Analysis of an AC-DC Valley-fill Power Factor Corrector (VFPFC) Dylan Dah-Chuan Lu

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Analysis of an AC-DC Valley-fill Power Factor Corrector (VFPFC) Dylan Dah-Chuan Lu
Analysis of an AC-DC Valley-fill Power Factor Corrector (VFPFC)
Analysis of an AC-DC Valley-fill Power Factor
Corrector (VFPFC)
Dylan Dah-Chuan Lu1 , Non-member
The passive power factor correction approach is attractive for low power applications due to low cost,
high efficiency, excellent reliability, simple circuit design and no EMI generated. This paper presents
a novel passive inductorless power factor corrector
by using valley-fill circuit. Conditions of the proposed Valley-Fill Power-Factor-Corrector (VFPFC)
to reach maximum power factor are discussed. Effectiveness of power factor correction by the proposed
VFPFC is shown by simulation and is experimentally
verified by a 50W prototype (with 93% efficiency and
0.95 power factor). Design guidelines for the VFPFC
are also given.
Keywords: Power Factor, Total Harmonic Distortion, Voltage-Doubler
Owing to the growing concern of harmonic input
currents drawn from AC mains by the conventional
single-phase diode rectifier (i.e. a bridge-diode rectifier with a large bulk capacitor connects to its output) in a power supply, many active and passive approaches in obtaining power factor correction have
been proposed and analyzed in existing literature. Although the active power factor correction approach
generally has higher power factor (¿0.99), lower total
harmonic distortion (¡ 5%) and smaller in size over the
passive power factor correction approach, the drawbacks are higher cost, more complicated circuit design, lower efficiency, and many EMI problems.
In general, the passive power factor correction approach eliminates the drawbacks of active power factor correction approach stated above. It is more suitable for low-power (≤ 300W) applications [1] because
the choke and storage capacitor used can keep to reasonable sizes and cost while fulfilling hold-up time
requirement and line-harmonic standards. Large LC
filters are used to achieve high power factor in [2][5], these make the power supply bulky and heavy.
Capacitor-diode block rectifiers in [6]-[7] can improve
power factor with reduction in volume. This rectifier
is made up of one stage to n stages voltage-doublers.
Manuscript received on March 30, 2007 ; revised on July 23,
1 The author is with the School of Electrical and Information
Engineering, The University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia.,
Email: [email protected]
The fewer the stages of voltage-doublers it has, the
higher the power factor it can obtain as the input current duration is extended. However, there is an increase in the output voltage ripple. Therefore a compromise must be made between output ripple voltage
and power factor. The reasonable stages of voltagedoubler is found to be two when considering components count, power factor and output ripple voltage.
Moreover, according to [3], inserting small capacitors
between the bridge-diode-rectifier and input ends also
help reduce total harmonic distortion (THD) and improves power factor (PF).
In this paper, a novel valley-fill power-factor- corrector (VFPFC) is presented and analyzed. The objectives of this paper are to study the proposed VFPFC for input current shaping (in Section 2 and 3)
and to advance a design tool (in Section 4) so as to
select the best combinations of capacitances and resistances under desired output power and power factor. Simulation and experimental results (in Section
4) are provided as well.
The proposed VFPFC circuit, as shown in Fig.1,
is inserted between the bridge-diode rectifier and the
load. The operation principle can be explained with
the aid of the waveforms given in Fig. 2 and is depicted as follows.
At time t1-t2: The line voltage is slightly higher
than the valley-fill voltage (i.e. VC1 + VC2 , VC3 + VC4
or VC1 + VC4 ) and the bridge diodes conduct. Input
current flows to the output load directly. (Note: Vcx
means voltage across capacitor CX, for X equals 1, 2,
3 or 4.)
At time t2-t3: The line voltage continues to rise and
go slightly above the voltage sum, VC1 + VC3 + VC4
or VC1 + VC2 + VC4 , the capacitor pair with lower
voltage, or smaller capacitance, will be charged up
first. If C2 > C3,
charging current will flows through C1-D14-R3C3-C4 until C3 voltage is equal to C2 voltage. Then
C2 and C3 are charged in parallel. If C2 < C3, C2
will charge up first, and if C2 = C3, they will start
charging up at the same time. The input current
charges the capacitors as well as flows to the load.
At time t3-t4: The input current flows to the load
only since all capacitors are fully charged. Unlike the
conventional large bulk capacitor for which once it
has been fully charged it will stay at the peak input
3. 1 Total harmonic distortion (THD) and
power factor (PF)
Proposed valley-fill power factor corrector
voltage and the input current ceases flowing as the
input voltage is decaying, the input current can still
flow to the load in this circuit because the valleyfill voltage stays around two-third of the peak input
voltage, assuming the capacitance are large enough to
hold the output voltage. Thus the conduction time
for bridge diodes are lengthened compared to the conventional rectifier.
At time t4-t5: When the input voltage decreases
and falls below two-third of the input peak voltage
or the voltage that VFPFC stays, the input current
stops flowing because the bridge diodes are reversed
biased. Instead, the capacitors pairs discharge in series to provide the output current. Again, depending
on the capacitance of the capacitors pair, the one with
smaller capacitance will discharge first.
At time t5-t6: Line voltage changes direction but
is lower than the valley-fill voltage. However, input
current still flows through the path R1-CIN2-D2.
The charging/discharging cycle repeats at the next
half line cycle when the input voltage is higher than
the voltage sum of VC1 +VC2 , VC3 +VC4 or VC1 +VC4 .
Fig.2: Important waveforms of the VFPFC by simulation (Assuming C2=C3=C/2 & C1=C4=C). Upper: Input voltage, Vin and current, Iin and output
voltage, Vo ; Lower: VFPFC diodes current, ID11−D15
To show the significant improvement in THD and
PF of the VFPFC, a VFPFC with 200W output
power and a conventional rectifier with the same output power are put into simulation. The output capacitance of the conventional rectifier and the VFPFC
are chosen according to the 10% voltage drop during
discharge period. The input voltage is 156 V(rms).
The capacitances of them are summarized as follows:
PFC Circuit
Output capacitance = 54µF
C1/C4 = 232µF; C2/C3 = 116µF
Fast Fourier Transform of the input currents of
both circuits has been done and shown in Fig. 3.
From Fig. 3, it is shown that the third harmonic
component of the conventional rectifier contributes
most to the input harmonic currents and hence the
main cause to low power factor and high THD. However, when using the proposed VFPFC, not only the
third harmonic component is reduced by 79% but the
rest of the harmonic components are suppressed as
well. Also, the THD is reduced from 92% to 34% and
power factor is raised from 0.62 to 0.88. The reasons
for THD reduction and power factor improvement are
explained as follows.
Firstly, according to the nonlinear property of
the VFPFC, the effective capacitance is changing
throughout the line input period. The effective
capacitance of the VFPFC is the smallest when
charging up, giving smaller peak capacitor current
and thus smaller RMS value of the input current.
For example, assuming that all capacitor values are
C, during charge up the effective capacitance is
C1//(C2+C3)//C4 which is equal to 2C/5. On the
other hand, the effective capacitance is the largest
during discharge. The effective capacitance is C
and this prevents the output voltage from dropping
quickly. Moreover, since the VFPFC holds at around
two-third of the peak input voltage, the bridge-diode
conduction time is made longer compared with the
conventional rectifier. Secondly, as discussed in [3],
the small capacitor CIN0 compensates the fundamental reactive power (Qf) and absorbs the harmonic distortion power (D) to yield higher power factor (PF)
and lower THD. Actually, these can be shown according to the following equations respectively:
PF = q
Pavg 2 + Qf 2 + D2
pP ∞
T HD =
n=2 In,harmonics(rms)
I1,f undamental(rms)
Analysis of an AC-DC Valley-fill Power Factor Corrector (VFPFC)
Fig.3: Frequency spectra of input currents of conventional rectifier and VFPFC at 200W output power
The decrease in the harmonic distortion power and
the fundamental reactive power for the fixed average power (Pavg ) gives higher power factor, and since
there is rapid reduction in harmonic currents, THD
is lowered as a result.
Thirdly, the two small capacitors CIN1 and CIN2
serve to increase the conduction time of the input current by providing a path alternately for input current
to flow into the VFPFC before the input line voltage
rises above the VFPFC voltage and hence giving a
decrease in current distortion.
Fourthly, R2 and R3 are also used to suppress current distortion by limiting and smoothing the peak
diode charging current. Though efficiency would drop
a bit as power is being dissipated by those resistors,
the average power loss by R2 and R3 is only a tiny
fraction of input power. Experimental results in later
session proved the prediction is correct. Fig. 4 displays the THD and power factor at different power
levels for both rectifiers. The capacitors used in both
cases are according to 10% output voltage drop during discharge period.
3. 2 THD and PF of different combinations of
There are ten possible categories of VFPFC capacitors combinations as shown in Table 1. For different
capacitors values the power factor and the THD%
are also different. The set of combination with highest power factor and lowest THD is obtained when
(C1=C4) (C2=C3). According to Fig. 5, the optimized capacitance values for highest power factor are
obtained when C2=C3=1 /2 C1=1 /2 C4.
4. 1 Effective VFPFC capacitance
The effective VFPFC capacitance Cef f is the combined capacitance of the VFPFC during the discharge period, which is equal to 3C/4. It is because
Cef f = (C1//C3) + (C2//C4), for C1=C4=C and
C2=C3=C/2. As discussed in Section 3.2, this set of
capacitors obtains the highest PF and lowest THD.
Fig.4: Comparison between conventional rectifier
and VFPFC under same ripple voltage, (a) THD vs.
output power and (b) Power factor vs. output power
For a given output power Po , the estimated efficiency η, the normal discharge period tnormal and
the holdup time requirement tholdup , the effective capacitance, Cef f , can be calculated from the following
Cef f =
2 · P0 · (tholdup + tnormal )
η(Vs2 − Vf2 )
where Vs and Vf are the designated initial and final Cef f voltage, respectively, in the entire discharge
period. The discharge period is the time from t4 to
t6 of Fig. 2 (tnormal seconds) plus after the time t6
of Fig. 2 for tholdup seconds).
4. 2 Design curves of proposed VFPFC
Fig. 6 gives some design curves for choosing different combinations of optimized valley-fill effective
capacitance (Ceff) and resistance values (R2/R3) for
highest power factor under different output power
and power factor. These curves give only rough values
although they are obtained from a number of simulation results. Accuracy of these curves will be justified
by experimental results in Section 4.3.
To design the VFPFC, the output power and the
allowable output voltage drop during the discharge
period should be determined first. The holdup start
time should be chosen at a minimum value of VCef f
during normal operation, i.e. after tnormal . After
calculated Cef f from (3), then the input capacitors
CIN0, CIN1 and CIN2 values are chosen from Fig
6(a). After that, the current limiting resistors R2 and
R3 are selected from Fig. 6(b) according to desired
power factor. The efficiency of the VFPFC due to
these selected resistors are shown in Fig. 6(c).
Table 1:
Different combinations of VFPFC capacitances versus power factor and THD at 200W output
4. 3 Design example and experimental results
The proposed VFPFC circuit, according to the observations in Sections 3.2, 4.1 and 4.3, is tested at the
power level of 50W and input voltage of 110V(rms).
tnormal is around 4ms for 50Hz AC input and tholdup
is 5ms. Since the VFPFC starts discharge at around
two-third of input voltage and assume 15% voltage
ripple during discharge, we have
Vs =
2 √
· 2 · 110 = 103.71 V (take100V )
Vf = (1 − 0.15)Vs = 85V
Cef f =
2 · 50 · (0.004 + 0.005)
= 352µF
0.92(1002 − 852 )
Cef f = 469µF (take470µF )
Simulation and experimental results are given in
Table 2. The input voltage, the input current and the
output voltage of the experimental circuit are shown
in Figs. 7(a) and 7(b). The measured power factor of
the 50W VFPFC circuit is 0.95 and efficiency is 93%.
From some simulation and experimental results
shown above, there is very little difference between
them. Although the design curves cannot definitely
guarantee that “what you see what you get”, they are
good enough as a rough design guide.
Fig.5: Capacitance ratio, Ca/Cb (C2=C3=Ca &
C1=C4= Cb) vs. Power factor, PF at 200W output
power and 10% output voltage drop during discharge
Table 2: Simulation data and measured data from
experimental prototype
Since the proposed PFC circuit has no inductor,
which is the bulkiest and largest component for conventional PFC circuit like boost PFC converter, the
size of the proposed circuit can be comparable to the
existing ones. Beside, there is no switching loss associated with the circuit operation, the diode size can
be further reduced comparing to the same rating of
output power of active PFC circuits. Besides, normal standard diodes can be used as no switching is
involved, hence the cost may also reduce. In addition, due to the advancement of semiconductor packaging, we may use dual-diode in a single package such
as TO-220 for higher power application to minimize
Since the main function of the PFC circuit is to im-
Analysis of an AC-DC Valley-fill Power Factor Corrector (VFPFC)
with the VFPFC, the THD% is reduced dramatically, and the power factor is raised to an acceptable
value. When compared with the LC filters for power
factor correction, the VFPFC yields acceptable PF
and THD% but with smaller size and weight. Design curves have been drawn to serve as a design tool
for choosing appropriate capacitance and resistance
Fig.6: (a) Optimal values of VFPFC capacitances
of CIN0, CIN1 and CIN2 for highest PF and lowest THD for output power range between 50W and
300W; (b) Current limiting resistance of R2/R3 for
different power factor at different hold-up time requirement; (c) VFPFC efficiency according to resistances of R2/R3 selected from Fig. 6(b)
prove the power factor, the output voltage contains
substantial low frequency ripple which is the same
as conventional boost PFC circuit and needs a postregulator to provide a smooth DC voltage as well as
fast regulation. With the invention of recent wide
input range DC/DC converters such as [8]-[9], the
proposed VFPFC will find more applications.
A novel VFPFC has been proposed and analyzed.
The operation of the circuit is depicted in detail. It
is shown that by replacing the conventional rectifier
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Fig.7a: Input voltage from AC mains (50V/div);
Input current drawn by circuit (250mA/div)
Fig.7a: Output voltage of the VFPFC (50V/div)
Pisit Vanichchanunt received his
B.Eng.(Hons) and Ph.D. degrees in
Electronic and Information Engineering
from The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, in 1999 and 2004
respectively. In 2003, he joined PowereLab Limited, a spin-off company at The
University of Hong Kong, as a Senior
Engineer. His major responsibilities include project development and management, circuit design, and contribution of
research in the area of power electronics. From 2006, he becomes a Lecturer in the School of Electrical and Information
Engineering, The University of Sydney, Australia. He has published over 30 papers on the analysis and design of power electronics circuits. He holds one U.S. patent. His research interests include modeling, synthesis and computer-aided design of
power converters, dc-dc converter for VRM application, electronic ballast, controls, power-factor-correction circuits, softswitching techniques and renewable electrical energy systems.
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