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Characteristics of 400 V dc plug and socket-outlet for DC distribution systems

Tomonori Iino, Keiichi Hirose, Masatoshi Noritake
Research & Development Headquarters NTT FACILITIES, INC. 2-13-1, Kitaotsuka, Toshima-ku, Tokyo, 170-0004 Japan E-mail: FUJITSU COMPONENT LIMITED Suzaka, Oaza, Suzaka-shi, Nagano, 382-0076 Japan ∗ SHIZUOKA University 3-5-1 Johoku, Hamamatsu-shi, Shizuoka, 432-8561 Japan

Akio Nakamura, Koichi Kiryu, Junya Sekikawa∗

Abstract—This paper reports test results and reviews for the developed plug and socket-outlet applied to the 400 V dc power systems expected to improve energy efficiency in communication sites, data centers, commercial buildings, and smart energy systems. However, there are some safety issues to use 400 V dc power. The plug and socket-outlet has a unique mechanism based on combination of a permanent magnet and mechanical contacts in the limited small space. The mechanism should solve the problems such as both arc extinguishing and protection against electric shock known as critical DC power issue for a long time. The results of an investigation of inrush current also are reported, including current size, effects and testing methods, as one problem in the construction and operation of 400 V dc power distribution circuit. Index Terms—Direct current, plug and socket, arc extinguishing, safety, inrush current, international standardization.

become loose with use, leading to heat degradation, and the tracking phenomenon is also more likely to occur than in other parts of the circuit. As a result, fire breaks out in the socket and plug more often than in other parts of the wiring”. Therefore, long-term reliability at the connection point between power supply and the load equipment is also important from the viewpoint of fire prevention. In this paper, we mainly report the basic characteristics of a 400 V dc class plug and socket outlet (10 A rating) that conforms to international standards and was developed on the basis of previous studies. Moreover, the IEC has begun discussions on the effects of inrush current on direct current circuit as a problem to be solved in addition to the other items. II. C AUTIONS C ONCERNING D IRECT C URRENT D ISTRIBUTION S YSTEMS A. Overvoltage at time of open circuit A direct current circuit that comprises a direct current power supply (E0 ), bulk capacitor (C0 ) for voltage stabilization, wiring (resistance component R and inductance component L), plug and socket-outlet, and load RL is shown in Fig. 1. When the switch is opened the circuit while current is flowing, it is necessary to interrupt the current (extinguish the arc) rapidly to prevent fire or damage to the equipment or facilities. However, induced voltage E1 is generated at the primary side terminal of the plug and socket as shown by Eq. (1), and a harmful abnormal overvoltage may be impressed on the equipment and facilities when the circuit open time, dt, is short. Conversely, when dt is longer, the direct current arc continues and fire or equipment damage may result, so a suitable interruption characteristic is needed. The circuit inductance L is determined by the material, shape and length x (m) of the conductor from the power supply to the load. For parallel two-way wiring (conductor radius, r and distance between conductor centers, D, where 2r D), the inductance per meter L0 (mH/m) of a straight section of one-way conductor is expressed by Eq. (2). When copper is used as the conductor, the two-wire inductance L can be computed with Eq. (3) by taking the relative permeability, μs , to be 1.00 and doubling the value of Eq. (2).

I. I NTRODUCTION The energy consumption has been increasing along with economic progress and greater convenience in social life. However, if we take note of the trend in power consumption in recent years, we see that ICT power use has been increasing with advances in the communication network social infrastructure and the widespread use of digital load equipment and terminals [1]. Energy conservation has come to be recognized as an urgent problem, particularly for data centers, which accommodate and operate a large amount of ICT equipment and consume a large amount of power [2]. Direct current power distribution is one of the solutions of energy saving in data centers, and studies on practical implementation are in progress in various countries around the world [3]. Two choices can be considered for the voltage to be used for direct current distribution. One is the 48 V dc that has conventionally been used for powering communication equipment and the other is 400 V dc, which can be applied for load equipment that has a greater energy consumption and has a higher power supply efficiency as well [4]. The 400 V dc exceeds the 60 V dc of safe extra low voltage (SELV) system and the 120 V dc of extra low voltage (ELV) systems, safety requires special consideration in a 400 V dc class data center. According to a report of electrical safety [5], “sockets and plugs are essential for supplying power to electric equipment as well as for preventing electrical shock, so sockets and plugs are in wide use. Nevertheless, these connectors can easily

. 2. Fig. S IMULATION AND E XPERIMENTAL R ESULTS OF I NRUSH C URRENT A. we investigated values of Cx up to 10 μF. we assumed a wiring length range of from 3 to 200 m for the primary distribution and from 3 to 30 m for the secondary distribution in our investigation. dt L0 = 0. It is therefore necessary to evaluate the ability to withstand Iinrush that is equivalent to the surge current. we assume that current i at the time the load current is interrupted is ramped down from the rated current of 10 to 0 A. Iinrush . unrelated to the on and off operations of the switching power supply. which set specifications for building electrical facilities. which are the units of load. multiple sockets in a strap configuration supply power to individual units of ICT equipment via plug connectors. switching power supplies have been used for ICT load equipment. and for suppression of noise and prevention of miss-operation due to the effects of noise from inside and outside the equipment itself. Assuming increasing capacitance and diversification of load equipment. An inrush current for charging. we set the internal resistance of the power supply at 50 mΩ. the calculated value of L for 500 m of cable that has a cross-sectional area of from 14 to 325 mm2 is from 340 to 280 mH. we conclude that a Δt of a few milliseconds is the target interruption time. The configurations of the primary and secondary distribution wiring vary with facility capacity and building layout. r (1) (2) (3) Data centers use cables that vary in cross-sectional area from 14 to 325 mm2 according to the allowable current and permissible voltage drop.4605 log L = 2L0 . Inrush current at time of close circuit In recent years. After conversion of the input alternating current to direct current by a rectifier. the primary distribution wiring carries the power to the power distribution unit (PDU). recommend that cables not exceed 500 m. and the capacitance and type of the filter capacitor Cx . The cable lengths vary with the layout of the data center building and the configuration and capacity of the power supply. From the voltage fluctuation rate of the power supply system. the secondary distribution wiring carries the power to the racks. 1. D . For the 400 V dc power supply system. Experimental method The circuit for the inrush current experiment is shown in Fig. Accordingly. but from experience with similar facilities. a value of 0. If there is insufficient tolerance to Iinrush . The value of the overvoltage induced when the circuit is opened. The relation of the rated capacity of ICT equipment that is currently on the market and the capacitance Cx of the EMI filter (composite value) is shown in Fig 3.5 mH can be assumed. DC R-L circuit for on/off test of the switch. Therefore. 2. and investigated its effects on the direct current power distribution circuit. Within a rack. Power distribution system in the data center. and from ΔV = −LΔi/Δt. the wiring root. B. Considering that the circuit includes connection points and the internal wiring of equipment. should be kept within the rated voltage for the ordinary input voltage range of the load equipment +10%. but International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards [6]. we used a Takasago model HX0600-25. 2) Load equipment and the size of Cx : We assumed that the special EMI filter for the direct current input equipment used in data centers and other such facilities has the same function and capacity as existing EMI filters for alternating current. the contact points will weld shortly after current flows and damage by the arc may decrease the safety and reliability of the distribution system. For conformance to Voluntary Control Council for Interference by Information Technology Equipment (VCCI) and other Electro-Magnetic Compatibility (EMC) standards. 4. EMI filters are placed at the input to the power supply circuit.05μs + 0. The peak value and waveform of Iinrush varies with the voltage of the direct current power supply E0 . III. To stabilize the direct current Fig. but the value of 2 μF is frequent and we can see that the maximum is 7 μF.di E0 = Ri + L . flows in that capacitor just after the plug has been inserted into the socket. A capacitor of several μF is connected to the EMI filter in parallel with the power supply circuit. From there. ΔV . 1) Circuit configuration of 400 V dc: An example of the configuration from the power supply facilities to the load equipment for a data center is shown in Fig. There is no correlation between the load capacitance and Cx .

so no damping of the current oscillation is seen. B. the current has an oscillation period of somewhat less than 20 μs and the Iinrush value that is equivalent to the first half wave continues for just a few microseconds. the wiring path.7. 2. Although there is an equivalent series resistance (ESR).voltage. 4. 5 and Fig. The value of Cx was set to five levels: 1. When the relation of wiring inductance L and resistance R is (R = 2L)2 < (1 = LCx ). the inrush current waveforms for the two cases of using the electrolytic capacitor and using the film capacitor for Cx are presented in Fig. the current was obtained with a non-contact probe (AM503B Tektronix) at the moment the plug was connected to the socket with the initial charge of Cx at 0 and the waveform was acquired with a DL1740 digital oscilloscope (YOKOGAWA). Discussion of the inrush current The tendencies of the peak inrush current values for when an EMI filter is connected to a direct current circuit were obtained by experiment and simulation. The conditions under which Iinrush is large are a short wiring path. The Cx used for the ICT equipment filter is a film capacitor of several μF. . With the primary wiring from the power supply to the PDU set at 200 m. 4.700 μF) that is sufficiently higher than Cx connected in parallel to the part that corresponds to the PDU. the R value that includes the ESR of the film capacitor. Iinrush is 200 A or less. C. the measured value for a test device made for 400 V dc. R. For the shortest-path wiring condition. the peak inrush current Fig. The mm2 power cord component that is connected to the 400 V dc plug and socket is set to 1. we used a 14 mm2 × 3 m conductor unit that is equivalent to the primary distribution wiring and a 14 mm2 × 3 m unit that is equivalent to the secondary distribution wiring. Relation between ICT power supply capacity and Cx value. Fig. Experimental results As example results. assuming an ordinary data center. a large capacitance of an electrolytic capacitor. the simulation was run according to the capacitor manufacturer’s catalog values of from 0. we also tested with an electrolytic capacitor for comparison.1 to 0. and the capacitance and type of the filter capacitor Cx . The electrolytic capacitor has a larger ESR than the film capacitor.4 μF.3. and the total resistance of the direct current circuit. for which Cx has diverse values. the capacitance of Cx is large. It is necessary to evaluate the tolerance to the inrush current (Iinrush ). 3. To match the constraints on the facilities in the experiments. In measuring the inrush current. satisfies the condition (R = 2L)2 < (1/LC ) and the current waveform is damped.75 to 4. both made with the same parallel conductor cable. and a small ESR. Iinrush increases with the capacitance of the capacitor. The results of the experiments and simulations are presented in Fig. but we obtained the peak of Iinrush for the 10 μF or so value that is set as the upper limit for this investigation. The resistance component for the plug and socket connection between the direct current circuit and the load equipment is set to 80 mΩ. Inrush current test circuit. the current is observed to have a damped waveform. The peak value and waveform of Iinrush vary with the direct current power supply voltage E0 . If tolerance to the inrush current is insufficient. and for Cx = 9. contact points can fuse and damage or discharge wear might affect the safety and reliability of the power supply. Iinrush is about 500 A. and 9. 3. and the ESR is small. C0 . 6. Although a film capacitor is generally used for Cx . Because it is difficult to lay wire to the actual wiring length in the test environment. which is equivalent to the surge current that arises just after the plug is inserted into the socket and power is supplied to the circuit.5 m. When the total impedance for a closed circuit is small (the cabling is short).6 μF. we checked to see if the experiments and simulations produce the same tendencies under the condition of shortest wiring length and the simulations confirmed the effect for long cable lengths (200 m. When Cx is about 10 μF or less and the wiring is shortest-path. However.5 Ω for the film capacitor and from 0. maximum for secondary distribution).0. 7.5 Ω for the electrolytic capacitor. is (R = 2L)2 ≥ (1 = LC ). that has a capacitance (4. a bulk capacitor. etc.2. This result confirms that the prototype plug and socket outlet can sufficiently withstand an Iinrush value of about 500 A.

(4) When the pins of the plug and the terminals of the socket engage.3 μF). 6. Extinguishing the arc discharge by permanent magnet Because the target rating for the plug and socket outlet is 400 V dc and 10 A. as is also proposed in [7]. C. so it is not likely to continue for a long period of time. R EQUIREMENTS FOR 400 V DC P LUG & S OCKT.OUTLET A. Inrush current for electrolytic capacitor (3. 8). then as indicated by Eq. or 160% of the current value for a 10 A rating [8]. Although the prototype device of was subjected to 1000 cycles of 300 A peak inrush current (wave-front duration of 8 μs and tail-wave duration of 20 μs). so measures for withstanding only the first half-wave that occurs under partial discharge are sufficient. For example.4 A. IV. It is generally conducted by specialists such as data center facility managers or building contractors that have electrical expertise. If there is not good engagement at the contact surfaces. At point D. Considering current data center wiring conditions. prevent wrong operation of connection. Fig. The Cx values of current EMI filters are about 2 μF or less. The plug and socket outlet that we developed is rated at 400 V dc and 10 A. Idc = P/E1 . Even though the voltage between wires is 400 V dc. the current waveform is damped oscillation with a period of 10 μs or less. 2 indicate the connection points of the equipment and facilities. it is possible to control the voltage relative to ground to ±200 V dc. To reduce the risk of electrical shock. The IEC standards for alternating current plug and socket outlets specify a temperature rise of 45 K or less for a one-hour current flow at 16 A. it is important that the voltage relative to ground not be large. In the worst case. if there is a drop in the power supply voltage E0 due to storage battery discharge for example. In that case. so the present experimental objective is to withstand the peak value of 300 A peak. the looseness increases the contact resistance and the temperature rise may exceed the specified value. When the permanent magnet was placed near the Fig. . That causes the temperature to rise at the points of engagement. Accordingly. a secure connection between load equipment and the ground line is an important requirement for the safety of plug and socket outlet.3 μF). The effect of the contact at the plug and socket outlet is an oscillating waveform for which the second and subsequent waves are in the state of power supplied with full contact. but the constant power characteristic of the load must be taken into consideration. safe use of the plug and socket connectors requires use conditions that prevent electrical shock. on the other hand. Inrush current for film capacitor (3. B. This state is an example of when the storage battery discharge continues for the prescribed time and the voltage approaches the final discharge voltage. as well. the current is increased by a factor of 1. The waveforms for the current and the voltage between the contact points are compared for the cases with and without the permanent magnet (Fig. there was no surface degradation or damage to either plug or socket. it may lead to a fire. we tested for arc discharge when the circuit is opened with the rated load connected. 5. 1 are connected by a cable of wiring length x (m) and the load has a constant power P . the current tolerance and temperature rise specifications must be satisfied at connection points such as plug and socket outlets. the electrical middle point. confirming that the device is not affected. etc.54 to 15. Thus. on the same safety level as ordinary industrial electrical equipment or home electrical appliances. Current increase during an incoming voltage drop for a constant power load (temperature rise) In the case that the power supply and load in the direct current distribution system shown in Fig. the current Idc increases in inverse proportion to load input voltage E1 .is maximum at about 500 A peak. Prevention of electrical shock and malfunction. Work performed at points A to C is done when the facility is constructed or expanded. (4). when a 4-kW constant power load that operates at 400 V dc and 10 A is operating at 260 V dc due to battery discharge or other such reason. work is performed frequently for the installation or replace of ICT equipment and involves plug and socket connections. This work is mostly performed by ICT or software engineers whose electrical expertise is inadequate compared to that of personnel who work on the other points. and secure connection of the ground line Points A to D in Fig. and ensure a secure grounding connection. a contact resistance is generated and a Joule loss occurs when current flows.

pin layout. was set to 40 Ω for a rated current of 10 A. Effect of permanent magnet for arc discharging. The specifications of the prototype 400 V dc. 5 A proposal that was drafted by IEC and is being studied by the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC). To test the withdrawal force of the locking mechanism for preventing unintentional removal of an inserted plug. the direct current test circuit shown in Fig.OUTLET In addition to comply with the conditions. 11. If the plug is not inserted into the socket. no voltage is impressed on the positive and negative terminals inside the socket when the socket is not in use. the switch can be moved to the ON position so that the contact points make contact and at the same time the socket locking pin is activated to hold the plug in place so that it cannot be unintentionally removed while the switch is on. Fig. we test-fabricated a direct current plug and socket outlet that has mechanical contact points and a permanent magnet set inside the socket. V. The electrical midpoint of the 400 V dc power supply is connected to the load equipment as the ground line. • To avoid burdening workers. . without the permanent magnet. This mechanism implements a safety measure to prevent electrical shock by ensuring that an unused socket never carries a voltage.5 mH (error rate of ±3%) and the plug and socket Fig. Shape To achieve the development target rating. B. A multisocket unit for use in a data center with a plug inserted is shown in Fig. C0 . 9 (b) satisfied the strength specified by IEC 60884-2-6 (120 N) [10].700 μF electrolytic capacitor. Circuit opening and closing characteristics To evaluate the circuit opening and closing characteristics of the prototype plug and socket. RL . so even if a ground leakage or ground fault occurs. confirming that the engagement holding strength is sufficient. After a plug has been inserted into the socket. The plug and socket shape. the mechanical contact points remain separated and the two terminals inside the socket are not charged. 9 are compatible with the 400 V dc. The appearance of the prototype is shown in Fig. 1 is used. 8. • To reduce power consumption and improve reliability in the socket. and dimensions shown in Fig. C HARACTERISTICS OF D IRECT C URRENT P LUG AND S OCKET. the mechanism functions to both prevent removal of the plug and prevent looseness in the plug engagement with the socket from increasing the contact resistance and controlling the temperature rise as a safety measure against fire. Safety mechanisms The developed plug and socket structure is illustrated in Fig. The voltage and current waveforms for the test circuit of with L = 0. is connected in parallel for safe operation during transients. 10. C. The ground pin on the plug side is longer than the positive and negative pins so that it is inserted into the socket before the other two pins. In this way. but a points. the voltage relative to ground is controlled. The load resistance. the arc duration was 3 ms or less. A. 7. thus contributing to safety. Until the switch is moved to completely to the ON side. we conducted pull-out tests. the switch cannot slide. • As a shock-prevention function. The results for application of a vertical withdrawal force on the plug in the state shown in Fig. The switch shown in that figure operates internal mechanical contact points. This confirms the effectiveness of the permanent magnet in extinguishing the arc in a remarkably shorter time. the safety measures listed below were targeted in our prototype plug and socket outlet [9]. The direct current power supply. 9. the mechanism activates the arc extinguishing function and the electrical shock prevention function simultaneously by the ordinary operation of plug insertion. • The socket and plug are constructed to prevent polarity mismatch when the plug is inserted and to prevent unintentional removal after the plug has been inserted. is fixed at 400 V dc. the duration was 284 ms. complex control circuitry and semiconductor devices are not used. E0 . 10 A direct current plug and socket were submitted as a proposal to IEC by the Japan Committee in October 2010. Experiment and simulation results for peak inrush current.

Iino. (in Japanese) [3] My Ton. LNBL report. is 2 ms or less regardless of the value of L. al. varies with the inductance L. 12. Matsumura “A study on Direct Current Distribution Voltage for Information and Communications System. the overvoltage of 40 V confirmed by these tests results should not affect the power supply system. A thermocouple (Type-K) was attached to the engagement area of the plug and socket outlet and the temperature rise were recorded up to the point of temperature saturation for current flows. which satisfies the conditions assumed for the IEC standard. Yamasaki. M. 1) Implementation of a safety mechanism for preventing miss-operation or looseness 2) Protection against electrical shock by covering up and separating live wires 3) Complete connection of the ground line 4) Interruption of continuous current (arc current) at the time of circuit opening 5) Control of overvoltage due to induced power at the time of circuit opening 6) Tolerance to inrush current at the time of circuit closing 7) Current increase (temperature rise) during constant power load voltage drops R EFERENCES [1] METI. and 15 A. 11. Hirose. Hirose.5 mH.” The journal of IEIEJ.” Proc. or the load equipment when the switch is put in the off position. Brian Fortenbery. Tschudi. K. (in Japanese) [2] K. pp. W. vol. pp. Kinoshita. M. “A study of the safety of the dc 400V distribution system. of 5. January 2009. C ONCLUSION The testing of the plug and socket-outlet showed that all of the seven requirements listed below were satisfied. Incheon. it is 40 V or less for a time of 0. 10. on IEEE INTELEC 2009. Yamasaki.” The journal of IEIEJ. and T. “Tracking Phenomenon and Fire of Organic Insulating Materials. Multiple socket-outlets and inserted plug into a socket-outlet. 29(12).” (2007-12). 973-976. The result of temperature rise in the engagement area is 45 K is about 17 A. 2005. 9. Energy Engineering in electronics and communications. 11. vol. 402. no. and confirmed that safe use in actual 400 V dc operation is possible. is proportional to the value of L. pp.” Technical report of IEICE. December 2009. Plugs and socket-outlets for household and similar purpose. Korea. (in Japanese) [5] K. Testing temperature rise in the contact area Constant current was drawn from the current source in the state with the plug and socket engaged to conduct the tests.” National Research Institute of Police Science. Low-voltage electrical installations Part I: Fundamental principles. December 2009. . T.Fig. assessment of general characteristics. 46. Therefore. Nevertheless. vol. Fig. The voltage fluctuation range for continuous use of the load equipment is generally the nominal voltage ±10%. 2006.Fukui. D. that delay causes no problem in operation. other facilities. pp. 2009. “Green IT Initiative. 123-129. Configuration of plug & socket-outlet. (in Japanese) [6] IEC 60364-1. Noritake. definitions. no. switch in the on and off positions are tested. Δoff . Plugs and socket-outlets for household and similar purposes. 2011-11. 10. Hirose. January 2007. 7-12. 889-896. Although the delay until the rated voltage is applied at the load terminals after the switch is moved to the on position. “The Current of Global Data Center Industry and Its Trend in Japan. Part 2-6: Particular requirements for switched socket-outlets with interlock for fixed electrical installations. no. The voltage rise observed on the primary side of the switch at that time. Fig. Δon . DC Power for improved data center efficiency. et. Oct. 108. Developed plug & socket-outlet. A. VI. (in Japanese) [10] IEC 60884-2-6. for L = 0. Part I: General requirements. “Development of 400 VDC plug and socketoutlet for DC distribution system. The arc interruption time after the switch is turned off.1 ms or less. I0 . of Int’l Conf. [4] K. [7] M. Hirose. (CD-ROM) [8] IEC 60884-1. [9] K. 31. Δoff .