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slope compensation

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by Heindorf, Jan 18, 2005.

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  1. Heindorf

    Heindorf Guest

    Hi all,
    somehow I can't get the point of slope compensation.We're currently
    working on a power supply, full bridge phase shifted voltage mode with
    the LTC3722-2.Now there is an imbalance in the current distribution of
    the 2 legs.To tackle the problem current mode control is recommended.The
    IC supports both modes.It is also shown that to avoid instability a
    slope compensation should be added for duty cycles>50%.Does that mean
    that my available output current decreases also to 50%?
    Let's take our example. At full power we get at 99% duty cycle approx.
    10A Bridge current corresponding to 4.5V Error Amplifier output.If I
    insert now a 0.45 Ohm resistor I get 4.5V at 10A.If I add a slope
    compensation would I decrease the duty cycle and hence the bridge
    current? Or do I need another transformer to get the same power with 50%
    duty cycle? I have here some conceptual difficulties I guess.
  2. Mook Johnson

    Mook Johnson Guest

    search the TI website under power management. There are plenty of
    explanations in the application notes on exactly what slope compensation is
    and how to implement it.
  3. Heindorf

    Heindorf Guest

    Hi Mook,
    I've already read some app. notes in this respect and wouldn't have posted if
    there were
    not so many important questions unanswered, at least for me.
  4. Ken Smith

    Ken Smith Guest

    Without slope compensation, the current fully controls the pulse width.
    When you add slope compensation, you are effectively lowering the gain of
    the local feed back loop by reducing the amount of control the current has
    on the pulse width.

    In continuous mode, the pulse width this cycle has an effect on the
    current in the next. This means that there is a phase lag. If you allow
    the gain to be unity or more when this phase lag reaches 180 degrees, this
    local loop will want to oscillate. It is near imposible to make the
    overall loop have enough gain at these frequencies to prevent this
    oscillation. As a result, you need to lower the gain of the local loop.

    In a bucker, the exact same circuit can serve a different purpose. If
    there is an upwards step on the input voltage of a discontinuous bucker,
    the output of a current mode bucker will dip. This is because less charge
    gets through the inductor before the transistor is turned off. In a
    non-current controlled circuit, the output would rise. You can balance
    one against the other to make one that is less sensitive to the input
    voltage changes.
  5. Guest

    I'm not sure from your description if the symptom you're experiencing
    is 'flux walking', but it may be. It is very difficult to avoid having
    to AC couple full-bridge converters, even with current mode control.
    Flux walking is the tendency toward a DC bias developing due to any
    imbalances in the primary waveform. Current feedback control
    theoretically prevents this, but, in practice, it fails to prevent it
    under any circumstances in which feedback gain is insufficient. I
    suggest that you investigate this possibility.
    Slope compensation is normally used to counteract the feedback control
    instability associated with duty factors near and above 50%. The high
    DF means that the system might have insufficient off-time to respond to
    input perturbations linearly, resulting in a Right Half Plane zero in
    the control loop transfer function. One way to implement slope
    compensation is to lower primary inductance, thereby increasing
    magnetizing current, which adds to slope compensation, since primary
    current feedback includes magnetizing current. Study this topic
    carefully. Many designers don't really understand what they're doing
    in this area.
    Paul Mathews
  6. legg

    legg Guest

    Slope compensation amplitude is applied relative to the slope normally
    present in the sensed current, which is the di/dt of the main
    filter/storage inductor. Normally the inductor current ramp is
    expected to be only a small portion of the peak or average current
    being sensed. Added slope greater than 1/2 the natural ramp is

    If you are using your controller's absolute peak current limit as a
    limiter for output current, then any superimposed signal will reduce
    the output current by that factor, unless it is taken into account.

    As this limit is seldom intended as an accurate feature, it is
    normally set considerably higher than the intended rated output of the
    circuit, in any event. Close tolerance current limiting requires
    additional circuitry, and is generally unneccessary in a fault
    protection feature.

  7. Genome

    Genome Guest

    Hope you're on a fixed width font....

    "Hi all, somehow I can't get the point of slope compensation."

    Me neither......but, if you are using 'peak' current mode control then your
    supply can get this answer.

    __________________________________________ error signal
    /| /| /| /| /| /|
    | | / | | | / | | | / |
    | | / | | | / | | | / |
    | |___| |__| |____| |__| |____| |__ primary current sense signal

    |_____|______|______|______|______|______| clock signal

    /| /| /| /| /|
    / | / | / | / | / |
    / | / | / | / | / | /
    / | / | / | / | / | /
    / | / | / | / | / | /
    / |/ |/ |/ |/ |/ ramp signal

    When you were expecting this...

    __________________________________________ error signal
    /| /| /| /| /| /|
    / | / | / | / | / | / |
    | | | | | | | | | | | |
    | |__| |___| |___| |___| |___| |__ primary current sense signal

    |_____|______|______|______|______|______| clock signal

    /| /| /| /| /|
    / | / | / | / | / |
    / | / | / | / | / | /
    / | / | / | / | / | /
    / | / | / | / | / | /
    / |/ |/ |/ |/ |/ ramp signal

    With peak current limiting the answers are the same.

    Unfortunately your supply is guaranteed to lock itself
    into the first one, AKA subharmonic oscillation.

    I can't explain why it should, I'm thick as a brick.

    You avoid this by adding slope compensation. You add
    part of the ramp signal to the current sense signal.

    Something late has more ramp and gets terminated earlier.
    Something early has less ramp and gets terminated later.

    So they sort of get equalised.

    The magic sum is... can't remember... but if you add half
    the equivalent sensed inductor downslope then your supply
    will be dealing with average output current.

    Which might be quite good.

    The other magic sum is you can do something else that makes
    your supply invarient to the input volts or somesuch.

    YES it does **** about with your current limit if your
    current limit depends on the peak sensed current.

    That means you get to solve the 'Three Resistors From Hell'
    problem and worry about what happens when the supply goes
    into current limit.

  8. Heindorf

    Heindorf Guest

    Hello Genome,
    thank you for your efforts and also all the other answers.We have a fixed
    frequency configuration.I must think about all ideas and remarks-quite a lot of
    stuff so far.But one main concern of me hasn't been addressed, I suppose.In a
    bridge topology with a power transformer I design the transformer for 100% DF
    (voltage mode).If I now slope compensate the circuit to below 50% in current
    mode, do I need another transformer or is this compensation never applied to
    (phase shifted) bridge configurations?
    There is a lot unclear to me.
  9. legg

    legg Guest

    The simple addition of slope compensation would not affect your
    controller's duty cycle limits.

    This limit is unlikely to be 100%, using most of the available control
    devices, particularly at full load. This is due to arbitrary
    imposition of a minimum dead-time, and the inability of power switches
    to reverse large currents in the primary, without delays.

  10. Heindorf

    Heindorf Guest

    please don't take the 100% so seriously.What I don't understand is your other
    statement.I add slope compensation, get a DF below 50% and don't affect the duty
    cycle limit?Could you elaborate,please?
  11. Guest

    1. In full-bridge converters operating in Continuous Current Mode (CCM,
    where the smoothing inductor current never goes to zero) with
    approximately constant DC voltage input, average power output and
    average DF are not linearly related. The instantaneous value of Duty
    Factor varies to maintain regulation, but the average value of DF
    depends mainly on input to output voltage ratio and turns ratio. As
    the load draws more power from the secondary, the DC current in the
    inductor rises along with load current. Of course, the ripple current
    in the inductor (which is the primary ripple reflected through the
    turns ratio) increases in amplitude as load current rises, but this
    ripple is typically only about 10% to 30% of the DC current. In other
    words, double the load doesn't require double the DF. (To put it yet
    another way, the transformer in a full-bridge converter acts like a
    power transformer.)

    2. Full-bridge converters drive the primary with alternating polarity
    pulses. In order to prevent core saturation, these pulses must have a
    net volt-seconds integral (sum) of zero. If this doesn't obtain, even
    if imbalances are small, the core will eventually saturate (flux
    walking). Many methods have been developed to prevent this, most
    notably: air gaps in the core and capacitive coupling of the primary.
    In theory, current mode feedback control also prevents the flux walking
    phenomenon. In practice, it is difficult to achieve balance using
    feedback over the great variety of operating conditions, including
    power-up, power-down, overloads, etc.

    3. Using peak current for feedback has its advantages, but one
    disadvantage is the susceptibility of the system to subharmonic
    oscillations. Much good literature is available on this subject. I
    suggest starting at:

    The TI/Unitrode Switchmode seminar series is also easy to find on the
    web and full of great information. Here's a paper you should memorize:

    4. If there is any tendence toward subharmonic oscillation in a
    full-bridge system, then you are almost guaranteed to have flux walking
    problems. This is because all the even subharmonics have DC offsets.
    For example, the first subharmonic has different amplitudes for every
    other controller cycle. For a full-bridge, this means that the
    positive half-cycles are offset from the negative half-cycles. Yikes!
    For this reason, until I have a stable control loop, I ALWAYS
    capacitively couple the primary of any full-bridge converter. IFF I'm
    able to achieve the phase margins that I need, I SOMETIMES return to DC

    Paul Mathews
  12. legg

    legg Guest

    The addition of slope compensation will not affect the duty cycle (~
    Duty Factor), nor will it affect the duty cycle limit of the

    Your reference to 50% duty may be confusion over the noted fact that,
    for some of the affected topologies, stability is achievable without
    compensation, below 50% duty. This is the only reason a writer would
    mention slope compensation and 50% duty cycle on the same page.

    Duty cycle is primarily determined by input/output voltage ratios,
    (reflected through the isolating transformer turns ratio, as may be
    the case).

  13. Ken Smith

    Ken Smith Guest

    Also, Linear makes PWM chips that raise the current limit automatically to
    back out the current limit reduction.

    It is also posible to do something like this:
    / R1
    D1 !
    Gate ----S<---+
    drive ! Buffer1 C2 Buffer2
    +--!>---------!!--+--+--!>---------- To slope comp
    ! ! !
    --- \ !
    ---C1 R2/ --- D2
    ! \ ^
    GND ! !

    Both buffers are running on Vcc and ground so they can't follow signals
    that go below ground. R1 and C1 make a ramp of a few volts. R2 and C2
    have a TC that is much longer than a cycle of the converter. D2 limits the
    positive swing of the ramp to about the same voltage regardless of the
    duty cycle. A circuit like this backs out the effect of the slope
    compensation over modest amounts of time. There are some transient
    response issues to watch out for because for a sudden load change,
    the slope-compensation is not right until C2 settles at the new voltage.
  14. Heindorf

    Heindorf Guest

    Hello all,
    thanks for all contributions. I think it will help me a lot.
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