Hackernoon logoDriving Circuit and Short Circuit Protection of IGBT by@lily-hathaway

Driving Circuit and Short Circuit Protection of IGBT

The insulated gate bipolar transistor (hereinafter referred to as IGBT) is a composite device of MOSFET and GTR. It is an ideal switch device to replace GTR, which is widely used at present with its ability to turn off, and it’s also widely used in all kinds of solid-state power supply. The drive circuit is very important to IGBT, but improper control may cause damage, such as IGB damage due to overcurrent, and affects the performance of the whole machine.
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Lily Hathaway

editor at Kynix Electronic

The insulated gate bipolar transistor (hereinafter referred to as IGBT) is a composite device of MOSFET and GTR. Thus it has the advantages of MOSFET and GTR, it is an ideal switch device to replace GTR, which is widely used at present with its ability to turn off, and it’s also widely used in all kinds of solid-state power supply.

I. What is IGBT?

The insulated gate bipolar transistor (hereinafter referred to as IGBT) is a composite device of MOSFET and GTR. Thus it has the advantages of MOSFET, including fast operation speed, high switching frequency, high input impedance, simple drive circuit, and good thermal temperature; it also contains the advantages of GTR, like large current-carrying capacity and high blocking voltage. It is an ideal switch device to replace GTR, which is widely used at present with its ability to turn off and is also widely used in all kinds of solid-state power supply.

And it requires a reasonable drive circuit, but its improper control may cause damage, such as IGBT damage due to overcurrent, and affects the performance of the whole machine. In a word, the drive circuit is very important to IGBT. So this paper mainly discusses the driving and short-circuit protection of IGBT, based on the analysis of its working principle, then designs and simulates the overcurrent protection of the drive circuit.

II. The Driving Requirement of IGBT

Driving Requirement

IGBT is a voltage-type control device. To make IGBT turn on and off safely and reliably, the driving circuit must meet the following conditions.  And the gate capacitance of IGBT is much larger than that of MOSFET. To increase the switching speed, it is necessary to have a suitable gate bias voltage and gate series resistance.

Gate Voltage

In any case, the gate drive voltage in the open state can not exceed the limited value (generally 20V) given by the parameter table, and the optimal gate forward-bias voltage is 15 V ±1.5V. This value is sufficient to allow IGBT to reach saturation and then getting conduction, which can minimize the conduction loss. In the case of gate voltage is cutting off with the value of zero, to reduce the turn-off time and improve the withstand voltage and anti-interference ability of IGBT, a reverse voltage of -5 ~ -15 V can be added between the gate and the source electrode when the IGBT is in a blocking state.

Gate Series Resistance Core

The selection of appropriate gate series resistance (RG) is very important for the drive of IGBT. The effect of RG on switching loss is shown in Fig.1.

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Fig. 1 The Effect of RG on Switching Loss

It is the dynamic current of charging and discharging the input capacitance rather than the DC current that is required in a static state, and the input impedance of IGBT is up to 109 ~ 1011. In this case, the DC gain can reach 108 ~ 109, almost without any power consumption.

To decrease the steepness of the front and rear edges of the control pulse, prevent oscillation and reduce the voltage tip pulse with a large IGBT collector, it is necessary to add a gate series resistor RG. When the RG increases, the on-off time will prolong and the energy consumption of the IGBT will increase; in turn, the RG reduces, the di/dt will increase and may damage IGBT.

Thus, according to the current capacity and voltage rating, and switching frequency of IGBT, it is necessary to select a suitable RG, usually from dozens of ohms to hundreds of ohms. To get a more specific value of RG, it is suggested to refer to the device manual.

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Fig.2 Main Circuit of Inverter Power Supply

Requirements for Driving Power

The switching process of IGBT consumes a certain amount of power from the driving power supply. The difference between the gate forward bias voltage and the reverse bias voltage is the △VGE; working frequency is f, the gate capacitance is CGE; and the minimum peak current of the power supply is:

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Overcurrent Protection for IGBT

The overcurrent protection of IGBT is limiting the short-circuit current and its I-V track to the short circuit safe working area when the device overflows, and the IGBT is turned off before the device is damaged to avoid the damage of the switch tube. When the upper and lower arms conducting, the power supply voltage is almost all added to the two ends of the switch, at this time, the larger the short circuit current is, the smaller the saturation voltage drop will be, during this time, the device would be damaged due to the large current.

III. The Overcurrent Protection Analysis of IGBT

Based on the above analysis, an IGBT drive circuit that contains isolated optocoupler and over-current protection has been put forward in this article, as shown in Fig.3.

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Fig.3 The Drive and Overcurrent Protection Circuit of IGBT 

In Fig.3, the high-speed optocoupler 6N137 realizes the electrical isolation of the input and output signals, which is suitable for high-frequency applications. The main drive circuit adopts push-pull output mode, which effectively reduces the output impedance of the drive circuit, improves the driving ability, and makes it suitable for the drive of high power IGBT.

The over-current protection circuit uses the principle of desaturation of the collector. When an over-current occurs, the IGBT will be turn off. The V1, V3and V4 constitute the driving pulse amplifier circuit; V1 and R5 constitute an emitter follower. The emitter follower provides a fast current source, which reduces the turn-off time. Using the collector desaturation principle, D1, R6, R7, and V2 form a short-circuit signal detection circuit. D1 is a fast recovery diode, to prevent the high voltage on the collector from running into the driving circuit when IGBT is turned off.

In order to prevent the power device from being misled by static electricity, bidirectional voltage regulators D3 and D4 are connected in parallel between the gate sources.

Normal

When the control circuit sends a high-level signal, the optocoupler 6N137 turns on, V1, V2 turns off, V3 turns on and V4 turns off. And the drive circuit provides IGBT a driving voltage of +15V to turn it on.

When the control circuit sends a low level signal, the optocoupler 6N137 turns off, V2 and V3 conduct, and the drive circuit provides a voltage of -5v to IBGT, making IGBT shut down.

Overcurrent

When a short-circuit fault exists, the voltage of 15V is almost all added to the IGBT. At this time, the voltage of V2 cuts off in the short circuit detection circuit, and the electric potential of point A depends on the partial voltage of D1, R6, R7, and VCES.  When the main circuit works normally and the IGBT is on, the A point is kept low, which is lower than the B point potential. All A1 output low level, this time V5 cuts off, and the C point is high level.

So when operating normally, the input to the optocoupler 6N137 is always consistent with the output. When overcurrent occurs, the IGBT collector is desaturated, A point potential rises, when it is higher than B potential ( the setting potential), that is, when the current exceeds the designed fixed value, the A1 overturns and outputs a high level, meanwhile, V5 is switched on, thereby making C in a low potential state. The input signal to the optocoupler 6N137 is always low level regardless of whether the control circuit is sent to a high level or a low level to turn off the power tube. Thus, over-current protection is achieved until the circuit is troubleshot and then restarted.

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Fig. 4 Strong Driving Circuit of IGBT with Short-Circuit Protection

IV. Simulation and Experiment

Input to the drive circuit with a high level of 15V and a low level of -5V square wave signal. The output waveform of IGBT is shown in Fig.5 

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Fig.5 IGBT Output Signal

According to the above principle and analysis, the actual output waveform of the circuit is shown in Fig.6 

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Fig.6 Actual Circuit Output Waveform

Conclusion

  1. Providing -5V and +15V driving voltage for IGBT to ensure IGBT's turn on and off.
  2. Having over-current protection to prevent the IGBT from being damaged when the current is overcurrent.
  3. Using in a wide range because the circuit can dynamically adjust the maximum current according to the load.
  4. Adopting discrete components as the driving circuits to reduce the cost of the whole system.

Previously published at https://www.kynix.com/Blog/Basic-IGBT-Tutorial-Short-circuit-Protection-and-Driving-Circuit.html

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