A Comparison of Active and Passive Soft Switching Methods for PWM Converters

Isao Matsuura, K. Mark Smith, and K. M. Smedley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering University of California, Irvine Irvine, CA 92697
Abstract-This paper performs a comparison of the efficiencies of active and passive soft switching methods for PWM converters. The losses in both methods were theoretically itemized and experimentally measured. The values of the resonant elements were experimentally optimized so that both methods were compared on their best conditions. A boost converter was built and tested under the static and dynamic PFC operation condition as well as DC-DC operation condition. Studies show that the passive method has better efficiency in the high power operation region, while the active method outperforms the passive method in the low power region. This paper performs a comparison of the efficiencies of active and passive soft switching methods for PWM converters. A representative circuit of both active and passive methods are selected for this study. The component values are optimized for both methods so that they can be compared on their best conditions. The theoretical analysis and experimental comparison of these methods for a PWM boost rectifier are provided in the paper. Section I1 introduces the active and passive soft switching method circuits compared in this paper. Section I11 describes the switch losses in PWM converters. Section IV presents a design example. Section V shows the experimental results. Section VI discusses the experimental observations. Section VI1 concludes the paper.

I. INTRODUCTION Many lossless soft switching methods have been proposed to reduce the losses in converters. All soft switching methods can be broadly classified as being either active or passive in nature. Active methods use additional active and passive switches and resonant elements to significantly reduce the losses in the main switch; however, these losses are partially transferred to the auxiliary circuit and cannot be neglected. Passive methods use only passive switches and resonant elements to provide soft switching. Therefore, they have higher reliability, but in general they only provide zero current turn-on and zero voltage turn-off of the main switch. From the engineering point of view, it is important to know which method is more suitable for a particular application, but previous works do not provide guidelines to choose one or the other of these methods. [l] has proposed that certain passive methods have a better price/performance ratio over active methods. However, it does not actually compare their performances in both analytical and experimental manner.

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Fig. 1 An active soft switching boost converter

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Fig. 2 A passive soft switching boost converter

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. &. The passive method shown in Fig. Cds discharge 0 95 . 1 and 2 respectively. SWITCH LOSSES IN PWM CONVERTERS The switch losses in PWM converters can be itemized as turn on. the . and inductors. . the losses in the auxiliary switch are not negligible and are a function of the resonant components L and C. C. most of the switching losses of the main switch have been reduced to zero. Main sw. This method provides zero voltage turn-on and turn-off of the main switch S by adding the auxiliary switch Sa along with several resonant and diode components. The losses (in Joules) under zero current turn on of the switch are given as: WO*% O when C. this loss (in Joules) was integrated only over the resonant interval initiated at the main switch turns on for both the active and passive methods. Tum-on Turn-off Vplateau J 0 J J J J Transient 4 J 4 J Cond. The following models assume power MOSFETs are used. and C.. there is not a clear distinction which method has better performance. The conduction loss over the rest of the switching period is assumed to be identical between the active and passive methods and therefore does not need to be calculated. is the output voltage. It is named transient conduction loss. For the passive method. However.. internal capacitance. 2 was selected from the generalized soft switching cells proposed in [4].. The resonant components L. also provide passive soft switching of the auxiliary switch Sa by ensuring it has zero current turn-on and zero voltage turn-off. The conduction loss of the switch can be modeled assuming a constant on resistance. This equation is the same as that derived by [6].IRg 2 cdg + cds (3) Vplateau where R is the gate drive resistance. In order to adequately model the effect of snubber capacitance on turn off losses. This has similar characteristic to other passive soft switching circuits [ 1.Drl.t is the turn on time of the MOSFET. main switch losses are lowered by L. COMPARED METHODS The representative circuits for both active and passive soft switching methods selected for the comparison are shown in Figs. From this table.. Active Loss Passive Main sw. The active method was first proposed and described in [2] and was proven to have the highest efficiency of a group of active soft switching converters [3]. Therefore. R.D. To simplifl the calculation. C1. turn-off losses are approximately zero.. 0 Aux. The charge accumulated in the internal capacitor of the MOSFET switch will be lost if the switch is not turned on with zero volts.4] featuring passive zero current turn-on and zero voltage turn-off of the main switch S with minimum voltage stress. L. sw. WCds the energy stored in the switch that will be lost unless zero voltage turn on is used. turn off.z and DI3. the theoretical and experimental study of this circuit can be extended to the others. Simplified first order models are used to calculate quantitative amounts of each loss dependent on snubber capacitors. and Vplateau is is the gate plateau voltage. capacitance between the gate and the drain. 111. When C. The losses (in Joules) during the turn off interval can be described as: Table 1 shows the losses associated with both methods and provides qualitative distinction between the methods.11.1 and C. and conduction losses. This loss (in Joules) is described as follow: 1 = cdsv? A (4) where Cds is the equivalent capacitance between drain and source when the switch is off.. where. A quantitative comparison will follow.. a new simple loss model is derived in [SI. For the active method. is the inductance of the soft switching inductor and V. C is the parasitic . is large enough..

.A DESIGN EXAMPLE An experimental boost converter was designed and built to compare the two soft switching methods. be large enough to fully charge the resonant capacitor C.&1O%.=llnS) driven by a driver UC3711 (Rg=13. vo=25Ovd. .@OpF. the total loss can be minimized...IV. The turn-on.. Troffmust be smaller than the minimum off-period of the main switch as shown in (1 1) where D... This ensures C.=Sons) driven by a driver UC3710 (Rg=150hms)is used as the main switch. of the boost converter is 1OOkHz. at Pi.=IOA.( C r +Cds)$ 1 2 2 TrO8 = 1 5 + JLrcds + -(Cr + Cds)% 2 VO V. The experimental optimum value of resonant inductor L was found by setting the resonant capacitor Ci2. For the active method Tr. =530W. 3 shows the simplified waveforms of the voltage v d s and the current Id of the main and auxiliary switches. Conduction and reverse recovery losses in the diode D were also calculated in the same way.. IL.=1oovdc. and another MOSFET IRF840 (Cd. The boost converter operates in both PFC mode and DC-DC mode. Fig. 1 Tron= -+ -arccos vo we where me = Lr- [ 2+c. b) The value of the resonant inductor L was chosen to . Im. A MOSFET IRFP460 (Cdg=50pF.&.. v. was chosen to be large enough to satisfy equation (3) to ensure most of the improvement of the turn-off loss has been achieved while still satisfying equations (10) and (1 1).. and C. 3. 4 shows the itemized losses vs. is switching period of the main switch. no‘‘ 5 DminT. named Tr. (10) Fig. and Cl=O and adjusting L. attention must be paid to the maximum resonant transition intervals at the turn-on and turn-off of the main switch. the value of the resonant inductor L. Fig. C.sr’2 Tr Off ==+-arcsin vc I 1 me2 (9) Tr.. The switching frequency f.2nF . Pin=750W. The losses were calculated from the waveforms by integrating the product of Vds and Id over the period shown in Fig. and Troff. But at the same time.s.2V. The duty ratio range where soft switching is guaranteed for this mode is 2040%.=25ovd. The condition of the DC-DC mode is vi. must be smaller than the minimum on-period of the main switch as shown in (10) where Dmin is the minimum duty ratio and T. to the output voltage when the auxiliary switch turns off while still satisfying equations (10) and (11).C. J K + E a + . EXPERIMENTAL RESULTS 1. is the maximum duty ratio of the main switch.mu=4. The conduction losses in the main switch and the diode D are not shown because they are independent of L.. By properly choosing b. for this design. a) The value of the resonant capacitor C.. turn-off. and conduction losses in the main and auxiliary switches were measured separately. 3 Simplified waveform of active method 96 . these equations are shown in [5]as follows. Turn-off loss of the For the passive method. Optimization of the active method circuit The losses in the active method were experimentally optimized after following several design guidelines.Vp1. Vin=l 1OV. and Troffare given in r71 as follows.30hms) is used as the auxiliary switch in the active method. Vplateau=6V. C.=lOA). was chosen to ensure low turn-off losses at maximum current for the PFC (I. becomes a turn-off snubber for both main and auxiliary switches. The condition of the PFC mode is as follows.&.

9-main t-off 0 5 IO Lr (W 15 20 Fig. . voltage V... which is caused by losses in the input inductor. When the value of the resonant inductor L.. becomes larger because the resonant period becomes longer. There are two curves on the chart. 25 *O T t -'\ -o-Pin-Pout 0 0 1 5 10 Lr (uW 15 20 Fig. one is the difference between the input power and the output power of the circuit (drivers are not included).. and the other is the total of the itemized losses. conduction and reverse recovery losses in the diode D were also calculated. Additionally. The turn-off loss in the main transient t-on. transient conduction and steady-state conduction losses in the main switch were measured separately in the same way as that in the active method by integrating the product of V. turn-off. the L. the reverse recovery charge of Dn will drain C.is found to be near 9uH. only one diode is on at the same time.. The reverse recovery loss in the diode D becomes lower as L increases because the . the optimum value of L. Fig. is below 3uH the energy stored in L is too small to charge C. 4 Itemized losses in active method vs. 2. From this chart. 6 Simplified waveforms of passive method 97 . cond+t-on t-off I : . The . Optimization ofthe passive method circuit The losses in the passive method were experimentally optimized for the PFC converter requirements discussed above after following the design procedure shown in [ 5 ] . Using the design procedure in [SI the values for Lr and Cr were 2.7nF respectively. I . L.7nF (Larger values would not meet the design requirements). the peak current thorough the auxiliary switch will be higher. were found at . and the resonant capacitor C. wires and so on.becomes smaller. . reverse recovery current becomes lower. to the output .5uH and the value of the resonant capacitor C. The turn-on plus conduction loss also slightly increases as L. 5 Total loss in active method vs. cond.e.48uH and 5. . However even when C. value from 2. The difference between these two curves is about 7W. The value of the resonant inductor L was fixed to . 5 shows the total loss vs. This means that perfect zero voltage turn-off of the main switch cannot be achieved. 7 shows the itemized losses vs. is fully reset to V.48uH and 5. 7) was calculated assuming (i. which increases the turn-off loss in the auxiliary switch. the value of the resonant inductor b. reduces.. the value of the resonant inductor L. characteristic is that when L. One reason for this . + t-on) is quite large if L is . in Fig. . cond cond et-$f . Y . L. The conduction loss in the diodes Drl-Df3 Dr cond. As a direct result.I 4- --aux.)I ~ V o / l m ~ in order to guarantee soft switching [5]. a .=530W./Cr ratio was D chosen to keep (LJC.=530W by decreasing both L and C. the resonant current of Lr and the reverse recovery current of the diode D will be higher. 9. less than 3uH because of the same reason described above. and Id over the period shown in Fig. The turn-on. main switch increases as L. 6. output capacitor. especially when L is smaller than 3uH. The experimental optimum values of the resonant inductor L and the resonant capacitor C. -iy Fig. The basic idea of the procedure is to set the resonant inductor L. is 3. The total loss was minimized when C.. Pi. values as large as possible to minimize turn-on and turn-off losses in the main switch while equations (10) and (1 1) are satisfied.. in the active method circuit at Pi. Fig. The turn-on plus conduction loss of the auxiliary switch (aux. was slightly increased to reduce the total loss. -0 'aux.2nF.

8 Total loss in passive method vs. becomes smaller as L becomes smaller to satisfy the restriction .0% 4 0 0.-Dr3 that are not taken into account. -=-Hard swiching / / / . D.r.95% -- -.5 i 3 (W Fig. Vi. D cond.-..5 1 --. 3 lo -- 5 -- I 0.$94% -si 93% -92% -91% -- . increases because the reverse recovery current becomes lower. -1 s 5 1 .7-5. conduction loss increases as L. becomes larger because of longer conduction time of D. The turn-on loss in the main switch increases as L. The values of the resonant inductor and the resonant capacitor C. 5. This is caused by the fact that the value of the resonant capacitor C. 7 Itemized losses in passive method vs.0% -/ / .o..Active i 88. Fig. This additional 3W loss must be caused by the losses in diodes D.5 Lr (uH) 2 2. Fig.. becomes smaller because of the reverse recovery current of the diode D. 11 Efficiency vs..$ 94% -- .-total of the itemized losses +Pin-Pout -.. e .9-1. the difference .-.5uH.5uH and in this case .. From this chart the experimental optimum value of the resonant inductor L should be about 1.98. These values are close to the theoretical optimum values calculated in the way shown in [5].7nF.-.. the value of the resonant inductor L./Cr ratio shown above. 8 shows the total loss vs. . of the L. are 98 .=530W.0% -C -$93.5 2 2. .. 3. When L is 0... Fig.s at the turn-off transition of the main switch.0% %' 04 0 I -*-transient +-diode r.0% -91 .5 1 1..-Passive 90% -I 0 I 200 400 m P-in (Watts) 800 loo0 1200 Fig.0% .-- 95. The duty ratio and the load were adjusted for each test such that the input voltage and current would match a particular operating point along the PFC line cycle trajectory..-. decreases. in the passive method circuit at Pi.. There are two curves on the chart in parallel with Fig.. but when L. 10 Efficiency vs. The transient loss should be constant if LJCr ratio is constant.294. I .0% -89.5 3 50 100 Vino 150 200 Fig.. but actually it increases slightly as L.0% -- E 92. Pinin PFC operation 98% 97% -96% -- switch increases as L. L.9-2. is larger than 1. L.1 Active Passive swiching 91% 04 +Hard I 0 1.9uH. 9 shows the efficiencies of both methods for static PFC operation. between these two curves is about 7W. under the PFC condition 98% 97% 96% 25 T -- 1 .-. 9 Efficiency vs. Pinin DC-DC operation the value of the resonant capacitor C..___.. becomes smaller following the characteristic shown by equation (1). r . Reverse recovery loss in the diode D becomes lower as L. it increases to about 1OW. should be about 3.O% -90. Comparison between the active and passive methods Fig..

the higher the output voltage is. but it drops faster than that in the active method as the input voltage decreases. From equations (1) and (4). The advantages of the active method over the passive method are the zero turn-on loss and the zero c d s discharging loss in the main switch. they should still be lower than in the passive method. the higher those losses are.5uH.4uH. it is obvious that the turn-off losses of the switches in both active and passive methods account for larger portions of the total loss as the output power becomes larger.5kW dn1-m +lIMslenl a u x l d . 9 since in each line period.2nF in the active method and 2. VI. From this chart.5uH and 3. Although this improvement has been partially discounted by the turnon and c d s discharging loss in the auxiliary switch. Actlve Pa&e mein1-m +IraMlenl Fig. high power operation means high current operation since the output voltage is fixed. Figs. the circuit will spend significant amount of time in the low power region. 12 and 13 Active 9.4uH and 5.5kW mve passive mve passive Fig. b) The turn-on loss and the Cds discharging loss in the passive method circuit account for smaller portion of the total loss as the power becomes larger. Passlve 0% 530W 1. This is caused by the following reasons. 10 shows the efficiencies of both methods vs. dlode I r main t-on main transient main t-off dlode cond. 15 Measured turn-on and transient conduction losses in active and passive method 99 . input power under the dynamic PFC operation condition. a) The turn-off loss accounts for larger portion of the total loss as the power becomes larger. 11 shows the efficiencies of both methods vs. This is supported by Fig. The active method has higher efficiency throughout the shown power range. OBSERVATIONS The efficiency in the passive method is slightly higher than that in the active method in high power operation. input power under the DC-DC operation condition. 5. 12 Contents of the measured loss in active method Passive 2. the passive method's improvement becomes greater at high power. 13 that shows the turn-on loss in the passive method accounts for a smaller portion of the total loss 100% dlode r r 90% 80% 70% a u x t-off a u x t-on +cond main t-off diode cond main cond 7 53ow I 1. The passive method has higher efficiency than the active method in high power operation region while the active method has higher efficiency in low power operation region. I 1. 3. so those losses in the passive method theoretically do not change as the power becomes higher. But under the condition of the experiment. Because the active method has two switches that have increasing turn-off loss. main cond.7nF in the passive method.9. Fig.WW 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% z 4 2 I 40% 30% 20% 10% " m e a u x l d . The efficiency of the passive method is slightly better in full power operation. Fig.7nF 1CO% Fig. 14 Measured turn-off losses in active and passive method /Dr cond. 13 Contents of the measured loss in passive method Fig. This observation is consistent with the result shown in Fig.2nF shows the contents of the measured loss in both active and passive methods.5kW 6 6% 0 50% zs 4' 2 1 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% n 530W 1.

as the output power increases. 14 and 15 compare the experimental losses in both methods itemized in Table 1 to support the above argument.uci. ”High Efficiency Telecom Rectifier Using a Novel Soft-Switched Boost-Based Input Current Shaper. pp. M.html [6] W. March 1997.” 1 st Intemational Congress in Israel on Energy./Aug. pp. 4. the active method compared here was proven to have very high efficiency compared to other active methods [3].41-45 [2] R. Smedley. “Selection of Snubber and Clamps to Optimize the Design of Transistor Switching Converters. pp. M.edu/pel/pel. A boost converter was built to perform the comparison of both methods under DCDC and PFC operation conditions. “Snubber Circuit and MOSFET Paralleling Considerations for High Power Boost-Based PowerFactor Correctors. The active method performed better at lower power levels. CONCLUSION The losses in both the active and passive soft switching methods were theoretically itemized and experimentally measured.uci. passive method. Ben-Yaakov.” IEEE APEC Conf. VII. a graduate student of the lab.” IEEE Transactions on Power Electronics. 513-523 Jul. “Properties and Synthesis of Passive. vol. Levitin and A. IA-16. IEEE. Chongmin Qiao.” Intelec Conf. 0. 1980 [7] S. Smith and K.eng. 1998.eng. On the other hand the passive method has larger turn-on plus transient conduction loss since the value of the resonant inductor L. for building the PFC control circuit used in the experiments. M. “A Comparison of VoltageMode Soft-Switching Methods for PWM Converters. Since the dynamic PFC tests effectively averages the losses over one line cycle which included a large amount of time where the converter is operating at lower power levels. Rec. Tollik..12. ACKNOWLEDGMENT The authors would like to thank members of the Power Electronics Laboratory at UCI for their cooperation. No. Tollik. From the results of the measurements. (no. pp. “Engineering Design of Lossless Passive Soft Switching Methods for PWM Converters. This means that the advantages of the active method are less significant in high current operation. Power and Motion Control Proceedings. is smaller and the peak current is larger. Lossless Soft-Switching PWM converters. Rec. “Optimization of the Auxiliary Switch Components in a Flying Capacitor ZVS PWM Converters. Ivensky.html [5] K. but the difference between the both methods becomes smaller as the input power increases.” INTELEC ’91. It can be said that the high output voltage and low input current operation is necessary for the active method to utilize its benefit.” IEEE APEC Conf. Smedley. G. 112-119. These other active methods will have worse performance. M. higher control complexity. on Ind. Treiner. Pietkiewicz and D. v01. pp. M.eng.” IEEE Trans. Smedley. M. Moreover.720-726 [3] K. Also see authors’ version at http://www.uci. Smith and K. However. Figs. pp. the values of the resonant elements were optimized so that both methods were compared on their best conditions. McMunay. Smith and K. and lower reliability compared to the Also see authors’ version at http://www. Streit and D. this small improvement in efficiency is partially countered by higher gate drive losses (not measured in the tests).edu/pel/pel. 1995. 503-509 100 . All these facts show that the efficiency of the active method becomes worse as the input power increases. The characteristics of these losses were investigated to understand how they are affected by the values of resonant elements. The results show that the passive methods obtain better efficiency at higher power for both the DC/DC and static PFC tests. REFERENCES [l] A. Rec. The active method has larger total turn-off loss and the difference between both methods becomes larger as the input power increases.edu/pel/pel. Also see authors’ version at http://www. Special appreciation goes to Mr. May 1997. 1995.2). Applicat.html [4] K. the active method showed better overall efficiency for the dynamic PFC tests.376-86.