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Australasian Universities Power Engineering Conference (AUPEC 2004) 26-29 September 2004, Brisbane, Australia

Ying Yan and Jian Guo Zhu Faculty of Engineering, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia Abstract To avoid the disadvantages of using mechanical rotor position sensors in modern drive systems, various sensorless methods have been proposed. Most of them can estimate the rotor position with a satisfactory accuracy when the rotor rotates at a relatively high speed. However, such estimation becomes very difficult at a low speed or standstill, leading to poor performance. This paper presents a comprehensive survey on the sensorless schemes for initial rotor position estimation in permanent magnet synchronous motor drives, which forms a solid stepping stone for further study on sensorless control. 1. INTRODUCTION pre-determined position which is established by a proper feeding, i.e. to align the rotor magnet axis with the stator magnetic field by applying a stator current. Unfortunately, the reliability of this method is likely to be affected by the load torque which tends to pull the rotor away from its pre-set position. The second method is the open-loop start-up approach, which adjusts the acceleration trajectory of the motor to follow a rotating stator magnetic field at a specified speed. However, the choice of the timeprofile of the open-loop position is critical, and it is impossible to start the motor under the maximum load torque by this method. The last method is to estimate the rotor position at standstill and/or at low speeds by means of specific algorithms. A number of algorithms have been developed by various researchers over the years and they are to be examined in this paper. 3. INITIAL ROTOR POSITION ESTIMATION TECHNIQUES FOR PMSM

The permanent magnet synchronous motor (PMSM) can be a serious competitor to the conventional dc and induction motors in servo applications due to its high power density, torque to current ratio, and efficiency. In closed-loop control of PMSM drives such as the field oriented control and the direct torque control, the rotor position is required to perform commutation between phases and to control the torque and speed. This information can normally be obtained by using mechanical position/speed sensors like resolvers and pulse encoders. The use of these sensors, however, will increase the cost and weight, and reduce the reliability and noise immunity of the system. The elimination of such mechanical sensors has long been an attractive prospect. Numerous approaches have been proposed to estimate the rotor position from motors terminal properties. The simplest and perhaps the most widely used method for detecting the rotor position of a PMSM is the back electromotive force (emf) approach. This method derives the back emf by subtracting the voltage drop on the winding resistance from the stator phase voltage. The rotor position can then be found via the position of the stator flux linkage vector by integrating the back emf. This method works well at high speeds, but fails at low speeds and standstill. A lot of researches have been conducted to study the starting up and operating at low speeds with full load without using a mechanical sensor for the PMSM. This paper presents a comprehensive survey on the techniques for accurate estimation of the initial rotor position of the PMSM. Various algorithms are compared and discussed. 2. STARTING STRATEGIES FOR PMSM

In general, the existing algorithms for identifying the initial rotor position can be classified into the following categories by their principles: Voltage and reactive power harmonics, Variation of inductance, Patterns of voltage and current vectors, Observer and Kalman filter techniques, Pulse voltage vector, and High frequency signal injection. 3.1 Voltage and reactive power harmonics The method to estimate the position of rotor magnetic flux based on the stator phase voltage harmonics was proposed by Moreira in 1994 [1]. By a simple summation of the polyphase voltages, the fundamental and other polyphase voltage components can be effectively eliminated except the 3rd and other zero se-

According to the previous research work, the starting methods can be grouped into three categories by their basic principles. The first method is to start from a

quence harmonics. A low pass filter is then used to pick the 3rd harmonic signal which has a constant phase relationship with the rotor flux theoretically and is independent of the speed and load conditions. Because of its higher frequency, the 3rd harmonic signal is easy to pick. This method is simple, practically free of noises, and insensitive to motor parameters. However, it is limited to PM motors with trapezoidal emf, and is ineffective at low speeds or standstill, because the back emf induced by PM motors is too low to be detected. In 2000, Noguchi et al proposed a novel sensorless control strategy based on the relative phase information of harmonic reactive power [2]. In their method, a specific small harmonic current vector Ih with an angular frequency of h is injected into the stator and the corresponding harmonic reactive power Qh is utilised for the rotor position estimation. From the PMSM model, Qh can be expressed as: ' ' 2 Qh = vqh vdh iqh idh = ( m + h ) L0 I h (1) + ( m + m h ) L1 I h2 cos 2( m h t ) It is noted that the second term (known as the relative phase information) of (1) contains the rotor position error m, which is the difference between the estimated and the real rotor positions. The amplitude of this term will not become zero as long as the rotor speed m is much smaller than h and hence, it is possible use the relative phase information to estimate the rotor position. In the implementation of the algorithm, a bandwidth pass filter is used to obtain the signal of the relative phase information and a phase-lockedloop principle for phase comparison with the reference Qhref =Ih2cos(2ht). When m = 0, the estimated rotor position agrees with the real rotor position. Fig.1 shows the estimation process of the method.

In summary, these methods are insensitive to motor parameters, but not suitable for detection of rotor position at standstill and low speeds. The polarity of rotor magnet has to be detected by auxiliary methods.

(a) (b) Fig.2 Phase relationship between voltage and current when the d-axis aligns with (a) N-pole and (b) S-pole

3.2 Variation of inductance Based on the variation of the phase inductance against the rotor position due to magnetic saturation or geometric structure of the PMSM, various sensorless algorithms were proposed. Contrary to those based on the back emf, the inductance methods can work well even at zero speed. A typical method is the indirect flux detection by online reactance measurement (INFORM), firstly proposed by Schroedl in 1988 [4]. When the rotor is stationary, a per unit (p.u.) voltage space phasor (SP), vs, is applied to the stator winding, and the corresponding complex p.u. INFORM reactance [5], which contains the desired rotor position information, can be obtained by vs (2) xINFORM = dis / d where is is the p.u. complex stator current SP, and the p.u. time. The positions of the d- and q- axes of the rotor can be determined by repeating this INFORM test in different SP directions. This method is roughly correct at low speeds when the emf is negligible. The rotor polarity can be identified by conducting two separate INFORM tests corresponding to two opposite stator current SPs applied along the detected flux axis, respectively. If the rotor flux is in the same direction as the flux produced by the applied current SP, the resultant flux increases, which in turn causes the INFORM reactance to decrease due to magnetic saturation, and vice versa. In recent years, the INFORM measurement sequence was persistently optimised, especially with respect to the duration and the repetition rate of the measurement [6]. In 2002, Robeischl and Schroedl proposed a modified measurement sequence with minimum current deviation and minimum time demand to improve the performance of the standard INFORM [7].

Fig.1 Block diagram of rotor position & speed estimator

The advantage of this algorithm is its insensitivity to the variation of winding resistance due to the change of temperature or the skin effect. However, it is ineffective at standstill and at low speeds because of the periodical deviation of the estimation error caused by the motor spatial harmonics. The polarity of the rotor magnet is determined by taking into account the phase relationship between the voltage reference vibration and the applied current as shown in Fig.2 [3].

The major drawback of INFORM is its unsatisfactory accuracy, which is about 3-15 electrical degrees in error after proper correction at various speed and load conditions, and therefore it is not suitable for high performance drives [8]. Different from the INFORM method, Kulkarni and Ehsani proposed a modified look-up table scanning algorithm for the rotor position estimation based on the fact that the stator winding inductance is a function of the rotor position in 1992 [9]. A look-up table of phase inductance vs. rotor position is firstly set up and stored. The on-line measured inductance is compared with the reference inductance in the table and the angle corresponding to the value of reference inductance closest to the measured inductance is chosen as the rotor position. In order to obtain an unambiguous rotor position, three phase inductances are calculated. Two methods were proposed for the determination of the on-line measured phase inductance. One is to deduce indirectly from a set of analytical equations based on the current information and the switching times which are determined by the hysteresis current controller. The other is to calculate directly from the instantaneous voltage, current and back emf when the switching frequency is high enough (> 10 kHz). The simulation results showed that the position estimation error of this method was small and an excellent transient response could be achieved. 3.3 Patterns of voltage and current vectors Based on the rotor magnetic saliency, the rotor position information can be derived by examining the patterns of phase voltage and current vectors. Kondo et al proposed a method in 1995 based on the fact that, at standstill, the saliency of the rotor makes the locus of the armature current vector an ellipse when excited by a balanced 3-phase sine wave voltage [10]. The rotor position can then be detected from the major axis of the current vector locus as shown in Fig.3, and the rotor polarity can be identified from the angular shift of the current vector locus caused by magnetic saturation as shown in Fig.4.

The equation of an ellipse along the coordinate axis is of the second order equation: 2 2 Ai ( k ) + 2 Hi ( k )i ( k ) + Bi ( k ) + 2Gi ( k ) + 2 Fi ( k ) + 1 = 0 (3) The coefficients A, H, B, G, and F are adjusted to minimise the square error between the ellipse given by (3) and the current vector locus. If the effect of magnetic saturation is neglected, G=F=0, and then the angle of major diameter direction can be given by 1 2H (4) = tan 1 ( ) A B 2 As shown in Fig.3, the estimated rotor position is (5) = + where is caused by the armature impedance, and is measured at =0. It has been verified that is constant if the armature current frequency is constant.

This method could be regarded as a curve fitting process and requires a great amount of computing power and time. Since the stator winding resistance, the dand q- axis inductances are involved in the model, this method is inevitably sensitive to motor parameters. In 1996, Noguchi et al proposed a method which is not sensitive to the armature resistance, based on the alternating magnetic field caused by the rotor saliency [11]. Firstly, two current references i and i with small amplitude are applied along the - and -axes of the stationary reference frame, and then the corresponding voltage signals v and v are observed. After that, the phase differences between v and i and between v and i are derived and the estimated rotor position can be obtained by: k tan tan (6) = tan 1 ( L ) k L tan tan where kL=Lq/Ld, Ld and Lq are the d- and q-axis inductances, respectively. The voltage equation of which current is controlled to be zero is used to determine the sign of (6). The sign of (6) is utilised to determine the rotor position. When the sign is positive, the rotor position exists in the first or the third quadrant. Otherwise, the rotor position exists in the second or the fourth quadrant. Thus, the rotor direction is estimated uniquely without the need of motor resistance. The polarity of the rotor can be identified by the phase relationship between the voltage reference vibration and the applied current as described in section 3.1. The main advantage of this method is that the sensitivity to motor parameter variations is greatly reduced by using (6) and the current-loop controlled references. The influence of the cable resistance between the controller and the motor is also eliminated.

Fig.3 Current vector ellipse

Fig.4 Magnetic saturation

3.4 Observer and Kalman filter techniques

State observer and Kalman filter based identification techniques can be applied at zero and low speeds [1215]. However, when these identification procedures are implemented in real-time, a large amount of data needs to be acquired, stored, processed and output, and thus an intensive computation during a limited time is required. Also, they are strongly affected by the motor parameter variations. By the observer techniques, the inaccessible states are reconstructed in an observer, which is driven by the available inputs and outputs of the system. This is useful for the full-state feedback control based on the space vector theory. Usually the design of the observer is combined with the controller to gain a better system state estimation. The application of observer to the PMSM drives was proposed in 1980s [12], and it is widely used nowadays in motor control. By means of observers, many states of the PMSM including the d- and q-axis currents, rotor speed and rotor position can be estimated. However, the motor model used in the observer of [12] was linearised around the nominal operating conditions and it is difficult to evaluate the stability of the observer when dealing with large signals. In order to overcome the above disadvantage, Low et al applied a nonlinear observer to vector control of PMSM in 1993 [13]. In their method, a model-based nonlinear observer was designed. Then the nonlinear system is transformed to an appropriate linear time-varying system and the gains and singularities of the overall observer system are determined by some special techniques. Due to the modelling uncertainties, the adaptive technique, which can identify the motor parameters and states together, could be adopted to reduce the influence of the parameter variations. The adaptive observers have been well developed in the linear system, whereas they are only partially implemented in the nonlinear system [14]. The noises caused by the voltage or current sensing should be considered as well for the global stability and convergence of the observer. Kalman filter algorithm was firstly presented in R.E. Kalmans famous paper in 1960. It is a recursive solution to the discrete-data linear filtering problem via a set of mathematical equations, which provides an efficient solution by the least-squares method. In [15], an extended Kalman filter algorithm was proposed for optimal state estimation of nonlinear systems. It processes all the available measurements to provide an accurate estimate of the interested variables, and also achieves a rapid convergence. Therefore, it is preferred for the state estimation of PMSM systems. For the on-line estimation of the rotor posi-

tion and speed, it is an efficient algorithm with the knowledge of the mathematical model of the motor. Furthermore, the extended Kalman filter can theoretically work well with random measurement errors. It is verified by simulations that the extended Kalman filter works properly for the rotor position and speed estimation, but the algorithm is computationally intensive, e.g. a vector or a matrix operation is required in each of these steps. Therefore, a simple and efficient formulation of the algorithm needs to be found before a practical implementation can be realised. In addition, much more attentions should be paid to the noise covariance matrix to ensure the stability of the system.
3.5 Pulse voltage vector

Because the winding inductance is a function of rotor position and magnetic saturation, the initial rotor position can be detected by injecting two pilot voltages, a short and a long duty voltage, to the stator winding terminals [16]. As the pilot voltage has a dc component, the corresponding phase current also contains a dc component, and the winding inductance can then be measured by detecting the resultant current peak (Fig.5).

(a) (b) Fig.5 Current amplitude distributions corresponding to (a) the short and (b) long duty pilot voltages

Firstly, the short duty pilot voltage is applied to detect the current peaks of the three phases. By comparing these current peaks, the initial rotor position is deduced as or +. Then, a long duty voltage is applied. It is known that the higher current peak would appear in the winding nearer to the N pole, and thus, the polarity can be identified. The major problem of this method is the difficulty in detecting the current peak values accurately. Another method, proposed by MiZutani et al in 1997, is based on the current response to the pulse voltage vector intermittently applied during the current sampling of a current minor loop [17]. It is shown that in the estimated rotor position reference frame (-), the pilot voltage pulse on the -axis only causes changes in the -axis current if the estimated rotor position coincides with the actual one, and the same phenomenon occurs on the -axis. When the estimated rotor position is not coincident with the actual one, both currents of the - and -axes are changed by the applied voltage pulse. Since the incremental currents on both axes can be expressed as a function of the rotor position estimation error, the rotor position can be derived. Experimental results showed that a stable

sensorless drive could be achieved by this method at both zero and low speeds with full load.
3.6 High frequency signal injection

In 1994, Jansen and Lorenz proposed a new rotor position estimation scheme by detecting the rotor saliency with a high frequency signal [18]. In this method, a balanced three-phase high frequency voltage (500 to 2 kHz) is injected into the stator windings through the inverter. The high frequency current signals are demodulated and filtered by a closed-loop heterodyning technique with an observer. The resultant signal can be expressed in terms of a linear position error by (7) f I i1[2( r r )] 0 as r r

r (10) = sin(i t ) I i1 sin 2 r r idsi where r and r are the actual and estimated rotor positions, and Ii1 can be obtained by: V L (11) I i1 = si 2 i L L2 where L and L are the average inductance and the amplitude of the spatial modulation of the inductance.

After demodulating idsi to a dc signal proportional to the error f, this error is fed into an observer that updates the estimated velocity and position to force it to approach zero. It is concluded that if the current regulation is done in the synchronous frame, only a modest amount of additional functions are required for the position estimation. The tracking procedure is insensitive to the motor parameter variations in the steady state. A saliency-tracking self-sensing method was proposed based on a further study on the shape and location of the saliency images of an interior PM motor [20]. In this method, a balanced three-phase high frequency carrier voltage is injected into the stator winding, and the measured phase currents are filtered to extract the negative sequence component to track the saliency. Under the assumption that the motor has only a single rotor position dependent saliency per pole pitch, the rotor position can then be estimated via this negative sequence component. The self-sensing method is implemented by a tracking observer with an amplitude modulation (known as heterodyning process) to demodulate the spatial saliency modulated negative sequence component. It is shown that only an extremely small current is required and the model has essentially no parameter sensitivity due to the amplitude modulation. In the case that the saliency has a higher order than the pole number, a more complex saliency model should be considered. Because the armature reaction can distort the shape and location of the current magnitude modulation, it is not optimistic for this method to be applied to the situation in which the armature reaction cannot be ignored, such as a motor with a heavy load. A simple but effective high frequency injection technique was proposed by Consoli et al by exploiting the anisotropy of the machine [21]. The proposed method works on saturation-induced variations of the magnetising inductance, instead of the leakage inductances, and an instantaneous estimation, instead of a flux position tracking, is utilised. When a high frequency (e.g. fh=600Hz) stator voltage component Vsh is injected, the related stator current component Ish is obtained via a suitable demodulation. At zero speed, the amplitude of the high frequency

I i1 =

i ( Lls + Llr )2 L2 lr
Llqr Lldr




(9) 2 where r and r are the actual and estimated rotor positions in electrical radians, vsi and i the voltage and frequency of the injected signal, Llr and Lls the rotor and stator leakage inductances, and Llqr and Lldr the rotor q- and d-axis leakage inductances, respectively. From (7), f can be used as a corrective error and input to a Luenberger style position and velocity observer. By controlling f 0, the estimated rotor position is forced to converge to the actual position, i.e. r r . In this way, both the estimated rotor position and velocity can be obtained. Generally, this method has the desired zero- and highspeed properties, but it is only applicable to motors with sinusoidal inductance profiles. It is also necessary to compensate for the dead-time effect of the inverter. In order to improve the quality of the estimator and to reduce the complexity, a method using the rotor d-q reference frame model was proposed in [19]. The estimated position is obtained by tracking the actual position via a controller, which adjusts the estimated rotor position to ensure that the d-axis current component of injected carrier frequency is zero in the estimated rotor position reference frame. When performing the estimation, a flux vector with a known carrier frequency is generated and injected only in the q-axis of the estimated rotor position reference frame, and the d-axis flux vector is zero. With this q-axis signal injection, the d-axis component of the high frequency current in the reference frame will be:

Llr =

current can be expressed as a function of the angular position of the d-axis, r, and that of the high frequency voltage vector, h. By observing the amplitude of Ish, r can be obtained from h. It can be seen that the minimum amplitude of |Ish|2 occurs at h=r+k and the maximum at h=r+k+/2 (k=0,1,2n). In the observation, there is an uncertainty of k. In order to overcome this disadvantage, the zero sequence voltage can be used [22]. When the high frequency voltage is injected, the variation of the saturation level modulates the amplitude of the zero sequence flux and the zero sequence induced voltage V0sh, which contains the rotor position information. Therefore, the rotor flux position can be estimated independently from rotor speed by detecting the zero, minimum and maximum points of V0sh. This method can work in a wide speed range with a good accuracy and can be applied to both salient and non-salient motors. Nevertheless, it needs extra aids of either software or hardware, which increases the system complexity. In 2003, also based on the high frequency signal injection method, Shinnaka applied the principle of the new mirror phase characteristics to synchronous reference frame at standstill and ultra low speeds [23]. The new drive system can get started under 250% rated load at standstill, and can accommodate load with huge moment inertia.



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A thorough literature survey on sensorless initial rotor position estimation has been conducted and presented. The existing schemes are categorized by their principles. It has been shown that at standstill and low speeds, the identification of rotor position is a very difficult problem. Simple methods, such as the back emf and voltage harmonics, can be effective at high and relatively low speeds, but do not function well at standstill. The methods based on the variation of inductance, the patterns of voltage and current vectors, and the pulse voltage vectors are limited to standstill and ultra low speeds. The observer and Kalman filter, and the high frequency signal injection methods can be effective over a wide speed range, but their wide application is handicapped by the complicated/tedious computing algorithms, which require powerful microprocessors. For high performance systems, it might be a good idea to employ a hybrid method combining two or three different schemes, which are effective in different speed ranges.