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Proceeaings of/€€E TENCON02

Realization of A Five-Level NPC Inverter Using Carrier Phase-shift Technique

IFH. hi*, B.Zhoe*, C,K Lee'~ndH&[v Chvng'

Depor.tinei7fof Coniputer Engineering nnd Informatioil Technolop* Deparmieiit of ElectronicEngineering' City [hiver.viiy of Hong k-ong

lbr Chee he

Koivloon, Hong Kong

' China

Abstract ~ Tlus paper presenls a tbeorelical study and experiinental resulls or using phase-slur1 lecluuque lo dilate . the outpul spectmni of a five-level neutnl-point-clainped (NPC) pulse width modulated (PWM) H-bridgc invcrtcr. It is shown that the output spectrum can be lnade to consist of the multiple of the fourth order cross-modulated hannonics with appropriate

phase-shiCt coiubiilation. The spectruin dilation offers an advantage of reducing both the number and magnitudes of tlie low-order signal lwnnonics without increasing the camer frequent! which will inevitably increase the

results obtained from a

prooi-of-conccpt prototypc witli a IOkHz triangnlar camcr

swirclling loss. Experimental

and 2OOHz sinusoidal inodiilating signal confrm the superior features'of the proposed scheme.

Keywords : Pulse width mnodulaled. multi-level inverter. Hannonic elimination



Pulsc-width-modulated (PWM) H-bndgc invcrtcr is widely used in nuny industrial applications. suchas motor drives and active power filters. The most conunon PWM techniques include sinusoidal PWM. over-niodulated

PWM. and seleclive-llannonic-eliinilLltionPWM [I]. The









coiiiproinise between the switching loss and output freqoency spectnnn If all tlie switches are coinmutated at a frequcncy much lugher than tbc output signal frequency both the camer and cross-inodolated harmonics can easily

be filtered since IIie?. are located at the high frequency region of the spectnnn The output wavefonn can then be made sinusoidal at lhe expeiise or lug11switching loss. On the other Iwnd. lox switching frequency causes low switching losses but results in poor output waveform since the low-order hannonics are difficult to be filtered.

Multilevel PWM inverters,

such as neutral-pint-

clamped (NPC) invcrten 121-131- have been proposed to produce output waveforin with reduced lianiioiuc &stortion. Various control strategies given in [2], [4], and [5] Iiave been developed to elinunate some specific harmonic components. However. considerable signal

harmonics anributcd to thc cross-modulatcd harmonics

still exist.

n4uch cannot satisfy [lie performance requirement in some dedicated applications such as the digital audio power aiiiplifier [6]. Tlus paper shows tbe experimental results of

Their presence results in hannonic distortion


using simple phase-sist technique to dilate the oulpul Irequency specl~in of a single-phase five-level neutral-point-clamped (NPC) pulse-width-modulated (PWM) H-bridge inverter [lo]. It is shown that by introducing a ni2 phase difference between the hvo camer signals for the two legs of an imzerter can cause a quadruple dilation lo tlie outpul frequency spectrum. Hence. more low-order harmonics are suppressed inherently without increasing the switclung frequency. It is interesting to point out that such spectrum dilation is only associatcd with tlic cross-modulalcd harmonics and does not alter the output signal frequency.







H-bridge PWM lnverter


Figure 1: The five-level NPC H-bridge PWM inverter

Froin Fibwre 1. the schemnatics of a typical NPC H-bridge PWM inverter connected to two voltage sources of voltage liand a load 2, is shown In practice. the hvo sourccs aR: soinetiincs fonncd by hvo scrics capacitors connecting to a single voltage source [7]. Owing to the sylmnctr). of the circuit. only the left leg operation will be discussed.

(U) Generutionof Control SignuLs

Considering the leg a of the inverter. the modulating


and camcr v, an: dcfined as:

v, = -Aw sinm ,,t

vr = - .4<sino ?t.


wliere A,,and 0,are the modulating signal amplitude and

frequency; .4,

frequency. To ensure that the modulation index is lessthan 1,A, is madc large than.&

and o, are the camer amplitude



Tlie three-level PWM wavefonn generation process will be studied in detail since it fonns the basis of the five-level PWM waveform. Figure 2 illustrates the generation process of the three-level PWM output. waveform for die leg a. A hvo-level naturally sampled PWM signal I,,, is generated by coniparing 1% with v,. Another two-level signal i~.,,is generated in a similar manner b-! comparing -I,." with v,. Finally. a three-level class BD PWM waveforin is obtained by subtracting v.,,

froiu 12~. i.e

used to control the leg a to obtain a three-level PWM output at point n. To solve this problern a logic signal VBD is generated by canying out an XOR operation behveen I$ and i'cpmlucli are represented by logic signals with value of 0 or 1. It is shown in Figure 2(e) that I,& contains the infonuation about thepulse position and uidth of the class BD PWM wavefonn. With the aid of a signal indicating

the polarity-of the modulating signal as shown in Fiyre 2(f). I,, can be deconiposg into four control signals as shown in Figure 2(g-11) for operating the switches of.the leg a. With tbese. control signals. the output voltage 1'. becomes a three-level class BD PWM waveform as shown in Figure 2(i). Figure 3 illustrates the schematic diagram for generating Uie control signals for the proposed NPC H-bridge PWM inverter shown in Figure 1. Tlie output I,, of tie leg a is obtained by adding a voltage l,'to vBDand can be written as:

iBo = i$- i~.~However. vBDcannot be directly


It is clearly shown in (3) that our proposed scheme only consists of the order four cross-modulated haponics. The induction of a phase sl~tn/2 to the carrier causes a further dilation of the cross-niodulated spectruiii.

Figure 2: The-level PWM control and output signals


where .llrepresents tlie niodulation index.

(b) Five-Level PWM Waveform

A five-level PWM output can be obtained by takingthe differential output behveen the hvo legs of the NPC inverter. In this paper. it is proposed to apply an inverted modulating signal together with a phase-shified camer, nl2 relative to that for leg a leg b. Our proposed sclieme can dilate the output spectrum with respect to that of the five-level iiiulti-camer scheme inverter, We will now examine the spectrum of the proposed NPC inverter which introduces a ni2 phase shift to the camer signal for the leg b. 1~~can be derived by replacing U)* 1 with o,I + nI2 in (I):




as abvvc


+ s,,

- s,,

- s,,



Figure 3: Schematic diagram for generating ,.he control signals for the NPC-PWM inverter


Spectral Comparisons






(f)= I'









In order to demonstrate the advantages of using our proposed scheme, the harmonic spectrum of the five-level


considered. Simulations by PSIM have been carried out to

r. ~~(-)~i,,(,,,("~t +L)+no,t) examine,the output spectra of botliPWM inverters and the





has also been



j1I n=ii.f3.+S, 2 . results are shown in Figure 4. The.simulation conditions


arew,=2n x200 rads-';a,= 271xlO000 rads~'.,l.l= 0.884. It is observed that the hannonics of tlie multi-camer





schemes appear at tlie lower frequency. around the center

while tlie hannonics of the

proposed scheme first appcar around 40 kHz (i.e

4aJ. It

dcinonstratcs tlic advaiitagc of tlic proposcd sclicmc wluch



frequencics of 10 kHz (i.e., oi,.)


multi-camer scheme.





New Scheme


dhI= 10~Ogk*loOO

z = 500 (internal implenient of the instrument)

The Fundamental signal is about 1.1Vrms (x10 probe)



cross-modulated hannonics associated with the oddarder carrier frequcncies are eliminated due to the introduction of a phase shift of n to the modulating signal, i.e. the cross-modulated spectnun is dilated %ice without doubling the carrier frequency. In Figure 6b. it can'be seen that the output of tlie H-bridge iiwcrter only contains the multiple of the fourtli-order families of thc crossmodulated harmonics. The families of second order harmonics are eliminated by introduced a n/2 phase sluft to tlie carrier signal for the opposite leg. From all of above. it is obvious that the performance of OUT proposed five-level NPC H-bridge PWM invener agrees with the theoretical prediction.








Figure I:Spectral Comparison between two different five-level PWM iwerters with siinulation conditions: a,= 271 x200 rads-'. a>,.= 2n x10000 rads-' and Ad= 0.884


Experimental Verifications





















. . .









. .

In order to verify the theoretical analysis. a low power protovpe of the five-level NPC H-bridge PWM inverter has been realized. In tlus prototype. all the circuitry is inipleniented in aiulogue way using simple components. The supplv voltage is il2Vdc or 24Vdc. It can deliver a maximum output power of about 20W to a output load of


The PWM signal I,? and 12~~are obtained by comparing

and the triangular camcr Y,. using

tlic modulation signal

LM339 comparator, 74LS fanul)~of TTL logic ICs is used. The magnitude of the sinusoidal modulating signal :1 is

2.5Vnns (7.1Vpp) and its frcqucncy is 200Hz. Tlic triangular carrier I:< is l0KHz and SVpp. The value of modulation index is equal to 0.88. MOSFETs IRF640 are

uscd as tlic snitclung dcviccs in tlic circuit shown in


MURX40. The gate signals.are applied Lo sii,,1112,1s,5-Ivia

optical isolators 740L6010.

RC snubber circuits are connected in parallel with the syitclung devices to improve the I~rmoNcspectrum. The values are given bclow:


Figure Sa: The 3-level output voltage waveform

ofa single leg

1. The four neutral point clamped diodes are the

' R=.lOQ C=22OOpF

The Mevel single leg output voltage waveforms. the 5-lcvcl H-bridgc output vollagc navcfornL and thcir spectmnis are slio\rn in Figures 5a. jb, 6a and 6b. respectively. The lmnonics spectrum was measured by HP vcctor sigvil analyzcr 89410A in dB form. Thc conversion from &in to Vrms value is given below:

Figure Sb: The spectrum of the Neve1

single leg output (0 - 50KHz)









A :A.*




Figure 6a: The 5-level output voltage waveform

of the H-bridge inverter








Fiyre 6b: The spectrum of the 5-level

H-bridge inverter output (0 - 50KHz)

5. Conclusion

A phase-slufi tecluuque for dilating the output cross-modulated spectrum of a five-level NPC PWM inverter has been developed. A proof-of-concept prototype has been iniplcmented to demonstrate the spectral characteristics or the proposed technique. Experimental results agree with the theoretical prediction and only the fourth order cross-modulated harmonics have been obsewed. However. it should also be pointed tlut precision phase control is vey crucial lo achieve the expcted cross-modulated Iunnonics elimination. The proposed design is particularly suitable for application with stringent hannonic distortions requirement. for example class D audio amplifier. for wluch the phase shift control can easily achieve tluough digital implementation.

6. Acknowledgement

The work described in this paper is fully supported by a research grant (CityU 1192199E)from the RGC of the HKSAR, China.


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