In our last article about electric vehicles (EV), we talked about using DC link capacitors as an intermediary buffer in power converters. Today’s topic covers another useful power module component – the snubber capacitor. Snubbers are energy-absorbing circuits used to protect electronics from voltage spikes and transients caused by turning a switch from the On to Off state. Opening a switch intrinsically induces a high voltage across the device, and the snubber provides an alternate flow path for the excess energy to be absorbed by the snubber capacitor and dissipated by a resister or other load.
To provide a better understanding of build-to-print in general and the breadth of our offerings, as well as how our thin-film technology can benefit your applications, we’ve put together a Build-to-Print Basics series. Part 4 provides an overview of our process and the topics our applications engineers review with clients to kick-off any build-to-print project.
Many circuits in broadband applications require the coupling of RF signals, which can be a complicated process since it involves removing the DC component to allow only the high-frequency AC component to pass or bypass. Removing the AC component from a DC line is done by placing a coupling capacitor in series with the path the signal takes.
In general, a capacitor assembly attaches multiple capacitors together into a single subassembly. This approach results in increased electrical performance such as higher voltages, higher capacitance, or higher power, while also simplifying manufacturing assembly and providing a significant reduction in board space needed.
As a fundamental component of circuit design, equivalent series resistance (ESR) is the measurement of all the non-ideal electrical resistances in series with a capacitor. When current flows through a multilayer ceramic capacitor (MLCC) due to application of alternating voltage, heat is generated in the MLCC due to the losses, specifically ESR. As a result, this self-heating can cause various performance and reliability issues in the circuits of today’s more complex and smaller electronic systems.
DC link capacitors are commonly used in power converters as an intermediary buffer between an input source to an output load that have different instantaneous power, voltages, and frequencies. In electric vehicle (EV) applications, DC link capacitors help offset the effects of inductance in inverters, motor controllers, and battery systems. They also serve as filters that protect EV subsystems from voltage spikes, surges, and electromagnetic interference (EMI).
To meet consumer demand for longer driving ranges and faster charging, electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers are redesigning vehicles to move from 400V to 800V battery systems. As a result of using higher operating voltages, EV designers and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) need components, such as multi-layer ceramic capacitors (MLCCs), that can withstand voltages well beyond those expected under normal operating conditions. For example, a drivetrain running off an 800V battery system may be subjected to a withstand test of up to 4kV DC for 60 seconds, which is a standard safety test in high voltage systems.
Trimmer capacitors are variable components used to calibrate RF circuits during manufacturing or servicing. These components allow for variable tuning--think oscillator frequency values or rise and fall times. Should values drift over the life of the device, trimmer capacitors can be recalibrated as needed. For sensitive applications like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), these components help to optimize performance where any instability in time or temperature could impact the image output.
Healthcare professionals and patients rely on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology to examine soft tissues and organs in the body to detect a variety of issues, from degenerative diseases to tumors, in a non-invasive manner. To do this, the MRI machine uses a strong magnetic field and computer-generated radio waves to produce cross-sectional images. Thus, the quality of the MRI depends on the uniformity of the magnetic field – even the smallest trace of magnetism inside an MRI scanner can disrupt the field and degrade the quality of an MRI image.
CToday, the design and development of many applications, such as power electronics in electric vehicles (EVs), is driven largely by concerns about size and weight. This means the film capacitors traditionally used by electronics engineers aren’t always the best option. Instead, multi-layer ceramic capacitors (MLCCs) are emerging as an excellent alternative to film capacitors. Let’s review some of the considerations to keep in mind when you are deciding if making the switch is the right choice for your application.