The present method and apparatus detects the position with an accuracy of .pi./m electrical radians (where m=the number of motor phases) within one electrical period, and provides enough information to be able to start in the correct direction with certainty. After starting the motor in an open loop mode of one or two steps, starting the rotor in the correct direction, the closed loop mode may be switched on, using a dynamic indirect position detection as is already well known in the technology.
More specifically, the position at start is determined by the injection of short current pulses in different motor phases, each phase or pair of phases being energized first by a pulse of one polarity and of the opposite polarity. The sign of the difference between the induced voltages is detected. By performing a succession of these tests on different phases or pairs of phases of the standing motor, a table of results is established which clearly defines the position of the rotor relative to the motor phases. The same table then defines what polarity currents should be applied to each phase to reliably and certainly start the motor in the proper direction. The present invention includes a method and apparatus for optimizing the duration of the short current pulses used in determining the rotational position of the rotor.