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XIX International Conference on Electrical Machines - ICEM 2010, Rome

Effect of BLDC Motor Commutation Schemes on Inverter Capacitor Size Selection


Syed A. Hossain Member, IEEE Globe Motors Dayton, OH 45404-1249, USA Email: shossain@globemotors.comU Rodrigo Pedro Member, IEEE Globe Motors Portugal Email: rpedro@globemotors.comU

Abstract- With the increase in cost and size constraints from electronic devices, bus capacitor sizing becomes a significant factor for the inverter design. Square wave current generation, using only one current sensor in the dc bus link, is a low cost and reliable current control strategy for brushless dc motor drives. This paper analyzes the bus capacitor selection criteria from ripple current, ripple voltage, energy balance and operating life perspectives. Different commutation techniques have been discussed and the capacitor selection criterions have been analyzed for the commutation schemes. Computer simulation with a 1/2 kW motor-inverter system have been performed to compare the ripple currents, ripple voltages and operating life of the inverter bus capacitance under different commutation techniques.

In this paper, the bus capacitor size selection criterion is discussed is section II. Various different commutation techniques for a 6-step square wave drive of a brushless dc motor are discussed in section III. The selection criterions of the bus capacitor for each commutation technique are analyzed in section IV. Relative advantages and disadvantages of different commutation techniques with respect to capacitor sizing, two quadrant motor operation and four-quadrant motor operation are also discussed.

II. Bus Capacitor Sizing The inverter MOSFETs is usually commutated at high frequency (~20kHz) for fast current loop response and reduce current / voltage fluctuations for commutations. Due to the commutation effect, the dc bus current (idc) is high frequency ac current. The battery itself is unable to supply the high frequency ac current, and thereby the bus capacitors are needed for the fast transient responsive current. With reasonable estimations, the dc portion of the dc bus current is considered as battery current, and the ac portion is considered as bus capacitor current. Therefore, as shown in Fig. 1, the capacitor current is-

I. INTRODUCTION Both the performance reliability and life expectancy of power electronic components are inversely related to the temperature of the equipment. Long life and reliable performance of a component can be achieved by effectively controlling the device operating temperature. Bus capacitance sizing of an inverter depends on the appropriate choice of commutation scheme and properly calculating the selection criterions. The design efforts of inverter bus capacitance and heat sink primarily depend on how big the heat source is, and are generally constrained by the physical limitations of the package. PWM1 Q1 Vdc Cbus PWM3

I caps = I bus I battery

PWM5 Q3

Q5 Phase-A Phase-B Phase-C

PWM2 Current Sensor GND Q2

PWM4 Q4

PWM6

Q6

Motor

Current Sensor output (idc) Fig. 1: Inverter circuit for brushless motor drive.

978-1-4244-4175-4/10/$25.00 2010 IEEE

The motor can be commutated in many different techniques, as explained in section III. The commutation schemes could affect the bus capacitor sizing to meet the following objectives. Ripple Current: The rms ripple current in the capacitor is:

Core Temperatur e = Ambient Temperatur e +


2 Caps ESR * I cap _ rms _ ripple

(4)
0

Power Dissipatio n Factor per C Rise

I caps _ rms _ ripple =

1 2 I caps (t ) dt T0

III. BLDC Commutation Techniques One of the simplest methods of controlling 3-phase BLDC motor current, commonly known as six-step drive shall be discussed in this paper. Fig. 1 shows a BLDC motor with an inverter. The dc link current is measured and then compared with the current command. The current error is then passed through a current controller to generate PWM signals for the inverter gates in a closed-loop fashion. The appropriate motor phases are then commutated based on the rotor position feedback. The next four sub-sections describe the commutation techniques and associated bus capacitor ripple current calculations. As referenced to Figs. 2-5, the commutation states are defined as 0 600 as state-5, 60 1200 as state-1, 120 1800 as state-3, 180 2400 as state-2, 240 3000 as state-6 and 300 3600 as state-4 for discussion. IIIa. Soft chopping with freewheeling current through one body diode and one FET: In this scheme, PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) control is applied only to the upper FETs, as shown in Fig 2. For the commutation state-5, the FETs Q2 and Q3 are turned on for commutation, and the current is established through B and A winding. Since Q2 is turned off during PWM off time, the motor winding current freewheels through Q3 and body diode of Q1. In every PWM cycle, the dc bus current is same as motor current for FET duty cycle of D, and the dc bus current is zero for the freewheeling period (1-D). IIIb. Soft chopping with synchronous rectification:

(1) Where, T is the PWM period. Ripple Voltage: To maintain a steady bus voltage, the bus voltage ripple must be minimized. In every PWM cycle of the inverter MOSFET, the supply current comes from the bus capacitor for a certain time (T1) when the PWM is on, and depending on the commutation scheme, the current can go back to the bus capacitor for a certain time (T2) where T1 + T2 = D/Fc. Assuming the maximum allowable ripple voltage as Vripple, the motor current peak as Imotor(pk) and the PWM frequency as Fc, the minimum capacitance to maintain the specified maximum allowable ripple voltage is calculated as follows:

Imotor(pk)= Cmin *

Vripple D/ Fc

Cmin = Imotor(pk) *

D/ Fc Vripple

(2)

Energy Balance: The bus capacitor must be able to capture the energy stored in the motor winding to design a fault tolerant system. Assuming that there is no recharge current coming from the supply, the energy balance equation becomes as,

1 1 1 2 2 2 * C * V final = * C * Vinitial + * Lline to Line * I motor 2 2 2


C= Lline to Line * I 2 2 V final Vinitial
2 motor

(3)

Operating Life: The operating life is a function of operating temperature. A generally accepted formula for estimating electrolytic capacitor life is: Rated Voltage Operating Life = Rated Life * Operating Voltage
*2
Rated Operating Temperature Core Temperature 10 C

For a known operating voltage, the operating life depends on operating core temperature. The core temperature can be approximated as,

In this scheme, PWM control is applied only to the lower FET during PWM on time and the corresponding high side FET is turned on during PWM off time, as shown in Fig 3. For the commutation state-5, the FETs Q2 and Q3 are turned on for commutation, and the current is established through B and A winding. Since Q1 is turned on only during PWM off time, the motor winding current freewheels through Q1 and Q3. A dead time (Tdead) shall be inserted between PWM1 and PWM2 to avoid shoot thru fault. The body diode will be conducted only during the dead time. As in IIIa, in every PWM cycle, the dc bus current is same as motor current for FET duty cycle of D, and the dc bus current is zero for the freewheeling period (1-D).

PWM1 PWM2 PWM3 PWM4 PWM5 PWM6

PWM1 PWM2 PWM3 PWM4 PWM5 PWM6

60

120

180

240

300

360

60

120

180

240

300

360

Rotor Position (degrees) Fig 2: Soft chopping with freewheeling current through one body diode and one FET

Rotor Position (degrees) Fig 3: Soft chopping with synchronous rectification

PWM1 PWM2 PWM3 PWM4 PWM5 PWM6

PWM1 PWM2 PWM3 PWM4 PWM5 PWM6

60

120

180

240

300

360

Rotor Position (degrees) Fig 4: Hard chopping with freewheeling current through body diodes

300 360 Rotor Position (degrees) Fig 5: Hard chopping with synchronous rectification

60

120

180

240

IIIc. Hard chopping with freewheeling current through body diodes: In this scheme, PWM control is applied to one leg lower FET and other leg upper FET during PWM on time and all FETs are turned off during PWM off time, as shown in Fig 4. For the commutation state-5, the FETs Q2 and Q3 are turned on for commutation during PWM on time only, and the current is established through B and A winding. Since all FETs are turned off during PWM off time, the motor winding current freewheels through body diode of Q1, body diode of Q4 and bus capacitor. In every PWM cycle, the dc bus current is same as motor current for FET duty cycle of D, and the dc bus current is same magnitude but opposite sign of motor phase current for the remaining PWM period (1-D).

IIId. Hard chopping with synchronous rectification: In this scheme, PWM control is applied to one leg lower FET and other leg upper FET during PWM on time and the diagonal FETs are turned on during PWM off time, as shown in Fig 5. For the commutation state-5, the FETs Q2 and Q3 are turned on for commutation during PWM on time only, and the current is established through B and A winding. Since Q1 and Q4 are turned on during PWM off time, the motor winding current freewheels through Q1, Q4 and bus capacitor. A dead time (Tdead) shall be inserted between upper and lower PWM signals to avoid shoot thru fault. In every PWM cycle, the dc bus current is same as motor current for FET duty cycle of D, and the dc bus current is same magnitude but opposite sign of motor phase current for the remaining PWM period (1-D).

IV. Design Example: Capacitor Selection Criteria and Commutation Schemes To illustrate the sizing, lets consider a position controlled system where a certain amount of position overshoot in the response is acceptable. For the position controlled system, four-quadrant current control is required to brake the motor suddenly whenever required; therefore, hard chopping is necessary. However, if the overshoot in position response is allowed, the braking operation of the motor can be avoided and thus, soft chopping can be used with the two-quadrant current control. It is worthy to understand that the commutation technique IIIa and IIIb have same effect on bus capacitor. Similarly, the commutation technique IIIc and IIId have same effect on bus capacitor. Therefore, in this section, the analysis will be done between two broad schemes soft chopping and hard chopping. For any position control system, the worst case operating condition for the bus capacitor is the position hold mode where the ripple current is maximized. For this discussion, lets assume the system parameters as follows: Dc Bus Voltage: 12V Load Current at Position Hold: 10A Average Load voltage at Position Hold: 6V Ripple Currents Comparison: For soft chopping, the current is established in motor winding during PWM on time and freewheels during PWM off time. Neglecting the inverter FET voltage drop, the voltage applied to motor winding is 12V during PWM on time and zero volt during PWM off time. Therefore, to get 6V at load, the PWM duty cycle was about 50%. Fig. 5 shows the soft chopping data for simulated dc link current,

battery current and bus capacitor current. The freewheeling current is not coming from the bus side. Therefore, the capacitor ripple current is smaller for soft chopping commutation schemes. Note that the inverter power loss will be different for IIIa and IIIb, although the capacitor ripple currents are same. For hard chopping, the current comes from inverter bus to motor winding during PWM on time and flow back to the inverter bus during PWM off time. Neglecting the inverter FET voltage drop, the voltage applied to motor winding is 12V during PWM on time and -12V during PWM off time. Therefore, to get 6V at load, the PWM duty cycle was about 75%. Fig. 7 shows the hard chopping data for simulated dc link current, battery current and bus capacitor current with hard chopping for the same load point as in Fig. 6. In scheme IIIc, the current freewheels through two body diodes (Q1 and Q4 diodes) and bus capacitance. In scheme IIId, the FET Q1 and Q4 are turned on to pass the current through FET instead of body diodes. Schemes IIIc and IIId are applicable for 4-quadrant operations of the motor, which allows motoring and braking in either direction of rotations. In these schemes, the dc bus current will be either positive or negative sign of motor current. Therefore, the capacitor ripple current is higher for these commutation schemes. As a result, the ripple current will be higher for hard chopping. Table 1 shows the ripple current value for soft chopping and hard chopping simulation plots in Figs. (6) and (7). Table 1 Soft Chopping Hard Chopping Capacitor Ripple Currents 5A 8.66A

dc Bus Current in Amp 10 0 -10 5 6 5 4 5 10 15 20 25 10 15 20 25 6 5 4 5 Battery Current in Amp 10 0 -10 5

dc Bus Current in Amp

10

15

20

25

Battery Current in Amp

10

15

20

25

Bus Capacitor Current in Amp 10 0 -10 10 15 20 Time in us 25

10 0 -10 -20 5

Bus Capacitor Current in Amp

10

15

20 Time in us

25

Fig. 6: Node Currents for Soft Chopping

Fig. 7: Node Currents for Hard Chopping

Ripple Voltages Comparison: For soft chopping, the supply current comes from the bus capacitor for a certain time during PWM on time, and the current never go back to the bus capacitor from motor side. On the other hand, for hard chopping, the supply current comes from the bus capacitor during PWM on time and the current can go back to the bus capacitor for a certain time during PWM off time. As a result, for the same load condition and same bus capacitance, the voltage ripple for hard chopping would be doubled compared to the voltage ripple for soft chopping. In other words, to maintain the same voltage ripple, the bus capacitance required for hard chopping would be twice as big as compared to the bus capacitance required for soft chopping. Energy Balance Comparison: The bus capacitor is also sized to allow all the energy from the motor to be dumped into the bus when the motor is shut off or power is suddenly disconnected. This selection criterion is independent on the type of commutation schemes. Operating Life Comparison: As shown in Table 1, the ripple current value for hard chopping (8.66A) is higher than that of soft chopping (5A). The increase in ripple current will increase the capacitor power dissipation and reduce operating life for hard chopping requirement. For a given capacitor of ESR as 0.03ohm and the power dissipation factor per 0C temperature rise as 0.05W/C, the core temperature rise in capacitor would be 15C for soft chopping and 45C for hard chopping. Therefore, the capacitor life will be reduced to 1/8th for hard chopping as compared to soft chopping. As in result, the application where 4-quadrant current control (i.e. hard chopping) is necessary, the bus capacitor must be bigger in size to handle the ripple current requirement. VI. Conclusions Soft chopping and hard chopping commutation techniques with and without synchronous rectification are discussed at first. Soft chopping commutation is sufficient for 2quadrant current control; however, hard chopping is necessary for 4-quadrant current control. The inverter bus capacitor ripple current will be higher for hard chopping as compared to soft chopping. As a result, to achieve the required operating life, the bus capacitance for hard chopping will be much bigger in size compared to the capacitance needed for soft chopping.
6. 1. 2.

VII. References
Dal Y. Ohm, Influence of PWM Switching Schemes and Commutation Methods for DC and Brushless Motor Drives, PE Technology Conference, Rosemont, IL, Oct. 27-31, 2002. Syed Hossain, Pedro Reis, "Effect of BLDC motor commutation schemes on inverter power loss.", XVIII International Conference on Electric Machines, Vilamoura, Portugal, September 2008. V. Blasko, V. Kaura and W. Niewiadomski, Sampling Discontinuous Voltage and Current Signals in Electrical Drives, A System Approach, IEEE IAS Annual Meeting, Oct. 1997. pp.682-689. Power MOSFETs- Theory and Applications, Duncan A. Grant and John Gower. F.D. Kieferndorf, M. Forster, T.A. Lipo, Reduction of DCbus capacitor ripple current with PAM/PWM converter, IEEE Transactions on Industry Applications, Volume 40, Issue 2, March-April 2004 Page(s): 607 614. N.R. Brown, T.M. Jahns, R.D. Lorenz, Power Converter Design for an Integrated Modular Motor Drive IEEE Industry Application Conference 2007, New Orleans, LA.

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VIII. Biography Syed A. Hossain (S01-M02) received the B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in electrical and electronic engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, Bangladesh, and the Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Akron, OH, USA in 1994, 1997 and 2002, respectively. From 1994-1998, he worked as a lecturer and then Assistant Professor in Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, Bangladesh. In summer 2000 and 2001, he worked at Delphi Research Laboratories, MI. He is currently employed as a Senior Project Engineer at Globe Motors, Dayton, OH, where he is engaged in the design and development of controls for brushless motors. His technical interests include the development of high performance brushless motor servo drives for automotive, industry and military applications. Rodrigo S. Pedro received the B.Sc. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto, Portugal, and the M.Sc. degree in Automation, Instrumentation and Control, from the same University, in 2000 and 2003, respectively. From 2000-2004, he worked as a researcher in the domain of Automation & Control at the University of Porto, Portugal. From 2004 to 2008, he worked as an engineering consultant for Assystem at multiple Renault sites and at CERN. He is currently employed as a Project Engineer at Globe Motors, Portugal, where he is engaged in the design and development of brushless motors. His technical interests include the research and application of new technologies to the development and production of high performance brushless motors for the automotive industry.