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How Carver Amps work class 1 : Magnetic Field Coil
Nahash5150Offline
#1 Posted: Saturday, October 24, 2015 10:14:32 PM(UTC)
 
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Hello,
 
Although there is a lot of information on the Magnetic Field Coil power supply design, I thought that I would try to summarize and explain how it works in layman's terms, and answer questions as I present ideas about the principles that are used to operated it. So questions are welcome, but I ask that they be directed only at what I have presented so far.
 
 
Problem: High power amplifiers require heavy, expensive and inefficient power supplies.
 
Answer: Design an affordable, lightweight and efficient power supply.
 
Bob's idea: What if I was able to control the AC line voltage into the power transformer so that a power supply was only given just enough power to respond to demand? If that were possible, I wouldn't need a large transformer, and the amp would have more power when it needed it, and thus it would not waste it.
 
Principle One: AC line voltage
 
AC stands for alternating current. In the US, the standard voltage is 120V at 60 cycles per second. AC line voltage is a sine wave that changes direction (polarity) 120 times per second.
 
 
 
 Shown above is one cycle, measured in Hertz (Hz). This we call the frequency of the signal, or cycles per second. So 60 cycles per second is 60Hz (notice one cycle has a positive and negative polarity swing). Notice the rms line - AC line voltage actually peaks at about 160V, and therefore 120V is the effective rating, or Root-Mean Square rating (peak voltage x .707). This is the voltage used for calculating the 'realistic' power of an AC signal.
 
The line though the center of the signal is the ground potential, or ZERO volts. Notice that the voltage, as a function of time, increases to maximum, decreases, passes through 0, then changes direction and increases negative to a maximum, then decreases to 0 again and repeats. We call this a periodic signal - that is, a signal that repeats itself over and over with a predicable regularity. Obviously, AC line voltage is a periodic signal  (at least it should be!).
 
A word about Voltage, Current, Resistance and Power...
 
Voltage is potential difference, measured in Volts, which is Energy per unit charge. It is also knows as Electromotive Force. What does that mean? It means that voltage represents the presence of electrical energy. Large voltage means the presence of a large amount of energy with respect to another potential, which is usually ZERO or Earth Ground. All bodies, and all mediums have some charge, so there is really no such thing as a zero charge reference. We use the Earth itself as a zero reference because it is relatively stable and does not change much as a whole. So to say something is at 100 Volts, it is understood to be referenced to Earth Ground. Sometimes it can reference the common of a circuit, but whatever the case, 100 Volts means a potential difference between two points or bodies. Voltage doesn't do any work - it is simply the measure of the potential to do work. This is important to understand.
 
Current is unit charge per second. Notice that current, unlike voltage, is a per second measurement. That is, current indicates a system that is changing or flowing. Current is measured in Amperes, or Amps, and is the amount of charge we see through one ohm of resistance at one volt potential during one second. Therefore, when a potential difference exists, there can be a current, a flow of that energy, through a medium like a wire. No potential difference, no current. So current is energy that is doing work.
 
Resistance is the tendency of a medium to resist the flow of electrons (charge) from one potential to another. Resistance is measured in Ohms. Notice that resistance directly affects current - in that current is the flow of energy while resistance is what limits that flow. If there were no resistance between two potentials, there would be infinite amount of energy possible to flow. If there is near infinite resistance, then there is no current (open circuit), only voltage (potential difference). Understanding that 1 Volt pushes 1 Amp though 1 Ohm in 1 second is the basis of Ohm's Law and how electronics work.
 
Power is the product of current and voltage, and is measured in Watts. A watt is a real SI unit of work, which is equal to one joule per second, or the amount of work (heat) generated by one volt through one ohm of resistance (one amp of current).
 
These relationships can be calculated and/or predicted in systems using Ohm's Law. V is ElectroMotiveForce (Volts), I is Current (Amps), and R is Resistance (Ohms). 'E' is normally in place of 'V' (EMF), but we'll use 'V' for Volts just for clarity for beginners:
 
 
 
You must have a basic understanding of these concepts. Meditate upon them. 
 
"The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things." – Ronald Reagan


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18 users thanked Nahash5150 for this useful post.
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trav0810Offline
#2 Posted: Sunday, October 25, 2015 1:43:43 PM(UTC)
 
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Fantastic! This is the kind of discussion I have been waiting on. I'm very clear on everything so far...thanks for breaking it down for us "non-tech" members!
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Nahash5150Offline
#3 Posted: Sunday, October 25, 2015 5:11:51 PM(UTC)
 
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Principle Two: Phase Angle
 
Let's recap - We know that the AC line 'power' is an alternating current, a voltage that is changing direction at 60 cycles per second (60Hz). Most importantly for our discussion is what kind of signal it is - a sine wave. I'm sure you've heard this before, but perhaps you never really understood why it is a sine wave, and what it means to be a sine wave.
 
I'm going to say this now so you stick it in your skull and never forget it. A sine wave is circular motion. 
 
Like me, you were probably never taught that in High School. In Trigonometry, we leaned how to find angles based on the ratios of the side of triangles...but perhaps you never knew the ancient, sacred understanding of where Sines and Cosines came from. It's from meditations on a circle. And a circle has degrees right? 360 deg is one complete circle - a starting point that turns and ends up where it started. A completed motion - one cycle.
 
So how do we go from a circle to a squiggle on a graph? Well, drawing a circle only shows a shape - there's no indication of time. A sine wave is a circle represented in time. Let's take a look...
 
 
So why do you think our AC line voltage is a sine wave, and not something like a square or triangle wave? Because the power company uses generators, and generators spin in a, you guessed it, a circle.
 
One more illustration to help:
 
 
Ahah! At least, that is what I thought when I first learned this. The radius, as it travels around, reveals two other lines - a cosine and sine 'line' relative to the angle. It forms a changing right triangle. Notice that as the radius line travels, one of these lines will increase in length, the other decrease in length, one will reach a maximum length, then decrease, and return to zero, while the other is at a maximum. This is the relationship of sine and cosine. Sine 'starts' at zero, cosine starts at maximum, 90deg.
 
 
 The blue is sine, and green is cosine. They are 90deg 'out of phase'. If they were 'in phase' they would be superimposed on each other - the same angle through time (but not necessarily in amplitude). But don't get confused - we use the term sine wave to represent this kind of motion for any signal like it, no matter what the phase angle is at origin. We use 'cosine' in functions to distinguish from sine when it becomes practical to do so, and to accurately describe a signal's timing or reference when it is necessary. For instance, the mathematical derivative of a sine function is a cosine function (the slope of sine is cosine). But they are the same waveform.
 
So can we talk about phase angle? Phase angle relates to time right? Of course we see that now. the phase angle can be determined at any point on a sine wave - whether positive or negative. The phase angle tells us where the sine wave is in terms of time. For instance, we know that at 90 it is maximum positive. At 270 it is maximum negative (other direction). At 180 and 360 it is at Zero. Notice that a sine wave has various rates of change. From zero it climbs rapidly, then is slows down as it approaches maximum, then like biking over a hill, it starts from its maximum slowly and 'speeds up' as it approaches zero.
 A sine wave is circular motion.
 
In terms of electronics, a sine wave is a signal that represents a changing voltage and/or current!
 
You get it now right? If you don't, study the illustrations, it'll come to you. 
 
 
"The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things." – Ronald Reagan


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loner_tOffline
#4 Posted: Sunday, October 25, 2015 6:39:48 PM(UTC)
 
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Can I add this, Professori?
 
Sin (theta) = cos (90 - theta) 
Cos (theta) = sin (90 - theta)
 
In the first quadrant of the circle. 

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#5 Posted: Sunday, October 25, 2015 7:26:50 PM(UTC)
 
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Greg, very good description! When I teach Calculus I, I always refer to the unit circle for a review of trig. You explained it much simpler than I could have, very well said!

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#6 Posted: Sunday, October 25, 2015 8:04:38 PM(UTC)
 
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All that and no mention of phasors.
Nahash5150Offline
#7 Posted: Sunday, October 25, 2015 8:50:24 PM(UTC)
 
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This is for beginners David!
"The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things." – Ronald Reagan


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#8 Posted: Sunday, April 3, 2016 2:37:00 PM(UTC)
 
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Principle Three: Triacs (TRIode for AC)
 
Triacs are semiconductors that perform a very simple function - they switch on and off, much like an ordinary switch, and can pass current in either direction. Looked at closely, they are a very complex device, but there's no use getting deep into how a triac works - we're only interested in how Bob uses one in his Mag Coil power supply.
 
(peev: Wikipedia is known for going straight to PhD level explanations. If you look up triac operation in Wiki, you're liking going to give up after the first paragraph because they go right into the Quadrant operation of the device...and that is just NOT NECESSARY on the first freaking page! If I had a PhD in physics, I wouldn't need Wiki! Geez guys...) 
 
So here's a triac symbol:
 
 
 
Cool eh? Obviously, it is a three terminal device. The Gate is the control terminal, and T1/T2 (or M1/M2) are the high current connections. All we need to do to turn the Triac ON, that is, to cause T1 and T2 to conduct current, is to pulse the Gate with a little bit of current. Typically, Triacs are used in such things as dimmers or motor speed controls, because in effect, they are current controlled switches that can switch on and off in such a way to control the power in a circuit. Don't misunderstand, a triac can't do anything to the energy per se, it can only switch on and off. So in essence, it can be used to pass AC at a certain phase angle.
 
First let's try a simple abstract. Suppose we want to dim a light bulb without having to use resistors. Using resistors to dim a bulb would be a waste of energy! It would work, but all you would be doing is directing some of the power of the mains into heat just so you can have a dimmed light. Ridiculous! There's a far better way to do this.
 
Instead of using the entire AC waveform, why not just part of it? After all, power is the product of current and voltage, and AC power is calculated in terms of its average current and voltage over time (its rms), so if we can use only the lower voltage parts of the AC signal, then we can use less power with minimal waste... 
 
 
 
 
 Lets assume the blue signal is the typical mains voltage, 160Vp (110Vrms). The red signal is what the signal looks like after it passes through the triac and into the load. That vertical red line indicates when the triac turns on, then as the signal crosses the zero line, it turns off. Then on the negative swing we see the same pattern - the triac is turning on at the 90 deg phase angle (often called the 'firing angle' of the triac).
 
So the Gate is being triggered at a phase angle of 90. Notice this is simply a matter of timing, not a matter of frequency (the triac doesn't fire more often or less often to change the power factor). The triac is firing 120 times per second (twice per cycle at 60Hz), and at 90 deg. So what if we chose to fire at 45 deg? What about 10 deg (or 170)? Well, the smaller the phase angle, the less power will be delivered! Really, it is that simple.
 
The triac can 'cut out' or 'sample' pieces of the AC sine wave according to the gate trigger timing. This is what changes the overall power of the output. 
 
So if the load doesn't require the full power of the AC mains, then we can time the gate pulse to the triac to deliver exactly what we want. Here's some more triac waveforms to study...
 
 
 
 
 
"The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things." – Ronald Reagan


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#9 Posted: Sunday, April 3, 2016 2:41:28 PM(UTC)
 
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This is Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreat! This is what I have up till this point (many months) been scouring the vastness of cyberspace for! Let me tell you all, if I may, its cold and dark out there. I sure would like to see it continue.
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#10 Posted: Sunday, April 3, 2016 6:04:14 PM(UTC)
 
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Excellent class! Thank you for sharing. Very easy to grasp. Your a great teacher Greg, honest, take it from Barry, he is a teacher..
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