Power Quality and Harmonic Distortion

Fire Hazard, Signal Degradation & Increased Energy Costs.

Harmonic distortion of a building's electrical power is a by-product of modern electronics. The problem is most prevalent in buildings that have large numbers of personal computers, electronic office machines, electronic light ballast and variable speed drives. Most electronic equipment needs to convert the buildings AC power to DC. The first stage of a DC power supply is to rectify the AC and store the energy in a capacitor. This results in a nonlinear draw where current flows in short pulses near the voltage peak of each cycle.

The standard power line frequency in North America is 60 Hertz. The power line frequency for the rest of the world is 50 Hertz. Harmonics are integer multiples of the fundamental frequency. As an example, for a fundamental frequency of 60 Hertz, the second harmonic is 120 Hz, the third is 180 Hz etc. Nonlinear current draws results in the generation of the odd numbered harmonics (3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th etc.). Harmonic distortion causes three basic problems in buildings.

Harmonic distortion can be readily measured and quantified using the correct test equipment. Correcting the problem is a bit more complicated and will require the services of a consulting engineer. If your computers and other electronic equipment are acting up or if you suspect that you have a harmonics problem, Call Us!

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For Help or more information, call John Bass at 952/544-5377.

Email: help@BassEngineering.com

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Bass Associates Inc.
13533 Larkin Drive, Minnetonka, MN 55305
Phone: 952/544-

Copyright 1998 Bass Associates Inc. Last modified: June 25, 2015