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Testing and Managing Converter Power Stacks

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.

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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.

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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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