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2010 International Conference on Electrical Machines and Systems, Oct.

10-13, 2010, Incheon, Korea

Review of Position Estimation Methods for PMSM Drives Without a Position
Sensor, Part III: Methods based on Saliency and Signal Injection
Oliver Benjak, Dieter Gerling
Institute of Electrical Drives, University of Federal Defense, Munich, 85577, Neubiberg, Germany

Abstract This paper presents a review in state of the art three categories and will be described in Section III:
techniques for position sensorless permanent magnet 1. Signal Injection based methods:
synchronous motor (PMSM) drives. In particular estimator Rotating carrier,
based on methods using injected rotating or alternating carrier
signals, methods based on monitoring the space vector of the Alternating carrier.
stator currents and methods based on inductance variations, like 2. Methods based on monitoring the locus of the stator
INFORM, are presented. Furthermore the authors give an space vector current,
overview for magnetization polarity detection, which is necessary 3. Methods based on inductance variation like INFORM.
for starting strategies respectively initial position detection.
For a permanent magnet synchronous motor the stator
In the past few years great efforts have been made in the voltages in the rotor reference frame can be described as
field of speed and/ or shaft position-sensorless controlled follows:
drives. These drives are usually referred to as sensorless
r r r
drives. This expression refers to the speed and shaft sensors, vq rs 0 i q p r q
but there are still other sensors, e.g. current sensors [1]. r = 0 +
rs i r r

p r
vd d d
The paper is organized as follows:
First, a classification for the strategies of position where p is a differential operator. The stator flux linkages are
estimation for PMSM is given. given by:
Second, the machine model of a PMSM is shortly r r
q Lq 0 iq 0
examined. r= + (2)
d 0 Ld i r m
Third, position detection methods based on saliency d
and signal injection and magnetization polarity Transforming (1) into the stationary reference results in the
detection for an interior- and surface permanent following stationary frame stator voltage equations:
magnet synchronous motor (IPMSM; SPMSM) are s s s
illustrated. vq rs 0 iq p 0 q
s = 0 +
rs is 0 p s
vd d d
PMSM The transformed stator flux linkages can be described as:
In general there are three strategies for sensorless position
s s
estimation of PMSM [31], [32]: q L +Lcos(2r ) Lsin(2r ) i q sin( r )
1. Fundamental Excitations s = Lsin(2 ) LLcos(2 ) s + m (4)
r r cos(r )
d d
a. Nonadaptive Methods,
b. Adaptive Methods, Where L and L are the average inductance (average stator
2. Saliency and Signal Injection, transient inductance) and the amplitude of the spatial
3. Artificial Intelligence. modulation of the inductance (differential stator transient
a) Nonadaptive Methods: are described in part I [31], they inductance) [1],[8],[12].
can be divided into the following three categories : Lq + Ld L q Ld
L= L= (5)
1. Estimators using monitored stator voltages, or currents, 2 2
2. Flux based position estimators
3. Position estimators based on back-EMF.
b) Adaptive Methods: are described in part II [32], they can IV. SALIENCY AND SIGNAL INJECTION BASED METHODS
be divided in two categories: This chapter gives an overview of the established methods
1. Estimators based on Model Reference Adaptive which are using saliency and signal injection. The main focus
System (MRAS), is an overview of the established techniques, in particular the
2. Observer-based estimators: rotating voltage injection method for IPMSM and alternating
a. Luenberger Observer, voltage injection for SPMSM. Furthermore the INFORM-
b. Reduced Order Observer, method and techniques for magnetization polarity detection
c. Sliding Mode Observer, are presented.
d. Kalman filter.
c) Saliency and Signal Injection Methods are divided in

a) Signal Injection based Methods: s j t j(2 r -i t)
i = jI e i jI e . (11)
As Carrier frequency signal injection voltage- and current qds _ c i0 i1
methods have been used. The first one has the advantage, that Where
the desired excitation is easy to produce with a traditional V L V Lq + Ld V L V Lq Ld
Ii0 = si = si , Ii1= si = si . (12)
voltage source inverter. On the contrary carrier signal current i L2 +L2 i 2Lq Ld i L2 +L2 i 2Lq Ld
injection provides a large voltage signal, which contains the
desired spatial information, relative to the amount of current The spatial information embedded in the stator currents can be
injected due to the increase in magnitude of the impedance extracted via demodulation techniques. The second term of
with frequency [13]. equ. (10) and (11) in the q- and d-axis currents contains useful
Disadvantageous is the relatively low frequency carrier signal position information.
used by some of the proposed current injection techniques. The error signal, which drives the tracking observer, is
One is the increased torque ripple, which is produced by using ( )
generated by multiplying cos 2 r i t and sin ( 2 r i t ) with
a lower frequency carrier signal. Another problem is the low equ. (10) [1], [3]:
available bandwidth, which is evoked by the required current
regulator [13].
( s
= i qsi cos 2 r i t i dsi sin 2 r i t ( ) (13)
In general, the higher performance of the voltage injection
method is preferred [13]. Just said in section II the signal ( ) (
= Ii0 sin 2 i t r + Ii1 sin 2 r r
) (14)
injection based methods can be divided in rotating and where = + u and u is an estimated displacement angle,
alternating carrier methods.
The rotating vector injection method in the stationary which is caused by the armature impedance [11]. Equ. (14)
reference frame superimposes a continuously rotating, contains two terms. The high frequency portion, resulting
balanced 3-phase (machine frame) carrier-frequency voltage from the first term can be reduced by the use of a lowpass
[25], which is shown in (6): filter [1]-[5].
vu cos( i t ) ( )
f Ii1 sin 2 r r 2Ii1 r r ( ) (15)

v = V cos( i t 2 /3) . (6)
v cos( i t + 2 /3) Using equ. (11), the error signal is formed by multiplying this
This type of carrier signal will produce a carrier signal voltage
equation and e
j 2 r c t )
, which results in (15) and can be
vector vsqds _ i , that rotates at the carrier frequency. After used for an observer [1].
transforming (6) from the 3-phase frame in the 2-phase The alternating carrier injection schemes are able to track
stationary d-q reference frame the balanced high frequency reliably small anisotropies and decouple different saliency
voltage is given by [1]-[7]: effects, thus it can be used for sensorless drives with SPMSM
and Asynchronous Machines (ASM).
s vqsi cos( i t) Using an alternating carrier, equ. (7) has to be rewritten as:
v = = Vsi . (7)
qdsi s -sin( i t) s
v vqsi cos( )
dsi v
= = V cos( t) r = V cos( t)e j r (16)
qdsi si i -sin( ) si i
For high frequency signals the stator resistance and the effects vs r
of the permanent magnet flux linkages can be neglected. Thus
equ. (3) and (4) can be rearranged to: The phase angle of the carrier voltage vSqdsi is kept in
s s alignment with the estimated d-axis in the dq-rotor reference
vq q
s = p s , (8) frame, thus the modulation has no influence on the torque
vd d producing current component in the q-axis [22].
The anisotropy in a SPMSM is mainly based on the magnetic
s s saturation effect of the main flux, which rotates with the same
q L +Lcos(2r ) Lsin(2r ) iq
s = Lsin(2 ) LLcos(2 ) s . (9) frequency as the rotor. The d-axis coincides with the most
d r r i
d saturated region. To obtain a solution for the carrier current
Applying equ (7) to equ. (8) and substituting the result into R
vector i qdsi , equ. (16) has to be transformed in the rotor
equ. (9) the stator currents yield:
reference frame by multiplying with exp( r ) :
iqsi Vsi L +Lcos(2r ) - Lsin(2r ) sin( i t) cos( )
= , v
= V cos( t) r r (17)
is i - Lsin(2r ) L-Lcos(2r ) cos( i t) qdsi si i -sin( )
dsi (10) r r
Ii0 sin( i t)+ Ii1 sin(2r -i t) Where the injection angle deviates from the true rotor
= . position angle by the voltage injection angle u, hence
Ii0 cos( i t)+ Ii1 cos(2r -i t)
Choosing the negative imaginary axis for the d-axis and for r = r + u . Applying equ. (2) and (17) on (1) and taking
the positive real-axis for the q-axis [26]. equ. (10) can be into account the same assumption for high frequency signals,
rewritten as: the stator currents result in the following:

r 1 The imaginary part of equ. (24) is directly proportional to the
iqsi Lq 0 cos( )
estimation error, so it is not necessary to demodulate the
i r 0

V cos( t)
r r dt (18)
i -sin( )
r r position information. The current in the q-axis depends on the
dsi algebraic sign of the high frequency signal of sin ( c t ) , so it
In comparison with the injected carrier frequency i the
will be multiplied by one when sin ( c t ) > 0 and by minus
estimated rotor frequency, which results the one from the
one when sin ( c t )0 . The rectified imaginary component of
estimated angle r = r t is very slow and can be seen as
the current establishes the possibility to track the estimation
constant. Therefore only the carrier frequency has to be error with an observer.
considered for the integration of vqdsi R [23] and so equ. (18) In [24] the authors propagate two schemes with a high-
frequency voltage signal which is injected only on the d-axis
yields: in the estimated rotor reference frame and one which is
r Uc 1 1 injected only on the q-axis of a SPMSM. They use a model,
i = sin( t) cos( r r )+ j sin( r r ) (19)
qdsi c c Lq L d where the high frequency impedances are represent as

functions of the rotor position estimation error. It is shown
Splitting up the trigonometric functions into exponential
that the cross-coupling high frequency impedance is
functions reduces equ. (19) to:
proportional to the sine-function of the rotor position error.
In [25] a method is described, which uses the saturated flux

sin( t) ( Ld +Lq ) e j(r r ) +( Ld Lq ) e j(r r ) (20) linkage model which is approximated by the Taylor series.
r Uc
i =
qdsi 2cLqLd c This method is described more detailed in chapter 5.
Transforming equ. (20) into stator coordinates (multiplication In [16], [20] the authors obtain the following steady state
by exp(jr) and with the simplification of (12) the current can expression for |Ih|2, based on the equations (1) and (2):
be written as: 2 2 2 2
Ih = i dh + i qh = R1 cos ( c r ) +
i = sin( t) Ii0e j( r ) Ii1e j(2r r ) (21) (25)
qdsi c 2 2
+ R 2 sin ( c r ) + R 3 sin ( c r )
Splitting up the sinus into exponential functions, the current is
a composition of two high frequency signals, which rotate in taking into account that c>>1, R1, R2 and R3 can be described
opposite directions: as:

( )
2 2
j V 2 c2 L q 2
isqdsi = ie++ie
V rs
(22) R 1 = si + si

2 c4 L d 4 c4 L q 4
V 2 r 2 V 2 2 L 2
+ j j( c t + r ) + I e j( c t + 2r r ) , s c d
= Ii0e i1 R 2 = si + si
2 4 L 4 c4 L d 4
c q

j j( c t + r ) I e j( c t + 2r r ) .
e 2 + Ii0e i1 2 2r L 2
V rs c L d Vsi s c q

R 3 = si

It can be seen in equ. (21) and (22) that all exponential terms 4
c L d 4 4 4
c Lq
contain a useful position information. The error signal can be
For nonsalient machines (Ld=Lq), R3 becomes zero. The
generated in the same way as for the rotating method (multi-
proposed rotor position calculation is shown in Fig. 1, where
( )
plying equ. (21) by cos 2 r i t and sin ( 2 r i t ) )[8], [11]. the measured position shows an 180 ambiguity of r.
To reduce the calculation effort, equ. (19) is transformed from
rotor coordinates to the estimated rotor reference frame A,
which is synchronous with the estimated position of the
anisotropy [22], [23], [26]:

idq =
( )
U c Lq cos + Ld sin ( ) sin( t ) (23)
cLd Lq + j L L cos
d q( ) ( ) ( )

, the Taylor series and small error angle equ.
With =
Fig. 1: Rotor position calculation with |Ih|2 [16]
(23) can be written as: The solution of this problem will be described in section V.
Other methods can be found in [27],[28]-[30]. The authors in
2 [27],[29] and [30] use a square-wave voltage injection in the

idq = K c Lq 1 + Ld 2 + j( Ld Lq )1 sin ( c t ) d-axis in dq estimated rotor reference frame. [27] propose a
2 2
(24) reduction of the acoustic noise without deteriorating estimate
performance by a injected harmonic voltage which use a
K c Lq + j( Ld Lq ) sin ( ct ) rectangular voltage for the d-axis and zero for the q-axis.

In [28] the author proposes a generalized speed-varying
ellipse voltage injection method. The injected high-frequency

voltage has a spatially-rotating ellipse-shape whose both where the arg(us) is the angle of the injected test voltage us.
amplitudes of the major and the minor axis vary dependent of The function of equ. (30) describes a circle in the complex
the motor speed. plane with the radius y and the offset y0. The radius is zero,
if the machine is rotationally symmetric, see Fig. 2.
b) Methods based on monitoring the locus of the stator
space vector current [6], [11]:
When symmetrical three-phase sinusoidal stator voltages
are applied to an IPMSM (Ld<Lq) at standstill, in steady state
the locus of the space vector of the stator currents in the
stationary reference frame becomes an ellipse. If the stator
currents are monitored, the locus of the space vector is known.
Thus the positions of the major axis of the ellipse can be used
to obtain information of the rotor angle r.
By definition, the direct axis of the rotor is in the direction of Fig. 2 Complex curve yINF at horizontal test voltage space phasor when
the north pole of the rotor magnet. turning the rotor [9]
Neglecting the effects of magnetic saturation the ellipse is By using a three phase inverter and a fixed rotor position,
described by a second order equation: there are three voltage space phasor directions possible. It
2 2 should be noted, that voltage space phasors in antiparallel
Ai + 2Hi i + Bi + 1 = 0 (26)
direction do not provide new information because the
The angle of the major axis can be obtained from: equations are linearly dependent. Therefore we get three
1 1 2H independent complex equations in maximum and with respect
= tan (27)
2 AB to the parameters and the desired quantity an overdetermined
and the estimated rotor position is given by = + u . system. For example we assume three measurements in the
three possible voltage space phasor directions within a short
In the case of current ripples , the coefficients H, A, B can be time interval and using the real part of yINF only. The
determined in such a way, that the square error between the measuring directions are: u,1=0 (phase axis U), v,2=2/3
ellipse described by equ. (26) and the current space-vector (phase axis V), w,3=4/3 (phase axis W). The current change
locus should be minimal. of the machine in the measuring time t (k=1,2,3) is given
with rearranging of equ. (29) and (30) [19]:

( )
c) Methods based on inductance variation:
j u,k
The INFORM method (Indirect Flux detection by On-line i s= y t u s = y0 +ye j2[ arg(us )] t us e (31)
Reactance Measurements) was introduced in 1992 [1]. It j
utilizes changing magnetic conductivities in d- and q-axis Multiplying (31) with e u , k can be seen as a transformation
depending on the rotor position. The basic idea is to measure in the voltage space phasor oriented reference frame and using
the current response which is evoked by voltage state space only the real part of this equation yields for the three
phasors in all motor phase directions, applied into the PWM- measurements the following current changes:
pattern [9], [19]. (
i su,1= t us y0 +ycos( 2 ) )
The mathematical description of the stator voltage and stator
flux linkage equations in space phasors can be described in i sv,2 =t us ( y0 +ycos( 2 4 /3) ) (32)
the following way:
ds (
i s w,3 = t us y0 +ycos( 2 2 / 3) )
u s = i s rs +
dt (28) A complex linear transformation of (32) yields the complex
s = ls i s + M expression:
j4 /3 j2 /3
By application of a high frequency test voltage, which results c INF := i su,1 + i sv,2 e + i sw,2 e (33)
from the inverter control, the transient inductance dominates The parameters y and y0 are eliminated by calculating the
the stator impedance and the voltage drop over the resistance argument and the desired angular position follows directly
of the windings can be neglected. Furthermore a measurement without any parameter dependency to:
at zero rotor speed induced no back emf. With this assumption arg[ c INF]= 2 + (34)
the complex INFORM inductance can be defined [9]:
The equations above assume a machine at zero rotor speed. If
lINFORM := (29) the machine is rotating, the back EMF has an influence on the
d i s / dt rate of change of current. By combination of two INFORM
With respect to practical realization, it is advantageous to measurements and with the assumption of small change of
work with the inverse INFORM inductance, which avoids currents, a small measurement time, constant rotor speed in
division operations and saves calculation time. Hence the the measurement time the turning of the rotor can be neglected.
complex INFORM-function can be written as [19]: After subtraction of measurement one and two equ. (29) can
be rearranged into [19]:
l INFORM1 = y INF = y 0 + y e [
j2 arg(u s ) ]

u sI u sII remaining 2 phase current differences can be used to calculate
l INFORM := (35)
( d i sI /dt )( d i sII /dt ) the approximate rotor position.
Another method for determining the sector of rotor position is
V. MAGNETIZATION POLARITY DETECTION OF A PMSM to compare the rising times [17], [20].
In [25] the authors use a saturated flux linkage model which is
Most of the proposed techniques for position estimation approximated by the Taylor series.
without a position sensor have the problem, that the 2 r
1 d d
measurement yields double the desired rotor angle (cf. equ. dr m + Ldidr + (0)idr 2 (36)
(15), (22), (23), (34)). The same angle ambiguity occur by 2 di r 2
usage of the trigonometric function tan-1. If the polarity is not
A rotating and alternating voltage vector injection technique is
detected a wrong direction of rotation can occur.
examined. It can be determined that after the heterodyning
For eliminating this 180 ambiguity, after detecting the
process (cf. chapter IV.a), the resulting high frequency current
direction of the flux state phasor (d-axis) a flux parallel stator
in d-axis has a part which contains the position information
current component will be applied in the d-axis which
and the magnetic polarity information respectively. To extract
produces no torque. It can be seen, that a positive and negative
the desired information a heterodyning process is necessary.
d-current of the same magnitude lead to different results. In
This process will be displayed in Fig. 5 for the rotating vector
case of field increasing the current has a larger change per
and in Fig. 6 for the alternating vector respectively.
time in flux direction; the case of field decreasing has a
smaller current change per time since the saturation is reduced
[6], [9], [10], [19].
In Fig. 3 the inductance variation due to saturation is Fig. 5 Heterodyning process for rotating vector [26]

Fig. 6 Heterodyning process for alternating vector [26]

The output currents of the signal processing for rotating

voltage vector can be written as:
Fig. 3 Inductance variation due to saturation [17] 2 r
Uc 2 d d
i pol = ( m ) cos 2( r r ) cos( r r )
After detection of the flux axis correctly, this value can be 8c2 didr 2
seen as starting point for a real time measurement. Therefore (37)
U 1 1
this procedure has to be used after switching on [9], [10], [19]. i pos c sin 2( r r )
The rate of change in the stator current is inversely 2c Ld Lq

proportional to the inductance and is exemplary displayed in
The output currents of the signal processing for alternating
Fig. 4.
voltage vector can be written as:
2 r
Uc 2 d d 2
i pol = ( m ) cos ( r r ) cos( r r )
8c2 didr 2
U 1 1
i pos = c sin 2( r r )
2c Ld Lq

Fig. 4 Rate of change in stator current as a funct. of electrical angle [10]
It should be noted, that the amplitude of the carrier voltage for
magnetic polarity detection depends on the saturation level
The authors in [10], [17] and [20] applied short voltage pulses due to the rotor magnet. Therefore it should be applied with
to the stator windings. The change of current in each phase large enough magnitude to detect the magnet polarity at
can be measured during each pulse and the rate of change can standstill. Once detected, it can be reduced for normal
be used to estimate the position. sensorless operation [26]. Further literature which use a
The technique can be described for one phase as follows: a Taylor approximation can be found in [15].
positive voltage pulse V+ is applied for a period T, then the The authors in [6] uses the centre of the space-vector current
phase current i+ is measured. The procedure is repeated with a locus, which will be shifted due to the magnetic saturation.
negative voltage pulse V-for the same period T and the phase
current i- is measured. By comparing the two amplitudes of VI. CONCLUSION
the current, a current difference i can be defined. If this PMSM drives without mechanical sensors for motor position
process is repeated for every phase it can be obtained that the or speed have the attraction of lower cost and higher
phase current with the largest magnitude change determines reliability. Algorithms which can be implemented in standard
the region the rotor north pole nearly aligns [10]. The microcontroller hardware is of increasing interest for

industrial application. [20] A. Consoli, G. Scarcella, A. Testa, Industry Application of Zero Speed
Sensorless Control Techniques for PM Synchronous Motors, IEEE
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[22] M. Linke, R. Kennel, J. Holtz, Sensorless Speed and Position Control
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