How good is a Power Ring capacitor?
The Power Ring design results in lower losses, lower inductance and a higher ripple current rating than traditional film capacitor technology. The ring shape provides extremely low internal losses (ESR) and dramatically lowers the inductive properties (ESL). SBE’s Power Ring capacitors show ESR values as low as 0.15 mOhm for a 1000µF – 600V DC Link.
The graph of temperature versus ripple current (above) illustrates the huge improvement in thermal performance delivered by the Power Ring design versus a conventional array of film capacitors. This performance improvement translates to a more efficient use of microfarads where high ripple current is an issue. Design can be optimised for current-handling rather than having to “bulk up” on capacitance only for current handling survival and lifetime requirements – a strategy which has the side-effects of increased cost and size.
How do they do it?
The ultra-low ESR is achieved by shortening the current path between the electrodes. SBE’s patent-pending segmented end spray approach divides the metal end spray into “floating” segments (see diagram). Unlike conventional capacitors, the loss between film and end spray metalisation is so low that current in the end spray can be the dominant loss contributor. The capacitor element ESR can be as low as 50μΩ and the ESR of the end spray/braid can be less than 10μΩ.
Power ring v snubber capacitor
A Power Ring DC link capacitor with integrated bus bar offers a loop inductance that can eliminate the need for a snubber circuit. Snubber capacitors get very hot since they are connected to the IGBT pins (often the hottest point other than under the die itself) and are almost never directly cooled due to the difficulty of connecting cooling plates. Their small size and poor cooling mean snubber capacitors are usually the weak link in the reliability chain for an inverter.
As usable operating voltage increases there can be a tendency to add a snubber to get every bit of safe operating voltage out of a system. The integrated Power Ring capacitor is a more effective method of reducing overshoot, and therefore increasing safe operating voltage, without compromising reliability or system lifetime.
A cooler DC link capacitor means a longer lifetime. A lower ESL means reduced overshoot and undershoot which reduces stress. Removing the requirement for a snubber capacitor means lower costs, a smaller design and a longer lifetime.