This paper reports an investigation conducted on two diagnostic methods based on the switching voltage pattern of IGBT opencircuit faults in voltagesource inverters (VSIs). One method was based on the bridge arm pole voltage, and the other was based on bridge arm line voltage. With an additional simple circuit, these two diagnostic methods detected and effectively identified single and multiple opencircuit faults of inverter IGBTs. A comparison of the times for the diagnosis and antiinterference features between these two methods is presented. The diagnostic time of both methods was less than 280ns in the best case. The diagnostic time for the method based on the bridge arm pole voltage was less than that of the method based on the bridge arm line voltage and was 1/2 of the fundamental period in the worst case. An experimental study was carried out to show the effectiveness of and the differences between these two methods.
I. INTRODUCTION
Voltage source inverters (VSIs) are widely used in variable speed electric motor drives, uninterrupted power systems, active power filters, and more recently, in renewable energy conversion systems and electric vehicles. An accident due to faults in VSIs can result in severe damage to human life and environments especially in applications such as aerospace, medical and military. Thus, the reliability of VSIs is an important factor in ensuring their safe, continuous and high performance operation under different types of faults. Therefore, the development of fault diagnostic methods has generated a great deal of research interest during the past few years
[1]

[6]
.
Most of the components in power circuits age and even become damaged during operation. A number of published reports
[1]
,
[2]
on the faults in power electronics have established the proportion of various types of faults in terms of the total failures: capacitor faults 30%, printed circuit board (PCB) faults 26%, semiconductor faults 21%, solder faults 13% and connector faults 3%. According to a survey of 56 enterprises, semiconductor power devices were selected as most fragile by 31% of the responders
[3]
.
Many publications
[4]

[6]
are available on capacitor fault detection and identification. IGBTs were found to be an appropriate choice in VSIs because of their high efficiency, fast switching and high power application features. However, their high probability of failure in the switching devices exists due to their high electrical and thermal stresses
[7]

[9]
. In general, the power transistor failures in VSIs can be broadly categorized into three types of faults namely, opencircuit, shortcircuit and intermittent gatemisfiring faults. Although an IGBT can handle shortcircuit currents for 10μs, overcurrent or shortcircuit protection is a standard feature provided in industrial products. The rapid detection of shortcircuit faults is a challenge and needs additional research. The intermittent gatemisfiring fault is an early manifestation and turns into an opencircuit fault in many instances. A method for the online detection of the intermittent gatemisfiring of the switching devices in voltagefed PWM inverters has been developed
[7]
. It was based on a timedomain response analysis of the current space vector of an induction motor since a frequency analysis was inapplicable.
Opencircuit faults in general are not harmful to inverters and do not cause system shutdowns. However, they can lead to secondary failures of other components resulting in total system shutdowns and high repair costs
[8]
,
[9]
. The occurrence of opencircuit faults is frequent in power systems and deteriorates the system performance. A large amount of literature has attempted to address this type of failure.
Several methods have been based on the output currents within power systems
[10]

[23]
. A simple method reported in
[14]
,
[15]
locates opencircuit fault transistors by comparing the average of the three phase currents with a threshold. A simple direct current method takes up limited software resources. However, the threshold depends on the load conditions. The current deviation method
[16]
normalizes the output currents, which reduces the influence of the load conditions. By applying a discrete Fourier transformation to the deviation of the currents, the indicator of the mean value and the fundamental component was used to identify fault conditions and to detect the faulty transistors in around two fundamental periods. An analysis of the current space vector trajectory is very effective in opencircuit fault diagnosis. In
[17]

[19]
, the slope of the current space vector trajectory is used to identify faulty legs and the missing halfcycle of the current waveform is employed to locate faulty switches. The instantaneous frequency of the AC current space vector
[17]
is zero on the diameter of semicircle when an opencircuit fault occurs. The centroidbased fault detection
[20]
determines the centroid of a halfcycle of the current waveform. An opencircuit fault is declared if the centroid is not at the origin. These three methods are susceptible to noise under light load or noload conditions. To overcome this drawback, a normalized DC current method was proposed
[21]

[23]
. To detect and isolate a faulty transistor, the periodic average of the current was divided by the absolute value of the first harmonic of the accurrents and then compared with a threshold value. The modified normalized dc current method was proposed
[14]
,
[15]
for implementation in a closedloop control scheme. The majority of the above mentioned methods are based on current analysis. They are able to detect IGBT opencircuit faults in over one fundamental period.
The other methods are based on the analysis of the voltages within power systems. Based on the analytical model of a VSI, the method reported in
[24]

[28]
compared the measured voltages with their reference voltages to detect faulty switches. The analysis was based on the failure introduced errors in the phase voltages in comparison to their normal operational status. The inverter pole voltage, machine phase voltage, system line voltage, and machine neutral voltage were the four criteria used in the diagnosis. The time between a fault occurrence and the diagnosis was half of a fundamental period. In
[29]
, a method was proposed for an improved diagnosis for induction motor drive systems based on an approach that combined the switching pattern and the electric drive linetoline voltage measurements. However, a more detailed analysis of fault status and diagnostic time is still needed. An optimized diagnostic voltage was applied to minimize the diagnostic time. The method of sensing voltage across the lower switch
[30]
was developed basing on the fact that during an opencircuit fault the voltage across the lower switch was around half the bus voltage. Normally, this voltage is either zero or the full bus voltage. With the help of an extra hardware circuit, the diagnostic time is 2.7ms (a fundamental period is 20ms) at the soonest.
This paper presents two diagnostic methods based on the bridge arm pole voltage (method, M1) and the bridge arm line voltage (method, M2). By analyzing the opencircuit faults in voltagesource inverters and with extra simple circuit, these two diagnostic methods are capable of effectively detecting and identifying single and multiple opencircuit faults of inverter IGBTs. The diagnostic time and antiinterference features of these two methods were compared in detail. An experimental study was carried out to show the effectiveness of these two methods and their differences.
The remaining parts of this paper are organized as follows. An analysis of the opencircuit faults in a VSI is shown in Section II. The diagnostic methods of IGBT opencircuit faults are illustrated in Section III. Finally, the experimental results presented in Section IV validate the effectiveness of two diagnosis methods. The summary and some conclusions are given in the final section.
II. ANALYSIS OF OPENCIRCUIT FAULTS IN A VSI
The common structure of a VSI is shown in
Fig. 1
. The power switches were produced by using IGBTs (T
_{1}
~T
_{6}
) with antiparallel diodes (D
_{1}
~D
_{6}
). When S
_{1}
is open, T
_{1}
is an opencircuit failure with the antiparallel diode D
_{1}
still conducting. The diagnostic methods employ bridge arm voltages and switching signals based on an analytical model of the VSI. A description of these two methods is given as follows.
The common structure of voltagesource inverter.
(1) Method 1 (M1), bridge arm pole voltage (
u
_{AG}
,
u
_{BG}
,
u
_{CG}
).
(2) Method 2 (M2), bridge arm line voltage (
u
_{AB}
,
u
_{BC}
,
u
_{CA}
).
The bridge arm pole voltage
u
_{AG}
changes after the occurrence of a single or multiple IGBT opencircuit faults.
Fig. 2
presents the switches conduction status and the current loop when an opencircuit fault of T
_{1}
occurs. When the phase currents
i
_{a}
and
i
_{b}
are positive, and the gate signals T
_{1}
and T
_{3}
are at a high level, and the bridge arm pole voltage
u
_{AG}
is equal to V
_{dc}
under normal operation conditions. In VSIs with a type Y connected load, the three phase currents have a relationship as shown in Equ. (1).
The status of switches and the current loop when opencircuit fault of T_{1} occurs. (a) case i_{a}>0, i_{b}>0, T_{1}=1, T_{3}=1, T_{5}=1. (b) case i_{a}>0, i_{b}>0, T_{1}=1, T_{3}=1, T_{5}=0.
The positive half of the current of phase A is lost when T
_{1}
is associated with an opencircuit failure. Therefore:
For case (a) (
i_{a}
>0,
i_{b}
>0, T
_{1}
=1, T
_{3}
=1, T
_{5}
=1) as shown in
Fig. 2
(a),
i_{a}
becomes zero and
i_{c}
is negative according to Equ. (2). Then
i_{c}
circulates through D
_{5}
. Therefore:
Then the bridge arm pole voltage in case (a)
u
_{AG_case(a)}
can be expressed as:
For case (b) (
i_{a}
>0,
i_{b}
>0, T
_{1}
=1, T
_{3}
=1, T
_{5}
=0) as shown in
Fig. 2
(b),
i_{c}
is negative and circulates through T
_{6}
. Therefore, the bridge arm pole voltage in case (b)
u
_{AG_case(b)}
can be written as:
Then, the bridge arm pole voltage
u_{AG}
is be given by:
Where
T_{5}
is the switching signal of the IGBT T
_{5}
, and
is the complementary signal of
T_{5}
.
Table I
shows the bridge arm pole voltage
u_{AG}
for a sound inverter and the occurrence of an opencircuit failure of T
_{1}
. The case shown as “red” in
Table I
was analyzed in detail. The cases of the differences between the sound condition of the inverter and an opencircuit failure of T
_{1}
can be examined in the same way. Due to space limitations, the analysis is not presented in this paper.
Table I
presents the bridge arm pole voltage
u_{AG}
for a sound inverter and the occurrence of an opencircuit fault of the upper IGBT T
_{1}
. There is no difference between these two operating conditions in the negative half cycle of
i_{a}
because the current can flow through the antiparallel diode D
_{1}
whether the IGBT T
_{1}
is sound or not. Consequently, the detection of an opencircuit fault of T
_{1}
is feasible only in three cases (labeled as the red and blue cases in
Table I
).
BRIDGE ARM POLE VOLTAGE FOR A SOUND INVERTER AND FOR OPENCIRCUIT FAILURE OF T1
* in table indicates all possible states.
Fig. 3
presents the status of the switches and current loop when an opencircuit fault of T
_{2}
occurs.
Table II
shows the bridge arm pole voltage
u_{AG}
for a sound inverter and when an opencircuit fault of the lower IGBT T
_{2}
occurs. As in the previous situations, an opencircuit fault of T
_{2}
can only be detected in three cases (labeled as the red and blue cases in
Table II
). These situations correspond to the negative half cycle of the phase current
i_{a}
and when the gate signal T
_{1}
is at a high level. During the positive half cycle of the phase current
i_{a}
, an opencircuit fault of the lower IGBT cannot be detected.
The status of switches and the current loop when opencircuit fault of T_{2} occurs. (a) case i_{a}<0, i_{b}<0, T_{2}=1, T_{4}=1, T_{6}=1. (b) case i_{a}<0, i_{b}<0, T_{2}=1, T_{4}=1, T_{6}=0.
BRIDGE ARM POLE VOLTAGE FOR A SOUND INVERTER AND FOR OPENCIRCUIT FAILURE OF T2
* in table indicates all possible states.
Table III

IV
give the bridge arm line voltage
u_{AB}
for a sound inverter and when an opencircuit fault occurs in the upper IGBT T
_{1}
and in the lower IGBT T
_{2}
, respectively. Therefore, two types of bridge arm voltages are presented and analyzed to establish the differences between the normal operating conditions and the opencircuit faulty conditions.
BRIDGE ARM LINE VOLTAGE FOR A SOUND INVERTER AND FOR OPENCIRCUIT FAILURE OF T1
* in table indicates all possible states, × indicates nonexistent states.
BRIDGE ARM LINE VOLTAGE FOR A SOUND INVERTER AND FOR OPENCIRCUIT FAILURE OF T2
* in table indicates all possible states, × indicates nonexistent states.
III. DIAGNOSTIC METHODS OF IGBTS OPENCIRCUIT FAULTS
The above analysis shows that the information obtained on faults is based on the switching signals and the measured bridge arm voltage. To distinguish the bridge arm voltage under faulty conditions from the normal voltage, an extra simple hardware circuit, shown in
Fig. 4
, is implemented. M1 is extracted from
Table I

II
based on the blue and red cases collectively for the opencircuit faults. There is no difference between the normal and faulty conditions in the white cases.
The additional simple hardware circuit implemented in the proposed diagnostic methods.
The value of
u_{ref1}
is chosen between V
_{dc}
/2 and V
_{dc}
(relative to
u_{AG}
) for the colored cases (red and blue cases) in
Table I
. Therefore, the output signal
V_{J1}
of the Not gate varies from the low level to the high level. On combining the switching signal T
_{1}
, the opencircuit fault of T
_{1}
is given by the Boolean signal as shown in Equ. (7).
Where
F_{T}
_{1}
_
_{M}
_{1}
is the indicator signal for an opencircuit fault of T
_{1}
by M1.
For the detection of the lower IGBT T
_{2}
, the value of
u_{ref2}
is chosen between V
_{dc}
and V
_{dc}
/2 (relative to
u_{AG}
) for the colored cases (red and blue cases) in
Table II
. Therefore, the output signal
V_{J2}
of the comparator (COMP 2) varies from the low level to the high level. On combining the switching signal T
_{2}
, the opencircuit fault of T
_{2}
is given by the Boolean signal as shown in Equ. (8).
The blue and red cases are different in the fault diagnosis for M2, and these are given in
Table III

IV
. Therefore, the Boolean signals could easily be obtained as shown by Equs. (9)(10).
Where
F_{T}
_{1}
_
_{M}
_{2}
is the indicator signal for an opencircuit fault of T
_{1}
by M2.
 A. Detecting Time
The colored cases shown in
Table I

IV
are depicted intuitively in
Fig. 5
. For ease of understanding the switching frequency in this figure is shown as three times the fundamental frequency. The dots shown with colors on the phase currents are the diagnostic intervals. For example, the red dots correspond to the red cases in the Tables. Combining T
_{1}
(T
_{1}
and T
_{4}
), the switching signal and the bridge arm voltage
u_{AG}
(
u_{AB}
), an opencircuit fault of T
_{1}
can be detected. It is worth noting that both of the red cases with T
_{1}
and T
_{3}
occur when current
i_{b}
is more than
i_{a}
.
The diagnostic intervals of T_{1} and phase currents i_{a} and i_{b} (the switching frequency is shown three times the fundamental frequency for easy understanding). (a) M1. (b) M2.
If a failure of T
_{1}
occurs at any instant of time between t
_{2}
and t
_{5}
, using the red case M2 detects it at time, t
_{6}
, as shown in
Fig. 5
(b). Therefore, the diagnostic time of this method is 11/12 of the fundamental period in the worst case. However, it can be reduced to 7/12 of the fundamental period by using the blue cases. The red and blue cases, which can be obtained from
Table I

II
, can be used together in M1. Then, M1 using red and blue cases is able to detect the failure at time t
_{3}
if an opencircuit fault of T
_{1}
occurs at any instant of time between t
_{1}
and t
_{2}
, as shown in
Fig. 5
(a).
Therefore, the diagnostic time of M1 is smaller than that of M2 and it is half of the fundamental period in the worst case.
 B. Resistivity Against False Alarms
The proposed method is based on the bridge arm voltage instead of the phase currents which are sensitive to noise. As a result, false alarms hardly ever occur during lightloads and under transient conditions. However, under real operating conditions, false alarms can trigger at the time of the turningon and turningoff processes of IGBTs
[29]
and the delay time is in consistence with the characteristic features of IGBTs which has been studied in detail
[31]
. Thus, the modified switching signals have been implemented. The switching signal of T
_{1}
can be modified as shown in Equ. (11).
Where
T
_{1}
_
_{delay}
is the delay time, and
T
^{'}
_{1}
is the modified switching signal of T
_{1}
.
Therefore, Equs. (7)(10) can be modified as:
Thus, the proposed methods are effective and can successfully indicate faulty IGBTs. This statement is validated in the next section.
IV. EXPERIMENTAL RESULTS
In order to confirm the feasibility of the fault diagnostic methods, experiments were conducted under the specifications presented in
Table V
. A 1kW rated power threephase voltagesource inverter was built (
Fig. 6
), using Infineon IGBTs (IKW40T120) in TrenchStop and Fieldstop technology with a soft fast recovery antiparallel emitter controlled HE diode.
SPECIFICATIONS OF THE VSI
SPECIFICATIONS OF THE VSI
Experimental setup.
Fig. 7
shows experimental results of the three phase currents and alarm signal obtained when an opencircuit fault of the upper IGBT T
_{1}
occurs in the detectable region of the positive cycle of
i_{a}
. Under normal operating conditions, the three phase currents are sinusoidal and the alarm signal
F_{T1}
(
F_{T1_M1}
or
F_{T1_M2}
) is equal to zero. When a failure takes place at the instant FO
_{1}
(fault occurrence),
i_{a}
drops sharply to zero and the alarm signal
F_{T1}
detects the failure within 280ns, since the fault occurs in the diagnostic range (blue case) revealed in
Fig. 5
.
Experimental results of phase currents and alarm signal for opencircuit fault of T_{1} occurring in the detectable region. (a) M1. (b) M2.
The diagnostic time is a summation of the delays in the propagation time from the extra hardware circuit, which is comprised of two sampling links, one comparing link, one NOT link and two AND links. As presented in
Table VI
, the diagnostic times of M1 and M2 take place within 280ns at the soonest.
PROPAGATION DELAY TIME OF EXTRA HARDWARE CIRCUIT
PROPAGATION DELAY TIME OF EXTRA HARDWARE CIRCUIT
At the same time, the digital signal processor (DSP) captures the faulty signal and takes steps to prevent secondary failures. If a failure is introduced at the instant FO2 in
Fig. 7
(undetectable region), the failure cannot be detected until ia reaches zero in value. Therefore the diagnostic times of M1 and M2 are not more than 1/2 (10ms) and 7/12 (11.67ms) of the fundamental period, respectively.
Fig. 8
also confirms this conclusion.
Experimental results of phase currents and alarm signal for opencircuit fault of T_{1} occurring in the undetectable region. (a) M1. (b) M2.
Figs. 9

10
show experimental results of the three phase currents and the alarm signal when an opencircuit fault of the lower IGBT T
_{2}
occurs in the detectable and undetectable regions, respectively. By examining these figures the same conclusions previously mentioned are reached. When a failure is allowed to occur at the instant FO
_{1}
(fault occurrence) as shown in
Fig. 9
, the alarm signal
F_{T2}
detects the failure within 280ns. If a failure is allowed at the instant FO
_{2}
(undetectable region), the diagnostic times of M1 and M2 are not more than 1/2 (10ms) and 7/12 (11.67ms) of the fundamental period, respectively.
Experimental results of phase currents and alarm signal for opencircuit fault of T_{2} occurring in the detectable region. (a) M1. (b) M2.
Experimental results of phase currents and alarm signal for opencircuit fault of T_{2} occurring in the undetectable region. (a) M1. (b) M2.
Fig. 11
shows experimental results obtained for the phase current
i_{a}
, alarm signals
F_{T1}
and
F_{T2}
when an opencircuit fault of the lower IGBT T
_{2}
occurs at the instant FO
_{1}
and when an opencircuit fault of the upper IGBT T
_{1}
occurs at the instant FO
_{2}
. The alarm signals
F_{T2}
(
F_{T2_M1}
or
F_{T2_M2}
) and
F_{T1}
(
F_{T1_M1}
or
F_{T1_M2}
) interact within 280ns. Therefore, both M1 and M2 are effective in detecting one phase IGBT opencircuit faults.
Experimental results of phase current i_{a} and alarm signals F_{T1} and F_{T2}, for opencircuit fault of T_{1} and T_{2} occurring simultaneously. (a) M1. (b) M2.
False alarms appear at the time instants when T
_{1}
and T
_{4}
turn on as shown in
Fig. 12
(a) and
Fig. 12
(b), respectively. Therefore, the diagnostic logic of the proposed methods were modified according to Equs. (12)(15) with an adjustable delay time of 05μs, which is effective against the false alarms caused by the IGBT switching process.
Fig. 13
(a) shows the false alarm signal
F_{T1_M2}
caused by voltage interference on
u
_{AB_sample}
(sampling voltage of
u
_{AB}
), which is smaller than the comparison voltage (
u
_{ref1}
of 0.88V)). Obviously, the false alarms vanish when the comparison voltage is 0.49V as shown in
Fig. 13
(b). As a matter of fact, the comparison voltage can be set over a wide range under actual operating conditions. These conclusions are similar to those reached with M1. Therefore, these two diagnostic methods are robust against interference and noise with a small comparison voltage.
Experimental results of diagnostic logic signals and alarm signal F_{T1_M2}. (a) false alarm occurring at time T_{1} turning on. (b) false alarm occurring at time T_{4} turning on.
Experimental results of u_{AB}, u_{ref1}, V_{J1} and F_{T1_M2}. (a) u_{ref1}=0.88V. (b) u_{ref1}=0.49V.
V. CONCLUSIONS
Two diagnostic methods for opencircuit fault diagnosis in voltage source inverter systems were proposed and their performances were discussed. One method was based on the bridge arm pole voltage, and the other was based on the bridge arm line voltage. With the addition of an extra simple circuit, these two diagnostic methods detected and identified single and multiple opencircuit faults of inverter IGBTs effectively and rapidly. These methods were based on an analytical model of a VSI. The diagnostic time of the two methods was less than 280ns in the best case. The diagnostic time of the method, M1 was smaller than that of the method, M2 and was half of the fundamental period in the worst case. Both of these methods were found to be robust and unsusceptible to strong load transients and noise interference. In addition, the diagnostic logic was only related to the switch status, which makes these two methods practical under different load conditions. An experimental study was carried out to demonstrate the effectiveness of these two methods and also their differences. The method M1 possessed superior features. With the addition of an extra simple analog circuit, M1 was found suitable for application to VSI systems. Both of the methods can effectively handle all types of opencircuit faults. They can also shut down a system or turn it on to run in the backup operation mode, and avoid secondary failures caused by opencircuit faults.
Acknowledgements
This project supported by the State Key Program of National Natural Science of China (Grant No. 51337009).
BIO
Yuxi Wang was born in Zhejiang, China, in 1988. He received his B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China, in 2011; where he is presently working towards his Ph.D. degree. His current research interests include dc/dc converters and the fault diagnosis of power electronic circuits and systems.
Zhan Li was born in Hunan, China, in 1992. He received his B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China, in 2014; where he is presently working towards his Ph.D. degree. His current research interests include LED drives and the fault diagnosis of power electronic circuits and systems.
Minghui Xu was born in Shandong, China, in 1991. He received his B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China, in 2014; where he is presently working towards his M.S. degree. His current research interests include high power dc/dc converters.
Hao Ma was born in Hangzhou, China, in 1969. He received his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China, in 1991, 1994 and 1997, respectively. He is presently working as a Professor in the College of Electrical Engineering, Zhejiang University. From September 2007 to September 2008, he was a Delta Visiting Scholar at North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA. His current research interests include advanced control in power electronics, fault diagnosis of power electronic circuits and systems, and the application of power electronics.
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