SolarEdge Technologies has been granted a patent for a driver that improves the reliability of a switch in a power device. The driver includes sensors to measure operational parameters and a controller to adjust driving pulses based on the sensor values. The driving pulses are then applied to the control terminal of the switch. GlobalData’s report on SolarEdge Technologies gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.
According to GlobalData’s company profile on SolarEdge Technologies, smart energy mgmt systems was a key innovation area identified from patents. SolarEdge Technologies's grant share as of June 2023 was 1%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.
Reliable driver for power device switch control
A recently granted patent (Publication Number: US11689096B2) describes an apparatus and method for controlling a switch circuit using pulse width modulation (PWM) signals. The apparatus includes a switch circuit with a first terminal, a second terminal, and a control terminal. A sensor is used to measure the voltage magnitude between the first and second terminals, and a switch driver circuit receives a PWM signal from a controller.
The switch driver circuit also receives the voltage magnitude from the sensor and determines the current magnitude based on the voltage magnitude. It then applies a driving pulse, which includes the current magnitude, to the control terminal according to the PWM signal.
The apparatus can further include additional sensors, such as a voltage sensor, temperature sensor, current sensor, or operational mode sensor. The switch driver circuit can use the values from these additional sensors to determine the current magnitude or driving pulse parameters.
The switch driver circuit can also adjust the driving pulse based on a look-up table stored in a memory. Additionally, it can adjust the driving pulse to upper and lower pulse current limits based on the voltage magnitude being below or above certain thresholds.
The switch circuit can consist of one or more switches in series, and the control terminal is associated with at least one of these switches. The switch driver circuit can adjust the driving pulse based on the mode of operation of the apparatus, such as soft switching mode, hard switching mode, startup mode, clipping mode, or selected voltage range mode.
In the method described in the patent, the switch driver circuit measures the voltage magnitude across the switch circuit's terminals using a sensor and determines the current magnitude based on this voltage magnitude. It then applies a driving pulse, including the current magnitude, to the control terminal according to the received PWM signal.
The method can also involve determining driving pulse parameters based on the voltage magnitude and additional sensor values. The driving pulse can be adjusted to upper and lower pulse strength limits based on the voltage magnitude being below or above certain thresholds. The method can also involve adjusting the driving pulse based on the mode of operation, and the switch circuit can receive power from a photovoltaic panel.