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High-power phase-controlled converters suffer from several fundamental disadvantages. They inject current hannonics into the input ac mains due to their nonlinear characteristics, thereby distort the supply voltage waveform, and demand ractive power from the associated ac power systems at retarded firing angles; also the output voltage is not smooth dc but contains superimposed harmonic ripples. A novel sequential control technique is suggested, which, when applied to more than one converter in cascade, substantially overcomes these disadvantages. The method consists of specifying the proportions of the maximum power to be handled by the individual converters and incorporating a sequence controller, the function of which is to ensure that at any output voltage the converter supplying the minimum power operates over the ful range of thyristor firing angles. The firing angles of other converters are restricted to values corresponding to their ratings. A generalized method of optimizing the performance of sequentially controlled cascaded converters is presented, and the economic viability of the proposed scheme is examined. It is shown that the effective ratings of thyristors in the proposed scheme are greatly reduced. The method should offer improved converter performance in variable speed dc drives, solid-state slip-energy recovery systems, or high-voltage dc transmission systems.