DN407 - Dual Current-Sense Amplifiers Simplify H-Bridge Load Monitoring

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Dual Current-Sense Amplifiers Simplify H-Bridge Load Monitoring
Design Note 407
Jon Munson
Introduction
The H-bridge power-transistor topology is increasingly
popular as a means of driving motors and other loads bidirectionally from a single supply potential. In most cases
there is great benefit in monitoring the current delivered
to the load and utilizing this information in real-time to
provide operational feedback to a control system. In most
new designs, pulse-width-modulation (PWM) techniques
are used to provide highly efficient variable power-delivery,
but this places extremely fast voltage transitions at both
terminals of the load and therefore complicates the instrumentation problem. New high side current sense amplifiers
from Linear Technology can simplify this problem.
Measuring Load Current in the H-Bridge
The classical approach to load monitoring is to place a
small value sense-resistance in series with the load that
can develop a measurable voltage drop representing the
load current (see Figure 1). The difficulty here is that with
PWM activity, the common mode voltage at the sense
resistor has nasty voltage transitions that can corrupt the
sense amplifier operation with high frequency hash. While
this hash can be filtered to recover useful low frequency
information, the ability to provide fast fault protection
is then lost. Additionally, this “flying” sense resistor
configuration is unable to monitor switch shoot-through
current, leaving many important fault modes undetected
or unmanaged (failed switch function, for example).
+
A far more practical method is to monitor the supply
current fed to each half-bridge as shown in Figure 2.
This scheme provides several benefits that simplify and
improve the circuit performance. The main improvement
comes from having the sense resistors at a relatively
constant common mode voltage (i.e., the power supply
voltage) so that fidelity of the PWM current waveform
can be preserved. Additionally, by monitoring each halfbridge individually at the supply side, both failed power
device operation and load shorts to ground are readily
detected and manageable.
By using PWM logic that generates “sign-magnitude”
control, one of the half-bridges is in a 100% pull high
condition (depending on the direction or polarity of drive).
The load current equals the current delivered through the
100% (fully on) switch, unaffected by the duty cycle of
the PWM activity on the other half-bridge. This permits
simple reconstruction of the load current waveform using
suitable high side sense amplification techniques.
The Simple Solution
The LTC6103 and LTC6104 dual high side sense amplifiers
are ideal for performing the H-bridge monitoring function.
Both parts include two current sense input channels and
, LT, LTC and LTM are registered trademarks of Linear Technology Corporation.
All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
+
–
RS
+
–
RS
+
RS
+
DIFF
AMP
–
IM
IM
DN407 F01
Figure 1. Classical Load Sensing Problematic with PWM
01/07/407
DN407 F02
Figure 2. PWM-Compatible H-Bridge Load Sensing
furnish either two unidirectional outputs (LTC6103) or a
single bidirectional output (LTC6104). Since each current
sense channel operates in a unidirectional fashion, only
the current from the fully on half-bridge is monitored.
Since the current pulses in the other half-bridge are in
the opposite direction, that amplifier channel remains in
a cutoff condition and does not impact the reading. This
means that the output signals only reflect the fully-on
half-bridge current, which is identical to the controlled
load current.
With their fast (microsecond level) response times, these
parts also offer overload sensing, thereby providing the
ability to signal power device protection circuits in the
event of fault conditions. Both parts are furnished in tiny
MSOP-8 packages for compact layouts and can operate
with up to 60V power supply potentials. With their 70V
transient capability, the need for additional surge suppression components is eliminated in harsh automotive
applications.
The dual outputs of the LTC6103 can be used individually
to provide overload detection, and/or may be taken as
a differential pair to provide a bidirectional signal to an
analog-to-digital converter (ADC) for example. Figure 3
shows a typical circuit for a generic H-bridge application.
The power devices may be complementary MOSFETs,
pure N-MOSFETs, or other switching devices. When the
bridge drives the load (a motor assumed in the example
shown), one of the LTC6103 outputs rises above ground,
while the other remains pulled down to ground, thereby
forming an accurate bidirectional differential output with
a common mode voltage that never falls below ground.
The selection of output resistance (4.99k in the example)
can be scaled to satisfy the source-impedance requirement of any ADC.
As an alternative, the output structure of the LTC6104
provides a single bidirectional signal. The output connection can either source or sink current to a load resistance,
depending on which input channel is sensing current flow.
A negative-going output swing remains linear as long
as Pin 4 (V–) is lower than the lowest expected output
level by at least 0.5V. This condition is met if the load
resistance is returned to a suitable reference voltage while
Pin 4 is grounded (as shown in the Figure 4 example).
The output resistance could also be returned directly to
ground to form a true bipolar output if Pin 4 is tied to a
suitable negative supply, such as –3V.
Conclusion
Designing a load current monitor for an H-bridge power
driver is not difficult if you have the right amplifier. The
LTC6103 and LTC6104 fit the bill. They include dual
sense inputs and a choice of two different output configurations—features that reduce complexity and printed
circuit area.
3V TO 18V
0.1µF
VBATTERY
(4V TO 60V)
VBATTERY
(6V TO 60V)
200Ω
10m
7
6
8
200Ω
5
LTC6103
1
10m
DIFFERENTIAL
OUTPUT =
±2.5V FS (±10A FS)
10m
249Ω
7
6
8
4.99k
4
1µF
LT1790-2.5
+
2
4
249Ω
10m
1
6
2
4.99k
5
LTC6104
VO
2
–
VO = 2.5V ±2V (±10A FS)
4
4.99k
PWM*
PWM*
PWM*
PWM*
IM
IM
DN407 F03
*USE "SIGN-MAGNITUDE" PWM FOR ACCURATE
LOAD CURRENT CONTROL AND MEASUREMENT
Figure 3. LTC6103 Provides Bidirectional H-Bridge
Monitoring with ADC-Friendly Differential Output
DN407 F04
*USE "SIGN-MAGNITUDE" PWM FOR ACCURATE
LOAD CURRENT CONTROL AND MEASUREMENT
Figure 4. LTC6104 Provides Bidirectional H-Bridge
Monitoring with Single-Ended Output
Data Sheet Download
For applications help,
call (408) 432-1900, Ext. 2020
www.linear.com
Linear Technology Corporation
dn407f LT/TP 0107 409K • PRINTED IN THE USA
FAX: (408) 434-0507 ● www.linear.com
© LINEAR TECHNOLOGY CORPORATION 2006
1630 McCarthy Blvd., Milpitas, CA 95035-7417
(408) 432-1900
●
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