Testing and Managing Converter Power Stacks

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Amantys Power Electronics

Configuration Tool Simplifies Testing and Management of Converter Power Stacks

Testing and managing converter power stacks can be a time consuming and laborious process. A new software tool allows the user to make changes in seconds, dramatically improving productivity.

By Richard Varney and Bryn Parry, Amantys Power Electronics Limited

Introduction

Testing and commissioning a new converter power stack design can be a lengthy process due to the requirements to change the configuration of gate driver characteristics such as the turn on and turn off resistors (Rgon and Rgoff) and the soft turn off resistor (Rgsoft). The usual method of changing the gate resistors requires the user to disassemble the converter power stack, unsolder and replace the gate resistors, reassemble and then re-run the test. For a large power converter with multiple gate drivers this process could take several hours if not days.

The Power Insight Adapter

The Power Insight Adapter provides an interface between the ethernet or USB port on a Windows PC and the fibre optic channels that connect to the gate drivers. The Power Insight Adapter can be used in two different ways: i) direct mode, where the Windows PC is used to control the test pulses to the gate drives directly or, ii) gateway mode where the Power Insight Adapter will pass through PWM and ACK pulses from an existing central controller and Amantys gate drive but still allow communication using Power Insight with a Windows PC.

Power Insight Configurator

The Power Insight Configurator is a Windows PC based application that will discover and communicate with Power Insight enabled gate drivers plugged into the fibre optic ports of the Power Insight Adapter. Each gate driver that the Power Insight Configurator finds is displayed as a button with the name of the gate driver, serial number and IPv6 address.

Conclusion

The Power Insight Configurator tool when used with the Power Insight Adapter and Amantys gate drivers provides the user a quick and efficient way to test the converter power stack without building additional test equipment. The capability of the Power Insight Configurator to allow the user to modify gate drive configuration parameters without the need to touch the converter power stack makes the testing of the converter power stack safer, simpler, less prone to error and faster.

During operation in the field the Power Insight Configurator contributes to the information available to the maintenance engineer by providing the fault counters for off line analysis of the health of the power converter.

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Next Generation Power Stack Technology

Amantys Power Electronics is delivering Next Generation Power Stack Technology using intelligent control of the power switch to improve availability, efficiency and cost of power electronic systems.

Headquartered in Cambridge UK, Amantys Power Electronics is a wholly owned subsidiary of Maschinenfabrik Reinhausen GmbH. Amantys has a team of engineers experienced in all aspects of digital control and power electronics.

Power Electronic Products for Traction Applications

Amantys Power Electronics has a wide range of plug and play gate drives to support industry standard IGBT modules from 1200V to 6500V. Support for the Next Generation IGBT Modules (nHPD2, LV100, XHP2, XHP3 and LV100) is already available. The company also develops high isolation DC DC converters to power the gate drives.

Amantys Power Electronics designs and qualifies its products to international traction standards. Amantys Power Electronics’ products are highly configurable allowing traction retrofit projects to be undertaken by configuring the gate drive and IGBT module to work effectively in an existing converter. Traction retrofit saves the operator money as new converters and trains are not required. [gallery ids="22683,22681,22684"]

Technology Developments (Junction Temperature Estimation and Condition Monitoring)

Amantys Power Electronics is working on the development of Junction Temperature Estimation technology that will give the power stack designer the opportunity to validate the power stack design and reduce the cost of the power stack through optimisation of the design. The Junction Temperature Estimation technology will also deliver Condition Monitoring of the Power Stack a capability that until now has not been possible to achieve. The technology will improve the availability and lower the operating costs of traction applications.

Design Services

Our development roadmap demands that we understand the technical challenges faced in many diverse applications. The problems we're addressing are often common in each of these markets. Our expertise is tightly focused on the power transistor and how it switches, whether it's using traditional IGBTs or MOSFETs, or emerging semiconductor materials such as Silicon Carbide (SiC) and Gallium Nitride (GaN). We are developing solutions for medium and high voltage applications that: If you are facing these challenges in your application, maybe we can help.

Contact Details

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