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Gate Drive System for Power-electronic Configurations Disclosure Number: IPCOM000236065D
Publication Date: 2014-Apr-04
Document File: 3 page(s) / 92K

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System of control high power semiconductors in high voltage configurations by a simple, robust and reliable solution.

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Date: April 3, 2014

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Gate Drive System for Power-electronic Configurations


System to control high power semiconductors in high voltage configurations by a simple, robust and reliable solution.


High Power Inverters use power transistors like MOS-FETs or IGBTs. In two- or multi-level configurations two or more power switches are in serial connection and therefore the control signal must be transferred to the different power switches on high voltage potentials by a system, which can handle this high voltages. This so called Gate Drive System must transfer the command signals and the power to control the power semiconductors.

Gate drivers are usually provided between a logic circuit and high power transistors
The logic circuit is generating a switching signal for the power transistor in order to enable high switching frequencies for the power transistor and to reduce power loss during switching of the power transistor. Gate drivers can be implemented as single or half bridge units.

High voltage gate drivers are often realized as single gate drivers because of their high creepage distances. In this case, every gate driver needs its own logical core e.g. FPGA. As a consequence of the single board two fibers to every gate driver are needed: one for firing pulses and one for the feedback-signal. However, the disadvantage of this is that it is expensive and the reliability of using two fibers isn't very high.

3.New solution

In order to overcome the disadvantages in prior art when using high voltage gate drivers, an adapted gate drive system has been developed (Fig. 1). The gate drive system consists of a central board and additional gate driver boards. Every gate driver board is designed for a half bridge configuration. To cover all different gate setups for different IGBTs an interface board will be used to solve this in a simple way without different versions of gate drivers.

The final connection to the IGBT is realized by a flexible printed circuit board (PCB).

With this topology we use only one pair of fiber to control several IGBTs, to give a feedback signal, to measure voltages, currents, temperatures etc. For all these tasks only one central core (e.g. FPGA) is needed.

© Copyright 2014 ABB Technology Ltd, Affolternstrasse 44, CH-8050 Zurich, Switzerland. All rights reserved.

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Date: April 3, 2014

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Interface Board Top


Gate Driver

Interface Board Bot