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Vacuum Switch Chopping Current in an Inverter Circuit

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4 Author(s)
Mitsuru Tsukima ; Advanced Technology Research and Development Center, Mitsubishi Electric Corporation , Amagasaki, Japan ; Junichi Abe ; Hidetoshi Kitanaka ; Hiromi Koga

When small currents are interrupted by a vacuum switch, it is well known that the chopping current and the associated overvoltage are observed. Many investigations on the current-chopping phenomena in alternating-current (ac) circuits have been carried out, but there are no data available on inverter circuits in spite of their recent wide application to synchronous motor systems. In this paper, chopping-current levels and the overvoltages in an inverter circuit under a simple three-level pulsewidth-modulated control are investigated. As a result, the mean chopping-current level is three to four times higher than that in an ac circuit. In particular, high chopping currents occur only when the timing of the current interruption by the vacuum switch synchronizes with that of the inverter's switching, which we call “double chopping.” High chopping current due to double chopping might be harmful since the high overvoltage proportional to the chopping-current level could damage the insulation of electric equipment. However, we experimentally confirmed that a typical surge suppressor could reduce overvoltage.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science  (Volume:39 ,  Issue: 6 )