Originally posted by
stevendhansen on Hacker News. Copy pasted here for reference, and further discussion.
Very impressive! I love to see this kind of thing on HN. I scanned through your code a bit on mobile, and here are a few quick suggestions:
1) It looks like you are using field oriented control. This is used 99% of the time in industry, but if you really want high torque bandwidth you should check out alternate control techniques. My favorite is an up-and-coming algo developed at UW-Madison called Deadbeat Direct Torque and Flux Control (DB-DTFC when searching for papers). It uses an inverse motor model paired with rotor/stator flux estimators to produce a deadbeat (one timestep later) torque and flux response. I have heard apocryphal stories of people who implement DB-DTFC accidentally snapping motor shafts when they forget to limit the torque slew rate. It is a very high performance algorithm, and beats FOC and DTC hands down at the cost of a bit more complexity.
2) If you are sticking with FOC for now, you can make a few quick improvements that will help a lot. First add qd-axis decoupling on you current loop commands (may have missed them, but I didn't see them in your code). You will want reference frame speed ("omega") decoupling multiplied by current and the transient inductance of the machine, which undoes a lot of the cross coupling that causes issues at high speeds or fast changes in torque. Flux decoupling will help with integrator wind-up, and stator resistance decoupling also helps lessen integrator wind-up at low speeds.
3) Have you considered implementing a sensorless algorithm? It can be done with both FOC or DB-DTFC, although there are some constraints on changing your switching frequency on the fly. If you have a fixed switching frequency a common technique is to superimpose a high frequency carrier on top of your voltage commands and then demodulate the high frequency response in the currents. Since a BLDC has salient poles on the rotor, this technique lets you estimate speed even down to zero! Then you wouldn't need encoder/resolver feedback which would be especially nice for robotics projects.
4) If you really want to get all of the current out of those FETs check out discontinuous PWM strategies. This are especially helpful at low speeds when your applied voltage is low, and can lower your switching losses enough to give you an extra ~40% current rating.
Great work overall. The hardware looks really clean and well designed, and it is easy to tell you put a lot of thought and effort into the site and this project.