Testing Hall sensors

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Testing Hall sensors

Post by ElectricGod » Sep 21 2016 8:17pm

[moderator edit: This has been split off from an "off topic" discussion drift in the LightningRods thread (pg 179). However, such good info was posted, and I didn't find a more appropriate thread, so...]

****NOTE: Edited and corrected with updated pictures and additional information.

How to test hall sensors...

This is a newer inexpensive component tester I found on ebay. It will test just about any electronic part with two or three legs and identify what it is. It's better than the original parts tester since it can generate a few wave forms and can be re-calibrated for internal component drift.

Image

This is the halls I have on hand right now. I have another 50 41F halls coming soon. As you can see I've got quite a few that I have tried out. Linear halls are commonly used in throttles.

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This is a neo magnet out of a hard drive. Notice how it is polarized on the ends. Also notice in the second picture that the magnet is also polarized on opposing sides. It has 4 magnetic poles! This can really confuse things if you think your magnet works a specific way and it doesn't. I've labeled the magnets 4 poles so that I can't get the magnetic orientation wrong. This magnet has a north and south pole on each end of the magnet.

Image
Image


Normal SS41F halls detect as a bi-polar NPN transistor with a diode from collector to emitter when there is no magnet nearby. In this picture I am testing a Chinese 41F that I bought for about 20 cents a piece on ebay. Real name brand 41F halls will respond identically.

Image


This is a normal 41F hall with a north side of a magnet close to the angled side of it. The hall detects identically as if it had no magnet in front of it. Every hall I have ever tested that was good and going to be used in a BLDC motor, looked just like this when a North sided magnet is brought close to it (see the below NOTEs).

Image

This is a normal 41F hall with a South facing magnet next to it. IE: you get back to back diodes. The diode between the hall signal pin and ground act like a current path to ground that pulls the controllers hall signal down to ground.

Image

NOTE1: Halls tend to come in a few different variations. 41F halls always show as a transistor like the above pictures in the presence of a north magnetic pole or no magnet. When the south pole of a magnet is brought close to the angled face of the hall and the part is retested, they are detected as two back to back diodes. If you buy 41F halls or any halls for use in a motor and they do something else, then don't use them. Some halls work the exact opposite. With no magnet nearby, they are two back to back diodes and then when the North side of the magnet is brought near the hall face, the hall is detected as the transistor. I have received quite a few 41F halls that worked backwards like this. Notice that bag above full of backwards 41F halls. Then there is the third iteration I have seen. Some halls use the south face of the magnet instead. It just depends on how that particular hall was designed. For any BLDC motor, you need halls that react like the above pictures show. If you get any other result first confirm your magnet poles are correct and then if the results don't match up, don't use that hall. Halls that don't work correctly will cause aberrant motor behavior. Don't use halls that don't work correctly.

NOTE2: Don't assume that just because you bought 20 halls from a reputable vendor, that they all work the same. The last batch of 41F halls I bought had 7 that operated in reverse and the rest operated correctly. I don't know what happened...maybe some of a different model accidentally got into the wrong production line? Anyway, those 7 halls are not usable for motors. IE: Test the halls before you solder them in place or else your motor will never run correctly.

NOTE3: Motor controllers that can use halls have pull-up resistors on each hall signal. This effectively holds the hall signal at 5 volts until something pulls it to ground. That's where the hall comes into play. When a 41F hall is facing a north magnet, it outputs 5 volts and the motor controller detects nothing. When a hall detects a south magnet pole it goes to ground. Since motor controllers are pulling their hall inputs to 5 volts and typical halls detect north on magnets and output 5 volts, then that means controllers are looking for the hall signal to transition to ground. It's the only thing the controller can detect. That means it is effectively looking for south facing magnets to pass in front of the halls. If you use halls that work opposite of how all controllers are designed, there is a very good chance that the controller will glitch or misread the motor position or it will run the motor roughly.

NOTE 4: If you test with a magnet, you will need to know which side of the magnet is the North vs South side so that you always test consistently the same way. I have a test tool that has two LEDs on it that light up for either North or South depending on what is detected. A compass will also work, but it us subject to all nearby magnetic feilds. If the North end of the compass points at the magnet face, that's the North pole of the magnet. IF the South end of the compass points at the magnet, that's the South pole of the magnet.

I test halls in 3 ways, but first let me repeat myself...

Your halls should look like the below pictures if it's a hall for a BLDC motor. Other halls vary based on how they are designed and what they are used for...See the NOTEs. If I don't get these results, then the hall needs to be replaced and can't be used in a BLDC motor. The result is that you should always get either the transistor or the back to back diodes as a dead minimum. Anything else is a bad hall. All BLDC motors use halls that detect South magnetic poles regardless of the specific hall part number. The important detail is that north facing magnets or no magnet should result in the transistor and a south magnetic pole detects as the back to back diodes. Anything else is wrong.

1. Put the hall in my electronics component tester and see if it comes up as a bipolar transistor with a diode from collector to emitter with no magnet present or a north magnetic pole.

Image

2. Then I bring a south magnet pole close and test the hall again. It should look like this.

Image

3. Then I remove all magnets and test again. It should look like this.

Image



This is the first parts tester I bought. It worked well, but the new one is better.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Digital-All-in- ... Sw8vZXNJCK

Later some Chinese engineer improved it a good bit and made this new one. I have since retired the original tester.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/EZM328-GM328R-t ... Swo4pYd0bb


Above, I showed tests with halls I had as spares, but It's not awfully hard to test them in the motor with the component tester. This is my hall connector at the motor. I use these IP68 connectors universally for everything I build. Your hall connectors will vary, but the wire colors will correspond to the same things. Red is +5v, black is ground, yellow/blue.green = hall signals. To test halls in motors I made up a short "test" adapter that I can plug into my component tester.

Image

This is the test adapter I made up. I just connect it to the motor hall connector and then use the component tester on those bare wire ends. The red and black wires are +5 volts and ground so you retest with them each time, then the blue, green and yellow wires are the hall signals for each phase. Just try each colored wire one at a time with the power wires. The halls are always in the presence of a magnet inside the motor so you need to know which hall is which and whether it has a north or south pole facing it. You should be able to see the hall transition to transistor or diodes depending on whether it has a north or south facing magnet in front of it. If it transitions correctly, then that hall is probably good. The tester usually displays "unknown device" if the hall is bad or it displays something that isn't one of the two examples shown above. I have yet to see a hall that's good that detects as something other than a transistor or two diodes. If you really want to be dead sure the halls are working, then remove the armature from the motor and then test each hall with a small magnet with known poles.

Image

You can also test the halls with a multi-meter. I'm not fond of this method since it is essentially the LED test. All you know is the hall is on or off, but not if it's internally correct like the parts tester shows. You still need to know which hall you are testing and what magnet face is in front of it. Connect your meter to the hall wire and ground and set it to a low DC voltage range. Power the halls across red and black with 5 volts. Place a north facing magnet in front of the hall under test. It should read pretty close to 5 volts. Now turn the motor a little until a south facing magnet is in front of the hall. The meter should read around 0 volts. Don't assume that just because a hall transitions from 5 volts to 0 volts that it is good. It is possible you have a reverse hall. Halls that work backwards transition too...this is NOT proof of a good hall!!!! They must go to 5 volts in the presence of a NORTH magnet face and to 0 volts in the presence of a SOUTH magnet face for the hall to be good.
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Re: LightningRods mid drive kit

Post by spinningmagnets » Sep 22 2016 6:35am

Shock resistance when the bike hits a bump, and heat....fake halls may "work" when they are new, but...for how long?

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Reverse halls

Post by ElectricGod » Sep 22 2016 6:40pm

Since I previously talked about reverse or backwards halls, I thought I should show them too. I've bought quite a few halls over the past few years and tested most of them. I've come across quite a few backwards halls that are supposedly SS41F halls. This post is about those halls. Remember that small bag full of backwards halls shown above? This is one of those.

1. NORMAL SS41F halls or ANY hall that will be used in a BLDC with a NORTH facing magnet or no magnet near it should test as a bipolar transistor with a diode from emitter to collector.
2. Normal halls used in BLDC motors should test as back to back diodes in the presence of a SOUTH facing magnet.
3. Anything else should NOT go in a BLDC motor.

So then what does a backwards hall look like? It looks physically identical to a normal and correctly working hall and both look like this. You can't look at a hall and tell it's going to work correctly or not. You have to test them.

Image

This is a backwards hall that I ordered that was supposed to be an SS41F hall. I am testing with no magnet present. Notice how it tests as two back to back diodes. This hall can't be used in a BLDC motor. essentially this hall pulls low when there is no magnet present. How can that be used to detect south magnet poles?

Image

Now I have a North magnet pole facing the hall. Same thing... back to back diodes which to the controller means a south facing magnet. No good for a BLDC motor.

Image

Now I have a South magnet pole facing the hall and it detects as the transistor. This is exactly opposite of what the controller is expecting for a south facing magnet and it's going to misread the magnet pole in the motor as opposite of what it really is.

Image

I talked about LED testing the halls. This is an inexpensive motor tester. It's better than nothing, but it wont tell you if your halls are backwards or not and absolutely won't tell you if the hall is back to back diodes or the transistor. All it tells you is the hall turned on and off an LED. If you know which LED corresponds to a specific hall in the motor and know what magnet pole is facing that hall, then the LED should light exactly the same on all 3 halls for the same magnet pole as a dead minimum. I have no idea if the LED's turn on when the hall detects a south magnet face or north magnet face. I use this tester just to see if I have 3 hall signals and then move on to actual testing with the component tester. I don't trust anything other than real proof that a hall is working correctly. This tester isn't proof of correctly working halls IMHO.

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Re: LightningRods mid drive kit

Post by spinningmagnets » Sep 22 2016 6:56pm

but the probability is that the so called name brand ones are the exact same part as the "fake" ones
There are factories in China that sell their particular product to several wholesalers. One client will want a very certain specification, and the other client will want something that "works", but...made with the absolute cheapest possible ingredients. Client #2 will have to accept a larger failure rate, and they will have to send out free replacements more often.

Same assembly line, two differing levels of quality.

When I say "fake halls" what I mean is a hall sensor that is clearly labeled "Honeywell", but is filled with peanut butter and good intentions, by the electronics company Hung Long Dong. I once purchased an acoustic guitar when I was in the Philippines, and the man who made it asked what brand name I wanted on it, he had stickers for all the major brands.

One of the main benefits of these types of forums is that...we can share info, in order to identify which vendors make reliable parts and what their prices are. Hall sensors are so cheap that I don't know of anyone that does QA testing on them, so it is a component where I will gladly pay $4 each if it is from a vendor with a well-regarded name to protect.

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Re: LightningRods mid drive kit

Post by izeman » Sep 23 2016 3:18am

thanks spinningmagnets for writing the long story and saving my time to do it. i would have typed exactly the same.
noone says that china produces junk only. that is totally not true. EVERY company produces the majority of their electronics stuff in china. be it cisco, ibm, hp, microsoft, you name it. and they produce enterprise class hardware that lasts.
BUT there are parts that don't pass the testing process, that are a bit out of specs, or simply ARE fake copies. you can see a lot of this with batteries. that's why the battery threads with information where to buy quality brand stuff for reasonable prices have a high hit rate. most of these ebay listings are pure fraud.
i just built a controller (well most of the parts was done by animalector *ggg*), but you just CAN'T rely on stuff from certain suppliers. be it CAPs, FETs, current sensors and so on. and the VERY SAME goes for ALL parts. we had issues that were not explainable, caused by strange behaviour of cheap parts.
i you can buy 20x hall sensors for $1 and the "regular" price is $1.50 for one, then something is no 100% cosher with the cheap ones. there is no such thing as free lunch. you get what you pay for. and it may be ok for you. and it may work just as good as genuine parts for your application.
and if i search for honeywell SS41 and get an offer 20pcs for a buck, than this is FAKE aka NOT GENUINE. nothing to debate here. and BTW: i never said $4 for ONE. this was the whole set.

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Re: LightningRods mid drive kit

Post by ElectricGod » Sep 23 2016 1:39pm

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Re: LightningRods mid drive kit

Post by LightningRods » Sep 23 2016 2:15pm

Yeah, you guys have drifted off topic a bit. If you want to talk about hall sensors, show your favorite method for testing for bad ones.
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Re: LightningRods mid drive kit

Post by ElectricGod » Sep 25 2016 2:49am

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Re: LightningRods mid drive kit

Post by LightningRods » Sep 25 2016 11:25am

Here are the written instructions from Edward Lyen for testing the hall sensors:

"The +5v (red wire) and the negative (black wire) are shared, all three of the hall sensors are connected in parallel. To get to voltage to the hall sensors, you need to plug in the hall sensor connector to the motor (with the controller powered on), so the +5v and negative can get to the sensors. From there you connect the negative lead (black) from the volt meter to the battery negative, and then take the positive lead (red) from the volt meter and tap on the yellow, green and blue leads. The voltage from the red wire (+5v) will redirect to the signal wire (yellow, green, or blue wires) when the hall effect sensors sense the change in the magnetic field as you turn the motor. You then should see voltage jump to 5 volt as you turn the motor with your hand."

I just found a YouTube video which makes this process completely clear:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=efYFOHnXh0E

I have a brand new small block motor that arrived from the factory with hall problems. I replaced the pins in the halls connector plug and soldered the connections. That usually fixes issues with new motors. Not this time. I'll try the external hall test outlined above and then open the motor up to see what I can see.

I saw other videos of people replacing hall sensors in hub motors. The halls are epoxied in and are a bitch to extract. Similar to my experience with them.
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Re: LightningRods mid drive kit

Post by LightningRods » Sep 25 2016 12:00pm

I just tried Edward's test procedure. The small block with apparent hall problems shows continuous 5v on two of the halls while rotating the motor. The third hall switches back and forth between 5v and a few millivolts as the poles of the motor pass. Testing a motor that runs properly showed the switching from 5v to millivolts on all three hall leads.
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Re: LightningRods mid drive kit

Post by ElectricGod » Sep 25 2016 12:10pm

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Re: LightningRods mid drive kit

Post by izeman » Sep 26 2016 3:24am

thanks for the link. instabuy :) i can test all of it with my DMM as well, but i like those small little geeky gadgets. and the display is a real added value.

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Re: LightningRods mid drive kit

Post by ElectricGod » Sep 27 2016 2:14pm

izeman wrote:
thanks for the link. instabuy :) i can test all of it with my DMM as well, but i like those small little geeky gadgets. and the display is a real added value.
There's a new model that has come out with a few more features. I have purchased one to see how it works out. The one I posted the link for has worked pretty well for me. It never gets discrete components wrong and does a decent job on things like halls and regulators too.

This is the newer model. It includes a frequency counter, basic square wave generator, external connector for larger parts that wont fit in the ZIF connector and a more sophisticated menu system. The previous unit was uber simple to use. You just plugged in the part and hit the button. I'll post up how this newer model works out.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/172230767507?_t ... EBIDX%3AIT
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Re: LightningRods mid drive kit

Post by izeman » Sep 28 2016 4:49am

you tell me now :) i already ordered the "old" one with a transparent case. if you search a little more you can find this even cheaper http://www.ebay.de/itm/272356840266. i paid 6€ incl free shipping. and the case was another 3,70€.
no idea how often i will use it, but it's a nice little gadget, and helpful for sure.

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Re: LightningRods mid drive kit

Post by ElectricGod » Sep 28 2016 10:10pm

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Re: Testing Hall sensors

Post by amberwolf » Sep 30 2016 4:19am


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Re: Testing Hall sensors

Post by ElectricGod » Sep 30 2016 4:41pm

Thanks for doing the move. I edited my first post to have it all together and then deleted whatever I said after that.
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Re: Testing Hall sensors

Post by ElectricGod » Sep 30 2016 10:28pm

Lyen sells these testers for $29. I found them on ebay for $12 so guess where I bought mine? Anyway, this is a poorly developed product, but works well enough for what it is. Label yours like mine and that will clear up the confusion. Also. google for Lyens manual which is an excellent explanation for what it does. I recommend that anyone who wants basic knowledge of what their motor or controller is doing that they buy this. I personally prefer my parts tester or a multi-meter for hall testing since I want to know for sure that the halls transition correctly in the presence of the correct magnetic pole. This tool doesn't tell you if your halls are working backwards or not. It just detects that they turn on and off.

The steer test connectors are for your hall throttle. It's not very accurate, but at least you can test if your throttle is off, or WOT.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/252498298537?_t ... EBIDX%3AIT

Image

I added halls to this AstroFlight 3220 motor. The 41F halls are set on top of three of the stator teeth and are 4 teeth apart. I didn't drill or cut anything. I just used epoxy to set the halls on top of 3 teeth. This is electrically 120 degrees apart. I could have just as easily physically put the halls 120 degrees apart. This is the tester on the 3220 checking out the halls. Rotating the armature changes the LEDs. All 3 of them transistion. It would be cool if the tester kept the phase LEDs lit until it detected another hall/phase transistions. If it did this, you could see which hall matches which phase which would be really useful in phase/hall matching. As it is, at least you can test the halls to be sure all 3 of them at least transition on and off otherwise the LEDs don't light up and turn off. Rotate the armature and watch the LEDs. You should see all 3 LEDs light up and turn off. If they stay on all the time or never light, that's bad halls. Don't expect the LEDs to light in a pattern and there should always be one or two that are off.

Image
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Re: Testing Hall sensors

Post by amberwolf » Oct 01 2016 3:34am

ElectricGod wrote:Thanks for doing the move.
I'm sure whoever moved it will appreciate the thanks, but it wasnt' me. It might say who it was in the post history for your first post in this thread, though.

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Re: Testing Hall sensors

Post by docw009 » Oct 01 2016 8:34am

That is such a cool tester, for $13 (the one that figures out your device type). I still chuckle when I look at my $4 Harbor Freight Centronics DVM, and wonder how many owners ever ever stuck a transistor into its test socket. It does work.

I'd buy the first one, except I don't need it. I did buy the $13 ebike tester last year.

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Re: Testing Hall sensors

Post by Ykick » Oct 01 2016 9:24am

5-30V battery, 7-15k resistor and DVM is all someone needs to qualify motor hall sensors. And with a little practice using the helpful wiki chart, Phase/Hall wiring combinations become easy enough to figure out in matter of minutes.

I don’t see the need for a “tester” but if someone does, good for them and particularly for those people selling testers.

These links still provide practically everything needed to sort out most basic issues:

http://www.ebikes.ca/learn/troubleshooting.html

https://endless-sphere.com/w/index.php/ ... less_Motor

There are times when you must eliminate the controller for motor Hall sensor testing so that’s where a little understanding of how to power them from a battery and use the pull-up resistor could be helpful wiki entry?

Here’s an old thread which illustrates a rudimentary Hall sensor test eliminating the controller:

https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewt ... or+testing
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Re: Testing Hall sensors

Post by teklektik » Oct 01 2016 10:38am

+1

Most motor/halls debugging can be done with nothing more than a meter, and the simpler the test rig, the more confidence you have in it. As Ykick points out, using a pull-up resistor and battery eliminates any test dependency on the controller or controller wiring, but the simple approach of using the controller to supply power and pull-ups is super easy and a positive result indicating a working hall needs no further investigation.

The important thing to appreciate in testing is that we don't need super accurate parametric measurements to electrically qualify the halls or phases in detail, we only need tests that grossly reveal symptoms of common failure modes. These symptoms can be detected with relatively simple and low-precision tools - or no tools at all....

Here's a post with links to techniques for hall and phase testing, etc from thread:
"Hall Sensor Testing Device Wanted"
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Re: Testing Hall sensors

Post by ElectricGod » Oct 02 2016 2:37am

Well thanks guys for your input...but my method works too. Feel free to use whatever method to test halls works for you. However, this is the methods I have used with a great deal of reliability. I personally like electronic gizmos if they make my life easier. In the case of electronics, I bought this tester a long time ago and have been playing with electronics since I was 8 or 9. I later went to school for an EE and have always played with electronics as a hobby. Devices like both of those in my first post are useful and helpful. I don't really care if the sellers of said products make a killing or not. I just care if what they sell makes testing things easier for me and these two devices definitely accomplish that and they are inexpensive.

I read those threads...the multi-meter method definitely works...and since you can see the halls switch their outputs from "off to on", that's useful information. I'll give it a try next time around I think I have a failed hall. The electronic component tester can't see the state switch since the halls are always in the presence of a magnetic field. Two LIPO cells in series ought to work just fine as a power source. That's close enough to 5 volts (what a typical controller delivers for hall power) to not matter for test purposes.
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onemorejoltwarden   100 W

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Re: Testing Hall sensors: Interpreting results

Post by onemorejoltwarden » Feb 14 2017 8:00pm

I tried one of the inexpensive testers and was impressed by how easy it was t use.
QUESTION
I have one hall output from the hub drive that doesn't flash on the tester and by VOM it stays at 4.5 v,
the same as the "on" voltage of the other 2, which alt between 0 and 4.5
I assume that a failed sensor would be either 0 or max, and not cycle like the rest, with hub rotation
Zero could be short. does "max" hall circuit voltage imply any particular type of failure
such as internal or external short?
I never tested a failed one before to see what it would look like.
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Re: Testing Hall sensors

Post by amberwolf » Feb 15 2017 2:12am

Since there is a pullup voltage on the hall signal line from the controller (or tester), then a steady voltage can mean either a bad connection from the hall itself to the output pin you're testing (anything from a bad crimp at that pin, to a broken wire anywhere from there to the hall, to the solder joint of that wire on the hall lead), or it can mean a failed hall.

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