Reliable and uninterrupted operation of power converters is crucial – especially in industrial processes where failure-free operation is indispensable. Capacitors and switching devices, such as transistors and diodes, are the most likely to fail components in power converters. To ensure failure-free operation, converters are often operated with redundancy and require periodic maintenance and replacement, which is time and cost intensive. Additionally, the functionality and performance of power converters degrade over time. Conventional methods estimate wear by characterizing individual components, but fail to reflect the overall state of the converter.
Live Electronic Component Monitoring provides a real-time, non-invasive method for monitoring the overall state of health of power convertors. Using spread spectrum time domain reflectometry, the method assesses the impedance, resistance, and capacitance of various current paths within the converter. This information is then used to form a converter-specific matrix that predicts the age and reliability power converters. Measurements are implemented while the components are live or functioning within the overall system.