You are on page 1of 7

Generating With the Switched Reluctance Motor

Arthur Radun
Department of Electrical Engineering
University of Kentucky
Lexington, Kentucky 40506-0046

Abstract The switched reluctance motor (SRM)is currently windings do not physically overlap like they do in other
being developed for aircraft engine starterlgenerator appli- electric machine types [31[41.
cations. In these applications the SRM operates as a genera-
tor as well as a motor. This development is taking place
because the SRM is unique in its operation as a generator 2. DUALITY BETWEEN MOTORING
compared to other machine types in that it does not employ AND GENERATING
permanent magnets or a field winding on its rotor. Thus the
SRM generator does not possess the inherent problem of The switched reluctance generator is the dual of the ma-
generating into a shorted winding like the permanent magnet chine as a motor [5]. In fact the machine phase current wave
machine (you cannot turn off the excitation). Because the forms during generating are simply the mirror images around
SRM generator does not employ permanent magnets or a field the aligned rotor position of the phase currents during mo-
winding, it is important to consider the nature of its excitation toring as shown in Fig. 2.1. This statement can be proven
during generating in order to understand its operation and precisely if the machines winding resistance is zero and it is
limitations. This is especially true during load faults or when essentially true for actual machines with reasonable copper
generating AC. Also, as with all electric machines, the SRM losses. This includes an experimental machine that was used
as a generator is the dual of the SRM as a motor. This duality, to demonstrate generating operation of the switched reluc-
in the case of the SRM,carries over into the control of the tance machine.
The flux linked by the winding being energized is


nus = -- -- 0, (2.1)
dt de

reluctance generator does not employ permanent magnets (in (eDnng- eanp y’
fact there is only iron on the rotor) which will generate into
a fault becomes a major advantage. This fault could be in-
- __-- I t

I ROIO~ Position
temal or external to the machine. The switched reluctance

41 0-7803-14 5 ~ 9 $4.00
4 0 1994 IEEE
The rotor position angles, defined in Fig 2.1, are less than
zero if they occur before the aligned position and greater than
zero for angles greater than the aligned position. Here the
rotor angle is defined to increase in value as the machine
rotates for both motoring and generating. Thus the generat-
ing angles are greater in value than the motoring angles. With
these considerations eqn. 2.1 can be integrated over a motor-
ing interval where the angles are less than zero to obtain

we,) - we,) = -(- el - (- e,)) (2.2)

For the generating case where the angles are greater than
zero, eqn. 2.1 can be integrated to obtain

Now assume that hf(-8,)is equal to hf(8,) and eliminate these

variables from eqn. 2.2 and 2.3 by adding the two equations

(vbus, + vbus,)
w e , ) - we,) = (e, - e,) (2.4)

For the flux linkage at -8, to equal the flux linkage at +e,,
vbus, must be equal to the negative of vbus,. Because the
SRMs flux linkage curves are symmetrical around the aligned
position, the phase currents will also beequal at -8, and +e,,

This mirroring of the machines phase current wave forms

about the aligned position is summarized in Table 2.1.
Fig. 2.2 Measured phase current for both motoring and generating
A comparison between measured motoring and generating demonstratipg these currents are mirror images.
phase currents, obtained from an experimental switched re-
luctance machine, is shown in Fig. 2.2. In the figure the
measured motoring and generating phase currents are shown
voltage of 270 Vdc. The motoring and generating conditions
at a machine speed of approximately 17,000 rpm and a bus for the data shown in Fig. 2.2 were not exactly the same since
the data for the two conditions were taken at widely different
times and the data were not specifically taken for comparison,
Table I. but the data do make the point.
Summary of the Duality Between Motoring and
Generating for the SRM.
# Motoring Generating GENERATOR EXCITATION

1 Both switches on - Both switches off - The basic switched reluctance generating system is shown
Current decreases Current decreases in Fig. 3.1 [2][5].This system can be studied in the constant
power range of generator operation where the inverter oper-
2 One switch on, one One switch on, one ates in the square wave mode. In the square wave mode of
switch off - Current switch off - Current
decreases increases operation each IGBT switch turns on and off only once per
cycle. This mode of operation is limited to higher machine
3 Both switches off. Both switches on - speeds where the back EMF of the machine is comparable
Current decreases Current increases to or higher than the dc output voltage. The switched reluc-
tance generator can generate at lower speeds than this, but
4 Current starts before Current ends after it will be limited to a constant torque capability rather than
pole overlap before pole overlap after the constant power capability required of a generator. At
alignment alignment constant torque the power generated by the SRM will de-
crease linearly as the speed decreases.
5 Current ends after Current begins before
alignment alignment In the square wave mode of operation, both switches
(IGBTs in Fig. 3.1)in a phase turn on and off at the same

To address this problem analytically assume that the av-
erage current generated for a given set of turn on and turn
off angles is proportional to the bus capacitor voltage.

i, = k(e,,, e,,) V, = V A (3.1)

Then the bus capacitor voltage must satisfy

d vc
- + (l/R, c - l& C) v, = 0 (3.2)

Here the proportionality constant k(0,, eo,), or equivalently

Fig. 3.1. Classical switched reluctance generator circuit.
%, depends on the inverter turn on and turn off angles, the
machine speed, and potentially the bus capacitor voltage. It
is clear from eqn 3.2 that the system will be unstable with
time [ 5 ] . The current wave form produced in the machine fured turn on and turn off angles if the proportionality con-
phase winding is shown in Fig. 3.2. The machine draws stant % is less than the load resistance R., (a lighter load),
energy from the bus while the switches are on during the and in this case, the bus voltage will rise exponentially. If
interval labeled t, and returns energy to the bus through % is greater than the load resistance (a heavier load) the bus
the diodes when the switches are off during the interval voltage will decay to zero. This last condition has significant
labeled ten. During generating, the energy that is returned implications for load faults. During a load fault the feedback
to the bus through the diodes while the switches are off far loop controlling the generators output voltage will have
exceeds the energy drawn from the bus while the switches saturated to the maximum possible difference in turn on and
are on. The energy drawn from the bus through the switches turn off angles and thus these angles will have become fured
while they are on is the machine excitation energy. Note that as assumed above. During faults the load is always too high,
the machine excitation time is equal to its generating time the load resistance too small, and thus the generator output
and that the machine phase current can last for no more than bus will collapse unless it is supported by a battery or other
one electrical cycle. source, as in Fig. 3.1. Also, the above result indicates that
there is a maximum permissible load for any particular
As can be seen from Fig. 3.1 the generator obtains its machine, independent of thermal considerations, since for
excitation from the same bus that it generates into. Consider loads greater than the maximum, the bus collapses unless the
the full square mode of operation during generating, de- additional current required by the load is drawn from a
scribed above, when the turn on angle and turn off angles battery or other source.
of the switches in each phase of the inverter are fixed. At a
given bus voltage, a certain amount of power and thus av- Equation 3.1 also shows the nonlinearity that exists in
erage generated current will be produced. Consider next a the feedback loop when the switched reluctance generator is
small perturbation where the bus voltage increases slightly. controlled using the turn on and turn off angles of the in-
What will happen? As the bus voltage goes up, the amount verter. With feedback, k(O,,, e,,) will depend on the bus
of current that builds up in the machine while the switches capacitor voltage through the commanded angles. Equation
are closed will increase, or equivalently, the machines exci- 3.1 can be rewritten as
tation will increase. Thus, the amount of current that is
generated when the switches are turned off will also increase.
This increase in generated current will tend to increase the (3.3)
bus voltage still further. Thus, there is the potential for
instability [6].
V, = nominal bus capacitor voltage
F(e,,,eoff) = V, K(9,,,eOff)
e,, = inverter switch turn on angle
eo, = inverter switch turn off angle

Equation 3.3 can be inverted to obtain


To generate a constant average current as a function of the

bus capacitor voltage, eqn. 3.4 states that the function F(e,,,
eo,) must vary inversely with the bus capacitor voltage. Since
Fig. 3.2 Phase current during generating with the excitation and the inverse of the function F(8,,, e,,) gives the turn on and
generatingperiods identified. turn off angles, eqn. 3.4 states that the angle algorithm used
at a bus capacitor voltage of V, should be multiplied by VJ
V, at a different bus capacitor voltage to maintain a constant
average generated current if angle control is employed.

To demonstrate the validity of the above analysis, data disconnecting the short, the switched reluctance generator
were taken on an experimental generator system with fmed will not recover generating operation.
turn on and turn off angles [6]. First the average generated
This problem can be circumvented by providing a separate
current was measured as a function of bus voltage for fmed
bus to excite the generator, as shown in Fig. 4.1. In this case
turn on and turn off angles. The question arises as how to
the average current generated by the switched reluctance
measure these data given the bus voltage will either go to
generator is decoupled from the generated bus voltage. This
infinity or zero with fixed switch gating angles. The data were
excitation bus can be fed from a separate source, as shown
obtained by putting a load on the generator system that was
in Fig. 4.1. If the switched reluctance generator is producing
so heavy for the gating angles chosen that the output of the
multiple dc busses, these busses can be diode “ORed” to-
generator would go to zero by eqn. 3.2, and then diode
gether to provide power to the excitation bus. Calculations
“ORing” an external supply as indicated in Fig. 3.1 to main-
have been done to determine the amount of excitation power
tain the bus at the desired value. Under these experimental
that must be supplied to the SRM generator to excite it.
conditions the load current was measured and the current
Typically, the excitation source is supplying about 30 percent
from the dc supply was measured. Then these two currents
of the power going to the load at the rated load. The reason
were subtracted to obtain the current from the switched
the excitation power is this large is that during each electrical
reluctance generator. Typical measured results are shown in
cycle energy is delivered to the SRM machine from the ex-
Fig 3.3 for a pulse width of 30.5 degrees, a load resistance
citation source through the switches in Fig. 4.1, and then
of 2.42 ohms, and a 270 V bus voltage. Note that the current
when the switches turn off, all of this excitation energy is
I, in this figure is equal to the average current out of the
delivered to the load and thus lost from the excitation circuit.
swtched reluctance generator. The value of obtained from
these data is 1.97 ohm, which says the generator output Given that the rating of the excitation source required in
should increase exponentially for load resistors with values Fig. 4.1 is such a large fraction of the generators rating, it
greater than this value for a fmed on interval of 30.5 degrees. is desirable to recover the excitation energy delivered to the
Experimentally, the generator system always over voltaged load each electrical cycle so it does not have to come from the
with such load resistors. excitation source. In fact, it would be desirable for the gen-
erator itself to make up the losses in the excitation circuit
so that a separate excitation source is not required at all. A
4. SEPARATE EXCITATION FOR THE circuit for accomplishing these objectives is shown in Fig 4.2.
SWITCHED RELUCTANCE GENERATOR In the figure, there are two busses, an excitation bus and a
The switched reluctance generator as presently being load bus, like the generator system in Fig. 4.1. Diodes are
proposed suffers from the disadvantages that it is self-excited connected to the excitation bus in the conventional manner.
and that there exists a maximum load that it can support [61. The generator system is connected to the load bus through
If this maximum load is exceeded, the voltage at the output controllable power switches. The basic requirements of these
of the switched reluctance generator will go to zero. Once the switches are satisfied by thyristors. If the switches Q7-Q9 are
voltage at the output of the switched reluctance generator is off, the load bus is disconnected from the generator system
zero the generator can not recover generating operation. A and the generating action is into the excitation bus. The only
short circuit on the output of the switched reluctance gen- load on this bus is the machine excitation itself. With the
erator will always exceed the generators maximum load proper gating angles of Ql-QS the machine will generate
capability and bring the voltage at the output of the switched much more power than the machine excitation power, so if
reluctance generator to zero. Then, even if a fuse is blown

ad l g e n lgen versus Vbus

pwz30.5 25,000rpm
Excitation Bus


80f -~

/ f

c 4 Starting Source
and Excitation
50 100 15Ovbus2O0 250 300
Fig. 3.3 Measured average current generated by an SRM as a Fig. 4.1 SRM generating system with separate excitation and
function of DC bus voltage. power busses.

to high reliability AC generating systems. Such an applica-
tion is the AC startedgenerator.
Figure 5.1 illustrates one proposed SRM generator system
that accomplishes the goal of generating AC with a single
power electronic energy conversion step. Figure 5.1 shows one
phase of the generator system. A possible AC generator
system could have one phase of the AC output produced by
one phase of the switched reluctance generator system.
Another implementation, shown in Fig. 5.2, has a nine phase
switched reluctance generator generating three phase AC.
Three SRM phases produce one output AC phase. This imple-
mentation of the AC generator has the advantage of gener-
ating less and higher frequency ripple for the output filter
(consisting of C in Figs 5.1 and 5.2) to remove compared to
having one phase rf the switched reluctance generator gen-
Fig. 4.2 SRM generating system that generates its own separate
excitation. erate one phase of the AC power. Note that it is assumed here
the link frequency of one three phase section of the switched
reluctance generator system is much higher than the funda-
mental frequency of the AC.
nothing where done the excitation bus voltage would be
pumped up. Thus, when the excitation bus has been pumped In Fig. 5.1 there are two busses, a DC excitation bus and
up to its desired value the appropriate switch, Q7-Q9 is gated an AC load bus. Diodes are connected t o the DC excitation
on sending the rest of the generated power to the load bus. bus in the conventional Tanner. The generator system is
This will occur as long as the load bus voltage is less than connected to the load bus through controllable power
the excitation bus voltage. In fact the operation of the circuit switches. The basic requirements of these switches can be
is such that the excitation bus voltage will always be greater satisfied by thyristors. If the switches Q3-Q6 are off, the AC
than or equal to the load bus voltage. When Q7-Q9 are on, load bus is disconnected from the generator system and the
the diodes D1, D3, and D5 keep the excitation bus from generating action is into the DC excitation bus. The only load
discharging into the lower voltage power bus. Note that the on this bus is the machine excitation itself exactly as in the
combined current rating of a pair, D1 and Q7 as an example, DC case. Now Q3-Q6 are used to direct the generated current
is the same as that of the diode D2. Note too that the switches to the AC bus with a current direction to increase the AC load
Q7-Q9 must support reverse voltage, as well as forward bus voltage if Q3 and Q4 are gated on or with a current
voltage like a thyristor. direction to decrease the AC load bus voltage if Q5 and Q6
are gated on. As with the DC case the load bus voltage must
The current in switches Q7-Q9 can be made to go to zero, be less than the excitation bus voltage at the given instant
turning off the thyristors, by turning on the appropriate of time. In fact the operation of the circuit is such that the
switch Ql-Q6. In the square wave mode the phase current DC excitation bus voltage will always be greater than or equal
naturally goes to zero through Q7-Q9 at the end of the elec- to the AC load bus voltage at any given instant of time. During
trical cycle turning off the thyristors. The initial energy to faults Q3 through Q6 can be kept off while the excitation bus
initiate generating action can be provided through D7. This is being charged insuring it does not discharge into the power
source can be very low power since with all the switches Q7- bus. "he combined current rating of a pair, D1, D2, and Q3,
Q9 off there is no load on the excitation bus. The aircraft 28 Q4 as an example, is no more than that of the diodes D1 and
V source can be used for this purpose. Note also that now the D2 in a conventional switched reluctance generator. As in the
excitation bus voltage and the power bus voltage are no longer DC case the switches Q3-Q6 must support reverse voltage
constrained to be equal t o each other. In fact the excitation as well as forward voltage. Also, in the normal generating
bus voltage can be changed on the fly. An example would be
to change the excitation voltage as a function of machine
speed t o extend the generator's constant power range. In any
event the new SRM generator system shown in Fig. 4.2 opens
a host of new control opportunities.


The switched reluctance generator, as normally presented, LODd

generates DC power. If AC power is required the switched

reluctance generator system must be followed by an inverter.
Thus, in the conventional AC case, the generated power
passes through two stages of power conversion, the switched .U.

reluctance generators power electronics and the inverters

power electronics. Though this approach works, it has limited
the consideration of the SRM generator t o only DC systems.
If a single step energy conversion SRh4 generator system
could be identified it would allow the fault tolerant and Fig. 5.1 Single phase AC SRM generating system with one stage
reliability characteristics of the SRM generator to be brought of power electronics.

Fig. 5.2 Three phase AC SRM generating system with one stage of power electronics

operating modes the current in switches Q3-Q6 can be made fact that the required excitation power of the SRM generator
to go to zero, turning off the thyristors, by turning on Q1 or is a large fraction of the generators rated power, an alterna-
Q2. In the square wave mode the phase current naturally goes tive SRM generator system, that still separates the excitation
to zero through Q3-Q6 at the end of each electrical cycle of the machine from its load, but allows the machine to
turning off the thyristors. The initial energy to initiate gen- generate its own excitation, has also been presented. This new
erating action can be provided through D3 in Fig. 5.1. This SRM generating system allows the SRM generator to clear
source can be very low power since with the switches Q3-Q6 load faults while not requiring a separate excitation source.
off, there is no load on the excitation bus just as in the DC Only a very low power excitation source is needed to initiate
case. generating action. After that, including during load faults, the
machine generates its o w n excitation. Finally the excitation
concepts for the switched reluctance generator have been
6. CONCLUSIONS generalized to generating AC using only one stage of power
This paper has shown the duality that exists between electronic energy conversion. This is exactly the same number
motoring and generating with the switched reluctance ma- of stages of power electronic energy conversion required to
chine and how this duality carries over into the control of the generate DC with the switched reluctance machine.
machine. In particular the control of the machine and the
phase current wave forms during generating have been ob-
tained from the corresponding control and phase current ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
wave forms during motoring. Measured phase current wave
forms taken on an experimental SRM generator system were The results reported here were obtained while conducting
work supported by the US. Army Aviation Systems Com-
presented to verify the theoretical results.
mand Aviation Applied Technology directorate under con-
The results of an investigation into the nature of the ex- tract number DAAJ02-88C-0007 and while conducting work
citation of the switched reluctance machine during generat- supported by the Aero Propulsion and Power Laboratory
ing has been presented. It has been shown that with fured Wright Research and Development Center under contract
inverter turn on and turn off angles a critical load resistance number F33615-90-C-2052. This support is gratefully ac-
value exists. If the load is less (resistance greater) than the knowledged by the author. The results reported here were
critical value the output voltage of the machine will increase obtained by the author while employed by the General Elec-
exponentially. If the load is greater (resistance less) than the tric Company.
critical value the output voltage of the machine will decrease
to zero exponentially. Since load faults (short circuits) always
exceed the critical load value and cause the control to saturate REFERENCES
at the maximum possible difference in turn on and turn off [I] Richter, E., “Application Considerations for Integral Gas
angles, this means the output of the SRM generator will Turbine StarterIGenerator Revisited,” SAE Paper
always go to zero during a load fault and thus the generator 892252, Aerospace Technology Conf. and Exposition,
will loose its excitation. Experimental data have been pre- Anaheim, CA, Sept. 1989 and Aerospace Atlantic, 1990.
sented to demonstrate these results. [2] MacMinn, S.R. and Jones, W. D., “A Very High Speed
Because it is the self-excitation nature of the SRM genera- Switched Reluctance Starter-Generator for Aircraft En-
tor which makes it unable t o clear faults, an alternative SRM gine Applications,” Proc. NAECON 89 (Dayton, OH),
generator system has been presented that separates the ex- May 22-26, 1989.
citation of the SRM generator from its load. This configura- [3] Stephens, C. M., “Fault Detection and Management Sys-
tion will allow the SRM generator to clear faults. Due to the tem for Fault Tolerant Switched Reluctance Motor

Drives,” Conf. Record JEEE Industry Applications Soci- [5] MacMinn, S . R. and Sember, J. W., “Control of a
ety Annual Meeting,-. Sept. - _ 574-578.
- 1989,. pp. Switched Reluctance Aircraft Engine Starter-Generator
Over a Wide Speed Range,” Procl IECEC 89, (Washing-
[41 Richter, E., “Switched hluctance Machines for High ton, DC), Aug. 6-11, 1989.
Performance Operations in a Harsh Environment - A
Review Paper,” Invited Paper at the International Con- [61 Radun, A.V., Rulison, J.A. and Sanza, P, “Switched Re-
ference on Electrical Machines (ICEM)9O, Boston, MA, luctance StarteriGenerator,” SAE 92 Transactions, Aero-
1990 space Journal.