Power Electronic Converters

The primary task of power electronics is to process and control the flow of electric energy by supplying voltages and currents in a form that is optimally suited for user loads. Modern power electronic converters are involved in a very broad spectrum of applications like switched-mode power supplies, active power filters, electrical-machine-motion-control, renewable energy conversion systems distributed power generation, flexible AC transmission systems, and vehicular technology, etc.

Power electronic converters can be found wherever there is a need to modify the electrical energy form with classical electronics in which electrical currents and voltage are used to carry information, whereas with power electronics, they carry power. Some examples of uses for power electronic systems are DC/DC converters used in many mobile devices, such as cell phones or PDAs, and AC/DC converters in computers and televisions. Large scale power electronics are used to control hundreds of megawatt of power flow across our nation. Some of those converters are discussed below.

Dual Converter

Dual converter is a combination of a rectifier and inverter in which the conversion of A.C to D.C happens and followed by D.C to A.C where load lies in between. A dual converter can be of a single phase or a three phase. A dual converter consists of two bridges consisting of thyristors in which one for rectifying purpose where alternating current is converted to direct current which can be given to load. Other bridge of thyristors is used for converting D.C to A.C.

Single Phase Dual Converter

 Single phase dual converter uses a single phase as source which is given to converter 1 of dual converter for rectification followed to load.

single phase dual

Principle of Operation:

A.C input given to converter 1 for rectification in this process positive cycle of input is given to   first set of forward biased thyristors which gives a rectified D.C on positive cycle, as well negative cycle is given to set of reverse biased thyristors which gives a D.C on negative cycle completing full wave rectified output can be given to load. During this process converter 2 is blocked using an inductor.  As thyristor only start conducting when current pulse is given to gate and continuous conducting until supply of current is stopped. Output of Thyristor Bridge can be as follows when it is given to different loads.

single phase dual con

As a dual converter also consists conversion of D.C to A.C to make it work converter two is blocked, D.C inputs become load to dc power source conversion.


single phase dual converter

Firing of Thyristors:

To make thyristors conduct, a trigger pulse must be given to its gate simultaneously along with line voltage. A separate gate drive circuit must be added to a dual converter thyristor bridges Gate drive circuit must be equally synchronized with source voltage, any delay causes zero cross jitter and zero frequency fluctuates. To prevent these circuits must be included with phase lock loops and comparators.

Applications of single phase dual converter

  • Speed control and direction control in dc motors.

Speed control and polarity control of dc motor using single phase dual converter

A single phase dual converter can be used in controlling speed and direction of rotation interfacing with microcontroller, combination of four SCR‘s is placed either side of motor and motor is load. These thyristors can be triggered through an optocoupler which is connected to a port of microcontroller.

Rotation of motor can be initialized using optocoupler by setting a set of thyristor to trigger which is placed at one side and change in direction of motor can be achieved by triggering another set of thyristor Variation in speed of motor can be achieved by delayed firing angle of SCR.


Mode selection and speed selection are microcontroller interfaced switches using these switches speed and rotation can be selected.

Single Phase – Three Leg AC/AC Converter

Power electronics is the application of electronics for power conversion. A subcategory of power conversion is the AC to AC conversion. An AC to AC voltage controller is a converter which controls the voltage, current and average power delivered to an AC load from an AC source. There are two types of AC voltage controllers, single and three phase AC controller.

A single phase AC/AC converter is a converter which converts from a fixed AC input voltage into variable AC output voltage with a desired frequency. They are used in practical circuits like light dimmer circuits, speed controls of induction motors and traction motor control etc. There are many existing technologies in single phase AC/AC converters; they are single phase – two legs, three legs and four legs. The single phase – two and four legs converters have some demerits like – they need large number of power devices, large control circuitry, more switching and losses are reduced only half to control the 50% of the output. So, to overcome these demerits present in the conventionally used converters, a better approach is use of single phase-three AC/AC converter.

A single phase – three legs consists of 3 legs and 6 switches. A leg is common for both grid side and load side. A leg performs the rectifier operation and a grid performs the inverter operation. And in this, we use Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) techniques for controlling the converter output. A single phase-three leg converter is shown figure below:

single phase - three leg ac to ac converter Diagram

During the positive half cycle of the supply voltage switches Qg and Qa in rectifier conducts and we get rectified output across the capacitor and for inverter operation in addition to the switches Qg and Qa’, switch Ql in load side leg also triggered and we get ac output across the load. During negative half cycle switches Qa and Qg’ in grid side conducts implying rectified output and for inversion operation in addition to the switches Qa and Qg’, switch Ql’ also triggered and we get ac output across the load. By using PWM method a fixed dc input voltage is supplied to the inverter and a controlled ac output voltage is obtained by adjusting the on and off periods of the inverter devices. The switches in the converter circuit for getting proper operation and also for reducing the harmonics. By varying the value of modulation index we can change the pulse width according to our convenience.

Advantages and Applications of 3 – Leg Converter

  • The DC output voltage across the capacitor is almost doubled compared to the four leg converter.
  • The power rating and voltage of the circuit can be improved.
  • Same output can be obtained with reduced losses & switches. Hence the efficiency and the power factor can be improved.
  • This converter is used in uninterruptable power supply circuits (UPS) and in power electronic for getting four quadrant operations of the drives.