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Navy Electricity and Electronics Training Series (NEETS)
Module 7—Introduction to Solid-State Devices and Power Supplies
Chapter 4:  Pages 4-21 through 4-30

Module 7—Introduction to Solid-State Devices and Power Supplies

Pages i - ix, 1-1 to 1-10, 1-11 to 1-20, 1-21 to 1-30, 1-31 to 1-40,
1-41 to 1-47, 2-1 to 2-10, 2-11 to 2-20, 2-21 to 2-30, 2-31 to 2-40,
2-41 to 2-50, 2-51 to 2-54, 3-1 to 3-10, 3-11 to 3-20, 3-21 to 3-30,
3-31 to 3-40, 3-41 to 3-50, 3-51 to 3-54, 4-1 to 4-10, 4-11 to 4-20,
4-21 to 4-30, 4-31 to 4-40, 4-41 to 4-50, 4-51 to 4-62, Index

 
Eavg) flows through the load resistance. This statement can be clarified by using the formula for XC  in a half-wave and full-wave rectifier. First, you must establish some values for the circuit.
 

Formula - RF Cafe


 

4-21




Formula - RF Cafe


 
As you can see from the calculations, by doubling the frequency of the rectifier, you reduce the impedance of the capacitor by one-half. This allows the ac component to pass through the capacitor more easily. As a result, a full-wave rectifier output is much easier to filter than that of a half-wave rectifier. Remember, the smaller the XC  of the filter capacitor with respect to the load resistance, the better the filtering action. Since
 

Formula - RF Cafe


 
the largest possible capacitor will provide the best filtering. Remember, also, that the load resistance is an important consideration. If load resistance is made small, the load current increases, and the average value of output voltage (Eavg) decreases. The RC discharge time constant is a direct function of the value of the load resistance; therefore, the rate of capacitor voltage discharge is a direct function of the current through the load. The greater the load current, the more rapid the discharge of the capacitor, and the lower the average value of output voltage. For this reason, the simple capacitive filter is seldom used with rectifier circuits that must supply a relatively large load current. Using the simple capacitive filter in conjunction with a full-wave or bridge rectifier provides improved filtering because the increased ripple frequency decreases the capacitive reactance of the filter capacitor.
 
Q14.   What is the most basic type of filter?
 
Q15.   In a capacitor filter, is the capacitor in series or in parallel with the load?
 
Q16.   Is filtering better at a high frequency or at a low frequency?
 
Q17.   Does a filter circuit increase or decrease the average output voltage?
 
Q18.   What determines the rate of discharge of the capacitor in a filter circuit?
 
 

4-22




Q19.   Does low ripple voltage indicate good or bad filtering?
 
Q20.   Is a full-wave rectifier output easier to filter than that of a half-wave rectifier?
 
LC Choke-Input Filter
 
The LC choke-input filter is used primarily in power supplies where voltage regulation is important and where the output current is relatively high and subject to varying load conditions. This filter is used in high power applications such as those found in radars and communication transmitters.
 
Notice in figure 4-19 that this filter consists of an input inductor (L1), or filter choke, and an output filter capacitor (C1). Inductor L1 is placed at the input to the filter and is in series with the output of the rectifier circuit. Since the action of an inductor is to oppose any change in current flow, the inductor tends to keep a constant current flowing to the load throughout the complete cycle of the applied voltage. As a result, the output voltage never reaches the peak value of the applied voltage. Instead, the output voltage approximates the average value of the rectified input to the filter, as shown in the figure. The reactance of the inductor (XL) reduces the amplitude of ripple voltage without reducing the dc output voltage by an appreciable amount. (The dc resistance of the inductor is just a few ohms.)
 

LC choke-input filter - RF Cafe

Figure 4-19.—LC choke-input filter.


 
The shunt capacitor (C1) charges and discharges at the ripple frequency rate, but the amplitude of the ripple voltage (Er) is relatively small because the inductor (L1) tends to keep a constant current flowing from the rectifier circuit to the load. In addition, the reactance of the shunt capacitor (XC) presents a low impedance to the ripple component existing at the output of the filter, and thus shunts the ripple component around the load. The capacitor attempts to hold the output voltage relatively constant at the average value of the voltage.
 
The value of the filter capacitor (C1) must be relatively large to present a low opposition (XC) to the pulsating current and to store a substantial charge. The rate of the charge for the capacitor is limited by the low impedance of the ac source (the transformer), by the small resistance of the diode, and by the counter electromotive force (CEMF) developed by the coil. Therefore, the RC charge time constant is short compared to its discharge time. (This comparison in RC charge and discharge paths is illustrated in
 
 

4-23




views A and B of figure 4-20.) Consequently, when the pulsating voltage is first applied to the LC choke-input filter, the inductor (L1) produces a CEMF which opposes the constantly increasing input voltage. The net result is to effectively prevent the rapid charging of the filter capacitor (C1). Thus, instead of reaching the peak value of the input voltage, C1 only charges to the average value of the input voltage. After the input voltage reaches its peak and decreases sufficiently, the capacitor C1) attempts to discharge through the load resistance RL). C1 will only partially discharge, as indicated in view B of the figure, because of its relatively long discharge time constant. The larger the value of the filter capacitor, the better the filtering action. However, because of physical size, there is a practical limitation to the maximum value of the capacitor.
 

LC choke-input filter (charge and discharge paths). CHARGE PATH - RF Cafe

Figure 4-20A.—LC choke-input filter (charge and discharge paths). CHARGE PATH


 

LC choke-input filter (charge and discharge paths). DISCHARGE PATH - RF Cafe

Figure 4-20B.—LC choke-input filter (charge and discharge paths). DISCHARGE PATH


 
The inductor (also referred to as the filter choke or coil) serves to maintain the current flow to the filter output (RL) at a nearly constant level during the charge and discharge periods of the filter capacitor. The inductor (L1) and the capacitor (C1) form a voltage divider for the ac component (ripple) of the applied input voltage. This is shown in views A and B of figure 4-21. As far as the ripple component is concerned, the inductor offers a high impedance (Z) and the capacitor offers a low impedance (view B). As a result, the ripple component (Er) appearing across the load resistance is greatly attenuated (reduced). The inductance of the filter choke opposes changes in the value of the current flowing through it;
 
 

4-24




therefore, the average value of the voltage produced across the capacitor contains a much smaller value of ripple component (Er) than the value of ripple produced across the choke.
 

LC choke-input filter - RF Cafe

Figure 4-21.—LC choke-input filter.


 
Now look at figure 4-22 which illustrates a complete cycle of operation for a full-wave rectifier circuit used to supply the input voltage to the filter. The rectifier voltage is developed across the capacitor (C1). The ripple voltage at the output of the filter is the alternating component of the input voltage reduced in amplitude by the filter section. Each time the anode of a diode goes positive with respect to the cathode, the diode conducts and C1 charges. Conduction occurs twice during each cycle for a full-wave rectifier. For a 60-hertz supply, this produces a 120-hertz ripple voltage. Although the diodes alternate (one conducts while the other is nonconducting), the filter input voltage is not steady. As the anode voltage of the conducting diode increases (on the positive half of the cycle), capacitor C1 charges-the charge being limited by the impedance of the secondary transformer winding, the diode's forward (cathode-to-anode) resistance, and the counter electromotive force developed by the choke. During the nonconducting interval (when the anode voltage drops below the capacitor charge voltage), C1 discharges through the load resistor (RL). The components in the discharge path have a long time constant; thus, C1 discharges more slowly than it charges.
 
 

4-25




Filtering action of the LC choke-input filter - RF Cafe

Figure 4-22.—Filtering action of the LC choke-input filter.


 
The choke (L1) is usually a large value, from 1 to 20 henries, and offers a large inductive reactance to the 120-hertz ripple component produced by the rectifier. Therefore, the effect that L1 has on the charging of the capacitor (C1) must be considered. Since L1 is connected in series with the parallel branch consisting of C1 and RL, a division of the ripple (ac) voltage and the output (dc) voltage occurs. The greater the impedance of the choke, the less the ripple voltage that appears across C1 and the output. The dc output voltage is fixed mainly by the dc resistance of the choke.
 
Now that you have read how the LC choke-input filter functions, it will be discussed with actual component values applied. For simplicity, the input frequency at the primary of the transformer will be 117 volts 60 hertz. Both half-wave and full-wave rectifier circuits will be used to provide the input to the filter.
 
Starting with the half-wave configuration shown in figure 4-23, the basic parameters are: With 117 volts ac rms applied to the T1 primary, 165 volts ac peak is available at the secondary [(117 V) x (1.414) = 165 V]. You should recall that the ripple frequency of this half-wave rectifier is 60 hertz. Therefore, the capacitive reactance of C1 is:
 

Formula - RF Cafe


 

4-26




Half-wave rectifier with an LC choke-input filter - RF Cafe

Figure 4-23.—Half-wave rectifier with an LC choke-input filter.


 
This means that the capacitor (C1) offers 265 ohms of opposition to the ripple current. Note, however, that the capacitor offers an infinite impedance to direct current. The inductive reactance of L1 is:
 

Formula - RF Cafe


 
The above calculation shows that L1 offers a relatively high opposition (3.8 kilohms) to the ripple in comparison to the opposition offered by C1 (265 ohms). Thus, more ripple voltage will be dropped across L1 than across C1. In addition, the impedance of C1 (265 ohms) is relatively low with respect to the resistance of the load (10 kilohms). Therefore, more ripple current flows through C1 than the load. In other words, C1 shunts most of the ac component around the load.
 
Let's go a step further and redraw the filter circuit so that you can see the voltage divider action. Refer to view A of figure 4-24. Remember, the 165 volts peak 60 hertz provided by the rectifier consists of both an ac and a dc component. This first discussion will be about the ac component. From the figure, you see that the capacitor (C1) offers the least opposition (265 ohms) to the ac component. Therefore, the greater amount of ac will flow through C1. (The heavy line in view B indicates the ac current flow through the capacitor.) Thus the capacitor bypasses, or shunts, most of the ac around the load.
 
 

4-27




Ac component in an LC choke-input filter - RF Cafe

Figure 4-24.—Ac component in an LC choke-input filter.


 
By combining the XC  of C1 and the resistance of RL into an equivalent circuit (view B), you will have an equivalent impedance of 265 ohms.
 
As a formula;
 

Formula - RF Cafe


 
You now have a voltage divider as illustrated in figure 4-25. You should see that because of the impedance ratios, a large amount of ripple voltage is dropped across L1, and a substantially smaller amount is dropped across C1 and RL. You can further increase the ripple voltage across L1 by increasing the inductance (XL = 2πfL).
 
 

Equivalent circuit of an LC choke-input filter - RF Cafe

Figure 4-25.—Equivalent circuit of an LC choke-input filter.



4-28




Now let's discuss the dc component of the applied voltage. Remember, a capacitor offers an infinite (∞) impedance to the flow of direct current. The dc component, therefore, must flow through RL and L1. As far as the dc is concerned, the capacitor does not exist. The coil and the load are therefore in series with each other. The dc resistance of a filter choke is very low (50 ohms average). Consequently, most of the dc component is developed across the load and a very small amount of the dc voltage is dropped across the coil, as shown in figure 4-26.
 

Dc component in an LC choke-input filter - RF Cafe

Figure 4-26.—Dc component in an LC choke-input filter.


 
As you may have noticed, both the ac and the dc components flow through L1. Because it is frequency sensitive, the coil provides a large resistance to ac and a small resistance to dc. In other words, the coil opposes any change in current. This property makes the coil a highly desirable filter component. Note that the filtering action of the LC choke-input filter is improved when the filter is used in conjunction with a full-wave rectifier, as shown in figure 4-27. This is due to the decrease in the XC  of the filter capacitor and the increase in the XL of the choke. Remember, ripple frequency of a full-wave rectifier is twice that of a half-wave rectifier. For 60-hertz input, the ripple will be 120 hertz. The XC  of C1 and the XL of L1 are calculated as follows:
 
 

4-29




Formula - RF Cafe

 

Full-wave rectifier with an LC choke-input filter - RF Cafe

Figure 4-27.—Full-wave rectifier with an LC choke-input filter.

 


When the XC  of a filter capacitor is decreased, it provides less opposition to the flow of ac. The greater the ac flow through the capacitor, the lower the flow through the load. Conversely, the larger the XL of the choke, the greater the amount of ac ripple developed across the choke; consequently, less ripple is developed across the load and better filtering is obtained.
 
Q21.   In an LC choke-input filter, what prevents the rapid charging of the capacitor?
 
Q22.   What is the range of values usually chosen for a choke?
 
Q23.   If the impedance of the choke is increased, will the ripple amplitude increase or decrease?
 
FAILURE ANALYSIS OF AN LC CHOKE-INPUT FILTER.—The filter capacitors are subject to open circuits, short circuits, and excessive leakage; the series inductor is subject to open windings and, occasionally, shorted turns or a short circuit to the core.
 
 

4-30



Introduction to Matter, Energy, and Direct Current, Introduction to Alternating Current and Transformers, Introduction to Circuit Protection, Control, and Measurement, Introduction to Electrical Conductors, Wiring Techniques, and Schematic Reading, Introduction to Generators and Motors, Introduction to Electronic Emission, Tubes, and Power Supplies, Introduction to Solid-State Devices and Power Supplies, Introduction to Amplifiers, Introduction to Wave-Generation and Wave-Shaping Circuits, Introduction to Wave Propagation, Transmission Lines, and Antennas, Microwave Principles, Modulation Principles, Introduction to Number Systems and Logic Circuits, Introduction to Microelectronics, Principles of Synchros, Servos, and Gyros, Introduction to Test Equipment, Radio-Frequency Communications Principles, Radar Principles, The Technician's Handbook, Master Glossary, Test Methods and Practices, Introduction to Digital Computers, Magnetic Recording, Introduction to Fiber Optics

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