Thyristor controllers are designed to control the battery heat of HVAC systems and the resistive loads within electric furnaces. Most of the time Thyristors will be involved when handling high currents and voltages, and often when control over alternating currents is needed. They are also used for power supplies for digital circuits; in case the power supply fails and runs the potential of damaging other components. Thyristors have been used for years in; televisions, cinemas, light dimmers and more, they have also been used for camera flashes.
The downside to using a thyristor is that it only conducts in a single direction. A Thyristor is primarily used in megawatt rectification from AC to DC in the low to medium power range of applications. The more modern Insulated-Gate Bipolar Transistor is replacing it in a number of situations; due to its superior switching characteristics.
Power Products International have a range of Thyristor Control Products available, see the link for more information on those.
A IGBT or an Insulated-Gate Bipolar Transistor is mainly used as an electronic switch that is used to switch electric power in many applications. Being a three-terminal power semiconductor device, they are a combination of both high efficiency and fast switching device. The IGBT uses both the gate-drive features of MOSFETs with the low voltage and high current capabilities of bipolar transistors. A IGBT will be used in medium to high end power applications such as; traction motors, induction heating and power supplies.
An IGBT has a considerably weaker forward voltage drop compared to a MOSFET device. The big advantages of MOSFET devices are the high switching capabilities and the level of efficiency at lower voltages. However, a MOSFET device will be found in low voltage switches and in power supplies and DC to DC converters – unable to handle the same level of voltage as the IGBT.
See more about IGBTs and how they work in another article of ours; IGBTs Fast Switching High Current and High Voltage.
We are currently one of the UK’s biggest manufacturers of both Thyristor controllers and IGBTs assemblies. We carry a full range of devices available and have established strong partnerships with all major power semiconductor suppliers. If you have any questions or want to make an enquiry; contact our applications team to discuss what your needs are.