INVERTERS DC-TO-AC CONVERTERS The alternating power supply is usually obtained from electric rotating machines called generators, alternators

, or synchronous generators. These machines operate at a fixed speed to generate three-phase power at a desired frequency. Huge amount of power is produced at a generating station and then transmitted over long distances using threephase transmission lines. In places where three-phase or single-phase power supply can power a machine, there may not be any need to obtain it from a dc source. There are however situations where the conversion of dc supply to a time-varying supply becomes a necessity especially when there is a power outage (or a blackout) and no remote power-generating system is available. This is a necessity in third world countries where power outages are the norm rather than an isolated case. The conversion to time-varying (ac) voltage may also be necessary where the single or three-phase power is beyond reach such as an automobile. Most of the power is generated at 60-Hz in the United States and at 50-Hz at many countries in the world. What if there is a need for a power source at some other frequency, say 400 Hz or 20 kHz. The best way to obtain the power at a frequency other than the standard frequency is to first ac power to dc and then reconvert to ac at the desired frequency. The dc to ac power conversion makes use of static switches such as transistors or SCRs. An SCR should however be avoided for inverter application because it requires circuits not only for gating but also for its commutation, which simply means switching the SCR off after it has been conducting for a predetermined time. MOSFETs and IGBTs are good candidates for the switches in dc-to-ac conversion techniques. The main drawback of dc-to-ac conversion is that the output voltage is not a sinusoid. In addition to the fundamental component, it may be rich with harmonic components. The harmonic components may be filtered out using high-frequency filters on the output side. These filters must be able to handle large power output of the inverter. To keep the harmonic content at many different techniques have been proposed and put into practice. These techniques invariably require sophisticated gating circuits or controls. One such technique is called sinusoidal pulse-width modulation (SPWM).

Guru/PEInverters/DC2AC/ February 24, 2006

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Introduction to Inverters

In this chapter, our aim is to examine the two commonly used circuits for dc-to-ac conversion: The half-bridge inverter and the full-bridge inverter. The half-bridge inverter is satisfactory for low-power applications. The full-bridge inverter allows the use of pulse-width modulation technique to control its output. As we shall see, the two circuits differ in operation but yield the same equations. We shall begin our discussion of dc-to-ac conversion with the half-bridge inverter and then explain the operation of the full-bridge inverter.

Guru/PEInverters/DC2AC/ February 24, 2006

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Introduction to Inverters

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