Techniques for estimating the plunger position have successfully proven to support operation and monitoring of electromagnetic actuators without the necessity of additional sensors. Sophisticated techniques in this field make use of an oversampled measurement of the rippled driving current in order to reconstruct the position. However, oversampling algorithms place high demands on AD converters and require significant computational effort which are not desirable in low-cost actuation systems. Moreover, such low-cost actuators are affected by eddy currents and parasitic capacitances, which influence the current ripple significantly. Therefore, in this work, those current ripples are modeled and analyzed extensively taking into account those effects. The Integrator-Based Direct Inductance Measurement (IDIM) technique, used for processing the current ripples, is presented and compared experimentally to an oversampling technique in terms of noise robustness and implementation effort. A practical use case scenario in terms of a sensorless end-position detection for a switching solenoid is discussed and evaluated. The obtained results prove that the IDIM technique outperforms oversampling algorithms under certain conditions in terms of noise robustness, thereby requiring less sampling and calculation effort. The IDIM technique is shown to provide a robust position estimation in low-cost applications as in the presented example involving a end-position detection.
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