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An Introductory Power Electronics Course Laboratory

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.82.1 - 4.82.7

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Paper Authors

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Donald Zinger

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1333


Donald S. Zinger Northern Illinois University


Introductory power electronic courses often do not have a laboratory component included with them. Student learning, however, tends to be enhanced by including a laboratory. A set of laboratory experiments that are closely tied to the introductory course is developed. Necessary modifications to the lecture components are discussed. Surveys have shown that the students have found the laboratory useful in their understanding of the course material.


Conversion of power using electronics switching circuits has become widely accepted. Using power switches electrical energy can be converted efficiently using compact packages. Because of the increased acceptance of power electronic circuits, courses in power electronics have been added to the curriculum of many schools 1.

Typically introductory power electronics courses are offered without a laboratory experience. Power electronic laboratories are often offered as an independent course. Such a course structure is implied with the power electronics curriculum suggested as a result of an NSF workshop on power electronics 1. The majority of engineering students, however, are active, visual, and sensing learners 2,3 . A laboratory experience that would allow students to visualize the concepts of the course as well as see practical applications of the theory would be beneficial to such students. Laboratories included in the main course, as opposed to an auxiliary laboratory course, have the advantage of reinforcing the main concepts as they are presented.

This paper discusses a series of laboratory exercises that are included in an introductory power electronics course. The laboratory developed consists of various steps in the design of a power electronic converter. Each of the steps includes some of the basic concepts described in lecture. To facilitate the laboratory it is necessary to coordinate the lectures with the experiment which may require changing the order in which the material is presented.

Laboratory Experiments

The laboratories included in the course were developed to allow the student to work through various stages of designing a dc to dc buck converter. A general schematic of the overall circuit is shown in fig. 1. The current laboratories consist of an introduction to switching converter concepts, a gate drive circuit design, choice of values for the major components in the converter, inductor design, control circuit design, and completing the final circuit. These experiments were

Zinger, D. (1999, June), An Introductory Power Electronics Course Laboratory Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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