21 Replies Latest reply on Jul 16, 2019 12:29 PM by andrewj

    Testing a Mosfet and Schottky in-circuit; Bit more advice

    andrewj

      I presume this is possible with power off, looking for resistance between drain and source?

       

      I'm pretty sure I've killed it - resistance is 0.33Ohms between these two pins   Out of circuit, on a good one, it is > 13MOhms.  Looking at my circuit, I've solder the Schottky Rectifier the wrong way around - cathode to ground   Pretty sure that won't have done the Mosfet any good, it was too hot to touch.  Can't believe I've been so stupid - by good luck, rather than management, the other Schottky I have in the circuit (not shown below) is the right way around.

       

      Is there a way of testing the Schottky rectifier in-circuit - I've tried it and the DMM 'beeps' as it detects a normal junction; measures 0.159v and 0.579V depending upon orientation of test leads?  Just to clarify - in the schematic below you can see how the Schottky rectifier should be - however, as I say, it's actually reversed and I don't know if that might affect readings. So, with the COM lead to the cathode and test (red) lead to anode it reads 0.159v; with the COM lead to the anode and test (red) lead to cathode it reads 0.579V.  I can test one out of circuit and I get 0.157V and OL respectively.  I think that indicates it is ok but in circuit it isn't reading as OL: I have to remove it to swap it around in any case so would the advice be to chuck it and use a new one? 

       

      I'm really hoping I can get it off with wick and an iron and without damaging the board; ditto the Mosfet. I really don't want to lump out for a rework station.

       

      Is there likely to be damage to other components down stream?  Any tips for testing components without removing them from the circuit?

       

      This is only part of the circuit but shows the relationship between the Mosfet and Schottky rectifier:

       

       

      [silently screaming inside]

        • Re: Testing a Mosfet and Schottky in-circuit; Bit more advice
          dougw

          You could calculate how much current could pass through R2 and Q1 to stress the diode based on the supply voltage/current.

          if the current wasn't beyond max for the diode and it measures normally after removal, then it is probably still good.

          If you have a strong power supply, the current was likely excessive and the diode should be replaced.

          Circuitry downstream "probably" wouldn't suffer from this reversed diode issue.

          3 of 3 people found this helpful
          • Re: Testing a Mosfet and Schottky in-circuit; Bit more advice
            jw0752

            Hi Andrew,

             

            Try reading the diode with just a regular Ohm meter. You should see low ohms in one direction and very high ohms in the other. Your  0.579 V sounds a little too high for a schottky and the 0.159 volts sounds way too low. In circuit however can confuse the readings. Out of the circuit you should only get a voltage reading in one direction with the diode test.

             

            John

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            • Re: Testing a Mosfet and Schottky in-circuit; Bit more advice
              jc2048

              Resistance reading in-circuit is difficult because of paths round through the power and through the ICs [via the protection circuits]. You'll tend to see initially low readings that move because you're charging decoupling capacitors. I don't like doing it because of the possibility of damage to chips [a handheld meter is probably worse than a good bench meter in that respect], but then I tend to be very over-cautious.

               

              Commercially, you'd chuck the components and use new ones (the parts cost is much, much lower than the cost to you of a person messing around with parts that are suspect). Actually, you might well label the board carefully, put it to one side, and move to the next, unused prototype, unless there were good reasons for sticking with the same one.

               

              For a personal project it's different and you may want to experiment a bit. The MOSFET and Schottky are fairly robust. Just because you can't bear to touch it doesn't mean it is dead. The controller is working current mode, monitoring the current through the MOSFET with R2. With the back-to-front Schottky clamping the output, the controller would keep increasing the current through the MOSFET to try and get the voltage up but there would be some limit to that, so the part's dissipation wouldn't necessarily have been enough to destroy it.

               

              So you might try just reworking the Schottky [if the Schottky SMD package is the type with fold-under legs, they're easy to get off even with a standard soldering iron as you can lift one end at a time]. Are you able to substitute a bench supply for the power rail? If so, one approach might be to apply a very low voltage that was under the controllers's lock-out voltage and was safe for the following circuit and see if the MOSFET feeds that to the coil without there being any gate drive.

               

              The feedback arrangement is a bit odd [and, possibly, a bit dangerous]. If you lost the connection to R6 you'd lose the feedback and the converter would ramp up the voltage to try and compensate, so you want to be careful with that depending on where it comes from and what it's supposed to be doing.

              6 of 6 people found this helpful
                • Re: Testing a Mosfet and Schottky in-circuit; Bit more advice
                  andrewj

                  I wasn't sure how possible it was to test in-circuit and how skewed the result would be. 

                   

                  However, having taken both pieces of the board, the Schottky rectifier is reading 0.159Ohms and OL; a known good one is reading 0.157Ohms and OL.  I think that's ok and I put it back on the board in the correct orientation.

                   

                  The Mosfet is reading 0.33Ohms between drain and source (out of circuit).  A known good one is reading >34MOhms.  So I think the one I removed is dead.  In goes a new one and back to testing.

                  2 of 2 people found this helpful
                    • Re: Testing a Mosfet and Schottky in-circuit; Bit more advice
                      andrewj

                      Well, on the plus side, I haven't refried the Mosfet!  On the other hand, something isn't working the way it should as it's not turning on - gate voltage is only 0.5V.  U1 is definitely turned on - the ith/run voltage is >1.9V; it's getting power to Vin and Sense.  Back to the datasheet to try and get a better understanding of what that is doing!

                        • Re: Testing a Mosfet and Schottky in-circuit; Bit more advice
                          jc2048

                          It's good that you see something sensible on the Ith/RUN pin. At least it's doing something and not totally dead.

                           

                          Do you see voltage on the BOOST pin? Initially, the boost capacitor charges from the internal 5.6V regulator, so you should see about 5V there, even if the switch logic doesn't want to drive the MOSFET. [Once it starts switching, the BOOST pin will ride up and down 5V above the voltage on the SW node.]

                           

                          Is there any sign of activity on the gate drive? Does it maybe start and then stop?

                           

                          The MOSFET you've got there isn't ideal. It only gets 5V of gate drive, so definitely needs to be 'logic level' device (or better) if you want to realise anything like the current it is capable of switching, achieve the rDS(on) value, and so on. That part has a max threshold value of 4V. Chances are certain you have a better specimen than that [to give an idea of the possible spread, the datasheet allows them bounds of 2V to 4V, though you'll never see the min and max value in practice], but I don't think it's what they would expect you to be using.

                          5 of 5 people found this helpful
                            • Re: Testing a Mosfet and Schottky in-circuit; Bit more advice
                              andrewj

                              I'm wondering if it's damaged. 

                              I see 2.340V on ith/Run and Vin of 27.682V

                              I'd verified that Boost is around 5v and measure it at 5.472V

                              Those are all values I'd expect to see - ith/Run is close to max and I'd actually expect it to settle at a lower value of around 1.6V based on a LTSpice simulation)

                               

                              Sense is meant to be > Vin-15V so > 12V or so.  This voltage fluctuates between around 15V and 24V but I have measured it at around 10V which would be out of range. 

                               

                              SW is -0.0034v; TG is -0.0033v and Vfb is 0.0005V.  It's these values that concern me - the Mosfet isn't going to turn on at that voltage for example!!  TG should be measuring somewhere just under 5.5V given the value of SW.  SW should be swinging up to Vin (I can only measure with a DMM currently but it isn't moving.)  I'm trying to understand how these three pins are driven, specifically TG: if the Mosfet won't turn on, I can't see how the  feedback circuit would operate.  I'm struggling a bit with that as it isn't clear in the datasheet, at least to me.

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                                • Re: Testing a Mosfet and Schottky in-circuit; Bit more advice
                                  jc2048

                                  That suggests that you've lost the sense resistor (the current that you'd need in a 10mOhm sense resistor to drop that much voltage would be a ridiculously high figure). Probably not surprising given the dissipation when the MOSFET went - I should have thought of that.

                                  3 of 3 people found this helpful
                                  • Re: Testing a Mosfet and Schottky in-circuit; Bit more advice
                                    shabaz

                                    Hi Andrew,

                                     

                                    TG should be generating a pulse train to drive the N-ch MOSFET (the chip has an internal boost for that pin). If the Vfb voltage is low, and yet TG is low and not turning on the MOSFET, then it sounds like the IC may be faulty : ( I think there may be a fair risk of that, if the gate was ever shorted to the supply. A small resistor could slightly reduce that risk (although possibly not, it still may be too much current), but the datasheet shows it directly connected : (

                                    4 of 4 people found this helpful
                                      • Re: Testing a Mosfet and Schottky in-circuit; Bit more advice
                                        andrewj

                                        I'll whip that resistor off and test it - as I read what you wrote, Jon, I realised that I should have thought about that as well! 

                                         

                                        If the IC is faulty then, well, I suppose it's only £5.50 and 8 legs to desolder!  Using the DMM min-max feature is only showing a swing from a low -ve mV to a low +ve mV on Tg.  However given that these swings are extremely fast, I doubt the DMM can pick them up.  Perhaps I'm now finding the justification to buy a scope?

                                        1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                          • Re: Testing a Mosfet and Schottky in-circuit; Bit more advice
                                            jc2048

                                            If you want a tip for getting the SOIC off with a conventional soldering iron, snip the legs, lift out the centre piece and then remove each remaining leg in turn (you can usually just flick them off with the iron tip leaving quite a clean and tidy pad). If the chip is damaged, you don't have anything to lose and it might save lifting off one of the pads, or something like that, if it proves awkward to get off in one piece.

                                             

                                            Most meters will be dual-slope or some variant of that and will integrate over a tenth of a second or so to get the readings, so won't give you much clue as to what the circuit is doing.

                                             

                                            Personally, I wouldn't try to do development work like you're doing without an oscilloscope. I'd choose the 'scope over the meter every time - the voltages you get from the 'scope are good enough for most of the getting-it-working testing, but the meter can't possibly show you what the waveforms are doing.

                                            3 of 3 people found this helpful
                                              • Re: Testing a Mosfet and Schottky in-circuit; Bit more advice
                                                andrewj

                                                Yes, I thought that might be the best way - it was a bit of a pain getting the Schottky and resistor off. 

                                                 

                                                I do want/intend to get a scope - the things I've been doing upto now have been fine with the meters I have - but having broached it with the wife, she's not so keen on me spending the money.  I tried the "...but you're off to Disneyland with Rock Choir and I'm not so surely I deserve a holiday present as well" but she's pretty immune to that sort of emotional blackmail   Perhaps a bunch of flowers will help...

                                                1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                              • Re: Testing a Mosfet and Schottky in-circuit; Bit more advice
                                                shabaz

                                                Ohh I see. I'd thought it was a flat unchanging level, I'd not realized this was a reading with a multimeter. Agree, good justification for a 'scope since it seems you're serious about designing stuff : )

                                                I used to use things like a piezo earpiece (or a piezo transducer) as a way of detecting stuff pre-'scope, but at this frequency that wouldn't be possible : (

                                          • Re: Testing a Mosfet and Schottky in-circuit; Bit more advice
                                            andrewj

                                            Jon,

                                             

                                            can I just clarify something in regards to the Mosfet and what you said.  Vgs(th) has a range of 2v-4v which I think means that Vgs will be between these values when Vds = Vgs and current = 250uA; in other words the Mosfet turns on with Vgs within this range - although clearly the current isn't useful.  I didn't think the 4v was a maximum, just a range limit for Vgs under these conditions?  As Vgs rises, then I increases - as per Fig 1 and Fig 2 in the datasheet.

                                             

                                            If Tg can only provide around 5V then Fig 3 seems to imply that current could rise to 30A-50A depending on Tj.  Tg should swing with SW plus INTVcc (5.6V); SW swings between the Schottky drop below ground to Vin.  At the moment, SW is reading -0.0034V but the swing (according to LTSpice) is very fast - 2.5uS - so my DMM may not be picking it up. LTSpice is showing it swinging between < 0V and Vin.  I don't have a scope unfortunately - I've been saving, but maybe I should just take the plunge!!

                                             

                                            The SI4412DY that LT uses in its data sheets and LT Spice models is not that dissimilar - the RDSon is higher and the Vgs(th) is 1v min at the same characteristics.  The IRF seems more robust though.

                                             

                                            Having said all the above, where I am with my level of knowledge, I do have to work hard with data sheets to make sure I understand things properly.

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                                              • Re: Testing a Mosfet and Schottky in-circuit; Bit more advice
                                                jc2048

                                                Yes, I was just pointing out the wide spread on the particular parameter (the threshold voltage). The absolute max value for Vgs used to usually be somewhere just over 20V [that's when the insulation between the gate and the channel breaks down]. I added the 'used to be' because that may be starting to change as they introduce new devices for low voltage work and it's probably a good thing to keep an eye out for on the datasheets.

                                                 

                                                Yes, you're right. The swing is the Schottky diode drop plus 5.6V less the internal diode (which is probably something like 0.6V).

                                                 

                                                At 5.5V Vgs, the IRF part is still in its linear region and the channel resistance will be much higher than the headline figure of 8mOhms. It looks like it would be more like 150mOhms. It's much worse than the SI part which gets down around 30mOhms with a Vgs of just 4.5V. That has a major impact on the dissipation if you're not using the part as a true switch.

                                                 

                                                There's another less obvious side effect of the much beefier IRF part - the input capacitance is very high (about four times the SI part). That will slow the turn on and turn off. How much leeway is there with the LT controller? Will it be able to time the internal bottom MOSFET, that momentarily clamps the switch node to ground to cut out most of the ringing from the parasitic capacitance there, properly?

                                                 

                                                There are probably other considerations, too, but I'm not good enough to be able to just list them off the top of my head.

                                                 

                                                So, it may well work (from what you write below, it seems it does), but it's not necessarily a good substitution and there could be problems with it.

                                                2 of 2 people found this helpful
                                                  • Re: Testing a Mosfet and Schottky in-circuit; Bit more advice
                                                    andrewj

                                                    You make a good point actually about the capacitance.  Re-scanning the datasheet it is looking for a Cboost capacitance 50x greater than the Mosfet input capacitance: the latter is 3247pF which would put 50x at 0.162uF and I have a 0.1uF in there, obviously subject to tolerance +/- 5%.  I'll see what happens during the testing - I have a temperature monitor in the design for the Mosfet.  Unfortunately, the Si4412dy (and variants) are obsolete so I have to look for an alternative if necessary.  You've given me some excellent pointers, thanks.

                                                    1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                                    • Re: Testing a Mosfet and Schottky in-circuit; Bit more advice
                                                      andrewj

                                                      Hi Jon,

                                                       

                                                      could I follow up.  You mention about the input capacitance and switching time using the IRF3205.  At the output, I'm seeing a fair bit of what I think is switching noise - see the image (measured with BW limit on and a 1x probe.)  I'm not asking you to debug this for me but is this a reasonable representation of what you were talking about?  As I said in my response, the boost capacitor I have is about half of what is needed - standardised sizes, 0.18uF or 0.2uF.)

                                                       

                                                      As an aside, the power dissipation is ok - I'm only seeing a temperature rise in the MOSFET of 20c after 1hour at 15.5V / 1.5A (23.25W).

                                                       

                                                      1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                          • Re: Testing a Mosfet and Schottky in-circuit; Bit more advice
                                            andrewj

                                            Ok, just to follow this up.

                                             

                                            I removed the 0.10 sense resistor (R2) and it was faulty.  I replaced it - not easy given it's an 0805 and is sandwiched between the TO220 and a can 100uF electrolytic, thank goodness I purposefully designed space between the parts on the board!

                                             

                                            Initial testing is showing a good result.  I'm getting voltage across my dummy load which changes as I turn the Voltage Pot; The on-off switch for the load works - voltage drops to 0. Over a space of 5 mins the Mosfet rose in temperature from 28C (ambient) to 32C - that was at 15V and 1.5A on the dummy load.

                                             

                                            Lesson for all this is: pay attention to polarities!

                                             

                                            Thanks for everyone who commented above, it helped me work out what was needed.  I'm nowhere need finished with testing but at least I've got a promising start.

                                            3 of 3 people found this helpful