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A New Apprach to High Power Switchmode Battery Charger Design

William Kaewert

Sam Coleman

The presentation attempts to address the apparent root causes for reluctance by electric utilities to adopt switchmode technology battery chargers. Operating at high frequency, switchmode type battery chargers outperform line frequency chargers in nearly every way – including dynamic response, size, weight, noise, energy efficiency, cost and standards compliance. Switchmode technology dominates nearly every segment of the economy, including aviation power systems that are hardened against frequent lightning strikes and military systems against the effects of nuclear electromagnetic pulse. At power utilities and in other industrial environments, however, switchmode technology chargers have gained only limited acceptance. Technical reasons for this slow pace of technology adoption have included: Perceived fragility of switchmode technology, Perceived high emission of RF noise • Lack of reliability of cooling fans employed in higher-powered switchmode converters • Bias by some standards, e.g. IEEE 1613 against forced cooling of electronic equipment • Fan-forced deposition of atmospheric contaminants onto internal circuitry • Incompatibility with 480-volt, 3-phase AC supplies A new approach to the electrical, mechanical and thermal design of switchmode power converters addresses all these issues. The result is a new range of switchmode battery chargers that is ruggedized for use in industrial environments, and delivers the expected size, weight, performance and convenience advantages of high frequency power conversion.

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