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Life prediction modeling of bus capacitors in AC variable-frequency drives

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1 Author(s)
Gasperi, M.L. ; Rockwell Autom., Milwaukee, WI, USA

Aluminum electrolytic capacitors are the leading choice for ac variable-frequency drive (VFD) bus filters. Predicting the expected life of these components in this application is complicated by four factors. First, the electrical impedance of aluminum electrolytic capacitors is nonlinear with both frequency and temperature. Second, motor drives produce a spectrally rich ripple current waveform that makes energy loss difficult to compute. Third, the heat transfer characteristic of capacitor banks is dependent on design geometry. Fourth, the expected life of aluminum electrolytic capacitors is extremely sensitive to operating temperature. This paper describes a method for predicting bus capacitor life that addresses these problems by using a multiple component model for capacitor impedance, a motor drive simulation to create ripple current waveforms, a heat transfer model based on bank geometry, and a capacitor life model derived from the device physics of failure. An example is given showing the effect of ac line impedance on the relative expected life.

Published in:

Industry Applications, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:41 ,  Issue: 6 )