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Vol. 190, Issue 7, July 2015, pp. 10-18




Virtual and Self-Validating Sensor for Speed Estimation of a DC Motor in a Prototype Plant

1 Fernando Crivellaro, 1, 2 Gustavo Künzel, 1, * Alexandre Balbinot

1 Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Postgraduate in Eletrical Engineering (PPGEE), Avenue Osvaldo Aranha 103, Porto Alegre, 90035-190,
Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
2 Federal Institute of Rio Grande do Sul (IFRS), Avenue Săo Vicente 785, Farroupilha, 95180-000, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
* Tel.: +55-002151-3308-4441

E-mail: alexandre.balbinot@ufrgs.br, f.crive@gmail.com, gustavo.kunzel@farroupilha.ifrs.edu.br


Received: 8 June 2015 /Accepted: 10 June 2015 /Published: 31 July 2015

Digital Sensors and Sensor Sysstems


Abstract: In applications where the speed control of a motor may not be interrupted, even for maintenance of the speed sensor or speed sensor unavailability, the virtual sensing is a powerful tool. The proposed virtual speed sensor uses artificial neural networks to provide motor speed estimation when an encoder is not operating for this purpose. The artificial neural network uses motor load information, armature current measured with a shunt resistor and armature applied voltage as input parameters to provide the estimated speed. In parallel, self-validating sensor status is analyzed, coordinating the speed control actions for plant maintenance. For self-validating purposes, a known current flow is applied in the shunt resistor to generate the sensor status. A microcontroller is responsible for control of the applied voltage in the DC motor and also for data acquisition. This microcontroller is slave of an application running in a personal computer, where all the information is processed to make control decisions and to alert the user accordingly with the previously artificial neural network train. The application presents the sensor status and the measured and estimated speed graphs, allowing the user to monitor and to analyze the plant behavior. Some fail situations were tested in a closed loop system, demonstrating the virtual sensor operation in these cases, including the sensor status detection and its correspondent control actions.


Keywords: Virtual sensor, Self-validating sensor, Speed control.


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