# Current and Temperature Ratings

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1 Document Current and Temperature Ratings Introduction This application note describes: How to interpret Coilcraft inductor current and temperature ratings Our current ratings measurement method and performance limit criteria Calculations for estimating power and voltage performance limits based on current ratings How to calculate component temperature from the temperature rating How to estimate component DCR at temperatures other than 25 C. How to calculate performance limits in pulsed waveform applications Detailed rms calculations Appendix A Derivation of temperature rise equation Appendix B Conversion factors for various waveforms Appendix C Electrical ratings are interdependent. The current through a component depends on the applied voltage (waveform and duty cycle) and the component impedance. The impedance of a component depends on the DC resistance (DCR), the applied signal frequency (for AC resistance), and the component temperature. The temperature of a component depends on the thermodynamic (heat transfer) characteristics of the component, the circuit board, the solder connection, the surrounding environment, the impedance of the component, and the current through the component. The power dissipation of a component is a function of all of these variables. The maximum operating rating of a component must be given in terms of a specific measurement method and performance limit. For example, the performance limit could be defined as exceeding a specified temperature rise or as a total breakdown of the insulation or wire. Different measurement methods and performance limit criteria lead to different conclusions. By establishing the method of measurement and the performance limit criteria, a baseline is set for evaluating each application. Ultimately, circuit designers attempt to determine maximum operating limits for temperature, current, voltage, and power for each component. Each of these is specific to the application environment. Coilcraft Inductor Current Ratings Depending on the type of inductor (chip inductor, power inductor) we may specify an Isat, Irms, or I DC current. Saturation current (Isat) is the current at which the inductance value drops a specified amount below its measured value with no DC current. The inductance drop is attributed to core saturation. rms current (Irms) is the root mean square current that causes the temperature of the part to rise a specific amount above 25 C ambient. The temperature rise is attributed to I 2 R losses. DC current (I DC ) is the current value above which operation is not recommended without testing the component in its intended application. For some inductors Isat is lower than Irms. The core saturates before the component temperature reaches the performance limit. In this case we may specify only the Isat as it is the limiting factor. For many inductors, Isat is higher than Irms. In these cases we may specify only Irms and the temperature rise above ambient. In many cases, we specify both Irms and Isat current to illustrate which measurement is more critical. I DC is specified typically when Irms greatly exceeds Isat. Coilcraft Measurement Method and Performance Limit Criteria rms Current Irms We determine Irms by measuring the temperature rise above 25 C ambient caused by the current through a representative sample inductor. A low DC bias current is applied to the inductor, and the temperature of the inductor is allowed to stabilize. This process is repeated until the temperature rise reaches the rating limit. The measurements are taken with the sample inductor in still air with no heat sinking. The limit is typically a 15 C rise for chip inductors and a 4 C rise for power inductors. Therefore, the current rating is based on the datasheet Irms current and temperature rise. The temperature rise of a component due to current depends on the ambient temperature. To determine the component temperature due to rated current at ambient temperatures above the datasheet ambient temperature, see the Ambient Temperature Range section of this application note. Document Revised 3/6/8

2 Document Saturation Current Isat Isat ratings are established by measuring the inductance of a representative sample at a specific frequency with no DC current. The DC current level is then gradually increased and the inductance is measured. The Isat rating is the current level at which the inductance value drops a specified amount (in percent) below its measured value with no DC current. Power Limit Calculations Total or apparent power (P A ) consists of a combination of the average (real) power (P avg ) and the reactive (imaginary) power (P var ). While the purely reactive portion of power does not consume energy, there is some loss associated with its transmission back and forth in the circuit because transmission lines are not perfect conductors. Temperature rise due to the heating effect of current through an inductor is related to the average real power dissipated by the inductor. The average real power is a function of the effective series resistance (ESR) of the inductor and the rms current through the inductor, as shown in Equation 1. P avg = (Irms) 2 ESR (1) P avg = average real power in Watts Irms = rms current in amps ESR = effective series resistance in Ohms Equation 2 can be used to estimate a power limit due to real losses. The real losses include DC and AC losses, and are described by the ESR of the inductor. The AC losses are frequency-dependent, therefore, we recommend using our simulation models to determine the ESR for calculating the real power dissipation at your specific application frequency. The apparent (total) power required by an inductor is a function of the rms current through the inductor, the rms voltage across the inductor, and the phase angle difference between the voltage and current. Equation 2 can be used to estimate the apparent power required for the inductor. P A = Irms Vrms cos (θ) (2) P A = apparent power in Watts Irms = rms current in amps Vrms = rms potential across inductor in Volts θ = phase angle in degrees Since the AC behavior of an inductor is frequencydependent, and Vrms is application-specific, we recommend using our simulation models to determine the apparent power requirements for your specific application voltage and frequency. Voltage Limit Calculations While we do not typically specify a maximum voltage rating for our inductors, a limit can be estimated by calculating the resulting voltage drop across the inductor due to the maximum current rating (Irms) value. The rms voltage across an inductor is a function of the rms current through the inductor and the ESR of the inductor, as shown in Equation 3. Vrms = Irms ESR (3) Vrms = rms potential across the inductor in Volts Irms = rms current in amps ESR = effective series resistance in Ohms ESR is frequency-dependent. If it is not provided on the datasheet, we recommend using our simulation models to determine the ESR at your specific application frequency. Dielectric Withstanding Voltage Limits Our chip inductor qualification standards specify 5 Vac for a maximum of one minute as the voltage breakdown limit of the Dielectric Withstanding Voltage standard. For some of our power inductors, the breakdown voltage of the core material may limit the maximum voltage to a value less than that of the insulation breakdown voltage. Ambient Temperature Range Ambient temperature is described as a range, such as 4 C to +85 C. The range describes the recommended ambient (surrounding environment) temperature range of operation. It does not describe the temperature of the component (inductor). The component temperature is given by Equation 4: T c = T a + T r.385 ( T a ) (4) T c is the component temperature T a is the ambient (surrounding environment) temperature T r is the data sheet temperature rise due to rated current through the inductor Refer to Appendix B for the derivation of this equation. Example: The operating temperature range for a power inductor is stated as 4 C to +85 C, and the Irms is rated for a 4 C rise above 25 C ambient. The worst-case component temperature would be (85 C C) = C at the Irms current. Document Revised 7/28/8

3 Document DC Resistance vs. Temperature Equation 5 can be used to calculate the approximate DC resistance of a component within the operating temperature range: DCR T2 = DCR 25 (( (T2 25)) (5) Where: DCR T2 is the DC resistance at the temperature T2 DCR 25 is the data sheet value of DC resistance at 25 C T2 is the temperature in C at which the DC resistance is being calculated Pulsed Waveforms An ideal pulsed waveform is described by the period (T = 1/ frequency), amplitude, pulse width (t on ), and duty cycle, as shown in Figure 1. Ideal pulsed waveforms are rectangular. Real pulsed waveforms have rise time, fall time, overshoot, ringing, sag or droop, jitter, and settling time characteristics that are not considered in this discussion. We also assume that all pulses in a given application pulse train have the same amplitude. Amplitude t on Pulsed waveform 7% duty cycle Time Figure 1 The duty cycle (D) is the ratio of the pulse width (time duration) to the pulse period, as shown in Equation 6. D = t on / T (6) D = duty cycle t on = pulse width in seconds, T = period in seconds Duty cycle is typically given as a percent of the period. For example, continuous waves have a 1% duty cycle, since they are on for the whole cycle. Square waves have a 5% duty cycle: on for a half cycle and off for a half cycle. Duty cycle can also be stated as a ratio. A 5% duty cycle is the same as a.5 duty cycle ratio. To convert to pulsed power values from the equivalent continuous (1% D) waveform estimated power, equate the calculated energy values for a cycle, and solve the equation for the pulsed power. The calculation uses the definition: energy = power time. T Energy = P avg T (7) For one cycle of a continuous (1% duty cycle) waveform, and invoking Equation 1: Energy = (Irms) 2 ESR c T ESR c = effective series resistance to continuous current The ESR is frequency-dependent, and can be obtained from our simulation model of the chosen inductor. For one cycle of a pulsed waveform, Energy = P pulsed t on (8) Energy = (I pulsed ) 2 ESR pulsed t on P pulsed = equivalent pulsed power t on = pulse width in seconds ESR pulsed = effective series resistance to the pulsed current While the pulse width (t on ) and the pulsed current amplitude (I pulsed ) are defined for a specific application, the above logic requires either knowledge of ESR pulsed or the assumption that it is equivalent to ESR c. For the purposes of this discussion, we assume that ESR is frequency-dependent, but not waveform-dependent, therefore ESR pulsed = ESR c. With this assumption, equating the energy terms of Equation 7 and Equation 8, and canceling the ESR terms: (Irms) 2 T = (I pulsed ) 2 t on (9) (Irms) 2 / (I pulsed ) 2 = t on / T (1) and since D is t on / T, (Irms) 2 / (I pulsed ) 2 = D Solving for the equivalent pulsed current, I pulsed = ((Irms) 2 / D).5 (11) Example: A chip inductor has an I rms rating of 1 ma for a 15 C rise above 25 C ambient. The duty cycle for a particular application is calculated using Equation 6 to be 3%. Using Equation 12, I pulsed = ((.1A) 2 /.3).5 I pulsed =.183 A or 183 ma This calculation predicts an equivalent 15 C rise above 25 C ambient for the 183 ma current pulse at 3% duty cycle. The previous calculations assume that, regardless of the pulse amplitude, width, and duration, if the same amount of energy calculated from the power rating is delivered to the component over a cycle, the component will dissipate the energy safely. There may be physical conditions that limit this assumption due to the heat Document Revised 7/28/8

4 Document dissipation characteristics of the component, the solder connection, the circuit board, and the environment. In the previous example, if the duty cycle is reduced to 1%, the calculated pulsed current would be 316 ma, which is more than three times the rated rms current, although only applied for 1/1 of a cycle. Our current ratings are based on steady-state measurements, not on pulsed current waveforms. While the duty cycle assumption is valid in many cases, we have not verified our ratings for pulsed waveforms. Therefore, we recommend testing your specific application to determine if the calculation assumptions are valid. Appendix A rms Calculations Figure 2 shows a typical sinusoidal waveform of alternating current (AC) illustrating the peak and peak-to-peak values. The horizontal axis is the phase angle in degrees. The vertical axis is the amplitude. Note that the average value of a sinusoidal waveform over one full 36 cycle is zero Rectified sinusoidal waveform 1. Full sinusoidal waveform Peak Peak-to-peak -.5 Average =.636 rms = Figure 2 Figure 3 shows the same full sinusoidal waveform of Figure 2, full-wave rectified. The average rectified and rms values are illustrated for comparison. Calculate the root-mean-square (rms) value by the following sequence of calculations: square each amplitude value to obtain all positive values; take the mean value; and then take the square root Figure 3 The rms value, sometimes called the effective value, is the value that results in the same power dissipation (heating) effect as a comparable DC value. This is true of any rms value, including square, triangular, and sawtooth waveforms. Some AC meters read average rectified values, and others read true rms values. As seen from the conversion equation in Appendix B, the rms value is approximately 11% higher than the average value for a sinusoidal waveform. Document Revised 7/28/8

5 Document Appendix B Derivation of Temperature Rise Equation Our current ratings are typically based on a specific temperature rise (T r ) above 25 C ambient, resulting from the rated current. When a component is used in a higher ambient temperature environment, the resistance of the component wire is higher in proportion to the temperature difference between the higher ambient (T a ) and 25 C. The increase in resistance depends on the thermal coefficient of resistance (TCR) of the wire (α). For copper wire, α.385. When full rated current is applied to the component at a higher ambient temperature, the increased wire resistance results in increased I 2 R losses. The increased losses are assumed to be converted to heat, resulting in a temperature rise that is proportional to the increase in resistance of the wire. The derivation of the equation for determining the component temperature (T c ) when operating at a higher ambient temperature (T a ) follows. We begin with the definition of the temperature coefficient of resistance, using 25 C as our reference temperature. α = ΔR R / (T 25) = a R 25 a / (T a 25) R 25 R 25 ΔR = α(t 25) R a 25 The increase in temperature due to the increased resistance = ΔR T r R 25 T =T +T + c a r ΔR T r R 25 ΔR T =T +T (1+ ) c a r T c = T a + T r(1 + α(t a 25)) T =T + αt ( 1 +(T 25)) c a r α R 25 For α =.385 T c = T a+.385 T r( T a) a Definitions: ΔR = Increase in resistance due to higher ambient temperature T a T a = Ambient temperature (assumed to be >25 C) R a = Resistance of copper wire at ambient temperature (T a ) R 25 = Resistance of copper wire at 25 C ambient T r = Datasheet temperature rise due to rated current T c = Component temperature due to rated current at ambient temperature (T a ) Document Revised 7/28/8

6 Document Appendix C Conversion Factors for Various Waveforms Use the following equations to convert between average, rms, peak, and peak-to-peak values of various waveforms of current or voltage. Sinusoidal Waveforms Given an Average Value: Given an rms Value: rms = Average Average =.899 rms Peak = Average Peak = 2 rms ( rms) Peak-to-Peak = Average Peak-to-Peak = 2 2 ( rms) Given a Peak Value: Given a Peak-to-Peak Value: Average =.636 Peak Average =.318 Peak-to-Peak rms = 1/ 2 Peak (.77 Peak) rms = 1/(2 2) Peak-to-Peak (.354 Peak-to-Peak) Peak-to-Peak = 2 Peak Peak =.5 Peak-to-Peak Squarewave Waveforms Average = rms = Peak Peak-to-Peak = 2 Peak Triangular or Sawtooth Waveforms Given an Average Value: Given an rms Value: rms = 1.15 Average Average =.87 rms Peak = 2 Average Peak = 3 rms ( 1.73 rms) Peak-to-Peak = 4 Average Peak-to-Peak = 2 3 rms ( 3.46 rms) Given a Peak Value: Given a Peak-to-Peak Value: Average =.5 Peak Average =.25 Peak-to-Peak rms = 1/ 3 Peak (.578 Peak) rms = 1/(2 3) Peak-to-Peak (.289 Peak-to-Peak) Peak-to-Peak = 2 Peak Peak =.5 Peak-to-Peak Document Revised 7/28/8

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