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The University of Nottingham School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering H5CPE2 Power Electronics 2 High power factor rectifier

r circuits
1 Background

We have already seen that conventional rectifier circuits draw distorted currents from the supply and that they can have poor power factors for 2 reasons: (a) (b) Large fundamental phase shift (poor displacement factor) for example controlled rectifiers operating with large firing delay angle ( ). High harmonic content in the supply current waveform (poor distortion factor) for example capacitively smoothed rectifiers.

Due to the problems created, particularly by (b), and the increasing legislation, there is a considerable research effort aimed at producing circuits which draw better supply current waveforms. These circuits normally come under the heading Unity Power Factor (UPF) or Power Factor Correction (PFC) circuits in the research literature. There are many different circuits. We will look at 2 common ones, the Single Phase Boost Rectifier and the PWM Rectifier. Most of the other circuits are derivations of these basic types. 2 Single Phase Boost Rectifier

This circuit, shown in Figure 1, consists of a conventional bridge rectifier followed by a boost switching regulator.

Figure 1 Single phase boost rectifier

Analysis (assuming IL continuous) Q on, D off VL = VB , Q off, D on VL = VB E, dI L = (VB E ) / L dt dI L = VB / L dt

Voltage VB is a rectified version of VS. Provided that E is greater than the peak of the supply voltage (which it is for the boost converter), I L will increase when Q is on and decrease when Q is off. The duty cycle of Q (usually a MOSFET) can therefore be controlled so that the current IL follows a rectified sine shape synchronized to VS (ie the same shape as VB). The diode bridge inverts every other half cycle so that the current IS follows a sine shape in phase with VS. Another control loop adjusts the amplitude of IL to regulate E at some pre-determined value against variations in VS and Io. E must be higher than the peak of VS normally by about 10% for optimum operation. Figure 2 shows the basic control idea. A separate handout shows typical waveforms.
Scale and take absolute value


IL shape template

+ + E
Voltage control

I |L*| +


Current control

Converter dynamics 1 Converter dynamics 2

FIGURE 2 Control loop for boost rectifier The boost rectifier is popular as the front-end rectifier in electronic power supplies (SMPS). Many SMPS above about 500W employ this circuit. A limitation of this circuit is that power flow can only be in one direction (from AC to DC) because of the diode bridge. This is not a problem for most power supply applications, but is a disadvantage, for example, if the rectifier provides the DC link for a motor drive. In such cases it is often desirable for the power flow to be reversible so that the motor can be braked electrically and the energy extracted from the mechanical system returned to the supply. 3 PWM rectifier (switch-mode rectifier, reversible rectifier)

We have looked at the H-bridge as an inverter where energy predominately flows from the DC side to the AC side. However in doing so it was noticed that the instantaneous energy flow could be in either direction. In fact, with suitable control, the circuit can be operated such that power flows predominately in the opposite direction if it is connected on the AC side to an energy source this forms the basis of the PWM rectifier shown in Figure 3. Of course, unlike the previous circuit, this rectifier inherently allows the power to flow in either

direction and its main use is as the front end of motor drives (particularly the 3-phase version see later). VL iS L VS VB iO



Figure 3 PWM rectifier

3.1 Operation

We assume that C is big enough so that E is smooth. In addition, there is a control loop (see later) which regulates the power flow so that E is constant regardless of variations in the load. Power can flow in either direction so that the load can transfer energy to the supply if required (for example a motor that needs to slow down without a mechanical brake). VB is a PWM voltage (2 or 3 level) which is modulated so that its fundamental component is at the same frequency as the supply voltage VS. An equivalent circuit for the AC side (see Figure 4) can be drawn by splitting VB into two sources, one representing the fundamental component (VB1) and the other representing the harmonics (VBH) which are the PWM distortion components.




Figure 4 Equivalent circuit for the AC side

Clearly only VS and VB1 affect the fundamental component of the current iS. and,of course, this is the only component that gives rise to real power flow (assuming that VS is not distorted). The harmonics VBH simply cause distortion in the current iS and do not affect the real power flow. By using a suitable inductor and PWM switching frequency, the harmonics can be made small and the current iS is then virtually sinusoidal ( unity distortion factor). Furthermore, by adjusting the magnitude and phase of VB1 with respect to VS, it is possible to force iS to be in

phase with VS (unity displacement factor). Power flow can then be regulated by controlling the amplitude of iS again by varying VB1. 3.2 Phasor diagrams

Figure 5 shows phasor diagrams which explain the how the circuit operates for either direction of power flow. Note that the magnitude of the current (iS) is proportional to the magnitude of the voltage VL since i S = V L / L . This means that the magnitude of the power flow can be varied by varying the length of VL by adjusting VB1. Unity displacement factor is ensured by making sure that VL is 90o ahead of VS. In practice, some sort of closed loop control scheme is employed to do this automatically and to ensure that the power flow is controlled to keep E constant. Section 3.3 describes one way in which this can be arranged.





Figure 5 Phasor diagrams for both directions of power flow

3.3 Closed loop control

There are many ways in which the control can be arranged. Figure 6 shows a block diagram of one simple way. In practice a more sophisticated approach may be used but this simple example embodies most of the ideas (see H54PQE).

A slow acting voltage control loop regulates the peak magnitude of the supply currrent. If power flow is reversed (ie DC to AC) then the output of this controller will be negative. The output from this controller must vary slowly in comparison to the supply frequency (for this type of control loop) and ensures that the correct AC current is drawn to balance the power requirements of the load and keep the DC voltage constant. By scaling and phase shifting the measured supply voltage, a template for the desired shape of the inductor voltage is produced. Multiplying this by the peak current and the inductor reactance produces the desired inductor voltage waveform. This is subtracted from the measured supply voltage to produce the desired H-bridge voltage on the AC side. This then forms the input to the PWM modulation process which (taking into account the DC link voltage magnitude) ensures that the correct voltage is produced. A separate handout shows typical waveforms for each direction of power flow.




IS Cos t

L VL Cos t


Cos t


VB1(t) Modulating wave for PWM modulation Figure 6 Example of control loop for PWM rectifier

VS Sin t

The PWM rectifier overcomes the two main problems of the diode bridge rectifier in that the supply current is virtually sinusoidal and that the power flow can be reversed. The disadvantage is of course the extra cost. Using a circuit like that described above to provide the DC supply to another H-bridge gives a bidirectional AC-AC converter. The 3-phase version of this (see Figure 7) finds application in motor drives, particularly where regeneration is required, since it removes the need for resistive braking on the DC link. This would be required if a diode bridge was used since any power returned through the inverter from the motor cannot return through the diode bridge and must be dissipated in a resistor.




3-Phase Motor

Figure 7 3-phase PWM inverter drive with PWM rectifier

Dr Jon Clare Nov 2000