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# Snubbers - 1

W.P. Robbins
1
Snubber Circuits
Lecture Notes
William P. Robbins
Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering
University of Minnesota
Outline
A. Overview of Snubber Circuits
B. Diode Snubbers
C. Turn-off Snubbers
D. Overvoltage Snubbers
E. Turn-on Snubbers
F. Thyristor Snubbers
Snubbers - 2
W.P. Robbins
Overview of Snubber Circuits for Hard-Switched Converters
Function: Protect semiconductor devices by:
• Limiting device voltages during turn-off transients
• Limiting device currents during turn-on transients
• Limiting the rate-of-rise (di/dt) of currents through
the semiconductor device at device turn-on
• Limiting the rate-of-rise (dv/dt) of voltages across
the semiconductor device at device turn-off
• Shaping the switching trajectory of the device as it
turns on/off
Types of Snubber Circuits
1. Unpolarized series R-C snubbers
• Used to protect diodes and thyristors
2. Polarized R-C snubbers
• Used as turn-off snubbers to shape the turn-on
switching trajectory of controlled switches.
• Used as overvoltage snubbers to clamp voltages
applied to controlled switches to safe values.
• Limit dv/dt during device turn-off
3. Polarized L-R snubbers
• Used as turn-on snubbers to shape the turn-off
switching trajectory of controlled switches.
• Limit di/dt during device turn-on
Snubbers - 3
W.P. Robbins
Need for Diode Snubber Circuit
• Diode breakdown if V
d
+ L
σ
di

dt
> BV
BD
-
+
D
f
R
s
C
s
L
σ
V
d
I
o
S
w
L = stray inductance
σ
S closes at t = 0
w
R - C = snubber circuit
s s

I
rr
i
Df
d
d t
V
d
L
σ
=
I
o
t
t
V
d
i (t)
Df
v (t)
Df
• Diode voltage
without snubber
d
d t
L
σ
i

Snubbers - 4
W.P. Robbins
Equivalent Circuits for Diode Snubber
R
s
L
σ
+
-
V
d
anode
cathode
Diode
snap-off
C
s
+
-
V
d
L
σ
v
Cs
+
-
• R = 0
s
• v = -v
Cs
Df
• Simplified snubber -
the capacitive snubber
• Worst case assumption-
diode snaps off instantaneously
at end of diode recovery
i
Df
t
• Governing equation -
d
2
v
Cs
dt
2
+
v
Cs
L
σ
C
s
=
V
d
L
σ
C
s

• Boundary conditions - v
Cs
(0
+
) = 0 and i

(0
+
) = I
rr
Snubbers - 5
W.P. Robbins
5
Performance of Capacitive Snubber
• v
Cs
(t) = V
d
- V
d
cos(ω
o
t) + V
d

C
base
C
s
sin(ω
o
t)
• ω
o
=
1
L
σ
C
s
; C
base
= L
σ

|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
I
rr
V
d
2
• V
cs,max
= V
d

|
¦
|
|
¦
|
1 +  1 +
C
base
C
s

0
1
2
3
4
5
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 1.2 1.4 1.6 1.8 2
d
V
Cs,max
V
C
C
s
base
Snubbers - 6
W.P. Robbins
Snubber Equivalent Circuit
V
df
V
d
(t) = - 1 -
e
-αt
η cos(φ)
sin(ω
a
t - φ + ζ) ; R
s
≤ 2 R
b
ω
a
= ω
o
1- (α/ ω
o
)
2
; α =
R
s
2 L
σ
; ω
o
=
1
L
σ
C
s
; φ = tan
-1

(2-x) η
4 - ηx
2

η =
C
s
C
b
; x =
R
s
R
b
; R
b
=
V
d
I
rr
; C
b
=
L
σ
[I
rr
]
2
V
d
2
; ζ = tan
-1
(α/ω
a
)
• Governing equation L
σ

d
2
i
dt
2
+ R
s

di
dt
+
i
C
s
= 0
• Boundary conditions
i(0
+
) = I
rr
and
di(0
+
)
dt
=
V
d
- I
rr
R
s
L
σ

-
V
d
C
s
R
s
L
σ
+
+
-
v (t)
Df
i(t)
Diode voltage as a function of time
Snubbers - 7
W.P. Robbins
Performance of R-C Snubber
• At t = t
m
v
Df
(t) = V
max
• t
m
=
tan
-1

a
/α)
ω
a
+
φ - ξ
ω
a
≥ 0

V
max
V
d
= 1 + 1 + η
-1
- x exp(-αt
m
)
• η =
C
s
C
base
and x =
R
s
R
base

• C
base
=
L
s
I
rr
2
V
d
2
and R
base
=
V
d
I
rr

0
1
2
3
0 1 2
C = C
s base
R I
s rr
V
d
V
V
max
d
R
s
R
base
R
s,opt
R
base
= 1.3
Snubbers - 8
W.P. Robbins
8
Diode Snubber Design Nomogram
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0 0
0 0 0 0 0
0 0
0
0
1
2
3
0 1
2 3
R
R
s,op
base
V
V
max
d
s,opt
for R = R
s
L I /2
s r r
2
W
R
W
tot
L I /2
s r r
2
base
/ C C
s
Snubbers - 9
W.P. Robbins
Need for Snubbers with Controlled Switches
t
o
t
1
t
3
t
4
t
5
t
6
L
σ
di
dt
L
σ
di
dt
V
d
I
o
I
o
v
sw
i
sw
I
rr
I
o
V
d
L
1
L
2
L
3
S
w
v
sw
+
-
i
sw
L
1
L
2
L
3
• , , = stray inductances
L
1
L
2
L
3

=
+ + •
turn-on
turn-off
idealized
switching
loci
t
o
t
1
t
3
t
4
t
5
t
6
V
d
i
sw
v
sw
• Overvoltage at turn-off
due to stray inductance
• Overcurrent at turn-on due to
diode reverse recovery
Step-down converter
Switch current and voltage waveforms
Switching trajectory of switch
Snubbers - 10
W.P. Robbins
Turn-off Snubber for Controlled Switches
D
f
D
s
C
s
R
s
V
d
I
o +
-
i
D
F
i
C
s
Turn-off
snubber
S
w
C
s
I
o
- i
V
d
i
s w
D
f
I
o
s w
Step-down converter with turn-off snubber
Equivalent circuit during switch turn
-off.
• Simplifying assumptions
1. No stray inductance.
2. i
sw
(t) = I
o
(1 - t/t
fi
)
3. i
sw
(t) uneffected by snubber circuit.
Snubbers - 11
W.P. Robbins
i
D
f
i
C
s
V
d
v
C
s
C = C
s s1
t
f i
i
s w
i
D
f
i
D
f
I
o
t
f i
t
f i
i
s w
i
s w
C < C
s s 1
C > C
s
s
1
Turn-off Snubber Operation
• Capacitor voltage and current for 0 < t < t
fi
i
Cs
(t) =
I
o
t
t
fi
and v (t) =
Cs
I t
o
2
2C t
s fi
• For C
s
= C
s1
, v
Cs
= V
d
at t = t
fi
yielding C
s1
=
I
o
t
fi
2V
d

Circuit waveforms for varying values of C
s
Snubbers - 12
W.P. Robbins
I
o
D
f
C
s
I
o
R
s
V
d
D
s
S
w
t
r r
t
r i
+
i
s w
t
r r
0
discharge
of C
s
t
r i
t
2
V
d
I
o
v
s w
v
s w
I
r r
I
o
I
r r
i
D
f
t
r r
V
d
R
s
i
s w
Beneﬁts of Snubber Resistance at Switch Turn-on
• D
s
shorts out R
s

during S
w
turn-off.
• During S
w
turn-on,
D
s
reverse-biased and
C
s
discharges thru R
s
.
• Turn-on with R
s
= 0
• Energy stored on C
s
dissipated
in S
w
.
• Extra energy dissipation in S
w
because of lengthened voltage
fall time.
• Turn-on with R
s
> 0
• Energy stored on C
s
dissipated
in R
s
rather than in S
w
.
• Voltage fall time kept quite
short.
Snubbers - 13
W.P. Robbins
Effect of Turn-off Snubber Capacitance
Cs < Cs1
Cs = Cs1
Cs > Cs1
I
o
V
d
v
s w
i
s w
RBSOA
Switching trajectory
0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 1.2 1.4
W
T
/
W
base
W
R
/ W
base
W
total
/
W
base
C
s
/ C
s1
W
W
Energy dissipation
W
R
= dissipation in
resistor
W
T
= dissipation in
switch S
w
C
s1
=
I
o
t
fi
2V
d

W
total
= W
R
+ W
T
W
base
= 0.5 V
d
I
o
t
fi
Snubbers - 14
W.P. Robbins
Turn-off Snubber Design Procedure
Selection of R
s
• Limit i
cap
(0
+
) =
V
d
R
s
< I
rr
• Usually designer specifies I
rr
< 0.2 I
o
so
V
d
R
s
= 0.2 I
o
Snubber recovery time (BJT in on-state)
• Capacitor voltage = V
d
exp(-t/R
s
C
s
)
• Time for v
Cs
to drop to 0.1V
d
is 2.3 R
s
C
s
• BJT must remain on for a time of 2.3 R
s
C
s
Selection of C
s
• Minimize energy dissipation (W
T
) in BJT at turn-on
• Minimize W
R
+ W
T
• Keep switching locus within RBSOA
• Reasonable value is C
s
= C
s1
Snubbers - 15
W.P. Robbins
Overvoltage Snubber
+
-
V
d
L
σ
D
f
I
o
R
ov
C
ov
D
ov
S
w
• Step-down converter with
overvoltage snubber comprised
of D
ov
, C
ov
, and R
ov
.
• Overvoltage snubber limits
overvoltage (due to stray
Inductance) across Sw as it
turns off.
o t
fi
V
d
I
o
kV
d
i
s
w
v
s
w
• kV
d
= L
σ
di

dt
= L
σ
I
o
t
fi

• L
σ
=
kV
d
t
fi
I
o

• Switch S
w
waveforms without overvoltage snubber
• t
fi
= switch current fall time ; kV
d
= overvoltage on S
w
Snubbers - 16
W.P. Robbins
Operation of Overvoltage Snubber
+
-
V
d
L
σ
R
ov
C
ov
D
ov
i

v
Cov
+
-
• D
ov
on for 0 < t <
π L
σ
C
ov
2

• t
fi
<<
π L
σ
C
ov
2

• D
ov
,C
ov
provide alternate path
for inductor current as S
w
turns
off.
• Switch current can fall to zero
much faster than L
s
current.
• D
f
forced to be on
(approximating a short ckt) by I
o
after S
w
is off.
Snubbers - 17
W.P. Robbins
Overvoltage Snubber Design

• Limit v
sw,max
to 0.1V
d

= I
o
L
ο
C
ov

• Using L =
kV
d
t
fi
I
o
in above equation yields
• C
ov
=
kV
d
t
fi
I
o
2
I
o
(0.1V
d
)
2
=
100k t
fi
I
o
V
d

• C
ov
= 200 k C
s1
where C
s1
=
t
fi
I
o
2V
d
which is used
in turn-off snubber

• Choose R
ov
so that the transient recovery of C
ov
is critically
damped so that ringing is minimized. For a critically damped
circuit Q = 1 =

ω
o
L
σ
R
ov
=
L
σ
C
ov
1
R
ov
.

R
ov
=
0.1V
d
I
o

• Check that the recovery time of C
ov
(2.3L /R
ov
)

is less
than off-time duration, t
off
, of the switch Sw.

• With choice of R
ov
from above, t
recovery
is
t
recovery
= 23 k t
f i
Snubbers - 18
W.P. Robbins
Turn-on Snubber
V
d
+
-
L
s
D
Ls
D
f
R
Ls
I
o
S
w
V
d
-
L
s
D
Ls
D
f
R
Ls
I
o
S
w
D
f
+
Snubber
circuit
Step-down converter
with turn-on snubber
• Snubber reduces V
sw
at switch
turn-on due drop across
inductor L
s
.
• Will limit rate-of-rise of switch
current if L
s
is sufﬁciently
large.
sw
i
v
sw
V
d
I
o
L
s
di
sw
dt
Without
snubber
With
snubber
Switching trajectory with and without turn-on snubber.
Snubbers - 19
W.P. Robbins
Turn-on Snubber Operating Waveforms
t
ri
t
rr
rr
I
I
o
V
d
v
s
w
i
s
w

di
sw
dt
controlled by switch S
w
and drive circuit.
• Δv
sw
=
L
s
I
o
t
ri

I
o
V
d
v
s
w
i
s
w
rr
I
reduced
t ≈ > t + t
I L
o s
V
d
on ri rr
Large values of snubber inductance (L
s
> L
s1
)
Small values of snubber inductance (L
s
< L
s1
)

di
sw
dt
limited by circuit to
V
d
L
s
<
I
o
t
ri

• L
s1
=
V
d
t
ri
I
o

• I
rr
reduced when L
s
> L
s1
because I
rr
proportional to
di
sw
dt

Snubbers - 20
W.P. Robbins
Turn-on Snubber Recovery at Switch Turn-off
V
d
+
-
L
s
D
Ls
D
f
R
Ls
I
o
S
w
v
s
w
i
s
w V
d
I
o
R
Ls
I
o
t
rv
I
o
R
Ls
exp(-R
Ls
t/L
s
)
• Assume switch current fall time
t
ri
= 0.
• Inductor current must discharge
thru D
Ls
- R
Ls
series segment.
• Overvoltage smaller if t
fi
smaller.
• Time of 2.3 L
s
/R
Ls
required for inductor current to decay to 0.1 I
o
• Off-time of switch must be > 2.3 L
s
/R
Ls
• Switch waveforms at turn-off with turn-on snubber in circuit.
Snubbers - 21
W.P. Robbins
Selection of inductor
• Larger L
s
decreases energy dissipation in switch at turn-on
• W
sw
= W
B
(1 + I
rr
/I
o
)
2
[1 - L
s
/L
s1
]
• W
B
= V
d
I
o
t
fi
/2 and L
s1
= V
d
t
fi
/I
o
• L
s
> L
s1
W
sw
= 0
• Larger L
s
increases energy dissipation in R
Ls
• W
R
= W
B
L
s
/ L
s1
• L
s
> L
s1
reduces magnitude of reverse recovery current I
rr
• Inductor must carry current I
o
when switch is on - makes
inductor expensive and hence turn-on snubber seldom used
Selection of resistor R
Ls
• Smaller values of R
Ls
reduce switch overvoltage I
o
R
Ls
at turn-off
• Limiting overvoltage to 0.1V
d
yields R
Ls
= 0.1 V
d
/I
o
• Larger values of R
Ls
shortens minimum switch off-time of 2.3 L
s
/R
Ls
Snubbers - 22
W.P. Robbins
i
d
1 3 5
2 4 6
+
+
+ -
-
-
v
an
v
bn
R
s
C
s
A
B
C
P
L
σ
L
σ
L
σ
v
cn
Thyristor Snubber Circuit
• v
an
(t) = V
s
sin(ωt), v
bn
(t) = V
s
sin(ωt - 120°),
v
cn
(t) = V
s
sin(ωt - 240°)
α
v
an
v
bn
=
v
ba
v
an
v
bn
ω t
1
= v
LL
Phase-to-neutral waveforms
• v
LL
(t) = 3 V
s
sin(ωt - 60°)
• Maximum rms line-to-line voltage V
LL
=
3
2
V
s
3-phase thyristor circuit with snubbers
Snubbers - 23
W.P. Robbins
C
s
R
s
V
ba
( ) ω t
1
T (on)
3
T after
recovery
1
i
T1
P
A
2 L
σ
i
L
σ
+
-
Equivalent circuit after T1 reverse recovery
• Trigger angle α = 90° so that v
LL
(t) = maximum = 2 V
LL
• Reverse recovery time t
rr
<< period of ac waveform so that
v
LL
(t) equals a constant value of v
ba
(ωt
1
) = 2 V
LL
• Worst case stray inductance L
σ
gives rise to reactance equal
to or less than 5% of line impedance.
• Line impedance =
V
s
2I
a1
=
2V
LL
6I
a1
=
V
LL
3I
a1

where I
a1
= rms value of fundamental component of the
line current.
• ωL
σ
= 0.05
V
LL
3I
a1

Assumptions
Equivalent Circuit for SCR Snubber Calculations
Snubbers - 24
W.P. Robbins
• Use same design as for diode snubber but adapt the formulas to the
thyristor circuit notation
• Snubber capacitor C
s
= C
base
= L
σ

I
rr
V
d
2
• From snubber equivalent circuit 2 L
σ

di

dt
= 2 V
LL
• I
rr
=
di

dt
t
rr
=
2V
LL
2L
σ
t
rr
=
2V
LL

0.05 V
LL
3 I
a1
ω
t
rr
= 25 ωI
a1
t
rr
• V
d
= 2 V
LL
• C
s
= C
base
=
0.05 V
LL
3 I
a1
ω

25 ωI
a1
t
rr
2V
LL

2
=
8.7 ωI
a1
t
rr
V
LL
• Snubber resistance R
s
= 1.3 R
base
= 1.3
V
d
I
rr

• R
s
= 1.3
2V
LL
25ωI
a1
t
rr
=
0.07 V
LL
ωI
a1
t
rr

• Energy dissipated per cycle in snubber resistance = W
R
• W
R
=
L
σ
I
rr
2
2
+
C
s
V
d
2
2
= 18 ω I
a1
V
LL
(t
rr
)
2
Component Values for Thyristor Snubber