A Synchronous Distributed Control and Communication Network for High-Frequency SiC-Based Modular Power Converters
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Numerous power electronics building blocks (PEBB) based power conversion systems have been developed to explore modular design, scalable voltage and current ratings, low-cost operations, etc. This paper further extends the modular concept from the power stage to the control system. The communication network in SiC-based modular power converters is becoming significant for distributed control architecture, with the requirements of tight synchronization and low latency. The influence of the synchronization accuracy on harmonics under the phase-shifted carrier pulse width modulation (PSC-PWM) is evaluated. When the synchronization is accurate, the influence of an increase in harmonics can be ignored. Thus, a synchronous distributed control and communication protocol with well-performed synchronization of 25 ns accuracy is proposed and verified for a 120 kHz SiC-based impedance measurement unit (IMU) with cascaded H-bridge PEBBs. An improved synchronization method with additional analog circuits is further implemented and verified with sub-ns synchronization accuracy.
General Audience Abstract
The power electronics building block (PEBB) concept is proposed for medium-voltage converter applications in order to realize the modular design of the power stage. Traditionally, the central control architecture is popular in converter systems. The voltage and current are sensed and then processed in one central controller. The control hardware interfaces and software have to be customized for a specified number of power cells, and the scalability of controller is lost. In stead, in the distributed control architecture, a local controller in each PEBB can communicate with the sensors, gate drivers, etc. A high-level controller collects the information from each PEBB and conducts the control algorithm. In this way, the design can be more modular, and the local controller can share the computation burden with the high-level controller, which is good for scalability. In such distributed control architecture, a synchronous communication system is required to transmit data and command between the high-level controller and local controllers. A power converter always requires a highly synchronized operation to turn on or turn off the devices. In this work, a synchronous communication protocol is proposed and experimentally validated on a SiC-based modular power converter.
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