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DC-DC CONVERTER PLANTS AND THEIR ABILITY TO CLEAR DISTRIBUTION FUSES James A. Giancaterino Reliance ComdTec Lorain Products 1122 F Street Lorain, Ohio 44052

ABSTRACT Accidental faults in the distribution circuits of DC-DC converter plants can cause voltage dips below the acceptable operating range of the converter loads. Unlike battery plants, converter plants rely solely upon the power supplies to clear fault protection devices. Since the DC-DC converters are current limited, their ability to clear faults will be based upon the short burst of current from their output capacitors and the excess current available from the plant. As the technologies have taken the DC-DC converters to higher and higher operating frequencies, their output capacitance has decreased substantially. In the past, the larger capacitors would provide a higher momentary current when a fault was introduced. In many cases, as you will see, this is not enough. This paper will look at some of the considerations of converter plants with respect to fault clearing, as well as some practical approaches to resolving this problem. A Lorain 624L converter plant was tested for its fuse clearing capabilities with and without the additional capacitor bank. The results of this testing will be presented.

fault protection fuse, the DC bus voltage for all of the loads dips to near zero volts, causing an interruption of power to all of the loads. This in turn causes a momentary interruption in service to your customers. Since the DC-DC converter plants do not have the luxury of including a large battery on its output to instantaneously clear distribution fises, the fuse clearing must be done by the stored energy in the converter output capacitors and the maximum current limit rating of the plant. As you will see, this is not generally sufficient.

11. BACKGROUND

The evolution of the DC-DC converter, driven by advances in technology, has produced a much smaller, much lighter, and much more dense product. All of this is good; however, the reduction in physical size comes from the reduction in component size. Component size is determined primarily by heat and operating frequency. In particular, the output filtering circuit size is reduced substantially by the increase in frequency. Table 1 illustrates the relative capacitance found in three generations of converters.

I. INTRODUCTION

There is often a false sense of security following the design of a well thought out DC-DC converter plant. The converters have been sized for the maximum loads, redundancy has been included, and the metering and distribution has been tailored specifically for the application. Then unexpectedly, a fault occurs on one of the distribution circuits. In the process of clearing the

315

6,800 ufd

6 amp 20KHz Design

1,500 ufd

3 amp 1MHzDesign

I

I

150 ufd

TABLE 1. - Output Capacitance for a 24v input, 48v output Converter If these converters were configured to create a 30 amp non-redundant plant, the total output capacitance could be seen in Table 2.

0-78032034-4/94/ $4.00 1994 IEEE

One solution. One series of tests involved looking at individual converters and their ability to clear fuses. DATA Two converters were selected for the study. This stored energy is a key element in clearing fuses. 3 16 . connected directly across the line side of the fuses. Even with the 1500 microfarads of output capacitance the bus voltage of the HSA6B converter still dipped 25 volts momentarily. Figure 1 and 1A are fuse clearing waveforms using the 1 1/3 fuses without any supplemental capacitors. simulating the capacitors being installed near the distribution. The difference in the waveforms is primarily due to the difference in the output capacitance of the two converters. These capacitors were wired directly in parallel with the output of the converter. and a GMT type fuse holder.Output Capacitance & Energy for Converter Plant As can be seen. no Cap. higher frequency designs. This is done by attaching an electrolytic capacitor assembly across the main DC distribution bus.500 ufd 1 Design 1.500 ufd 20 Design 8. 1 KHz 40.11-5 Converter Type Output Capacitance Energy Stored FIGURE 1 . a large switch to simulate a short circuit. - Two fuse sizes. is to add stored energy to the converter distribution bus. can provide the very high momentary currents necessary for clearing distribution fuses while maintaning the bus voltage. Lorain HSA6B. IV. The results of clearing 3 amp fuses will more dramatically demonstrate the problem. The load was wired to the capacitor. In comparison the M H S A 6 B converter dipped to zero volts and sustained it for 28 milliseconds.6 J MHz 1. . which has been very successhl. This capacitance. A test fixture was created which included a fixed length of hook up wire. 24 volt output.000 microfarads. 111. GMT fuses were used in the tests for comparison. 1 1/3A fuse.7 J TABLE 2. considering the number of converters required to clear distribution hses with the additional capacitor assemblies. TESTS PERFORMED Two series of tests were conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of adding stored energy capacitors to the DC-DC converter plants. 1 1/3 and 3 amp.000. 1A . The second series of tests involved a comprehensive study of a Lorain model 624L.MZHSA3B. Each converter was subject to the exact same test set up. This was done to better understand the coordination of capacitor size to converter size.800ufd Design 47 J KHz 7. 1Ov/div 1Omsec/div FIGURE. there is a substantial decrease in available stored energy in the new. A 20 KHz converter.000.HSB6H. 30. 1 1/3A fuse. Lorain MZHSA3B. 20. two of the 3 amp MZHSA3B converters were used in parallel to equal the single 6 amp output of the HSA6B for the comparison. DC-DC converter plant in various configurations. and a pair of 1 MHz converters. no Cap 20v/div 1Omsec/div Four supplemental capacitor bank sizes were selected for the test.111.000 and 40. 10. Since it was not possible to obtain two converters with equal output ratings.

1 113A fuse. while the MZHSA3B dipped 7.MZHSA3B. 3 amp fuse. 2A . 3A fuse. lOKufd FIGURE. 10. The HSA6B dipped 5 volts. Again. 3 amp fuse.HSA6B.11-5 FIGURE. Figures 4 and 4A will look at how the 10.000 microfarad capacitor. The addition of the capacitor has reduced the voltage dip to just 3. the larger fuse size. 2 .HSA6B. 3 . lOKufd With the larger fuse.MZHSA3B. the HSB6A converter sustained near zero volts for 48 milliseconds. shows an significant voltage dip. lOKufd 2vldiv 20msecldiv 20vIdiv msecldiv FIGURE 3A .000 microfarads was added to the output of each converter and the tests were repeated. 317 5v/div 50msecldiv .2 volts with the HSA6B and 3. even with the help of the 10.8 volts for the MZHSA3Bs.HSA6B.000 microfarad capacitor will aid in clearing the 3 amp fuse. 1 113A fuse. no Cap FIGURE. The MZHSA3B converters took 110 milliseconds to clear under the same conditions. FIGURE 4 . The next series of waveforms will show the results of adding the supplemental capacitors. no Cap 2vldiv 20msecldiv 20vIdiv msecldiv Figures 2 and 2A demonstrate even further how the DC bus can be jeopardized using the 3 amp fuse.5 volts.

the resistive load on the plant and the number of capacitor banks connected.2 1. In the example shown in Table 2A. Three types of fuses were used for the study. It would take 3 to 4 more converters in the same plant if the NON type fuses were to be used. Due to space constraints. To maintain the 1.6 1. summarizes the remainder of the fuse clearing tests with these converters. The variables were the number of converters. The purpose of these tests was to determine the converter plant capacity necessary to clear fault protection fuses without substantially degrading the DC bus voltage.OOOufd 4O.0 3. Capacitors up to 40. These are the typical fuses used in this type of plant.0 1. The purpose of using the three fuse types was to determine which was best suited for the application. with 120 amps of load and a single capacitor bank. I 10.11-5 FIGURE. 3A fuse. Table 4 depicts a typical sheet of fuse blowing data. BAN-30.5 Farads each. This can be compared to 10 converters (300 amps total) for the BAN type and 11 (330 amps total) for the KTN type.MZHSA3B.6 I 2. lOKufd The converter plant was configured with up to 18 HSB30A . the number of converters required to clear the BAN fuse went down from 10 to 7 (2 10 amps total) and for the KTN fuse the number of converters went down from 11 to 8 (240 amps total).75 volt transient. Several configurations starting with 5 converters were tested in order to represent a variety of plant sizes. NON30. The fuse current ratings are the same.5 VDC. a third bank of capacitors was not added.OOOufd 20. however. Also. A subsequent test found that by increasing the number of capacitor banks to 2.2 2. a fuse that has been operating under load long enough to temperature stabilize will exhibit a quicker clearing time.2 I 3. required 14 converters (420 amps total). this would allow a transient of only 1. . and KTN-30. In this way it could be determined how many converters would be required to reliably clear the fuse at a given load condition.0 I I TABLE 3 . 4A . It must be qualified that the converters were operating at no load prior to the short circuit.5 2.2 I 5. and the fuses were operated cold. the fuse clearing times would have increased. 5vIdiv 1Omsec/div HSA6B PAIR OF MZHSA3B The stored energy capacitor banks were sized at 1. The objective for each sheet is to determine the minimum number of converters required to clear the fuse without allowing the bus voltage drop to exceed the 1. The NON type fuse was eliminated after the first round of tests.75 volt maximum.75 VDC of undershoot. Had there been other DC loads powered during the test.4 1.000 microfarads were used. The limit of 23.Voltage dip wlwo Capacitors Each test consisted of clearing a fault through the selected fuse. Either one or two banks were used depending upon the overall capacity of the converter plant. the fuse clearing data was taken with 318 Table 3. Two banks was determined to be the most practical solution. the clearing curves for the three fuses are quite different.75 VDC was selected as the minimum voltage that the distribution bus could tolerate.3 1.OOOufd ’ 2.OOOufd 30. 30 amp converters. having their current limit set at 120%. The most significant improvements are found with the initial added capacitance. With an initial converter output set point of 25. Small improvements can be appreciated with additional capacitors.

the clearing time of the fuses selected. and the negative resistance loads will not be significant for very small voltage changes during the fuse clearing (typically 1 to 2 volts). 120 8 3 60 420 440 16 TABLE 6 . Several data points were taken with the 5 converter configuration in order to establish a trend.75 volts. As can be seen from the data. Different fault currents were used to map the voltage drop and clearing time characteristics. converter current limit set at 120% ~~~~ ~ TABLE 4 . The fault currents were established by the sizing of the loop resistance to the fault. certain assumptions must be made. will demand a higher current. I PlantLoad(amps) 120 180 1 I I Converters Required 7 8 1 1 420 440 TABLE 5 . fuse clearing characteristics at the specific operating voltage of the plant and the negative resistance characteristics of some of the loads. the fuse clearing times in the data sheets will be close enough. from 130 amps to 500 amps.Fuse clearing data showing Voltage Drop and Time to Clear (BAN-30) seven different fault currents. Table 5 summarizes the results for the 624L converter plant testing using the BAN-30 fuse and two capacitor banks. the load on the plant and much more. Similarly Table 4 summarizes the results of the testing using the KTN-30 fuse and two capacitor banks. A fault closer to the distribution fuse. It is important to understand that the clearing characteristics of the fuse will vary with loop resistance. 7 converters will be necessary to clear the fuse without dropping below the minimum bus voltage requirement.BAN-30 15 In the following derivation we will assume that the loop inductance is small enough to ignore. with the minimum number of converters. 3 19 .KTN 30 V. Understanding of the fuse clearing trend will minimize the number of data points necessary to accurately predict the minimum number of converters required. the voltage drop that can be tolerated. such as the resistance of the distribution wiring. Since this information is very difficult to obtain. who’s voltage drop does not exceed 1. The minimum number of converters is determined by finding the row of data. ANALYSIS OF CAPACITOR SIZING Sizing the supplemental capacitor bank is not intuitively obvious. To precisely determine the capacitor size would require looking at such details as inductance of the loop. Several factors must be considered. BAN-30 fuse. having less resistance. The worse case fuse clearing condition is not necessarily that with the highest fault current. 2 capacitor banks (3 Farads total).11-5 Test Conditions: 120 amps load current.

REFERENCES (1) Glen Olson. “Lorain Products Fuse Clearing Test For 624L Converter Plant” Dan McMenamin.11-5 The equation I. = IF . V2 is the minimum voltage. It should be noted that the fuse clearing time is not the same as the total duration of the voltage dip. The danger of a mass power interruption in DC-DC converter plant distribution can be avoided with the addition of properly sized energy storage capacitors and proper fuse selection. CONCLUSION If we assume that the plant load current must be maintained during the transition. This can be compared to the actual capacitance of 3 Farads in the test. to clear the fault will be equal to the capacitor current. 6 converters at 36 amps each I.+V2)/2R.) where IR is the rated current for the plant and I. .02 seconds to clear at 350 amps. plus the excess plant current.85 Farads. Since V. this fuse will take 0. So the capacitor current can be written as 1 . The average fault current will be equal to the average bus voltage divided by the loop resistance. where V.02)/ 1. 350 amp fault current. I. We require the clearing time for the BAN-30 fuse.78 volt dip. the plant current. is the initial voltage. The capacitors can deliver the extremely high momentary currents necessary to clear fuses without allowing the bus voltage to dip below the minimum allowable load requirement limits. is the load current.dv)/2R. The fuse clearing time is over when the transient voltage begins to rise. dv is the voltage dip allowable. not including the capacitor current. can be written as IF = (V. I.78 Since we already know the fault current from the table. Let us compare this equation to the results found in the 624L converter plant testing. The time listed in the table includes the converter response time. In the equation I. 58 Bussman. TE&M Apr.(IR-IL). is the capacitor current. 1990 P.. the equation can be written as I F = (2Vi . IF. and R is the loop resistance. From the Bussman data sheet. Now the current. 1986 P. the capacitance should be rounded up to add margin. The example will come fiom Table 2A. (IR. available to help clear the fuse will be (IR-I. = C dv/dt will be the starting point for the capacitance derivation.V2 is equal to the voltage change dv. 3-3-15 320 . V.IL). “Using Capacitors to Zap Fuses”.=120 amps load By solving the equation we find C = 2. C = I (dtldv) C = ((350)-(216-1 20))(. To be safe. we do not have to calculate it using (2V1-dv)/2R IR=6x36amps. C is the supplemental capacitance. There will be a small error in the solution due to the assumptions previously made.-dv)/2R)-(IR-IL))(dt)/dv. This now establishes our final equation C = (((2V. and 1. and dt is the fuse clearing time (taken from the characteristic curve for the fuse). 6 converters. “Electronic and Small Dimension Fuses”.

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