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H-Bridge current measurement High side

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by Jens Niemann, Sep 25, 2003.

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  1. Jens Niemann

    Jens Niemann Guest

    Hello erverybody
    I have a problem with measuring the current of a motor via a shunt.
    The DC motor (14 Volts) (bidirectional up to 30 amps) is located in an
    The H-Bridge consists of 2 Relays.
    Additionally there is a low-side MOSFET which is performing PWM (20khz)
    The shunt (1.875 milli-Ohm) is located directly in the motorpath (in the
    horizontal line of the H)
    The Voltage of the shunt is distributed to a special High Side Differential
    Amplifier with a non changeable gain of 50.

    My questions:
    Is it good design practice to locate the shunt directly into the motor path?
    Do I need a low pass filter to clean the differential signal?
    Is a RFI filter sufficient? If yes how do I calculate it?
    Is it practicable to measure the voltage loss in a so small shunt.
    The voltage varies from 0 to 50 mV with an offset voltage of up to 14 Volts.
    Does the noise from the motor and the PWM bury my signal?
    Are there any similar applications in the net?
    I only found Applications with shunts in the ground path.

    Thanks for your help

  2. Fred

    Fred Guest

    If you gave me the problem I would common the lower MOSFETs sources together
    and place the shunt between these and earth. If necessary I would filter
    the voltage to obtain the average and use a differential amplifier.
    Naturally the polarity of current would be dependent on which pair was on
    and if using a flywheel diode care must be exercised where this goes.
  3. Jens Niemann

    Jens Niemann Guest

    Hi Fred, I agree with you.
    But we use a flywheel diode.
    Because of this component the current through the a shunt located between
    lowside MOSFET and Ground and the Motor is not the same when PWM is used.
  4. Fred

    Fred Guest

    If the high side MOSFET is doing the PWM and you are relying on the
    inductance of the motor, then you could use 2 diodes. One on each terminal
    of the motor returned to the junction of the low side MOSFET and shunt.
    Wouldn't that work? You need to draw a diagram.
  5. John Jardine

    John Jardine Guest

    It sounds a bit dodgey sitting the shunt voltage on top of the 14 volt motor
    drive square wave.
    If the diffamp has a fair CMRR of 1000:1 then expect a constant 0.7Vpp of
    unwanted common mode signal to get through to the amp output as compared to
    a maximum of 2.8Vpp (at 30amp) for the motor current. This is a pretty poor
    measurement ratio.
    Either ensure an excellent CMRR for the diff' amp or use a current
    transformer or stick the current monitoring resistor in a supply rail
    somewhere. (yes ... and with a low pass filter set just fast enough to allow
    the current measurement circuit to function).
  6. Kyle Miller

    Kyle Miller Guest

    Yes. The only alternative would be to place it near the power supply,
    and that would only help if the differential amplfier needs a
    reference to ground?
    If the motor is PWM, then you have to filter the signal from the shunt
    unless your meter reading the shunt averages the voltages
    The time constant of your filter can be a wide range of values
    depending on the response rate that your readings require. If you only
    need 1 reading per second then you can use a very large capacitor for
    a filter.
    Yes, voltage amplifiers can easily multiply the voltage, and digital
    multimeters can read quite well in that range.
    Offset voltage could be a design complication.
    Not much, It would not be a perfect square wave, but quite accurate
    for current measurement.
  7. No. Too much high frequency CMRR will is needed in this approach.

    Put two identical current shunts between the +14V supply and the
    relays. One shunt connects the inverting input of a differential
    amplifier and other shunt connects to its non-inverting input. You
    must also have high speed switching power diodes between the motor and
    the +14V supply. These will handle the free wheeling current when the
    MOSFET switches off and the motor's self inductance is being
    discharged. Note: the free wheeling current should bypass the shunts
    to avoid effecting current measurement, hence the diodes connecting
    between the motor and +14V. The output of the amplifier will be
    proportional to the motor winding current and will retain correct
    polarity. Any of the rail-to-rail input opamps will should be
  8. Ted Wilson

    Ted Wilson Guest

    Hi Jens

    I think one or two of the responses have misunderstood your circuit
    configuration, and assumed a conventional MOSFET H-bridge.

    Just to clarify, as I understand it, your motor is connected as the
    cross-member of an H-bridge, with the four switches of the bridge
    being implemented as two change-over relay contacts, and the return
    leg of the two sides of the H-bridge connect through an N-channel
    MOSFET to 0V, this MOSFET being used to deliver PWM control of the
    motor. Your current-sense resistor is in series with the motor coil in
    the cross-member of the H-bridge. (Presumably, the relays are used
    purely for direction control of the motor?). In which case the circuit

    +14V ___________________________________
    | |
    | |
    o Motor o
    RL1 o-----[O}--^^^^^----o/ RL2
    o/ Rsense o
    | |

    (If your circuit is not as I describe, ignore the rest of my

    If this in fact your basic configuration, I suggest a couple of minor

    Move Rsense from in series with the motor to be in series with the 14V
    supply to the H-bridge and connect a suitably rated diode, (in terms
    of opperating voltage, current and reverse recovery time), between the
    14V supply and the MOSFET drain, diode cathode to +14V. Your circuit
    should now look like so:

    +14V ----^^^^-----------------------
    | | |
    _|_ | |
    /_\ o Motor o
    | RL1 o-----[O}------o/ RL2
    | o/ o
    | | |

    Now your sense resistor is at a fixed voltage and you have provided a
    flyback path for motor current when the MOSFET turns OFF.

    With regard to filtering, there will be a fair bit of noise around,
    generated by the PWM, and you will see all sorts of spikes and noise
    across the sense resistor. However, you do not need to control current
    on a cycle by cycle basis and you are only interested in average motor
    current. You can therefore apply quite heavy filtering to the voltage
    obtained across Rsense and compare the filtered measurement with the
    actual demand to generate your PWM mark/space control - this is
    usaully done with an error amplifier/integrator, a triangular waveform
    at the PWM frequency and a comparator.

    (By the way, it might make life easier to turn everything on its head,
    use a high-side P-channel MOSFET foe PWM and place Rsense on the 0V

    Hope this helps

    Ted Wilson
  9. Jens Niemann

    Jens Niemann Guest

    Hi Ted, thanks for your reply,
    yeah, you're right . The relais is for direction.
    I think it is a good idea to put the Rsense shunt away from the motor path
    and put it in series with +14V.
    This will make a lot of things easier.
    The flywheel diode is already in the circuit implemented.
    The suggestion with the P-channel MOSFET is intersting.
    But I think too expensive.
    N-Channel MOSFET is much cheaper with comparable resistance values.
    The most important electrical parameter of a component is the price ;-)
    This is also the reason why we use a mechanical relais instead of MOSFETs
    for the H-Bridge.

  10. Yzordderex

    Yzordderex Guest


    Just curious as to what exact application is. Drill? RC model? One
    of a kind? Mass production? Also, what information you are trying to
    obtain from the current sensor? I think I might have heard the term
    avarage current. What is this signal to be used for? Mosfet
    protection? Displayed current?

    Sorry if these have been already answered and I didn't see.

  11. Ted Wilson

    Ted Wilson Guest

    Hello again Jans

    Understand your desire to stick with N-channel, and there's nothing at
    all wrong with using a relay for direction control - if you handle
    things right, you can arrange to reverse direction when there is
    little or no motor current flowing, so the demands on the relay can be
    minimised. Inductive loads can be the pits for relay contacts.

    Abit more information which may be of help:

    Ignoring the spikes on your sense resistor due to commutation and PWM,
    what you will have is a DC level, equivalent to the motor current,
    with a triangular waveform supperimposed on this. This triangular
    waveform is due to PWM and the current ramps up during the drive
    period and ramps back down during the flyback period. When current is
    at equilibrium, the amount of ramp up and ramp down are equal.

    The reason you don't need to worry about individual cycle current and
    can simply measure the average is that, in the course of one cycle,
    the current is not going to change very much. Assume your motor
    inductance is of the order of only 10mH, (low for an iron-cored
    motor), and assuming that all 14V is available to drive inductor
    current, (i.e. no back-emf due to armature rotation or volts-drop due
    to resistive losses in the inductor/MOSFET), and assume the worst case
    situation where the MOSFET conducts for the whole of the 20kHz period:

    From V = L dI/dt, you get dI = 14 dt/L = 14 x 50E-6/10E-3 = 70mA

    You can therefore heavily filter the voltage from your sense resistor,
    the limit being when the corner frequency of the filtering starts to
    introduce significant phase lag within the passband of your motor
    control response - unless this is a tiny motor, this is likely to be
    in the region of a few tens or, at most, low hundreds of hertz.


    Ted Wilson
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