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PowerPACk32

High Voltage (160V Abs Max) High Current Tri Phase BLDC Motor Driver Controller.

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The PowerPACk32 module is comprised of two subsystems: a brain module and a power FET module. The Brain32-4L module is the subsystem revolving around a PAC5232 MCU Power Stage driver/controller. The Brain module is paired with a Power MOSFET module such as the PP_TO220_3S or PP_TO220_SS. Together, they form the ultimate tri phase inverter designed to drive 3 phase BLDC or PMSM motors using either sensored or sensorless algorithms.

The completed module can drive motors with as much as 160V Abs Max (60V to 80V nominal recommended) and extremely high currents (30A to 50A continuous - 100A to 200A transients).

The microcontroller is in charge of regulating motor current, regulating motor speed, protecting against over current events, sampling analog voltages used for speed command, enabling/disabling the motor, applying accelerating and decelerating profiles, etc.

The Power Stage Variations

The reason why PowerPACk32 was designed as two different boards was to make it easy to deal with the different topologies. Although a 2 board solution is often undesirable, when experimenting there are a few advantages worth mentioning:

  1. The Microcontroller side of things was implemented in a 4 layer board, whereas the 2 layer board was generated in a 2 layer copper clad. If the entire solution had been implemented in a single board, then the entire PCB would have had to be either 4 layers or 2 layers.
  2. By splitting the module, I was able to design one FET board with single shunt and one FET board with three shunts (SENSE resistors). If a different topology was to be implemented (i.e. two shunts for phases U and V and a single shunt for total current; or using TO247 package FETs) I can easily modify the entire solution by simply changing the FET board.
  3. While experimenting/developing code for many different motors, I may need to change SENSE resistors, FETs, voltage dividers, etc. multiple times. Instead of physically changing these components on a single board, I can have multiple boards with different configurations which I can plug and play in seconds. Had the solution been a single board, I could also have multiple boards with different configurations but you can see how the stock gets bulkier really quick...

On PowerPACk lingo, the MCU side is always called the Brain board and the FET module, the FETs board. For this project  you will see there is a 4 Layer Brain board and two different versions of the FET board.

The Voltage Range:

PAC5232 was designed for higher voltage applications. As the market has started to see an increase of 40V, 56V and 80V batteries (mostly for garden tools, as well as mobility solutions), there was a need for a device capable of operating at voltages much higher than the 72V the PAC5223 is rated at. The PowerPAC32 module starts to operate at around 25VDC. Most components are rated at 200V (electrolytic caps, FETs, etc), yet the Abs Max is 160VDC. The module does not have an Over Voltage protection. For 56V application, 160V represents almost 3X worth of headroom which is more than plenty when considering voltage transients.

Current Handling

The TO220 MOSFETs employed on the module are 200V 65A switches. The PowerPACk32 PP_TO220_xS module was designed with enough space to allocate a heat sink. It is of crucial importance for the system's thermal impedance to be minimized. As part of this project, I will present a model for the thermal heat sink air foil which I plan to utilize. Maximum Current will be measured once this component is implemented.

Motor Control Topologies

The PowerPACk32 module can drive tri phase BLDC motors in either Hall Sensor or Sensorless mode. For Hall Sensor, PAC5232 Timer Input captures are used to gather hall sensor commutation point as well as opcode. For Sensorless mode, phase output voltages divider are compared against the center tap to obtain the BEMF crossing point and determine optimal commutation point. The exact same hardware can be utilized for either algorithm. Alternatively, tri phase PMSM motors running Field Oriented Control algorithms could also be driven. For this project I will provide support for BLDC with Six Step Trapezoidal control.

End Application

The foreseeable end application for the PowerPACk32 module is driving a small GoKart vehicle running at somewhere in between 48V to 60V.

PP_TO220_3S.pdf

PowerPACk32 TO220 Three Shunt board

Adobe Portable Document Format - 223.66 kB - 01/30/2019 at 03:24

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PP_TO220_SS.pdf

PowerPACk32 TO220 Single Shunt board

Adobe Portable Document Format - 205.54 kB - 01/30/2019 at 03:23

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PP_Brain32-4L_RevE1.pdf

PowerPACk32 Brain32 4 Layer board schematic in PDF Format

Adobe Portable Document Format - 396.37 kB - 01/30/2019 at 03:00

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  • 1 × PAC5532 Microcontroller/Power Stage Driver
  • 6 × IRFB4227PbF Discrete Semiconductors / Power Transistors and MOSFETs

  • 1
    Regulators And Power Supplies

    Although the PowerPACk32 module can operate with any voltage between 25V and 160V, the internal circuitry requires different voltage rails such as 12V (for gate driving), 5V (for internal logic), 3.3V (for analog blocks) and 1.8V for the microcontroller core. Most embedded systems would require a series of step down voltage regulators to take the battery input and generate all of these rails. Yet, one of the beauties behind the PAC5232 is it contains all of the voltage rails required to operate within the application.

    For the PowerPACk32 module, we are leveraging the internal DC/DC Buck converter which will take the 25V to 160V DC voltage and generate the 12V used for gate driving. A second DC/DC Buck converter takes the 12V and steps it down to the 5V we need for the logic. Cascaded from this rail, internal LDO's generate 3.3V and 1.8V for the analog Blocks as well as the MCU core.

    All we needed to add were some ceramic caps for the LDO based rails, an inductor for the 5V Buck, and the DC/DC Buck converter components to generate the 12V rail. The PAC5232 controls, as well as monitors, all of these voltage rails. 

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