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Recent Development In Power Electronic

Recent Developments In Power Electronics

1.0 Devices
1.1

MOS Controlled Thyristors (MCTs)


The silicon-controlled rectifier has a low forward voltage drop and has a large current
density with a huge short term over current capacity. However, the turn off is limited
to when the forward current is zero and hence its applications are limited. This was
overcome in part by the development of the gate turn off thyristor (GTO), however it
is slow to turn off and requires a large gate current to turn off (of a similar order to the
current flowing through the device perhaps a half).

The MCT uses two MOSFETs to gate it. An example of the structure is shown in figure 1

and the equivalent circuit is shown in figure 2.

Figure 1.1 Left: MCT structure. Right: MCT equivalent circuit.

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1.2

Manufacturers
Silicon Power Corporation (SPCO) currently manufactures MCTs.

1.3 Schematic Diagram

Figure 1.2

1.4 Operating Characteristics


As a function of the current density, the forward conduction drop for an MCT can be
seen to be low compared to other fast switching power devices .

Figure 1.3 Forward conduction drop of differing high speed switching devices. [Rashid 1]
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If the MCT is non-conducting, but forward biased, then a negative voltage applied to
the gate will turn it on. If the gate voltage is removed, like a normal thyristor, the
MCT will continue conducting.

Applying a positive voltage to the gate will turn off the device. For large devices, the
length of the gate pulse is important and may need to be for the duration of the turn
off.

The MCT has a small negative temperature coefficient at low currents, but at high
currents the coefficient does become positive. The forward voltage drop of a 50A
MCT is about 1.1V (compared to at least 2.5V for an IGBT). A typically turn on delay
time is 300ns.

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References
[Rashid 1] M. H. Rashid, "Power Electronics Handbook", Academic Press, 2001,
ISBN 0-12-581650-2
[Yuvarajan] Yuvarajan, S., "MOS Controlled Thyristors",

"Power Electronics

Handbook", Rashid, M., Academic Press, 2001, ISBN 0-12-581650-2, pp 117-125.

2.0 Static Induction Devices (SITs)


Static induction devices use an electrostatic field to control the current. This method
of current control can be applied to a wide range of devices such as transistors,
diodes, thyristors and MOS transistors.

Their range of power capability can be

100kW at 100kHz or 10W at 10GHz.

The cross section of a SIT transistor is shown in figure.

An electrostatic barrier

controls the current.

Figure 2.1 Cross section of an SIT.

2.1 Manufacturers
Presently SITs are thought to be made by Japanese companies only. They do not
appear to be fully developed as commercial products at present.

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2.2 Schematic Diagram

Figure 2.2

2.3 Operating Characteristics

Figure 2.3 N channel SIT characteristics

For an N channel SIT, the more negative the gate voltage, the larger the Vds needs
to be before it will start conducting. A zero gate voltage ensures conduction.

2.4 SIT Applications


The SIT structure would seem to be able to be applied to most types of
semiconductors, including thyristors.

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2.4.1 SIT Diode

Figure 2.4 SIT diode configured from a SIT transistor


A diode can be formed from a SIT by shorting the gate to the emitter. Hence the
gate voltage is zero and it is permanently able to conduct in one direction .

2.4.2 SIT Power MOS Transistor


Both the DMOS and VMOS structures used by power MOSFETs are SIT structures.

Figure 2.5

References
[Wilamowski, B.] Wilamowski, B., "Static Induction Devices", ", "Power Electronics
Handbook", Rashid, M., Academic Press, 2001, ISBN 0-12-581650-2, pp 127-138.

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3.0 Resonant Converters


3.1 Introduction
When hard switching electronic devices, there is an abrupt change of current and
voltage across the device. However, this change is not instantaneous (figure 3.1)
and can lead to very high losses, known as switching losses.

power dissipated
Figure 3.1 Idealised turn off losses of a power transistor.

volts

current

Figure 3.1

Using a resonant circuit with the switching device, all switching can be performed at
zero current or zero voltage, thereby reducing the switching losses to zero. This
reduces the switching time and together with the reduced switching losses allows for
a large increase in the switching frequency. In general, hard switching devices can
only switch up to about 100kHz, whereas several mega Hertz is possible with
resonant switching.

Time

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3.2 Zero Current And Voltage Resonant Switches


The two types of circuits in figures 3.1 and 3.2 operate in a half wave mode as the
ant parallel diode across the transistor clamps the voltage to the supply. The series
diode is used to protect the transistor against a reverse voltage.

Figure 3.2

Basic zero current resonant switches.

The principle shown in figure 3.1 is that after the switch is turned on, due to the
resonant interaction between the series inductor and capacitor circuit, the current
through the device will fall to zero.

Figure 3.3 Basic zero voltage resonant switches.

The parallel capacitor of figure 3.3 ensures that the voltage on the right hand side of
the device will rise to equal that on the left hand side of the device hence providing
the opportunity for zero voltage turn off.
Note that for both the zero voltage and zero current resonant switching, condition
sensing circuits must be provided to ensure correct switching.

Under some

conditions, the switching may not always be losses at both turn on and turn off.
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3.3 Quasi Resonant Converts (QRCs)


Quasi-resonant converters will be illustrated with a down converter (also known as a
buck converter).

Figures 3.41 and 3.42 show a zero current switching QRC

operating in the half wave state and full wave state respectively. Note that the
inductor Lf is large so that the current can be considered to be constant. L r and Lc
define the resonant condition.

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Figure 3.4 A

Figure 3.4 B

Figure 3.4.1 shows the following:


Time
t0
t0 t1

Action
Transistor turns on with zero current switching
Cr charges up, current increasing until Cr voltage reaches
supply, then current decreases to zero.
Voltage V0 increases

t1
t1 - T
T

Current now at zero, switch turned off.


Voltage V0 decreases
New period
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Hence it can be seen that the output voltage is a function of the frequency.
The following parameters are defined for these types of resonant circuits.

Parameter

Meaning

Definition

Voltage conversion ratio

M = V0/Vi

Zr

Characteristic impedance

Zr = sqrt (Lr/Cr)

fr

Resonant frequency

Fr=1/(2pi (sqrt (LrCr))

Normalised load resistance

r = RL/Zr

Normalised switching frequency = fs/fr

If I0 > Vi/Zr, then Is will not go to zero due to the resonant condition.
If the antiparallel diode of the MOSFET is allowed to conduct, then Lf, Cf and Cr
can resonate and put back energy into the supply. Hence at light loads, or no
loads, excess energy can be returned to the supply, rather than requiring a
change of the frequency to compensate.

4.0 Zero Current Switching And Zero Voltage Switching


Zero current switching devices usually requires that the device has a voltage
across it as it switches. Hence any internal device capacitance will have charged
up and this energy will be dissipated in the device during turn on. This can limit
the maximum switching frequency. During turn off, the switching loss is negligible.
Zero current switching is particularly useful if there is a long turn off current tail, as
with IGBTs.
Zero voltage switching ensures that there is no voltage across any device
capacitance and hence there is no capacitive turn on loss. Hence the maximum
operation frequency can be higher than with ZCS.

With ZCS, there can be significant conduction losses. With ZVS, the issue can be
the voltage stress of the device, which can be proportional to the load.

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References
Hui, S.Y., Chung, H., "Resonant and Soft Switching Converters", "Power
Electronics Handbook", Editor: Rashid, M.H., Academic Press, 2001, ISBN0-12581650-2, pp271-306.

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5.0

The Standard Resonant Induction Heating


Implementation

The standard induction oven is a parallel resonant load directly coupled to a current
source single phase inverter (figure 1) [Bottari 1985] [Casella, 1986] [Dede 1993]
[Dede 1996], forming a resonant converter. The parallel resonant capacitor is added
to reduce the current load on the semiconductor devices and to achieve natural
commutation of the switching devices.

load

Figure 5.1 Induction oven configuration [Bottari 1985] with as standard a current source
inverter and a parallel resonant load (circled).

5.1 Supplying the Inverter


The usual method of supplying the inverter is from a thyristor rectifier followed by a
dc link inductor (figure 5.2) to form a current source [Dede 1996]. The thyristor
allows for control of the output dc voltage and hence the output dc current and
ultimately the current in the load.

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Figure 5.2 Induction oven with a thyristor rectifier followed by dc link inductor (circled)
[Dede 1996].

5.2 Load Configurations


The induction heated load is usually assumed to be inductive and requires large
amounts of power. It can also have a low power factor, hence requiring significant
amounts of reactive current. If this current is to be provided by the driving circuit, it
must be rated for a current well in excess of the real current. To reduce the required
rating of the driving circuit, the load is often connected to a capacitor in parallel to
form a resonant circuit. If the load has a high impedance, it is usually configured as
a series resonant circuit (hence reducing the voltage required), whereas if the load
impedance is low, the configuration is in a parallel resonant circuit [Dede 1998]. In a
parallel resonant configuration, the inverter current will be reduced by a factor of
Q=L/R (where L and R are the heating load inductance and resistance
respectively). Using a resonant load circuit usually ensures that the current in the
load is sinusoidal.

It is unclear that this is the optimum waveshape, however

electromagnetic interference (emi) would be expected to be reduced compared to


waveforms of the same fundamental frequency but with higher frequency harmonics.
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For the application envisaged for this report, the load impedance is low, hence a
parallel resonant load circuit is normally used.
5.3 Parallel Resonant Load
To form a parallel resonant load (figure 7.1), the load is modelled as a series inductor
and resistor and a resonating capacitor is added in parallel.

At the resonant

frequency, the overall power factor of the load circuit is now near unity and the
impedance is high compared to that of the load itself. For this to be effective, it
should be driven by a current source inverter to limit the current that would otherwise
flow in the capacitor.

Figure 5.3 Current source inverter with a parallel resonant induction heating load [Dede
1993].
The heating load current shape is sinusoidal., even though the supply current may
be rectangular (as from a current source inverter) (figure 7.2) .

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Figure 5.4

Current source inverter with parallel resonant load. Top: inverter output
current. Bottom: heating load current.

5.4 Series Resonant Load


For high impedance loads, a series resonant configuration (figure 7.3) will reduce the
overall impedance, allowing an increased current to flow at a reduced supply voltage.
These are normally driven by voltage source inverters. Again the load currents will
be sinusoidal, but the supply voltage from a voltage source inverter will be
rectangular (figure 7.3).

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Figure 5.5 Series resonant load [Matthes 1998].

5.5 Resonant Transformation Load


A resonant transformation load [Fischer 1994] utilises a series inductance with a
parallel resonant load (figure 7.4).

Figure 5.6 Resonant transformation load circuit [Fischer 1994]


The advantages [Doht 1994] include those of both series and parallel resonant loads.
By having a series inductor, there are few problems from series parasitic inductances
and should the load develop a short circuit when driven by a voltage source inverter,
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there is a limit to the current rise. Yet, by retaining the parallel resonant structure as
well, the current required to be supplied to the load is reduced. An example is given
in [Fischer 1994], whereby the resonance transformation structure provides an
operating point inbetween the series and parallel resonant loads (table 7.1).
Parallel
Series
Transformation
Switching current
410A
5500A
1570A
Blocking voltage
1500V
110V
450V
Table 5.1 Transformation load electrical characteristics

5.6 Transformer Coupled Load


Transformers have been used to match the inverter to the induction heating load
[Matthes 1998] (figure 7.5). One of the difficulties in using a transformer between the
inverter and the load, is that it adds series inductance, which can cause inverter
switching difficulties.

Figure 5.7
the

Induction oven with step up current transformer between the inverter and
resonant heating load [Akagi 1998/68].

5.7 Capacitor Voltage Step Up Parallel Resonant Load


Capacitor voltage step up is used with parallel resonant circuits (figure 7.6) as an
alternative to the transformer. The main advantages are simplicity and reduced
losses compared to using a transformer. An example of such a circuit can be found in

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[Dede 1999 58]. The effect is that the induction heating load is now in parallel with
the two capacitors in series.

Figure 5.8

Induction oven with capacitor voltage step up with parallel resonant load
[Dieckerhoff 1999].

5.8 Load Driver Circuits


As has been discussed, the normal driver circuits are current or voltage source
inverters (figure 8.1).

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Figure 5.9

Left current source inverter [Palmer 1995]. Right: voltage source inverter
[Akagi 1998/68].

There are few variations offered for the inverters to date - mostly changing devices or
paralleling them. Some of the older thermionic valve circuits did use only one valve
to produce the oscillation (figure 8.2) [Matthes 1998]. They used a Meisner oscillator
at frequencies from 400-600kHz with power ratings of up to 300kW [Matthes 1998].

Figure 5.10 Single thermionic valve circuits for induction heating.


The valve induction heaters had relatively low efficiencies (approximately 60%) and
the valves had a life of only about 6000 hours [Matthes 1998].

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To reduce the required voltage ratings of the semiconductor switches, it is possible to


use cascaded switches or a multilevel inverter. The four transistor H bridge inverter
is well known, but it is possible to use a split supply and a two transistor inverter. It is
even possible to use a single transistor circuit, which can only excite the resonant
load in one direction. A matrix converter can be used to remove the need to have a
rectifier as well as an inverter.

5.9 Two Transistor Inverter


[Satoru 1998] introduces a two transistor, series resonant voltage source inverter
(figure 8.3), which has the advantage of zero current switching for both the
transistors and the diodes. The process can be understood if it is considered that,
for example, diode D2 is conducting. If S1 is to turn on in this time, there is slow turn
off of the diode and slow turn on of S1.

Figure 5.11 Zero current switching inverter for induction heating [Satoru 1998].

5.10 Load Configurations


The induction-heated load is usually assumed to be inductive and requires large
amounts of power. It can also have a low power factor, hence requiring significant
amounts of reactive current. If this current is to be provided by the driving circuit, it
must be rated for a current well in excess of the real current.

To reduce the

required rating of the driving circuit, the load is often connected to a capacitor in
parallel to form a resonant circuit. If the load has a high impedance, it is usually
configured as a series resonant circuit (hence reducing the voltage required),
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whereas if the load impedance is low, the configuration is in a parallel resonant


circuit [Dede 1998]. In a parallel resonant configuration, the inverter current will be
reduced by a factor of Q=L/R (where L and R are the heating load inductance and
resistance respectively). Using a resonant load circuit usually ensures that the
current in the load is sinusoidal. It is unclear that this is the optimum waveshape,
however electromagnetic interference (emi) would be expected to be reduced
compared to waveforms of the same fundamental frequency but with higher
frequency harmonics.
For the application envisaged for this report, the load impedance is low, hence a
parallel resonant load circuit is normally used.

5.11 Parallel Resonant Load


To form a parallel resonant load (figure 7.1), the load is modelled as a series
inductor and resistor and a resonating capacitor is added in parallel. At the
resonant frequency, the overall power factor of the load circuit is now near unity and
the impedance is high compared to that of the load itself. For this to be effective, it
should be driven by a current source inverter to limit the current that would
otherwise flow in the capacitor.

Figure 5.12 Current source inverter with a parallel resonant induction heating load
[Dede 1993].

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The heating load current shape is sinusoidal., even though the supply current may
be rectangular (as from a current source inverter) (figure 7.2) .

Figure 5.13 Current source inverter with parallel resonant load. Top: inverter output
current. Bottom: heating load current.

5.12 Series Resonant Load


For high impedance loads, a series resonant configuration (figure 7.3) will reduce
the overall impedance, allowing an increased current to flow at a reduced supply
voltage. These are normally driven by voltage source inverters. Again the load
currents will be sinusoidal, but the supply voltage from a voltage source inverter will
be rectangular (figure 7.3).

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Figure 5.14 Series resonant load [Matthes 1998]

5.13 Resonant Transformation Load


A resonant transformation load [Fischer 1994] utilises a series inductance with a
parallel resonant load (figure 7.4).

Figure 5.15 Resonant transformation load circuit [Fischer 1994]


The advantages [Doht 1994] include those of both series and parallel resonant
loads. By having a series inductor, there are few problems from series parasitic
inductances and should the load develop a short circuit when driven by a voltage
source inverter, there is a limit to the current rise. Yet, by retaining the parallel
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resonant structure as well, the current required to be supplied to the load is


reduced.

An example is given in [Fischer 1994], whereby the resonance

transformation structure provides an operating point inbetween the series and


parallel resonant loads (table 7.1).
Table 5.2 Transformation load electrical characteristics
Parallel
Switching current
Blocking voltage

410A
1500V

Series

Transformation

5500A

1570A

110V

450V

5.14 Transformer Coupled Load


Transformers have been used to match the inverter to the induction heating load
[Matthes 1998] (figure 7.5). One of the difficulties in using a transformer between
the inverter and the load, is that it adds series inductance, which can cause inverter
switching difficulties.

Figure 5.16 Induction oven with step up current transformer between the inverter and
the resonant heating load [Akagi 1998/68].

5.15 Capacitor Voltage Step Up Parallel Resonant Load


Capacitor voltage step up is used with parallel resonant circuits (figure 7.6) as an
alternative to the transformer. The main advantages are simplicity and reduced
losses compared to using a transformer. An example of such a circuit can be found
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in [Dede 1999 58]. The effect is that the induction heating load is now in parallel
with the two capacitors in series.

Figure 5.17 Induction oven with capacitor voltage step up with parallel resonant load
[Dieckerhoff 1999].

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5.17 References For Induction Heating


PAPER
COMMENT
Fujita H., Akagi H., "Control and 30kHz, 6kW, IGBT, three phase input, single
performance

of

pulse-density- phase output. Similar to induction heating.

modulated series-resonant inverter for Uncontrolled rectifier, wide output power


corona

discharge

processes",

IAS control. Zero voltage switching, quasi zero

Annual Meeting 1998, pp 1320-1325

current switching. Pulse density modulation.

No thought to upf or line current harmonics


Bottari S., et al, "High Efficiency Uses MOSFET inverter for induction heating
200kHz inverter for induction heating with parallel resonant load. 5kW, 80applications", IEEE PESC, 1985, pp 200kHZ. diode rectifier, series down
308-315

switcher for control. Parallel resonant load,

direct coupled to inverter.


Casella P., et al, "High Frequency Parallel resonant circuit, direct inverter
current inverter with parallel resonant connection to load. 2kW, 200kHz.
load for induction heating", EPE, NO MOSFETs. PLL to keep current in advance
YEAR 1986? latest reference 1985, of voltage (ie. slightly higher frequency).
pp277-280.

Hence low switching losses and no

snubbers (zero current switching?)


Dede E., et al, "Design consideration 100kHz, 3-600kW. Inverter drives parallel
for

induction

inverters

heating

with

IGBTs

current
working

fed resonant circuit directly.


at

100kHz", IEEE APEC'93, 1993, pp


679-685.
Dede
E.,

et

al,

"Practical Inverter direct connected to parallel resonant

considerations for current-fed resonant load. Deals with the problem of distance of
inverters

for

induction

applications",

Power

heating oven, capacitor and inverter from each other

Conversion in terms of parasitic components.

Proc., May 1996, pp 421-428


Matthes H., Jrgens R., "1.6MW . Uses IGBTs to get 100-150kHz tube
150kHz

Series

Resonant

Circuit welding. Too low freq. for valves (min. freq

COnverter incorporating IGBT Devices 200kHz). Parallel 800kW converters.


for

Welding

International

Applications",
Induction

Seminar, 1998, pp25-31

IHS-98, Transformer coupling to parallel resonant


Heating load. Looks like valve used step up
capacitor as well as transformer coupled.
Series resonant load with voltage source
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IGBT inverter.
Dede J., et al, "On the Design of High Transformer coupled inverter/load. Looks at
Power Current-Fed Inverters for Tube boundary where MOSFETS should take
Welding

Applications",

Power over form IGBTs (150kHz)

Conversion, Proc. June, 1993, pp 6269.


Fischer

G.,

et

al,

"Resonance Problems of using MOSFETs and how best

Transformation for Induction Heating", to drive load. Problems with parallel


PCIM Europe, March/April, 1994, pp resonant loads. Discusses problems of
76-79.
using transformers.
Doht H., "Control Mode for Inverters resonance transformation=mixed serieswith

Resonance

Transformation

in parallel resonant load as compromise to

Induction Heating Applications", proc. have not too much current and not too high
Power Conversion, June 1994, pp 57- voltage
67.
Fischer L., Doht H., "An Inverter 100kW-1MW, 100-500kHz, good for load
System for Inductive Tube Welding shorts, connection of inverter modules in
Utilizing Resonance Transformation", parallel.. Better load matching of inverter.
IAS Annual Meeting, 1994, pp 833-840
Satoru S., Yoshihiro H., "A Novel Zero Zero current switching high freq 2 transistor
Current Switching High Frequency inverter. IGBTs used. 18kHz switching
Inverter for Induction Heating", Proc. frequency. All diodes use zero current
ICPE'98, Seoul, Korea, 1998, pp 1056- switching
1061.

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6.0

DC-DC Converters

6.1 Synchronous Rectifiers


Ordinary rectifiers use diodes, but these have an approximately constant voltage
drop while conducting. This produces losses, but for low voltage supplies (eg 12V),
the voltage drop across a rectifier (typically two diode voltage drops) reduces the
available voltage for supplied circuit.

An alternative is to use synchronous rectifiers. These would typically be MOSFETs


switched at the right times so that the effect is to rectify the incoming supply.

Figure 6.1 Step down converter with synchronous rectifier. [OMNI]

Whenever the parallel Schottky diode begins to conduct, the MOSFET Q1 should
turn on. Since the inbuilt body diode needs to block the voltage when Q2 is on, the
orientation of the MOSFET needs to be opposite to the usual direction. In fact, the
synchronous MOSFET operates, not in the usual first quadrant, but in the 3 rd
quadrant as seen in figure 7.1.1.

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Figure 6.2 MPT75N03HDL Logic Level, N-channel MOSFET characteristics


operating in the 1st and 3rd quadrants.

P-channel devices are not often not preferred, as they have slightly higher r ds values
than the n-channel devices. A comparison of efficiencies is shown in figure 7.1.2.

Figure 6.3 Efficiency of a Schottky rectifier compared to a synchronous rectifier.

References:
[onsemi] AN-1520, www.onsemi.com , 14/5/2005.

6.2 Cuk Converter


Compared to the conventional dc-dc converters, the Cuk converter ensures that the
input and output currents are continuous and fairly smooth. This can be important
when the supply is a battery, which does not cope well with sudden current changes.
Assuming ideal behaviour, the voltage transfer is:
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Vo
D

Vi 1 D

This

(5.1)
is the same as a step up-step down converter, but requires

considerably more components.


The operation is as follows in table 5.1.

Table 6.1 Cuk Converter Operation


Step
1

Switch
switch is on

Event
L1 current increasing
C1 and L1 discharges L2 current through switch

switch turns off

L1 charges C1 through D
L2 discharges through D

6.3 Synchronous Converter


Diodes have voltage drops, which intrinsically causes losses.

In low voltage

systems, the loss can be significant, as can be the effect of the voltage drop. For
example, with a 3.3V bus, as 0.6V drop means that there is only 2.7V available. One
solution is to have a very low resistance MOSFET in parallel to the diode (figure
5.31).

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Figure 6.4 Synchronous Converter with the S2 turned on whenever D conducts.

6.4 Bi-directional Fly Back Converter


By using a switch in parallel to a diode, a bi-directional converter can be constructed.
This is ideal for situations in which power needs to be transferred both ways, such as
in an electric vehicle with regenerative braking.

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Figure 6.5 Bi-directional Fly back Converter p221

References
Czarkowski, D., "DC-DC Converters", "Power Electronics Handbook", Editor: Rashid,
M.H., Academic Press, 2001, ISBN0-12-581650-2, pp211-224.

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7.0 Matrix Converters


Following the line of development from dc-dc converters to dc-ac inverters, then it
follows that an ac-ac converter should exist.

This is the matrix converter, in

principle a 9-switch converter, capable of producing a 3 phase supply of an


arbitrary frequency from another 3 phase supply. Similarly, a matrix converter can
also convert to and from supplies of different phase number. The main limitation is
that there is no energy storage within the converter.

Figure 7.1 Topology of a matrix converter [Holmes]

References
Holmes, D.G., "A new modulation algorithm for voltage and current source inverters
based on ac-ac matrix converter theory", IEEE IAS Annual Conference, 1990.

8.0 Electronic Ballasts


In the 1980s and 1990s, new fluorescent bulbs were developed which had
fluorescent coatings, which were able to increase their light output. This required a
higher operating frequency (perhaps of the order of 100kHz) than the usual 50Hz.
The circuit used to control the lamps are named ballasts. One of the benefits of the
ballasts is that they are usually less voltage sensitive than the magnetic ballasts,
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operating over a larger range of voltage and able to maintain a more constant light
output for a range of voltages.Fluorescent lamps are examples of discharge lamps.
Whereas most discharge lamps emit a light based directly on the excitation of the
gas, fluorescent lamps emit primarily ultraviolet light, which is converted to white light
by a coating on the inside of the tube.

The ballasts' two main functions are to provide a high voltage to start the lamps and
to limit the current when the lamps are operating. Fluorescent lamps and other
discharge lamps have the property of negative effective resistance. This is when the
current increases, its resistance decreases. Hence the ballasts limit the current to
prevent the lamps' destruction.

For good lamp life, the current should be sinusoidal that is alternating current and
with a low crest factor (usually lower than 1.7). Then both electrodes are equally
loaded.

8.1 Conventional Ballasts


Conventional ballasts are magnetic, relying on inductance to limit the current and/or
a transformer to produce sufficient voltage to strike the arc in the lamp. The reason
to use an inductive ballast to limit the current is that little heat needs to be generated.

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Figure 8.1 Magnetic ballasts for discharge lamps.


The ballast for a fluorescent lamp (figure 6.1a) starts by warming the heaters in the
lamp. The heaters reduce the voltage requirement for starting. Initially, the glow
switch (also known as a starter) is closed and hence current flows through the starter
and the filaments. When the bimetallic strip in the starter gets hot, it bends, thereby
opening the connection. The inductance produces a high voltage (approximately
800V) and strikes the arc in the lamp. The starter then remains warm enough not to
reclose (perhaps due to its own internal arc).
The inductance of the ballast limits the current so as not to damage the lamp.
Measurements on locally available magnetic ballasts (Nepal) have shown that they
have an inductance of about 1H.

8.2 Electronic Ballasts For Fluorescent Lamps


Under some circumstances, non-resonant ballasts may be used. Essentially these
are inverters with a lamp as the load. The major difficulty is that the lamp currents
are usually not sinusoidal and the voltages across the semiconductor switches can
be high.

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For compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), resonant circuits appear to be usually used
(figure 6.2). It is likely to be the same for tube fluorescent lamps also (TFLs).

Figure 8.2Current source resonant ballast topologies. p515


Current fed resonant ballasts can reach several MHz due to the zero voltage
switching reducing the switching losses, but the voltage stress on the transistors may
reach 3 times the dc supply. Also the circuit is difficult to optimise in practice. Hence
these are usually only used in low voltage, battery operated lamp systems.Usually,
voltage source resonant ballasts are used (figure 6.3). By operating close to the
resonant frequency, a high starting voltage can be obtained. Figure 6.4 shows a
typical configuration of ballast.

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Figure 8.3Voltage source resonant ballast topologies.

Power line

EMI Filter

AC-DC
Convert
er

DC Bus

H.F. Ballast

Control & Protection


Circuit

AC-DC
Converter H.F.)

Starting
Circuit

Figure 8.3Typical voltage source ballast configuration.

Manufacturers in the self-oscillating form often use figure 6.3b. C1 is used to provide
the resonance as well as the block any dc currents. This ensures good lamp life as
well as the magnetic elements (eg. inductors and transformers) do not saturate.
With lamps with filaments, a capacitor C2 is in parallel to the electrodes so that the
filaments warm up to provide soft ignition.

8.3 Operation
Since a resonant circuit is used, the frequency is varied to control the current and
voltage (figure 6.5). Initially, a high frequency is used above that of the resonant
frequency to heat the filaments without producing a voltage high enough to ignite the
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lamp. Then as the lamps become hot enough, the frequency is reduced until the
voltage rises and ignition occurs.

Figure 8.4 Equivalent circuits for fluorescent lamp operation.

Once ignition has occurred, the frequency is then shifted to the resonant frequency
for stable operation.

8.4 Power Factor And Harmonics


Using a simple rectifier and capacitor filter introduces sharp current spikes and a low
power factor.

This introduces electrical noise into the wiring and can cause

interference with other devices. To limit this, standards such as IEC 1000-3-2 and
EN 61000-3-2 have been implemented. These are relevant to equipment drawing
less than 16A (per phase) and supplied from 220-240/380-415V lines.
All equipment is divided into classes A-D, with lighting as class C.
Table 6.1 Maximum Current Harmonic Content for Class C Equipment IEC 1000-3-2
Harmonic Order n

Maximum Percent Harmonic Current as Percentage of


Fundamental Input Current

30.pf (pf = power factor)

10

11<=n<=39 (odd

harmonics only)
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8.4.1

LC Filters
The harmonic content and power factor may be reduced by using an LC filter, but
this also struggles to meet the requirements.

Figure 8.5LC filters to reduce harmonics. a)LC filter. b) tuned LC filter

8.4.2

Valley Fill Rectifier


A valley fill rectifier can also be used to improve the current harmonic levels and the
power factor. Although it is quite effective, there is substantial output voltage ripple
which can affect the life of the lamp.

Figure 8.6 Valley fill rectifier ** fix diagram

8.4.2

Active Power Factor Correction Circuits


By using a type of PWM step up type of dc-dc converter circuit, the very high power
factors can be achieved with low harmonic input currents (figure 6.8). The PWM
transistor modulates the input current to have the correct wave shape. By using a
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step up converter, it is always possible to draw some appropriate current and


transfer it to the load.

** fix left diagram

Figure 8.7

Active power factor correction circuits.

All the circuits have in common an input rectifier with no output capacitor. This is
required so that the input current can be shaped solely by the transistor.

Exercise
1.

Measure the power factor and total harmonic distortion (THD) of magnetic
ballast tube fluorescent lamp.

2.

Take a CFL, measure the power factor and THD. Construct and test a
passive circuit to improve the THD and the power factor. You may need to
simulate the circuit to assist in choosing the parameters.

References
Nelms, R., "Electronic Ballasts", "Power Electronics Handbook", Editor: Rashid,
M.H., Academic Press, 2001, ISBN0-12-581650-2, pp507-532.

9.0 Multilevel Converters


The usual inverter is two level only that is that each output may have only one of
two values, either +Vdc or Vdc. Using a 3 level converter, a zero voltage level can
also be inserted.
The main practical advantage is that each transistor can be rated at a lower voltage
than if in a 2 level converter. This allows high voltage inverters to be constructed
from lower voltage devices. An additional benefit can be the reduced voltage or
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current harmonics as smaller step voltage changes can be applied, hence lower
switching frequencies can be used, if required.
Examples of inverters are shown below, starting off with the conventional inverter.

SA1

V DC

VA

S'A1

Figure 9.1 level phase leg of an inverter output Vdc, 0V

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SB1

SA1

V DC
V AB

S'A1

S'B1

Figure 9.2 Single-phase inverter. Output voltages, +Vdc, -Vdc, 0

VA

VB

VDC

VDC

VDC

VDC

VDC

VDC

VC

Figure 9.3 Phase, 5 level, cascaded inverter with series inverters and isolated
supplies. MW power levels are manufactured.

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+V DC
S1

S2

VA

S1'

S2'
-VDC

Figure 9.4

Diode clamped, 3 level phase leg. Output voltages; +Vdc, -Vdc, 0.


Main difficulty capacitor voltages vary under load. MW drives
available commercially.
+VDC
S1

S2
+VDC

VA

S2'

S1'
-VDC

Figure 9.5 Flying capacitor, 3-phase level leg. Voltage outputs: +Vdc, -Vdc, 0.
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4V DC

2V DC
3V DC

2V DC
V DC

3V DC

2V DC
V DC

3V DC

V DC

VA
VB
VC

Figure 9.6 3 phase, 5 level, flying capacitor inverter.

Reference: Brendan McGrath, seminar, "Topologically Independent Modulation of


Multilevel Inverters", Monash University, 2003.

10.0 Active Filters


Traditional filters are composed of inductors and capacitors, and sometimes
resistors. It is very difficult to change the characteristics of the filter as needed.
For example, the filter may be designed to remove electrical noise and so is a low
pass filter with a 1kHz cut off frequency.

However, should 500Hz noise be

present, or, worse still, 5Hz oscillations, the filter cannot assist.

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The concept of an active filter is that of an inverter adding energy to the line at
whatever frequency required. It can be in series with the line, or in parallel to the
line. Hence it can also provide reactive power compensation.

10.1 PWM Rectifier Type Active Filter


A WPM rectifier is an inverter working in reverse. The transistors are controlled such
that energy is transferred from the ac side to the dc side, usually to charge a
capacitor. When extra energy is required back on the ac side, the circuit works as an
inverter. For 3 phase systems, it is usually possible to transfer energy from one
phase to another phase if only one phase needs assistance.
The series active filter is good at voltage support in the direction of the load, whereas
parallel active filters are more often used for harmonic cancellation and power factor
correction. If a parallel active filter is to be used for voltage support, it needs to be
apable of supplying power to the whole network.

Figure 10.1 Parallel and series active filters.

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