Motor control solution features FAST software encoder algorithm to identify, tune and fully control a motor in less than 5 minutes

February 27, 2013 // By Paul Buckley
The new InstaSPIN-FOC (field-oriented-control) solution from Texas Instruments Incorporated, enables designers to identify, tune and fully control (through variable speeds and loads) any type of three-phase, synchronous or asynchronous motor in five minutes or less.

The new technology removes the need for a mechanical motor rotor sensor to reduce system costs and improves operation using TI’s new software encoder (sensorless observer) algorithm, FAST (flux, angle, speed and torque), embedded in the read-only-memory (ROM) on TI’s 32-bit C2000 Piccolo microcontrollers. InstaSPIN-FOC joins the previously introduced InstaSPIN-BLDC technology and will be followed with future InstaSPIN variations to make motor control development easier and more efficient.

Many industries have delayed the use and adoption of sensorless FOC motor techniques because of the lack of motor control system knowledge, despite the many system benefits these techniques provide. InstaSPIN-FOC eases development and reduces system cost and complexity for designers - even those with limited motor control experience - and enables premium solutions that improve motor efficiency, performance and reliability in all variable speed and load motor applications.

In traditional FOC motor designs, the use of a rotor sensor can impact a system with increased costs (sensor, power supply, special cabling and connectors, installation and maintenance) and potentially lower reliability (performance degradation in harsh conditions, electrical noise, temperature and humidity). In addition, using a sensor in many applications, such as an enclosed compressor or a large traction machine, is also completely impractical.

The InstaSPIN-FOC technology claims to save months of design time with nearly fully automated identification and control tuning, allowing designers to differentiate their products with capabilities beyond full motor torque.  Near encoder performance with embedded on-chip FAST observer algorithm calculates a reliable and robust estimation of flux, angle, speed and torque across use conditions. Accurate, sensorless ‘estimator’ performance eliminates the need for a physical encoder in most cases.

The technology accommodate all three-phase motors, synchronous (BLDC, SPM and IPM) and asynchronous (ACI) with the same solution.

InstaSPIN-FOC also eliminates start-up challenges of other sensorless techniques with built-in start-up modes and observer angle lock in less than one electrical cycle.

Energy savings for induction motors can also be gained using