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Digital phase converter

Digital phase converter

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A digital phase converter creates a three phase power supply from a single phase supply. A digital signal processor
Digital signal processor
A digital signal processor is a specialized microprocessor with an architecture optimized for the fast operational needs of digital signal processing.-Typical characteristics:...

 (DSP) is used to control power electronic devices to generate a third voltage, which along with the single-voltage from the supply creates a balanced three-phase power supply
Three-phase electric power
Three-phase electric power is a common method of alternating-current electric power generation, transmission, and distribution. It is a type of polyphase system and is the most common method used by grids worldwide to transfer power. It is also used to power large motors and other heavy loads...


AC power
Alternating current
In alternating current the movement of electric charge periodically reverses direction. In direct current , the flow of electric charge is only in one direction....

 from the utility is converted to DC
Direct current
Direct current is the unidirectional flow of electric charge. Direct current is produced by such sources as batteries, thermocouples, solar cells, and commutator-type electric machines of the dynamo type. Direct current may flow in a conductor such as a wire, but can also flow through...

, then back to AC. The power switching devices used in this process are insulated gate bipolar transistors (IGBT).

In one type of digital phase converter the input rectifier consists of IGBTs in series with inductors. The IGBTs are controlled by software in the DSP to draw current from the single-phase line in a sinusoidal
Sine wave
The sine wave or sinusoid is a mathematical function that describes a smooth repetitive oscillation. It occurs often in pure mathematics, as well as physics, signal processing, electrical engineering and many other fields...

 fashion, charging capacitors on a constant voltage DC bus. Because the incoming current is sinusoidal, there are no significant harmonics generated back onto the line as there are with the rectifiers found in most VFDs. Thecontrolled rectifier input allows power factor correction.

The output inverter consists of IGBTs that draw on the power of the DC bus to create an AC voltage. A voltage created by power switching devices like IGBTs is not sinusoidal. It is a pulse-width modulated
Pulse-width modulation
Pulse-width modulation , or pulse-duration modulation , is a commonly used technique for controlling power to inertial electrical devices, made practical by modern electronic power switches....

 (PWM) waveform very high in harmonic distortion. This PWM voltage is then passed through an inductor/capacitor filter system that produces a sine wave voltage with less than 3% total harmonic distortion
Total harmonic distortion
The total harmonic distortion, or THD, of a signal is a measurement of the harmonic distortion present and is defined as the ratio of the sum of the powers of all harmonic components to the power of the fundamental frequency...

 (standards for computer grade power allow up to 5% THD). By contrast, VFDs generate a PWM voltage that limits their versatility and makes them unsuitable for many applications. Software in the DSP continually monitors and adjusts this generated voltage to produce a balanced three-phase output at all times. It also provides protective functions by shutting down in case of utility over-voltage and under-voltage or a fault. With the ability to adjust to changing conditions and maintain voltage balance, a digital phase converter can safely and efficiently operate virtually any type of three-phase equipment or any number of multiple loads.

The solid state design results in a relatively small package with no moving parts except for small cooling fans. The converters operate at 95-98% efficiency . When the converter is energized with no load, it consumes very little power.

See also

  • Rotary phase converter
    Rotary phase converter
    A rotary phase converter, abbreviated RPC, is an electrical machine that produces three-phase electric power from single-phase electric power. This allows three phase loads to run using generator or utility-supplied single-phase electric power....

  • Variable frequency drive
    Variable frequency drive
    A variable-frequency drive is a system for controlling the rotational speed of an alternating current electric motor by controlling the frequency of the electrical power supplied to the motor. A variable frequency drive is a specific type of adjustable-speed drive...

  • Phase converter
    Phase converter
    A phase converter is a device that converts electric power provided as single phase to multiple phase or vice-versa. The majority of phase converters are used to produce three phase electric power from a single-phase source, thus allowing the operation of three-phase equipment at a site that only...

  • Three phase power