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Improved Modulator for Losses Reduction in Auxiliary

Railway Power Supplies

C. Martinez, A. Lazaro, C. Lucena, I. Quesada, P. Zumel, A. Barrado
Power Electronics System Group
Carlos III University of Madrid
Leganes, Spain

Abstract— This paper presents the losses optimization through frequency transformer (50/60Hz), is the most cost-effective
an optimal modulation strategy for auxiliary railway power solution (see Fig. 1). The weight of this element is a third of
supplies. The figures of merit analyzed to compare different the whole ARPS [1], so in order to reduce weight, this
modulation techniques are the transformer losses and the transformer is commonly built using integrated magnetism,
inverter losses. For the transformer losses a model has been and so the AC filter inductor is included within the
developed for the special characteristics of this element due to its transformer leakage inductance (L cc).
integrated magnetism. In the case of the switching devices, the
losses have been obtained by means of a simulator. Both, the In this application, the maximum allowable Total
transformer and the switching device losses have been Harmonic Distortion (THD) can be established as a trade-off
experimentally validated in a scale-down prototype, so the between the car builder and the converter manufacturer. In this
analysis can be extrapolated to other power converters. issue, the IEEE recommended practice guide [2] establishes
that it must be kept below 10% in order to avoid further
I. INTRODUCTION damage of the loads.
The railway transportation is suffering a great expansion Due to the slow dynamic imposed by the LC input filter,
against car and airplanes, because is a low cost and reliable typically 15Hz (see Fig. 1), the converter regulation can be
solution for the users. New trends regarding energy efficiency considered quasi-static and so a control strategy based on the
and safety lead to new designs in used or new vehicles. selection of the appropriate modulation index within a look-up
Therefore it is very important to optimize these systems. table with pre-calculated switching events, is enough to
Auxiliary railway power supplies (ARPS) are needed onboard achieve a successful performance. The modulation index
rolling stock to provide medium or low voltage to different variation can be implemented by means of a feedforward of
systems from the catenary (see Fig. 1). the input voltage together with a feedback loop which controls
the AC output voltage in order to compensate the effect of the
Due to the high input voltage range and the galvanic resistive voltage drops.
isolation, the conventional topology for ARPS that uses a low
Catenary 3Phase AC Bus
High Voltage: 1500 – 3000Vnom

Li 3 Phase Inverter AC Loads


Rεcc Lεcc +
+ VO
Ci A -
VDC B Lεcc
C Rεcc
Rεcc Lεcc

Input Filter 50/60Hz

Power Transformer
and AC Filter

Fig. 1: Electric diagram of a typical AC voltage generation system for rolling stock onboard applications.

978-1-4673-4355-8/13/$31.00 ©2013 IEEE 2324

As discussed in detail in [4]-[8], the performance of
different PWM modulation techniques is modulation-index Main core
dependent. Therefore, the combination of at least two different
PWM techniques and on-line selection of the proper
modulation technique, as a function of the modulation index,
may improve the overall performance of the system. The
contribution of this work to the state of the art is to minimize Bn_yoke
the total losses of the system (inverter and transformer losses)
through an optimal combination of modulators. One of the
figures of merit is the switching devices losses, which have Bn_limb Secondary winding
been obtained by means of simulations based on the device
database. Regarding the transformer losses, the other figure of
merit, several researches can be found. The iron losses are
studied in different works such as in [9]-[14] while the copper Primary winding

losses are included in [15]-[18]. Although the state of the art

presents studies in the transformer losses, they are focused on
transformers without integrated magnetism. This kind of
magnetic has a special geometry and the losses model differs
from the ones in the state of the art. In this work, a practical Auxiliary core
and easy losses model has been proposed and experimentally
Air gap
validated through a scale-down prototype.
Fig. 2: Power transformer with distributed auxiliary core.
The paper is structured as follows: once the transformer
and inverter losses have been obtained in sections II and III, A. Iron losses
respectively, the optimal adaptive modulation is proposed in
section IV for a real ARPS due to the fact that the results The iron losses, pFe, in watts per kilogram, are given by the
obtained in previous sections can be extrapolated to other hysteresis loss term (ph) and the eddy-current loss term (pe) as
designs. Finally some conclusions are shown. expressed in (1). Under the assumption of linear magnetic
material, the flux density harmonic amplitude (2) is
II. TRANSFORMER LOSSES proportional to the voltage harmonic amplitude, where Vn is
the voltage amplitude applied to a determinate magnetic core,
The transformer used in this application has the AC filter N is the number of turns of the transformer winding, A is the
inductance integrated in the main transformer. One of the effective cross sectional area of the magnetic core, f is the
ways to obtain this achievement is based on a controlled fundamental frequency and n is the harmonic number.
increase of the transformer leakage inductance adding an Therefore the iron losses can be calculated for each harmonic
auxiliary core with distributed air gaps to the main core as component and for any modulation technique.
depicted in Fig. 2.
∞ ∞

∑ ∑ k ·B
In this application, in the high voltage – high power range, W
the transformer temperature is very important due to the fact
pFe = ph + pe = kh · Bnα ·n· f + c
n n· f( )
that it is related to the isolation lifetime [19]. Degradation in n =1 n =1
the isolation paper can cause the transformer to fail, so it is
necessary to know about the transformer operation. The Bn = (2)
temperature raise in the transformer is given by the losses; N · A·2π ·n· f
iron and copper losses. Therefore, having an estimation of the
transformer losses could serve to evaluate the isolation In (1) kh and kc are the hysteresis and eddy-current
lifetimes. constants, respectively; and α is the Steinmetz constant, all of
them depend of the magnetic material regarding its lamination
Several researches can be found in the literature regarding (thickness, grain orientation, etc.) [11].
the losses in inverter fed transformers. The iron losses have
been studied in several works such as in [9]-[14] while the Due to the transformer geometry, the limbs, yokes and
copper losses are included in [15]-[18]. In [9] the iron losses auxiliary cores have different flux density and therefore
are studied against the inverter modulation index for a square different iron losses. The difference in the flux density is given
wave modulation, while in [10] they are analyzed against the by the different cross sectional areas and mainly by the
number of levels of the inverter. Although the state of the art voltage applied to the core. So it is necessary to determine the
presents studies in the transformer losses, they are focused on flux density for each part of the transformer, considering that
transformer without integrated magnetic. This kind of the inverter output voltage (3) can be obtained applying
transformer has a special geometry and the losses model is Fourier series to an arbitrary αi waveform with odd quarter
different from the ones in the state of the art. Therefore, in the wave symmetry as the one shown in Fig. 3.
two following epigraphs, the iron losses and copper losses
model are studied and validated.

α1 αN
Bn _ limb = (6)
N1· Acore ·2π ·n· f

Vaux n
Bn _ aux = (7)
π/2 π 3π/2 2π ωt
N1· Aaux ·2π ·n· f

Fig. 3: Arbitrary αi waveform with odd quarter wave symmetry.

Vcoren + Vaux n
Bn _ yoke = (8)
N1· Acore ·2π ·n· f
VDC 4 ⎛ N

Vinv (α 1 ,...,α N ) = ⎜1 + 2∑ (− 1) cos(n·α k )⎟
⋅ (3)
2 n·π ⎝ k =1 ⎠ Introducing (6), (7) and (8) into (1), and multiplying each
term by the weight of the element, the transformer iron losses
where n=5, 7, 11, 13… (odd and non - triplen harmonics), N is in watts can be obtained as
the number of switching events per quarter period (typically 7,
⎡∞ ∞ ⎤
9, 13, 15 in railway applications), αk is the k-th switching
event and VDC is the inverter input voltage. Taking into ∑
piron = 3Limbweight ⎢ kh· Bn _ limbα ·n· f + ∑ k ·B c n _ limb
(n· f )2 ⎥ +
⎣⎢ n =1 n =1 ⎦⎥
account the single phase phase equivalent circuit (see Fig. 4),
G ⎡ ∞ ∞ ⎤
the voltage applied to the main core, vcoren , is given by ∑
+ 2Yokeweight ⎢ kh· Bn _ yokeα ·n· f +
⎣⎢ n =1
∑ k ·B
n =1
c n _ yoke
(n· f )2 ⎥
⎦⎥ (9)
expression (4), where Z O ( jnω1 ) is the impedance seen from
⎡∞ ∞ ⎤
the transformer primary winding (see Fig. 4) and X F ( jnω1 ) is ∑
+ 3 Auxweight ⎢ kh·Bn _ auxα ·n· f +
⎢⎣ n =1
∑ k ·B
n =1
c n _ aux
(n· f )2 ⎥
the impedance taking into account the filter inductance, Lεcc,
and its series resistance, Rεcc. The voltage applied to the
G B. Copper losses
auxiliary core, vauxn , is given by expression (5),
The copper loss is based on the resistance associated to the
Z O ( jnω1 )
windings (10).
Lεcc Rεcc LLOAD
N1:N2 ∞ ∞
aux -
+ + vvaux
n +
pcopper = ∑
n =1
Rac _ prim _ n · I prim _ n 2 + ∑R n =1
ac _ sec_ n · I sec_ n
invn vvcore
core n

- -
B where Iprim_n and Isec_n are the R.M.S current values for each
harmonic component for primary and secondary windings,
C respectively, and Rac_prim and Rac-sec are the AC resistances
associated to the primary and secondary windings,
Fig. 4: Single phase equivalent circuit for Δ connection. respectively. It is important to notice that these resistances are
G geometry (number of layers, parallel and stacked conductors,
G G vinvn ⋅ X F ( jnω1 ) etc) and frequency dependent and their estimation is an
vcoren = vinvn − (4) important issue in the copper losses calculation. These
Z O ( jnω1 ) resistances have been obtained using Dowell’s equations [20]
applied to PWM waveforms with nth harmonics [21].
G vinvn C. Losses validation
vaux n = jnω1 ⋅ Lεcc · (5)
Z O ( jnω1 ) In order to validate the above mentioned analysis, a scale-
down prototype based on Fig. 1 has been developed and its
Considering the applied voltages to each part, the number characteristics are shown in Table I. The transformer electrical
of turns and the cross sectional area, the flux densities in the steel is the grain oriented UNISIL 23P060 and the building
limbs, auxiliary core and yokes are given in (6), (7) and (8), characteristics of the transformer are shown in Table II.
respectively. It is important to notice that the limbs are mostly It is important to notice that the transformer has been built
affected by the first harmonic and no other harmonics are according to the picture shown in Fig. 2, where the auxiliary
relevant on the flux density calculation while the auxiliary core is distributed along the available window.
core is affected by all the high frequency harmonics. Due to
the fact that the flux needs a closed loop in the main core, the
yokes are supporting the induction provided by the flux
density in the limbs and in the auxiliary cores (see Fig. 2).

TABLE I. SCALE-DOWN PROTOTYPE CHARACTERISTICS results have the same trend and they are close to the
experimental ones, so the copper losses estimation has been
Parameter Value validated.
Input voltage range, VDC 280V-600V
Line to line RMS output Voltage, VO 400V
2 VO _ 1 N 2 1
Output power 1400W M =2 (11)
3 VDC N1 3
Nominal frequency 50Hz
Load resistance, Rload 115Ω
Load inductance, Lload 0H 46

Copper losses, W
AC capacitor, CAC 4.5µH 44
Parameter Value 36
Limb weight 5.5kg 34

Yoke weight 4.7kg 32

Auxiliary core weight 1.3kg 0,55 0,65 0,75 0,85 0,95 1,15

Primary turns, N1 255 Modulation index, M

Fig. 6: Copper losses against the modulation index in short-circuit test.
Secondary turns, N2 292
Continuous line: experimental results. Dashed line: Theoretical results.
Main core area, ACore 25cm2
Main core area, Aaux 7.5cm2
In the second test, the secondary winding is not connected
To validate the losses estimation, three different studies to any load and the inverter is applying nominal voltage to the
(short-circuit, open-circuit and load tests) have been carried transformer. During the test, it was observed that the current
out modulating the inverter with the Selective Harmonic cannot be neglected, because some voltage is dropping in the
Elimination Technique (SHE). transformer series impedance (R cc and L cc). The equivalent
circuit for this test is shown in Fig. 7.
In the short-circuit, the secondary winding of the Lεcc Rεcc
transformer is short-circuited and the applied voltage is quite
low in order to obtain nominal current (INOM) on the primary + + vvaux - n
windings. Therefore, the losses are mostly based on the copper G
RFe LMag vvGcore
vvinvn core
losses and they can be validated. The way to obtain the SHE
inv n

nominal current for different modulation indexes is to change - -

the inverter input voltage. In Fig. 5 the equivalent circuit for
this test is shown. In order to apply the equation (10), the C
impedance Z O ( jnω1 ) needs to be obtained.
Fig. 7: Equivalent circuit in open-circuit test.
Z O ( jnω1 )
The iron losses have been obtained applying (9), but in this
Lεcc Rεcc case, the flux density through limbs, yokes and auxiliary cores
have been obtained considering the impedance Z O ( jnω1 )
+ + vvauxaux - n from the equivalent circuit shown in Fig. 7. In order to apply
G equation (9), the eddy-current and hysteresis constants are

SHE needed.
B Commonly, the electrical steel manufacturer does not
I NOM provide these terms, so the evaluation of this expression is
C complicated. With the open-circuit test, these constants can be
obtained by means of curve fitting. In Fig. 8, once the
Fig. 5: Equivalent circuit in short-circuit test. constants have been fixed, both the theoretical and
experimental results for the iron losses against the modulation
Evaluating (10), the theoretical results are shown in Fig. 6 index are shown.
together with the experimental ones against the inverter
modulation index, which is defined in (11) considering VO_1 as
the fundamental RMS line to line output voltage and VDC the
inverter input voltage. As it can be observed, the theoretical

Iron losses, W

20 Fig. 10: PSIM® Thermal Module IGBT bridge and database editor.
0 This software provides with one simulation the device
0,55 0,65 0,75 0,85 0,95 1,05 1,15 losses considering all the parameters of the system, making
Modulation index, M this task easy and fast. In order to use this tool for any
Fig. 8: Iron losses against the modulation index in open-circuit test. converter, a validation test is needed. This has been carried out
Continuous line: experimental results. Dashed line: Theoretical results.
through the converter shown in Fig. 1 with the characteristics
LOAD TEST mentioned before. The IGBT device for this application is the
In the final test, the transformer is connected to the load as SKM50GB123D. The modulation techniques in this case are
depicted in Fig. 4. In this case the modulation techniques the SHE with 6 and 7 chops per quarter period. In Fig. 11,
applied to the inverter have been SHE with 6 and 7 chops. both the simulation and the experimental results for the device
Both the theoretical and experimental results are shown in Fig. losses are shown against the modulation index, which was
9. Under load condition, the total transformer losses have also defined in (11), where VO_1 is the fundamental RMS line to
the same trends as the theoretical results for both modulation line output voltage and VDC is the inverter input voltage.
techniques. The important achievement of the transformer
losses estimation lies in the fact that it can be extrapolated to a) 35
other designs with different characteristics in the transformer, SHE 6
the converter and the modulation technique.
Device losses, W

Regarding the transformer losses validation is important to

remark the following: 20
• The losses model has been validated in short- 15
circuit, open-circuit and load conditions.
• The maximum error achieved in load condition is
less than 10%. 5

• In all scenarios the theoretical and experimental 0

trends are the same. 0,55 0,65 0,75 0,85 0,95 1,05 1,15
Modulation index, M
b) 30
Trx_losses_SHE6_experimental SHE 7
Trx_losses_SHE6_theoretical 25
Transformer losses, W

Device losses, W

140 Simulation

0,55 0,65 0,75 0,85 0,95 1,05 1,15
Modulation index, M 0
0,55 0,65 0,75 0,85 0,95 1,05 1,15
Fig. 9: Transformer losses against the modulation index in load operation. Modulation index, M
Continuous line: SHE with 6 chops. Dashed line: SHE with 7 chops.
Fig. 11: Device losses against the modulation index. a) SHE with 6 chops. b)
III. SWITCHING DEVICE LOSSES SHE with 7 chops. Continuous lines: experimental results. Dashed lines:
simulation results.
The switching devices losses calculation can be carried out
through simulation using commercial tools based on The obtained results by means of the simulation software
manufacturer’s database such as the Thermal Module of are close to the experimental ones, with the same trends and
PSIM® [22] (see Fig. 10). low error (below 10%). This means that the software can be
used in systems with different characteristics.

IV. OPTIMAL ADAPTIVE COMBINED 9 (SHE9) and 10 (SHE10) chops per quarter period and the
MODULATION PWM with third harmonic injection with a carrier ratio of 15
(THIPWM_15) and 21 (THIPWM_21).
Since the theoretical and simulation power losses trends
have been validated, both the transformer losses estimation
and the simulation software may be used to analyze a real In order to carry out the modulation combination, some
ARPS in order to establish an optimal combination of design restrictions have to be taken into account. These are the
modulations which minimizes the total losses. maximum THD (THDmax) and the maximum power
dissipation of the switching device (PIGBTmax=11.5kW) and
The real system, which attends to Fig. 1, has the the transformer. With forced air-cooling, considering a
characteristics shown in Table III and Table IV. The switching maximum power loss per dissipation area (external windings
device in this application is the FZ600R65KF2, with a area) of 2500W/m2, as a practical rule, the maximum
maximum voltage of 6500V. Due to limitations in the IGBT allowable losses in the transformer (Ptrxmax) are 3kW. All of
technology, the selected modulation techniques, implemented these maximum values are represented in Fig. 12 with dashed
within a look-up table, are the SHE with 7 (SHE7), 8 (SHE8), lines.
Output Voltage THD (%)

5 THDmax


0,40 0,45 0,50 0,55 0,60 0,65 0,70 0,75 0,80 0,85 0,90

b) 12 SHE7

11 SHE8 SHE8
Total Losses (kW)

9 SHE10

7 SHE10

0,40 0,45 0,50 0,55 0,60 0,65 0,70 0,75 0,80 0,85 0,90

c) 3300
3100 Ptrxmax Thermal Limit
2900 3000W
Transformer Losses (W)

1500 THIPWM_21

0,40 0,45 0,50 0,55 0,60 0,65 0,70 0,75 0,80 0,85 0,90
d) 12
PIGBTmax Thermal Limit

10 SHE10

IGBT Losses (kW)


0,40 0,45 0,50 0,55 0,60 0,65 0,70 0,75 0,80 0,85 0,90
VDC=3.6kV VDC=2.1kV


Modulation index, M
Fig. 12: From top to bottom: THD, Total losses, Transformer losses and IGBTs losses against modulation index. Thicker line in all
graphs: Optimal combined modulator.

TABLE III. REAL SYSTEM MAIN CHARACTERISTICS through simulation and also experimentally validated in the
same prototype. The presented adaptive combined modulation
Parameter Value can be extrapolated to other applications with different
Input voltage range, VDC 2.1kV-3.6kV components, ranges of power and voltages, etc.
Line to line RMS output Voltage, VO 400V
Output power 290kVA ACKNOWLEDGMENT
Nominal frequency 50Hz
This work has been supported by Ministerio de Educación
Load resistance, Rload 0.605Ω y Ciencia (Spain), by means of the research projects
Load inductance, Lload 1mH MODUFLAME (DPI2010-21110-C02-02) and SAUCE (DPI:
AC capacitor, CAC 600µH


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