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Loss-Free Balancing Circuit for Series Connection of Electrolytic Capacitors Using an Auxiliary Switch-Mode Power Supply

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1 Author(s)
Grbovic, P.J. ; Dept. of Res. & Dev., Schneider Toshiba Inverter Eur., Pacy-sur-Eure

Most of today's power converters such as three-phase variable-speed drives, uninterruptible power systems, welding converters, and telecom and server power supplies are based on voltage-source converters equipped with bulky DC-link electrolytic capacitors. To be able to handle full DC bus voltage, the DC bus capacitor is arranged as series-connected electrolytic capacitors rated at lower voltage. An electrolytic capacitor, however, is not an ideal capacitor. It has significant leakage current that strongly depends on the capacitor temperature, voltage, and ageing conditions. To compensate large dispersion of the leakage current and ensure acceptable sharing of the total DC bus voltage among the series-connected capacitors, a passive balancing circuit is often used. Drawbacks of the ordinary passive balancing circuit, such as size, significant losses, and standby consumption are discussed in this paper. An active loss-free balancing circuit, which utilizes an auxiliary switch-mode power supply (SMPS) to equalize the capacitor voltages, is proposed. The capacitors midpoint (MP) is connected to the SMPS via two devices; namely a current injection device and a compensation device. The current injection device injects current into the capacitors MP, while the compensation device sinks the difference between the capacitor leakage currents and the injected current. As a result, the capacitor voltages are controlled and maintained in the desired ratio. The proposed balancing technique is theoretically analyzed and experimentally verified on a laboratory setup. The results are presented and discussed.

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Power Electronics, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:24 ,  Issue: 1 )