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August 2010 Doc ID 17446 Rev 1 1/15

AN3215
Application note
Boost for solar applications with 3 kW fixed off time (FOT)
Introduction
The following application note describes the modifications implemented on the STEVAL-
ISF001V1 demonstration board, originally designed to work as a PFC rated for a power of 3
kW, to be used as a front-end boost stage for photovoltaic applications.
In recent years the field of solar energy, the production of electric power using solar cells, is
requiring power electronic solutions to manage the power delivered by the panels.
The DC voltage provided by the photovoltaic field needs, in many cases, to be boosted
before supplying a second electronic power stage needed to convert the DC source into AC
voltage, required by domestic appliances or for grid connection.
The power conversion must be done with a solution capable of working at high efficiency in
order to avoid energy waste. Each and every watt is important!
The availability of new power devices with lower voltage drop and higher switching capability
allows a very efficient solution to be obtained, wasting only a few watts while managing
power in the range of thousands of watts.
Figure 1. 3 kW boost power board
www.st.com

Contents AN3215
2/15 Doc ID 17446 Rev 1
Contents
1 FOT boost for solar front-end applications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
2 Fixed off time boost . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
3 Technical specifications and design rules . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
4 Circuital modifications and schematic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
5 Lab test and measurements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
5.1 Efficiency curves at different input voltages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
6 Revision history . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
AN3215 List of figures
Doc ID 17446 Rev 1 3/15

List of figures
Figure 1. 3 kW boost power board. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Figure 2. Block diagram of a photovoltaic inverter with power boost front-end . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Figure 3. Circuit board schematic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Figure 4. Internal block diagram of L6563 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Figure 5. Output power vs. V control at different input DC voltages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Figure 6. Boost efficiency at 190 Vdc input . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Figure 7. Boost efficiency at 250 Vdc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Figure 8. Boost efficiency at 300 Vdc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
Figure 9. Boost efficiency at 350 Vdc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

FOT boost for solar front-end applications AN3215
4/15 Doc ID 17446 Rev 1
1 FOT boost for solar front-end applications
The front-end power boost can be found in most solar inverter solutions.
The functions of this stage are two. The first is to boost the voltage coming from the solar
string, in many cases it is mandatory to have a DC bus with a value sufficient to supply a
sinusoidal inverter which is able to give 220 Vac at its output, or to be connected on the
mains. The second function is to adapt the impedance of the solar string with the impedance
of the inverter. This concept can be better understood when remembering that the power
delivered by the solar strings is variable according to a wide range of factors, first of all the
solar power incidence on the photovoltaic field. For these reasons the front-end power stage
connected to the solar strings must give the possibility of modulating the power drained from
the string according to a well known algorithm called MPPT (maximum power point
tracking). The MPPT calculates run time, the power delivered by the panels under different
voltages, and current conditions. The power boost stage is able to modulate the power
absorbed from the strings according to the MPPT algorithm. The MPPT algorithm is
implemented via firmware in the microcontroller involved in managing the whole solar
inverter.
The boost stage receives an analog voltage in the range of 0-2.5 V from the microcontroller,
the boost drains power according to this control voltage from the solar string. Figure 2 below
shows this concept with a block diagram:
Figure 2. Block diagram of a photovoltaic inverter with power boost front-end
The boost converter acts as a current generator.
The output voltage of the boost stage is not controlled, so it can be connected in parallel
with another boost board in order to increase the power range.
The voltage at the output is regulated by the load (the inverter) that, connected to the mains
line, supplies the right power amount in order to maintain the output boost voltage to a fixed
value of 400 V.
AM06903v1
Microncontroller
control board
(MPPT algorithm)
Sinusoidal inverter
DAC
Boost converter
400Vdc bus
Vph
Voltage sensing
Current sensing
Boost control
analog signal
Bus regulation
Inverter modulation
signals
Voltage and current
sensing
Photovoltaic strings
AN3215 Fixed off time boost
Doc ID 17446 Rev 1 5/15

2 Fixed off time boost
Using the hardware demonstration board, designed for the fixed off time 3 kW PFC
ISF001V1 (see AN2951; 3 kW fixed-off-time (FOT) power factor correction), and
implementing some simple modifications to the control part, it is possible to realize a boost
converter working in the same power range. The idea is to maintain the fixed off time
modulation strategy and to modify the control part in order to eliminate the output control
voltage loop, maintaining overvoltage protection, and to give the possibility of controlling,
through an analog voltage, the power delivered by the boost on the DC bus.
The T
off
constant strategy gives a variable frequency control according to the input voltage.
In fact, fixing the input voltage, as the output is fixed by the inverter, the duty cycle is dictated
by the relationship:
Equation 1
Variation against the power delivered is really small. Only the peak current on the boost
inductor, dictated by the power requested by the inverter, is variable.
As the T
off
is fixed at a low input voltage, when the T
on
is higher with respect to the
continuous mode voltage relation, between input and output, the switching frequency is
reduced. At high input voltage the T
on
is reduced to respect the same input/output voltage
ratio, so the frequency is increased. This gives a reduction in the working frequency when
the switched current is higher, reducing switching losses (lower input voltage at maximum
power delivered), and an increased frequency when the current is reduced, reducing voltage
ripple on the boost inductor.
δ −
=
1
1
V
V
in
out
where δ is duty cycle

Technical specifications and design rules AN3215
6/15 Doc ID 17446 Rev 1
3 Technical specifications and design rules
In Table 1 the technical specifications of the system are shown.
Starting from the definition of K
r
(current ripple coefficient on the inductor), as:
Equation 2
It is possible to calculate the maximum current ripple on the boost inductor as:
Equation 3
Remembering that for a boost converter the maximum current ripple on the boost inductor is
at δ=0.5, and that from Equation 1 this condition is at V
in
=V
out
/2, we can write:
Equation 4
Equation 5
Equation 6
Some consideration on the switching frequency gives the right value of T
off
.
Table 1. Main board characteristics
Parameter Value
Input voltage 190 to 350 Vdc
Output working voltage 400 Vdc
Maximum output power 3000 W
Vout ripple (%) (50 Hz inverter load) 5 %
Maximum switching frequency 65 kHz
Inductor current ripple (Kr) 0.25
2
I
IL
I
I
I
K
ripple
m
ripple
LPeak
ripple
r
Δ
+
Δ
=
Δ
=
Kr 2
I K 2
I
max L r
ripple

= Δ
min
) 5 . 0 ( on
out
Lripple
L
T *
2
V
I
max
= δ
= Δ
off ) 5 . 0 ( on
T T =
= δ
max
Lripple
off
out
min
I
T *
2
V
L ≥
AN3215 Technical specifications and design rules
Doc ID 17446 Rev 1 7/15

As mentioned above, the switching frequency of the T
off
constant boost is variable according
to the input voltage and so to the duty cycle to maintain the output voltage fixed. There is a
minimum frequency at minimum input voltage and a maximum frequency on the maximum
input voltage.
Therefore one of the two extremes can be fixed according to the power switches limit or
preference; this gives the next two relationships:
Equation 7
Equation 8
It is possible to fix a maximum or a minimum switching frequency for the system and
calculate the required T
off
.
As the T
off
is calculated using Equation 6 the minimum required value for the boost inductor
can be evaluated.
The following relationship can be used to calculate the right value for the RC net to be
connected on the ZCD pin of the L6563, to have the required T
off
(for further information
refer to AN2951).
Equation 9
(Refer to the L6563; Advanced transition-mode PFC controller datasheet for the two voltage
thresholds).
min min
sw
off
sw
max
F
1
t
F
= +
δ
max
off
sw
min
Fsw
1
t
F
max
= +
δ
. RC * 09 . 2
V
V
ln RC Toff
ZCDtrigger
ZCDclamp
≈ =

Technical specifications and design rules AN3215
8/15 Doc ID 17446 Rev 1
Figure 3. Circuit board schematic
AM06904v1
R25
10k
C9
330uF/450V
J6
MPPT control input (0-2.5v)
1 2
_ +
L6563
J5
ÌN
V
1
M
U
L
T
3
V
F
F
5
P
F
C
_
O
K
7
P
W
M
_
S
T
O
P
9
Z
C
D
1
1
G
D
1
3
C
O
M
P
2
C
S
4
T
B
O
6
P
W
M
_
L
A
T
C
H
8
R
U
N
1
0
G
N
D
1
2
V
C
C
1
4
Q1
STW77N65N5
1
2 3
R2
0.07/5W
R1
0.07/5W
D1
STTH12S06-TO220
C2
330uF/450V
C1
330uF/450V
C3
0.68uF 630V
D3
1n5406
C6
0.68uF 630V
C16
0.47uF-300Vac X2 R15
1M
F1
Fuse/16A
J7
DC input f rom solar string
1 3 2
R3
47R
C4
18nF
J3
STS03DTP06
1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8
D4
20V zener
D5
1N4148
C5
47uF 50V
C14
100nF
R7
150K
R8
150k C8
1uF
R4
1.8R
R9
33R
R6
1R
D7
1N4148
D6
30v zener
C12
680pF
R10
4.7K
C11
0.22uF-300Vac X2
C13
1.2nF
R11
8.2K
R19
10K
R5
1k
C7
470pF
R14
1M
R12
8.2k
C15
2.2nF
J4
External_Signal
1
2
3 L1
FÌT106-4
1
2 3
4
R20
2.2M
R21
2.2M
R22
2.2M
R23
18k
R24
18k C17
10nF
D8
1N4148
R13
10k
R17
10k
J2
Jumper
1
2
3
AUX_SUPPLY
AUX_SUPPLY
J8
20v DC_Aux_Supply
1
2
J1
OUT/400V-7.5A
1 2 3
T1
Magnetica
1 3
2 4
D2
C10
1uF
P
o
w
e
r
G
r
o
u
n
d
O
v
e
r

v
o
l
t
a
g
e

p
r
o
t
e
c
t
i
o
n
Ì
n
p
u
t

m
in

v
o
lt
a
g
e

e
n
a
b
le

(
1
9
0
v
)
R16
1M
R18
1M
V_OUT
V_OUT
R26
100k
SET = Power Gain
AN3215 Circuital modifications and schematic
Doc ID 17446 Rev 1 9/15

4 Circuital modifications and schematic
The schematic of the modified ISF001.v1 follows.
All the power passive components, including magnetic filters, are essentially maintained and
not modified. In order to have the maximum efficiency it is mandatory to remove the diode
bridge, necessary on a standard PFC circuitry, which in this case is not useful because the
input voltage is a DC from a solar panel string.
Putting an electrolytic capacitor on the input to reduce voltage ripple is suggested.
For the power active part, the new MDmesh™ V family power MOSFET is recommended for
this particular application. The STW77N65M5 is a new device capable of very low RDSon,
and an increased breakdown voltage from 600 to 650 V. This last aspect gives a better
safety margin for an application that may work under low temperature conditions at startup.
In fact, the solar converters are usually installed outdoors and the low temperature at
sunrise, especially during winter, could require an increase in the breakdown voltage of the
devices involved, which are guaranteed at 25 degrees.
Using only one STW77N65M5 device, it is possible to remove one of the original installed
MDmesh™ II devices, reducing the cost of the application at the same output power range.
The internal block diagram of an L6563 can help in understanding how the external control
voltage drives the power delivered by the system.
Figure 4. Internal block diagram of L6563
AM06905v1
+
-
VREF2
Vbias
(ÌNTERNAL SUPPLY BUS)
+
-
2.5V
R1
R2
+ -
-
+
ZERO CURRENT
DETECTOR
VCC
14
3 2 1
4
ZCD
VCC
T L U M P M O C V N Ì
CS
GD
13
11
GND
12
MULTÌPLÌER
R
S
Q
STARTER
1.7V
+ -
6
TBO
+
-
2.5V
PFC_OK
7
1:1
CURRENT
MÌRROR
+
-
RUN
10
0.52V
0.6V
PWM_LATCH
8
5
VFF
LEADÌNG-EDGE
BLANKÌNG
1:1
BUFFER
from
VFF
1.4V
0.7V
PWM_STOP
9
Vbias
UVLO
COMPARATOR
+
-
0.2V
0.26V
15 V
SAT DÌSABLE
LATCH
UVLO
3V
SAT
Ìdeal diode
1 / V
2
Starter
OFF
Driver
Q
TRACKÌNG
BOOST
ON/OFF CONTROL
(BROWNOUT DETECTÌON)
LÌNE VOLTAGE
FEEDFORWARD
ÌNDUCTOR
SATURATÌON
DETECTÌON
( not in L6563A )
FEEDBACK
FAÌLURE
PROTECTÌON
VOLTAGE
REGULATOR
Voltage
references

Circuital modifications and schematic AN3215
10/15 Doc ID 17446 Rev 1
The INV and COMP pins, connected to the internal comparator, are used to fix the voltage
on its output. The output of the comparator is one of the inputs of the internal multiplier that
gives the current peak reference. The input used to change the current reference, according
to the power delivered by the boost converter, is the multiplier input connected to the MULT
pin. The VFF pin, originally used to implement a voltage feed forward function, is connected
to an external trimmer, useful for setting the gain of the system. In other words, by moving
the external trimmer it is possible to fix a value of power delivered according to an input
reference voltage applied on the MULT pin. The power delivered also depends on the input
DC voltage from the solar string. For this reason it is better to tune the trimmer R26 to
deliver, at the output, the maximum power at the minimum input voltage, giving the
maximum input control voltage. The system has been characterized, the curves depicted in
Figure 5 show the output power according to the input voltage.
Figure 5. Output power vs. V control at different input DC voltages
As can be seen, by increasing the input voltage the range of the input reference control
voltage, to have the maximum power delivered to the output, is reduced.
AM06906v1
Pout(W) vs VcontroI(v)
0.0
500.0
1000.0
1500.0
2000.0
2500.0
3000.0
0.000 0.500 1.000 1.500 2.000 2.500
vcontroI
P
o
u
t
190Vdc input
250Vdc input
300Vdc input
350Vdc input
AN3215 Lab test and measurements
Doc ID 17446 Rev 1 11/15

5 Lab test and measurements
Following is a collection of measurements carried out on a modified ISF001V1 board,
working as boost.
The measurement sets are arranged on four different input voltages: 190, 250, 300, and 350
Vdc.
With the value of the passive component used for the RC net, used to fix T
off
, the switching
frequency is 19 kHz for 190 Vdc input and 37 kHz for 350 Vdc input.
Table 2. Power measurement at different input voltages
Vcontr Pout@190 Vdc Pout@250 Vdc Pout@300 Vdc Pout@350 Vdc
0.000 44.0 81.2 143.6 176.0
0.100 118.0 194.4 330 478.0
0.150 155.0 262.7 426.2 676.0
0.180 177.2 303.2 483.9 815.9
0.200 188.0 337.2 522.4 909.2
0.205 193.2 345.7 532.0 924.7
0.250 239.8 422.1 636.2 1064.0
0.300 291.5 507.1 752.0 1210.4
0.350 343.3 592.0 860.0 1360.2
0.360 353.6 608.7 881.6 1390.2
0.400 404.2 675.4 968.0 1510.0
0.450 467.5 758.8 1069.2 1652.8
0.500 530.7 844.4 1170.4 1795.6
0.550 594.0 930.0 1278.8 1905.0
0.600 659.0 1015.6 1387.2 2014.4
0.660 736.9 1119.1 1517.3 2180.0
0.700 788.9 1188.1 1604.0 2293.8
0.750 853.8 1274.4 1687.0 2436.0
0.760 866.8 1290.4 1703.6 2462.4
0.800 916.8 1354.4 1770.0 2568.0
0.850 979.2 1434.4 1872.4 2700.0
0.950 1104.1 1596.3 2077.2
1.000 1166.5 1677.2 2185.2
1.030 1204.0 1730.6 2246.0
1.100 1290.1 1855.2 2388.0
1.200 1413.0 2000.0 2594.0

Lab test and measurements AN3215
12/15 Doc ID 17446 Rev 1
5.1 Efficiency curves at different input voltages
Figure 6. Boost efficiency at 190 Vdc input
Figure 7. Boost efficiency at 250 Vdc
1.300 1536.0 2164.0
1.350 1597.0 2246.0
1.500 1780.0 2480.0
1.600 1895.2 2658.0
1.700 2010.4
1.910 2252.0
2.000 2351.2
2.100 2458.0
2.200 2564.0
Table 2. Power measurement at different input voltages (continued)
Vcontr Pout@190 Vdc Pout@250 Vdc Pout@300 Vdc Pout@350 Vdc
AM06907v1
Efficiency(%)
93.0
94.0
95.0
96.0
97.0
98.0
99.0
100.0
0.0 1000.0 2000.0 3000.0
Pout(W)
E
f
f
.
%
Efficiency(%)
AM06908v1
Eff.%
97.6
97.8
98.0
98.2
98.4
98.6
98.8
99.0
99.2
0.0 500.0 1000.0 1500.0 2000.0 2500.0 3000.0
Pout(W)
E
f
f
.
%
Series1
AN3215 Lab test and measurements
Doc ID 17446 Rev 1 13/15

Figure 8. Boost efficiency at 300 Vdc
Figure 9. Boost efficiency at 350 Vdc
AM06909v1
Eff.%
98.2
98.4
98.6
98.8
99.0
99.2
99.4
99.6
99.8
0.0 1000.0 2000.0 3000.0
Pout(W)
E
f
f
.

%
300Vdc input
AM06910v1
Eff.%
97.5
98.0
98.5
99.0
99.5
100.0
0.0 1000.0 2000.0 3000.0
Pout(W)
E
f
f
.
%
350Vdc input

Revision history AN3215
14/15 Doc ID 17446 Rev 1
6 Revision history

Table 3. Document revision history
Date Revision Changes
30-Aug-2010 1 Initial release
AN3215
Doc ID 17446 Rev 1 15/15



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