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4, FALL 2019 225

A New Method to Minimize Overall Torque Ripple

in the Presence of Phase Current Shift Error for
Three-Phase BLDC Motor Drive
Une nouvelle méthode pour minimiser l’ondulation
du couple globale en présence d’erreur de décalage
de phase du courant pour l’entraînement d’un
moteur CCSB triphasé
YongKeun Lee , Member, IEEE

Abstract— Torque ripple is always problematic in brushless dc (BLDC) motor drive. It is caused by
nonsymmetric commutating phase current rate and phase current shift error. The latter is inevitable even
in the latest sensor/sensorless BLDC motor control and drive. In this paper, a simple, robust, and low-cost
method of minimizing overall torque ripple in the presence of phase current shift error is presented. It works
and manages well to maintain the torque ripple increase within 10% even with 27° phase current shift, compared
with more than 25% torque ripple increase without any compensator. The proposed technique is theoretically
elucidated in detail, and the performance is verified via MATLAB/Simulink simulation and experiments.
Résumé— L’ondulation de couple est toujours problématique dans le cas d’un entraînement d’un moteur
à courant continu sans balai (CCSB). Ceci est dû à un taux de commutation de la phase du courant non
symétrique et à une erreur de décalage de la phase du courant. Ce dernier est inévitable, même dans le dernier
contrôle et entraînement de moteur CCSB capteur/sans capteur. Dans cet article, une méthode simple, robuste et
peu coûteuse de minimisation de l’ondulation de couple globale en présence d’une erreur de décalage de phase
du courant est présentée. Cela fonctionne et gère bien à maintenir l’augmentation de l’ondulation du couple
dans les 10% même avec un décalage de phase du courant de 27°, comparé à une augmentation de l’ondulation
du couple supérieure à 25% sans aucun compensateur. La technique proposée est expliquée théoriquement en
détail et la performance est vérifiée via une simulation MATLAB/Simulink et des expériences.
Index Terms— Brushless rotating machines, dc motor drives, inverters, minimization methods, phase shifters.

I. I NTRODUCTION can easily provide false detection of the rotor position, the
subsequent phase current shift error, and thus generate the
T HE brushless dc (BLDC) motor has been widely used in
consumer electronics for its simplicity, high efficiency,
and low maintenance [1]–[3]. However, torque ripple can
torque ripples [7]. In order to overcome this problem, sensor-
less control and drive are proposed for detecting zero-crossing
be easily generated due to both nonsymmetric commutating point of back EMF, the methods of which can be divided into
phase current slope and phase current shift error [4]–[6]. The three categories which are direct back EMF detection [8],
latter is defined as misalignment between back electromotive indirect back EMF detection [9], and model-based estima-
force (EMF) and phase current. Most BLDC motors use tion [10]. However, they still have a phase current shift
position sensors such as Hall Effect sensors to detect the error which is caused by various sources in computation and
rotor position for commutation. However, inevitable physical postsignal processing such as limited calculation frequency in
misalignment in sensors and/or electromagnetic interference microcontroller, phase current shift from filters, and error from
the analog–digital converter (ADC) [11], [12].
Manuscript received March 13, 2018; revised January 14, 2019 and In short, there are always phase current shift errors, and
March 14, 2019; accepted March 19, 2019. Date of current version August 21, thus, the overall torque ripples are amplified subsequently,
2019. This work was supported by the Seoul National University of Science
and Technology, Seoul, South Korea. which is a serious problem in delicate motion control and
The author is with the Graduate School of Nano-IT Design Fusion, Seoul machine tool applications [13].Therefore, several commuta-
National University of Science and Technology, Seoul 01811, South Korea tion phase error compensation methods have been investi-
(e-mail: yklee@seoultech.ac.kr).
Associate Editor managing this article’s review: Houshang Karimi. gated. Jang and Kim [14] presented a method to improve
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/CJECE.2019.2907118 the commutation instant by utilizing the symmetric property
0840-8688 © 2019 IEEE. Personal use is permitted, but republication/redistribution requires IEEE permission.
See http://www.ieee.org/publications_standards/publications/rights/index.html for more information.

ON / OFF , respectively. At commutation instance, there are two

closed current flowing paths, as shown in Fig. 2, where one
flows from U-phase to W-phase and the other flows from
V-phase to W-phase.
U-to-W phase voltage can be expressed as follows:
di U di W
L + Ri U + EU − L + Ri W + E W = 0 (1)
dt dt
where R is the phase resistance, L is the phase inductance,
EU , E V , E W , i U , i V , and i W are the back EMF and current
of U-, V-, and W-phases, respectively. V-to-W phase voltage
can be expressed as follows:
di V di W
L + Ri V + E V − L + Ri W + E W = Vd (2)
dt dt
Fig. 1. Relationship between the phase current and back EMF of the where Vd is the dc link voltage. The sum of three-phase
three-phase BLDC motor. currents is always 0 as shown in (3). At instants when U- and
V-phases are commutating, magnitude of the corresponding
three-phase back EMF is approximated to be constant as
shown in (4)
iU + i V + i W = 0 (3)
EU = E V = −E W = E. (4)
By solving (1)–(4) with assuming that R and L between
the three phases are 0, slope and amount of three-phase current
during commutation interval can be approximated as follows:
di U Vd + 2E
=− (5)
dt 3L
Fig. 2. Current flow during commutation interval when U- and V-phases are di V 2(Vd − E)
commutating. = (6)
dt 3L
di W (Vd − 4E)
of the terminal voltages in the nonconducting phase, yet it =− (7)
dt 3L
requires high-ADC sampling frequency. Song and Choy [15] Vd + 2E
estimated the neutral voltage for commutation error com- iU = I − t (8)
pensation. However, accurate neutral voltage estimation is 2(Vd − E)
hard to achieve due to parameter variation and nonideal back iV = t (9)
EMF. Fang et al. [16] used the dc-link current before and (Vd − 4E)
after commutation instant to estimate the commutation time i W = −I − t (10)
error and compensated the initial Hall signal; the method
relied on the linear relationship between the dc-link current where I is the phase current during conduction interval. The
difference and the commutation error in low-inductance motor general torque can be expressed as follows:
and accurate sampling current data. Therefore, in this paper, a EU iU + E V i V + E W i W
Te = (11)
simple, robust, and low-cost method of minimizing the overall ω
torque ripple in the presence of the inevitable phase current 2Ei W
Te = − (12)
shift error is proposed. ω
II. P HASE C URRENT S HIFT E RROR , T ORQUE , where ω is the mechanical angular speed. By substituting
AND T ORQUE R IPPLE (10) into (12), torque (Te ) and torque ripple (Tr ) during the
commutation interval are, respectively,
In most of the three-phase BLDC motor drives, the con-  
duction and commutation interval are 120 and 60 electrical 2E (Vd − 4E)
Te = I+ t (13)
degrees [17]–[19], respectively. The ideal relationship between ω 3L
phase current and back EMF to obtain the maximum torque and
is shown in Fig. 1.  
2E (Vd − 4E)
As shown in Fig. 1, the commutating phase current must Tr = t . (14)
be injected after 30 electrical degrees by the back EMF zero- ω 3L
crossing point. In this paper, BLDC motor is driven by high- However, if any erroneous back EMF zero-crossing detec-
side pulsewidth modulation (HPWM), which means that the tion occurs, the phase current firing timing is shifted exactly
upper and lower switches are driven by PWM and constant by the back EMF zero-crossing detection error. It results in

Fig. 4. U-phase back EMF and current waveform (120° + θ –180° + θ ).

Fig. 3. Misalignment between the back EMF and phase current.

misalignment between back EMF and phase current, as shown B. Shifted Conduction Interval
in Fig. 3.
As shown in Fig. 3 and expressed in (15)–(17), back EMF
When erroneous back EMF zero-crossing detection occurs,
of U-phase starts to decrease, whereas back EMF of V-
the back EMF during commutation interval is neither con-
and W-phases remains constant. Thus, as long as voltage of
stant nor maximum anymore, which causes the corresponding
U-phase is stabilized, U-phase current must be increased and
torque to decrease. The back EMF can be expressed as shown
U- and W-phase voltages can be expressed as follows:
in the following equations for late back EMF zero-cross
detection: di U
VU = L + EU + Vn = DVd (21)
−6E dt
EU = ωe t + E (15) di W
π VW = L + E W + Vn = 0 (22)
EV = E (16) dt
E W = −E (17) where D is the duty ratio of PWM of U-phase, and Vn is the
neutral point voltage which can be computed from (15), (17),
where ωe is the electrical angular speed and t is the shift (21), and (22) as follows:
amount in time. The relationship between back EMF and  
1 6E
phase current for late back EMF zero-cross detection is shown Vn = DV d + ωe t . (23)
in Fig. 3. Substituting (15)–(17) into (11), the corresponding 2 π
torque is computed as follows: By substituting (23) back into (21) and (22), slope of U- and
EU iU + E V i V + E W i W 2Ei W 6Eωe ti U W-phase currents can be derived as follows:
Te = =− − .
ω ω πω di U di W 1
DV d − E + 3Eπ ωe t di W
(18) =− = 2 =− . (24)
dt dt L dt
III. P ROPOSED M ETHOD FOR M INIMIZING Since V-phase current is 0, U- and W-phase currents are
THE T ORQUE R IPPLE equal but the direction is opposite. Thus, U- and W-phase
currents can be expressed as
The range between 120° + θ and 180° + θ in the elec- 1 
2 DV d − E t + π ωe t
3E 2
trical degree is theoretically analyzed, as shown in Fig. 4.
i U = −i W = Io + (25)
It consists of three distinct regions such as conduction interval L
(120° + θ 180°), shifted conduction interval (180°–180° + θ ), where Io is the phase current at the beginning of shifted con-
and commutation interval (after 180° + θ ), as shown in Fig. 4 duction interval. By substituting (15), (17), and (25) into (11),
where θ is the shift amount in electrical angle the torque in shifted conduction interval can be computed as
θ = ωe t. (19) 2Io E (DVd − 2E)E 6E Io ωe
Te_s = + − t
ω ωL ωπ
A. Conduction Interval (3E DVd − E 2 )ωe 18E 2 ωe2
− t 2 − t 3 .
Back EMF and phase current of U- and W-phases remain ωLπ ωLπ 2
constant during conduction interval as shown in Figs. 3 and 4. (26)
Current (I ) flows from U-phase to W-phase, while V-phase In order for torque ripple to be 0, Te_s must be equal to Te .
and its current are floating and zero, o. Thus, the torque in It can be done by combinational adjustment of D and t
conduction interval can be rephrased as in Te_s . U-phase current increases due to the increase in D
Te =
2E I
. (20) corresponding to t to make the torque ripple as small as
ω possible, as shown in Fig. 5.


interval are computed as follows:

Fig. 5. U-phase back EMF and current waveform from (120° + θ to and
after 180° + θ ) with adjusted duty ratio of PWM during shifted conduction di U −V d − 2E
interval. = (29)
dt 3L
di V 2DV V d − 2E
= (30)
dt 3L
di W −DV V d + 4E
= (31)
dt 3L
Vd + 2E
iU = I − t (32)
2DV V d − 2E
iV = t (33)
DV V d − 4E
i W = −I − t (34)
3L I
tci = tfall = (35)
Vd + 2E
3L I
trise = (36)
2D V V d − 2E
where trise is adjusted to be equal to tci and DV is obtained
as shown follows:
trise = tci (37)
Vd + 4E
DV = . (38)
2V d
As for Vd > 4E m as shown in Fig. 6 where the motor speed
Fig. 6. V-phase current control for low-to-medium speed range (V d > 4E).
is slow, i V reaches I faster than i U falls 0, which causes the
torque to increase with time as shown in (13) and (14). In order
to reduce the torque ripple to be 0 ideally, the condition of
C. Commutation Interval Vd = 4E m must be met, then rising and falling commutation
Finally, in order to eliminate the commutation torque ripple phase current rates (di U /dt) and (di V /dt) are equal to
occurred due to nonsymmetric commutating phase current each other, which makes i w become constant, subsequently,
rates, rising time (trise ), and falling time (tfall ) of the two the torque is constant and torque ripple is 0.
commutating phases are forced to be matched by adjustment
of duty ratio (D) of U- or V-phase, as shown in Fig. 6. U-to-W IV. S IMULATION R ESULTS
phase voltage and V-to-W phase voltage can be expressed as
In this paper, the proposed method for minimizing the
  overall torque ripple in the presence of phase current shift error
di U di W has been implemented using MATLAB/Simulink. DC voltage
L + Ri U + EU − L + Ri W + E W = 0 (27)
dt dt of 300 V is applied to 18-N · m load torque. BLDC motor
di V di W parameters used in this simulation are listed in Table I and
L + Ri V + E V − L + Ri W + E W = DV V d MATLAB/Simulink block model of the closed-loop perfor-
dt dt
(28) mance of BLDC motor drive is shown in Fig. 7. A general
PI controller is used for the speed and torque control for the
where DV is the duty ratio applied for V-phase current control. simulation and experiment. In this paper, we chose the BLDC
Slope and amount of three-phase current during commutation motor with the low parameter values and operated at the low

Fig. 9. T e_s versus t and T e is 20.6 N · m.

Fig. 7. Closed-loop MATLAB/Simulink diagram for BLDC motor drive with

the proposed method.

Fig. 8. Combination of D and t to make T e_s = T e .

Fig. 10. U-phase current and back EMF with shifted angle θ = 6°.

speed and the low command torque because as per the high
speed operation with the BLDC of the high parameter values,
the back EMF will be too low to detect the zero crossing points
precisely, which will result in the phase shift error increase
further and make it to be difficult to test the feasibilities of
the proposed method.
During shifted conduction interval, D must be adjusted
according to t as shown in Fig. 8 to minimize the torque
ripple. It is obtained by making Te_s = Te with a combination
of D and t. t = 0.002 means θ = 24° in electrical
angle. As shown in Fig. 9, with our proposed method, as t
Fig. 11. Torque without the proposed method with shifted angle θ = 6°.
increases, Te_s starts to drop but is managed to maintain to be
close to Te within 7% error up to θ = 22° and drops rapidly
beyond it.
Therefore, the proposed method must be applied for θ = 22° Torque without and with proposed method is shown in
and less. Figs. 11 and 12, respectively, to verify the proposed method.
If phase current is shifted by θ = 6° in electrical angle at Overall torque ripple percentage %Te is defined as
500-r/min rotor speed, then t and D are calculated by (26) to follows:
be 0.0005 s and 0.31, respectively. The peak value of U-phase  Te − Te_sc_c 
%Te =    × 100%. (39)
current during the shifted conduction interval increases from Te 
24 to 25.5 A, as shown in Fig. 10. In addition, with phase
current shift by θ = 12°, the peak value of U-phase current As per the phase shift of θ = 12°, %T e is 25% without
increases from 24 to 26.3 A. By doing so, it stabilizes the any compensator. However, with our proposed method, %T e
phase voltage and minimizes the torque ripple in the shifted reduces to be around 1%. Our proposed method works well in
conduction interval. order for %T e to maintain to be within 10% until the phase

Fig. 12. Torque with the proposed method with shifted angle θ = 6°.

TABLE II Fig. 14. Phase voltage and current waveform from the proposed method
with shifted angle θ = 12°.

Fig. 15. Torque with the proposed method with shifted angle θ = 12°.

Fig. 16. Torque without the proposed with shifted angle θ = 12°.

Fig. 13. Typical experimental setup for driving BLDC motor. The typical experimental setup for driving BLDC motor is
shown in Fig. 13 with dynamometer (BHD-144) manufactured
shift of θ = 27° which results in the overall torque ripple by Valid Magnetics for torque and rotor speed measurement
reduction significantly. and power analyzer (PPA-3500) manufactured by Newtons4th
Ltd., Loughborough, U.K., for phase current and voltage
V. E XPERIMENTAL R ESULTS Three-phase BLDC motor is driven at the speed
In this experiment, three-phase BLDC motor (TM-1531) of 500 r/min with load torque of 0.5 N · m and θ = 12°
is driven by with and without proposed method to verify which is corresponding to t = 0.001 s to verify torque ripple
our proposed method for overall torque ripple reduction in minimization of the proposed method. Fig. 14 shows one of
the presence of phase current shift error. The BLDC motor the phase voltage and current waveforms of the BLDC motor
parameters are listed in Table II. driven/detected by the proposed method from power analyzer.

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