Last Updated on October 22, 2023 by Kevin Chen
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Transistors have a wide range of applications in different fields of electronics. Power electronics is among the major fields. This subsection of electronics specializes in the generation, conversion, and transmission of electric energy. Transistors are mainly known for their switching and amplification functions. They are designed to do the same when used in power electronics. They can regulate, control, and amplify both current and voltage in power electronic devices. What is the importance of transistors in power electronics? Which transistors are used in this field? How do I choose the best transistor for power electronics? Keep reading as his guide will answer these questions and many others that you may be having about the role of transistors in power electronics.
Overview of power electronics
To understand the role of transistors in power electronics, it will be prudent to have a brief insight into this field and know what it entails.
Power electronics is an electrical engineering field that specializes in the processing and delivery of electric power. Power electronics is visible in all electric devices ranging from simple household appliances to complex industrial machinery. The automotive industry and renewable energy industry are just some of the applications that are heavily utilizing the effectiveness of power electronics. It guarantees safe and efficient processing and delivery of power.
Various electronic components are used in the running of the power electronics. Transistors are among them. It is impossible to underestimate the switching and amplification roles of transistors in power electronics. Other components such as thyristors and diodes also play crucial roles.
Power transistors are specialized semiconductor components that are best suited for power electronics applications. They have the full capacity to handle high voltage and current- key parameters that characterize power electronics devices.
Power transistors feature three terminals; base, emitter, and collector terminals. One terminal accepts the incoming current and the transistor will control the voltage and current that is coming out of the terminals.
There are different types of power transistors for the power electronics. They also come in different configurations which can either be NMP or PNP. The two main types of power transistors are Bipolar Junction Transistors (BJT) and Field Effect Transistors (FET). Other types of power transistors majorly belong other these two. They include the metal oxide semiconductor field effect transistor (MOSFET) and insulated gate bipolar transistor (IGBT).
Each type of power transistor is packed with a unique set of physical and electrical properties. Before you buy transistors for the power electronics, ensure that it is of the right type. Take time to study the properties of each type before you decide whether it is a perfect solution for your application area.
BJT transistors come in two main configurations, PNP and NPN. They have high current capacity and at the same time high breakdown voltage. They are best suited for high-power applications.
Field effect transistors for the power electronics have three terminals, source, base, and drain. FETs such as MOSFETs are used for controlling voltage in power applications.
Functions of transistors in power electronics
Here are the key roles of power transistors in power electronics applications:
Power electronics applications encompass functional circuits which operate in the on and off states. Transistors come in handy in determining the states of these circuits. Both the IGBT and MOSFET transistor types are ideal for executing the switching functionality in the transistor.
Speed is a key parameter of the transistors that makes them ideal to be used as switches in power electronics. They can change the state of the circuits on and off rapidly, making it easy to control the circuits. When used as switches, transistors determine the flow of electrons in the power circuits.
This is another major function of transistors in power electronics. They amplify both the voltage and current in the power electronics. This is a critical function when power electronics are designed to run loads rated high-voltage yet the input current is relatively lower.
Bipolar junction transistors seem to be the perfect solution for amplification. They can multiply the output current for both the ow-power and high voltage power electronics applications.
One application of power electronics entails converting power from one form to another. Power transistors are commonly used in devices used for converting DC-DC, DC to AC, and even for AC-to-DC conversion.
The compact nature of power transistors makes them an ideal option as they can be easily embedded into the converters. They are suitable for both low-voltage and high-voltage applications.
For safety in the electronics
The switching functionality of the transistors makes them suitable for executing safety roles in power electronics. They can limit the flow of current hence preventing the leakage of current in the circuit. The safety role will go a long way in preventing voltage spikes of the transistors.
Buying the right transistors for the power electronics
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At this point, you know important details about transistors and their functions in power electronics. Are you designing and building a power electronics application? Buying the right transistor should be among your top priorities.
The first thing that you need to look at when choosing transistors is the type. By looking at your application, you should tell whether you need BJT or ET transistors. There are pros and cons to each transistor type.
Once you have decided on the type, the next is to verify the specifications of the transistors. The specs will define the performance and suitability of the transistor in the power electronics circuits. You should know the current capacity, voltage, frequency, and other key specs.
After knowing the details of the most suitable transistor for your application, you can proceed to buy. Keep in mind that where to buy transistors will always matter. It will determine the quality and the price of the transistor that you will end up with. Ensure that you buy from reputable suppliers and distributors of electronic components in China. This is the surest way of finding the right transistor at a reasonable price.
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