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A Neural Network Approach to Position Sensorless Control of Brushless DC Motors

Fengtai Huang Dapeng Tien Machine Laboratory Neural Network Centre Department of Electrical Engineering Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Singapore Email: huf@np.ac.sg tid@np.ac.sg the stator phase current vector. The 6 and i are given by: ., = v , e i ~ v b e j 1 2 0 0 + v c e j 2 4 ~ 0 i + (2) = i a e j O D + i b e j l 2 0 " + i C ,j24Oo (3)

Abstract: To control brushless dc motors without using position sensors has been a challenging task for some time. This paper presents a new approach to the problem based on neural network methods. Instead of using position sensors, neural networks are used to identify the rotating angles of the rotor. Neural networks are trained to associate between the measured phase voltages and currents and the rotor positions. Once this association is established, the networks perform independently to identify the rotor positions based on the measured voltages and currents. The background, theoretical analysis and the results obtained are described in this paper.

where U,, 216, v, are stator phase voltages and i,, i b , i, are stator phase currents. For a balanced 3-phase motor, the phase voltages add up to zero and so do the phase currents, i.e.:
Va $ Vb .

+ vc = 0


ia + i b + i, = 0 substitute (4) into ( 2 ) and (5) into (3),


A brushless dc motor requires a rotor position sensor for commutation and current control. Resolvers and absolute encoders are used as position sensors, These sensors increase the cost and size of the motor and restrict the industrial drive applications. Because of this, many efforts have been made to eliminate the mechanical sensors [l,2, 3, 4, 51. Several methods have been proposed to detect the rotor position signal of a brushless dc motor: comparing the motor source voltages with phase voltages [l];solving the state equations of the motor; and more recently, identifying the conducting state of freewheeling diodes [3] and obtaining the position of the motor by detecting the switching signals of the sliding mode observer [4]. This paper presents a new position sensorless control for brushless dc motors based on neural network techniques.

- 3 i = -i,

+ j - (J, 3 . + 2 i b ) 2 2


The'stator phase back emf vector 2 in (1)is determined by,

where 3 is the stator phase flux linkage vector. This flux vector can be defined in the following form:

d = LF

- i(e)


where L = L, - M , L, is the self inductance of the stator windings, M is the mutual inductance of the stator windings and i ( 0 ) is the magnet flux linkage vector which is a function of rotor position 8. The i ( 8 ) is given by,


= Aa(s)ejoo

+ & ( e ) ej120 + ~ , ( , 9 ) ~ j 2 4 0 "


11. The Mathematical Model

The mathematical model of a brushless dc motor can be described in space vector form as:


where .Aa(8), A b ( e ) , & ( e ) are the magnetic fluxes linking the stator phase windings and can be described by: x,p) = cos(q A b ( 8 ) = Am Cos(8 - 1 2 0 ' ) (11) A,(B) = A , cos(e 1200)


where e is the stator phase back emf vector, 6 is the stator phase vector, R is the stator resistance and is

where A , is the amplitude of the flux linkage established by the permanent magnet as viewed from the stator windings.

0-7803-2775-6/96 $4.00 0 1996 IEEE


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Substitute (6), (7) and (8) into (1) and integrate both sides, equation (1) becomes,

where P is the number of training patterns, and Jp(e) is the total squared error for the pth pattern, i.e.

t { 2 ( v a - ~ ~ a ) + j&v a + 2 v b ) - . t t o ) l ) d 7 3 -[( 2
q= 1

(12) is the actual flux. Substitute (7), (10) and where (11) into (9) yields:


qe = 3


cos(8)] j[-(iu 2


3 + 2ib) - Am - sin(8)] 2

(13) where 4e is the estimated flux. By directly measuring the motor phase voltages and phase currents, the actual flux linkage vector can be estimated as shown in (12). The estimation of rotor position based on the flux linkage as shown in (13) is achieved by applying neural network algorithms.

where NI is the number of nodes in the output layer, ~ 1 is , the output of the qth node in layer I , xp is the ~ pth training sample and dq(cp)is the desired response of the qth output node for the pth training sample. The weights of the network are determined iteratively according to the following equation:

where p is the learning rate

111. Neural Network Algorithm

Equation (12) and (13) are used as two independent observers to estimate the flux linkage vector. One involves the measured voltages and currents only (12), and the other provides the reference for the estimation of the rotor position (13). The integration of (12) is evaluated using a numerical technique at discrete time intervals. By applying the r e c t a n g u h rule:

It can be seen from (18) that the estimation of the gradient is the sum of all pattern samples, i.e. EP- BJ,8, ' This is quite difficult in a- real trainP-1 a w l , J , ing situation, because the network weights have t o be updated before all the patterns pass through the training phase. In practice, the estimation of the gradient is based on a single sample. i.e. (18) becomes:

where ( k mod P ) is the index of the pattern used to estimate the gradient at the kth itetation. This crude estimation works well because the errors occurring are often reduced to an arbitrarily small number through the repeated iterations. where AT is the sampling interval. The initial value of flux da(0) can be found by bringing the rotor to a known position before starting. The estimation of the rotor position (13) is also carried out at discrete time intervals, The sigmoid function, fs = (1 exp(-py))-', is used as the nonlinear activation at the output. The sensitivity of Jp(B) to the output of node ulj can be written:


3 = -[ia(k)

Am cosqk)]

The aim of the neural networks is to minimize the sum of the squared error function between the estimated value de and the actual value $ ,

(22) The results in (20) to (22) are substituted in (19) to form the gradient search algorithm. Equation (21) is called the hidden layer error, and (22) the output error.


The networks work in the following manner: during the training phase, measured voltages and currents, U,, V b i, i b , are provided to the networks. The network output, 13,is used to generate the estimated flux linkage (13). The error between the actual flux linkage (12) and the estimated flux linkage is calculated. This error is then used to modify the network weight matrices, which are used to generate the new angle 8. This process is repeated until the error is within a pre-set value.

V. Conclusions
A neural network approach to rotor position estimation of a brushless dc motor was proposed. The simulation result shows that stator voltages and currents can be used to estimate the rotor position. The new approach is based on flux linkage estimation, which may pave the way to intelligently controlling a brushless dc motor in real time.


Once the training is finished, the neural networks establish the relationship between the input voltages/currents and the rotor angles, hence can be used a a sensorress rotor angles identifier. s

IV. Simulations and Results

To verify the proposed approach of the position estimation, digital simulations were carried out. The required phase voltages and currents were measured directly from an existing brushless dc motor drive system. This system consists of a brushless dc motor, an incremental encoder, a PI controller and a PWM current controller. The rotor position required by the current control and corpmutation is provided by an up-down counter. The input of the counter is from the encoder. The parameters of the brushless dc m d tor are listed in Table 1. The three phase windings of the motor are delta connectedsexternally, so that the phase current can be accessed. Standard voltage and current transducers were used together with a 14-bit AD/DA card as a part of a data acquisition system.

. .

. .

. .

. . . . .

_ . ~ . . .... . . . . .

Table 1: The brushless dc motor parameters.

. . . . time ( W d i v )

R = 2.1R Ice = 0.13V/rad/s J = 147gcm2


= 2mH
= 8

= 29QW

The rotor positions were estima$ed under two different speeds: 3000 rpm and 6000 rpm. The simulation results at 3000 rpm are given in Figure 1. Figure l(a) shows the measured motor phase voltage and current. Figure l(b) and Figure l(c) present the measured and estimated rotor positions. Figure 2 shows the simulation results at 6000 rpm. The measured motor phase voltage and current are presented in Figure 2(a). The measured and estimated rotor positions are given is Figure 2(b) and (c). Note that the rotor positions stand for the electrical rotor position. The actual physical position of the rotor should be scaled down by a factor of 4 since the motor has 8 poles.




time (ns)

Fig1 Simulation result Z?X 3ONi rpm. (a): m d motor p k voltag~ current, and CO). measured rotor position; (c). estimited rotor po-'ti on. dl


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[l] T. Endo. Microcomputer-controlled brushless motor without a shaft-mounted position sensor. In Proceedings of the 1983 International Power Electronics Conference, pages 1477 - 1488, The Institute of Electrical Engineers of Japan, Japan, 1983.

[2] K. Lizuka, H. Uzuhashi, M. Kano, T. Endo, and K. Mohri. Microcomputer control for sensorless brushless motor. IEEE Transactions on Industry Applications, 19:595 - 601, 1989.
m e (2ddiv)


[3] Satoshi Ogasawara and Hirofumi Akagi. An approach t o position sensorless drive for brushless dc motors. I E E E Transactzons on Industry Applzcatzons, 27(5):928 - 933, September 1991.

[4]Takeshi Furuhashi, Somboon Sangwongwanich, and Shigeru Okuma. A position-and-velocity sensorless control for brushless dc motors using an adaptive sliding mode observer. IEEE Transactzons on Industry Electronics, 39(2):595 - 601, April 1992.
time (2mddiv)


[5] T. H. Liu and C. P. Cheng. Controller design for a sensorless permanent-magnet synchronous drive system. IEE Proceedings-B, 140(6):369 - 78, November 1993.

1 0



Fig2 Simulation result at 6000 rpm. (a). measured motor phase voltage and m e n t ; @). mcasurd rotor position; (c).estimated rotor position.


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