncontrolled rectifier, is more than 500 V. Though
the three-phase inverter is controlled by the PWM scheme for
reducing the voltage, the startup current is still far larger than the

Fig. 7. Drive circuit structure based on the dcdc converter for the BLDC
motor control.

rated current. Moreover, the inverter cannot work anymore, as


the protection circuit blocks the inverter due to the large current.
So this common circuit structure is not employed.
Fig. 7 shows the drive circuit structure based on a front-end
PWM-controlled dcdc converter. A buck converter is taken
to reduce the dc voltage of the three-phase inverter. Moreover,
the motor starts normally. Unfortunately, the buck converter increases the complexity mainly due to the dc inductance, LB , as
marked in Fig. 7. Let us assume that the working frequency of
the buck converter is 6 kHz. As the rated power of the experimental motor is up to100 kW, the normal dc current flowing
through LB may be more than 250 A which will cause the bulky
size and weight as shown in Fig. 7. Moreover, the bulky LB will
increase the difficulty of the whole circuit layout design because
the unreasonable layout will induce strong electromagnetic interference, which may affect the normal operation of high-speed
and high-power BLDC motor.
Finally, taking into account the subsequent PAM control and
the disadvantages of the above-mentioned circuit structures, a
motor drive circuit as shown in Fig. 2 is employed in this paper. The front-end phase-controlled rectifier can provide an adjustable dc-link voltage to limit the startup current and achieve
the PAM control, while the back-end three-phase inverter can
achieve the commutation control.
B. Proposed Drive Method
In order to satisfy the commutation control of high-speed
BLDC motor in a wide speed range and improve the motor efficiency, a hybrid drive method combining PWM and PAM is
proposed. When the motor runs at low speed, the PWM control
is adopted with a fixed dc-link voltage. With the motor accelerating, the back-EMF will increase with the speed. When the
motor speed reaches a threshold value, i.e., the enough backEMF can counteract the dc-link voltage, the PAM control works
with an adjustable dc-link voltage.
It should be noted that though the PAM control for the BLDC
motor is superior to the PWM control, the PAM control is
not employed in the whole speed range for the following two
reasons.
The first one is that the larger dc-link voltage fluctuation of
the rectifier limits its application at low and medium speed.
Moreover, at low speed, it may be unable to produce a small
enough dc voltage to achieve the PAM control due to the small

CUI et al.: NOVEL DRIVE METHOD FOR HIGH-SPEED BRUSHLESS DC MOTOR OPERATING IN A WIDE RANGE

Fig. 9.
Fig. 8.

5003

Equivalent circuit when VT1 and VT6 are switched ON.

Hysteresis loop schematic diagram.

phase-winding resistance and phase-winding inductance. Therefore, if we want to take the PAM control in a wide speed range,
the range of dc-link voltage should be expanded at medium and
low speed. Meanwhile, a front-end PWM-controlled dcdc converter as shown in Fig. 7 is needed to produce such a low dc
voltage. But the complexity of the system design is increased as
explained above.
The second one is that, to our best knowledge, the PWM
control is the auxiliary drive method of high-speed BLDC motor,
while the PAM control is the main drive method, since the highspeed region is the most common working range. The aim of the
PWM control is merely to guarantee that the high-speed motor
can be accelerated to a high speed. Therefore, the operation time
of the PWM control is far shorter than that of the PAM control,
thus mitigating the disadvantage of the PWM control. However,
both the two drive methods are indispensable.
The transition process between PWM and PAM is achieved
by a hysteresis comparator expressed as

1, (n(k + 1) > n+ )
(15)
(n(k + 1)) = (n(k)), (n n(k + 1) n+ )

0, (n(k + 1) < n )
where (n(k + 1)) is the (k + 1)th hysteresis comparator output value, (n(k)) is the (k)th hysteresis comparator output value,
n and n+ are the two endpoint speeds of the hysteresis comparator, n(k + 1) is the (k + 1)th calculated speed value, and
n(k) is the (k)th calculated speed value.
The hysteresis loop schematic diagram is shown in Fig. 8. The
region between n and n+ is defined as the transition region.
If (n(k + 1)) = 1, the PAM control mode will start to work,
while if (n(k + 1)) = 0, the PWM control mode will start to
work.

Fig. 10.

Experimental platform. (a) Control system. (b) Experimental motors.

From Fig. 9, the line-to-line voltage can be obtained as



ud(0) = uAB = 2RiA + 2LdiA /dt + eAB
(17)
eAB = ke -line n+
where ud(0) is the initial voltage of the rectifier, i.e., the fixed
dc-link voltage when the PWM control works, and ke -line is the
line-to-line back-EMF constant.
Therefore, we can obtain the online result of n+ by solving
(17). In this paper, n+ is about 10 000 r/min. Meanwhile, n
can be obtained as n = n+ n (n is the hysteresis width).
D. Calculation Principle for n
The motor torque balance equation of the BLDC motor can
be obtained as
2 dn
d
=
J
(18)
TM TZ = J
dt
60 dt
where TM is the electromagnetic torque, TZ is the load torque,
J is the moment of inertia, and is the mechanical angular
velocity of the motor.
Generally, for a BLDC motor, TM can be expressed as
TM = (eA iA + eB iB + eC iC )/
= 60 (eA iA + eB iB + eC iC )/(2n).

C. Calculation Principle for n+


From Fig. 2, we can obtain

uAN = RiA + LdiA /dt + eA


uBN = RiB + LdiB /dt + eB

uCN = RiC + LdiC /dt + eC

(19)

Considering (17), iA = iB , and iC = 0, we can also obtain


TM as
TM = 60iA (uAB 2RiA LdiA /dt)/(2n).
(16)

where uAN , uBN , and uCN are the three phase voltages.
Let us assume that VT1 and VT6 are switched ON, i.e.,
phases A and B are conducted simultaneously with iA = iB
and iC = 0. So the equivalent circuit can be shown in Fig. 9.

(20)

It can be deduced from [29] that the commutation delay induced by the PWM control will lead to a serious torque ripple.
So when the drive method transfers from the PWM control to
the PAM control, a torque ripple, TM , will be introduced, and
(18) can be expressed as
TM + TM TZ =J

2 dn
d
=
J .
dt
60 dt

(21)

5004

Fig. 11.

IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON POWER ELECTRONICS, VOL. 30, NO. 9, SEPTEMBER 2015

Waveform of iA and u A B at different speeds. (a) PWM n = 6000 r/min. (b) PWM n = 24000 r/min. (c) PAM n = 24000 r/min.

From (21), we can find that if TM > 0, the speed will


increase, while if TM < 0, the speed will decrease. Unfortunately, TM is uncertain during the transition. It can be seen
from Fig. 8 that when the speed reaches n+ , if the speed is decelerating, the drive method may switch between the PAM control
and the PWM control repetitiously which aggravates the current ripple. Therefore, a proper hysteresis width is critical to
eliminate the unexpected repetitious switching.
The proper hysteresis width is selected from many initial experiments, of which accelerate and decelerate the motor to pass
the transition region with different hysteresis widths automatically, when the motor first runs. Once n is selected, it will
be saved and does not need to be calculated in the subsequent
experiments.
Considering (21), n can be obtained as
60
dn
+ 1 n1 = t
dt
2J
(TM + TM TZ ) + 1 n1

n = t

(22)

where = 1.52 is the experiential safety factor of the speed


fluctuation during the transition, t = Ts /6 is the commutation
interval, TM is the electromagnetic torque that can be obtained
from (20), TM = (12)TZ is a experiential worst torque
ripple that the motor can endure, 1 = 1.21.5 is the experiential rate accuracy safety factor, and n1 = (13%)n+ is the
rate accuracy.
In this paper, n is set 500 r/min according to (22).

IV. EXPERIMENTAL EVALUATION


A. Experiment Setup
The experiment about the performance analysis comparison
and the proposed drive method has been successfully implemented on the experimental high-speed magnetically suspended
BLDC motor that coupled to a magnetically suspended generator by a flexible coupling. A variable resistance is taken as
the load. The specification of the experimental BLDC motor is
shown in Table I, while the experimental platform is shown in
Fig. 10.

B. Commutation Delay Validation


Fig. 11(a) shows the waveform of iA and uAB at 6000 r/min
under PWM control with the dc voltage equal to 450 V, while
Fig. 11(b) shows that at 24 000 r/min under PWM control. As
explained above, the PWM control will lead to a commutation
delay. Moreover, although this commutation delay can be neglected in a medium speed range, it has a significant influence
on the phase current and the drive performance at high speed.
When the speed is low as shown in Fig. 11(a), the commutation delay is unconspicuous. However, when the speed is high
as shown in Fig. 11(b), the commutation delay is so obvious
that iA and uAB are seriously distorted. It is well in accord
with the operation given in [31][33] when the lagged commutation occurs. Fig. 11(c) shows the operation at 24 000 r/min
with PAM control. It can be seen that the commutation delay
is eliminated and the distortion of iA and uAB is improved
greatly.

C. Harmonic Content Validation


Fig. 12 shows the spectrum map comparison of iA and uAB
between the PAM control and the PWM control at different
speeds. Fig. 12(a) and (b) shows the spectrums at 12 000 r/min.
We can see that the harmonic component under PWM control is
larger than that under PAM control. The THD of iA decreases
from 1.245 to 0.663, while that of uAB decreases from 1.955
to 0.679. Meanwhile, Fig. 12(c) and (d) shows the spectrums
at 20 000 r/min. Also, the harmonic component under PWM
control is serious. We can also find from these four figures that
when the PWM control is employed, the THD will decreases at
high speed. To our best knowledge, this is because that the duty
ratio can be maintained at higher level at high speed with the
same generator load resistor. However, the improvement of THD
is more insignificant than that under PAM control. Fig. 12(e)
and (f) shows the spectrums at 24 000 r/min. Compared with
the conditions at 12 000 and 20 000 r/min, the load is heavy
due to the high speed. Nevertheless, the PAM control can still
decrease the harmonic content greatly. In addition, it is noted
that the THD under PAM control at 20 000 r/min is lower than
that at 24 000 r/min. Therefore, for PAM control, the THD is
not decreased with speed. The relationship between the THD
and the speed under PAM control needs further research.

CUI et al.: NOVEL DRIVE METHOD FOR HIGH-SPEED BRUSHLESS DC MOTOR OPERATING IN A WIDE RANGE

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Fig. 14. Information of the losses at 24 000 r/min under PWM control and
PAM control, respectively. (a) PWM control. (b) PAM control.

Fig. 12. Spectrum map of iA and u A B comparison between PAM control


and PWM control at different speeds. (a) iA at 12 000 r/min. (b) u A B at
12 000 r/min. (c) iA at 20 000 r/min. (d) u A B at 20 000 r/min. (e) iA at 24 000
r/min. (f) u A B at 24 000 r/min.

Fig. 15. Waveforms of iA and u A B at 3000 and 5000 r/min under PWM
control. (a) Unloaded condition at 3000 r/min. (b) Loaded condition at 3000
r/min. (c) Unloaded condition at 5000 r/min. (d) Loaded condition at 5000 r/min.

Fig. 13. Experimental comparisons of the motor power factor and the motor
efficiency under PWM control and PAM control. (a) Power factor. (b) Overall
efficiency.

D. Motor Power Factor and Efficiency Validation


The experimental comparisons of the motor power factor and
the motor overall efficiency under the two controls are shown in
Fig. 13. Fig. 13(a) shows the motor power factor. It can be seen
that the power factor under PAM control is far higher than that
under PWM control due to the less harmonic content and the
smaller lag angle. Fig. 13(b) shows the motor overall efficiency
comparison. In this paper, the overall efficiency is defined as
the ratio of the generators output power to the phase-controlled
rectifiers input power. From Fig. 13(b), we can see that the
overall efficiency is improved under PAM control compared
with that

Fig. 16. Waveforms of iA and u A B in the transition process between the PWM
control and the PAM control. (a) Unloaded condition with proper hysteresis
width. (b) Loaded condition with proper hysteresis width. (c) Loaded condition
with improper hysteresis width.

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IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON POWER ELECTRONICS, VOL. 30, NO. 9, SEPTEMBER 2015

Fig. 17. Waveform of iA , u A B , and u d at 15 000 and 24 000 r/min. (a) PAM control at 15 000 r/min. (b) PAM control at 24 000 r/min. (c) PWM control at
24 000 r/min.

under PWM control at high speed, as the increased waveform


quality reduces the motor loss and the harmonic content.
The overall system loss consists of the motor loss (including the active motor loss and the passive generator loss),
L1 , the inverter loss, L2 , the rectifier loss, L3 , and the control system loss, L4 . Fig. 14 shows the information of the
above-mentioned losses at 24 000 r/min under PWM control
and PAM control, respectively. It can be seen that the motor
loss and the inverter loss under PAM control are greatly decreased because of the low harmonic content and switching
frequency.
E. New Drive Method Validation
A hybrid drive method combining PWM and PAM is proposed in this paper. The PWM control is adopted at low speed
while the PAM control is adopted at high speed. Fig. 15 shows
the operation of the motor with unloaded and loaded conditions
under PWM control at low speed such as 3000 and 5000 r/min,
respectively. The loaded condition is achieved by setting the
resistor of generator load equal to 2.5 . Fig. 15(a) and (b)
shows the operation at 3000 r/min with unloaded and loaded
conditions, respectively. We can see that the distortion of iA
and uAB alleviates under loaded condition because the duty
ratio can be maintained at higher level. Similarly, Fig. 15(c)
and (d) shows the operation at 5000 r/min with unloaded and
loaded conditions. Compared with Fig. 15(a) and (b), we can
find that the amplitudes of iA and uAB increase because the
high speed lead to a heavy load with the same generator load
resistor.
As mentioned above, the PAM control will begin to work
when the speed reaches n+ . The transition process between
the PWM control and the PAM control is shown in Fig. 16.
Fig. 16(a) and (b) illustrates the motor operation during the
transition process under unloaded and loaded condition with a
proper hysteresis width, respectively. Low current ripples occur
due to the proper selection of the hysteresis width both on load
and unload. Meanwhile, the current ripple on load increase in
contrast that on unload. It can also be seen that for PAM control, the fluctuation of iA is decreased compared with the PWM
control. Moreover, the decreasing extent will be more obvious
with load. Also, the improved current and voltage quality will

reduce the motor loss and improve the motor efficiency. On


the other hand, we can also find that the PWM control leads
to large commutation delay. Fig. 16(c) shows the experimental results during the transition process under loaded condition
with an improper hysteresis width. As explained above, if an
improper hysteresis width is employed, the drive method will
switch between the PAM control and the PWM control repetitiously, which will aggravate the current ripple. Moreover, the
large current ripple (more than 450 A as shown in the dashed
box of Fig. 16) goes beyond the current range of the inverter,
thus blocking the inverter bridge drive signals by the overcurrent protection circuit. Also, the current is down to zero when
the inverter overcurrent protection occurs. Therefore, we can
find the proper hysteresis width can be beneficial to eliminate
the unexpected repetitious switching and guarantee a reliable
operation.
In addition, it should be noted that when the overcurrent protection occurs, uAB is equal to eAB due to the current is zero.
However, the back-EMFs of the experimental prototype are designed into nonideal trapezoidal close to sinusoidal waveforms
in this paper. So uAB is approximately sinusoidal waveform
after the overcurrent protection as shown in Fig. 16(c). Generally speaking, an idealized BLDC motor should have trapezoidal
back-EMFs waveforms. However, for practical reasons, nonuniformity of the magnetic material and design tradeoffs make it
hard to produce the desired trapezoidal back-EMFs waveforms
exactly. Meanwhile, considering the structure and strength of
the rotor and the permanent magnet at high speed, the ring magnet is selected and the back-EMFs are designed into nonideal
trapezoidal close to sinusoidal waveforms. But no matter what
back-EMFs waveforms are employed in the BLDC motor, the
proposed drive method and the corresponding theoretical analysis method are still applicable.
Fig. 17 shows the motor operation with loaded conditions
at 15 000 and 24 000 r/min. Fig. 17(a) and (b) shows the
motor operation at 15 000 and 24 000 r/min when the PAM
control is employed. In order to show the performance comparison between the PAM control and the PWM control at high
speed, we also give the motor operation at 24 000 r/min under
PWM control with a 450-V dc voltage as shown in Fig. 17(c).
Compared with the PAM control as shown in Fig. 17(b), the
waveforms of iA and uAB are seriously distorted due to an

CUI et al.: NOVEL DRIVE METHOD FOR HIGH-SPEED BRUSHLESS DC MOTOR OPERATING IN A WIDE RANGE

invariable dc voltage. On the other hand, the distorted waveforms will increase the motor loss and decrease the motor
efficiency.
V. CONCLUSION
The detailed theoretical analysis comparison of the PWM
control and the PAM control for high-speed BLDC motor is
presented. The criteria for performance comparison include
the commutation delay analysis, harmonic component analysis,
and motor power factor analysis. Meanwhile, a new high-speed
BLDC motor drive method is proposed. It has been shown that
the PAM control is superior to the PWM control for providing
good performance at high speed by several experiment results.
Unfortunately, the performance comparison between the PWM
control and the PAM control at low speed cannot be provided
due to the limited experimental condition. However, this disadvantage can be mitigated since the common work speed of the
magnetically suspended motor in actual application is between
12 000 and 35 000 r/min.
In addition, it is noted that the experiment at 32 000 r/min
requires further follow-up test for the following two reasons:
one is the coupling resulting in changes in the rotor mode which
affects the stability of the magnetic bearing suspended. The
other is the limited power of the generator load resistance which
cannot endure high power.
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Chenjun Cui received the B.S. and M.S. degrees


from the China University of Petroleum, Qingdao,
China, in 2007 and 2010, respectively. He is currently working toward the Ph.D. degree at the School
of Instrumentation Science and Optoelectronics Engineering, Beihang University, Beijing, China.
He is currently also a Research Member of the Key
Laboratory of Fundamental Science for National Defense, Novel Inertial Instrument and Navigation System Technology. His research interests include power
electronics and high-speed permanent magnet motor
control.

Gang Liu received the B.S. degree from Shandong


University, Jinan, China, in 1992, the M.S. degree
from Shandong University, Jinan, China, in 1998,
and the Ph.D. degree from the Dalian University of
Technology, Dalian, China, in 2001.
He is currently with the School of Instrument
Science and OptoElectronic Engineering, Beihang
University, Beijing, China, as a Ph.D. Supervisor.
His research interests include permanent magnet motor control, spacecraft attitude control, and electrical
control systems.

Kun Wang received the M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees


from the Robotics Institute, School of Mechanical
Engineering and Automation, Beihang University,
Beijing, China, in 2007 and 2010, respectively.
He has been a Postdoctoral Researcher with the
Science and Technology on Inertial Laboratory, Fundamental Science on Novel Inertial Instrument &
Navigation System Technology Laboratory, School
of Instrument Science and Optoelectronics Engineering, Beihang University. His current research interests include magnetic levitation technology, highspeed motor design, wall-climbing robot development, and vibrating suction
method research.