Optical gate drives provide insights into power switch operation

June 16, 2014 // By Graham Prophet
In a recent announcement, power-semiconductor-drive specialists Amantys, and Avago Technologies, expanded their co-operation in power electronics and in particular aim to extend the depth of data carried over Avago’s fibre optic links, providing system information and control of switching behaviour of large devices such as IGBTs.

Amantys has announced the successful implementation of its Amantys Power Insight communications protocol over Avago's 50 MBd Versatile Link transmitters and receivers. Prior work, noted an Amantys spokesman, uses a link speed of 5 Mbd, and the higher speed comes with integration into Avago’s Versatile Link technology; Avago is working with Amantys to bring improved system information to its customers.

This will result in the capability to set up all key operating parameters of a drive over an intelligent communications system. Makers of IGBT-based drives want – says Amantys – to be able to communicate at system level; as well as providing precise drive control, and failure diagnostics, there is also the option of providing condition monitoring during operation. For example, if the thermal conditions affecting a particular power switch should degrade, this could be monitored and action taken to adjust load sharing, reducing the likelihood of device failure and deferring remedial action until a planned-maintenance period.

Amantys Power Insight provides several capabilities including:

  1. Monitoring of key system parameters at the IGBT switch during system operation;
  2. Reporting back detailed fault codes which help the system operator understand the nature of problems in the switch;
  3. Configuring the switching characteristics of the IGBT module remotely to match operational demands.

Amantys; www.amantys.com
Avago; www.avagotech.com