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Author Topic: Very high voltage, series connected, electrolytic capacitor bank  (Read 791 times)

Offline Mads Barnkob

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I got 35 of these BHC 1500 uF / 450 V electrolytic capacitors that all comes from the 3x 30 kVA UPS that I took apart a while ago, as these come from a continues duty equipment they are properly to worn out that a little fun could be had with them.

I want to try all 35 capacitors in series for a 42.8 uF / 14000 V bank, when fully charged that would store 4194 joule and a charge of 0.5 coulomb, if we compare it to all them in parallel, that would be 21 coulomb instead, so the higher voltage might actually be good on the capacitors when discharging them, assuming there will be a much lower short circuit current alone from the "high" ESR.

A single capacitor has a ESR of 7.1 mOhm, so all 35 in series would have a ESR of 2.485 Ohm, short-circuited at 14000 V that would result in just under 6 kA short-circuit current, which is about 1/10th of what my other 4000 joule single capacitor can deliver in short-circuit current.

Do anyone of you have experience with making a extreme series connected capacitor bank like this?
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Offline Mads Barnkob

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Re: Very high voltage, series connected, electrolytic capacitor bank
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2017, 10:15:29 PM »


The 450 VDC capacitors has a surge rating at 495VDC for some 1000 non repetitive pulses, so a balance between that and not burning too much power in the balancing resistors themselves, I chose 82K resistors. The discharge curve can also be seen in the attachment. The 100 Watt burned from the load balancing and discharge resistors does that discharge after charging has to happen fast, but at 400 VDC across each capacitor, it will be at its 4kJ charge. The high losses is the price to pay for the increased safety margin on a safe level of maximum voltage across each capacitor.

For each capacitor I will add a red LED in series with a 120K to 220K resistor, this corresponds to approximately 4 to 2 mA through it at 450VDC, ~2 to 1 watt. This is only for charged indication on each individual capacitor.

I will have a analogue meter across the entire bank to measure voltage, a long string of resistors for the voltage dividers adequate voltage rating is necessary.
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Offline Mads Barnkob

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Re: Very high voltage, series connected, electrolytic capacitor bank
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2017, 09:13:41 PM »
All the capacitors have been soldered together in series and have their balancing / discharge resistors mounted. My biggest worry about this simple construction is that it will blow apart at the first possible chance, a better way to sure the capacitors and also to mount resistors/LED would be to make some PCB strips that mounted in all 4 snap-in pins of the capacitor.


The complete bank measures 48.17 uF, so that the capacitors are still above specification is not a bad sign on their condition and that gives me an extra 500 joule, so the total charge in the bank at 14000V will be 4.7 kj.


LEDs with 630K current limiting resistor in series have been mounted.
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Online futurist

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Re: Very high voltage, series connected, electrolytic capacitor bank
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2017, 04:11:50 PM »
Looks very nice, why would soldering like this be a problem? I did similar, worse job for my MMC caps, without additional wire, just bending the leads and soldering them

Offline Mads Barnkob

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Re: Very high voltage, series connected, electrolytic capacitor bank
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2017, 07:43:30 PM »
This is intended for pulse discharge applications, so the theoretical 6000 Ampere peak discharge current (that is only the ESR, not external circuit) will do its job on any part of the circuit, weak soldering joints or pieces that can not withstand the electromagnetic repulsion between conductors can be ripped off and send flying in a spray of sparks :)
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Offline Mads Barnkob

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Re: Very high voltage, series connected, electrolytic capacitor bank
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2017, 09:42:56 PM »
The first charge test was done with a OBIT that can output 10kVAC at 0.023A, half wave rectified that would give me roughly 14kVDC, charging the bank through 3x47K power resistors to limit the current, I managed to charge the bank to 8kVDC before it would stall.

I could not move the kVDC meter due to the bank being charged, so I am not sure if the remaining 6kVDC was across the charging resistor, but that would indicate that there is something wrong with the ESR of the capacitor bank itself.

Next test I will try to omit the charging resistor and just bring the voltage up slowly with a variac.

Enjoy the 1.5kJ bang at the end :)

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Offline Bartos

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Re: Very high voltage, series connected, electrolytic capacitor bank
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2017, 08:10:12 AM »
Great work Barnkob!

Offline Mads Barnkob

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Re: Very high voltage, series connected, electrolytic capacitor bank
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2017, 09:08:45 AM »
Great work Barnkob!

Thank you, as soon as I have part 2 of the Ikea induction stove published, within this week, I will resume testing this bank at full voltage :) Just needed the work bench cleaned for that!
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Re: Very high voltage, series connected, electrolytic capacitor bank
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2017, 09:08:45 AM »

 


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