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Source of induction motor bearing currents caused by PWM inverters

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3 Author(s)
Chen, S. ; Dept. of Electr. & Comput. Eng., Wisconsin Univ., Madison, WI, USA ; Lipo, T.A. ; Fitzgerald, D.

The recent increase of bearing damage in induction machines driven by transistorized inverters has spurred activity on possible causes related to PWM inverters. This paper looks into a typical power conversion system from this perspective. It identifies the existence of the common mode voltages produced in all types of converters. A hypothesis is then proposed to explain the bearing current problem. In particular, it is shown that in an inverter-motor system the common mode voltages generated by a PWM inverter, which are attributed to PWM switching harmonics, couple through parasitic capacitances from stator windings to the rotor body and then returns through the motor bearings to the commonly grounded stator case as a closed loop circuit. The hypothesis is verified by experimental measurement of common mode coupling currents and true bearing currents in a specially modified induction motor. Solutions are then provided to suppress the bearing currents

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Energy Conversion, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:11 ,  Issue: 1 )