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I'm designing a motor controller for 3-phase BLDC motor. I'm using following components,

  • Gate driver - IR2184
  • MOSFET - IRF540N

The complete circuitry and output waveforms are available here.

I have developed circuitry on the PCB as you can see in figure 1 in the link given.

With resistive load I have perfect BLDC commutation waveforms that I can observe and it is clear from figure 3 in the link.

But when I use same circuitry for the BLDC hub motor with following specs,

  • Power 250 W
  • Rated voltage 36 V
  • Max current limit 10 A
  • Motor load - No load, motor is running free on a mounting

As from figure 4 it is clear that circuit is not behaving as expected with an inductive load as motor coils do not have any other path to release magnetic energy but by body diode of MOSFETs. Snubber seems a solution to this problem. I have googled for 3-phase inverter snubber design but I could not find material specifically targeting 3-phase inverter snubber design.

Could I get some direction in the design of snubber for 3-phase inverter?

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    \$\begingroup\$ "motor coils do not have a path to release magnetic energy" - not true. The FET body diodes should provide a path. Your motor waveforms are a mess. Would it be possible expand the time scale and synchronize to the PWM so we can see the nature of the spikes? \$\endgroup\$ – Bruce Abbott Mar 27 '17 at 7:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hi @BruceAbbott, thanks for correcting me, I've updated question. Nice idea, I'll capture waveforms and I'll report the results here for further ideas. \$\endgroup\$ – Vinay Joshi Mar 27 '17 at 15:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hi @BruceAbbott, I have updated images as per your suggestion in the last comment. You can find it here imgur.com/a/fmLn5 .Figures 5,6 are for resistive load (Phase, HO, LO, PWM singls) and figures 7,8,9 are with motor itself w/o any snubber circuitry. I did not see any improvement with RC snubber as well as in I observed same magnitude of spikes. Please provide your insight on this one. \$\endgroup\$ – Vinay Joshi Mar 28 '17 at 13:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ There is an enormous amount of high frequency hash in your waveforms - even on the 5V PWM signal - which is not motor back-emf. What does the PWM signal look like at the Arduino - it is clean? What do you see across the power supply? What do you get with the motor connected but not running? Show us a photo of your setup. \$\endgroup\$ – Bruce Abbott Mar 28 '17 at 15:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hi @BruceAbbott, I have updated PWM signal at Arduino without external circuitry and it has small ringing at the PWM switching instants but that is not a problem as at no load and resistive load we see clear commutation waveforms. Power supply is clean without inductive load and it also has smaller ringing with inductive load. I can drive inductive for long otherwise it will burn my MOSFETs or even driver IC. With motor connected but not running, I do not observe any ringing or fluctuations. Setup photo and pure Arduino PWM is updated here imgur.com/a/fmLn5 . (1/2) \$\endgroup\$ – Vinay Joshi Mar 29 '17 at 10:04
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Firstly, try to mount RC snubber in parallel with transistors. You can choose values experimentally (f.e. 1k resistor, 1nF capacitor). It's difficult to calculate correct values (probably you don't have data about circuit inductance). Please note to apply resistor with correct power (depend on frequency, capacitor value and switching current) and capacitor with appropriate withstand voltage (including spikes).

http://www.cde.com/resources/catalogs/igbtAPPguide.pdf http://www.illinoiscapacitor.com/pdf/Papers/RC_snubber.pdf

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  • \$\begingroup\$ thank you for your answer, I'll try RC snubber in parallel with both high-side and low-side mosfets at each phase. Also, how would you recommend RCD should be connected for such circuitry? \$\endgroup\$ – Vinay Joshi Mar 27 '17 at 6:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think RC will be better here to reduce voltage supression. Also you can use RCD if better efficiency is needed. \$\endgroup\$ – Fasset Mar 27 '17 at 9:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ (there will be no dissipation energy /resistance/ of voltage spike when turn-off so there will be less effect for reducing spike). \$\endgroup\$ – Fasset Mar 27 '17 at 9:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks again @Fasset, I'll try out this with my circuit and report the results here. \$\endgroup\$ – Vinay Joshi Mar 27 '17 at 15:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hi @Fasset, I have connected snubber according to the quick step design in the cde document and I did not observe any improvement in the output with inductive load. I connected RC of 270Ohm 2W, 1nF and then 0.1uF across all six switches in the 3 phase inverter. But the magnitude of spikes remained same for both the caps values. What could possibly wrong. Resistor was carbon film resistor and capacitor is ceramic capacitor. I'll again try mica caps of higher values but please suggest your views. More updated results are here imgur.com/a/fmLn5 . \$\endgroup\$ – Vinay Joshi Mar 28 '17 at 13:09

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