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Verification of a New Method for PI Block Design

of MRAS-Based Sensorless Speed Estimators

E. Babaei, Member, IEEE1, M.B. Bannae Sharifian2, R. Ajabi Farshbaf3, S.H. Hosseini, Member, IEEE4
1, 2,4
Faculty of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Tabriz, Tabriz, Iran
Azarbaijan Power Engineering Consultants (MONA-Consultants),Tabriz, Iran
E-mails: e-babaei@tabrizu.ac.ir, sharifian@tabrizu.ac.ir, ra.ajabi@gmail.com, hosseini@tabrizu.ac.ir

Abstract—Accuracy and stability of speed estimation and estimation strategies [3-6], model reference adoptive system
control in a wide range of speed in several conditions especially in (MRAS) has been chosen to be evaluated in this research. The
braking-mode is necessary for some applications such as traction main reason behind this choice is so obvious because MRAS
electrical motors control. In this paper, MRAS-based speed has been proclaimed as one of the best available methods,
estimation is concerned as a sensorless speed estimation
especially when the motor parameters are poorly known or
technique for an induction machine controlled by field-oriented
control (FOC) algorithm. Since MRAS speed estimator does have large variations [2, 7-9]. Response speed and robustness
never work with arbitrary parameters, here a new method has of controller are very important aspects in control system. As
been proposed for PI parameters assignment. The introduced it is mentioned in several references [2], determination of KP
method uses a predictive and adaptive technique that has and KI for PI block of MRAS technique is very important
improved the performance of MRAS-based speed estimator. because its performance is greatly depends on PI block.
Operation of this method will be evaluated by simulation results. Improper design of PI leads to large errors. If a flux observer
Its performance on braking-mode and speed reversal will be that is dependent on speed be used, any deterioration in the
discussed and some issues will be presented for its improvement. speed estimation will cause to instability especially in
regenerative braking mode [10].
Keywords—MRAS-based speed estimator, field-oriented control,
regenerative braking.
This paper proposes a new method for assignment of KP
and KI for PI block of MRAS-based speed estimator. In this
I. INTRODUCTION method PI parameters are determined in a predictive and
adaptive manner.
Nowadays, comparing with direct torque control (DTC), This paper is organized as follows. First, FOC algorithm is
field-oriented control is used for high performance variable introduced in section II. Then, MRAS-based speed estimation
speed drives. Implementation of both DTC and FOC is presented in section III. The new proposed method is also
techniques requires the motor speed information. explained in section III. Section IV presents brief explanations
Tachogenerators, resolvers, incremental or optic encoders are about combined regenerative and dynamic braking in field
usually used to detect the rotor speed [1]. However, these oriented mode that is used in simulations. In section V, some
sensors affect on reliability, simplicity and ruggedness of IM simulation results are presented, where the proposed method
drive. The other requirements of these sensors are careful accuracy will be evaluated. Finally, some concluding remarks
mounting and alignment, and special attention with electrical are stated in the section VI.
noises. Additional space for mounting and maintenance is
required for speed sensor and hence cost and size of the drive II. SENSORLESS FOC DRIVE
system will be increased [1-2]. Therefore, elimination of speed
sensor reduces the total cost of the drive system. Also, in In this paper, a MRAS-based speed estimator has been
emergency applications the IM drive must be able to continue applied in a sensorless FOC induction motor (IM) drive. FOC
its work in the failure of speed sensor. offers attractive benefits such as, wide range of speed control,
Sensorless drive system is more versatile due to the precise speed regulation, fast dynamic response and etc [1].
absence of the numerous problems associated with the speed Block diagram of a typical direct FOC sensorless IM drive
sensor as some of them discussed previously. Therefore, it is is shown in Fig. 1 which has been used for simulation
encouraged to use the sensorless drive where the speed is verification. It includes a VSI-fed direct rotor-flux-oriented
estimated using a control algorithm instead of measuring. It vector control algorithm. There are two closed loops: one for
should be noted that the speed sensor elimination degrades control of magnetic flux with isd and the other for control of
performance of drive system and is still a challenge for motor torque with isa . The rotor flux orientation exploits the
engineers. advantage that the two quantities can be controlled
In general, ‘estimation’ can be defined as the assignment independently. This property simplifies the control structure
of constants or variables for any system, according to a and generates good dynamic performance [1].
performance level and based on the measurements taken from For speeds under the rated value, the flux generating
the process. There are several speed estimation methods that current component is maintained constant but it decreased for
are based on different algorithms and most of them use speeds above the rated speed (field-weakening). It is
dynamic equations of the IM. Among several sensorless speed demonstrated that regardless of control strategy, keeping the
magnetic flux constant at different stator frequencies implies function of difference between the reference speed and the
that the stator voltage amplitude is approximately proportional actual speed of the motor.
to the stator frequency. Therefore, for speeds larger than the As it is shown in Fig. 1, a flux observer is used to
rated value the magnetic flux value cannot be kept constant determine the rotor magnetic flux. The direct FOC is more
because that would require high voltages that may damage the robust than the indirect one but its performance depends on
motor. It also should be noted that field-weakening decreases the type of used flux estimator. Parameter detuning leads to a
the efficiency of the IM. loss of rotor field orientation and to a deterioration of the
isa is calculated as a function of required motor torque and system dynamic response. Especially the rotor parameters
the motor field. The reference current is proportional to the should be updated through an estimator [11].
torque-to-field ratio. The torque is in turn calculated as a

ω ref isqref usqr usqs ua

+ +
− − ub
e − jθ
usdr usds
+ uc
2 p.Lm

cos θ sin θ

ωer isdref λ = λrx2 + λ2ry

cos θ =
λ ib
λ ry
sin θ =

cos θ sin θ

isdr i sds

e + jθ isqs

Fig. 1. Direct field-oriented control scheme.

III. MARS-BASED SPEED IDENTIFICATION selected as a reference model. Equation (2) is dependent on ωr
and is chosen as an adjustable model. The block diagram of
The concept of speed estimation using the MRAS MRAS speed identification is shown in Fig. 2.
technique, first presented by [7], is the topic of many
publications [11]. The MRAS speed observer analyzed in this ias vas
paper, employs two independent expressions for the time ibs vbs
derivate of rotor flux vector. They are obtained from (1) and ics
(2) in the stationary reference frame that usually are referred to
as “voltage model” and “current model”, respectively [12].
K ss K ss
⎡λ ′ ⎤ L ⎡ ⎡v ⎤ ⎡rs + σL1 p
0⎤ ⎡i ⎤ ⎤ s
qs iqss idss
p ⎢ ⎥ = r ⎢⎢ ⎥ − ⎢ ⎥ ⎢ ⎥⎥
vqss vdss
(1) λqr′s
⎢⎣λdr′s ⎥⎦ M ⎢ ⎢⎣vdss ⎥⎦ ⎢⎣ 0 rs + σL1 p ⎥⎦ ⎢⎣idss ⎥⎦ ⎥⎦
⎣ λdr′s +

⎡ −1 ⎤
ωr ⎥ ⎡λ ′s ⎤ λ̂ ′s −

⎡λqr′s ⎤ ⎢ T qr M ⎡iqss ⎤ qr

p⎢ ⎥ = ⎢ r ⎥⎢ ⎥ + ⎢ ⎥ (2)
⎢⎣λdr′ ⎥⎦ ⎢− ω
s − 1 ⎥ ⎢λdr′ ⎥ Tr
s ⎢⎣idss ⎥⎦ λ̂dr′s
⎢⎣ r Tr ⎥⎦ ⎣ ⎦ ω̂ r ε
Fig. 2. MRAS adaptive speed identification [12].
where σ = ( Ls ⋅ Lr − M 2 ) / Ls ⋅ Lr , Lr = Llr′ + M , and
Tr = Lr / r ′ .
Equations (1) and (2) are two state models for rotor flux It is important to design the adaptation mechanism of the
observation. Equation (1) is independent of ωr and thus is MRAS according to the hyper-stability concept. This will
result in a stable and quick response system where the
convergence of the estimated value to the actual value can be Δω r + Δε K I Δω̂ r
assured with suitable dynamic characteristics. Popov’s G1 (s ) KP +
criterion of hyper-stability for a globally asymptotically stable − s
system is used in deriving the speed estimation relation [7]. It
gives the below objective function: Fig. 3. Speed estimator dynamics.

ε = λqr′s λˆdr′s − λˆqr′s λdr′s (3) IV. COMBINED REGENERATIVE AND DYNAMIC BRAKING
which represents the difference between the reference model
In this paper, an innovative method is used for efficient
and the adjustable model. The parameter ε should be passed
braking of IM that is composed from a chopper controlled
through a PI block that is found to be satisfactory for the
braking resistor in the dc link circuit by additional software
adaptive scheme. Rotor speed is estimated by forcing the
which can be implemented in a microprocessor control
objective function to zero [12].
algorithm [14]. The braking torque produces negative shaft
The speed estimated from MRAS is fed back to a speed
power which is regenerated by IM and fed through the inverter
controller in a sensorless drive and is compared with the
into the dc link circuit. Because of unfavorable network
reference speed to get the command output.
conditions and the absence of load, the braking energy cannot
be accepted by the network, it must be converted into heat in
A. PI Design of MRAS-Based Speed Estimator
the resistors. The arrangement of braking resistor is shown in
The transfer function (4) is obtained from (2) through
Fig. 4. The great advantage of this circuit is that at any time
linearization with respect to a certain operating point [2]:
only as much energy is fed into the network as it can accept;
its capacity to accept energy is checked afresh in each cycle of
⎛ 1⎞ 2 switching frequency by the magnitude of the capacitor
⎜⎜ s + ⎟⎟ λr
Δε ⎝ Tr ⎠ voltage. A thyristor without its own turn-off equipments
G1 (s ) =  = (4) switches the braking resistor in and out. This means that after
Δωr − Δωr ⎛ 1⎞

⎜⎜ s + ⎟⎟ + ω s2 every switching-on of the braking resistor, the regenerative

⎝ Tr ⎠ brake can be switched on again only by a temporary opening
of the braking circuit, which is associated with a reduction of
Fig. 3 depicts the block diagram of equation (4). Assuming the braking effort [15]. High dynamic is achieved using the
ω s = 0 for simplicity, damping factor ξ and natural angular principle of FOC. For this propose stator current is processed
in a field oriented control system. Braking is performed when
frequency ωc can be specified by using KP and KI as follows
the speed reference is lower than the measured speed. In this
case, motor field and consequently the stator core losses are
maintained at nominal values.
⎧⎪ K P = (2ξωc − 1 Tr ) / | λr |2
⎨ (5)
⎪⎩ K I = ωc2 / | λr |2

In (5) KP and KI are fixed and calculated as a function of

rotor flux magnitude, λr, in the steady state, which is obtained
from current model. In this case, it may cause to significant
errors, especially in transients and braking mode. For
proposed method of this paper, some considerations should be
made. First, rotor flux magnitude, λr, which is calculated from
current model (2), is replaced with that of voltage model (1).
Since voltage model have been selected as reference model
and current model must follow it, with this replacement the
proposed method will be in prediction mode [13]. On the other
hand, KP and KI are on-line tuned with respect to instantaneous
variation of rotor flux, instead of its expected value in steady Fig. 4. Structure of used chopper for combined braking.
state. In this way, rotor flux magnitude unexpected variations,
will be neutralized by on-line tuning of PI parameters and its
resulting probable instability will be prevented. This V. DISCUSSION ON SIMULATION RESULTS
modification makes the proposed method adaptive for various
conditions. Prediction and adaptation are two characteristics of Motor and chopper parameters used for simulation,
the proposed method. performed with MATLAB/Simulink, are shown in Tables 1
This method does not complicate the previous algorithm, and 2, respectively. Simulated IM and inverter are considered
because rotor flux magnitude, λr, is continuously calculated in to have similar characteristics close to real ones. For
the MRAS algorithm and thus there is negligible need for simulation of MRAS speed estimation method, three major
additional computations. factors must be considered that are mentioned in section 3:
• Equations (1) and (2) must be performed in stationary B. Operation in Field-Oriented Regenerative Braking-Mode
reference frame, Fig. 6 shows the real speed, estimated speed and speed
• The parameter ε should be passed through a PI block; error for this case. At t=2sec speed command is changed from
PI parameters (KP, KI) must be determined in a secure 80 rad/sec to -80 rad/sec. Braking is done whenever motor
and reliable manner. MRAS speed estimator does never speed exceeds command speed.
work with arbitrary KP and KI. Here, the proposed
method explained in section III is applied for PI design.
• Objective function (3) must be forced to zero. It is done
by adjusting PI parameters as it explained.

Rated power (kW) 37
Rated line to line voltage (V) 460
Rated frequency (Hz) 50
Stator resistance (Ω) 0.087
Stator inductance (mH) 0.8
Rotor resistance (Ω) 0.23
Rotor inductance (mH) 0.8
Mutual inductance (mH) 35
Inertia (kg.m^2) 1.66
Friction factor (Nms) 0.1
Number of poles 2 Fig. 6. Performance of proposed estimator for case B.

TABLE 2 C. Operation in Fast Braking

Bus Capacitor (μF) 7500
In previous case motor electromechanical torque is limited
Braking resistance (Ω) 10 to 300 Nm with control system. It is because of thermal
Dynamic braking voltage (V) 700 limitations of IM, where high currents cause to undesirable
Regenerating voltage (V) 650 effects. If high currents are allowable for short times,
Switching frequency (kHz) 4.5 limitations of command electromechanical torque can be
expanded. This case is same as previous one but with this
deference; torque limit at starting is 500 Nm and there is no
In the case of ξ=1 and ωc=100 with rotor flux considered limit for electromechanical torque in braking mode. Fig. 7
for steady state, PI parameters are obtained as KP=13402 and shows the real speed, estimated speed and speed error for this
KI=694400 for traditional MRAS. These are modified on-line case. At t=2sec speed command is changed from 80 rad/sec to
during simulation with instantaneous rotor flux magnitude -80 rad/sec. DC-link voltage variations is shown in Fig. 8.
(proposed adaptive and predictive method). Below three cases In all cases, each time capacitor’s voltage arrives to 700V
are considered for simulations. dynamic braking initiates and each time its voltage goes below
650V -depend on IM state i.e. braking or motoring- both
A. Dynamic and Static Operation of Proposed Estimator regenerative braking initiates or capacitor charges from
Fig. 5 shows the real speed, estimated speed and speed rectifier.
error for this case. IM is loaded with 150 Nm at t=2.5sec. As a definition, presented in [11], low speed range is
where the voltage drop across the stator resistance, exceeds
20% of the stator voltage. For considered motor, it is about 15
rad/sec or 140 rpm. In all cases, it can be seen that biggest
speed error occurs at low speeds.
If traditional PI parameters were used, speed estimator
may become unstable or may have large errors in braking
mode. It is more predominant especially for fast braking
mode. It is because of abrupt and uncontrolled variation of
rotor flux magnitude [10]. Fig. 9 shows the speed error for
braking mode without modifying PI parameters and with
traditional method.
To more clarifying the instability phenomena, the
variations of rotor flux magnitude in stationary reference
frame are shown in Figs. 10, 11 and 12 for cases A, B and C,
respectively. Fig. 10 shows that when motor is loaded, rotor
flux value varies in the steady state. PI parameters’ changing
isn’t very necessary for case A, because instantaneous
Fig. 5. Performance of proposed estimator for case A. variations in ordinary working of IM are not so strong. For
case B, when IM deals with speed reversal, rotor flux
magnitude returns to its first value after large variations (Fig.
11). For case C that is fast braking mode, although similar to
case B rotor flux magnitude returns to its first value, it
changes more worst and suddenly (Fig. 12).
IM parameters are assumed to be identified for controller
and parameters detuning is not considered in the simulations.
There are some other limitations that are almost common in all
sensorless speed estimation methods and are not considered
here. Inverter nonlinearities, pure integration and parameter
drifting are some of them that their remedies have been
presented in several literatures [16-17].

Fig. 10. Variations of rotor flux for case A.

Fig. 7. Performance of proposed estimator for case C.

Fig. 11. Variations of rotor flux for case B.

Fig. 8. DC-link voltage in fast braking (case 3).

Fig. 12. Variations of rotor flux for case C.


In this paper, a new method was proposed for design of PI

block of a MRAS-based speed estimator. In proposed method
KP and KI are calculated as a function of rotor flux magnitude
that is obtained from voltage model of IM instead of current
model. This is predictive property of this method. Also, PI
parameters are on-line modified during simulation and this
property makes it adaptive. Since rotor flux calculation is a
Fig. 9. Performance of traditional MRAS in regenerative braking-mode.
necessary part of the MRAS, the proposed method does not
complicate previous algorithm. Assignment of KP and KI with
this method improves accuracy of speed identification,
especially in braking mode and fast braking, where variations
of rotor flux are abrupt and big. On-line tuning of KP and KI
with respect to rotor flux magnitude prevents from large errors
and probable instability that are more predominant in braking


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