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    Harmonics & transformers

    So I was pondering something the other day.

    What residential loads are there these days that are sure to be steady-state? By that I mean they use the whole 60HZ sine wave cycle; not just the latter portion of each half cycle.

    Illumination? Nope LED's driven by switchers.
    Ovens? Well, if gas, maybe. But if there's not a switcher-driven PID range out there now, wait a bit.
    Cooktop, ditto.
    Microwave? No more ferroresonant tanks...
    HVAC?
    Washer? [Maytag Neptune, etc.]
    And so forth.
    But all that sinusoidal abuse creates harmonics. Somewhere I heard that NEC requires oversize neutrals under some articles.

    Upstream, what about the ubiquitous pole-pig? How well do they cope with such? (No 3-phase delta windings on my street to eat them.)
    And padmount units?

    Is this an upcoming issue?

    #2
    UK DNO’s (PoCo) are now having to fit K rated transformers to cope with harmonics.
    [COLOR=#000000]The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.[/COLOR]

    Comment


      #3
      In the late 90's and early 00's commercial market, harmonics and the associated solutions were a big deal. Everyone was talking about canceling harmonics or tolerating them with k rated transformers, double neutrals, phase shifting transformers, freq filtering, etc.

      The loads have changed and now most design don't include double neutrals anymore and a typical distribution transformer can accommodate the regular amount to harmonics from the loads.

      Maybe something to worry about, but maybe not.
      Ron

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by ron View Post
        In the late 90's and early 00's commercial market, harmonics and the associated solutions were a big deal. Everyone was talking about canceling harmonics or tolerating them with k rated transformers, double neutrals, phase shifting transformers, freq filtering, etc.

        The loads have changed and now most design don't include double neutrals anymore and a typical distribution transformer can accommodate the regular amount to harmonics from the loads.

        Maybe something to worry about, but maybe not.
        It was certainly something to worry about in the supply to a hotel in Dubai with about 3MW, yes 3MW, worth of phase controlled dimmers.
        Si hoc legere scis nimium eruditionis habes.

        Comment


          #5
          The reason that harmonics are less of a concern these days is that many switch mode power supplies now have internal power factor correction, especially larger units. And if i'm not mistaken, the EU requires power factor correction on some products.

          But you can't assume that. There is plenty of legacy gear that has a pretty poor PF. I still spec oversize neutrals and do not allow MWBC, single or 3 phase, on any technical power system.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by Andy Delle View Post
            The reason that harmonics are less of a concern these days is that many switch mode power supplies now have internal power factor correction, especially larger units. And if i'm not mistaken, the EU requires power factor correction on some products.

            But you can't assume that. There is plenty of legacy gear that has a pretty poor PF. I still spec oversize neutrals and do not allow MWBC, single or 3 phase, on any technical power system.
            It isn't so much about PF, more about distortion.
            Si hoc legere scis nimium eruditionis habes.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Besoeker View Post
              It isn't so much about PF, more about distortion.
              We are most familiar with low power factor based on a reactive load (displacement power factor) that we often forget that the harmonics result in a low power factor defined in the same way, namely real power/apparent power, and it is referred to in that case as distortion power factor.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by GoldDigger View Post
                We are most familiar with low power factor based on a reactive load (displacement power factor) that we often forget that the harmonics result in a low power factor defined in the same way, namely real power/apparent power, and it is referred to in that case as distortion power factor.
                Ny early life has come back to haunt me. Mercury archaic rectifiers...............
                Si hoc legere scis nimium eruditionis habes.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Besoeker View Post
                  Ny early life has come back to haunt me. Mercury archaic rectifiers...............
                  You have my sympathy, Jacob Marley.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Besoeker View Post
                    Ny early life has come back to haunt me. Mercury archaic rectifiers...............
                    Tung-Sol lamps in battery chargers; before we upgraded to selenium rectifiers.


                    And how do good PF switchers keep the line pure and chaste all 360 degrees?

                    (I avoid using "low/high" for PF discussions because it creates confusion w/beancounters & PHB's.)

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Besoeker View Post
                      My early life has come back to haunt me. Mercury archaic rectifiers...............
                      http://www.kemptonsteam.org/history/arc-rectifiers/
                      If you're in the neighbourhood when they're running the engine, it's well worth a stop.

                      (There's video of the MAR's on youtube.)

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Transformer Heating

                        In a transformer, the harmonic current does not cause excess heating, except as far as the I^2R goes. A distorted waveform will have more heating at the peak. But, transformer core heat, often the biggest concern, is caused by excitation from the voltage. If the voltage has low harmonics, meaning it is a clean robust strong source, the harmonic currents in the load do not create much harmonic voltage at the transformer primary and so the transformer core does not see excessive heat from the harmonic flux in the core caused by the harmonics in the voltage.
                        e^(i pi) = -1

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