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Seminar Topic GATE AND BASE DRIVE CIRCUITS From NARASING MANE Under the guidance of Prof.M.S.


Introduction Gate drive circuits Base drive circuits The basic topology of the drive circuit The Electrically isolated drive circuits Cascode connected drive circuits Conclusion References

Since the use of gate and base drive circuits in power electronics and converters made a head start Since SCR replaced mercury arc rectifier s and cycloconverter, but due to disadvantages of turn off the BJT replacing the SCR since BJT can be turned off Due to high operating frequencies and higher gain BJT was replacing by MOSFET Also to protect the device against faults mostly overcurrent must be isolated from each other The gate and base drive circuits are shown in the circuits how they are used Additional functionality may be required of the device circuit which will further influence the topological details of the circuit

Gate Drive circuits

MOSFET Gate drive MOSFET are voltage controlled devices and have very high input impedance the gate draws a very small leakage current on the order of nanoamperes.The turn on time of an MOSFET depends on the charging time of the input or gate capacitance ,the turn on time can be reduced connecting an RC circuit, To charge the gate capacitance faster when the gate voltage is turned on the initial charging current of the capacitance is

Ig=Vg/Rs And the steady state value of gate voltage is Vgs=RGVG/RS+R1+RG

Where Rs is the internal resistance of gate drive source Since to achieve switching speeds on the order of 100ns or less the gate driver circuit should have low output impedance and the ability to sink and source relatively large currents So a new arrangement of gate drive with TOTEM pole which as a ability to drive circuit with a low output impedance and the ability to sink and source relatively large currents

A totem pole arrangement that is capable of sourcing and sinking a large current The PNP and NPN transistors act as emitter followers and offer a low output impedance these transistors operate in the linear region instead of the saturation mode These by minimizing the delay time the gate signal for the power MOSFET may be generated by an op amp feedback via the capacitor C regulates The rate of rise and fall of the gate voltage there by controlling the rate of rise and fall of the MOSFET drain current. A diode across the capacitor C allows the gate voltage to change rapidly in one direction only there are a number of integrated drive circuits on the market that are designed to drive transistors and are capable of sourcing and sinking large currents for most converters

Base drive circuits

The switching speed can be increased by reducing turn on time Ton and turn off time Toff, The Ton can be reduced by allowing base current peaking during turn on resulting in low forced at the beginning After on can be increased to a sufficiently high to maintain the transistor in the quasi saturation region. the Toff can be reduced by reversing base current and allowing base current peaking during turn off increasing the value of reverse base current

Apart from a fixed shape of base current the forced may be controlled continuously to match the collector current variations the commonly used techniques are 1. Turn On control 2. Turn off control 3. Proportional base control 4. Anti saturation control

Turn on control
When the input voltage is turned on the base current is limited by resistor R1 the initial value of base current is Ib=V1-Vbe/r1 The final value of the base current is Ibs=V1-Vbe/ R1+R2 The capacitor C1 Charge up to a final value of Vc=V1(R2/R1)+R2) The charging time constant of the capacitor is =R1R2C1/R1+R2 Once the input Vb becomes zero the base emitter junction is reverse biased and C1 discharges through R2 the discharging time constant is 2=R2C1 The width of the base is 15 & 252

Turn off control

If the voltage is changed to v2 during turn off the capacitor voltage Vc is added to V2 as a reverse voltage across The transistor There will be base current peaking during turn off as the capacitor C1 discharges the reverse voltage can be reduced to a steady value V2 If different turn on and turn off characteristics are required a turn off circuit (using C2,R3,R4) may be added the diode D1 isolates the forward base drive circuit during turn off

Proportional base control

This type of control has advantage over the constant drive circuit if the collector current changes due to change in load demand the base drive current is changed in proportion to the collector When switch S1 turned on a pulse current of short duration would flow through the base of transistor Q1 and Q1 is turned on into saturation Once the collector current starts to flow a corresponding base current is induced due to the transformer action the transistor would latch on itself S1can be turned off The magnetizing current which must be much smaller than the collector current should be as small as possible

Antisaturation control
If the transistor is driven hard the storage time which is proportional to the base current increases and the switching speed is reduced the storage time can be reduced by operating the transistor in soft saturation instead of hard saturation This can be done with clamping the collector emitter voltage to predetermined level and colector current is Ic =Vcm/Rc The base current without clamping Ib=I1=Vb-Vd1-Vbe/Rb The collector current is Ic=Ib Vce=Vbe+Vd1-Vd2 The load current IL=Vcc-Vce/Rc=VccVbe-Vd1+Vd2/Rc

The collector current with clamping is Ic=Ib=(I1-Ic+IL )=(/1+)I1+IL For clamping Vd1>Vd2 and this can be accomplished by connecting two or more diodes in place diodes D1 the load resistance Rc should satisfy the condition Ib>IL iBRc>(Vcc-Vbe-Vd1+Vd2) The clamping action results in a results in a reduced collector current and almost elimination of the storage time at the a fast turn on is accomplished however due to increased Vce the on state power dissipation in the transistor is increased whereas the switching power loss is decreased

The basic topology of the drive circuit

First is the output signal provided by the drive circuit UNIPOLAR or BIPOLAR Unipolar signals lead to simpler drive circuits but bipolar signals are needed for rapid turn on and turn off of the power switch Second can the drive signals to be directly coupled to the power switch or is electrical isolation required between the logic level control circuits and power supplies Third is the output of the drive circuit connected in parallel with the power switch or in series with the switch(cascade connection)

DC coupled drive circuits with unipolar output

A very simple base drive circuit suitable for converter with single switch topology At turn on the PNP driver transistor is turned on by saturating one of the internal transistors in comparator This provides a base current for the main power BJT VBB=Vce(sat)(Tb)+R1I1 +Vbe(on) Ib(on)=I1-Vbe(on)/R2 Based on the turn off speed required the negative base current,Ib,storage during the storage time is estimated R2=Vbe,storge/Ib,storage I1=Ib1(on)+(Vbe(on)/R2)

The MOSFET DC coupled drive circuits with unipolar output

A simple MOSFET gate drive circuit with only one switch to control the gate current is shown in Figure 9, where the output transistor of a comparator controls the MOSFET. When the output transistor is off, the MOSFET is on and vice versa. When the comparator is on, it must sink a current V GG / R1 and to avoid large losses in the drive Circuit, R1 should be large, this will slow down the MOSFET turn-on time, this means that the drive circuit is only suitable for low switching speed applications. The inadequacy of this circuit can be overcome by the MOSFET gate drive circuit where two switches are used in a totem-pole arrangement with the Comparator controlling the npn-pnp totem-pole


Here, to turn the MOSFET on, the output transistor of the comparator turns off, thus turning the npn BJT on, Which provides a positive gate voltage to the MOSFET. At the turn-off of the MOSFET the gate is shorted to the source through Ro and the pnp transistor. Since no steady-state current flows through Ro in contrast to R 1 described in the previous paragraph, Ro can be chosen to be much smaller in value, which results in much faster turn-on and turn-off times. Very often, instead of using discrete components, similar performance can be obtained by using buffer ICs such as CMOS 4049 or 4050 if a low gate current is needed or a DSOO26 or UC 1707, which can source or sink currents in excess of 1 A.


In order to operate power semiconductor devices at high switching frequencies, drive Circuits must be designed to turn-off the devices as rapidly as they turn on. The descriptions of the switching characteristics of BJTs, MOSFETs, IGBTs, and other devices clearly showed the need for a reverse bias to be applied to the control terminals of the power switch in order to affect a rapid turn-off. Drive circuits with unipolar outputs are unable to provide the needed reverse bias and thus are incapable of providing fast turn-off of power devices. In order to provide a reverse bias to the control terminals of the power device the drive circuit must have a bipolar output (an output that can be either positive or negative). This in turn requires that the drive circuit be biased by a negative power supply as well as a positive power supply.


The BJT base drive circuit where both a positive and negative voltage supply with respect to the emitter are used provides a fast turn-off. For the turn-on interval, the output transistor of the comparator turns off, thus turning the transistor T B+ on. The on-state base current is IB(ON)=(VBB+)-VCE(sat)(TB+)-VBE(on)/RB The optional capacitor Con shown as dashed, acts as a speed-up capacitor by providing a large transient base current to the power transistor at the instant of turn-on to speed up the' turn-on sequence. For turning the BIT off, the internal output transistor of the comparator turns on, Thus turning the PNP transistor TB - on (and automatically turns the npn transistor TB+ off). For a fast turn-off, no external resistance is used in series with TB _. The magnitude of the negative voltage must be less than the BE breakdown voltage of the BJT and is normally in the 5 - 7 V range, If the BJT has a tendency for collector current tailing due to a too rapid turn-off of the BE junction compared to the CB junction, then a resistor or, if necessary ,an inductor can be added in the turn-off base drive between points A and the emitter of TB - in Figure 11a.If the control signal is supplied by a logic circuit that is connected between V BB+ and the emitter of the BJT, then the reference input to the comparator should be at the mid-potential between VBB+ and the BIT emitter terminal, where R4 = R5

The modifications further enhance the BIT turn-off performance of the drive circuit ofAn antisaturation diode Das is added to keep the BIT voltage VCE slightly above its saturation value V CE(sat), where Vae=Vbe(on)+Vd1=Vce(on)+Vdas And therefore Vbe(on)=Vce(on) since VDl = VDas Since V BE(on) is in general larger than VCE(sat), the presence of the anti saturation diode keeps the transistor slightly out of saturation, thus reducing the storage time at the expense of increased on-state losses in the BJT. Therefore the antisaturation diode should only be used if the capability to use the BJT in a high switching frequency application is required. If still faster turn-off switching is needed, the on-state voltage VCE(sat) can be adjusted by putting one or more diodes in series with D1 In the circuit the diode D2 is needed to provide a path for the negative base current. D as should be a fast recovery diode with a reverse recovery time smaller than the storage time of the BIT. Moreover. its reverse voltage rating must be similar to the off-state voltage rating of the power transistor. An improved version of the circuit where the power loss in the positive portion of the base drive circuit is reduced compared to the original circuit. Here the antisaturation diode adjusts the base current of the drive transistor TB+ such that TB+ operates in the active mode and the current drawn from V BB+ now is only equal to the actual Ib needed to barely saturate the BJT. Moreover, the current rating required of D as is reduced. A small resistance in series with the anti saturation diode can significantly help reduce oscillations at turn-on. Since TB+ operates in the active region it must be mounted on a small heat sink.


A drive circuit for MOSFETs that provides positive gate voltages at turn on and negative gate voltages at turn off by means of a split power supply with respect to the MOSFET source is through If the control signal is supplied by logic circuit that is connected between VGG+ and the. source of the MOSFET, then the reference input to the comparator should be shifted to be at the mid-potential between V GG+ and the source of the MOSFET using a pre-converter circuit



Very often, there is a need for electrical isolation between the logic-level control signals and the drive circuits. For the case of a power BJT half-bridge converter having a single-phase ac supply as its input where one of the power terminals is a grounded neutral wire. Now the positive dc bus is close to the ground potential during the negative half cycle of Vs and the negative dc bus is near ground potential during the positive half cycle of Vs Under these conditions the emitter terminals of both BJTs must be treated as "hot" with respect to power neutral. The logic-level control signals are normally referenced with respect to logic ground, which is at the same potential as the power neutral since the logic circuits are connected to the neutral by means of a safety ground

The basic ways to provide electrical isolation are either by optocouplers, fiber optics or by transformers. The optocoupler shown in Figure consists of a light-emitting diode (LED), the output transistor, and a built-in Schmitt trigger. A positive signal from the control logic causes the LED to emit light that is focused on the optically sensitive base region of a photo transistor. The light falling on the base region generates a significant number of electron-hole pairs in the base region that causes the photo transistor to turn on. The resulting drop in voltage at the photo transistor collector causes the Schmitt trigger to change state. The output of the Schmitt trigger is the optocoupler output and can be used as the control input to the isolated drive circuit. The capacitance between the LED and the base of the receiving transistor within the optocoupler should be as small as possible to avoid retriggering at both turn-on and turn-off of the power transistor due to the jump in the potential between the power transistor emitter reference point and the ground of the control electronics. To reduce this problem, optocouplers with electrical shields between the LED and the receiver transistor should be used. The circuit figure is shown

As an alternative, fiber optic cables can be used to completely eliminate this retriggering problem and to provide very high electrical isolation and make the distance less . When using fiber optic cables, the LED is kept on the printed circuit board of the control electronics, and the optical fiber transmits the signal to the receiver transistor, which is put on the drive circuit printed circuit board. Instead of using optocouplers or fiber optic cables, the control signal can be coupled to the electrically isolated drive circuit by means of a transformer as is shown in Figure 15a. If the switching frequency is high (several tens of kilohertz or more) and the duty ratio D


varies only slightly around 0.5, a baseband control signal of appropriate magnitude can be applied directly to the primary of a relatively small and lightweight pulse transformer as implied in Figure , and the secondary output can be used to either directly drive the power switch or used as the input to an isolated drive circuit. As the switching frequency is decreased below the tens of kilohertz range, a baseband control signal directly applied to the transformer primary becomes impractical because the size and weight of the transformer becomes increasing larger, Modulation of a high-frequency carrier by a low-frequency control signal enables a small high-frequency pulse transformer to be used for even low-frequency control signals. In Figure the control signal modulates a high-frequency (e.g., 1 MHz) oscillator output before being applied to the primary of a high-frequency signal transformer. Since a high-frequency transformer can be made quite small, it is easy to avoid stray capacitances between the input and the output windings, and the transformer will be inexpensive, The transformer secondary output is rectified and filtered and then applied to the comparator and the rest of the isolated drive circuit. The waveforms for this modulation scheme are shown in Figure.


In optocoupler-isolated drive circuits, the optocoupler itself is the interface between the output of the control circuit and the input of the isolated drive circuit. The input side of the optocoupler is directly coupled to the control circuit and the output side of the optocoupler is directly connected to the isolated drive circuit. The topology of the isolated drive circuit between the output of the optocoupler and the control terminal of the power switch can take many different forms. An optocoupler-isolated drive circuit for a power BJT is shown in Figure The drive circuit has a bipolar output so that' rapid. turn-on and turn-off of the BJT can be achieved. An npn-pnp totem-pole circuit couples the appropriate dc voltage to the base of the power BJT to turn it on or off as required. The isolated split dc power supplies are implemented by the circuit segment in the lower left side of Figure

Optocoupler-isolated drive circuits can also be used with power MOSFETs and IGBTs, The circuit shown in Figure uses a high common-mode noise immunity optocoupler (HPCL-4503) and a high-speed driver (IXLD4425) with a 3-A output capability. The drive circuit uses a single-ended floating 15-V supply and provides a 15~ V output voltage for high noise immunity and fast switching to drive the gate of a power MOSFET or IGBT. The integrated high-speed driver circuit connects the gate of the power device to the 15-V bus bar while it simultaneously connects the source to the negative side of the bias supply in order to turn the power device on. To turn the power device off, the drive circuit connects the gate to the negative side of the single-ended supply while it connects the source to the + 15-V bus bar.


All of the drive circuits discussed so far can be characterized as shuntconnected to the power switch, meaning that the drive circuits are connected in shunt (parallel) with power switch control terminals. In this configuration the drive circuit conducts only a fraction (usually a small fraction) of the current carried by the power switch in the on state. However, there are some situations where it is advantageous to place the output of the drive circuit in series (a so-called cascode connection) with power switch so that the drive circuit must conduct the same current as the power switch.


An attractive alternative to conventional base-emitter drive circuits for switching the power BJT is the so-called openemitter, or cascode switching, circuit shown in Figure . The switch in series with the BJT is chosen to be a MOSFET since it can switch very fast, is easy to control, and provides a very low on-state resistance during conduction since its breakdown voltage, which is required for this application, is very low, on the order of a few tens of volts. To turn the BJT on, the MOSFET is switched on, which causes the BJT base current to flow, thus turning the transistor on.

This negative base current quickly turns off the BJT and the problem of premature cutoff of the BE junction that can occur in conventional base drive circuits and lead to collector current tailing is avoided. The potential of the base terminal is clamped by the zener diode, and therefore the MOSFET breakdown voltage is limited. The safe operating area under emitter-open turn-off, which is shown in Figure . is much greater than the conventional RBSOA because the VCE limit is BV CBO which can be as much as twice as large as BV CEO The larger voltage limit is a consequence of the BJT being used during turn-off as a simple diode composed of the CB junction. The degradation of the breakdown voltage to BV CEO because of emitter current flow is absent in this case because the external circuit does not permit any emitter current to flow in the off state. Thus the BJT used in this circuit is chosen on the basis of its BV CBO rating and not its BV CEO rating. This provides for a combined switch that may have lower on-state conduction losses compared to a conventional BIT switch since the conventional switch would have a larger breakdown rating (the conventional" BJT switch would be chosen on the basis of BV CEO exceeding the off-state applied voltage) and consequently a much larger on-state voltage drop V CE(sat). The emitter-open switching circuit can be modified to provide the base current proportional to the collector current by means of a two-winding transformer. This eliminates the need for a dc voltage supply hi a base drive circuit. The simple version of the openemitter drive circuit cannot be used in bridge circuit configurations when one transistor is turned on while the opposite free-wheeling" diode is conducting.


In some applications the potential may exist for currents to flow through a power device that exceed the device's capabilities. If the device is not somehow protected against these overcurrents, it may be destroyed. Power devices cannot be protected against the overcurrents by fuses because they cannot act fast enough. Overcurrents can be detected by measuring the device current and comparing it against a limit At currents above this limit, the power device is turned off by a protection network in the drive circuit. A cheaper and normally better way of providing overcurrent protection is to monitor the instantaneous output voltage of the device, for example, the collector-emitter on-state voltage of a BJT or the drain-source voltage of a MOSFET. Figure a, shows a simple circuit to provide overcurrent protection to a BJT based on this principle. The voltage during the on-state at point C will be one forward-bias diode drop above V CE,sat. This voltage signal is one of the inputs to the over current protection block that requires the control signal as another input When the transistor is supposed to be on, if the voltage at point C with some delay is above some predetermined threshold, the over current is detected, and the protection block causes the base drive to turn the BJT off. Depending on the design philosophy, the overall system may be shut down after such an over current detection and may have to be manually reset. The over current detection network can be combined with the anti saturation network as is shown in the sub circuit of Fig. b. The over current protection should be combined with design measures that limit the maximum instantaneous current through the device.



For example, consider the worst-case scenario shown in Figure where the output of a stepdown converter circuit using a BJT is accidentally shorted. The instantaneous short-circuit current through the BIT can be estimated from the static 1-V characteristics shown in Figure b where VCE equals Vd under the short-circuit conditions. If the instantaneous short-circuit current is to be limited to a safe value, for example, twice the continuous current rating of the transistor, then the corresponding base current/B,max can be obtained from Figure b. If the base current provided by the drive circuit remains less than IB,max, the instantaneous short circuit current would also be limited to the required safe value. The overcurrent protection circuit must act within a few microseconds to turn off the BJT, otherwise it will be destroyed. This design approach can be used with all power semiconductor devices that do not have a latching characteristic including BJTs, MOSFETs, IGBTs, FCTs, and power JFETS

The gate and base drive circuits are used in variety of circuits to turn on and turn off for switching of devices as per the required output and so isolations are used for switching in circuits and such devices also require the protection to safe side of circuits


Power Electronics circuits,devies,and applications third edition by MUHAMMAD H RASHID Power electronics converters,applications and design by NED MAHAN Power semiconductor devies by version 2 EE IIT Kharagpur Design and application guide for high speed MOSFET gate drive circuits by LASLO BALOGH wikepeida