Recap of Power Electronics

Electric Power Lines

Power electronics involves the study of electronic circuits intended to control the flow of electrical energy. These circuits handle power flow at levels higher than the individual device ratings. Energy conversion is our business because people use light, mechanical work, information, heat and other tangible results of energy – not electricity itself. In most electronics, devices are limited by their […]

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Filtering a Switched Power Supply

Power Filter

As seen in the previous post, a simple switch or diode rectified output is still not a clean DC signal. The waveform contains AC components on top of the DC offset. The simplest methods for smoothing this output involve filtering through the use of passive storage elements such as capacitors or inductors. In essence, these components tend to smooth the […]

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Important Variables and Notation

Oscilloscope Sine Eave

In a power electronic system, several electrical quantities are of special interest. Efficiency has already been identified in previous posts. Maximum values of currents and voltages will be needed to determine the necessary device ratings. Energy flow is the underlying objective, and power and energy levels in each part of the system are very important. We are most interested in […]

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The Reliability Objective and Integration

DSP Chip

It is well established in military electronics that the more parts are in a system, the more likely it is to fail. As we shall see, power electronic circuits tend to have few parts, especially in the main energy flow paths. The necessary operations must be carried out through shrewd use of those parts. Often, this means that sophisticated control […]

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The Efficiency Objective and the Switch

On-Off Switch

As simple a circuit element as the light switch like the one illustrated below gives a reminder that the extreme requirements in power electronics are not especially novel. Ideally, when a switch is on, it provides vswitch = 0, and will carry any current imposed on it. When a switch is off, it blocks the flow of current (iswitch = […]

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The Basic Objectives of Electrical Conversion

Dart Board

The function of a power conversion circuit is to control the energy flow between a given electrical source and a given load. A converter must manipulate flow, but should not consume energy. The reason is simple. Since a power converter appears between a source and a load, any energy used within the converter is lost to the overall system. To be […]

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Power Electronics Summary and Future Developments

Arduino FTDI Board

Much of the historical discussion in previous posts have described the special semiconductors used for power conversion circuits. The special energy processing applications addressed by power electronics have also been described. Not long ago, the devices were in many ways the limiting factor in converter design. The fast pace of change in devices has brought about entire new families of […]

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