Initial BLDC controller tests

The initial BLDC controller tests have been conducted with the with the propulsion motor. We connected the hall sensor as well as the power cables to the controller, and we managed the controller with the open source BLDC tool, via a USB connector.

Building BLDC tool

The build process of the BLDC tool is very well described here.

First test

First of all, we made the first tests in standard mode. The motor was running more or less smoothly. However, some speed variations were noticeable at different speed.

Then, we moved to Field Oriented Control (FOC) mode. At the beginning, the motor didn’t move at all. It is important to make sure the VESC measured all motor parameters, and to save them into the controller. After having configured the controller correctly, the motor moved more or less smoothly: it was better than standard mode, but speed variation were still noticeable.

Therefore we supposed that the speed variation came from the firmware: we used an old one. Unfortunately, the open source BLDC tool did not support newer software version.

We went to the payed version of the BLDC tool. When I say payed, it is not really true: you are strongly advised to make a donation. However, according to the work done by Benjamin, we felt it was perfectly normal to participate financially in its development.

We dowloaded and installed the new BLDC tool,  connected the driver and launched the software. When connecting, surprise: a message told us that the bldc controller firmware was too old. In fact, it was not really a surprise as we suspected it as mentioned above.

Firmware upgrade

A new firmware was included in the new BLDS tool distribution. Then, we decided to upgrade. This process is rather easy if you make it in the right order:

  1. Upgrade the boot-loader first
  2. Upgrade the firmware after having upgraded the boot-loader.

If you proceed in this order, everything works fine. Otherwise, you will not be able to upgrade the firmware.

Note: Make sure to wait enough time before rebooting the BLDC. Otherwise, the firmware might not be written correctly and you will have to re-program it with other tools.

Second test

After all the firmware upgrade, we retested. With the newer firmware, in FOC mode, the motor runs very smoothly: no speed variation are now noticeable.

The next step will be to test the CAN bus commands of the BLDC controller.

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