Harmonics, Triple-N Harmonics, Displacement Power Factor, Distortion Power Factor, Spikes, Swells, Dips, Brown Outs: They could be having an effect on your electrical system.
Power Quality, what is it?
In simple terms Power Quality is how smooth and in sync your electrical system is running. In an ideal world resistive loads that are perfectly balanced across all 3 phases would probably give us
excellent Power Quality, as there would not be much to disturb the smooth flow.
We can start to disrupt the smooth flow of our electrical systems as soon as we connect equipment to it, fluorescent lighting, electric motors, computers and other office equipment can all have an effect.
Triple-N Harmonics can be created by fluorescent lighting, computers and office equipment, and other electrically powered equipment. These now have to be considered in the design of an electrical installation. It is possible that installations where the design has not considered the harmonic effects could over heat the neutral conductor.
Other harmonics could have a damaging effect on motors and drive couplings attached to the motors.
Many businesses are aware of power factor, but not many consider the effect of harmonics on power factor. Displacement Power Factor is what many people are aware of, general caused by inductive loads such as motors, and some lighting. The inductance causes the wave form of the current to lag behind the wave form of the voltage, you effectively use more power to do the same work. Harmonics can distort the wave forms, again then requiring more power to do the same work.
Spikes, Swells, Dips, Brown Outs
These all relate to abnormal increases and decreases in the voltage, or frequency of your electrical system. There is little you can do about those that occur on the supply side, but you can often improve your system to reduce the effect of them if the cause is on the consumer side.
How do you know if you have a problem
The sure way of knowing is by testing the power quality. Power Quality Analysers can detect many of these problems, and where possible corrections can be made.
Peter J Church