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Power Electronic Converters For Double Duty In Design And Analysis Courses

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.496.1 - 5.496.10

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Herbert Hess

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

Session 2633

Power Electronic Converter for Double Duty in Design and Analysis Courses Herbert L. Hess Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho

Abstract A power electronics project offers a productive and inspiring environment for a capstone design project. Students design and build five different power electronic converters. These converters must perform as specified, have readily identifiable topology and components, and be reliable and easy to use. Design process and the development of circuit topologies, prototype boards, and software are presented. When completed, the converters go to work as demonstrations in a senior-level course in power electronics. Converters show fundamental circuit behavior on ordinary portable laboratory instruments. Common nonideal behavior of converters appears and can be used to gain better insight into circuit operation than that often gained by traditional simulation methods. These converters also were used as a recruiting tool. Methods of teaching with these converters are presented, including some that worked and some that failed.

Introduction Power electronics draws from a host of topics, making it an appropriate vehicle for teaching design to senior undergraduate students. One of the purposes of such design courses is to require the student to bring skills and knowledge, learned from a variety of courses and experiences, to bear on an open-ended problem. In power electronics, open-ended problems abound within the capabilities of students having a fairly broad electrical engineering undergraduate education. These problems draw on knowledge from a wide range of knowledge in electrical topics. These topics include device electronics, power and energy, signal processing and control (both analog and digital), electromagnetics, thermal design, and several others.

In an introductory course in power electronics, students benefit greatly from seeing power converters in operation. Students benefit even more from an opportunity to experiment with those converters. There are only a few basic converter topologies for ac to dc power conversion and dc to dc power conversion. Therefore, a few circuits can demonstrate most of the introductory concepts. Unfortunately, most introductory courses in power electronics are often offered with little opportunity to see a power converter in operation. Computer simulation is usually the core of most laboratory work in power electronics, when offered. This approach fails to take advantage of a behavior excited by the fundamental curiosity that drew many students to engineering in the first place: dissection of hardware.

This paper addresses a way to obtain useful hardware for students to investigate. Building such hardware is a wonderful vehicle in which to engage senior capstone design students in a

Hess, H. (2000, June), Power Electronic Converters For Double Duty In Design And Analysis Courses Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri.

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