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172 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON INDUSTRY APPLICATIONS, VOL. 48, NO. 1, JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2012
A Simple Sag Generator Using SSRs
Osman S. Senturk,
Member, IEEE 
, and Ahmet M. Hava,
Member, IEEE 
 Abstract
—Power line voltage sags are among the most frequentand costly power quality problems. Most equipment must bedesigned such that they can tolerate voltage sags (within limitsdefined according to some standards). Furthermore, some equip-ment must continue proper operation even under extreme sagconditions (critical loads); this property often may not be ac-commodated inside the device itself, and sag-compensating powerconditioners have been developed for such purposes. While, inpractice, voltage sags are not wanted, generating sags becomesnecessary for the purpose of experimentally verifying the perfor-mances of the equipment (both the equipment under sag con-dition and the sag-compensating power conditioner) under sagconditions. In this paper, a simple and economical, yet highlyperforming, sag generator is developed, its design is discussed,and its feasibility is demonstrated by experiments. The proposedsolid-state relay (a semiconductor power module of triac charac-teristics) and variable transformer (variac)-based sag generatoris built for three-phase 10-kVA ratings, and balanced/imbalancedvoltage sags are demonstrated in the laboratory. The performanceunder resistive, inductive, and nonlinear loads is evaluated, andfinally, the utilization of the sag generator in the test of a series-active-filter-based power quality conditioner is demonstrated. Theproposed approach provides a very simple, yet highly effective,solution for voltage sag generation.
 Index Terms
—Dynamic voltage restorer, generator, powerquality, sag, sag generator, series active filter (SAF), solid-staterelay (SSR), thyristor, variable transformer, voltage sag.
I. I
NTRODUCTION
P
OWER LINE voltage sags may typically be triggered bynatural causes (by lightning or by icing of transmissionlines) or by some loading conditions (start-up of large motordrives or rectifiers without soft starters/precharge circuits whichdraw large inrush currents, and arc furnaces exhibiting low im-pedance and imbalanced load characteristics and drawing largemagnitude imbalanced currents). They are the most frequentpower quality problems in the power grid, and they usuallyhave high economical impact on the voltage-sensitive loads.In process control systems, control boards and motor drives,which are sensitive to sags, may be adversely affected due to
Manuscript received April 25, 2011; revised July 19, 2011; acceptedOctober 13, 2011. Date of publication November 14, 2011; date of currentversion January 20, 2012. Paper 2011-IPCC-149.R1, presented at the 2010IEEE Energy Conversion Congress and Exposition, Atlanta, GA, September12–16, and approved for publication in the IEEE T
RANSACTIONS ON
I
NDUS
-
TRY
A
PPLICATIONS
by the Industrial Power Converter Committee of the IEEEIndustry Applications Society.O. S. Senturk is with the Department of Energy Technology, AalborgUniversity, 9220 Aalborg, Denmark (e-mail: oss@et.aau.dk).A. M. Hava is with the Department of Electrical and Electronics Engi-neering, Middle East Technical University, Ankara 06800, Turkey (e-mail:hava@metu.edu.tr).Color versions of one or more of the figures in this paper are available onlineat http://ieeexplore.ieee.org.Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/TIA.2011.2175884
voltage sag, and processes may be halted. Repair and restart of the processes usually are involved and costly. In the class of electronic loads, which includes power-electronic-based motordrives (inverter drives), constant-power-type loads draw largecurrent during deep voltage sags and trip the drive (due tocurrent overloading) or blow the fuses, bringing the systemto a halt. During a deep sag, constant-impedance-type loadsmay be forced out of their intended operating region, renderingthe load partially ineffective or more drastically leaving it outof operation. In addition to the downtime of the installationusing the sag-affected equipment, the equipment damages andhazards are often very high. In manufacturing lines, processes,public infrastructures, etc., the cost of voltage-sag-based failureis usually unacceptable that a method to mitigate the sag effectis mandatory [1], [2].In order to avoid the voltage sag problems, the sensitivityof the equipment fed from the ac grid to voltage sags canbe decreased to sufficient levels by design or by utilizationof auxiliary devices. For example, in electronic boards fedfrom switch-mode regulators and in inverter drives using ac/dcrectifier stage, the rectifier stage can be designed to sustainoperation during voltage sags. In such systems, the rectifierstage involves an electrolytic capacitor bank for rectifier outputvoltage filtering. By increasing the size of the electrolyticcapacitor, the energy storage capability of the device can beincreased to a sufficient level to maintain power to the loadduring a voltage sag. Alternatively, the design may involve adc bus voltage control stage (using a pulsewidth modulationboost rectifier), and the load can ride through a sag adequately.Furthermore, in some applications, external (auxiliary) unitscan be utilized for sag ride-through. For example, an energystorage unit may be interfaced with the dc bus of the rectifier(using a power electronic converter) and transfer energy to thedc bus of the load during the sag such that the rectifier dc bus issustainedat/above thecriticallevelforproperoperation[3]–[5].In the more radical and usually more expensive approach, sag-compensating power quality conditioning devices (sag correc-tors, uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs), dynamic voltagerestorers, series active filters (SAFs), etc.) are inserted betweenthe ac grid and the sensitive loads [6].Regardless of the method for sag mitigation, based on theequipment classifications involved, the sag sensitivity of equip-ment must meet certain standards. For example, informationtechnology equipment must meet the Information TechnologyIndustry Council requirements, which define the sag durationand depth as combined criteria and establish an operabilityenvelope for ride-through operation [7]. In industrial processes,the electronic boards of the systems/instruments (program-mable logic controllers (PLCs), instrument power supplies,etc.) are also highly sensitive to sags such that a standard for
0093-9994/$26.00 © 2011 IEEE
 
SENTURK AND HAVA: SIMPLE SAG GENERATOR USING SSRs 173
this purpose was established (IEEE-1346 [8]). Similarly, powerlineconditioners mustmeet certain sagride-through conditions.For example, in UPS systems and voltage regulators (staticor variable transformer dc servo based), load regulation for avarying line voltage range is defined. Typically, UPS systemsprovide nominal output voltage for an input voltage variationof 
±
25%, while voltage regulators usually are designed tooperate in a wider range. In all such cases, during the design,development, and certification of such devices, voltage sag tests(according to standards such as IEEE-1159 [9] and IEEE-1346[8], or the specification of manufacturer and customer) mustbe conducted to confirm the sag ride-through capability of thesystem. Therefore, in university and industry research laborato-ries, standards and certification institutions, etc., sag generatorsare required. As defined in the IEEE-1159 standards, typicalsags last for 0.5–30 times the power line period, and their depthcan be 10%–90%. Thus, sag generators must provide voltagesag in this range. In all the sag-generating equipment, the maindesirable feature is the easy and free programmability of the sagdurationanddepth[8].Inadditiontothesagdurationanddepth,there are two more parameters in defining the sag, which are thepoint of initiation and phase shift [10], [11]. Although these twoadditional parameters are helpful in completely defining a sagcondition, their impact on the equipment under test has beenfound quite limited [12], [13], and the difficulty in includingthem in the sag-generating equipment is very high (in termsof both cost and complexity). Furthermore, the sag field dataused for sag studies usually do not include such details [8].In summary, simple voltage sag generator circuits are essen-tial test equipment for the purpose of sag studies (imitation,mitigation, etc.).Commercially available and/or literature-reported sag gen-erators are usually complex and expensive. They are usuallyoffered by a few international specialized test and instrumen-tation equipment manufacturers as custom design products atvery high cost. For ratings less than several kilovolt–amperes,autotransformer and electronic-circuit-based (linear or switch-mode) sag generators [14], [15] are used, and for higherpower ratings, either autotransformer with tap-changing wind-ings (using contactors or thyristor-based static switches)[16]–[18] or rotating machine (synchronous generator) [19]based configurations are used. While the electronic units arelimited in power rating and usually complex and very expen-sive, the latter types are bulky and complex. With all suchsystems requiring advanced design, such equipment is best pur-chased from a custom design manufacturer and usually at highcost and limited flexibility. Furthermore, repair and mainte-nance of such equipment require the expert knowledge, render-ing the user of the equipment in the hands of the manufacturerand its servicing capability. Several university laboratory-builtrelatively simple sag generators have also been reported. Thetriac-structured solid-state-relay (SSR)-based sag generator in[20] has limited performance due to the discontinuity in thevoltage waveform. The approach has not been explored tosufficient depth either (neither design nor detailed performancehas been reported). The method using insulated-gate bipo-lar transistor (IGBT) switches [21] can provide instantaneousvoltage sag, but involves snubbers and detailed gate drivecircuitry, which requires specialists’ effort to design such a saggenerator.In this paper, a simple and economical, yet highly perform-ing, sag generator will be developed, and its application for thetest of a power quality conditioner will be demonstrated. Theproposed SSR- and variable-autotransformer (variac)-based saggenerator has a very simple design and can be easily manu-factured and operated. Therefore, it is suitable for most R&Dand test labs to evaluate the performance of equipment undersag conditions (device under test or a sag-compensating powerquality conditioner). To verify the proposed approach, the pro-posed SSR- and variac-based sag generator will be designed forthree-phase 10-kVA ratings, and balanced/imbalanced voltagesags will be generated. The sag generator will be tested withresistive and inductive loads, and its performance entering andexiting a sag condition will be demonstrated. In addition, itsperformance will be demonstrated for a nonlinear (diode recti-fier) load. Finally, the utilization of the sag generator in the testof a SAF-based power quality conditioner will demonstrate thatthe proposed method provides an effective method for voltagesag generation for the purpose of sag-compensating equipmenttesting.II. O
PERATING
P
RINCIPLE
Designedformodularityandeaseofuse,commerciallyavail-able SSR products consist of back-to-back connected thyristors,their gate drive circuits (with galvanic isolation), snubbers, andovervoltage protection devices. They are commercially offeredas single-phase or three-phase modules, and their ratings canreach several tens of amperes. Similar to the application-specific intelligent power modules (IGBT modules designed formotor drives, which include gate drive and protection circuits),SSRs also require a small dc power supply, and they are drivenvia control logic gate signals [22]. Therefore, the user of SSRsdoes not have to be involved in power electronic circuit design,which requires significant specialists’ education/training andexperience. Thus, using SSRs and designing circuits with themare easy for an engineer or even a technician with only verybasic electronics background.The proposed voltage sag generator consists of three SSR-controlled parallel paths per phase (Fig. 1), and it is insertedbetween the line and the load in series configuration. The per-phase structure involves three SSRs, a variable resistor, anda variac. Its operation can be briefly explained as follows.The
SSR
path provides the nominal voltage (the healthyutility voltage, representing the presag condition). The pathinvolving the variac and the switch
SSR
V  
provides the presetsag voltage to the load for as long a duration as intended.The transition from the presag (normal) condition to the presetsag condition (and also from the sag condition to the normalcondition) involves the transfer resistor
R
and
SSR
R
in orderto assure continuous (gradually decaying) voltage at the loadterminals and retain the load current path. Instead of usingthis transition path, the switches
SSR
and
SSR
V  
could besimultaneously enabled during the transition, and large short-circuit current would flow due to the output short circuit of the variable transformer. In such a design, either the power
 
174 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON INDUSTRY APPLICATIONS, VOL. 48, NO. 1, JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2012
Fig. 1. Voltage sag generator with three SSRs (per phase).Fig. 2. Logic signals for (top) initiating and (bottom) terminating a voltagesag.
circuit would have to be derated or stresses in the circuit wouldbe increased. Thus, this condition is avoided, and the resistivetransition path is favored in the design. Due to its internal back-to-back thyristor structure and gate control mechanism, an SSRcan only turn on at the first voltage zero crossing after a turn-on command and can only turn off at the first current zerocrossing after a turn-off command. Therefore, these three SSRdevices are controlled (their gate signals are programmed) inthe sequence shown in Fig. 2 to generate a voltage sag and torecover from it.The sag command is provided with an external input to thesystem via the logic signal of 
sag
; “0” corresponds to startinga sag, while “1” corresponds to returning to normal conditions.Under nominal load voltage conditions
(
sag
= 1)
,
SSR
and
SSR
R
are continuously enabled
(
=
R
= 1)
, and in thiscase, since
R
exhibits a high-impedance path compared to the
SSR
path, the current flows through
SSR
only. Once a sagis commanded
(
sag
: 1
0)
, the turn-off signal is transmittedto
SSR
. After
SSR
is turned off at the first current zerocrossing, the load current transfers to the path involving
SSR
R
.In order to ensure that
SSR
is turned off before turning on thepath with
SSR
V  
, the turn-on signal to
SSR
V  
is generated by atleast a half electrical period delay such that a load current zerocrossing occurs, and therefore,
SSR
turn-off is guaranteed(for 50-Hz power line considering a 10-ms half cycle
(
e
/
2 =10
ms
)
, a delay of approximately
t
d
=
e
/
2 +
e
/
8 = 12
.
5
msis sufficient). Following the generation of the
SSR
V  
turn-on signal (approximately
e
/
8 = 2
.
5
ms later), the turn-off signal for
SSR
R
is generated, and at its zero crossing, theload current transfers to the path involving the variac, whichgives the demanded sagged output voltage at the load terminals.While the presag condition output voltage is the nominal utilitygrid voltage and the final voltage is the demanded sag voltage,during the transition, the load voltage is a gracefully decayingsine voltage. The decaying sine voltage shape is determined bythe presag load current magnitude and the
R
value (which canbe specified by design).For recovery from the voltage sag condition, the voltage sagcommand removal
(
sag
: 0
1)
is followed by the
SSR
R
turn-on signal, and approximately 2.5 ms later, the
SSR
V  
turn-off signal is generated. Hence, the load current transfers fromthe path involving the variac to the path involving
R
at thefirst current zero crossings after the
SSR
V  
turn-off command.At least 10 ms (approximately 12.5 ms) later, the turn-on signalis applied to
SSR
, and the load current transfers from the pathwith
R
to the path with
SSR
. Hence, nominal load voltageresumes.The SSR gate signal patterns described in this section ensureboth no voltage/current discontinuity at the load terminal andno output short circuit of the variac (regardless of the loadtype). The load voltage during the transition is determined bythe transition resistor
R
and the load current. While the loadcurrent is defined by the load characteristics external to the saggenerator, the transition resistor is a design variable, and itsdesign will be addressed in the next section.III. P
OWER
C
IRCUIT
D
ESIGN
The design of the power circuit in Fig. 1 is relatively simple.In a single-phase application, three single-phase SSR modules,one variac, and one resistor are sufficient. In three-phase appli-cations, if only balanced sag is required, a three-phase variaccan be used. If unbalanced sag is required, three single-phasevariacs become necessary. Three-phase applications requirethree resistors and three three-phase SSR modules. If only sagtests are required, the voltage rating of the variac becomesthe line nominal voltage
(
s
)
. The variac current rating is thenominal load current
(
L,rated
)
.In the design, the line voltage is assumed to be at its nominalvalue
s
. A voltage sag with an amount of 
sag
is generated bythe sag generator. When there is no sag, the output voltage
s
isequal to
s
(
sag
= 0
or 0% sag), and when there is full sag, theoutput voltage is zero (
sag
=
s
or 100% sag). Depending onthe intended sag amount, the variac must be adjusted properly.The output voltage during the sag transition is determined bythe transition resistor
R
and the load current
L
as given in(1) for unity power factor
(
P
= 1)
. This operating conditioncorresponds to the largest voltage drop with this resistor valueas the current is in phase with the voltage and the resistorvoltage algebraically is subtracted from the source voltage. Forgradual fall of the sagging voltage, the
R
resistor voltagedrop should be less than the sag reference value as given inthe inequality of (2). Defining a base resistance value of 
R
B
as in (3) and assuming that the sag range is 10%–90% and the

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