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AU J.T. 6(4):193-198 (Apr.


Low Voltage High Current Controlled Rectifier with IGBT A.C

Controller on Primary Side of the Transformer
Seshanna Panthala
Faculty of Engineering, Assumption University
Bangkok, Thailand

This paper deals with the steady state performance of a novel controlled rectifier,
using an IGBT A.C controller on the primary side of the input transformer, while a
center tapped secondary and normal diodes are used for rectification. Such a rectifier is
suitable for low voltage high current applications. The IGBTs are controlled such that
this type of controlled rectifier has a better displacement power factor because the line
current drawn is symmetrical in relation to the peak of the a.c input voltage. Thus the
fundamental component of the line current drawn will be in phase with the line voltage.
Theoretically expected and experimentally obtained waveforms of currents and voltages
are presented.
Keywords: IGBT a.c controller, symmetrical triggering, controlled rectifier
displacement power factor, harmonic distortion.


(a) use silicon controlled rectifiers on the

secondary side to rectify a.c and produce d.c, or
(b) use a.c controller (two back-to-back
connected SCRs) on the primary side of the
transformer and then rectify the secondary
voltage with power diodes. Such schemes are
shown in Fig.1 using a single-phase supply. In
practice, the scheme shown in Fig.1(b) is used
as the current commutation takes place on low
current side. The principles of operation of
such a scheme are well understood and
discussed widely in textbooks in power
electronics (Sen 1988).

Many industrial applications need lowvoltage, high-current d.c for their operation.
Examples of such industrial applications are
electroplating, extraction of metals by
electrolysis, etc. Most often voltage/current is
to be varied and controlled. Since the standard
electrical supply available is a.c, controlled
rectifiers are used to obtain the variable d.c
from an a.c source. Normally a transformer is
used to step down the a.c to the required level
and also provide isolation. There are two
options to obtaining the controlled d.c voltage:


In this paper, a novel controlled

rectifier using Insulated Gate Bipolar L
Transistor (IGBT) a.c controller (IR 2002)
instead of SCR-based a.c controller to achieveRL


Fig.1. Conventional low-voltage controlled rectification


during the negative half cycle. The conduction

period is made symmetric about the peak of the
The signal waveforms at different points
in the circuit are shown in Fig. 3 under ideal
conditions of operation. In order to maintain
high displacement power factor, the gate drive
signals have to be displaced by 180o and
symmetric with respect to the peak of a.c wave.
Out put current control is obtained by varying
the pulse width of the gate drive signal. No
special commutation circuits are required even
though an R-C snubber is required across the
primary winding in practice to absorb the
energy in the magnetizing inductance when
IGBTs go into off state.

In this paper a novel controlled rectifier using

insulator gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) a.c
controller instead of SCR based a.c controller
to achieve the same function is described. The
scheme is shown in Fig. 2. The IGBT a.c
controller is on the primary side of the step
down transformer, while the secondary side is a
full wave rectifier with a center tapped
secondary. It will be shown that this
arrangement will have better performance from
a power factor point of view, compared to the
scheme in Fig 1(b).








Description of IGBT a.c Controller based

Controlled Rectifier
Fig.2. Controlled rectification with IGBT a.c

Working Principles
The basic schematic circuit is shown in
Fig. 2. Two IGBTs (MOSFETs can also be
used) are connected in series opposition and the
combination itself is in series with the
incoming a.c line. The IGBTs must have in
built diodes otherwise external diodes are to be
connected across each IGBT. The IGBT1 is
switched on and off during the positive half
cycle while the IGBT2 is switched on and half

a.c wave using appropriate gate control

strategy. The secondary side consists of an
ordinary full wave rectifier with a large
smoothing inductor to maintain load current
ripple free.

Fig. 3. Ideal waveforms of voltages and

currents at different points
(vs =a.c supply voltage, vp = voltage applied to the
primary of the transformer, vg1, vg2 =gate drive
signals, vo = rectified secondary output , IL = load
current and Is = a.c supply current drawn )


experimentation. Again when an IGBT is given

gate drive, corresponding diode takes over the
full current and the other diode commutates

From the voltage waveforms, the average

output voltage equation is given by:
Vod.c =

Vom sin?d?
Vom cos

for varying from 0 - 90

Assuming a large smoothing inductance

in series with the load, the load current can be
regarded as constant d.c. In such a case the a.c
supply current IS will be square pulses as
shown in the Fig. 3. The Fourier series for this
type of current is given by:

is = 0

i L /2


i L /2

Fig. 4. Load current flow path during blanking


Is cos sin ? t Is cos 3 sin 3? t
Is cos5a sin5? t + ...

Is =

Experimental Results

The fundamental component of the

supply current drawn from the line is in phase
with the supply voltage. Hence, the
displacement power factor (also called
fundamental power factor) is unity and there is
no fundamental reactive power transport to and
from the load. This feature is in contrast with
the controlled rectifier scheme shown in Fig.
1(b). However, there is some reactive power
transport due to harmonic components of
It is interesting to analyze what happens
during the blanking period when both IGBTs
are in off condition, thus making primary
current zero. This means that the primary can
not have equivalent balancing ampere-turns
corresponding to secondary ampere-turns. Also
the load current on secondary side continues to
flow due to the presence of large inductance in
series with the load. In order to produce zero
secondary ampere-turns and keep the load
current constant, the load current splits equally
into the two halves of the secondary as shown
in Fig. 4 during this period. Both diodes
conduct simultaneously and equally. This
phenomenon takes places naturally twice in
each cycle of the input a.c wave when IGBTs
go off. This fact has been verified during

Description of Experimental Set Up

In order to verify the working principles
and waveforms, the schematic circuit shown in
Fig. 5 is constructed and tested. The microcontroller AT 89c51 is programmed to develop
the required gate drive signals and two
Darlington photo isolators are used to isolate
high power circuits from micro-controller and
other electronic circuits. Briefly the operation
of the circuit is as follows: Sharp pulses from
zero crossing detector (not shown) interrupt the
microcontroller at 10 millisecond intervals at
port pin 3.2 which is the interrupt INT0. Upon
receipt of this interrupt, the controller will start
Timer0 after loading it with a number derived
from the output of the ADC connected to port1.
This number can be changed by changing the
analog control voltage VC. The run time of
timer0 is the initial delay . When timer0
overflows it generates an interrupt when it will
be stopped and timer1 is started after loading it
with a number corresponding to ( - 2) and
simultaneously either P2.3 or P2.4 is made
high depending on whether the a.c wave is
going through the positive or negative half
cycle. This positive or negative half cycle
information is made available to the controller

transformer when IGBT a.c controller goes into

off state. The design of these components is
difficult as the waveform of the voltage applied
to the primary varies depending on the pulse
width of the gate drive signals applied to the
IGBTs. However, the reactance of the capacitor
XC is made equal to the magnetizing reactance
Xm of the transformer referred to as primary.
This is only a guideline. The series resistance R
is there to limit the initial capacitor charging
the current at the instant of application of the
voltage to the primary by the a.c controller.
The initial capacitor current is to be limited to
be well within the rating of the IGBT used.

at port pin P2.1 in the form of a square wave

derived from the a.c line using a zero crossing
detector (not shown). Corresponding IGBT will
be made on by driving its gate high using the
transistor 2N2222 and photo Darlington 4N33.
When timer1 overflows, it is stopped and also
the IGBT, which was on, is made off by
making its gate drive zero. Now, the controller
is waiting for the next interruption at INT0
after receipt of which the procedure described
above is repeated.
The R-C circuit across the primary of the
transformer is required in order to provide a
path for the magnetizing current of the













Fig. 5. Circuit diagram of the experimental set up



set up are recorded and shown in Fig. 6. It is

interesting to compare these practical waveforms with the expected ideal waveforms
shown in Fig. 3.

Experimental Waveforms
The set up is started and load current is
adjusted to have a value of about 5 amp. The
waveforms of signals at different points in the

Fig. 6. Experimentally obtained waveforms of currents and voltages




The author acknowledges the help

rendered by his colleagues, Mr. Wuttikorn
Threevithayanon and Mr. Chairat Kumrueng,
of the Faculty of Engineering, AU, in recording
the test waveforms and in the preparation of
this manuscript.

A novel IGBT a.c controller based,

controlled rectifier, has been constructed and
tested in the laboratory. The experimentally
obtained voltage and current waveforms at
different points in the circuit agree closely with
the theoretically expected waveforms. At
medium voltage and power levels this type of
controlled rectifier can replace the conventional
SCR based controlled rectifier with an added
advantage of having unity fundamental power
factor. The controlled rectifier has been tested
in a steady state and under open loop (manual)
control. Control circuits are being developed in
the department of electrical engineering to
maintain output d.c voltage/current constant
under varying load conditions by incorporating
closed loop control on the rectifier. These will
be reported in a future paper.

Sen, P.C. 1988 Power Electronics. Tata
McGraw-Hill, New Delhi, India.
IR. 2002. Application Note AN-1017a.
International Rectifier, El Segundo, CA,