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SILICON CONTROLLED RECTIFIERS

anode is held at high positive potential with respect to cathode and gate at small positive potential with respect to cathode. When a PN junction is added to a junction transistor. one from the outer P-Type material called anode A. In the normal operating os SCR. plate and cathode of thyratron. SCR is called thyristor. . anode and cathode of SCR correspond to the grid. second from the outer N-Type material called cathode K and the third from the base of the transistor section called gate G. The gate. Thus SCR combines the features of a rectifier and a transistor. Figure 2 The silicon controlled rectifier is a solid state equivalent of thyratron. Three terminals are taken. the resulting three PN junction device is called a silicon controlled rectifier as shown below. For this reason. Figure 1 It is clear that it is essentially an ordinary rectifier (PN) and a junction transistor (NPN) combined in one unit to form PNPN device. It can change alternating current into direct current and at the same time can control the amount of power fed to the load.Question 1 Construction of SCR A silicon controlled rectifier is a semiconductor device that acts as a true electronic switch.

the situation in the junctions J1 and J3 is just in npn transistor with base open .e No voltage applied to the gate. Hence. i. Once SCR starts conducting. As soon as gate current flows anode current increases. load is connected in series with anode. . The anode is always kept at positive potential with respect to cathode. no current flows through the load RL and SCR is cut off. Now junction J3 is forward biased and J2 is reverse biased. if the applied voltage is gradually increased a stage is reached when reverse biased junction J2 breakdown. When the gate is open Figure 3 Figure 3 shows the SCR circuit with gate open. Consequently. The applied voltage at which SCR conducts heavily without gate voltage is called Breakover Voltage.Working of SCR In a silicon controlled rectifier. When gate is positive with respect to cathode Figure 4 The SCR can be made to conduct heavily at smaller applied voltage by applying small positive potential to the gate as shown in Figure 4. the gate looses all control. The only way to stop conduction is to reduce the applied voltage to zero. The electron from n type material start moving across J3 towards left whereas holes from ptype toward right. 2. The increased anode current in turn makes more electrons available at J2. However. Consequently. Even if the gate voltage is removed anode current does not decrease at all. The working of SCR can be studied under the following two heads: 1. The SCR now conducts heavily and is said to be ON state. This process continues and in an extremely small time. the electrons from J3 are attracted across junction J2 and gate current starts flowing. Under this condition J2 is reverse biased while J1 and J3 are forward biased. junction J2 breaks down and the SCR starts conducting heavily.

This in turn causes a collector current to flow in the PNP transistor. but the two outer P-N junctions are reversed biased and it behaves very much like an ordinary diode. each half cycle and as we now know. So until one of the transistors is given some base current nothing can happen even if a Anode-to-Cathode voltage is present. the centre N-P junction is forward biased. the resulting collector current flows in the base of transistor TR1.SCR performance using two transistors Analogy Figure 5 The two transistor equivalent circuit shows that the collector current of the NPN transistor TR2 feeds directly into the base of the PNP transistor TR1. as Thyristors can be unintentionally triggered into conduction by an overvoltage as well as high temperature or a rapidly rising dv/dt voltage such as a spike. If now a positive current is injected into the base of the NPN transistor TR2. TR1 which increases the base current of TR2 and so on. . Since an AC sinusoidal voltage continually reverses in polarity every half-cycle allowing the thyristor to turn “OFF”. this effect is known as “natural commutation” and is a very important characteristic of the silicon controlled rectifier. When the thyristors Anode terminal is negative with respect to the Cathode. Therefore forward current is also blocked. remains “OFF” until the application of a Gate trigger pulse. This is an important negative characteristic of the thyristor. If the Anode terminal is positive with respect to the Cathode. the two outer P-N junctions are forward biased but the centre N-P junction is reverse biased. These two inter-connected transistors rely upon each other for conduction as each transistor gets its base-emitter current from the other’s collector-emitter current. Therefore a thyristor blocks the flow of reverse current until at some high voltage level the breakdown voltage point of the two outer junctions is exceeded and the thyristor conducts without the application of a Gate signal. while the collector current of TR1 feeds into the base of TR2.

Derivation of SCR anode current in terms of current gain and leakage current Ico Figure 6 .

5 kV. (iv) Peak Reverse Voltage. the gate is in the open-circuit condition and the junction temperature is at its maxi-mum permitted value. Critical rate of rise of voltage. is called the peak reverse voltage (PRV) or peak inverse voltage (PIV).5 V) to the gate. is the maximum rate at which the voltage in the forward direction can rise without triggering the device. if there is a voltage transient with an amplitude larger than the transient rating of the SCR. Normally value of this voltage is of 1. Commercially available SCRs have Breakover voltages from about 50 V to 500 V. with gate open. when the gate is open. In general peak forward voltage (PFV) is larger than forward breakover voltage VFB0 so that there is some inherent protection for the device. It is the maximum value of the voltage appearing across the device during the conduction.Question 2 Explanation of SCR ratings SCR Voltage Ratings (i) Breakover Voltage. (ii) Peak Forward Voltage. the voltage across load is also included. The minimum forward voltage. Though the SCR can be turned-on.5 V. although VFB0 is still a function of dv/dt. For an SCR with current load. This is the limiting positive anode voltage above which the SCR may get damaged. The maximum reverse voltage (cathode positive with respect to anode) that can be applied to an SCR without conduction in the reverse direction. (iii) Maximum On-State Voltage. During negative half cycle of ac supply reverse voltage acts across the SCR and if it exceeds beyond PRV. (v) Critical Rate of Rise of Voltage. it is possible that the PFV is lesser than VFBQ. but in practice. the SCR is operated with supply voltage less than breakover voltage and it is turned-on by applying a small voltage (typically 1. at which SCR starts conducting heavily (that is turned-on) is called the breakover voltage. there may be avalanche breakdown and SCR will get damaged if the current is not limited by the external circuit. It is found that sometimes an SCR unintentionally switches-on by itself during sudden variation of the applied anode voltage at a time when there is no gate current applied and the SCR is supposed . It is expressed in volts /microseconds. by making the supply voltage equal to breakover voltage. although it is unlikely to damage the device. dv/dt. Peak reverse voltage (PRV) is an important consideration while SCR is operating in an ac circuit. Commercially available SCRs have PRV ratings upto 2. it may lead to malfunctioning of the circuit if it causes the device to turn-on at the wrong instant. If the junction temperature is low. However. To specify this value.

The only way to turn off or open the SCR is to reduce the supply voltage to almost zero at which point the internal transistor comes out of saturation and opens the SCR. This false triggering is because of the capacitance possessed by the large area of junction J2. Current ratings of an SCR The current carrying capability of an SCR is solely determined by the junction temperature. if an SCR has forward current rating of 40A. it carries a load current determined by the supply voltage and the load. then SCR will be turned off. at which SCR is turned off from ON conditions. Commercially available SCRs have forward ratings from about 30A to 100A. The anode current under this condition is very small and nis called holding time. I means that if anode current is made less than 5mA. lies between 2 and 2. For example. It is the maximum anode current that an SCR is capable of passing without destruction. To avoid puncture of SCR due to uncertain conditions. Every SCR has a safe value of forward current which it can conduct. If the value of current exceeds this value. (iv) On-state Current.5. in no other case the junction temperature is permitted to exceed the permissible value (i) Holding current It is the maximum anode current. This is not likely to damage the device. (ii) Forward current rating. For example. When the rate of rise of the applied voltage dV/dt is very large. i. . On-state current is defined in terms of average and rms values. but an unintended triggering may lead to either high di/dt through the SCR or large short-est circuit current which may lead to the failure of the device. Except in case of surge currents. (vi) Voltage Safety Factor.e Circuit fusing rating = I^2*t. CdV/dt may become large enough to trigger the device. Thus SCR has a holding time of 5mA. the SCR may be destroyed due to intensive heating at the junctions.to be in the forward blocking state. The circuit fusing rating indicates the maximum forward surge current capability of SCR. If this rating is exceeded in the SCR circuit. (iii) Circiut (I^2*t) rating. Any attempt to exceed this value will result in the destruction of the SCR. it cannot be turned OFF even if gate voltage is removed. It is the product of square of forward surge current and the time of duration of the surge. The operating voltage and PRV are related by voltage safety factor Vf defined as Vf = PRV/ √2x rms value of input voltage The normal value of V. it means that the SCR can safely carry 40A. When the device is in conduction. the capacitive charging current. consider an SCR having circuit of 90. normal operating voltage is kept well below PRV value of the device. the device will be destroyed by excessive power dissipation. gate being open. When SCR is in the conducting state.

Due to localised heating the device may get permanently damaged. The temperature at which the current is permissible has to be mentioned. (v) Critical Rate of Rise of Current. Holding Current. It is the minimum device current. It is the minimum on-state current required to keep the SCR in conducting state without any gate drive. Latching Current. however in application this rate is hardly allowed to exceed beyond 5-10 A/micro second. before the gate drive is removed while turning-on. During initial period of turning-on. for maintaining it into conduc-tion. If the current increases too fast. Protection against dI/dt is provided by series inductor. . To-day devices are available which can withstand rate of rise of current upto 200-250 A/microsecond. ITrms is the rms value of maximum continuous sinusoidal on-state current (frequency 40-60 Hz. only a small area near the gate conducts the anode current.ITav is the average value of maximum continuous sinusoidal on-state current (frequency 40-60 Hz. This is called the hole storage effect. This is specified at maximum junction temperature. The maximum rate of increase of current during on-state which the SCR can tolerate is called the critical rate of rise of current for the device. conduction angle 180°) which should not be exceeded even with intensive cooling. Its usual value is 5 m A. It is this current which determines the application of device. which must be attained by the device. localised overheating may take place. conduction angle 180°) which should not be exceeded even with intensive cooling.

The method of discharging a capacitor in parallel with an SCR to turn off the SC is called forced commutation. Assuming the SCRs are switches with SCR1 ON and SCR2 OFF. Anode current interruption. The charge on C is then opposite to SCR2’s forward voltage. This can be done by the following turn off mechanisms 1. Hence SCR is reverse biased. the forced commutation of SCR where capacitor C performs commutation. 2. When SCR2 is triggered on. SCR1 is thus turned off and the current is transferred to R-SCR2 path.Question 3 Detailed explanation of the turn off mechanisms of an SCR The SCR can be brought back to the forward blocking state from the conduction state only by reducing the forward current to a level below that of the holding current. Natural commutation: In this type of turn off. When the anode current is reduced below a minimum value called holding current. The commutation components apply reverse bias across the temporarily or pass impulse of negative current. The simple way to turn off the SCR is to open the line switch S as shown in figure 8 Figure 8 . As shown in figure 7 . the SCR turns off. Figure 7 3. C is effectively parallel across SCR1. current flows through the load and C. the supply voltage becomes zero or negative. Therefore SCR turns off. Forced commutation: When the supply voltage is DC. then external commutation component are used to turn off the SCR. Therefore it is turned off.

the SCR is fired and the capacitor voltage is clamped to a small positive value. till the supply voltage crosses zero. Figure 9 RC half wave trigger circuit . the capacitor charges to the peak negative voltage of the supply (-Vm) through the diode D2 . to a positive value. As the supply becomes positive. When the capacitor voltage is equal to the gate trigger voltage of the SCR. the capacitor charges through resistor ‘R’ from initial voltage of -Vm . The capacitor maintains this voltage across it. In the negative half cycle.Question 4 The operation of R-C firing circuit Firing means the turning – ON of an SCR. RC HALF WAVE Capacitor ‘C’ in the circuit is connected to shift the phase of the gate voltage. D1 is used to prevent negative voltage from reaching the gate cathode of SCR.

the voltage drop across it falls to 1 – 1.£ . Therefore R<(vs-Vgt-Vd1)/Igt . The RC time constant for zero output voltage that is maximum firing angle for power frequencies is empirically gives as RC>1. The capacitor ‘C’ is reset to this voltage by the clamping action of the thyristor gate. the voltage across R & C. we can write vs = Igt*R +Vc . The RC value is empirically chosen as 50 2 RC ³ T . the capacitor charges at a faster rate towards Vgt resulting in early triggering of SCR and hence VL is more. Considering the source voltage and the gate circuit.Case 1: R = Large: When the resistor ‘R’ is large. Case 2: R =Small: When ‘R’ is set to a smaller value. In this circuit the initial voltage from which the capacitor ‘C’ charges is essentially zero.5V. DESIGN EQUATION From the circuit Vc =Vgt +Vd1 . Low voltage across the SCR during conduction period keeps the capacitor discharge during the positive half cycle. This in turn lowers.3(T/2). Figure 9: RC full wave trigger circuit . resulting in larger firing angle and lower load voltage. SCR fires when vs> Igt*R +Vc that is vs>Igt*R +Vc . Also s gt gt v V R I . RC FULL WAVE A simple circuit giving full wave output is shown in figure below. For this reason the charging time constant RC must be chosen longer than for half wave RC circuit in order to delay the triggering. the time taken for the capacitance to charge from Vm to V gt is large. When the SCR triggers.

com.html 2.na/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=3&cad=rja&ved=0 CD8QFjAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.electronics-tutorials.pdf&ei=sq hYUYSxIcevPO3ZgdAG&usg=AFQjCNFL6iR0IWy5HcUfbYslGnhsz5iNOQ&bvm=bv.References 1.d.com.com. https://www.google.44442042.pkb.google. https://www.ws/blog/thyristor. http://www.com%2FDownload%2520eBooks%2FPrin ciples%2520of%2520electronics%2FCH20.google.d.na/books?id=lGePnwccy3UC&pg=SA6-PA18&lpg=SA6PA18&dq=Detailed+explanation+of+the+turn+off+mechanisms+of+an+SCR&source=bl&ots= AbWTibmXbD&sig=U4OxMi64ITSBuOB3afxPRAhjLHw&hl=en&sa=X&ei=pbBYUeWYDMG2O8 SZgbAC&ved=0CF8Q6AEwCQ .my%2Felearning%2Ftopic%25201.pdf&ei=sqhYUYSxIcevPO3ZgdAG&usg=AFQjCNHLg2vJU8HiEWOD_9f0og9F_jihlA&bvm=bv .d2k 3. http://books. d2k 4.44442042.edu.na/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=7&cad=rja&ved=0 CFMQFjAG&url=http%3A%2F%2Ftalkingelectronics.