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SpeedVal Kit™ Ecosystem Simplifies Silicon Carbide Part Evaluation and Cuts Design Time

Mar 23, 2023
Chinese (Simplified)
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A new generation of power stages in high-power applications is using silicon carbide (SiC) parts to meet the growing need for higher power density and efficiency and smaller system size in electric vehicle (EV), data center, industrial, and renewable energy segments. Arrow meets this demand with a wide range of SiC parts, including Wolfspeed’s broad portfolio of 600 V to 1700 V discrete SiC MOSFETs and SiC Schottky diodes, as well as power modules in industry standard and power-optimized footprints.

Until now, engineers have relied on SiC evaluation kits that typically target a narrow set of components chosen for the current design. For instance, testing MOSFETs in different packages has required different evaluation boards that may have different gate drivers soldered on. If an engineer wanted to test different MOSFET packages or gate drivers, they would have often been required to purchase several evaluation kits or design their own test board to perform an evaluation. This approach has a detrimental impact on both cost as well as evaluation and development time.

Introducing the SpeedVal Kit solution

Wolfspeed, a leading supplier of SiC solutions, has responded to this challenge by taking a modular approach with the introduction of the SpeedVal Kit modular evaluation platform. This evaluation platform utilizes a strong network of partners and products to effect an industry-wide journey toward SiC adoption. A key enabler of the modular ecosystem is a partnership with Arrow and its established network of technology manufacturers and service providers. The resulting broad ecosystem offers support for technical questions as well as design discussion opportunities through Wolfspeed’s Power Applications Forum.

 At the center of the kit is a motherboard with card-edge connectors serving as interfaces for daughter cards that build the functionality of the power stage under development. This allows engineers to drop in and quickly evaluate various half-bridge power modules, gate drivers, control, and other potential accessories. Designers can test all Wolfspeed discrete devices up to 1200 V, while paired with a wide range of gate driver options from several manufacturers in the ecosystem.

The kit can be operated as a buck or boost converter, both synchronous and asynchronous, or used to perform double-pulse testing (DPT), allowing measurement of:

  • Timing, including TDELAY-ON, TDELAY-OFF, TRISE, TFALL
  • Overshoot, including VDS-MAX, ID-MAX
  • Switching speed, including di/dt, dv/dt
  • Parameters related to switching loss, including reverse recovery charge Qrr, turn-on switching energy EON, turn-off switching energy EOFF, and reverse recovery energy (loss) ERR

By adjusting the external gate resistance RG on the kit, designers can optimize all of the parameters above for the gate driver of their choice.

The half-bridge motherboard supports power daughter cards that come fully assembled with their own thermal management system comprising a heatsink and thermal isolator. The card-edge connection approach enables engineers to rapidly swap out SiC devices without the need for soldering, while maintaining a low-inductance connection to the DC bus to ensure optimal switching performance.

This ability to swap Wolfspeed SiC MOSFETs in a matter of seconds allows designers to test different devices on the same platform, with the same layout and gate driver, so that they can quickly attribute any measured differences to the device itself and dramatically speed up the device selection process.

The platform has many compatible gate driver cards available from carefully selected partners. Users can compare device performance with different gate drivers while holding all other variables constant, and thus quickly arrive at the optimum combination of device and gate driver for their application. Carrying this pairing into the engineer’s own design reduces design risk and shortens the product development cycle time.

Build-your-own eval

The SpeedVal Kit platform works with the following building blocks:

  1. Power Daughter Card (1 required) – Half-bridge configurations of two MOSFETs are optimized for making accurate high-bandwidth current and voltage measurements
  2. Gate Driver Card (1 required) – Two-channel driver card including gate power supplies
  3. Control Card and User Interface (optional) – Brings additional control functionality to the design with easy-to-use GUI
  4. Buck Boost Filter Board (optional) – For high-power testing
  5. Air Core Inductor (optional) – For double-pulse testing.

The kit is supported by the unique partnership with Arrow that makes it easier to test a variety of parts quickly and cost-effectively. Part of this ecosystem are Arrow line card suppliers that are the best in the industry, including but not limited to Analog Devices (ADI), Skyworks, Bourns, NXP, Kemet, Allegro, and Molex. This collaboration continues the development of additional boards to address new and changing design requirements.

Explore the SpeedVal Kit platform or configure your own system today using our online configurator.

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