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ISA Northern California

Section, South Bay

October 14, 2003

Craig Chidester
909 288 7990
AFDs and Their Effect on
Power Quality
What Kind of Power Quality Effects?

• Power factor?
– PF = kW / kVA
– High motor content means lagging PF
– 100HP motor, 460V, 93% eff, 119A
• (100HP x 0.746kW/HP) / 0.93 = 80.2kW
• 119A x 460V x 1.73 / 1000 = 94.8kVA
• PF = 80.2kW / 94.8kVA = 84.6% @ FL
• But … at actual load, more like 70% or less
– PF is improved with AFDs to 90 – 95%
– AFDs seen as resistive load
What Kind of Power Quality Effects?

• Incoming Sine Wave Notching?

– Arises from SCR front ends on AFD’s
– Forced commutation causes line notches
– But … modern AFDs use diode front ends
– Self commutating … no notching
What Kind of Power Quality Effects?

• Voltage sag?
– Standard motor starters allow 650% inrush
– “Weak” power systems are affected
– 500HP motor on 1000kVA, 5.75%Z Xfmr
– 650% X (500 / 1000) X 0.0575 = 19% sag
– AFD limits inrush to 110% (or 150%)
– 110% X (500 / 1000) X 0.0575 = 3% sag
What kind of Power Quality Effects?

• Harmonic Distortion

– AFDs, DC Drives, UPSs, DC power supplies (computers,

duplicators, fax’s) will cause current (and voltage)
• Single phase – 3rd, 6th, etc (triplens) can cause transformer
neutral conductor overheating
• Three phase – 5th, 7th, 11th, 13th, etc can cause equipment
• Big questions – “How much?” and “How much is too much?”
What are Harmonics?


Harmonics are integral multiples of some fundamental

frequency that, when added together, result in a
distorted waveform.
What are Harmonics?

f(x) = sin(x) sin(5x)

f(x) = 5
The resulting wave shows a strong departure from the smooth
waves comprising it:

f(x) = sin(x) + sin(5x)

= 5
What are Harmonics?

In fact, any function may be constructed from a

sine wave and some number of its harmonics:
Where do they come from?

The power company typically supplies a reasonably

smooth sinusoidal waveform:
Where do they come from?

...but nonlinear devices will draw distorted waveforms,

which are comprised of harmonics of the source:
Common sources of Harmonics

Lighting ballasts

UPS systems

AC and DC drives
AC drives and Harmonics

DC bus
Converter & Inverter

Determine the line-side Determines load-side

harmonics harmonics
AC drives and Harmonics


Have implications for the motor

insulation and windings.
Essentially have zero effect on
other equipment on the power

Determines load-side
AC drives and Harmonics

Distribution transformers
DC bus
Converter Standby generators
Communications equipment

Switchgear and relays

Determine the line-side Computers, computer systems

Diagnostic equipment
AC drives and Harmonics
Typical 6-step converter waveform:

Harmonic Content
I5 = 22.5%
I7 = 9.38%
I11 = 6.10%
I13 = 4.06%
I17 = 2.26%
I19 = 1.77%
I23 = 1.12%
I25 = 0.86%
Harmonics and transformers

Transformer overheating and potential

insulation failure result from several
conditions caused by harmonics:

Increased skin and proximity effects

Harmonics circulating in the primary


AFC AFC Increased hysteresis losses

Increased eddy current losses

DC in the primary windings

Harmonics and transformers

Many transformers are rated by

“K factor” which simply describes
their ability to withstand harmonics.

Transformers may also be derated

to compensate for the additional
heating caused by harmonics.

Improved transformer designs have

also been developed, with oversized
neutral busses, special cores, and
specially designed coils.
Harmonics and power-correction capacitors

Power correction capacitors can cause

series and parallel resonance effects on
a power system.

If a harmonic is generated which excites

a system resonance, amplification of that
harmonic may occur.

Calculation of the harmonic resonance frequency for the

system can give an indication of potential resonance
Harmonics and power-correction capacitors


Assume a 1500 kVA supply xfmr,

1500 kVA with a 5.75% impedance.

600 kVAC Also assume 600 kVA of power

correction capacitors on the system

The harmonic resonance frequency is defined by:

1500 / 0.0575 = 6.6

kVAsc =
hr = 600
Recommended limits - IEEE 519

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)

has set recommended limits on both current and voltage
distortion in IEEE 519-1992.

Voltage distortion limits (@ low-voltage bus):

Application class THD (voltage)

Special system 3%

General system 5%

Dedicated system 10 %
Recommended limits - IEEE 519


in percent of IL

Individual harmonic number (odd harmonics)

Isc/IL <11 11<h<17 17<h<23 23<h<35 TDD
<20 4.0 2.0 1.5 0.6 5.0
20-50 7.0 3.5 2.5 1.0 8.0
50-100 10.0 4.5 4.0 1.5 12.0
100-1000 12.0 5.5 5.0 2.0 15.0
>1000 15.0 7.0 6.0 2.5 20.0

Isc: Maximum short-circuit current at the Point of Common

Coupling (PCC).
IL : Maximum demand load current (fundamental) at
the PCC.
Attenuation of Harmonics
Inductive Reactance

Method: Add a line reactor or isolation transformer

to attenuate harmonics.

Benefits: Low cost.

Technically simple.

Concerns: Tends to offer reductions in only higher

order harmonics. Has little effect on the 5th
and 7th harmonics.

Because of the associated voltage drop,

there are limits to the amount of reactance
that may be added.
Attenuation of Harmonics

Passive Filters

Method: Provide a low-impedance path to ground

for the harmonic frequencies.
Benefits: May be tuned to a
frequency between two prevalent harmonics
so as to help attenuate both.

Concerns: Tuning the filters may be a labor-intensive


Filters are difficult to size, because they offer

a path for harmonics from any source.

Quite sensitive to any future system changes.

Attenuation of Harmonics
Active Filters

Method: Inject equal and opposite harmonics onto the

power system to cancel those generated by
other equipment.

Benefits: Have proven very effective in reducing

harmonics well below required levels.

Concerns: The high performance inverter required for the

harmonic injection is costly.

Power transistors are exposed to conditions

of the line, so reliability may be a problem.
Attenuation of Harmonics
12-pulse Rectifiers
Method: Two separate rectifier bridges supply a single
DC bus. The two bridges are fed from phase-
shifted supplies.
Benefits: Very effective in the elimination of 5th and 7th
Stops harmonics at the source.
Insensitive to future system changes.

Concerns: May not meet the IEEE standards in every

Does little to attenuate the 11th and 13th
Attenuation of Harmonics
18-pulse Rectifier

Method: An integral phase-shift transformer and rectifier

Input which draws an almost purely sinusoidal
waveform from the source.

Benefits: Meets the IEEE standards in every case!

Attenuates all harmonics up to the 35th.

Stops harmonics at the source.

Insensitive to future system changes.

Concerns: Can be expensive at smaller HP’s

Comparison of waveforms

6-pulse converter
note the level of distortion
and steep current rise.

12-pulse converter

the waveform appears more

sinusoidal, but still not very

18-pulse converter

virtually indistinguishable
from the source current