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Discharging Magnetic Energy in Coils

jwr47

A learning package advertises to teach youngsters the recycling of free energy from discharging magnets. Sometimes activated magnets indeed do contain a fair amount of energy and I remember to have investigated the idea to get rid of the surplus energy to quickly return the circuit to a stable state. This principle also might be used to recycle the magnetic energy for other purposes.

Contents
Free magnetic energy by discharging magnetized coils....................................................................2 Standard Circuit with a singular discharge diode............................................................................3 Modified circuit with a Zenerdiode to discharge magnetic energy.................................................5 Oscillation control................................................................................................................................6 Discharge curve for R3 = 10 kOhm and Vz = 28V.........................................................................7 Discharge curve for R3 = 1 kOhm and Vz = 28V...........................................................................8 Appendix I: Optimizing a Relay Circuit (Original article in RB Elektronica April 1991)...............9

Free magnetic energy by discharging magnetized coils1


Although I had tested and published the idea with some standard schematics and diagrams in 1991 I also tested the idea in a Micro-Cap V simulator. The simulation study 2 had been published 1999 and the Micro-Cap V simulator had been proven to be the best tool to check the circuit's behavior. Of course the Micro-Cap V simulator has been improved since those days. The standard circuit without any discharge diode protection will result in an 800V discharge voltage, which might ruin the 2N3055 transistor.

Fig. 1: Relay Control without discharge protection diode

1 Translated from (Dutch): RB Archief JWR 1998-2002 - de CAD/CAE Ontwerpen 2 RB-Elektronica 09/10 1999, page 28-30

Standard Circuit with a singular discharge diode


The standard circuit uses a singular discharge diode to get rid of the magnetic energy. However this circuit is a bad design to remove the energy as fast as possible. The discharge phase will last 0.5 seconds, which may interfere with new control actions for the electronic circuit. The discharge ends in an oscillation with approximately 1kHz frequency.

Fig. 2: Relay Control Circuit with a standard discharge diode

Fig. 3: Magnetic Discharge in the Relay Control Circuit with a standard discharge diode

Modified circuit with a Zenerdiode to discharge magnetic energy


In my solution I had used a Zenerdiode with a rather high voltage. The simulator also provided a model for a Zenerdiode, but this didn't work and I had to build my own Zener-circuit by a series of 40 standard Si-diodes, which enabled me to shorten the discharge period considerably. The simulated Zener voltage is 40 x 0,7 = 28 volt, which is sufficient to check the idea's features. A 3Mohms damping resistor is needed to suppress the spurious resonances. The discharge period reduces to 10msec and the collector voltage rises to 32V. The improvement more or less is proportional to the number of diodes. A further reduction of the damping resistor will eliminate the oscillations. The discharge of the coil's energy almost completely is absorbed in the Zener circuit.

Fig. 4: Relay Control Circuit with a 28V- Zener discharge diode

Fig. 5: Discharge curve for damping resistor R3's value of 3 Mohm and Vz = 28V Of course this free energy might be stored in a capacitor and used for other purposes. The energy however is not really free and has been delivered by a power supply.

Oscillation control
Varying resistor R3 controls the damping of the oscillation. R3 = 1 Mohm reduces oscillations and for values R3 <= 100 kohm the oscillations will disappear completely. At a value of 10 kohm the discharge will follow an exponential discharge curve and the discharge curve reaches 100 msec. At a value of 1 kohm the collector voltage is lowered to 9V, at which the zenerdiode stops contributing to the dissipation at all. Nearly all dissipation is to be handled by R3. The discharge curve reaches 100 msec. The optimal value for the damping resistor therefore is 100 kohm for a minimal discharge period and quickly damped oscillations. R3 100 Mohm 3 Mohm 1 Mohm 300 kohm 100 kohm 10 kohm 1 kohm Discharge by dissipation zenerdiode zenerdiode zenerdiode zenerdiode zenerdiode zenerdiode dissipatie in R3 Vc 32 V 32 V 32 V 32 V 32 V 32 V 9V Decay period 8 msec. 8 msec. 8 msec. 8 msec. 10 msec. 100 msec. 100 msec. Oscillation large small small 1 Period none none none Q 100 5 3 1 0 0 0 Fig. 5 6 7

Table 1: Optimizing the discharge circuit

Discharge curve for R3 = 10 kOhm and Vz = 28V

Fig. 6: Discharge curve for damping resistor R3's value of 10 kohm and Vz = 28V

Discharge curve for R3 = 1 kOhm and Vz = 28V

Fig. 7: Discharge curve for damping resistor R3's value of 1 kohm and Vz = 28V

Appendix I: Optimizing a Relay Circuit (Original article in RB Elektronica April 1991)