What is the difference between an AC Source and an AC Grid Emulator?

What is the difference between an AC Source and an AC Grid Emulator?

Published: 23rd November 2021

Keysight have been working closely with customers in the automotive and PV inverter application areas in recent years and one of the biggest needs where Keysight could add value was with a high power, bidirectional AC Grid Emulator. Using the AC Grid Emulator along with our DC Power Supplies allows customers to use Keysight products on both sides of their devices for a more complete testing solution.

The first thing to discuss is the difference between an AC Source and an AC Grid Emulator since both are used to power devices that run on AC power. An AC Source such as the Keysight 6812C does exactly what is implied in the name, it sources power. In other words, it supplies power out of its terminals into the DUT (see Figure 1). You cannot under any circumstances source power out of the DUT into the AC Source. I have seen this happen and it will most likely result in a damaged output stage in the AC Source.

Figure 1

Basically, an AC Source can operate in quadrants I and III of the traditional IV graph (see Figure 2). It cannot sink power, so the voltage and the current must be of the same sign.

Figure 2

The biggest difference between a Grid Emulator and an AC Source is that a Grid Emulator works in all four quadrants so it can both source and sink power (when sinking, the voltage and current will have opposite signs). This is how the actual AC power grid works, a device such as a solar inverter can put power back onto the grid. To test these sorts of devices, you need to a way to simulate the grid so that you can test abnormal situation under a controlled environment. The new Keysight Grid Emulator allows you to simulate these abnormal conditions as well as provides integrated safety features to keep DUTs and most importantly, users as safe as possible.

Figure 3

If you are interested in AC sources, Keysight offers a few different product families.

AC6800 series of basic AC sources (500 VA – 4000 VA)

Key Features:

  • Single Phase (0 to 310 Vrms)
  • Basic AC Source
  • DC Output

6800 series of performance AC sources (375 VA to 1750 VA)

Key Features:

  • Single Phase (0 to 300 Vrms)
  • High Performance AC Source
  • DC Output
  • Digitized Measurements
  • Transient Waveforms

AC6900 Series Three-Phase AC Power Sources (3 kVA to 18 kVA)

Key Features:

  • Three phase (0 to 320 Vrms)
  • Harmonic analysis
  • Waveform generation
  • DC Output

For grid simulators Keysight offers:

SL1200A Series Regenerative 3‑Phase AC Emulator

There are 5 models in the SL1200 family.

Key features of the SL1200A:

  • Can be used as either single phase, split phase or three phase
  • Can be paralleled for up to 810 kVA of power
  • Full 4 quadrant operation in AC and DC modes
  • Integrated safety mechanisms with emergency stop
  • Transient generation
  • Integrated measurement system with power analysis
  • Optional DC output
  • Regenerates unused power and is more energy efficient

There are also three software packages available:

SL1200 Soft Front Panel (SFP)

As you can see from the photos above, the SL200A is a fully-integrated racked system. There is not a physical front panel for control. This soft front panel software replaces the traditional front panel and allows full control of the system. This software allows for output control (voltage, current, frequency, phase angle, etc.), output measurement, and measurement logging. Also included in the SFP is a configuration and a firmware update utility for the system.

SL1220A AC Grid Test Sequencer

The Keysight SL1220A software is a package for the Keysight Pathwave Test Automation software. This package contains a set of test steps and an instrument driver for the AC Emulator in the Test Automation software. There are various configurable pre-programmed test steps that: control the output, measure the output, and create AC and DC transients. I will be doing a few forthcoming blog posts that explore this software package in the coming weeks. This software require a license for both the KS8400 and the SL1220A.

SL1093A Scienlab Charging Discover Test Software

This software package is designed to use the AC Emulator with the Keysight SL1040A Series Scienlab Charging Discovery System for testing AC and DC charging interfaces of electric vehicles.

MCS Test are an approved UK partner for Keysight
Content Source: What is the difference between an AC Source and an AC Grid Emulator? | Keysight Blogs

category.title

Keysight AC6801B Basic AC Power Source, 500 VA, 310 V, 2.5 A

Meet your basic AC power needs with stable, reliable power

Engineer reliability into your designs with Keysight's AC6800 Series Basic AC Sources. Maximize your uptime with our remote control power source and test with the confidence that your products will perform as designed.

Find out more about Keysight AC6801B Basic AC Power Source, 500 VA, 310 V, 2.5 A
category.title

Keysight AC6802B Basic AC Power Source, 1000 VA, 310 V, 5 A

Meet your basic AC power needs with stable, reliable power

This basic AC power source offers stable, reliable power up to 1000 VA. An intuitive user interface and flexible I/O connectivity.

Find out more about Keysight AC6802B Basic AC Power Source, 1000 VA, 310 V, 5 A
category.title

Keysight AC6803B Basic AC Power Source, 2000 VA, 310 V, 10 A

Meet your basic AC power needs with stable, reliable power

This basic AC power source offers stable, reliable power up to 2000 VA. An intuitive user interface and flexible I/O connectivity.

Find out more about Keysight AC6803B Basic AC Power Source, 2000 VA, 310 V, 10 A
category.title

Keysight AC6804B Basic AC Power Source, 4000 VA, 310 V, 20 A

Meet your basic AC power needs with stable, reliable power

This basic AC power source offers stable, reliable power up to 4000 VA. An intuitive user interface and flexible I/O connectivity.

Find out more about Keysight AC6804B Basic AC Power Source, 4000 VA, 310 V, 20 A
category.title

Keysight 6811C Performance AC Power Source, 375 VA, 300 V, 3.25 A

Meet your AC test needs with a programmable AC power source

The 6811C AC power source/analyser is a performance AC test solution with 375 VA maximum output power & a built-in arbitrary waveform generator.

Find out more about Keysight 6811C Performance AC Power Source, 375 VA, 300 V, 3.25 A
category.title

Keysight 6812C Performance AC Power Source, 750 VA, 300 V, 6.5 A

Meet your AC test needs with a programmable AC power source

The 6812C AC power source/analyser is a performance AC test solution with 375 VA maximum output power & a built-in arbitrary waveform generator

Find out more about Keysight 6812C Performance AC Power Source, 750 VA, 300 V, 6.5 A
category.title

Keysight 6813C Performance AC Power Source, 1750 VA, 300 V, 13 A

Meet your AC test needs with a programmable AC power source

The 6813C AC power source/analyser is a performance AC test solution with 1750 VA maximum output power & a built-in arbitrary waveform generator

Find out more about Keysight 6813C Performance AC Power Source, 1750 VA, 300 V, 13 A

You Might also like

Electrostatic Discharge ESD Tips Every Engineer Should Know

Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) Tips Every Engineer Should Know

Read more
How to use a digital multimeter blog

How to use a digital multimeter (DMM)

Multimeters have come a long way since the invention of galvanometers, an analog needle-pointing display measuring voltage and resistance in the 1820s. Digital multimeters (DMMs) started replacing analog multimeters in the 1950s due to their accuracy and extra features such as auto-ranging, data logging, and more.

Read more
3000 G BLOG

Jumpstart General-Purpose Electronic Design Test and Debug with the InfiniiVision 3000G X-Series Oscilloscope

Keysight InfiniiVision 3000G X-Series oscilloscopes come with everything you need to begin general-purpose electronic design test and debug. Models range in bandwidth from 100 MHz to 1 GHz, 2 or 4 analog channels with an optional 16 digital channels, and standard advanced analysis features.

Read more

Sign up for the MCS Newsletter

You will receive all the latest test & measurement news and rental offers.