New sensor technology for use in brushless DC motors

Paul Boughton

Honeywell Sensing and Control has developed new sensor technology for use in brushless DC (BLDC) motors that removes the need for chopper stabilisation resulting in a product that has a faster response time, greater accuracy and minimal electrical noise without the need for additional filtering and the commensurate costs.

At the heart of the new technology is a quad Hall element and proprietary programming resulting in a highly sensitive and stable sensor tailored to meet the demands of designers using BLDC motors. It means that OEMs get all the high sensitivity and stability requirements across a range of temperatures that are required in different sectors such as robotics, portable medical equipment and HVAC technologies and appliances where quieter and more efficient motor performance is of critical importance.

Initially designers may be cautious of using a sensor that does not have chopper stabilisation, but not only does the new technology overcome chopper stabilisation drawbacks, it also brings additional performance advantages of faster response time, repeatability, improved jitter performance and no additional electric noise generation over a range of temperatures.

To prove the point, Honeywell tested the new non-choppper-stablised sensors against a number of ‘traditional’ chopper-stabilised products – including those with claimed higher sensitivity.

The test involved mounting and centering samples as close to each other as possible so that they all experienced the same environment on a circular target with 48 magnetic pole pairs used to trigger the product samples.  All results were measured against a Top Dead Center (TDC) trigger that had a very fast response time.

Comparison testing results for reliability and response time showed that the non-chopper stabilised parts had a repeatable output with a response time that was between 10 µs to 20 µs faster than chopper-stabilised products, including the high-sensitivity samples.

Testing also showed that even if the repeatedly issues could be overcome, the chopper-stablised sensors still showed a slower response time resulting in lower efficiency.

BLDC motors are growing in popularity due to their higher energy efficiency using electronic commutation versus mechanical commutation to control power distribution to the motor. But traditionally most BLDC motor designers turn to chopper stabilisation to mitigate for sensitivity and stabilisation issues without thinking about the new advances that are available.  Designers want the best - and with new technology there is now a more effective and cost effective solution available without the ‘traditional’ manufacturing drawbacks.

Honeywell Sensing and Control has developed new sensor technology for use in brushless DC (BLDC) motors that removes the need for chopper stabilisation.