An interesting tale from PCIM

Power Integrations has introduced a range of 1.7kV isolated gated drivers for IGBTs and mosfets.

Isolation comes from coupled inductors formed in the package lead-frame, isolated from one another by void-free package moulding compound.

According to the guys on the Power Integrations stand at PCIM, they are trying to qualify to the new VDE 0884-17 standard but – unlike the old standard which requires passing a high-voltage soak test at a fixed voltage – the new standard also requires the actual break-down voltage to be recorded.

The 1.7kV device refused to break-down at 5kV, even after months of soaking, which is the maximum voltage possible at Power Int’s Californian operation, so it had to move testing to its Swiss operation (it got into IGBT drivers by buying CT-Concept) where there is a 20kV tester (with an oil-bath to block through-air arcing).

After more months of soaking, the package-based insulation still refused to break down, so now a 40kV tester is on order as the company is not going to get its part approved until it can break it.


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