Sensorless Brushless DC Motor Drive Based on the Zero-Crossing Detection of Back Electromotive Force (EMF) From the Line Voltage Difference Renewable Energy and Systems Projects


This paper describes a position sensorless operation of permanent magnet brushless direct current (BLDC) motor. The position sensorless BLDC drive proposed, in this paper, is based on detection of back electromotive force (back EMF) zero crossing from the terminal voltages. The proposed method relies on a difference of line voltages measured at the terminals of the motor. It is shown, in the paper, that this difference of line voltages provides an amplified version of an appropriate back EMF at its zero crossings. The commutation signals are obtained without the motor neutral voltage. The effectiveness of the proposed method is demonstrated through simulation and experimental results.


  1. Back electromotive force (EMF) detection
  2. Brushless dc (BLDC) motor
  3. Sensorless control
  4. Zero crossing




Fig. 1. Block diagram of the experimental setup.



Fig. 2. Phase current and speed waveform on no-load (experimental).

Fig. 3. Phase current and speed waveform on load (experimental).

Fig. 4. Phase current and speed waveform during loading transient (experimental).

Fig. 5. Phase current, virtual Hall, and real Hall sensor signal for 50% duty ratio PWM switching.


A simple technique to detect back EMF zero crossings for a BLDC motor using the line voltages is proposed. It is shown that the method provides an amplified version of the back EMF. Only three motor terminal voltages need to be measured thus eliminating the need for motor neutral voltage. Running the machine in sensorless mode is then proposed, in this paper, making use of the novel zero-crossing detection algorithm. While starting relies on triggering devices at the zero crossings detected using the proposed algorithm, continuous running is achieved by realizing the correct commutation instants 30delay from the zero crossings. The motor is found to start smoothly and run sensorless even with load and load transients. Simulation and experimental results are shown which validate the suitability of the proposed method.


[1] K. Iizuka,H.Uzuhashi, M. Kano, T. Endo, and K.Mohri, “Microcomputer control for sensorless brushless motor,” IEEE Trans. Ind. Appl., vol. IA- 21, no. 4, pp. 595–601, May/Jun. 1985.

[2] J. Shao, D. Nolan,M. Teissier, and D. Swanson, “A novel micro controller based sensorless brushless DC (BLDC) motor drive for automotive fuel pumps,” IEEE Trans. Ind. Appl., vol. 39, no. 6, pp. 1734–1740, Nov./Dec. 2003.

[3] T.-H. Kim and M. Ehsani, “Sensorless control of BLDC motors from near-zero to high speeds,” IEEE Trans. Power Electron., vol. 19, no. 6, pp. 1635–1645, Nov. 2004.

[4] S. Ogasawara and H. Akagi, “An approach to position sensorless drive for brushless DC motors,” IEEE Trans. Ind. Appl., vol. 27, no. 5, pp. 928–933, Sep./Oct. 1991.

[5] R. C. Becerra, T. M. Jahns, and M. Ehsani, “Four-quadrant sensorless brushless ECM drive,” in Proc. IEEE APEC, Mar. 1991, pp. 202–209.

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