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8, AUGUST 2008 3005

Simplified Voltage-Sag Filler for Line-Interactive

Uninterruptible Power Supplies
Manuel Arias Pérez de Azpeitia, Student Member, IEEE, Arturo Fernández, Member, IEEE,
Diego Gonzalez Lamar, Student Member, IEEE, Miguel Rodríguez, Student Member, IEEE, and
Marta María Hernando, Member, IEEE

Abstract—There are three types of static uninterruptible power For the passive-standby UPS [13], its elements are connected
supplies (UPSs): passive standby, line interactive, and double in parallel to the grid [Fig. 1(a)]. In the normal operation mode
conversion. The last one protects the load against all types of (when there are no abnormal conditions in the grid), the static
line disturbances, but it is the most expensive and the one with
the lowest efficiency. On the other hand, passive-standby and switches connect the load to the ac line, the inverter is not
line-interactive UPSs have higher efficiency and lower cost, but working, and the battery charger keeps the batteries charged. As
they show an important drawback: a switching time from normal can be seen, it has no capability of regulating the load voltage
to stored-energy mode. As a consequence, there is a notch in in normal operation mode. When a fault in the grid occurs, the
the UPS output voltage during this switching time. In a previous static switches are opened and the UPS inverter starts working,
paper, the authors proposed a method for filling these voltage
notches with a sinusoidal waveform generated by a switch-mode supplying energy from the batteries. This implies a switching
converter. In this one, a simplified notch filler is proposed. It time and, therefore, a voltage notch of several milliseconds in
consists of two capacitors, one charged with positive voltage and the UPS output voltage [14]. This type of UPS is used in low-
the other with negative voltage. If the fault occurs in the positive power low-cost applications due to its poor performance.
period, the positive-charged capacitor is connected to the load. The line-interactive UPS [15], [16] also has its elements in
This connection is then modulated in order to obtain a sinusoidal
waveform at the load. In the negative period, the other capacitor parallel [Fig. 1(b)]; therefore, it will also show a switching time
is used in the same way. between normal and stored-energy (battery) modes. Compared
with the passive standby, this UPS has several elements that
Index Terms—Filler, notch, sag, simplified, uninterruptible
power supply (UPS). improve its performance in order to be used in higher power
I. I NTRODUCTION The double-conversion UPS [17] is connected in series with
the load [Fig. 1(c)]. This implies that the voltage is constantly

T HE NUMBER of sensitive loads connected to the grid

has increased in the last years. Consequently, the need
of a high-quality and stable voltage has also increased. Sev-
regulated (in normal and battery modes), and there is no switch-
ing time when a fault in the grid occurs. As can be seen, this
UPS has the highest performance, but it also has an important
eral custom power devices have been developed in order to drawback: The energy is constantly processed by the rectifier
cover this demand: dynamic voltage restorer [1]–[4], static and the inverter (not only in battery mode); therefore, its size
compensator [5]–[7], etc. Among them, one of the most used and cost are very high. In fact, the rectifier also has to process
is the uninterruptible power supply (UPS) system. Three types the battery-charging energy.
may be distinguished depending on the technology employed: In a previous paper [18], the authors presented a small
dynamic, static, and hybrid UPSs [8]–[12]. The second type, switch-mode converter designed for filling voltage notches
which is the static UPS, is the most extended and basically [19], [20] with a sinusoidal waveform. In this paper, a sim-
consists of a rectifier/charger, a set of batteries, an inverter, and plified method is proposed. Therefore, the cost and size of the
a static switch. Nowadays, three different types of static UPSs whole system are considerably reduced. This can make a line-
exist: passive standby, line interactive, and double conversion, interactive UPS more competitive than a double-conversion one
and they differ in the way their elements are connected to the in many cases.
grid (Fig. 1).

Manuscript received March 1, 2007; revised October 16, 2007. First pub- II. O PERATION C ONCEPT
lished February 22, 2008; last published July 30, 2008 (projected). This
work was supported in part by the Fundación para el Fomento en Asturias As it has been mentioned in the previous paper, the notch
de la Investigación Cientifica Aplicada y la Tecnología and Chloride Power
Protection under Project PC-04-72.
filler has to be a low-cost device in order to be competitive.
M. Arias Pérez de Azpeitia, D. G. Lamar, M. Rodríguez, and M. M. Therefore, the energy storage system must be simplified as
Hernando are with the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, much as possible. Using batteries implies a rectifier/charger
University of Oviedo, 33204 Gijón, Spain (e-mail:
A. Fernández is with the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineer- system that adds complexity and cost to the overall design.
ing, University of Oviedo, 33204 Gijón, Spain, and also with the Power and Furthermore, the most common voltage value for batteries is
Energy Conversion Division, European Space Agency, 75738 Paris, France. 12 V (or 48 V with four batteries connected in series). This
Color versions of one or more of the figures in this paper are available online
at results in the need of elevating its voltage to the nominal value.
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/TIE.2008.918595 Choosing capacitors as energy-storage systems means that a
0278-0046/$25.00 © 2008 IEEE

Fig. 1. Schemes of the (a) passive-standby, (b) line-interactive, and (c) double-conversion UPSs.

Fig. 2. (a) Complete operating principle for positive and negative periods. (b) Bang-bang control system. (c) Voltage reference and sensed load voltage during a
notch. (d) UPS output and load voltages when the notch filler is protecting the load.

simple diode can be used to charge them directly from the UPS it will be seen later in this paper, the circuit needed for this
output [Fig. 2(a)]. Therefore, neither a charger nor an output bang-bang control [21], [22] is very simple [Fig. 2(b)]. In fact,
converter is needed. this simplicity also helps in the need for a quick action of the
Regarding the method for connecting the capacitors to the switch. For the negative period of the grid, another capacitor
load when a failure occurs, a very simple control is employed. and switch are needed [Fig. 2(a)].
Considering a positive period of the grid, the sensed load volt- Considering the short duration of the voltage notches at
age is continuously compared with a lower sinusoidal reference the UPS output (only a few milliseconds), reducing the ripple
[Fig. 2(b) and (c)]. When the load voltage is higher than the generated by the bang-bang control is not the main issue.
reference, the capacitor is kept disconnected from the load, Therefore, no output filters are needed, and the size of the whole
and when the load voltage is lower, the capacitor is connected. system can be minimized.
Therefore, when a notch takes place, the load voltage falls Another switch, which is different from the previous two, is
below the reference and the capacitor is connected. As a con- also required for isolating the notch filler from the UPS when a
sequence, the load voltage is higher than the reference and the fault takes place. If this isolation is not implemented, energy
capacitor is disconnected again. This process is repetitive until from the capacitor will flow both to the load and the UPS
the UPS output is restored to normal values [Fig. 2(d)]. This that is in parallel with the load. This makes the measurement
leads to a modulation of the capacitor voltage, resulting in a systems at the output of the UPS affected by the current
sinusoidal waveform (with some ripple) applied to the load. As supplied by the capacitor. This switch will be closed again when

Fig. 3. (a) Complete scheme of the proposed notch-filler power stage. (b) Control stage of the positive and negative switches. (c) Circuit for generating the
synchronizing signal.

the UPS has completed the change to the stored-energy mode with a sinusoidal waveform. The control during the negative
[Fig. 2(c)]. period is developed in the same way using another comparator
It should be noted that the notch filler will be delivering [Fig. 3(b)].
energy to the load only during a few milliseconds of the UPS The output voltage of the notch filler has some ripple as a
switching time. As a consequence, the typical design considera- consequence of this bang-bang control. Nevertheless, this ripple
tions are not valid. Later in this paper, the design considerations will be affecting the load only during the switching time of the
will be explained. line-interactive UPS (only during this time is the load voltage
As can be seen, the system is very simple. Neither an output supplied by the notch filler). Considering that this time is very
filter nor inductors are needed in the design. The size of the short (only a few milliseconds), there is no need of employing
two capacitors, due to the short duration of the switching time, a filter in order to smooth the notch-filler output voltage. This
is reasonably small. The positive and negative switches are eliminates the need of magnetic cores and reduces the cost and
implemented with MOSFETs. Their parasitic diodes act as size of the whole system. Nevertheless, the ripple could be
rectifiers for charging the capacitors, and hence, no extra diodes reduced by placing some capacitors at the notch-filler output.
are needed. The switch used for isolating the UPS when a fault This will smooth the ripple, and it may be necessary in high
occurs is made by using two MOSFETs connected “source to power loads, as the ripple will be considerably higher.
source.” This allows current flowing in both directions and pro- Not only the voltage notches but also the fast short voltage
vides the system with a fast switch response. Later in this paper, surges are limited. The parasitic diode of the MOSFETs will
all these MOSFETs will be rated. For generating the sinusoidal clamp any voltage trying to reach values above the capacitor-
reference and for providing some extra logic actuation, a low- voltage value. The protection provided will strongly depend on
cost low-size microcontroller is implemented in the notch filler. the amount of energy delivered by the surge and on the size of
the capacitor.
As it has been said, two different activation signals exist:
positive and negative signals. The positive-activation ones
In Fig. 3(a), the complete scheme of the notch filler is should only reach its corresponding MOSFET when the notch
shown. As can be seen, the two capacitors are charged directly takes place in the positive period. The same should occur with
from the UPS output through the parasitic diodes of the power the negative signals [Fig. 3(b)]. Therefore, the control system
MOSFETs. This feeds the system with the energy of two must be synchronized with the UPS output in order to be able
capacitors, one charged at the positive-peak value of the grid to decide whether the positive signals or the negative ones
and the other at the negative peak. As it has been mentioned, the must be generated. Not only the activation signals but also the
sizes of these capacitors are small due to the short period of time generation of the voltage reference needs this synchronization.
that they will be supplying energy (only a few milliseconds). In order to achieve this, the microcontroller “reads” the load
Their only condition is being rated for more than 375 V. voltage and detects the zero crossing with a negative slope with
In order to control the MOSFETs connected to the capac- a well-known circuit [Fig. 3(c)]. The two diodes clamp the
itors, a bang-bang control will be implemented; therefore, a voltage to acceptable levels, and the resistor limits the current
sinusoidal voltage reference is needed. This reference is con- flowing through them. With the zero-crossing information, the
tinuously compared with the load voltage. Taking the positive microcontroller generates the synchronized sinusoidal refer-
period as an example, if the sensed output voltage falls below ence and is able to decide which activation signal should be
the reference, an activation signal is generated and the positive considered if needed [Fig. 3(b)].
MOSFET connects the load to the positive-charged capacitor. This sinusoidal reference could be generated by the pulse
When the sensed load voltage is higher than the reference, the width modulation (PWM) module generator of the microcon-
connection between capacitor and load is cut off. This bang- troller. Nevertheless, there is no need of using this PWM mod-
bang control is done by a simple comparator. As a result of ule. The waveform can be directly generated by software due to
this control, when a notch occurs, the load voltage is filled the simplicity of the rest of the actions the microcontroller has

Fig. 4. (a) Control-circuitry ground referred to the mains ground. (b) Control-circuitry ground independent from the mains ground.

to do. The whole sinusoidal reference is generated by a 200- As can be seen in Fig. 4(b), a p-channel is used for the
entry lookup table. The variations of the grid voltage that are negative switch. Using an n-channel MOSFET implies another
within tolerances imply no action by the UPS. Therefore, these +12-V source referred to the source of this MOSFET. With the
variations reach the load. This can affect the bang-bang control p-channel MOSFET, the −12-V source employed in the control
and generate an unnecessary actuation of the notch filler. In circuitry is used.
order to counter-effect this, the peak value of the load voltage The main drawback of the second option is that the output
is constantly sensed by the microcontroller. Depending on this voltage of the UPS cannot be directly measured. Nevertheless,
peak value, one lookup table or another will be used in order the voltage to be sensed is the load voltage and not the main
to generate a sinusoidal voltage reference that is always lower voltage; therefore, the second option is the chosen one to be
than the sensed load voltage. The chosen lookup table should implemented in the prototype. The main advantage is the sim-
generate a voltage within tolerances in case a notch takes place. plicity and size saving obtained in the power-supply subsystem.
As has already been mentioned, the “isolating switch” is Finally, all the devices will be rated. It is important to note
made with two source-to-source MOSFETs. It must isolate the that, in normal and battery modes, the notch filler will be
UPS from the notch filler if one of the activating signals is delivering no energy. Only during the few milliseconds of the
generated. That means that a notch is taking place and that switching time, will it be feeding the load. Therefore, a typical
there is a need for avoiding energy flowing through the UPS design cannot be employed in order to select components and
output. Once opened, it must remain in that state until the heat sinks.
microcontroller detects that the notch has finished. The positive and negative MOSFETs can be rated with the
The notch filler needs a subsystem for supplying power to voltage and the nonrepetitive peak current. When they are
the control circuitry. The topology of this subsystem depends opened, their voltage is
on the way all the circuitry is referred to ground. There are two
main options. Vmosfet = Vcapacitor − Vgrid . (1)
1) The control-circuitry ground is connected to the UPS Considering that the capacitor is fully charged and the Vgrid
output ground. is in its peak value
2) The control-circuitry ground is connected to the “source”
of positive and negative MOSFETs. Vcapacitor ≈ + Vpeak (2)
For the first option [Fig. 4(a)], the following voltages are Vgrid = ± Vpeak . (3)
1) +/−12 V for the control circuitry; The ranges of the voltages that the MOSFETs will be sup-
2) +12 V for the positive MOSFET; porting are the following:
3) −12 V for the negative MOSFET;
Vmosfet = Vpeak − Vpeak = 0 V (4)
4) +12 V for the isolating switch.
Vmosfet = Vpeak − (−Vpeak ) = 2 · Vpeak . (5)
On the other hand, the second option [Fig. 4(b)] simplifies
the problem. The following voltages are needed: Because of the short duration of the switching time, the
1) +/−12 V for the control circuitry and positive and nega- repetitive peak current, not the dc current, is needed for rating
tive MOSFETs; these MOSFETs. The maximum current that they will have to
2) +12 V for the isolating switch. drive is the peak value of the load one.

Regarding the MOSFETs of the isolating switch, their most

restrictive requirement is driving the double of the grid voltage.
In normal operation mode, they will be connecting the load to
the UPS output; therefore, they will have to drive the current
given by the UPS.
It is important to note that, in normal operation mode, the
conduction losses of the positive and negative MOSFETs will
be zero. Furthermore, they will be switching at low frequency;
therefore, their overall losses can be neglected. Therefore, there
is no need of using heat sinks. The isolating-switch losses are
generated only by the conduction state, and depending on the
power delivered by the UPS, heat sinks may be necessary.


A prototype of the system has been built and tested
[Fig. 5(a)]. Its main specifications are the following:
1) Voltage: 230 V;
2) Maximum duration of the notch: 3 ms;
3) Nominal UPS power: 3000 W.
As has been mentioned, the key issue when designing this
notch filler is the short time that it will be delivering en-
ergy. Considering this, the 470-µF capacitors selected provide
enough energy to cover the maximum notch specified.
Two IRFBE20s have been selected for the isolating switch,
and a BUK456 is chosen for the positive switch. The p-channel
MOSFET used is the STB9NK70Z.
The auxiliary voltages are obtained with three small low-
frequency transformers. As it is mentioned in the previous
paper, it may be possible to use the auxiliary voltages of the
UPS for its control circuitry, but it is interesting to develop
an autonomous system. Another option, which is used in the
previous paper, is using a flyback built with a TopSwitch.
Fig. 5. (a) Photograph of the prototype. (b) Comparison between the new and
Fig. 5(a) shows a photograph of the prototype. former (with heat sink) prototypes.
Comparing the previous prototype with this one, the volt-
age ripple [Fig. 6(c)] is bigger due to the bang-bang control time of a line-interactive UPS is no longer than 5 or 6 ms.
employed. Nevertheless, this voltage will be applied to the Filling longer notches may be achieved with bigger capacitors.
load only for a few milliseconds, and hence, it is perfectly The same tests (3- and 8-ms notches) have been done with a
admissible. On the other hand, the size has been strongly load of 500 W [Fig. 6(e) and (f)].
reduced as can be seen in Fig. 5(b). Not only the size but also the Finally, Fig. 7(a) shows the results with a 3-ms notch and
cost is considerably lower. The control circuitry is less complex a load of 1000 W. Compared with the previous prototype
than the previous, and it uses cheaper components. [Fig. 7(b)], this simplified notch filler shows a higher ripple
Considering a 3-ms notch [Fig. 6(a)], it can be noticed that in its voltage. As it has been mentioned, the reduction of this
the load only sees a small voltage drop to a lower sinusoidal ripple is not a key issue considering that the duration of the
value [Fig. 6(b)]. This drop depends on the sinusoidal reference transfer time between the normal and battery operation modes
that the microcontroller is generating. As it has been mentioned, is no longer than a few milliseconds (typically < 10 ms) in line-
the peak value of the load voltage is constantly sensed by the interactive UPSs.
microcontroller, and it will generate a convenient sinusoidal
reference. Therefore, the variations of the load voltage within
tolerances will not activate the notch filler. Normally, the dura-
tion of the notch is limited to a few milliseconds, and hence, the The voltage notches during the switching time from nor-
resulting voltage ripple with this control method is admissible mal to stored-energy mode are the main drawbacks of line-
[Fig. 6(c)]. Also, Fig. 6(b) and (c) shows the control signal of interactive UPS; on the other hand, they have very good
the positive MOSFET. efficiency and cost. Eliminating this notch can make line-
With the 470-µF capacitors selected, it is possible to cover interactive UPSs much more competitive than the double-
longer notches if a low power load is connected to the UPS. conversion ones, due to their high cost, high size, and low
A test with an 8-ms notch has also been done, and the result is efficiency. This paper proposes a very simple system to elimi-
shown in Fig. 6(d). Nevertheless, nowadays, the typical transfer nate these notches at the load voltage. A sinusoidal reference is

Fig. 6. (a) Typical 3-ms-voltage notch. (b) UPS output voltage with the notch filler connected (no load). (c) Details of the UPS voltage and the control gate signal
of the positive MOSFET. (d) Notch-filler performance with 8-ms fault (no load). (e) UPS output voltage with the notch filler connected (500 W). (f) Notch-filler
performance with 8-ms fault and 500-W load.

Fig. 7. (a) UPS output voltage when the simplified notch filler is connected (1000 W, transfer time of 3 ms). (b) UPS output voltage when the former notch filler
is connected (1000 W, transfer time of 3 ms).

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Manuel Arias Pérez de Azpeitia (S’05) was born Miguel Rodríguez (S’06) was born in Gijón, Spain,
in Oviedo, Spain, in 1980. He received the M.Sc. in 1982. He received the M.S. degree in telecommu-
degree in electrical engineering from the University nication engineering from the University of Oviedo,
of Oviedo, Gijón, Spain, in 2005, where he is cur- Gijón, in 2006, where he is currently working toward
rently working toward the Ph.D. degree. the Ph.D. degree in the Department of Electrical and
Since February 2005, he has been a Researcher Electronic Engineering (granted by the Spanish Min-
with the Department of Electrical and Electronic istry of Science and Education under the university
Engineering, University of Oviedo, where he has formation program).
been involved in developing electronic systems for His research interests include dc/dc conversion,
uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs) and electronic high-frequency-power conversion, and power-supply
switching-mode power supplies and has also been an systems for RF amplifiers.
Assistant Professor of Electronics since February 2007. His research interests
include dc–dc converters, HF inverters, UPSs, and motor control.

Arturo Fernández (M’98) received the M.Sc. and

Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the Uni-
versity of Oviedo, Gijón, Spain, in 1997 and 2000,
In 1998, he was with the Department of Electrical
and Electronic Engineering, University of Oviedo
as an Assistant Professor, where he has been an
Marta María Hernando (M’94) was born in Gijón,
Associate Professor since 2003. Since 2007, he has
Spain, in 1964. She received the M.S. and Ph.D.
been a Contractor with the European Space Agency,
Paris, France, where he is currently working with the degrees in electrical engineering from the University
of Oviedo, Gijón, in 1988 and 1992, respectively.
Power and Energy Conversion Division. He has been
She is currently an Associate Professor with the
involved in around 20 power-electronics research and development projects
Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineer-
since 1997. He has published over 50 technical papers. His research interests are
switching-mode power supplies, low output voltages, converter modeling, high- ing, University of Oviedo. Her main interests include
switching-mode power supplies and high-power-
power-factor rectifiers, and power electronics for space applications. Regarding
factor rectifiers.
power-factor-correction issues, he has been involved in the development of
high-power-factor rectifiers for Alcatel and Chloride Power Protection.