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100v chopper, was switching 400V

Discussion in 'Electronic Components' started by AB, Aug 25, 2003.

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  1. AB

    AB Guest

    Good day all,

    I started this quest several months back with the goal of learning
    about Spice and to design a switching circuit that I could use to
    power a photomultiplier tube from a battery.

    With a great deal of help from many of you (especially Winfield Hill)
    I have the following circuit (posted ABSE, see below).

    The driver circuit switching transistors itself draws low power, 16 to
    21 ua (average) depending on the speed of the rising and falling edges
    of the signal generator. This is good!

    During my Spice modeling I discovered that the circuit was very nicely
    optimized and that changing component values unusually resulted in
    higher wasted power.

    I also discovered that I don't really need to switch 300 volts to get
    my desired output voltage, so the schematic below shows 105 vdc
    sources instead of the original 300 vdc.

    I also discovered that the output voltage from this switching circuit
    does not have to be square waves with 50/50 duty cycle and it the
    output voltage can have 1 to 10 us rise and fall times. My input from
    the signal generator can have similar rise and fall times without
    affecting the output much.

    I have discovered a problem however and I'm not sure if it's fixable

    The problem seems to be large current spikes at the V4 power supply,
    ranging from 6 to 95 ma, depending on the rise and fall times of the
    signal generator. Although the spikes are short duration, the average
    current output from V4 varies from 3.5 to 566 ua (depending on the
    rise and fall times of the signal generator).

    The highest average current output from V4 happens when the rise and
    fall times of the signal generator is set to 1000 ns. I suspect that
    Q2 and Q3 are conducting at the same time for a brief instant, hence
    the high power consumption.

    Is there any way to insure that these transistors do not conduct
    simultaneously?? I was hoping to use slower rise and fall times if
    possible because slower rise and fall times means lower power output
    makes the input circuit waste less power.

    I've posted the circuit (minus the load) in
    alt.binaries.schematics.schematics, see 100v chopper title there. The
    ..ckt and a pdf of the schematic is posted there.

    How do I minimize the current drawn because both output transistors
    conducting at the same time???


  2. AB

    AB Guest

    Thanks much, I think your guess was pretty close, but you lost me when
    you attempted to describe the fix.

    I've posted the pf and the .ckt on my personal webspace, so it should
    be a click away for anyone who wants to look at it.

    I already have lots of R and C in the base of Q3, as you can see on
    the pdf. Since my load does not need fast edges, would it be easier to
    make Q3 turn off faster? Or, perhaps adding a modest sized emitter
    resistor in Q3 (since my output current is small, I don't think this
    would impact the output voltage amplitude much.

    Take a look at the full schematic and many thanks.

  3. AB

    AB Guest

    OK, I have tested it with 1 ns, 10 ns, 100 ns and 1000 ns rising and
    falling edges to the input.

    With the 1 and 10 ns edges, the thing draws horrendously large peak
    current on each transition, but the average current drawn is somewhat

    With 100 and 1000 ns edges, the peak current is lower, but the average
    current skyrockets. An examination of the power supply pulses shows
    that they are smaller amplitude, but much longer duration, so the
    average current is higher.

    So, there appears to be a sweet spot, somewhere in the middle, where
    it doesn't waste as much power.

    I'd like to have it be much less susceptable to the input signal
    edges, which allows for easier and less power consumed by the driver.
    I need this thing to operate from batteries, so I am willing to have a
    more complicated circuit in exchange for less lower power consumption.
    When there is only a single 105v supply, the results are the same. I
    made a second supply just to drive the totem pole transistors for the
    purposes of isolating and dissecting the circuit. In reality, these
    will be the same single supply.

    By modeling my load using a signal generator input, I've discovered
    that slower rising edges produce nearly the same identical result. So,
    I'd like to tune the circuit so it can be driven with slow edges in
    order to take advantage of a simpler/less power hungry source to drive
    the totem pole output transistors.

    I also DO NOT need 50/50 duty cycle (as I had previously thought).
    When I model the load with a signal generator input, I get nearly the
    same results as long as the pulse is in the a 2 to 98 percent duty
    cycle range.

    I have not tried a traingle wave input, but my guess is that it will
    work just as well.

    What's the easiest method to tune this circuit to operate properly
    with 1 or 2 microsecond edges (without wasting additional power)??


  4. R.Legg

    R.Legg Guest

    With the 1 and 10 ns edges, the thing draws horrendously large peak
    Referring to the pdf schematic, there are a couple of things
    I'd like you to review.

    a) R2 R4 C3 - these are currently sized to produce ~ fixed
    3V3 off bias on C3 . C3 charges through the EB jn of Q3
    and discharges through R2 (47uSec time constant).
    Sustaining conduction current is limited to 33uA by R2.
    C3 has little or no effect on Q3 turn-on speed unless a
    lot of charge is removed from Q3eb at turn-off (see d).

    b) R1 C4 - with a time constant of 10uSec, ~ 2V3 fixed off
    bias for Q1 is maintained on C4. A sustaining conduction
    base current of 15uA is set by R1 (23uA IQ1 - 7uA IR2).
    C4 has little or no effect on turn off speed of Q2, however
    when input drive fall time reduces to less than 1usec,
    400uA or more will be induced to flow in Q1ec and Q2be for
    the duration of the fall time.
    This is limited only by the ability of Q1 to produce the
    enforced current amplitude; 4mA at 100nS and 40ma at 10nS.
    It should not show up as an average increase in current
    from V4, however, as total charge is limited by C4 and the
    frequency is constant.

    c) R5 C2 - with a time constant of 0.5uSec, the current
    forced through C2 by drive dV/dt only begins to limit
    due to R2 presence when rise/fall times approach 1 uSec,
    when turn-on and turn-off currents of 4mA are forced
    through either Q2eb or D1. This is an overdrive ratio
    of 200:1, based on 15uA sustained conduction base current.
    These current amplitudes, by the way, will show up in V4
    as Ieb during turn-on of Q2. They will show up in V1 as
    ID1 during Q2 turn-off.

    d) In saturated switching conditions, bipolar switching speed
    depends on base charge removal for turn-off delay calculation.
    This makes turn-off longer than turn-on. Without a load in
    the circuit, saturation has to be assumed, but because no
    collector current is present it's hard to assess what charge
    will need to be removed.
    If your model includes switching delays, you
    may have to introduce a load to get Q2 and Q3 Ice factored in.
    Emitter switching and schottky/baker clamping is often used
    to reduce turn-off time in higher powered circuits, due to
    ce saturation avoidance and controlled eb avalanching.

    e) When no collector current is flowing, I think it's safe
    to assume that base turn-on overdrive may significantly
    increase eb stored charge on subsequent turn-off.

    f) When switching totem-pole bipolars, you have to reduce
    saturation effects and introduce deadtime to ensure no
    cross-conduction occurs. This could be achieved by splitting
    up the drive signal, then introducing the appropriate delay
    in the drive waveform for upper and lower drive circuits.

    g) You have not identified when the cross conduction
    current spikes occur - they are likely to show up on
    one edge before they show up on the other, due to differing
    drive conditions presented by the interface to the local
    and floating parts. This may give you some idea on what effect
    is occurring first and which delays are dominant.

    h) You might also check that, at higher temperatures, the
    circuit doesn't heat up without a drive signal. 100K eb
    resistors may be too large. You might also consider connecting
    R2 to ground, to ensure Q3 is off in the absence of a source.

    i) Your circuit must certainly never be driven linearly, by
    a sawtooth or triangle waveform. It is not designed for
    linear operation.


    Only the keyboard has been drinking.
  5. Robert Baer

    Robert Baer Guest

    Exactly; V1 and V4 should be the *same supply for starters.
    My "idea" (not that i created it originally) might still work to pull
    stored charge out of the base of Q3.
    I see that C3 sort-of does that function, but R4 severely limits the
    speed and maybe the total charge removed from the base of Q3.
    I would suggest adding a capacitor from the base of Q1 to ground in
    the built circuit, near the transistor.
  6. AB

    AB Guest

    WOW, you guys are good, thanks.

    I have limited time now, but will give some additional information
    later tonite.

    For now tho...

    I've discovered the circuit overdrives by quite a large factor. That
    means that it supplies more current to my load than it really has to
    in order to make it go. So, some reduction in the peak current
    capability is desirable, especially if it reduces the power drawnn
    from the 105 v supply.

    My load is a 3 stage cockcroft walton supply, current drawn by the
    first stage is around 100ua (at 105v), current drawn by the second
    stage is 4 ua (at 210v) and current drawn by the third stage is .8 ua
    (at 315v).

    The caps in the cockcroft Walton are .1 uf, so the totem pole output
    has to charge and discharge these caps. In modeling the load
    separately, I've found the value of the load resistance has very
    little impact on the output and the primary load is from the caps in
    the cw multiplier.

    I'll publish the complete load later tonight as well.

    Thanks so much for all you comments, they help alot. I'm learning so
    much from this...both in terms of electronics and in terms of running
    the Spice program. Spice is an immensely useful tool which can
    supplement the designers talents and save alot of breadboarding


  7. Terry Given

    Terry Given Guest

    Excellent analysis!

    dead time is really the solution - a 74HC14 hex schmitt trigger NOT gate is
    the go. Use one NOT gate to buffer the trigger source - the output of the
    "buffer" has nicely defined edges. Call this output G1. Pass G1 through a
    parallel resistor/diode network (cathode to G1), thence to another NOT gate,
    with a cap from anode to 0V 0V. This will give an RC shape to the rising
    edge only. The output of this NOT gate will thus be a squarewave, with the
    rising edge edge delayed - call it G2.

    Pass G1 throu another NOT gate, generating G3 (simply inverted version of
    G1). Use another identical RCD-NOT network to generate G4. G2 & G4 are now
    non-overlapping square waves with well defined rise/fall times. Fiddle with
    R,C to adjust the dead time. Keep R > 400R to minimise peak current required
    from NOT gate; keep C > 47pF to swamp input capacitance of gate, ensuring
    reliable operation.

    In general capacitive speed-up does not work too well with high-voltage
    bipolars, but the MPSA42/92 pair should be OK. Spice does not always tell
    the truth though, and it wont point things out - you have to go looking. The
    Ebers-Moll transistor model does NOT model B-E reverse breakdown (I've been
    bitten by this).

    One thing missing from your circuit is fast diodes across the 2 switching
    transistors - cathodes UP. When you drive an inductive load (and you will)
    the current has to go somewhere when one device switches - without these
    diodes, the circuit will destroy itself the instant you try to run an
    inductive load. something like a BYV26 would eat it - only need 150V rating
    for 105Vdc supply, but 200V would do fine. They should be FAST - 25ns or so
    Trr (reverse-recovery time, how fast diode stops conducting when reverse
    biased). DONT use 1N400x diodes - they are SLOW, around 1us Trr.

    Try splitting the 105Vdc power supply in two, and connecting a 1mH inductor
    + 10R resistor from the chopper output to the mid-point of the dc bus, and
    see what happens. The voltage spike will of course be L*dI/dt where dI is
    the current in the transistor/inductor when the tranny is switched OFF, and
    dt is the switching time. This is what destroys semiconductors in power
    electronic circuits.....then change the resistor to 1k, and no inductor -
    voila, voltage spikes gone.
  8. AB

    AB Guest

    OK, thanks all. I had the day from Hell yesterday and there is more of
    the same today. Sorry I can't reply as well as I'd like to.

    It's clear that I am overdriving to some extent and I could probably
    tune it down some.

    But, my load is a cockcroft-walton voltage multiplier consisting of .1
    uf caps that have to be charged and discharged and it takes fairly
    hefty current to do it.

    I've posted the diagram of the worst case and minimum/typical load
    schematic diagrams on my personal web space. Bear in mind that each
    stage of the cw is loaded to some degree and the load resistors show
    the load for each stage under worst case/minimum/typical case.

    In reality there are 10 stages in the cw, I've simplified it by only
    using 3 stages. This is probably ok becasue the resistive loads for
    the upper stages are pico and nano amps. Not sure whether I have to
    account for the additional diodes in the upper stages tho (even though
    there is practically no current being drawn.

    More later.

    Thanks to all for comments and suggestions.

  9. AB

    AB Guest

    OK, I did some further testing this morning.

    I set the signal generator for 100 ns rise and fall times.

    I broke up the circuit such that each output transistor had a 1 ma
    collector resistor (100K) and fed each transistor had it's own 105 v
    power supply.

    The result is that each transistor has it's own power supply and it's
    own collector resistor. I can look at the switching of each transistor
    separately now.

    The results were pretty sobering!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I zoomed in on the high to low transition of the signal generator and
    marked this transition period.

    Switching to the collector of Q2, I can see it starts to change about
    50 us after the input signal starts to change (it's delayed by 50 us).
    It is done with it's transition about 75 us later.

    Looking that the collector of Q2 is a different story however! It
    takes 1.3 us to change from completely on to completely off and it
    does not even start to change for 200 ns! So, there is 100 ns where
    both transistors are fully conducting and an additional 1.1 us overlap
    when both transistors are partially on.

    No wonder I'm getting the big spikes power supply spikes at the H>L
    transistion of the signal generator!

    Not sure what to do about it, but I can see the problem now, Spice
    simulation is good!!!!!

    Not sure whether to delay the timing of the input signal feeding Q2
    (as one of you suggested) or whether I should try to speed up the Q2
    switching time by pulling the base down harder (as another user

    Again, I thank you all. Further suggections are very much appreciated.

  10. R.Legg

    R.Legg Guest

    You mean nSec.

    Your switching period is only 50uSec on each arm, at 10KHz.
    If your load was inductive, you could let it handle the transitions.

    Where is your 105V supposed to come from in the first place?

  11. AB

    AB Guest

    Yes, correct, my error. Should have said nSec.

    OK, it's capacitive and there should be very little inductance. I did
    post the schematic of the intended load, see previous message.
    My hope is that I will get ~100v by series connecting 9 v battteries
    or by having a stack of small 3 volt rechargable batteries in series.
    To do it, I need very minimal current draw from the switching
    circuit...hence my interest in optimization of the driver circuit.

    I have also just learned of a developer of micro sized rechargable
    batteries using MEMS technology. If the batteries can be made small
    enough, I could mount them in series on a small pcb, one set for each
    dynode. This would be most direct and wouldn't require any switching
    at all!

    I'm also interested in piezotransformers and might try to generate 100
    volts using those little gems.

    I spent a good part of the day today in various doctors offices in the
    'hurry up and wait mode'. Before I left for the day, I printed out the
    schematic and all the comments sent by usenet readers. I spent lots of
    time reading them and making notes.

    It appears I need an NPN transistor that will withstand 125 Vce and
    one that has smaller Ccb than the MPSA42 transistor that I'm using for
    Q3. Not sure if such a beast exists, the A42 has been around for a
    long time and they're still makin' em! The most direct fix is to find
    a more appropriate transistor, anyone have any suggestions?? I've
    looked at Zetex, but they don't seem to be into higher voltage


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