You are on page 1of 17

Inrush Current in Electric Device

Introduction:
Inrush current, input surge current or switch-on surge is the maximum, instantaneous
input current drawn by an electrical device when first turned on. Alternating current electric
motors and transformers may draw several times their normal full-load current when first
energized, for a few cycles of the input waveform.

Fig. 1.1

Power converters also often have inrush currents much higher than their steady state
currents, due to the charging current of the input capacitance. The selection of overcurrent
protection devices such as fuses and circuit breakers is made more complicated when high inrush
currents must be tolerated. The overcurrent protection must react quickly to overload or short
circuit faults but must not interrupt the circuit when the (usually harmless) inrush current flows.

When electrical equipment is first turned on a large current flows that exceeds the steady-state
current value. This current is called an inrush current.
Why does this inrush current occur? There are many factors that cause it, and the following are
some examples:

- In equipment with large-capacity smooth capacitors or decoupling capacitors,


when the power is first turned on, a large current flows through to charge those
capacitors - a necessity when first powering up the equipment.
- Immediately after the power is turned on, the filament and other parts have low
resistance, and a large current flows.
(As they begin to generate heat and warm up, their resistance increases and the
current drops to the steady-state current.)

To provide a more easy-to-understand image of inrush current, Figure 1 shows the current
waveform when the power is turned on. When the power is turned on, current begins to flow, and
the initial current flow reaches the peak current value that is larger than the steady-state current
value. Following this, the current value gradually decreases until it stabilizes at the steady-state
current. The part during which a large current flows before reaching the steady-state current is
the inrush current. If the size of the inrush current exceeds that allowed by the part in use,
depending on the magnitude of the inrush current (difference between the peak current value and
the steady-state current value) and length of its duration (the length of time until the peak current
value converges with the steady-state current value, hereafter called the pulse width), the part
used in the circuit may overheat, potentially causing the electrical device to malfunction or break
down.
Next, I will give an example of common malfunctions in parts used for noise suppression in a
power supply line. I will describe the case for chip ferrite beads (Murata's BLM series), which
are relatively lower cost and user-friendly.
Figure 1.2 Current waveform when the device is powered up

If the inrush current exceeds the rated current value in chip ferrite beads that are used for noise
suppression, they will overheat. In the worst-case scenario, an open circuit fault will occur.
Figure 2 shows different waveforms obtained when changing the conditions for peak current
value and pulse width of the inrush current waveform. Waveform (1) has a large peak current,
waveform (2) has a large pulse width, and waveform (3) shows a case where malfunction does
not occur.
In waveform (1), an excessive current flows instantaneously through the chip ferrite bead and the
internal electrode melts, causing an open circuit fault. When the electrode melts, the chip itself
may crack and break. In waveform (2), the chip ferrite bead continues to heat up, eventually
causing the internal electrode to melt, similar to the case with waveform (1). The chip ferrite
bead then becomes a source of heat and may cause the circuit board it is mounted on to burn out.
Figure 1.3 Inrush current waveforms

As you can see, inrush current flowing through chip ferrite beads used for noise suppression can
cause malfunctions. Factors such as peak current and pulse width contribute to inrush current,
and it is important to consider rated current when selecting chip ferrite beads to be safely used in
products.

Applications
A typical application of inrush current limiters is in the input stage of non-power factor
corrected switching supplies, to reduce the initial surge of current from the line input to the
reservoir capacitor. The most popular application is the inrush protection of the AC current in
switching power supplies (SPS). The primary reason for having surge current suppression in a
SPS is to protect the diode bridge rectifier as the input or charging capacitor is initially charged.
This capacitor draws significant current during the first half AC cycle and can subject the
components in line with the capacitor to excessive current.

Chapter -2
Inrush current for two different electrical devices
1. Transformer
2. Motors

Transformers
When a transformer is first energized, a transient current up to 10 to 15 times larger than the
rated transformer current can flow for several cycles.Toroidal transformers, using less copper for
the same power handling, can have up to 60 times inrush to running current. Worst case inrush
happens when the primary winding is connected at an instant around the zero-crossing of the
primary voltage, (which for a pure inductance would be the current maximum in the AC cycle)
and if the polarity of the voltage half cycle has the same polarity as the remanence in the iron
core has. (The magnetic remanence was left high from a preceding half cycle). Unless the
windings and core are sized to normally never exceed 50% of saturation, (and in an efficient
transformer they never are, such a construction would be overly heavy and inefficient) then
during such a start up the core will be saturated. This can also be expressed as the remnant
magnetism in normal operation is nearly as high as the saturation magnetism at the "knee" of
the hysteresis loop. Once the core saturates however, the winding inductance appears greatly
reduced, and only the resistance of the primary side windings and the impedance of the power
line are limiting the current. As saturation occurs for part half cycles only, harmonic rich
waveforms can be generated, and can cause problems to other equipment.

For large transformers with low winding resistance and high inductance, these inrush currents
can last for several seconds until the transient has died away (decay time proportional to
~XL/R)and the regular AC equilibrium is established. To avoid magnetic inrush, only for
transformers with an air gap in the core, the inductive load needs to be synchronously connected
near a supply voltage peak, in contrast with the zero voltage switching which is desirable to
minimize sharp edged current transients with resistive loads such as high power heaters. But for
toroidal transformers only a premagnetising procedure before switching on allows to start those
transformers without any inrush current peak.
Fig 2.1

Inrush current can be divided in three categories:-

Energization inrush current. Energization inrush current result of re- energization of


transformer. the residual flux in this case can be zero or depending on energization timing.
Recovery inrush current. Recovery inrush current flow when transformer voltage is restored
after having been reduced by system disturbance.
Sympathetic inrush current. Sympathetic inrush current flow when multiple transformer
connected in same line and one of them energized.

Transformer Inrush Current Protection

A transformer draws inrush current that can exceed saturation current at power up.

The Inrush Current affects the magnetic property of the core.

This happens even if the transformer has no load with its secondary open.

The magnitude of the inrush current depends on the point on the AC wave the transformer is
switched on.
If turn-on occurs when the AC voltage wave is at its peak value, there will be no inrush
current drawn by the transformer. The magnitude of the current in this case will be at normal
no load value.

If at turn-on, the AC wave is going through its zero value, then the current drawn will be very
high and exceed the saturation current (see Figure 1).

Figure 2.2 Characteristics of inrush current in a transformer

Motors

When an electric motor, AC or DC, is first energized, the rotor is not moving, and a current
equivalent to the stalled current will flow, reducing as the motor picks up speed and develops a
back EMF to oppose the supply. AC induction motors behave as transformers with a shorted
secondary, until the rotor begins to move, while brushed motors present essentially the winding
resistance. The duration of the starting transient is less if the mechanical load on the motor is
relieved until it has picked up speed.

For high power motors, the winding configuration may be changed (wye at start and then delta)
during start-up to reduce the current drawn.
A motor, with the power turned off, presents little resistance to electricity because the motor
windings act almost like a short until they become energized. When power is turned on, the
current flow may be many times what the current flow is when the motor is operating at rated
speed under a load. This inrush of current lasts only a fraction of a second. No calculation for the
exact inrush current is possible, but a range may be determined if the manufacturer's
documentation does not specify it.

Read the motor nameplate on the motor and find the voltage listed on it. The National Electric
Code mandates all motors have a nameplate that provides information specific to the electrical
operating characteristics of the motor.

Look for the "Locked Rotor Letter Code" or "Locked Rotor Code" on the motor nameplate. This
code will be a letter from "A" to "V" but will not include "I,""O" or "Q." These letters are
omitted to avoid confusion.

Consult the NEMA Locked Rotor Code Table and find the letter code on it. Follow the letter
code row to the right and find the range given. The range is given in thousands of Volt-Amps, or
kilowatts.

Multiply each number in the range by 1,000. Divide each result by the motor voltage found on
the nameplate. The resulting range is the inrush current range.

For example: A 3.5-horsepower, three-phase motor nameplate lists the motor voltage as 230 volts
and the locked rotor code is "K." The range given on the table is 8.0 to 8.99 KVA. Multiplying
by 1,000, the range becomes 8,000 to 8,990 VA. Dividing by the motor voltage of 230 volts
gives the inrush current range as 34.8 amps to 39.1 amps.

Tip
The inrush current is only momentary and if the circuit breaker is sized properly, it will not trip
in the fraction of second the current spikes. As the motor windings become energized, they
present resistance to the flow of current and the current begins to drop. As the motor comes up to
full speed, the current level will be at the level specified on the motor nameplate as the full-load
current.
Warning
The voltage is important to determining inrush current. If the motor nameplate lists multiple
voltages, the voltage being used must be determined. An easy place to measure this is at the
motor disconnect. The type of voltage determines how the measurement is made. Measure three-
phase current between two hot terminals and double it. Split phase current is measured between
two hot terminals. Single phase current is measured from thsse hot terminal to ground.

Chapter-3
Inrush Current Preventing Circuit

At the start-up of a LDO regulator, an inrush current equivalent to a peak current flows until the
output capacitor is charged up to the set output voltage if the LDO regulator does not have an
inrush current protection circuit or soft-start circuit.
When the inrush current is large, the input voltage of a LDO regulator may be unstable. If there
is a large input voltage drop, the operation of another connected circuit may be affected.

Ricoh provides two kinds of Inrush Current Protection Circuits, and both have different features.

Control Method Start up Time

Inrush Current Limit Limiting with constant current. When COUT is small, it is possible
Circuit constant slope circuit.

Constant Slope Circuit Limiting with constant time, so-called Soft Start-up time is fixed in the IC and
Start Function. capacitance of COUT.

Table 3.1

Inrush Current Limit Circuit


Inrush Current Limit Circuit has a function that limits the output current for a fixed period of
time to reduce the inrush current at the start-up and prevents the fluctuation of the input voltage.
Fig 3.1

The volume of inrush current is affected by the capacitance of the output capacitor.
The time of the inrush current becomes longer when the output capacitor is large.
A sufficient effect of inrush current limitation might not be achieved when the output capacitor is
large.

Fig 3.2
If it is necessary to limit the inrush current completely in case of using the large output capacitor,
Ricoh recommends the product equipped with an Adjustable Inrush Current Limit Time
Function.
The inrush current limit circuit of the R1190 Series and RP132 Series has a DELAY pin, and it is
possible to adjust the time of the inrush current limitation by connecting a capacitor to the
DELAY pin.

Fig 3.3

How To Stop Inrush Current

Use an NTC Power Thermistor

Inrush Current

Switching Power Supplies (SPS) that have low impedance capacitors will expose the diode-
bridge-rectifier to high inrush current at turn-on. Protecting the Bridge Rectifier from inrush
current is critical. How to stop inrush current is a the key question.
Inrush Current Protection of Switching Power Supplies
This application note provides some design considerations to stop inrush current and protection
of the AC current applicable to Switching Power Supplies (SPS). The solution suggested in this
application note uses an NTC Power Thermistor in separate legs of the power supply circuit (see
Figure 1). This NTC Power Thermistor offers high resistance at the beginning of switching and
limits the inrush current. After a short time, the NTC Power Thermistor resistance decreases to a
low value due to self heating and does not affect normal operation.
Inrush current explained very simply is the current drawn by a piece of electrically operated
equipment when power is first applied. It can occur with AC or DC powered equipment, and can
happen even with low supply voltages.
By definition, inrush current is greater than the normal operating current of the equipment, and
the ratio can vary from a few percent up to many times the operating current. A circuit that
normally draws 1A from the mains may easily draw 50 to 100 times that when power is applied,
depending on the supply voltage, wiring and other factors. With AC powered equipment, the
highest possible inrush current also depends on the exact time the load is switched on. Elliot
Sound Products

NTC Selection Criteria: Steady State Current


First determine the 100% load of the switching power supply (SPS). 100% load:

Assuming, the SPS has wattage of 1000 W and efficiency 90%

NTC Selection Criteria: Minimum Resistance at 25

NTC Selection Criteria: Minimum Resistance at 25


Minimum resistance should limit the one-cycle maximum current rating of the diode-bridge
rectifier, for example, to 50% of its rating for adequate surge protection.

If the desired maximum input rush current is: 100 A (when peak current rating is) And Peak
voltage: 375 Volt (for 265 V AC)

Note: Use the Resistance Temperature Conversion Table to find the resistance if the
operating temperature is other than 25.
NTC Selection Criteria: Energy

NTC Selection Criteria:

Select a Thermostat that can handle 13 A of current and has a capacity of at least 126 Joules,
which will stop the inrush current. Use our Inrush Current Calculators.

Conclusion
Inrush current, input surge current or switch-on surge is the maximum, instantaneous
input current drawn by any electrical device when first turned on. This phenomenon is occurs
due to large capacitance, therefore can lead to inrush current resulting in device damage, system
instability or undesired behavior. In this report, we are represented the behavior of inrush current
and how to optimize value of inrush current. Especially, How to stop Inrush current use an NTC
Power Thermistor and Inrush Current Protection of Switching Power Supplies.
TABLE OF CONTENT

LIST OF TABLE 2
LIST OF FIGURES 12

CHAPTER -1 INTRODUCTION 1-4

1.1 APPLICATION 3-4

CHAPTER-2 INRUSH CURRENT OF TWO


ELECTRICAL DEVICE

2.1 TRANSFORMER 4-6


2.2 TRANSFORMER INRUSH CURRENT PROTECTION 6-7
2.3 MOTOR 7-9

CHAPTER-3 INRUSH CURRENT PREVENT CURICT

3.1 HOW TO STOP INRUSH CURRENT

3.2 USE AN NTC POWER THERMISTOR

3.3 INRUSH CURRENT PROTECTOR OF SWITCHING


POWER SUPPLIES

3.4 NTC SELECTION CRITERIA


CHAPTER-4 CONCLUSION

References

http://www.murata.com/products/emiconfun/emc/2012/10/29/en-20121029-p1

http://www.aemc.com/techinfo/appnotes/clamp_on_meters/App_Clamp-
OnMeters_InrushCurrent.pdf

https://www.electrical4u.com/magnetizing-inrush-current-in-power-
transformer/

TABLE OF CONTENT
LIST OF TABLE
LIST OF FIGURES