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The test and the characterization of medium or high-power electronic converters, under nominal operating conditions, are made difficult by the requirement of high-power electrical source and load. In addition, the energy lost during the test may be very significant. The opposition method, which consists of an association of two identical converters supplied by the same source, one operating as a generator, the other as a receptor, can be a better way to do these test. Another advantage is the possibility to realize accurate measurements of the different losses in the converters under test. In the first part of this paper, the characteristics of the method concerning loss measurements are compared to those of the electrical or calorimetric methods, then it is shown how it can be applied to different types of power electronic converters, choppers, switched mode power supplies, and pulsewidth modulation inverters. In the second part, different examples of studies conducted by the authors, and using this method, are presented. They have varying goals, from the test of soft-switching inverters to the characterization of integrated gate-commutated thyristor (IGCT) devices mounted into 2-MW choppers.
Date of Publication: April 2006