Active PFC for Electronic Power Supplies Application Note

Application Note
Active PFC for Electronic Power Supplies
The proliferation of electronic loads on
power distribution systems has led to
inefficient and unsafe conditions due
to the typically poor power factor of
electronic power conversion equipment. Waveform distortion and the
overheating of transformers and
neutral conductors in three-phase
systems are just a few of the effects.
When choosing a strategy for PFC, it
is essential to recognize that the poor
power factor occurring in electronic
power conversion equipment is
entirely different from the traditional
poor power factor seen with inductive
motor loads, and requires a different
corrective approach.
Two Sources of Poor PF
Consequently, economic and safety
concerns—along with new regulations
designed to maintain the integrity of
power distribution systems—have
created an acute interest in power
factor correction (PFC) strategies.
In its simplest form, poor power factor
caused by reactive linear circuit
elements results as the current either
leads or lags the voltage, depending on
whether the load looks capacitive or
inductive (Figure 1a). This type of
L1
Voltage
Capacitor
for improved
power factor
Current
1a
Inductive
Load
L2
poor power factor is easily corrected
by adding a reactive component of
opposite sign in parallel with load to
cancel the reactive term (Figure 1b).
On the other hand, less than acceptable
power factor typically associated with
electronic power conversion equipment is caused by nonlinear circuit
elements. In most off-line power
supplies, the AC-DC front end consists
of a bridge rectifier followed by a large
filter capacitor (Figure 2b). With this
circuit, current is drawn from the line
only when the peak voltage on the line
exceeds the voltage on the filter
capacitor (Figure 2a). Since the rate of
rise and fall of the current is greater
than that of the line voltage, and the
current flows discontinuously, a series
of predominantly odd harmonics is
generated—third, fifth, seventh, etc.
(Figure 2c). It is these harmonics that
1b
(continued)
Figure 1—Traditional poor power factor—the current either leads or lags the voltage.
–
Current
Voltage
VBUS +
VPK
To DC-DC
Converter
Holdup
Capacitor
L1
Typical Input Current
Spectrum of an
Electronic Load
–
Current
VPK
–
VPK
–
L2
VBUS
2a
1
3
5
7
9
11
13
15
17
19
21
23
25
27
29
–
Harmonic Number
2b
2c
Figure 2—Entirely different from the traditional type, the poor power factor occurring in electronic loads generates odd harmonics.
Boost Converter
Bus Voltage (B)
Bus Voltage (B)
Rectified Line Voltage (A)
L1
To DC-DC
Converter
Boost Voltage (B–A)
A
I
Line Current (I)
L2
Rectified
Line Voltage
Line Current
Holdup
Capacitor
Control
Circuit
Output
Voltage
3a
3b
Figure 3—Correcting the poor power factor associated with electronic power supplies requires an active approach in which a
control circuit adjusts a boost voltage to maintain a sinusoidal input current.
VICOR CORPORATION
• 25 Frontage Road • Andover, MA 01810 • TEL: 800-735-6200 • FAX: 978-475-6715 • 5/95
Application Note
Active PFC
(page 2)
cause the problems with the power
distribution system.
The power factor of the system shown
in Figure 2 can be improved slightly
by either adding series inductance with
the line or decreasing the value of the
holdup capacitor, which will lengthen
the conduction angle. However, both
of these solutions severely limit the
amount of power that can be drawn
from the line.
The Active Approach to PFC
It is generally accepted that the most
effective way to correct the poor power
factor of electronic power supplies is
to take an active approach.
In the operation of an active power
factor correction circuit (Figure 3b),
the incoming line voltage passes
through a bridge rectifier, which
produces a full wave rectified output
(Figure 3a–A). Since the peak value of
the line is less than the bus voltage, no
current will flow into the holdup
capacitor unless the line voltage is
boosted above the voltage present on
the holdup capacitor. This allows the
control circuit to adjust the boost
voltage (3a–B-A) to maintain a
sinusoidal input current.
It is important to remember that a well
designed power factor correction circuit will faithfully replicate distortion
present in the incoming line voltage, so
it is essential to use a low distortion
voltage source when evaluating power
factor correcting circuits.
Figure 3b illustrates the approach to
power factor correction taken with the
Vicor VI-HAM Harmonic Attenuator
Module, a component-level AC front
end that, when used with VI-26x or
VI-J6x DC-DC converters, provides a
universal input, near-unity power
factor, off-line switching power supply
that meets IEC 555.
The use of an active power factor
correcting circuit results in few
discontinuities in the input current and
consequently low distortion and
harmonic content of the input current
being drawn from the line. For
assistance in designing a component
power solution with power factor
correction, call Vicor’s application
engineering department.
To maintain a sinusoidal input current,
the control circuit uses the input
voltage waveform as a template. The
control circuit measures the input
current, compares it to the input voltage waveform, and adjusts the boost
voltage to produce an input current
waveform of the same shape (3a–I). At
the same time, the control circuit
monitors the bus voltage and adjusts
the boost voltage to maintain a
coarsely regulated DC output (3a–B).
Since the primary function of the
control circuit is to maintain a
sinusoidal input current, the DC bus
voltage is allowed to vary slightly.
VICOR CORPORATION
• 25 Frontage Road • Andover, MA 01810 • TEL: 800-735-6200 • FAX: 978-475-6715 • 5/95
Similar pages