In the mean time, I've also finished the v4.0 design for my scooter-sized (~48V/40A) motor controller, with some tweaks to make it more optimized for SSCFOCC:
It's the same physical dimension as 3ph v3.1 (3.90"x1.55"), so it will be a drop-in replacement for the controller currently in Pneu Scooter. Other things that have not changed:
- MOSFETs: This design still uses the GWM series miniature 3-phase full bridge modules from IXYS. Specifically, the GWM100-01X1, although it could also use the GWM160-0055X1 or the GWM200-004P3. They're hard to find, but I've stockpiled enough to survive until the end of the world.
- Logic: Still using the STM32F103 on a Wootstick 2.0 because why would I change that?
- Current Sensors: Two phase current and one DC current sensor using the ACS714 Hall-effect current sensors. They measure +/-30A, so in order to get to full operating current I can selectively bypass them with one or two 0.001Ω, 1% resistors each.
One thing that has changed is the current sensor layout. SSCFOCC relies on the current measurements to make an estimate of the rotor position, so cleaning up the current sensor signals as much as possible was one of my goals in this design. I know from experience that they pick up massive amounts of PWM noise. Better hardware and software filtering, as well as synchronous current sampling, have definitely helped. But it would be nice to tackle some of the noise at the source, with better layout around the current sensors:
It's a fact of life that the current sensors, particularly the phase current ones, need to be located directly adjacent to high dV/dt switching nodes. High dV/dt leads to capacitive coupling, and one way to protect sensitive traces from capacitive coupling is to shield them with ground planes. So, in an effort to minimize capacitively-coupled PWM noise on the current sensor signal wires, I did my best to shield the signal side of the ACS714's and the traces returning to the logic part of the board with ground. I don't know how much it will help, but it probably can't hurt.
The next big change is a return to optically-coupled gate drive. 3ph v1.x and v2.x, as well as most of my other motor controllers, have used optically-coupled gate drive. 3ph v3.0 and v3.1 used the IR21844 half-bridge drivers instead for compactness and low cost. But, this was before I realized that bootstrapped optically-coupled gate drive is possible and you don't need expensive high-side power supplies for everything. So with cost less of an issue, it just became a matter of stuffing six HCPL-3120 gate drive optocouplers onto the board. The half-bridge unit looks like this:
The input AHI is a 3.3V logic signal directly from the STM32F103. If AHI is high, the high-side optocoupler LED turns on. If AHI is low, the low-side optocoupler LED turns on. If AHI is high impedance, neither LED turns on and the half bridge is disabled. R69 and C54 form a low-pass filter that sets the shoot-through delay. Each gate gets a gate resistor, a pull-down resistor, and a 17V Zener diode. D2 is the bootstrap diode for the high-side driver.
The last big change is the addition of phase voltage sensing. To do this, I added a quad op-amp configured as a differential amplifier to measure Va, Vb, Vc, and the DC bus voltage with respect to power ground. One unit looks like this:
Differential measurement with respect to power ground (COM) should be more accurate when high currents push power ground and signal ground apart.
Phase voltage sensing opens up a number of interesting opportunities for 3ph v4.0. One is simple block-commutated sensorless, where one phase is left undriven (which I can do now, thanks to the tri-state-able optocoupled gate drive) and the back EMF is directly measured. I'm not sure why I would want to do this, other than for direct comparison to more advanced sensorless techniques with the hardware as a control.
Besides block commutation, measuring phase voltage may also be useful for rolling-start, which is something I do a lot on the scooter. Right now, I have to push against the resistance of the shorted motor until the current sensors pick up enough information to derive the rotor position. It finds itself at a very low speed, so this isn't a big deal. But, with phase voltage sensing, I could leave the phases off and use the back EMF measurement to do the same. The practical advantage is that you can freely kick up to any speed before applying power.
Another thing phase voltage sensing might be useful for is online or offline calibration, where the back EMF is measured and used to estimate the motor's torque constant or other parameters. At very least, it could be used as a single-purpose scope to make a plot of the motor's back EMF waveform, which is informative by itself.
All these extra features made the board a bit of a nightmare to route, with one of the highest component densities I've ever done:
I managed to cram the entire 15V and 5V power supply on the bottom layer, this time with ceramic capacitors. The six gate drive optocouplers barely fit on the top layer above the MOSFET. All the filters and logic are on the top layer under the STM32 board. There are also still inputs and filters for Hall effect sensors, even though I mostly plan to use this for sensorless control.
I'll sent these boards out right after the holiday weekend and as usual, post the schematics and other files when I confirm they work. Of course, the first sub-version of my boards are usually doomed to failure (3ph v2.0 and v3.0 didn't last very long, whereas v2.1 and v3.1 were great) so we'll see what happens.