Page 1 of 51

Compact Field Oriented Controller, ASI + Grin, limited run

Posted: Nov 26 2014 8:44pm
by justin_le
Update: This thread is now covering a new device called the PhaseRunner motor controller, based on the 72V compatible BAC800 PCBs
Start reading from this post for the PhaseRunner controller details:
http://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewto ... 5#p1034905

Most recent physical configuration, as of June 2016 (page 31 of this thread)
https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewt ... 0#p1195198

Rough draft of the users manual from Sept 2016
http://www.ebikes.ca/documents/PhaserunnerDraft.pdf

While this post has the new Grin software package for tuning the controller
https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewt ... 7#p1133077

And if you are interested in learning about the merits of a Field Oriented controller compared to your standard infineon style trapezoidal device, there is plenty of test results to ponder starting around Page3:
http://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewto ... 00#p981500

******************************** END EDIT ***************************************

Hi everyone. It's been a few years that we've been playing with the field oriented motor controllers from Accelerated Systems (ASI) in Toronto. These proved super awesome, but underwhelming in the power and aesthetics department for what we were after. So we got a custom run of bare boards made with 2.5 mOhm mosfets (Rather than 10mOhm) and did our own enclosure machining for higher heat capacity, inline installation to bike tubes, and room for additional bus capacitance and a precision shunt for a Cycle Analyst plug. The results are discussed a bit here:
http://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewto ... 81#p738781

We've made even more changes since then, including going to a hard coat anodized finish so that there is NO insulating pad between the mosfets and enclosure giving the best possible thermal contact.
Super BAC500.jpg
Super BAC500.jpg (27.53 KiB) Viewed 38209 times
Insides with Features.jpg
Internal assembly
Insides with Features.jpg (125.44 KiB) Viewed 38209 times
We started off making 50 of these but because of a lot or internal usage and attrition we have only 35 units finished for sale at $295 each. Our plan was to make this a pilot run for a future production product, but since we started ASI has had some changes and has switched to a fully potted board design that isn't quite as attractive or as adaptable. So at this stage it's not clear if we'd be able to make another run quite the same way.

Basic Specs:
  • 75V max (recommended no more than 48V nominal batteries)
  • 60A max phase/battery current
  • Runs sensored or sensorless, no commutation frequency limit reached yet
  • Includes TRS jack for computer connection with TTL->USB cable
  • Wired with 6-pin CA3 plug, 3-pin throttle plug, and 4-pin ebrake plug
  • Infinite levels of customization and configuration via ASI's BACDoor software suite
  • Fully proportional and smooth regenerative braking
  • Sealed design with a breathable membrane vent that doubles as LED indicator light port
  • Torque or Speed throttle input settings
Some more pics:
Bottom View.jpg
Groove on bottom of enclsoure
Bottom View.jpg (43.46 KiB) Viewed 38209 times
Complete Device.jpg
Finished controller showing cable length
Complete Device.jpg (43.58 KiB) Viewed 38209 times
Programming Plug.jpg
Jack for computer programming and configuration with the BACDoor software
Programming Plug.jpg (21.46 KiB) Viewed 38209 times
Signal Plugs.jpg
Cycle Analyst, Throttle, and Ebrake Plugs
Signal Plugs.jpg (36.67 KiB) Viewed 38209 times

There is a lot of talk about sinusoidal and field oriented controllers on this board which is a good thing to finally see happen. Both sinusoidal and FOC controllers run brushless motors silently with no hum or buzz, but a FOC by definition also automates the phase advance process so that the motor is driven at optimal timing even at very high RPMs. This makes them work well over a broad range of motor types and as a result this has been our go-to controller source for all our interesting EV projects.

[moderator edit to add new link, pg 31)

Re: Compact Field Oriented Controller, ASI + Grin, limited r

Posted: Nov 26 2014 9:30pm
by amberwolf
justin_le wrote:We started off making 50 of these but because of a lot or internal usage and attrition we have only 35 units finished for sale at $295 each.
How much for some of those other 15 units that didn't survive but might be fixable?

Re: Compact Field Oriented Controller, ASI + Grin, limited r

Posted: Nov 26 2014 11:07pm
by bowlofsalad
Excellent!

http://www.ebikes.ca/shop/ebike-parts/c ... ac500.html Here is a link to buy.

I went to check out the software mentioned but they have a membership wall. http://www.accelerated-systems.com/node/38 Is this software e-mailed through ebikes.ca or do I need to contact ASI?

Re: Compact Field Oriented Controller, ASI + Grin, limited r

Posted: Nov 27 2014 12:27am
by justin_le
bowlofsalad wrote:Excellent!

http://www.ebikes.ca/shop/ebike-parts/c ... ac500.html Here is a link to buy.
I went to check out the software mentioned but they have a membership wall. http://www.accelerated-systems.com/node/38 Is this software e-mailed through ebikes.ca or do I need to contact ASI?
Yes, we'll be able to email and/or provide a download link for the software. I'll want to clarify a few things with ASI first and then post more detail on the software functionality too since it's pretty core to the process. So even though the controller can run virtually any brushless motor, it needs to be tuned to the specific hub to which it's connected. If you have it dialed in for a geared motor and use it on a DD hubbie, or then on an RC motor, or even switching between motors that seem to be nominally similar, it often won't work at all.

Fortunately the software has a good auto-tune feature that spins up the motor and determines the key characteristics like the winding inductance and resistance and so forth.

Re: Compact Field Oriented Controller, ASI + Grin, limited r

Posted: Nov 27 2014 1:20am
by circuit
This is nice. I wonder why it took so long though... Is it only mosfets and enclosure? Did you touch the software? Anyway I would be very interested to check it out before buying.
Probably not the best place to ask... How much is original ASI model?

Re: Compact Field Oriented Controller, ASI + Grin, limited r

Posted: Nov 27 2014 4:20am
by justin_le
circuit wrote:This is nice. I wonder why it took so long though...
Oh, that is quite another story in itself. Lets just sum it up to say seemingly simple projects are rarely so. But yes my thinking was the same, this should be quite easy to make a much better enclosure, re-spec the power stage for higher currents and efficiencies, add an internal shunt and CA plug, and call it a day :D The firmware is all 100% ASI, and they've been regularly making improvements and updates. We've been trying unsuccessfully to convince them to make an option for proportional mapping of regen via the throttle signal in the 0-0.8V region like we've had done on the Grinfineon controllers, so that you can control both your forwards and braking torque with a single signal wire. But in the interim what we have done is simply connect together the analog ebrake wire with the throttle wire on the PCB, and then mapped the start and stop voltages for each in software so that we achieve the same effect.
Probably not the best place to ask... How much is original ASI model?
In 2012 we were charged $150 each when we purchased a half dozen samples of their standard 6-fet BAC500.

Re: Compact Field Oriented Controller, ASI + Grin, limited r

Posted: Nov 27 2014 6:36am
by madin88
good to see another FOC controller. the compact size is awesome. congrates.
i ask myselfe why battery and phase amps not rated different. how is it programmed and is it really only 60A phase?
Is this peak or continues and does it feature smooth current cut back at high temperature?

Re: Compact Field Oriented Controller, ASI + Grin, limited r

Posted: Nov 27 2014 9:49am
by ambroseliao
In case anyone is interested in purchasing one, go here:

http://www.ebikes.ca/shop/ebike-parts/c ... ac500.html#

Oops, I see that Bowlofsalad already posted the link!

Re: Compact Field Oriented Controller, ASI + Grin, limited r

Posted: Nov 27 2014 5:43pm
by izeman
martin it says 60a phase max which sounds really low for me as well. i guess foc controllers works like "regular" controllers as well and use phase multiplication at low voltage?!
i also would like to know if a slow DD or a fast geared middrive would profit more from such a controller. if it was for noise, i'd say my middrive and reduction gearing makes more noise then the motor itself.
and how much gain will there be regarding efficiency?

Re: Compact Field Oriented Controller, ASI + Grin, limited r

Posted: Nov 27 2014 8:29pm
by justin_le
madin88 wrote:good to see another FOC controller. the compact size is awesome. congrates.
i ask myselfe why battery and phase amps not rated different. how is it programmed and is it really only 60A phase?
Yes, the mosfets could easily handle more for short times but in a FOC there are hall sensors on the PCB for measuring each phase current, and these and the associated traces leading to them are probably not going to like much higher amps than this. This is definitely not a controller build intended for multi kW power levels, but for for stuff in the 1kW range it is quite well suited.
Is this peak or continues and does it feature smooth current cut back at high temperature?
Indeed there is onboard thermal rollback of the phase current as things heat up. Here's the graph from some of my testing on an earlier prototype unit, with tempreature probes on various parts of the controller innards. Measured battery current is the green graph on the bottom. Thermal rollback kicks in at just over 4 minutes when the controller is sitting still and the case and fets are around 80oC, and then once we put a fan nearby to simulate more realistic airflow then the temperatures start dropping immediately and the currents ramp right back up.
Thermal Rollback Graphcs.jpg
Graph showing thermal rollback and internal temperatures of original BAC500 controller
Thermal Rollback Graphcs.jpg (104.48 KiB) Viewed 37917 times
This is part of why we thought it was really important to have a controller enclosure that would lend itself to mounting proudly on the frame of the bike and not tucked out of site (and out of airflow) as often happens with generic housings.

Re: Compact Field Oriented Controller, ASI + Grin, limited r

Posted: Nov 27 2014 8:40pm
by justin_le
amberwolf wrote: How much for some of those other 15 units that didn't survive but might be fixable?
You mean this bin here !?? :wink:
Bin.jpg
Bin.jpg (103.23 KiB) Viewed 37827 times
If there's time we'll sort through all this stuff at the end of things and let you know.

Re: Compact Field Oriented Controller, ASI + Grin, limited r

Posted: Nov 27 2014 9:40pm
by melodious
I am a simple minded person with no engineering background, what I've learned is what I've slowly assimilated here on this forum (you read enough and you almost feel like you grasp the picture :wink: , almost). I follow trends here,some are grande in nature while others are relatively simplistic. This controller's forte is its ability to adapt to many sub 1Kwatt systems, simply by connecting to the motor & battery and let its "smart" nature determine the most efficient & hopefully effective solution to provide smooth power.

I could use this one controller to power my hubbie Ebike for work commute. When the weather gets snow I could put it on a mid drive fattie bike. I could even use it to control my Eskateboard's RC motor on the weekends? But RC motors have no sensors. This is where I'm confused.

Re: Compact Field Oriented Controller, ASI + Grin, limited r

Posted: Nov 28 2014 3:29am
by izeman
izeman wrote:i also would like to know if a slow DD or a fast geared middrive would profit more from such a controller. if it was for noise, i'd say my middrive and reduction gearing makes more noise then the motor itself.
and how much gain will there be regarding efficiency?
justin, as you are the only one who has tested those controllers. could you please answer my question as well? it would important to know before i can make a buying decision. even though after reading your other answers i guess around 2kw peak (for around 2minutes) is over the controller's limit, correct?

Re: Compact Field Oriented Controller, ASI + Grin, limited r

Posted: Nov 28 2014 5:12am
by justin_le
izeman wrote:
izeman wrote:i also would like to know if a slow DD or a fast geared middrive would profit more from such a controller. if it was for noise, i'd say my middrive and reduction gearing makes more noise then the motor itself.
and how much gain will there be regarding efficiency?
In general there is no measurable gain at all in efficiency with a FOC versus a regular trapezoidal controller [EDIT, not quite true after all, see this: http://www.endless-sphere.com/forums/vi ... 66#p981766 ], that is not a selling point at all. The motor efficiency may be a tad higher because of fewer harmonics, while the controller efficiency is definitely worse because of switching losses on all the channels. The gains have to do with controllability (throttle signal is directly modulating the motor torque regardless of speed), motor smoothness and silence (even in geared drive a lot of noise down the line in the gears is still a result of the torque ripple from the motor), operation in sensorless mode at both very high and very low electrical RPM's where most other sensorless controllers choke up, proportional regen right up to the full 60A phase current, and a tidy CNC'd and anodized enclosure that fits on the bike without looking like an electronics box.

I was expecting this to have appeal for 3 usage cases:
  • those running DD hubs in the 1000W and below range who want complete silence and modulatable regen,
  • those running ebikes with RC motors who've been unable to find a sensorless controller up for the task, and
  • those doing more novel EV projects (in my case electric longboards and unicycles) where the bidirectional torque modulation is really important.
justin, as you are the only one who has tested those controllers. could you please answer my question as well? it would important to know before i can make a buying decision. even though after reading your other answers i guess around 2kw peak (for around 2minutes) is over the controller's limit, correct?
Yes. If your metric for controller performance is mostly power output, then this is certainly not the best choice. It's just 6 mosfets and the goal was to keep it small and compact. A 12 fet version would be awesome for 2+ KW but that's not something we have unfortunately. Hopefully that answers things clearly?

Re: Compact Field Oriented Controller, ASI + Grin, limited r

Posted: Nov 28 2014 6:04am
by izeman
thanks justin for the indepth answers!

Re: Compact Field Oriented Controller, ASI + Grin, limited r

Posted: Nov 28 2014 10:13am
by Thud
has any one taken the plung yet?
I can't seem to get a purchase through...paypal or direct credit card......this is the controller i want to spin my axial motor with.

Re: Compact Field Oriented Controller, ASI + Grin, limited r

Posted: Nov 28 2014 10:25am
by Miles
Thud wrote:has any one taken the plung yet?
Mine's in transit :)

Re: Compact Field Oriented Controller, ASI + Grin, limited r

Posted: Nov 28 2014 10:36am
by bowlofsalad
Thud wrote:has any one taken the plung yet?
I can't seem to get a purchase through...paypal or direct credit card......this is the controller i want to spin my axial motor with.
Maybe you can be more specific when you say you can't seem to get a purchase through?

The first few things I suggest being certain of is -all- information is filled in, including a telephone number for the billing/shipping information. Then, be sure to left click the 'update order data' button. After that, select a 'shipping method' and then left click place order. If you have trouble locating these pieces of information, press the CTRL and F keys at the same time and fill in the box with whatever term you are looking for.

Re: Compact Field Oriented Controller, ASI + Grin, limited r

Posted: Nov 28 2014 12:02pm
by bspalteh
Call Ebikes, they were having issues with their online credit card system. Mine is en route

Re: Compact Field Oriented Controller, ASI + Grin, limited r

Posted: Nov 28 2014 1:36pm
by johnrobholmes
Just got mine today. Smaller than a xie chang 6 fet in height and width, about the same length. Really looking forwards to putting this on my daily commuter and knocking off some noise.


For folks that are looking for higher torque levels with more than 20mph speed, because of the 60a phase limit it will be better to use a slower motor on higher voltage to get performance instead of using a fast wind motor on 36v. If they open up the phase current on later firmware revisions the sweet spot will change.

Re: Compact Field Oriented Controller, ASI + Grin, limited r

Posted: Nov 28 2014 4:20pm
by riba2233
Hm, what about using this controller's brain and mate it with more powerful output stage, maybe stronger fet drivers?

What are the max erpm?

Re: Compact Field Oriented Controller, ASI + Grin, limited r

Posted: Nov 28 2014 11:05pm
by amberwolf
That's what I'm hoping to find out if it's possible via experiment, but this doesn't just use any old power stage--being sinusoidal it drives the gates in a different way, most likley, than a typical trapezoidal drive would, and it's possible the gate drive system from a trapezoidal will not work right with this brain..

Also, the phase current sensors are on the traces for the FETs on the original unit's PCB, so you'd have to design those into your new powerstage, or somehow hack them into an existing one if uisng one off a different controller. That's probably not a trivial task to get it to work accurately.

I don't know how it does it's thermal sensing, either, but that also has to be moved over to the new power stage in a way that will work accurately.

If it doesn't work the way the brain expects it to, then it's possible the brain will autosetup a new motor on it incorrectly, and not work right, or at all, or worse work ina way that damages the controller (or the motor, if you make a really powerful power stage and the motor can't take it).


I'd say there are a few people here on ES that could probably design and build a new powerstage and make this brain work reliably and acurately with it, but I don't think I'm one of them. (I'm willing to try, but not expecting much of my efforts :lol:)



What *might* work is combining two of these controller's existing power stages in parallel, but I'm not sure how you'd combine the output of the phase current sensors themselves in a way that will correctly feed data back to the brain.





justin_le wrote:You mean this bin here !?? :wink:
Bin.jpg
If there's time we'll sort through all this stuff at the end of things and let you know.
Yeah, that bin! :lol: I appreciate it, even if it doesn't work out.

While one of these controllers won't drive CrazyBike2 completely the way I would like (super-zippy acceleration from 0-20MPH), it'd almost certainly drive one motor for cruising at or near 20MPH sufficently, and that'd make the bike quieter to ride. I'd probably use it on the front (presently 9C 2806 26" wheel running on a 12FET Grintroller from just before you started carrying the ones with bi-level regen, I think), and keep the rear HSR3548 20" on it's generic 12FET, or similar, for more torque on launch (used together with the front motor/controller).

Presently I use the rear for cruisng because it's quieter by a bit, and might be just a hair more efficient than the front, based solely on observations while riding. But with one of these, either motor should be a lot quieter--ideally I'd like to only hear the rush of wind and any road noise from the tires, with no motor whine or other noise. :)

Unfortunately it isn't worth the full price of a new, working controller, but it might be worth the price of fixing up a broken one if they're cheap enough. :)

Re: Compact Field Oriented Controller, ASI + Grin, limited r

Posted: Nov 29 2014 2:13pm
by fechter
I'd love to try hacking one of the broken ones. Well, as long as it's not too broken.

The gate drivers are going to be a lot 'busier' than you would have with a trapezoidal output and would need to be up to the task of driving paralleled FETs if you wanted a higher powered version.

Re: Compact Field Oriented Controller, ASI + Grin, limited r

Posted: Nov 29 2014 3:33pm
by johnrobholmes
I doubt it feasable to cobble a bigger power stage on. The gate drive had to be tuned for Justin's choice of fet vs the oem version, and its highly unlikely they would still switch clean with twice the gate charge. FOC switching is very demanding.


Justin, is the controller sent with a profile for a specific motor? I have a range of choices here, and would enjoy putting the sensorless startup to task. Otherwise I'll wait for the asi software link so we can tune this puppy in.

Software and Manual

Posted: Dec 02 2014 3:33am
by justin_le
Hi guys, we've got the interface software and controller setup documentation posted now in the "additional information" tab of the store site.

Downloads Links.jpg
Downloads Links.jpg (26.75 KiB) Viewed 37366 times


Robbie here has been most involved in the controller assembly and prep and will write a more detailed quick start tutorial on the steps to configure the controller for a given motor tomorrow, but those who can read and figure things out will be able to proceed with the info above. The controllers were shipped after tuning to a small direct drive hub but you really do need to tune it to each particular hub or else the behavior especially in sensorless startup can be pretty strange.
riba2233 wrote:Hm, what about using this controller's brain and mate it with more powerful output stage, maybe stronger fet drivers?
As others have correctly surmised, it's no small task to do that given the need for per-phase current sensing, and it's also rather pointless since ASI already has controllers with a much larger power stage (see the BAC1000 and BAC3000) for >100A and >200A applications. It's just that they have correspondingly bulky form factors and didn't lend themselves to a custom tooled enclosure. If there was a layout for the 12 fet BAC1000 that was long and slender rather than short and fat, we'd have done something similar with that version too for sure. Such options may be possible in the future, but for starters we wanted to see just how far we could push the tiny 6-fet concept.