Brushless DC Motors (BLDC): What Are They & How Do They Work?

What is a Brushless Motor?

A brushless DC motor (also known as a BLDC motor or BL motor) is an electronically commuted DC motor which does not have brushes. The controller provides pulses of current to the motor windings which control the speed and torque of the synchronous motor.

These types of motors are highly efficient in producing a large amount of torque over a vast speed range. In brushless motors, permanent magnets rotate around a fixed armature and overcome the problem of connecting current to the armature. Commutation with electronics has a large scope of capabilities and flexibility. They are known for smooth operation and holding torque when stationary.

What is a Brushless Motor

How Does a Brushless Motor Work

Before explaining the working of a brushless DC motor, it is better to understand the function of a brushed motor. In brushes motors, there are permanent magnets on the outside and a spinning armature which contains electromagnet is inside. These electromagnets create a magnetic field in the armature when the power is switched on and help to rotate the armature.

The brushes change the polarity of the pole to keep the rotation on of the armature. The basic working principle for the brushed DC motor and for brushless DC motor are same i.e. internal shaft position feedback.

Brushless DC motor has only two basic parts: rotor and the stator. The rotor is the rotating part and has rotor magnets whereas stator is the stationary part and contains stator windings. In BLDC permanent magnets are attached in the rotor and move the electromagnets to the stator. The high power transistors are used to activate electromagnets for the shaft turns. The controller performs power distribution by using a solid-state circuit.

Types of Brushless DC Motors

Basically, BLDC are of two types, one is outer rotor motor and other is inner rotor motor. The basic difference between the two is only in designing, their working principles are same.

Inner Rotor Design

In an inner rotor design, the rotor is located in the centre of the motor and the stator winding surround the rotor. As the rotor is located in the core, rotor magnets do not insulate heat inside and heat get dissipated easily. Due to this reason, inner rotor designed motor produces a large amount of torque and validly used.

Brushless Motor

Outer Rotor Design

In outer rotor design, the rotor surrounds the winding which is located in the core of the motor. The magnets in the rotor trap the heat of the motor inside and do not allow to dissipate from the motor. Such type of designed motor operates at lower rated current and has low cogging torque.

BLDC Motor

Advantages of Brushless DC Motor

The advantages of a BLDC motor are:

  1. Brushless motors are more efficient as its velocity is determined by the frequency at which current is supplied, not the voltage.
  2. As brushes are absent, the mechanical energy loss due to friction is less which enhanced efficiency.
  3. BLDC motor can operate at high-speed under any condition.
  4. There is no sparking and much less noise during operation.
  5. More electromagnets could be used on the stator for more precise control.
  6. BLDC motors accelerate and decelerate easily as they are having low rotor inertia.
  7. It is high performance motor that provides large torque per cubic inch over a vast sped rang.
  8. BLDC motors do not have brushes which make it more reliable, high life expectancies, and maintenance free operation.
  9. There is no ionizing sparks from the commutator, and electromagnetic interference is also get reduced.
  10. Such motors cooled by conduction and no air flow are required for inside cooling.

Disadvantages of Brushless DC Motors

The disadvantages of a BLDC motor are:

  1. BLDC motor cost more than a brushed DC motor.
  2. The limited high power could be supplied to BLDC motor, otherwise, too much heat weakens the magnets and the insulation of winding may get damaged.
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