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AN280
Application note
Controlling voltage transients in full-bridge driver applications
By Thomas Hopkins
Introduction
In applications that involve fast switching of inductive loads, designers must consider the
voltage transients that are generated in such applications.To insure a reliable design, the
voltage transients must be limited to a level that is within the safe operating conditions of the
switching device. This application note discusses the sources of voltage transients in fullbridge applications and techniques that can be used to limit these overvoltage conditions to
safe levels. Special attention is given to applications using monolithic implementations of
full-bridge circuits like the STMicroelectronics L6201, L6202 and L6203. In this note the
example circuits generally show the L6203, but the same circuit can be used with the L6201
and the L6202.
November 2012
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Contents
AN280
Contents
1
Maximum ratings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
2
Source of voltage transients . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
3
Power supply filtering . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
3.1
4
Operating voltages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Snubber design considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
4.1
Current in the snubber circuit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
5
Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
6
Revision history . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
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List of figures
List of figures
Figure 1.
Figure 2.
Figure 3.
Figure 4.
Figure 5.
Figure 6.
Figure 7.
Figure 8.
Figure 9.
Figure 10.
Figure 11.
Figure 12.
Figure 13.
DC motor drive circuit using the L6203. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Output switching waveform for the L6203 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Parasitic wiring inductances in DC motor drive circuit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Enable input and motor current for examples . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Supply voltage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
V01 - V02 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Supply voltage with 0.2 µF bypass capacitor on supply pin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
V01 - V02 with 0.2 µF bypass capacitor on supply pin. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
RC snubber circuit on output . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Supply voltage with snubber . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
V01 - V02 with snubber . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Turn-on 2.0 A/div . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Turn-off 2.0 A/div . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
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Maximum ratings
1
AN280
Maximum ratings
The maximum voltage rating for the bridge driver can be derived from the maximum ratings
of the devices used in the output stage and are generally the BVceo or BVdss of the power
devices. In addition to the maximum allowable voltage across the output device, additional
limits may be needed on the maximum output voltage above supply or below ground,
depending on the implementation of the output stage.
As an example of a full-bridge circuit, consider the STMicroelectronics L6201, L6202 and
L6203. These devices are full-bridge drivers implemented with DMOS transistors on a
monolithic structure. Using these devices full-bridge drive circuits, like shown in Figure 1,
are easily implemented. The device has a maximum rating for the supply voltage of 60 V,
which implies a maximum BVdss for the output devices of 60 V. In addition, due to the
monolithic implementation, the voltage between the two output terminals must not exceed
60 V. Therefore, the maximum ratings that must be considered for the application are:
●
Vsupply: 60 V
●
Vds any output: 60 V
●
V01 - V02: 60 V
Similar maximum ratings exists for any full-bridge application, with the exception of the
differential output voltage limit, which doesn’t exist for discrete implementations.
Figure 1.
DC motor drive circuit using the L6203
AM15168v1
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2
Source of voltage transients
Source of voltage transients
To protect against the overvoltage that may occur as a result of the inductive property of the
load, voltage clamps are normally employed to limit the voltage across the output devices. In
bridge applications these clamps are normally a diode bridge that clamps the voltage to one
diode drop above supply and one diode drop below ground. However, if the diode switches
slower than the transistor, there is a short time where neither the transistor nor the diode is
conducting and the voltage rise is limited only by the capacitance on the node. The result is
that a voltage overshoot occurs during the time before the diode turns-on. When the bridge
is built with DMOS power transistors, the intrinsic body diode is often used as the clamp.
This is true for the L6201, L6202 and L6203. As can be seen in the Figure 2, the turn-off
time of the DMOS device in the L6203 is in the range of 25 to 50 ns while the turn-on time of
the intrinsic drain to source diode is in the range of 150 ns. This difference in switching time
is characteristic of many DMOS devices.
Figure 2.
Output switching waveform for the L6203
AM15169v1
The second main factor contributing to the transients is the parasitic inductance in the wiring
or printed circuit board layout. Figure 3 shows the parasitic inductances in the DC motor
application. When the current flowing in these parasitic inductances is rapidly switched, the
inductive property of the wire causes a voltage transient. When large currents are rapidly
switched, as with DMOS transistors, large voltage transients can be induced across even
small parasitic inductances. For an inductive load driven by an H-bridge the change of
current in the power supply lead is equal to twice the load current when the bridge is
switched off or the bridge is switched from one diagonal pair of transistors being on the other
pair. The time that it takes to switch the current is essentially the turn-off time of the output
device. In this case the resulting voltage across the inductance is given by the equation:
Equation 1
Il di- = L ⋅ 2 ⋅ ---------V = L ⋅ ---Toff
dt
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Source of voltage transients
Figure 3.
AN280
Parasitic wiring inductances in DC motor drive circuit
AM15170v1
In fast switching applications, using the L6202, where the switching time is as short as 25
ns, the induced voltage spike can become quite large. For example if the DC motor in
Figure 3 was driven with 4 A and the bridge was switched off, a parasitic inductance of only
15 nH produces a 5 V spike. Since the current is reversed in both the supply and ground
leads the device can see a 10 V spike between the power supply pin and chip ground, if the
inductance of both wires are the same.
As a design example, consider a DC motor driver shown in Figure 1 with the following
system characteristics:
●
Supply voltage: max 46 V, min 38 V
●
Peak motor current: 5 A
●
Chopping frequency: 50 kHz
Figure 4.
Enable input and motor current for examples
AM15171v1
For evaluation, the motor is driven with a peak current of 4 A. Figure 4 shows the input
signal for the L6202 on the Enable pin and the motor current used in the evaluation.
Here the bridge is energized and the load current is allowed to build up to 4 A. When the 4 A
peak is reached, the bridge is disabled and the current decays through the intrinsic diodes in
the DMOS power stage. All figures in the remainder of this note are taken under these
operating conditions.
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3
Power supply filtering
Power supply filtering
To reduce the effect of the wiring inductance a good high frequency capacitor can be placed
on the board near the bridge circuit to absorb the small amount of inductive energy in the
leads. It should be noted that this capacitor is usually required in addition to an electrolytic
capacitor, which has poor performance at high frequencies.
3.1
Operating voltages
Figure 5.
Supply voltage
AM15172v1
Figure 5 and Figure 6 show the spike on the power supply pin of the L6203 and the output
pins when the bridge was disabled. These waveforms were present when the device was
mounted on a printed circuit board where reasonable care was taken in the layout. When a
0.2 µF polyester capacitor was connected between the supply and ground pin of the L6203
the voltage spike on the power supply was significantly reduced, as shown in Figure 7.
Figure 6.
V01 - V02
AM15173v1
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Power supply filtering
Figure 7.
AN280
Supply voltage with 0.2 µF bypass capacitor on supply pin
AM15174v1
Figure 8.
V01 - V02 with 0.2 µF bypass capacitor on supply pin
AM15175v1
Looking at the voltage waveform at the output terminals of the L6202, shown in Figure 8, a
large spike is still present. The worst case spike is measured between the output terminals
of the device (Vout1 - Vout2) since the spikes above the supply and below ground are both
present. After the voltage spike on the power supply was eliminated, the transients on the
output must be related to the mismatch of switching times between the diodes and power
transistors. To control these spikes two possible alternatives are present
1.
use faster diodes
2.
use an external circuit to slow the voltage rise time across the output when the
transistors are turned off
Schottky diodes externally connected to the L6203 would more closely match the switching
time of the DMOS power transistors, but they are expensive and require additional board
space.
Slowing down the output voltage rise time can be accomplished by connecting a snubber
network across the output terminals of the device. Figure 9 shows the connection for a RC
snubbing circuit used with the L6203. With properly selected values the slope of the voltage
waveform can be limited to where the diodes have sufficient time to turn on and clamp the
remaining inductive energy.
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4
Snubber design considerations
Snubber design considerations
The function of the snubber network is to limit the rate of change of the voltage across the
motor (output terminals of the L6203) when one of the DMOS devices is turned off. Using
the RC snubbing circuit shown in Figure 9, the rate of change of the voltage on the output is
dominated by the capacitor while the resistor is used primarily to limit the peak current
flowing through the power transistor when it turns on.
Figure 9.
RC snubber circuit on output
AM15176v1
The time constant of the motor current is much longer than the switching time, due to the
inductance of the motor. At the time of switching the DC motor can be assumed to be a
constant current generator equal to the peak current at switching. If this current is switched
into the snubber, the voltage across the snubber network jumps to a value equal to the
snubber resistance times the motor current. After the initial step, the rate of change is limited
by the motor current charging the snubber capacitor. To properly size the snubber network
the resistor is selected such that the maximum motor current produces a voltage less than
the minimum power supply voltage. If the resistor is larger than this value, the snubber is
ineffective since the capacitor doesn’t limit the voltage rise until the voltage has become
greater than the power supply. For the design example, the maximum resistance for the
snubber is given by the equation:
Equation 2
V smin
38V
R max = -------------- = ----------- = 7.6 ohm
I peak
5A
The snubber capacitor is calculated from the peak current and the target rise time. The
capacitance is given by the equation:
Equation 3
dt
150ns
C = Ipeak ------ = 5A ----------------- = 0.015 μF
dv
50V
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Snubber design considerations
AN280
When the snubber network is installed in the application the voltage transients on the
terminals of the L6203 are greatly reduced, as shown in Figure 11. The drawback of a
snubber network of this type is that a current spike flows into the transistor when it is
switched on as the capacitor is discharged. The theoretical peak value of this spike is given
by the equation:
Equation 4
V smax
42V
- = --------------------- = 5.6 A
I = --------------R
7.5ohm
Figure 10. Supply voltage with snubber
AM15177v1
Figure 11. V01 - V02 with snubber
AM15178v1
This peak current flowing in the snubber is added to the load current when the device is
turned on and the total peak current in the transistor is the sum of the snubber circuit current
plus the load current. In practice, the peak current measured is usually much less than the
calculated peak, due to the capacitors internal resistance and the resistor inductance.
Figure 12 and Figure 13 show the peak current in the snubber network in the design
example.
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AN280
4.1
Snubber design considerations
Current in the snubber circuit
Figure 12. Turn-on 2.0 A/div
AM15179v1
The power dissipated in the snubber resistor is the sum of the dissipation during the turn-on
and turn-off of the bridge. The resistor dissipation is:
Equation 5
2
2
Pd = ( I1 ⋅ R ⋅ DC ) + ( I2 ⋅ R ⋅ DC )
where
●
I1 = current at turn-on
●
I2 = current at turn-off
●
R = snubber resistor
●
DC = duty cycle of current flow
For the design example the power dissipation, not considering the duty cycle is:
Equation 6
2
2
·
·
Pd = ( ( 2.5 ) ⋅ 7.5 ⋅ 0.01 ) + ( ( 5 ) ⋅ 7.5 ⋅ 0.01 ) = 0.469 + 1.875 = 2.344W
If the device is chopping for only a portion of the time the dissipation in the resistor is
reduced.
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Snubber design considerations
AN280
Figure 13. Turn-off 2.0 A/div
AM15180v1
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AN280
5
Conclusion
Conclusion
With the 0.2 µF bypass capacitor and the snubber circuit in place the voltage transients
measured in the application have been limited to within safe values for the L6202. As shown
in Figure 10 and Figure 11, the power supply voltage, the voltage across each of the DMOS
transistors and the voltage across the output of the bridge (Vout1 - Vout2) are all within the
maximum rating of the device with some margin.
To insure reliable performance of an H-bridge drive circuit, the designer must insure that the
device operates within the maximum ratings of the device(s) used in the circuit. One of the
critical parameters to consider is the maximum voltage capability of the devices. To maintain
the reliability, the voltage transients due to switching inductive loads must be maintained
within the ratings of the device. Two techniques used to control the voltage transients in fast
switching applications are proper bypass filtering of the power supply and snubbing the
outputs to control voltage rise times. Using these two techniques the voltage transients in a
DMOS bridge application can be controlled to within safe levels.
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Revision history
6
AN280
Revision history
Table 1.
Document revision history
Date
Revision
24-Jan-2004
1
Initial release.
13-Jul-2004
2
Changed title in cover page.
3
Minor text changes.
Added references to the L6201 and L6202 devices.
Revised Equation 1.
07-Nov-2012
14/15
Changes
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AN280
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