Presentation Title

**Characterization of a HEIST Motor Controller** Exemplary Presentation

Faculty Mentor

Kurt Kloesel

Start Date

18-11-2017 2:30 PM

End Date

18-11-2017 2:45 PM

Location

9-245

Session

Engineering/CS 2

Type of Presentation

Oral Talk

Subject Area

engineering_computer_science

Abstract

In the pursuit of safe and sustainable aviation, NASA is exploring electric propulsion technologies for the next generation of commuter aircraft. While the prospect of electric flight is not new, the technology has remained in its infancy due to low power density and efficiency losses. To overcome these limitations, the Hybrid-Electric Integrated Systems Testbed (HEIST) project is developing lighter, more efficient wings by employing three-phase motors and propellers in experimental designs. The present investigation characterizes LaunchPoint Technologies’ motor controller intended for HEIST, with efficiency and temperature data as a function of motor rotational speed. In the testing setup, a power supply is connected in series with the controller. The controller outputs three-phase power to a Joby Motors JM140 motor with a LEAPTech propeller load.

A second embodiment of the testing setup is outlined that will give data beyond the propeller curve. By replacing the LEAPTech propeller with a dynamometer, load can be varied independently of rotational speed to achieve efficiency and temperature contours across the power/speed space. A LabVIEW program was written to facilitate data acquisition, sending controller area network (CAN) inputs to the motor controller and the brake motor driver, and receiving data back from the motor controller, power scope, and thermistors.

Summary of research results to be presented

A speed/power propeller curve was obtained with the first setup (Joby Motors JM140 + LEAPTech propeller load). Five trials demonstrate that power increases exponentially as a function of motor rotational speed.

A plot of controller efficiency vs. motor rotational speed demonstrates an asymptotic relationship. As motor rotational speed increases, efficiency approaches 97.5% (efficiency is defined as power out/power into the controller).

Controller efficiency vs. power demonstrates a similar asymptotic relationship, as power is related to the motor rotational speed by the propeller curve.

Because the power curve has some dependence on the propeller and motor back EMF, a graph of efficiency vs. motor phase current RMS is included as an indicator of solely the motor controller performance.

A graph of controller thermal data at 9 kW demonstrates that the controller achieves thermal stability at 45˚C.

The test setups will be discussed in detail, including practical design considerations to ensure accurate data acquisition and troubleshooting.

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Nov 18th, 2:30 PM Nov 18th, 2:45 PM

**Characterization of a HEIST Motor Controller** Exemplary Presentation

9-245

In the pursuit of safe and sustainable aviation, NASA is exploring electric propulsion technologies for the next generation of commuter aircraft. While the prospect of electric flight is not new, the technology has remained in its infancy due to low power density and efficiency losses. To overcome these limitations, the Hybrid-Electric Integrated Systems Testbed (HEIST) project is developing lighter, more efficient wings by employing three-phase motors and propellers in experimental designs. The present investigation characterizes LaunchPoint Technologies’ motor controller intended for HEIST, with efficiency and temperature data as a function of motor rotational speed. In the testing setup, a power supply is connected in series with the controller. The controller outputs three-phase power to a Joby Motors JM140 motor with a LEAPTech propeller load.

A second embodiment of the testing setup is outlined that will give data beyond the propeller curve. By replacing the LEAPTech propeller with a dynamometer, load can be varied independently of rotational speed to achieve efficiency and temperature contours across the power/speed space. A LabVIEW program was written to facilitate data acquisition, sending controller area network (CAN) inputs to the motor controller and the brake motor driver, and receiving data back from the motor controller, power scope, and thermistors.