Some might remember my prototype of the universal AC motor controller, designed to be compatible with Toyota Prius inverters. I've been busy with making it a bit more interesting, by adding support of new inverters and making it as universal as possible. I ended up completely redesigning everything, making it more robust and safe for automotive use.
The idea is, that we all can now get powerful and cheap power electronics from our favourite car manufacturer. The market is flooded with them, and since they are generally well designed and water cooled, they don't break - therefore currently there is no market for them.
Of course you could try to reverse engineer the whole drivetrain from a pure electric car, like the Leaf - but there are only few of those, compared to the availability of hybrid cars. Unfortunately their drivetrains are integrated with the combustion engine control units, so you cannot just use the Volt inverter with the Volt motor. Well, now you can
- Possibility to drive any three phase motor (induction, BLDC, weird hybrid designs etc)
- Both sensor as well as sensorless capabilities
- Drive by wire dual output accelerator support
- Isolated CAN interface
- Isolated USB interface
- Very robust input protection
- Compatible with all Toyota / Lexus stuff, Chevrolet Volt inverters and several others
One of the very interesting things is a dual motor
support. Yes, if you take a Chevy Volt inverter, you can use something like 2x 100kW motors. With peaks going even higher.
I've just sent the UMC Drive V2.0 in the production, this is how it will look like:
As you can see, everything is doubled. Two motor, fully differential PWM 3 phase control, measurement of 6 phase voltages, all currents, Vbus voltage, two throttle inputs, two temperature sensors, two encoder interfaces, several inputs and outputs.. one CAN
As with the prototype, you can easily run a calibration routine and teach it your own specific motor, or use configuration that someone else already made.
In terms of algorithms, I'm using InstaSPIN from Texas Instruments. This is currently the most advanced motor controller library, for both sensor as well as sensorless applications. The controller consists of two parts - the main carrier board, with all analog and digital signal conditioning, and an MCU board.
I've talked with several forum members having some interesting motors/projects, and they were willing to help me with the initial testing and verification of this controller on different motors.
They are going to get this controller, once the first batch comes from production
If everything goes well, and tests are successful, I can offer it to other people.
Even though I'm not going to publish all the schematics and source code now, everyone who will buy it will get them. Eventually I can make it completely open source. I'm not sure, if this model might work (colleagues are telling me that it's a stupid idea), but I'm willing to risk it
What are your thoughts? What would you expect from such motor controller? What would you use it for? Any feedback welcomed!