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Brushless DC Motor: Construction,

Working Principle & Applications


Electrical Technology 05/27/2016 EE Instruments/Devices &Components,
Electrical & Electronics Notes and Articles, Motors 1 Comment 1,223 Views

Brushless DC Motor: Construction and Working Principle


Table of Contents [Hide]

Brushless DC Motor: Construction and Working Principle


o What is Brushless DC motor?
o Construction of BLDC Motor

Rotor

Hall Sensors

o Working Principle and Operation of BLDC Motor


o Brushless DC Motor Drive
o Advantages of BLDC Motor
o Disadvantages of BLDC Motor
o Applications of BLDC Motors
Brushless DC motors (BLDC) have been a much focused area for numerous
motor manufacturers as these motors are increasingly the preferred choice in
many applications, especially in the field of motor control technology. BLDC
motors are superior to brushed DC motors in many ways, such as ability to
operate at high speeds, high efficiency, and better heat dissipation.
They are an indispensable part of modern drive technology, most commonly
employed for actuating drives, machine tools, electric propulsion, robotics,
computer peripherals and also for electrical power generation. With the

development of sensorless technology besides digital control, these motors


become so effective in terms of total system cost, size and reliability.

What is Brushless DC motor?


A brushless DC motor (known as BLDC) is a permanent magnet synchronous
electric motor which is driven by direct current (DC) electricity and it
accomplishes electronically controlled commutation system (commutation is the
process of producing rotational torque in the motor by changing phase currents
through it at appropriate times) instead of a mechanically commutation system.
BLDC motors are also referred as trapezoidal permanent magnet motors.
Unlike conventional brushed type DC motor, wherein the brushes make the
mechanical contact with commutator on the rotor so as to form an electric path
between a DC electric source and rotor armature windings, BLDC motor employs
electrical commutation with permanent magnet rotor and a stator with a sequence
of coils. In this motor, permanent magnet (or field poles) rotates and current

carrying

conductors

are

fixed.

The armature coils are switched electronically by transistors or silicon controlled


rectifiers at the correct rotor position in such a way that armature field is in space
quadrature with the rotor field poles. Hence the force acting on the rotor causes it
to rotate. Hall sensors or rotary encoders are most commonly used to sense the
position of the rotor and are positioned around the stator. The rotor position
feedback from the sensor helps to determine when to switch the armature current.
This electronic commutation arrangement eliminates the commutator arrangement
and brushes in a DC motor and hence more reliable and less noisy operation is
achieved. Due to the absence of brushes BLDC motors are capable to run at high
speeds. The efficiency of BLDC motors is typically 85 to 90 percent, whereas as
brushed type DC motors are 75 to 80 percent efficient. There are wide varieties of
BLDC motors available ranging from small power range to fractional horsepower,
integral
horsepower
and
large
power
ranges.

Construction of BLDC Motor

BLDC motors can be constructed in different physical configurations. Depending


on the stator windings, these can be configured as single-phase, two-phase, or
three-phase motors. However, three-phase BLDC motors with permanent magnet
rotor are most commonly used.

The construction of this motor has many similarities of three phase induction
motor as well as conventional DC motor. This motor has stator and rotor parts as
like
all
other
motors.

Stator of a BLDC motor made up of stacked steel laminations to carry the


windings. These windings are placed in slots which are axially cut along the inner
periphery of the stator. These windings can be arranged in either star or delta.
However, most BLDC motors have three phase star connected stator.
Each winding is constructed with numerous interconnected coils, where one or
more coils are placed in each slot. In order to form an even number of poles, each
of these windings is distributed over the stator periphery.

The stator must be chosen with the correct rating of the voltage depending on the
power supply capability. For robotics, automotive and small actuating
applications, 48 V or less voltage BLDC motors are preferred. For industrial
applications and automation systems, 100 V or higher rating motors are used.

Rotor
BLDC motor incorporates a permanent magnet in the rotor. The number of poles
in the rotor can vary from 2 to 8 pole pairs with alternate south and north poles
depending on the application requirement. In order to achieve maximum torque in
the motor, the flux density of the material should be high. A proper magnetic

material for the rotor is needed to produce required magnetic field density.

Ferrite magnets are inexpensive, however they have a low flux density for a given
volume. Rare earth alloy magnets are commonly used for new designs. Some of
these alloys are Samarium Cobalt (SmCo), Neodymium (Nd), and Ferrite and
Boron (NdFeB). The rotor can be constructed with different core configurations
such as the circular core with permanent magnet on the periphery, circular core
with rectangular magnets, etc.

Hall Sensors
Hall sensor provides the information to synchronize stator armature excitation
with rotor position. Since the commutation of BLDC motor is controlled
electronically, the stator windings should be energized in sequence in order to
rotate the motor. Before energizing a particular stator winding, acknowledgment
of rotor position is necessary. So the Hall Effect sensor embedded in stator senses
the rotor position.
Most BLDC motors incorporate three Hall sensors which are embedded into the
stator. Each sensor generates Low and High signals whenever the rotor poles pass
near to it. The exact commutation sequence to the stator winding can be
determined based on the combination of these three sensors response.

Working Principle and Operation of BLDC Motor


BLDC motor works on the principle similar to that of a conventional DC motor,
i.e., the Lorentz force law which states that whenever a current carrying conductor
placed in a magnetic field it experiences a force. As a consequence of reaction

force, the magnet will experience an equal and opposite force. In case BLDC
motor, the current carrying conductor is stationary while the permanent magnet
moves.

When the stator coils are electrically switched by a supply source, it becomes
electromagnet and starts producing the uniform field in the air gap. Though the
source of supply is DC, switching makes to generate an AC voltage waveform
with trapezoidal shape. Due to the force of interaction between electromagnet
stator and permanent magnet rotor, the rotor continues to rotate.
Consider the figure below in which motor stator is excited based on different
switching states. With the switching of windings as High and Low signals,
corresponding winding energized as North and South poles. The permanent
magnet rotor with North and South poles align with stator poles causing motor to
rotate.
Observe that motor produces torque because of the development of attraction
forces (when North-South or South-North alignment) and repulsion forces (when

North-North or South-South alignment). By this way motor moves in a clockwise

direction.
Here, one might get a question that how we know which stator coil should be
energized and when to do. This is because; the motor continuous rotation depends
on the switching sequence around the coils. As discussed above that Hall sensors
give shaft position feedback to the electronic controller unit.
Based on this signal from sensor, the controller decides particular coils to
energize. Hall-effect sensors generate Low and High level signals whenever rotor
poles pass near to it. These signals determine the position of the shaft.

Brushless DC Motor Drive


As described above that the electronic controller circuit energizes appropriate
motor winding by turning transistor or other solid state switches to rotate the
motor continuously. The figure below shows the simple BLDC motor drive
circuit which consists of MOSFET bridge (also called as inverter bridge),
electronic controller, hall effect sensor and BLDC motor.
Here, Hall-effect sensors are used for position and speed feedback. The electronic
controller can be a microcontroller unit or microprocessor or DSP processor or
FPGA unit or any other controller. This controller receives these signals,

processes them and sends the control signals to the MOSFET driver circuit.

In addition to the switching for a rated speed of the motor, additional electronic
circuitry changes the motor speed based on required application. These speed
control units are generally implemented with PID controllers to have precise
control. It is also possible to produce four-quadrant operation from the motor
whilst maintaining good efficiency throughout the speed variations using modern
drives.

Advantages of BLDC Motor


BLDC motor has several advantages over conventional DC motors and some of
these are

It has no mechanical commutator and associated problems

High efficiency due to the use of permanent magnet rotor

High speed of operation even in loaded and unloaded conditions due to the
absence of brushes that limits the speed

Smaller motor geometry and lighter in weight than both brushed type DC
and induction AC motors

Long life as no inspection and maintenance is required for commutator


system

Higher dynamic response due to low inertia and carrying windings in the
stator

Less electromagnetic interference

Quite operation (or low noise) due to absence of brushes

Disadvantages of BLDC Motor

These motors are costly

Electronic controller required control this motor is expensive

Not much availability of many integrated electronic control solutions,


especially for tiny BLDC motors

Requires complex drive circuitry

Need of additional sensors

Applications of BLDC Motors


Brushless DC motors (BLDC) are used for a wide variety of application
requirements such as varying loads, constant loads and positioning applications in
the fields of industrial control, automotive, aviation, automation systems, health
care equipments, etc. Some specific applications of BLDC motors are

Computer hard drives and DVD/CD players

Electric vehicles, hybrid vehicles, and electric bicycles

Industrial robots, CNC machine tools, and simple belt driven systems

Washing machines, compressors and dryers

Fans, pumps and blowers

You may also read:

What is Motor Efficiency & How to improve it?

Abnormal Operating Condition and Causes of Induction Motors

Important Terms and Definitions related to Motor Control and Protection

Three Phase Motor Power & Control Wiring Diagrams

Why Motor rated in kW instead of kVA?

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About Electrical Technology

How PID Controllers Works?

Table of Contents [Hide]

How PID Controllers Works?


o What is PID Controller?
o Working of PID Controller
o P-Control Response
o I-Control Response
o D- Controller Response
o Real-time PID Controllers

PID Controller is a most common control algorithm used in industrial


automation & applications and more than 95% of the industrial controllers are of
PID type. PID controllers are used for more precise and accurate control of
various parameters.
Most often these are used for the regulation of temperature, pressure, speed, flow
and other process variables. Due to robust performance and functional simplicity,
these have been accepted by enormous industrial applications where a more
precise control is the foremost requirement. Lets see how the PID controller
works.

What is PID Controller?

A combination of proportional, integral and derivative actions is more commonly


referred as PID action and hence the name, PID (Proportional-IntegralDerivative) controller. These three basic coefficients are varied in each PID
controller for specific application in order to get optimal response.
It gets the input parameter from the sensor which is referred as actual process
variable. It also accepts the desired actuator output, which is referred as set
variable, and then it calculates and combines the proportional, integral and
derivative responses to compute the output for the actuator.

Consider
the
typical control system shown in above figure in which the process variable of a
process has to be maintained at a particular level. Assume that the process
variable is temperature (in centigrade). In order to measure the process variable
(i.e., temperature), a sensor is used (let us say an RTD).
A set point is the desired response of the process. Suppose the process has to be
maintained at 80 degree centigrade, and then the set point is 80 degree centigrade.
Assume that the measured temperature from the sensor is 50 degree centigrade,
(which is nothing but a process variable) but the temperature set point is 80
degree centigrade.
This deviation of actual value from the desired value in the PID control algorithm
causes to produce the output to the actuator (here it is a heater) depending on the
combination of proportional, integral and derivative responses. So the PID
controller continuously varies the output to the actuator till the process variable
settle down to the set value. This is also called as closed loop feedback control
system.

Working of PID Controller


In manual control, the operator may periodically read the process variable (that
has to be controlled such as temperature, flow, speed, etc.) and adjust the control
variable (which is to be manipulated in order to bring control variable to
prescribed limits such as a heating element, flow valves, motor input, etc.). On the
other hand, in automatic control, measurement and adjustment are made
automatically
on
a
continuous
basis.

All
modern
industrial controllers are of automatic type (or closed loop controllers), which are
usually made to produce one or combination of control actions. These control
actions include ON-OFF control, proportional control, proportional-integral
control, proportional-derivative control and proportional-integral-derivative
control.
In case of ON-OFF controller, two states are possible to control the manipulated
variable, i.e., either fully ON (when process variable is below the set point) or
Fully OFF (when process variable is above the set point). So the output will be of
oscillating in nature. In order to achieve the precise control, most industries use
the PID controller (or PI or PD depends on the application). Let us look at these
control actions.

Also read: SCADA Systems for Electrical Distribution

P-Control Response
Proportional control or simply P-controller produces the control output
proportional to the current error. Here the error is the difference between the set
point and process variable (i.e., e = SP PV). This error value multiplied by the
proportional gain (Kc) determines the output response, or in other words
proportional gain decides the ratio of proportional output response to error value.
For example, the magnitude of the error is 20 and Kc is 4 then proportional
response will be 80. If the error value is zero, controller output or response will be
zero. The speed of the response (transient response) is increased by increasing the
value of proportional gain Kc. However, if Kc is increased beyond the normal
range, process variable starts oscillating at a higher rate and it will cause
instability
of
the
system.

Although
Pcontroller provides stability of the process variable with good speed of response,
there will always be an error between the set point and actual process variable.
Most of the cases, this controller is provided with manual reset or biasing in order
to reduce the error when used alone. However, zero error state cannot be achieved
by this controller. Hence there will always be a steady state error in the pcontroller response as shown in figure.

Also read: 3 Phase Motor Power & Control Wiring Diagrams

I-Control Response
Integral controller or I-controller is mainly used to reduce the steady state error
of the system. The integral component integrates the error term over a period of
time until the error becomes zero. This results that even a small error value will
cause to produce high integral response. At the zero error condition, it holds the
output to the final control device at its last value in order to maintain zero steady

state error, but in case of P-controller, output is zero when the error is zero.

If the error is
negative, the integral response or output will be decreased. The speed of response
is slow (means respond slowly) when I-controller alone used, but improves the
steady state response. By decreasing the integral gain Ki, the speed of the
response
is
increased.

For
many
applications, proportional and integral controls are combined to achieve good
speed of response (in case of P controller) and better steady state response (in case
of I controller). Most often PI controllers are used in industrial operation in order
to improve transient as well as steady state responses. The responses of only I-

control, only p-control and PI control are shown in below figure.

D- Controller Response
A derivative controller (or simply D-Controller) sees how fast process variable
changes per unit of time and produce the output proportional to the rate of change.
The derivative output is equal to the rate of change of error multiplied by a
derivative constant. The D-controller is used when the processor variable starts to
change at a high rate of speed.
In such case, D-controller moves the final control device (such as control valves
or motor) in such direction as to counteract the rapid change of a process variable.
It is to be noted that D-controller alone cannot be used for any control

applications.
The derivative action increases the speed of the response because it gives a kick
start for the output, thus anticipates the future behavior of the error. The more
rapidly D-controller responds to the changes in the process variable, if the
derivative term is large (which is achieved by increasing the derivative constant or
time Td).
In most of the PID controllers, D-control response depends only on process
variable, rather than error. This avoids spikes in the output (or sudden increase of
output) in case of sudden set point change by the operator. And also most control
systems use less derivative time td, as the derivative response is very sensitive to
the noise in the process variable which leads to produce extremely high output

even

for

small

amount

of

noise.

Therefore, by combining proportional, integral, and derivative control responses,


a PID controller is formed. A PID controller finds universal application; however,
one must know the PID settings and tune it properly to produce the desired
output. Tuning means the process of getting an ideal response from the PID
controller by setting optimal gains of proportional, integral and derivative

parameters.
There are different methods of tuning the PID controller so as to get desired
response. Some of these methods include trial and error, process reaction curve
technique and Zeigler-Nichols method. Most popularly Zeigler-Nichols and trial
and error methods are used.

This is about the PID controller and its working. Due to the simplicity of
controller structure, PID controllers are applicable for a variety of processes. And
also it can be tuned for any process, even without knowing detailed mathematical
model of process. Some of the applications include, PID controller based motor
speed control, temperature control, pressure control, flow control, level of the
liquid, etc.

Also read: Arduino Programming: What is Arduino and How to Program


it?

Real-time PID Controllers


There are different types PID controllers available in todays market, which can
be used for all industrial control needs such as level, flow, temperature and
pressure. When deciding on controlling such parameters for a process using PID,
options include use either PLC or standalone PID controller.
Standalone PID controllers are used where one or two loops are needed to be
monitored and controlled or in the situations where it difficult to access with
larger systems. These dedicated control devices offer a variety of options for
single and dual loop control. Standalone PID controllers offer multiple set point
configurations and also generates the independent multiple alarms.

Some of these standalone controllers include Yokogava temperature controllers,


Honeywell PID controllers, OMEGA auto tune PID controllers, ABB PID
controllers and Siemens PID controllers.
Most of the control applications, PLCs are used as PID controllers. PID blocks are
inbuilt in PLCs/PACs and which offers advanced options for a precise control.
PLCs are more intelligent and powerful than standalone controllers and make the
job easier. Every PLC consist the PID block in their programming software,
whether it can Siemens, ABB, AB, Delta, Emersion, or Yokogava PLC.

The figure below shows the Allen Bradley (AB) PID block and its setup window.

The

figure

below

shows

the

Siemens

PID

block.

The below figure shows PID controller VIs offered by LabVIEW PID toolset.

Also read: What is Electrical Interlocking?

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