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This paper proposes an observer based method for estimating the mechanical parameters of permanent magnet synchronous motor (PMSM) used for complex mechanical systems. A terminal sliding mode observer is designed and the equivalent control principle is utilized to estimate the mechanical parameters of a motor system. The robustness of the estimation can be guaranteed using the sliding mode control technique. The stability of the terminal sliding mode estimator is analyzed. The experiments are carried out in a practical motor system to validate the proposed method. Although the PMSM motor is a linear-time invariant system, the proposed approach will be extended to estimation of linear-time varying or a nonlinear system in the next step of research.