You are on page 1of 10


2, APRIL 2004


Current Distribution Control Design for Paralleled DC/DC Converters Using Sliding-Mode Control
Mariano Lpez, Luis Garca de Vicua, Member, IEEE, Miguel Castilla, Pedro Gay, and Oscar Lpez
AbstractThis paper shows the analysis and design of a parallel-connected converter system using sliding mode control techniques. The design is particularised for a system that consists boost converters and a current feedback loop based on a of proportionalintegral compensator of the output voltage error. The paper emphasises the advantages of the sliding-mode control over the classic design method based on small-signal models, thus providing an effective and robust means of controlling nonlinear multi-input converters. The design is based on the Utkin conditions, which permit us to know the regions under which a sliding mode exists. This fact allows us to design the compensator and to introduce some modifications in the control loop that avoids input-current overshoots during the system startup. Simple design expressions are obtained and verified with simulation and experimental results, thus showing the improvements achieved with the proposed modifications. Index TermsDCDC power conversion, power control, variable-structure systems.


HE use of dc-to-dc converters connected in parallel is a suitable way to solve the technological problems that arise in large-capability power supply systems. This arrangement ensures the supply of high output currents with high reliability in applications such as mainframe computers and, systems using very large scale integration technology (VLSI) and uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) [1]. For the effectiveness of the parallel system the control must ensure both the equal sharing of the load current among the converters and the regulation of the output voltage. Recently, different current-control schemes for achieving these aims have been proposed [2][6]. Basically, the output voltage is regulated by an outer voltage loop, while the equalization of the load current is normally attained by adding an inner current loop which compares the current supplied by each module with a reference current. A democratic control scheme arises when this current is the average of the output currents supplied by the modules [2][4]. In masterslave control the reference current corresponds to the output current of a module called master [5], [6]. Traditionally, all these control schemes have been designed after studying the phase margin of the loop gain deduced from a small-signal model of a nonlinear plant [2][4]. A large number of small-signal transfer functions must be dealt with, raising the complexity of the analysis and providing tedious expres-

sion of the closed-loop gain. In such cases, it is easier to design the controller by means of computer simulations, thus obtaining discrete values for the constants of the compensator. However, the design must be returned when load or power stage parameters variations are produced, since the small-signal model is deduced by linearising about a given steady-state operating point or trajectory. Sliding-mode control is an alternative method of designing the control loop of parallel systems controlled by democratic or master-slave current-control schemes. Essentially, the sliding-mode control utilizes a high-speed switching control law to drive the nonlinear state trajectory onto a specified surface in the state space, called the sliding or switching surface, and to maintain it on this surface for all subsequent time [10]. The main feature of the sliding mode is the robustness that the system acquires against disturbances in the load and in the input voltage [11], [12]. This paper presents a simple way to design the compensator of a democratic current-control scheme using sliding-mode control. The process can also be extended to a masterslave scheme. The presented design procedure shows an example based on boost cona proportionalintegral compensator applied to verters connected in parallel. The paper also shows how the sliding-mode control allows us to overcome some of the disadvantages that appear within the classic design method based on small-signal models. Simplicity is one of the main advantages of a sliding-mode design, since it is not necessary to handle complex transfer functions. Moreover, by studying the sliding domain, simple modifications can be introduced in the compensator that improve the dynamic behavior of the system, especially in the startup, producing soft waveforms in the input current and output voltage. II. REVIEW OF THE DESIGN PROCESS BASED ON SMALL-SIGNAL MODELS This section presents a summarized review of the control design of parallel systems by means of small-signal models. Fig. 1 shows the power stage and control loops for this system particularised for three boost converter modules. For the sake of simplicity, and without an essential loss of generality, losses related to semiconductors, capacitors, and inductors are neglected. The and the resistance are not considered in the analysis diode represince they only work in the startup. The function stands for sents the proportionalintegral compensator and the gain of the current-sensing network. Linear control techniques have been extensively applied to , as it is described in [2][4]. Let us design the function briefly sum up the main steps involved in this design.

Manuscript received November 26, 2001; revised February 7, 2003. Abstract published on the Internet January 13, 2004. The authors are with the Universitat Politcnica de Catalunya, 08800 Vilanova i la Geltr, Spain (e-mail: Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/TIE.2004.825273

0278-0046/04$20.00 2004 IEEE



Fig. 1.

R = 0:2
, S = 0; 15 V=s, T = 20 s, G (s) = G

Power stage and control loops for the parallel system: L

= L = L = 123 H, C = 470 F, R = 9

, V = 48 V, E = 24 V, R = 0:31
, (1 + ! =s).
each module are also considered identical. With all these considerations a reduced-order small-signal model of a single equivalent boost converter is obtained. Its inductor and its input current is is three times lower the sum of the input currents of each module (see [2] and [3] for a fuller explanation). Fig. 2 represents the small-signal scheme for this equivalent boost converter and Table I gives the expressions for its parameters. Finally, to assure the stability, the closed-loop gain is deand are designed to termined, and the constants obtain the desired phase margin (see Table I). Note that finding an analytical expression for this closed-loop gain

First the small-signal model of the parallel system is deduced. For easiness, and in order to reduce the complexity of the resulting small-signal transfer functions, all the ). modules are considered identical ( This simplification is based on the idea of modularity and flexibility that is usually assumed in a parallel connection. When the power demanded by the load is increased, additional modules can be added to provide the required power, and thus, only standard identical modules need to be designed. In the same way, and due to the fact that is the same for the current loop of each the output individual converter, the values for the duty cycles on



Fig. 2. Simplified closed-loop small-signal model (R

R =3). !



is difficult, because of the functions that appear in the control subsystem. Moreover, the parameters of the equivalent small-signal model clearly depends on the steadystate values and active number of modules. This dependence could be a problem in control schemes in which the number of active modules varies depending on the power demanded by the load [5], [6]. III. CONTROL DESIGN PROCESS BASED ON THE SLIDING-MODE CONTROL Many papers have dealt with the sliding-mode control for regulating the output voltage of single converters. The aim of this section is to apply this well-known theory to design the control loop of a parallel system. Different methods have been suggested in the past to define or design sliding surfaces [10][12]. Among them it could be mentioned the controllable canonical form, the Lyapunov approach, the Fillipov systematic mathematical theory and the equivalent control method. The first one

consists of transforming the system model into its controllable canonical form by taking a sliding surface combination of all the state variables. With this description for the system model the coefficients of the switching function can be easily designed, since they define the characteristic equation of the sliding mode. The Lypunov approach is a systematic method for obtaining sliding surfaces that guarantee asymptotic stability in the global space state. However, the control circuits generally require the use of multipliers as well as the sensing of the input voltage and the load, thus increasing the difficulty of their practical implementation. Fillipovs theory provides conditions for the existence and uniqueness of solutions to establish a sliding mode . Based on Fillipovs theory, a more on the surface straightforward technique for designing sliding surfaces is the equivalent control method proposed by Utkin [11]. This method is a means of determining the system motion restricted to the . The equivalent control approach switching surface so that the state trajectory stays consists of finding the input . Once the equivalent control on the switching surface



is known, the ideal sliding motion can be found by substituting in the state equation and that the compensator designed to obtain the desired response. This section is organized as follows. First the bilinear model, the switching surfaces and their corresponding control laws are presented. Second, based on the Utkin theory, conditions for the existence of a sliding mode are found, and finally, with the mentioned above equivalent control approach the equations of the motion are obtained and the controller is designed. A. State Model and Sliding Surfaces Let us consider again the parallel structure presented in Fig. 1. Conversely to the process based on small-signal models, the modules need not be identical and no design simplifications are assumed. Furthermore, the sliding-mode existence conditions are found by considering a general case of boost converters. ( ). The inductor of each converter is denoted as The dynamical behavior of this system can be represented by the state equations

in Fig. 1 works with a constant frequency [8], [9]. To achieve it the control law (2) is implemented by comparing the switching surface with a ramp signal, which makes a function similar to pulsewidth modulation (PWM). The frequency is assumed to be high compared with the dynamics response of the system. Thus, the state trajectory evolves approximately like in the ideal case and the design is made by applying the classical sliding-mode procedure. As it is shown in [8], to avoid undesirable limit cycle ( ) must be lower behavior the positive slope of . By taking in than the slope of the ramp signal expression (3.a) its time derivative and replacing after (1) in the , and ), result, it implies in the worst case ( satisfying the following inequality in steady state: (4)

B. Sliding-Mode Existence Conditions The model described by the state equations of (1) can be represented by (5)

(1) The control input ( ) takes discrete values and , according to the control law that assigns its value depending on the sign of the switching surface for for (2)

is the state vector, and , are vector fields . From Utkin theory we know that a sliding mode exists in the vicinity of a switching surface if the following inequalities are satisfied [11], [12]: where


Likewise, the sliding surface for module can be identified with block as the input signal in the (6.b) denotes the standard scalar product of and , Notation corresponds to the gradient of . The design for and considering (6) is as follows. the sliding surface 1) If then according to the control law given in . Applying (6.a) yields (2)

(3.a) Note how once the state trajectory slides on the surface ( , ), proper control actions lead to an equalization of the currents supplied by each converter, obtaining


(3.b) The analysis of a variable-structure system is based on the assumption of infinitely high switching frequency. However in practical power converters semiconductor switches have finite switching time, power losses increase with the switching frequency as well as parasitic elements take relevance in reactive components. Therefore, the switching frequency has to be limited or fixed to a constant value. The control scheme presented

and . Notice where that the worst case in the inequality (7.a) corresponds to ( , ) that can be rewritten and considering as (7.b) Thus, (7.b) can be graphically represented by Fig. 3.



Fig. 3.

Graphic representation of inequality (7.b) for: a.1)

A > 0 and B > 0, a.2) A > 0 and B < 0, a.3) A < 0 and B > 0, and a.4) A < 0 and B < 0.

Fig. 4.

B < 01 .

Graphic representation of inequality (8.c) for: b.1)

A > 0 and B > 01, b.2) A > 0 and B < 01, b.3) A < 0 and B > 01, and b.4) A < 0 and
. ( ) and as the equilibrium point for the system (5), a necessary condition for the existence of a sliding mode on is that this point must belong to the sliding domain, defined by the shadowed areas of Figs. 3 and 4. From this, we can deduce and in order to satisfy (7.b) and the first conditions for (8.c) (9.a) (9.b)

2) If then as expression (2) indicates Applying (6.b) leads to

(8.a) Now, the worst case for module corresponds to ( , ). Replacing (3.b) in (8.a) we obtain

(8.b) or alternatively considering definitions of and (8.c) Fig. 4 shows the regions where expression (8.c) is satisfied, depending on the sign of and . Considering

of (9.a) represents the maximum value The inductor for (worst case). Furthermore, we can see how the sliding domains represented in Figs. 3(a)3 and 4(b)2 are not valid, since is outside them. The analytical proof for this is the point conceptually simple and it is as follows. 1) By assuming that expression (9.a) is verified, (10) Then, if Fig. 3(a)3 it implies that , whereas in has been considered positive.



(14.N) Adding (14.1)(14.N), yields

(15) Finally, by using (15) and (13) we obtain the ideal sliding dynamic
0, c.3) A < 0 and 01 < B
Fig. 5. Sliding domains: c.1)

A > 0 and B > 0, c.2) A > 0 and 01 < B < < 0, and c.4) A < 0 and B < 01.
( ) we arrive at (16.a) (11)

2) Supposing

Therefore, if then , contradicting the assumption given in Fig. 4(b)2 for . The six valid sliding domains of Figs. 3 and 4 can be combined and graphically represented by Fig. 5, taking into account restrictions given for and . C. Equivalent Control and Equations of Motion The equivalent control is a means of finding the system motion restricted to the mainfold and it can be determined by applying the invariance conditions given by [10], [12] (12) Note that if then the state equations given in (1) can be rewritten as . Hence, D. Stability and Design of the Controller


To conclude the analysis, the controller design and the stability of the parallel system should be shown. A generic system, as (16) and whose Jacobian matrix described by is denoted as , is asympat the equilibrium point totically stable if the eigenvalues have negative real part [13]. That leads to solving the characteristic equation given by


(17) . It can be seen that the condition being mentioned above is verified when (18.a)

(13.b) have been replaced It is pointed out that the control inputs . The ideal sliding dynamic for by their equivalent controls the currents and the voltage can be derived by finding the , by using (12), and by substituting afterwards ( ) the result in (13). Thus, applying and taking into account (1) we come to

(18.b) , expression (9.a) given for Notice that, since the existence condition is more restrictive than (18.a). A critecould be to design the rion to choose the values for and eigenvalues in order to make them coincide on the real axis [7]. Thus the system evolves in steady state approximately like a . An easy calsecond-order system with a damping factor culation indicates that a possible solution to obtain this eigens and , and value placement is thus obtaining krad s (we have considered the






Fig. 7. Comparison of (a) experimental and (b)simulation waveform for the output voltage startup. Data: k = 4000 (
s) , k = 4 (
). Fig. 6. System startup in the state plane. (a) Using the initial sliding surfaces. (b) Adding the term ( k R V ). Data: k = 1500 (
s) , k = 2 (

worst case and light load). By using the nominal values given in Fig. 1 the resulting closed-loop eigenvalues are at about krad s and krad s (overdamped ). With these values ( ) we expect system with the closed-loop system to be very well behaved, as the experimental and simulation results will show in next section. IV. DISCUSSION AND RESULTS The controller design based on the equivalent control method provides additional information to that obtained by means of a

small-signal model of the power stage. We can use this complementary information to improve the dynamic behavior of the system. For example, from any of the sliding domains shown in Fig. 5, we can expect some kind of difficulties to reach the equilibrium point, since in the startup the state trajectory is out of the attraction domain. This is a well-known problem in boost converters, which is normally solved by connecting a diode in series with a resistance between the input source and the load (see Fig. 1). The effect of these elements is to carry the state train a jectory close to the attraction domain, which makes short period of time. However, we can force the system to start inside the attraction region if the point of Fig. 5(c)1 and (c)2 is . For the sliding domains of Fig. 5(c)3 designed to verify



Fig. 8. Comparison of (a) experimental and (b) simulation waveform for the input current startup of module 1. Data: k = 4000 (
s) , k = 4 (
), R = 14

Fig. 9. Waveform for the output voltage and inductor currents against a change of load from 100
to 14
and back to 100
. Data: k = 4000 (
s) , k = 4 (

and c(4) the design condition is following criteria: when when

. That leads to the


(19.b) Note that (19.a) is always satisfied since . Then, resistance and diode, together with condition (19.b), guarantee that the system trajectory ideally begins inside the attraction domain. Moreover, (19.b) implies directly satisfying (18.b), which ensures the stability of the equilibrium point. However, these conditions do not ensure starting over the sliding surface, since . This situation causes major overshoots in the startup, especially in the input current. To avoid ) is added to the output of the comthis, the term ( pensator, resulting in (20)

In this case, and no overshoots appear in the state variables. It is observed that any of the discussed reasonings cannot be done by using a small-signal model, because firstly, condition (19.b) cannot be deduced and secondly the con) disappears when the controller is lintinuous term ( earised around the steady-state. Table II summarizes the conditions that should be verified in order to guarantee a good system startup, stability, and the existence of a sliding motion for a parallel system based on nonidentical boost converters (the most restrictive ones are written in bold). Fig. 6 represents a simulation of the dynamic behavior in the state plane for the input current of module 1 and output voltage ). Fig. 6(a) shows that the with and without the term ( goes up to 62 A. It is not usually finding inductor current real power supply equipped with inductors and switches rated for this current. However, Fig. 6(b) shows that by modifying the sliding surface the overshoot is reduced to 8 A. On the other hand, when the control loop design is based on a small-signal model it is difficult to find an analytical expression and that allows us to evaluate the influence of simulfor and , input taneous variations in the power components



show how the total output current is distributed among modules 2 and 3. V. CONCLUSION The control loop of a parallel structure was designed using the sliding-mode control theory, which showed significant advantages over the classic method based on small-signal models. The process was applied to a parallel connection of nonidentical boost converters with a democratic current-control scheme. Simple design conditions are obtained for the sliding surface constants and which, moreover, allow us to consider the influence of the power stage parameter variations. The paper has also shown how the effect of the network dioderesistance can be easily explained and how it is possible to guarantee the system startup by ensuring that the state trajectory begins inside the attraction domain. Finally, it has been shown that in the output voltage of the compenadding the term sator improves the dynamic behavior, thus reducing the overshoots in the input current. REFERENCES
[1] W. A. Tabisz, M. M. Jovanovic, and F. C. Lee, Present and future of distributed power systems, Proc. IEEE APEC92, pp. 1118, 1992. [2] B. Choi, B. H. Cho, F. C. Lee, and R. B. Ridley, Control strategy for multi-module parallel converter system, in Proc. IEEE PESC90, 1990, pp. 225234. [3] B. Choi, Dynamics and control of switchmode power conversion in distributed power systems, Ph.D. dissertation, Dept. Elect. Eng., Virginia Polytech. Inst. State Univ. , Blacksburg, VA, 1992. [4] , Comparative study of paralleling schemes of converter modules for distributed power applications, IEEE Trans. Ind. Electron., vol. 45, pp. 194199, Apr. 1998. [5] K. Siri, C. Q. Lee, and T. F. Wu, Current distribution control for parallel connected converters: Part I, IEEE Trans. Aerosp. Electron. Syst., vol. 28, pp. 829840, July 1992. [6] K. Siri, C. Q. Lee, and T. F. Wu, Current distribution control for parallel connected converters: Part II, IEEE Trans. Aerosp. Electron. Syst., vol. 28, pp. 841851, July 1992. [7] S. R. Sanders, Nonlinear control of switching power converters, Ph.D. dissertation, Massachusetts Inst. Technol., Cambridge, MA, 1989. [8] H. Bhler, Reglage par Mode Glissement. Lausanne, Switzerland: Presses Polytechniques Romandes, 1986, pp. 121126. [9] B. Nicolas, M. Fadel, and Y. Chron, Fixed-frequency sliding mode control of a single-phase voltage source inverter with input filter, Proc. IEEE ISIE96, vol. 1, pp. 470475, June 1996. [10] R. A. DeCarlo, S. H. Zak, and G. P. Matthews, Variable structure control of nonlinear multivariable systems: A tutorial, Proc. IEEE, vol. 76, pp. 212234, Mar. 1988. [11] V. I. Utkin, Sliding Mode and Their Application in Variable Structure Systems. Moscow, U.S.S.R.: MIR, 1978. [12] H. S. Ramirez, Differential geometric methods in variable-structure control, Int. J. Control, vol. 48, no. 4, pp. 13591390, 1988. [13] E. A. Codington and N. Levinson, Theory of Ordinary Differential Equations. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1984.

Fig. 10. Waveforms for output voltage and currents when a failure in module 1 is produced. Data: k = 6500 (
s) , k = 6 (

voltage and the load . The design becomes especially complex if the compensator is designed by a simulation program that brings a discrete value for and . Conversely, inequality and considering these (9.a) and (19.b) allow us to design variations. For instance, if we consider a variation of 10% in and , 50% in , and 15% in , conditions (9.a) and (19.b) become (21.a)

(21.b) The experimental and simulation results presented in Figs. 7 and 8 show the dynamic behavior in the startup for the output voltage and current of module 1. Note how the system reaches the steady-state with no overshoots in the output voltage and input current. Fig. 9 shows the response of the output voltage and currents when a change from full load to no load is produced. Note how all the modules supply the same current even under different load conditions. Fig. 10 demonstrates the fault tolerance of the parallel system when a failure in module 1 is produced. The experimental results
Mariano Lopez was born in Vilanova i la Geltr, Spain. He received the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in telecommunications engineering from the Universitat Politcnica de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain, in 1996 and 1999, respectively. In 1996 he joined the Electronics Engineering Department, Universitat Politcnica de Catalunya, where he became an Associate Professor in 2000. Presently, he teaches courses in power electronics, analog and digital circuits. and microelectronics. His current research interests include distributed power systems, control theory, modeling of power electronics, and digital microelectronics design.



Luis Garca de Vicua (M99) received the Ingeniero de Telecomunicacion and Dr. Ing. de Telecomunicacin degrees from the Universidad Politcnica de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain, in 1980 and 1990, respectively, and the Dr. Sci. degree from the Universit Paul Sabatier, Tolouse, France, in 1992. From 1980 to 1982, he was an Engineer with Control Aplicaciones Company. He is currently an Associate Professor in the Departamento de Ingeniera Electrnica, Universidad Politcnica de Catalua, where he teaches power electronics. His research interests include power electronics modeling, simulation and control, active power filtering, and high-power-factor ac/dc conversion.

Pedro Gay received the B.S. degree from the Universitat Politcnica de Catalunya, Vilanova i la Geltr, Spain, in 1989, and the M.S. degree from the Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain, in 1997, both in electronics engineering. He is currently working toward the Ph.D. degree in the Departamento de Ingeniera Electrnica, Universitat Politcnica de Catalunya. Since 1989, he has been with the Universitat Politcnica de Catalunya, where he teaches courses on analog electronics circuits. He became an Assistant Professor in 1992.

Miguel Castilla received the B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in telecommunications engineering from the Universidad Politcnica de Catalua, Barcelona, Spain, in 1988, 1995, and 1998, respectively. Since 1992, he has been an Assistant Professor in the Departamento de Ingeniera Electrnica, Universidad Politcnica de Catalua, where he teaches analog circuits and power electronics. His research interests are in the areas of modeling, simulation, and control of dc-to-dc power converters and high-power-factor rectifiers.

Oscar Lpez received M.S. degrees in physics and electronics engineering from the Universidad de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain, in 1994 and 1996, respectively, and the Ph.D. degree in electronics engineering from the Universidad Politcnica de Catalua, Barcelona, Spain, in 2000. Since 2002, he has been an Associate Professor in the Departamento de Ingeniera Electrnica, Universidad Politcnica de Catalua. His research interests are in the areas of nonlinear control systems, active power filtering, and high-power-factor ac/dc converters.