The next generation in power semiconductors will be driven by Silicon Carbide (SiC) technology to serve the rapidly growing Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) market and charging infrastructure, address the increasingly high requirements of new energy efficiency standards, and meet the growing need for higher power density and smaller system size in industrial and renewable energy segments.
As the global leader in Silicon Carbide technology, Wolfspeed has the broadest portfolio of Silicon Carbide Schottky diodes and MOSFETs from 600 V to 1700 V and an extensive lineup of Silicon Carbide power modules available in industry standard and optimized footprints.
Existing SiC evaluation kits on the market not only provide engineers with a narrow set of components that can be tested but are focused only on only the SiC device. Given today’s time-to-market pressures, Wolfspeed has responded to designer needs with a modular approach that makes it much easier to test a variety of parts quickly and cost-effectively.
Wolfspeed’s new SpeedVal Kit is a modular evaluation platform concept that offers designers working with Silicon Carbide building blocks for unmatched versatility, customizability, and quick and easy system-level testing. The platform not only offers the ability to rapidly test various topologies with a wide variety of Silicon Carbide products, including Schottky diodes and MOSFETs, in both surface-mount and through-hole packages but pulls together a whole ecosystem of building blocks that allow effective system evaluation. This allows engineers to configure and test all aspects of the power converter including the controller, gate driver, magnetics, and of course SiC devices. This approach reduces the risk and time for customers to develop their own system by allowing them to test all the critical components together in this evaluation platform.
The platform consists of a motherboard, power daughter card, gate driver card, optional control card, as well as other potential accessories. The “drop-in” approach allows designers to test all Wolfspeed discrete devices up to 1200 V paired with a range of gate driver options from multiple manufacturers. A unique card-edge connection to the power daughter card enables engineers to change Silicon Carbide devices in seconds without soldering, while maintaining a low-inductance connection to the DC bus to provide optimal switching performance.
The new SpeedVal Kit enables designers to optimize the gate drive system and measure:
- Qrr and switching loss (EON, EOFF, and ERR)
- Timing (TDELAY-ON, TDELAY-OFF, TRISE, TFALL)
- Overshoot (VDS-MAX, ID-MAX)
- Switching speed (di/dt, dv/dt)
Engineers can also adjust gate resistance, RG, to optimize switching behavior and evaluate all discrete SiC MOSFETs up to 1,200 V across a wide range of packages, including TO-247, TO-263, and TOLL, while operating in their desired topology as a buck or boost converter using the half-bridge motherboard.
The evaluation platform will have several motherboards to choose from for different power topologies that all utilize the same gate driver and power daughter cards. The motherboards have a low-inductance layout and feature screw terminal power connections. The power daughter cards are optimized for each device package and use coaxial connectors for VGS and VDS measurements for optimal signal integrity. They utilize high-bandwidth current sensing for switching loss measurements. Multiple versions of the motherboard are planned beyond the recently introduced half-bridge version, including a three-phase version for inverters and motor control.
All power daughter cards are arranged in a half-bridge configuration. This allows designers to test the complete range of Silicon Carbide MOSFETs using daughter card gate driver boards developed by the industry’s leading gate driver manufacturers in partnership with Wolfspeed. Each configuration has an optimized baseboard with DC bus and current sensing for the power module, as well as gate driver daughter card to connect. All gate driver cards have two isolated gate drive outputs for driving the half-bridge power daughter card. The cards allow engineers to test Wolfspeed devices with their choice of gate driver and feature set, making their measurements with their choice of design-in parts.
Ecosystem developed with partners
The SpeedVal Kit is the starting point of Silicon Carbide-based designs that evolve in an ecosystem of parts from applications partners. Wolfspeed has utilized existing relationships in the industry and built new ones.
For instance, the company has worked closely with Bourns on magnetics designs, selected Yageo/Kemet as a capacitor supplier, and ensured compatible gate driver daughter cards from Texas Instruments, Analog Devices, Skyworks, NXP, and Broadcom. The growing number of partners also includes Molex, Sanyo Denki, and Vishay along with distribution partner Arrow Electronics, all of which contribute products, expertise, and services to ensure a swift, painless journey from design to evaluation to sign-off and production.
As nearly all power conversion and motor drive systems get redesigned over the next decade to enable higher efficiency, smaller size, lower weight, and cooler designs with Silicon Carbide technology, Wolfspeed and their partners are expanding an ecosystem of multi-supplier solutions that enable them to thoroughly evaluate their solution with bill of materials, design and simulation files, and expert support.
SpeedVal Kit Videos
Unboxing Wolfspeed’s SpeedVal Kit
What’s in the box? Join Wolfspeed Global Distribution Technical Manager Nick Powers as he unboxes the SpeedVal Kit Modular Evaluation Platform and highlights the advantages of using this flexible set of power building blocks for in-circuit evaluation of power system performance.
Explore The Options
Click on the individual components of the system below to learn more and see the available options for each. Components may be purchased separately or use the SpeedVal Kit Configurator to build your complete test system.