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Characterise power control devices

Posted: 29 Jan 2009     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:characterisation  IGBTs  MOSFETS 

Electrical-mechanical controllers depend on power semiconductors. Motor controls of all sorts—robotics, switching power supplies, welding and induction heating systems—all need a ready way for their power to be controlled. For the most efficient design, the semiconductors and amplifiers that drive these devices must be accurately characterised by the type of load they will be expected to handle.

Often, this characterisation is done with whatever equipment is handy in the lab. Difficulties with the measurements or instrumentation can reduce the accuracy of the results, increasing risk or even delay the project. On the input side, IGBTs and MOSFETS require a relatively high voltage at their gate, a voltage that most signal generators have problems providing without the complexity, delay and potential errors involved in using an external amplifier. On the measurement side, MOSFETS and IGBT characterisation requires proper differential probes and current probes for best accuracy.

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