Sensorless FOC controller based on InstaSPIN for aviation projects?

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jlcortex

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Apr 6, 2011
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9
Location
Valencia, Spain
Hi all,

I am developing this motor inverter, it is a compact inverter that could reach 160kw peak or double if IGBTs of double voltage are used. I am doing it for a project with a client but I think it could have an application in electric aviation.

It is based on the latest version of InstaSPIN from Texas Instruments. It is a very modern firmware that works in FOC control (Field Oriented Control), It is sensorless (don't need encoder or resolver) and allows to control all types of motors, ACIM, PMSM and BLDC.






I am at home (for near 3 weeks) and I was wondering if there is a movement of amateur electric planes where this inverter has a place
 

sming

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Apr 10, 2019
Messages
60
The quality of the board looks amazing, awesome project!
I'm pretty interested in electric airplanes, by the time I'll have something flying, the battery capacity will probably have doubled, win-win ;)
There is certainly a need for open and high quality motor controllers so any new option is good, but what about price? I understand the IGBT are not exactly cheap...
If you look around in this forum, there is a quest for "plug and play" components to put in airframes (like here)

There is a project that emerged from the endless-sphere forums (where people hack anything electric. Like a CRX with a leaf motor pushed to 300Kw...) that would be your "concurrent" : Axiom: 100+kW Motor Controller and Power Designs | We spin, you move
Now if the freerchobby engines where what they claim for the price, we would be going somewhere!

There is also Formula E Air race that's trying to become a thing, your controller would be perfectly suited for the specs! (I've read 150Kw max + time restricted boost?) The engine in your picture is something available too?
 
Last edited:

jlcortex

Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2011
Messages
9
Location
Valencia, Spain
hehehe, I am fan of Arlo and his CRX with nissan leaf motor!
My project is inspired in this Axiom inverter, Axiom is based on VESC opensource project, both projects are impressive works.

Wow, I never heard of this


About prices, I think IGBTs are affordable today, I have bought mine in farnell, so not the best price:
€ 142 each (https://eu.mouser.com/ProductDetail/infineon/ff600r06me3/?qs=lxTgnyf4o0cphN7dSZHX1Q==&countrycode=DE&currencycode=EUR)

I think i can found much better prices for IGBT, drivers and film capacitors
 

John.Roo

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Oct 8, 2013
Messages
329
Location
Letohrad / Czech Republic
Hi all,

I am developing this motor inverter, it is a compact inverter that could reach 160kw peak or double if IGBTs of double voltage are used. I am doing it for a project with a client but I think it could have an application in electric aviation.

It is based on the latest version of InstaSPIN from Texas Instruments. It is a very modern firmware that works in FOC control (Field Oriented Control), It is sensorless (don't need encoder or resolver) and allows to control all types of motors, ACIM, PMSM and BLDC.






I am at home (for near 3 weeks) and I was wondering if there is a movement of amateur electric planes where this inverter has a place
Nice job!
What type of cooling are you planning to use? Controllers have typically very good efficiency, but still - even 1% from 160 kW is 1,6 kW of heat :) I suppose that two black hoses in the bottom plate are prepared for water cooling - very good.

Few recommendations....
1) don´t forget to install big enough internal memory for "de-briefing".
2) use some simple way of communication (USB, bluetooth...) for quick config. change.

What price range you would like to stay in?

Best regards!
Martin
 

sming

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Apr 10, 2019
Messages
60
Wow, I never heard of this
Yeah, their communication sucks, or their reach is bad? I'm pretty interested and only found about that airplane after my post when I went digging...
It's pretty cool though! It kind of tickles me but the power requirement (150kw motor and 20Kwh battery) puts a price tag right there, probably out of my reach. It already needs a "formula V", with cheap (chinese) engines, battery pack salvaged from cars and your controller for 10K$ ;)
There is quickie in my area with the price going down for years now...

There is also the electric nemesis by Rolls Royce:
 

jlcortex

Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2011
Messages
9
Location
Valencia, Spain
wow, it is an interesting project, for 150kw probably it is better to use a used electric can motor with a custom gearbox (Nissan Leaf or similar).
But big problem is the battery, 20kwh and 150kw is near 10C, you need to build a battery with high discharge cells.

I have been asking this company about this cells, it seems perfect for this project
 

John.Roo

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Oct 8, 2013
Messages
329
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Letohrad / Czech Republic
10C on Li-Ion cells? Good luck with safety and cells lifetime... Think about very good battery pack cooling. And make a detailed tests of cells before making battery.
I hope you are aiming to lower price than 10K USD for the controller :)

I like this idea!
It already needs a "formula V", with cheap (chinese) engines, battery pack salvaged from cars.

And I can imagine to use something like this
KIT is for 35 800 EUR and you can install your own electric propulsion :)
 

jlcortex

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Apr 6, 2011
Messages
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Location
Valencia, Spain
sming say $10000 for full electric kit, At beginning I probably sell the main PCB or upload to pcbway, cost of this inverter could be around $1200

in my opinion battery pack from cars are not useful in a racing airplane, because this batteries are low discharge, for example Smart electric battery is 16kWh but the engine of the car is 20kw so bateries will be 1 to 2C. The battery will catch fire if you try to discharge at 150kw.

this new high discharge 18650 li-ion batteries are good choice, it is safer than li-po cells.
 

sming

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Apr 10, 2019
Messages
60
These ? Molicel P42A 21700 4000mAh 45A Battery
For a 20Kwh pack, I calculate around 1400 cells? 8500$ / 102kg
I wonder about all that metal casing of cells, that must add quite the weight? Can you open a lot of cell and pack them in a carbon shell, say in the shape of an airfoil? ;)

@John.Roo: nice, that's the silent twister right? But still 50K€, that's out of my reach. You need something motocycle priced (20k?) if you want some regular people participating.
What I'm building is a gaz'aile, it's designed to put an heavy diesel (100Kg+) engine in the front, so a 100Kg battery pack would fit right in. Use 26Kw/h to go 200km/h...
 

John.Roo

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Location
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I am using 35 kWh battery pack and weight is 150 kg. So 20 kWh can be arround 85-90 kg. Of course you need also motor + cooling system, controller, wiring, BMS systems etc. so finally you will have in the front of firewall more than 100 kg...

Gazaile is this airplane?
I can´t beleive wing area only 5,66 m2 for two seater... wow.
Did you flown it? How about stall characteristics at MTOM 525/600 kg?
 

sming

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Apr 10, 2019
Messages
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Yes this airplane (F-PGPS).
I've flown "in" it but I'm not very qualified (still training) to answer your question even though Serge tried to make me land the **** thing. The "avion" version with the 5.66 m2 wing is quite "sporty", I've only done a "round the patch" in it and I was a bit overwhelmed on take off and landing (100km/h+). Stall speed is quite high but from the reports I've read, pretty predictable? I much prefer the prototype (F-PTDI) with way bigger wings (from Robin ATL) and very heavy engine (from opel-isuzu, 180Kg). It's not has fast (180 km/h cruise) and handling is very easy (at least as good if not better than the aquila I've been training in).
You can choose a bigger wing when building, the "ULM" version, to get stall under 65 km/h.
You're welcome to LFRB, would love to see your phoenix! ;)
 

dog

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Dec 29, 2019
Messages
279
While I have little direct experience with lithium batteries,I have lived off grid for 10 years and have always kept up on emerging battery and
inverter teck.
The latest concensus in litium batteries is how
the charge cycle is managed and how this relates to performance,longevity and fire hazard.
This includes things like impedence matching of cells,and attention to other measurable factors for each cell in a pack,plus a new observation that the initial charge has an influence on all later
characteristics of an indivual cell.
These are things that I would be enquiring about from any supplier of battery packs ,chargers and
inverters.
 

jlcortex

Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2011
Messages
9
Location
Valencia, Spain
My battery suggestion for a AIR RACE E:
batt.PNG
with INR18650-P28A cell you can get a 93,8kg (only cells) battery capable of 150kw continuous


And a suggestion for a low cost motor:

it is crazy idea, but I am quite sure it is capable of 150kw at 5000rpm if you use 400V instead 96V.
As i say it is a crazy idea but we have a scooter with cheap overvolted 500W motorhub drawing more than 8000W and not big problems, except that it is very dangerous!
this motor is "Max Torque: more than 350N.m", at 5000rpm it is 183kW
 

John.Roo

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Messages
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Location
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Yes this airplane (F-PGPS).
I've flown "in" it but I'm not very qualified (still training) to answer your question even though Serge tried to make me land the **** thing. The "avion" version with the 5.66 m2 wing is quite "sporty", I've only done a "round the patch" in it and I was a bit overwhelmed on take off and landing (100km/h+). Stall speed is quite high but from the reports I've read, pretty predictable? I much prefer the prototype (F-PTDI) with way bigger wings (from Robin ATL) and very heavy engine (from opel-isuzu, 180Kg). It's not has fast (180 km/h cruise) and handling is very easy (at least as good if not better than the aquila I've been training in).
You can choose a bigger wing when building, the "ULM" version, to get stall under 65 km/h.
You're welcome to LFRB, would love to see your phoenix! ;)
LFRB - Brest Bretagne, Atlantic coast. I was flying near La-Rochelle and it was beautifull :)
pn0940484.JPG
pn0940749.JPG
 

John.Roo

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Oct 8, 2013
Messages
329
Location
Letohrad / Czech Republic
My battery suggestion for a AIR RACE E:
View attachment 94988
with INR18650-P28A cell you can get a 93,8kg (only cells) battery capable of 150kw continuous


And a suggestion for a low cost motor:

it is crazy idea, but I am quite sure it is capable of 150kw at 5000rpm if you use 400V instead 96V.
As i say it is a crazy idea but we have a scooter with cheap overvolted 500W motorhub drawing more than 8000W and not big problems, except that it is very dangerous!
this motor is "Max Torque: more than 350N.m", at 5000rpm it is 183kW
Dear friend I totally agree with you - that is definitelly crazy and dangerous! 400 V instead of 96 V? Scooter you can leave in seconds - with airplane you have to land and it takes time (even landing on BRS parashute takes time). I cannot stop you (and beleive me that I would like to), but one very important suggestion - make a lot of ground tests on testing engine bed with the prop (not on airplane) outside from building or hangar. Simulate typical circuits (1-2 min. max, power, 5 min cruise, than low power for approach) - as many as possible. Than you can simulate air race (max power for takeofff and max cont. power for "unlimited time"). Measure temperatures on motor (ideally on more points), controller and of course on battery pack (info from each cell pack from BMS).

I know that experience is not transferable so you need to find your own way. I mentionned many times that since 2011 we collect experience with electric propulsion. Positive and also negative experience - but it has always value for next steps. But main point is to survive to be able to make a next step :) I like your enthusiasm (you do a nice job with the controller) so please just try to make as much ground test as possible and stay safe.

And one more suggestion.... Ask some instructor owning the same plane like you build and make as many deadstick landings as possible from different altitudes. Beleive me - it is usefull for every test pilot and designer.

Best regards and I really hope to meet you in Brest :)
Martin

Corn field 1.jpg
Corn field 2.jpg
(from 5:20, subtitles are available in English)
 

sming

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Apr 10, 2019
Messages
60
My battery suggestion for a AIR RACE E:
with INR18650-P28A cell you can get a 93,8kg (only cells) battery capable of 150kw continuous
Wow nice! where do you get that kind of price per cell?? Your cheap option would be totally my kind of price!
And a suggestion for a low cost motor:
41Kg is heavy for a 14KW engine no?? Your idea is a bit crazy but if it could handle that kind of power, it would be nice for the price!
The 261KW siemens is 50Kg...
The Bolt engine with gears is 72kg I believe, and 150KW.

Thinking of Air Race E, instead of doing the same thing as with petrol engine, perhaps a more interesting race would be to specify a battery pack capacity per category (say, 5Kwh and 20Kwh) and let the engineering comes up with the most efficient solution! Lot's of new aero to try, lots of small engines or one big, etc...

@John.Roo : thanks for the video and the pictures! I must say, I applaud your vision and doing it event if "it's impossible/useless", against all the nay sayers. You paid your dues (nice job on the in-the-field ;) landing!) and learnt a lot. When the batteries are 500Kwh/kg (this year? there is some Li-S rumors), you will be ready and flying 2h while laughing at the others trying and burning engines and controllers ;)
 

John.Roo

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Messages
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Wow nice! where do you get that kind of price per cell?? Your cheap option would be totally my kind of price!

41Kg is heavy for a 14KW engine no?? Your idea is a bit crazy but if it could handle that kind of power, it would be nice for the price!
The 261KW siemens is 50Kg...
The Bolt engine with gears is 72kg I believe, and 150KW.

Thinking of Air Race E, instead of doing the same thing as with petrol engine, perhaps a more interesting race would be to specify a battery pack capacity per category (say, 5Kwh and 20Kwh) and let the engineering comes up with the most efficient solution! Lot's of new aero to try, lots of small engines or one big, etc...

@John.Roo : thanks for the video and the pictures! I must say, I applaud your vision and doing it event if "it's impossible/useless", against all the nay sayers. You paid your dues (nice job on the in-the-field ;) landing!) and learnt a lot. When the batteries are 500Kwh/kg (this year? there is some Li-S rumors), you will be ready and flying 2h while laughing at the others trying and burning engines and controllers ;)
Thank you!
Just one detail - we are already flying 2,5 hours / one re-charge + safety reserve :)
At the end of 2018 we did first flight with electric Phoenix with 35 kWh Li-Ion battery and 60 (80) kW motor.
(summary of flights from 2011-2019)
(first flight of new version of electric Phoenix)
(real challenge in Sweden and Norway) etc.

But I am not laughing at the others. I just want to try to share experience. I really like the new ideas how to use easily available and affordable components for homebuilt airplanes. As I wrote - personal experience is unfortunatelly not transferable...
However some mistakes is possible to precede. I can tell you my opinion and is up to builder to follow / not follow it.

Airplanes in Red Bull Air Race had same engine. I think that idea to have "unified" battery capacity (and maybe some limitations like max. "C" etc.) is not bad. Look how RBAR was succesfull. Ideally sponsors / organizators could supply batery packs to teams to help also "small" teams to participate :)
 
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