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Dummy load for brushless motor controller

Dummy load Jig Complete

Dummy load Jig Complete

Here is a little jig I made to test and characterize the BLDC controller I wrote about a while back. It is a dummy load consisting of two coupled motors: one driven by a controller and another having its windings shorted either directly for maximum load or through series resistors when measured load is desired. Title picture shows finished jig (click on it to make it larger). The construction details follow.

Two brackets made of 2″ aluminum angle profile hold 50-size brushless outrunner Chinese motors rated at 100A. The brackets are bolted to 0.5″ polycarbonate base. The motor shafts are coupled with a flex coupler. Finally, the contact plates are bolted next to each motor – this way if I burn a motor, changing will be easy. The high-current wires are soldered to the female contacts. I’m using double wires to increase current capacity of the wire and also to allow observing half of the flowing current with my little 50A current probe.

I tested the load with my prototype BLDC controller and was very pleased with results. The testing is documented in the short video – check it out.

Advanced brushless DC motor controller

BLDC rev.0

BLDC rev.0

I got pretty tired of coding recently and had to switch my brain to something as distant from USB protocol as possible. Also, I’ve being planning a quadcopter build for which I need a motor controller less basic than PPM-driven R/C electronic speed controller AKA ESC. I needed something fast, reliable and scalable and at the same time not too hard to understand. After studying several existing open source designs I decided to make my own. This article is a status report of testing the initial prototype of sensorless brushless DC motor controller.

The prototype can be seen in the middle of the title picture (click on it to make it bigger). The green board contains a controller ( Allegro A4960 ) plus power stage – 6 N-type MOSFETS. In addition to performing typical control functions – setting speed and direction of 3-phase brushless sensorless DC motor, this controller also has a tachometer and fault indicator outputs as well as number of configuration registers available via SPI interface. The controller IC consists of 2 main functional blocks – a logical interface and power bridge driver. The former is compatible with 3.3V and 5V logic and the latter is specified in 5.5V-50V range (startup is possible from as low as 6V), making it suitable for projects ranging from 2S LiPo-powered models to electric scooter drives.

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