In this work, simultaneous energy regeneration and motion control for robot manipulators with brushless direct current (BLDC) motors is considered. All joints of the robot are connected to regenerative drives powered from a single ultra-capacitor. A new voltage-based control method is developed to individually command each phase of the BLDC motor. Three independent regenerative drives are interconnected in a wye configuration, and each drives a phase of the motor. The objective is to determine the control inputs for each drive to minimize energy consumption from the ultra-capacitor for a given motion task. To this end, the problem is formulated as constrained quadratic optimization problem that gives the control inputs based on the desired torque generated by a virtual controller. An experimental evaluation is performed using a pendulum actuated by a BLDC motor. It is shown that the suggested control method can accomplish the motion task and it is capable of energy regeneration. The results show a reduction of about 40% in energy consumption for the condition of the study, relative to non-regenerative case.

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