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A Half-Bridge LLC Resonant Converter with LooseCoupling Transformer and Transition Capacitor

Yueh-Ru Yang
Ming Chi University of Technology
New Taipei City, Taiwan
yryang@mail.mcut.edu.tw
the switching loss is greatly reduced. Basically, the principal
resonant mode of LLC converter is series resonance. Moreover,
since the voltage gain of LLC tank is larger than unity while
switching frequency is smaller than series-resonant frequency,
the holdup time of the off-line power supply with LLC
converter is prolonged, while utility AC source is abruptly
disrupted. Accordingly, in this paper, the LLC converter is
designed and implemented for off-line DC power supplies.
The input and output of the converter are 400V and 12V,
respectively. A half-bridge inverter is used to switch the input
voltage to a half, and a transformer steps down the voltage to
the desired level of load. Due to the use of transformer, the
transformer is integrated into the LLC tank to get rid of the
problem of transformer leakage and make use of the leakage.
This paper studies the circuit operation of the LLC converter in
time domain, and designs the transformer tank with the
fundamental approximation in frequency domain.
For
convenience, the used transformer parameters are short circuit
inductance and open circuit inductance, both are measured at
the primary-side of the transformer.

Abstract In this paper, a half-bridge LLC resonant


converter with a loose-coupling transformer and a transition
capacitor is analyzed and implemented. The LLC resonant tank
is comprised with a loose-coupling transformer and a seriesresonant capacitor. For transiting the resonant current of the
switching transistors and improving the zero-current turn off of
the rectifying diodes, a small transition capacitor is added and
paralleled to the switching transistors. To verify the analysis of
the switching circuit, circuit simulation is executed. And, to
demonstrate the design of the LLC converter, a 200W prototype
is built and tested. The DC input and output ratings of the
converter are 400V and 12V, respectively. The experimental
results coincide with the design and prediction.
KeywordsLLC; resonant converter; DC/DC converter

I.

INTRODUCTION

In off-line power supplies, transformers are widely used to


step up or step down output voltage. Due to imperfect
magnetic coupling, leakage flux always exists and the coupling
coefficient of transformer is always less than unity. Usually,
the leakage of transformer increases with the turn ratio. As a
large turn-ratio transformer is used in a hard-switching circuit,
the switching noise arisen from the leakage inductance and
stray capacitance easily generates cumbersome electromagnetic
interference. To overcome the problem of switching noise and
improve the efficiency of power conversion, soft-switching
converters were developed [1]. In these converters, the LLC
resonant converter is very suitable for the application of the
off-line power supply with transformer. Since the leakage of
transformer can be naturally absorbed and utilized as a part of
the LLC resonant tank [2-10], the problem of electromagnetic
interference arisen from the leakage and stray capacitance is
reduced. Besides, soft switching reduces the power loss and
the efficiency of power supply is hence improved.

II.

A. Independent LLC tank and transformer


Shown in Fig. 1 is the LLC converter with independent
LLC tank and transformer. The front-end DC/AC circuit feeds
the LLC tank with square-wave voltage and the tank drive the
load R L through transformer Tr , diode rectifier and filtering
capacitor Cf . The transformer is not only for isolation, but also
for increasing voltage ratio. While input voltage Vd fluctuates
or output load R L changes, the voltage gain of the LLC tank is
continuously changed to keep the output voltage VL constant.
As L p is far larger than L s , the LLC tank is viewed as a series-

Intrinsically, the LLC resonant tank is comprised with an


independent capacitor, two connected inductors and resistive
load. One of the two inductors is connected to the capacitor in
series, and the other is connected to the load in parallel. The
capacitor not only resonates with the series inductor but also
resonates with the parallel inductor and the resistive load.
According to the circuit connection of LLC components, the
frequency of series resonance is constant and is always larger
than the frequency of parallel resonance. As switching
frequency is larger than the series-resonant frequency, the LLC
resonant tank is certainly inductive, and switching transistors
can be naturally turned on at zero-voltage condition. Therefore,

c
978-1-4799-4315-9/14/$31.00 2014
IEEE

CIRCUIT DESCRIPTION

resonant tank and the voltage gain is equal to or less than unity.
Tr
Cr
Vd

1344

Ls
Lp

Lm

Cf

VL

RL

Fig. 1. The LLC converter with independent LLC tank and transformer.

B. Integrated LLC tank and transformer


In Fig. 1, the transformer leakage is ignored. However, the
leakage always exists in transformers and especially can not be
ignored in large turn ratio transformers. In order to make use
of the leakage inductance LA1 and LA 2 , an integrated LLC
transformer resonant tank is designed as shown in Fig. 2.

In this paper, the designed LLC converter is for off-line


power supplies. Therefore, as shown in Fig. 3, a half-bridge
inverter, a center-tap transformer and a rectifier are adopted.
Here, the two secondary windings are identical in turn ratio and
L
magnetic coupling coefficient. Namely, L A 2 = L A3 = A21 , n is
n
the turn ratio of the primary to the secondary.
The magnetic coupling coefficient k is usually expressed as
a ratio of the magnetizing inductance to the total inductance,
and is measured with open-circuit test and short-circuit test. As
the short-circuit inductance and open-circuit inductance
are L1,s and L1, o respectively, the coefficient k is

and the filtering capacitor C f filters out all harmonics. The


voltage on the load R L is regulated with the switching
frequency of the half-bridge inverter.
n :1
Cr

Vd

vg1

Lp

Ls = (1 k 2 )L1, o , L p = k 2 L1,o and k =

Ls + L p

Vd

2 L s C r

, fp =

1
2 (L s + L p )C r

n :1

LA1

LA 2

D3
Cf

Cr

RL

Lm

Q 2 D2 C z 2

LA3

D4

Fig. 3. The LLC converter with resonant transformer and transition capacitor.

C r iLs

Ls

io

a:1
IL

iLp
vi

Lp

vo

Cf

RL

VL

R ac

Fig. 4. The LLC equivalent circuit with all-primary transformer model.

the parallel-resonant frequency f p are respectively expressed as


1

RL

(3)

Based on the equivalence of Fig. 2 and Fig. 4,


Lp
L
L A 2 + m2 = 2
(4)
n
a
, the relation between a and n can be known.
a
=k
(5)
n
In this case, the pseudo turn ratio a is smaller than the real
turn ratio n. The smaller value is used to compensate the
voltage drop on the primary leakage inductance.
Corresponding to the short-circuit inductance and open-circuit
inductance L1,s and L1, o , the series-resonant frequency f s and

fs =

Q1 D1 C z1

(2)

Based on (1), the parameters of the transformer model shown


in Fig. 4 are

VL

Cf

Fig. 2. The LLC converter with integrated LLC tank and transformer.

In this paper, the all primary transformer model is adopted for


ease of analysis. As shown in Fig. 4, the real turn ratio n is
changed as a pseudo turn ratio a. And,
L1,s = Ls , L1,o = Ls + L p .

LA 2

Lm

vg2

Lm
L1,s
k=
= 1
. (1)
L A1 + L m
L1,o

LA1

(6)

As the transformer Tr resonates with the resonant capacitor C r ,


a part of resonant current ( i Ls i Lp ) that flows through the
primary winding is transferred to the secondary winding. The
rectifying diode D 3 ( D 4 ) rectifies the secondary-side current,

III.

CIRCUIT OPERATION

In Fig. 3, half-bridge switch Q1 and Q 2 are respectively


driven with v g1 and v g 2 . A DC bias 0.5Vd is produced and is
blocked by the series capacitor C r . As the variable switching
frequency is equal to the series-resonant frequency, the sum of
the voltage drop on the series-connected Ls and C r is zero,
and the voltage gain of the LLC tank is equal to unity. Based
on this important feature, the fixed series-resonant frequency is
chosen as the boundary frequency of the LLC circuit operation.
According to the variation of switching frequency, the detailed
of the circuit operation is depicted as follows.
A. Switching frequency is series resonant frequency
As the variable switching frequency is equal to the seriesresonant frequency of the LLC tank, the six figures shown in
Fig. 5 are used to illustrate the current paths of each stage, and
the corresponding voltage and current waveforms of each
stage are shown in Fig. 6.

2014 IEEE 9th Conference on Industrial Electronics and Applications (ICIEA)

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Stage-1 ( i Ls (t ) i Lp ( t ) > 0 , t 0 < t t 1 ): In stage-1, v g1 is

current becomes continuous. The current ( i Ls i Lp ) is smaller

positive and v g 2 is zero. The energy stored in L p conducts

than the case shown in Fig. 6.

D1 and returns to the voltage source Vd . The current ( i Ls i Lp )

C. Switching frequency < series resonant frequency


Fig. 8 shows the waveforms that switching frequency is
smaller than series-resonant frequency. Stage 3 is re-divided
into interval 3a and 3b, and stage 6 is re-divided into 6a and
6b. In these intervals, C r resonates with L1,o and i Lp = i Ls .

is transferred to the secondary and conducts D3 . At t1 , the


current of D1 falls to zero and stage-1 ends. Due to series
resonance, the voltage sum of C r and L s is zero. The voltage
across L p is clamped at input voltage ( 0.5Vd ) and i Lp rises
linearly.
Stage-2 ( i Ls ( t ) i Lp ( t ) 0 , t 1 < t t 2 ): After t 1 , i Ls is positive
and flows through Q1 . The current i Lp reverses in this stage.

The effective output current is zero and the ineffective


circulating current deteriorates the circuit efficiency.

D1

C z1 C r

Q2

D2

Cz 2

current i Lp flows to Cz1 and C z 2 . No power is transferred to

Q1

D1

C z1 C r

the secondary. C f keeps the voltage VL . At t 3 , stage-3 ends


while switching voltage v ds1 rises to the DC voltage Vd .
Stage-4 ( i Ls (t ) i Lp ( t ) < 0 , t 3 < t t 4 ): In stage-4, i Ls i Lp < 0 ,

Q2

D2

Cz 2

Q1

D1

C z1 C r

Q2

D2

Cz 2

Q1

D1

C z1 C r

Q2

D2

Cz 2

Q1

D1

C z1 C r

At t 2 , Q1 is cut off and the output current falls to zero. The


current of D 3 drops to zero at t 2 . That is, D 3 cuts off with
zero current condition.
Stage-3 ( i Ls ( t ) i Lp ( t ) = 0 , t 2 < t t 3 ): After t 2 , v g1 and v g 2

Q1

Ls

a :1

D3

Cf

RL

Lp

D4

Stage 1

are both zero and output current is still zero, i Ls = i Lp . The


Ls

a :1
D3

D4

Ls

transferred to secondary and conducts D4 . At t 4 , stage-4 ends

with L s , i Ls flows through Q 2 and i Lp reverses. The voltage

D3

At series-resonant

frequency, v g 2 disappears when output current drops to zero.

D4

Ls

are both zero and output current is still zero, i Ls = i Lp . i Lp

stage-6 ends while v ds2 rises to the DC voltage Vd .


B. Switching frequency > series resonant frequency
Fig. 7 shows the waveforms that switching frequency is
larger than series-resonant frequency. In stage 3 and 6, Q1

and Q 2 cut off before i Lp equals to i Ls , C z1 and C z 2 help


the transition of resonant current. A part of the resonant
current is transferred to the secondary, and the secondary

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Stage 3

D3

Cf

RL

Lp

Stage-6 ( i Ls (t ) i Lp ( t ) = 0 , t 5 < t t 6 ): After t 5 , v g1 and v g 2

flows to Cz1 and C z 2 . No power is transferred to the


secondary and the voltage of R L is kept with C f . At t 6 ,

RL

a :1

D4

Since i Ls i Lp is transferred to secondary, the current of D 4


drops to zero at t 5 . D4 cuts off with zero current condition.

Cf

Lp

of L p is still clamped at negative 0.5Vd and i Lp declines.


At t 5 , v g 2 disappears and Q 2 cuts off.

Stage 2

a :1

and i Lp declines linearly. The output current ( i Ls i Lp ) is


while the diode current of D 2 drops to zero.
Stage-5 ( i Ls (t ) i Lp ( t ) 0 , t 4 < t t 5 ): After t 4 , C r resonates

RL

Lp

the energy stored in L p conducts D 2 and returns to C r after


t 3 . The voltage drop across L p is clamped at negative 0.5Vd

Cf

Ls

Stage 4

a :1
D3

Cf

RL

Lp
Q 2 D2

Cz 2

Q1

D1

C z1 C r

D2

Cz 2

D4

Ls

a :1

D3

Stage 5

Cf

RL

Lp
Q2

D4

Stage 6

Fig. 5. The current paths of each stage that switching frequency equals to the
series-resonant frequency.

2014 IEEE 9th Conference on Industrial Electronics and Applications (ICIEA)

v g1

IV.

vg2
t

Vd

vds2

v ds1
0.5V d

i Ls
0

i Lp

v D3
0

i D3

Vo
iD4

1
t 0 t1

3 4
t 2 t3 t 4

6
t5 t6

Fig. 6. Switching frequency is equal to series-resonant frequency.

v g1

vg2
t

vds2

v ds 1

Zin =

0.5V d

i Ls
0

vD3
0

Vo

iD3
1
t 0 t1

iD4

t
5

3 4
t 2 t3 t4

Qs =

t5 t6

Fig. 7. Switching frequency is larger than series-resonant frequency.

v g1
Vd

vg 2

vds2

vds1

1.4

v D3

|Vo/Vi|

1.2

(13)

1.6

Z0
Ls
, Z0 =
R ac
Cr

Fig. 9 depicts the frequency response of the LLC tank and Fig.
10 shows the details with three 2-D plots. At series-resonant
frequency, b = 1 , the voltage gain is equal to unity.

i Lp

i Ls

(11)

The frequency ratio b and inductance ratio m are used for


ease of analysis,
L1, o
f
f
(14)
b= , m=
= ( s )2 .
fs
fp
L1,s

0.5V d

1
+ sLs + sLp // R ac
sCr

The voltage-gain function of LLC load-resonant tank is


Vo sL p // R ac
b 2 (m 1)
=
=
,
(12)
2
Vi
Zin
mb 1 + j b(b 2 1)(m 1) Q s
The loaded quality factor of series resonance and
characteristic impedance are

i Lp

ANALYSIS AND IMPLEMENTATIONS

The following analysis adopts Fundamental Approximation.


In Fig. 4, as switching frequency is f and load current is I L ,
the output current of LLC tank is approximated as
IL
i o (t) =
sin 2ft
(7)
2 a
For fixed voltage VL and infinite capacitance C f , the
fundamental output voltage of the LLC tank is
4
v o ( t ) = aVL sin 2ft
(8)

Therefore, the equivalent AC resistance of the DC load is


v
8
R ac = o = 2 a 2 R L
(9)
io

Depending on switching frequency, the input voltage of the


LLC circuit is written as
4 V
v i ( t ) = ( d ) sin( 2ft + )
(10)
2
, where is the phase angle between input voltage and output
voltage. The input impedance expressed with complex
frequency s is

1
0.8
0.6
0.4

iD3

1
t 0 t1

iD4

3a 3 b 4
t 2 t 3 a t 3b t 4

6a6 b

t 5 t 6 a t 6b

Fig. 8. Switching frequency is smaller than series-resonant frequency.

0.2
m=5

0
0
Qs 0.5
1

0.2

0.4

0.6

0.8

1.2

1.4

1.6

Fig. 9. The frequency response of LLC circuit with a 3D plot.

2014 IEEE 9th Conference on Industrial Electronics and Applications (ICIEA)

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3.5

The peak gain presents at an unfixed frequency between f s


and f p . The peak gain frequency increases with the loaded

1.6
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1.0

Qs
1.4

|Vo/Vi|

1.2
1
0.8
0.6
m=3
0.4
0.2

0.4

0.6

0.8

1.2

1.4

1.6

b
1.6
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1.0

Qs
1.4

|Vo/Vi|

1.2
1
0.8
0.6
m=5
0.4
0.2

0.4

0.6

0.8

1.2

1.4

1.6

1.6
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1.0

Qs
1.4

|Vo/Vi|

1.2
1
0.8
0.6
m=7
0.4
0.2

0.4

0.6

0.8

1.2

1.4

1.6

Peak Gain

quality factor, but the magnitude of peak gain decreases with


the loaded quality factor. Basically, the loaded LLC resonant
tank is resistive at peak-gain frequency, and is inductive above
peak-gain frequency. Let the derivative of the magnitude of
voltage gain function equals to zero can get the peak-gain
frequencies and the corresponding peak gains.
Fig. 11 displays a number of peak gains for various loaded
quality factors and induction ratios. It states that peak gain
decreases with the induction ratio for fixed loaded quality
factor. The required peak gain for line and load regulations is
determined with the minimum input voltage and the maximum
loaded quality factor. The minimum frequency for obtaining
zero-voltage switching is also determined with the minimum
DC input voltage and the maximum load power. The
maximum frequency presents at the maximum DC input
voltage and the minimum load power.

3
2.5

1.5
1
0.5
0.2

0.3

0.4

0.5

0.6

0.7

0.9

Qs
Fig. 11. The peak gain of LLC tank for different loaded quality factor and
induction ratio.

The design steps of the LLC tank are as follows:


Step-1: Determine the required peak gain with the minimum
DC input voltage.
Step-2: Determine the induction ratio with the required peak
gain and the loaded quality factor.
Step-3: Design the transformer with the induction ratio.
Step-4: Determine the induction ratio (coupling coefficient)
with the peak gain and the loaded quality factor.
Step-5: Determine the resonant capacitance and inductance
with the series-resonant frequency.
The DC specifications of the designed LLC converter are as
follows: the rated input voltage is DC400V and the minimum
input voltage is DC300V; the rated output voltage is DC12V
and the rated output power is 200W. Based on above, the
pseudo turn ratio a is 15 and the real turn ratio n of
transformer is 17. The required peak gain of the LLC
resonant tank is 1.2. The equivalent AC resistance R ac of the
DC load is 131.3 Ohms.
V.

SIMULATION AND EXPERIMENT

The designed circuit parameters are as follows: the seriesresonant frequency f s is 87 kHz, the resonant capacitor C r is
20nF, the equivalent series-inductance L s is 168uH, the opencircuit inductance L1 is 722uH, the inductance ratio m is
4.298, the coupling coefficient k is 0.876, and the frequency
ratio b is 2.074. Circuit simulation is performed to verify the
circuit parameters. The used MOSFET is IRF840. For
convenience, the series-resonant capacitance is changed to
observe and compare the resonant waveforms resulted from
different switching frequency. Fig.12 shows the simulation
results of waveforms with different resonant capacitance,
40nF, 20nF and 15nF, and the used transition capacitance is
1nF. The zero-voltage switching is achieved. Fig. 13 states
the zero-current switching of two rectifying diodes. The
experimental results tested with the rated DC400V input
voltage and 20% 50% and 100% loads are listed in Table I.
The switching frequency at 100% load is 89 kHz, which is
very close to the designed series-resonant frequency 87 kHz.
The maximum efficiency is 0.909. The conduction loss

Fig. 10. The voltage gain of LLC tank for induction ratio, m=3,5,7.

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0.8

2014 IEEE 9th Conference on Industrial Electronics and Applications (ICIEA)

20V
0
500V
0
1A
0

15A
0
0

15A
0 0

v ds1

VI.

vgs1

v gs 2

v ds 2

v ds1

i Lp

The author thanks the financial support of National


Science Council, Taiwan. The contract number is NSC1022221-E-131-015.

iQ1

id4

i d3

REFERENCES
[1]

M. K. Kazimierczuk and D. Czarkowski, Resonant Power Converter.


New YorkJohn Wiley & Sons, 1995.
Bo Yang and F. C. Lee, A. J. Zhang, Guisong Huang, LLC resonant
converter for front-end DC to DC conversion, APEC 2003, pp. 605-609.
Bing L., Wenduo L., Yan L., Fred C. L.,Jacobus D., Van W. Optimal
design methodology for LLC resonant converter. Applied Power
Electronics Conference and Exposition (APEC) 2006, pp. 533538.
Simone, S.D., Adragna, C., Spini, C. and Gattavari, G. Design-oriented
steady state analysis of LLC resonant converter based on FHA.
International Symposium on Power Electronics, Electrical Drives,
Automation and Motion, 2006, pp.200-207.
Hangseok Choi, Analysis and design of LLC resonant converter with
integrated transformer, APEC 2007, pp. 1630-1635.
Daocheng Huang, Shu Ji, Fred. C. Lee, Matrix transformer for LLC
resonant converters, APEC 2013, pp.2078-2083.
Daocheng Huang, Shu Ji, and Fred C. Lee, LLC Resonant converter
with matrix transformer, IEEE Trans. Power Electronics., Vol. 29, No. 8,
pp.464-469, 2014.
R. Yu, Godwin. K. Y. Ho, Bryan M. H. Pong, Computer-aided design
and optimization of high-efficiency LLC series resonant converter,
IEEE Trans. Power Electron., Vol. 27, No.7, pp.3243-3256, 2012.
Xiaodong Li, A LLC-type dual-bridge resonant converter: analysis,
design, simulation, and experimental results, IEEE Trans. Power
Electron., Vol.29, No.8, pp.4313-4321, 2014.
Il-Oun Lee, and G-W Moon, Analysis and design of a three-level LLC
series resonant converter for high-and wide-input-voltage applications,
IEEE Trans. Power Electron., Vol.27, No.6, pp.2966-2979, 2012.

v gs1

v gs 2

[2]

v ds 2

v ds1

[3]

1.5us / Div

i Ls

[4]

i Lp iQ1
id4

i d3

[5]
[6]
[7]

1us / Div

i Ls

[8]

1A / Div

i Lp
[9]

i D3

v D3

30V / Div

10A / Div
vD 4

v gs1

CONCLUSION

ACKNOWLEDGMENT

1.5us / Div

i Ls

bottom (a) 40nF, (b)20nF, (c)15nF, C z =1nF.

Efficiency (%)
87.9
90.9
89.4

In this paper, a half-bridge LLC converter with integrated


transformer and transition capacitor is analyzed, simulated,
designed and implemented in this paper.
The circuit
simulation results demonstrate the analysis and design of this
paper. A small transition capacitor is added to the half-bridge
inverter to ameliorate the transition of switching current. The
transformer should be optimized to decrease circulating losses.
And, the loss of rectifying diodes is deserved to be reduced

id4

Fig. 12. The simulation with different resonant capacitance C r , from top to

Frequency (kHz)
98.0
95.0
89.9

1.5us / Div

i d3

20V
0 0
500V
0 0
1A
0 0

v ds 2

Load (%)
20
50
100

i Lp iQ1

20V
0 0
500V
0 0

v gs 2

i Ls

15A
0

1A
0 m

v gs1

EXPERIMENTAL RESULTS

TABLE I.

consumed on the rectifying diodes is serious and is deserved


to be reduced.

[10]

v ds1
.


Fig. 13. The zero-current turn off of rectifying diodes, C r = 40nF, C z = 1nF.

2014 IEEE 9th Conference on Industrial Electronics and Applications (ICIEA)

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