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A Small-Signal Model of the Sigma Converter with Current Mode Control

Image of sigma converter with peak current mode control.
Fig. 1. Sigma converter with peak current mode control.
For the new generation of server voltage regulator modules (VRMs), companies are employing the use of a 48 V bus architecture to improve overall system efficiency. A two-stage 48 V to 1 V solution is typically used for higher efficiency compared to a single-stage solution, however, a quasi-parallel topology—the sigma converter—is shown to have high efficiency and high power-density. In order to design the sigma converter to meet the stringent requirements for VRM applications, its small-signal and large-signal behaviors need to be examined. Previously, the small-signal behavior of the open loop and voltage mode-controlled sigma converter have been studied. In this paper, the small-signal and load-transient behaviors of the sigma converter with current-mode converter are presented.

The sigma converter is a quasi-parallel converter consisting of a dc-dc transformer, and a dc-dc converter with the inputs connected in series and the outputs connected in parallel. For the 48 V to 1 V VRM solution, a fixed-frequency LLC converter operating at resonant frequency and a peak current mode (PCM) buck converter are used as an example. The circuit representation of the PCM sigma converter is shown in Fig. 1. For simplicity, only the current of the buck converter is sensed and used to control the buck converter.

Given this setup, the small-signal model of the PCM sigma can be derived by connecting the small-signal models of the LLC and PCM buck converters in the sigma configuration. In order to directly use the small-signal models of the LLC and PCM buck converters in the sigma configuration, the input and output behaviors of each converter must be retained by the models, due to the series connection of the converters on the input side. For other types of current-mode controlled sigma converters, the same derivation methodology can be used. Examining the small-signal model of the PCM sigma, when only the current loop (Ti) of the buck converter is closed, the system is unstable. This behavior is similar to a converter with a constant power load. The system can be stabilized by closing the (T2) loop and designing the compensator to meet the Nyquist stability criterion. For VRM applications, where an adaptive voltage positioning technique is employed, a constant-gain compensator is sufficient to stabilize the system.

Image of small-signal model of the sigma converter with peak current mode control.
Fig. 2. Small-signal model of the sigma converter with peak current mode control.
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