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MYeBOX: Portable network and power quality analyser

Harmonics: origin, effects and solutions

Harmonic currents are one of the most important factors affecting network quality in installations, especially when it comes to wave shape. These currents cause distortions that distort the wave shape's ideal sinusoidal reference. This article will address harmonics from their origin to their consequences, as well as the tools available to electrical energy consumers to minimise their effects.

The presence of this type of parasitic currents in electrical installations (both domestic and industrial) has increased in recent years due to the growing implementation of so-called non-linear loads requiring the use of electronic converters to transform AC into DC and vice versa in order to work correctly. After the aforementioned transformation, the loads end up consuming current with a distorted wave shape.

Devices as common as computers require AC-DC conversion
Devices as common as computers require AC-DC conversion

Thanks to the mathematician Jean-Baptiste Fourier, this wave shape can be broken down into a sum of currents with multiple frequencies of the fundamental frequency (50 - 60 Hz).

We are therefore dealing with disturbances originating in the installations themselves, unlike other network quality factors such as amplitude, frequency or symmetry, which are usually caused by the power supplier.

In addition to the above-mentioned effects on the current's wave shape, current harmonics also have a distortion effect on the voltage wave, due to voltage drops that occur when these currents flow through the impedance of lines and transformers.

These distortions can be measured by network analysers and are mainly calculated as a percentage of distortion or harmonic distortion rate (THD). At an international level, there are standards that establish harmonic distortion limit values, which must be minimised to prevent them from affecting installations close to those being used by users (see IEC-61000-2-2; 2-4; 3-2; 3-4; 3-12; IEEE-519-2014).


After this conceptual introduction, let's now look at the most common non-linear loads:

  • Static transducers (rectifier devices, variable speed drives, soft starters, battery chargers...)
  • Single-phase electronic equipment such as computers, printers, programmable logic controllers, etc. Internally, they operate with direct current and have a filter capacitor and a rectifier at the input.
  • Lighting installations with discharge lamps.
  • Arc furnaces and welding equipment.
  • Transformers and reactors with iron core, and non-linear magnetisation.

most common non-linear loads

One of the most serious effects of current distortion caused by the above-mentioned loads is an increase in the network's effective current, leading to an unnecessary increase in consumption and problems related to cable and transformer sizing.


Its main consequences are:

Conductor overload

An increase in the effective current may cause currents flowing through the conductors to exceed their maximum acceptable limit, requiring an increased cross-section if the effect caused by the harmonic currents has not been accounted for. This problem may be particularly important for neutral conductors, since triplen harmonics (odd order, multiple of 3: 3, 9, 15), primarily caused by single-phase loads, cause harmonic currents to return through the neutral, all adding up together as one. It is essential to control overcurrent levels in the neutral, as excessive heating can cause serious degradation, even to the point of the neutral cutting off unless properly controlled. Neutral cut-off would lead to permanent overvoltage in the network, destroying equipment that is not suitably protected for such cases.

Derating of transformers

The presence of harmonics in the network increases hysteresis loss values and losses due to eddy currents in the transformers, increasing their operating temperature, which, in turn, reduces their useful life. This causes transformers affected by harmonic currents to suffer derating, that is, reduction in the power at which they can operate without causing overheating.

Triggering of protections

The effective current flowing through conductors may be seriously affected by an increase in current caused by harmonics in the installation, and may even exceed circuit-breaker temperature limits, thereby causing them to trigger. Although it is more unlikely, the presence of harmonics in circuit-breakers, due to their magnetic protection, may cause them to trigger, if the current's waveform crest factor exceeds the limit. High crest factors are often found in single-phase loads such as computers or discharge lighting. Harmonic currents have an indirect effect on RCCB triggering, since they flow through circuit breakers and do not directly cause them to trigger. On the other hand, it does mean that network behaviour upstream of the circuit-breaker has high impedance against harmonic currents, causing them to flow through parasitic capacitances or capacitance devices connected to earth (EMC filters), increasing the level of leakage found in the earth leakage device, thereby causing unwanted tripping.

Resonance and overload of capacitor banks

Capacitors are components that may display parallel resonance with the inductive behaviour of the transformer and cabling of the installation's power supply. This resonance greatly increases the unit's impedance to a given frequency that varies depending on the power of the capacitor bank or the power supply's impedance characteristics. Due to these characteristics of capacitor components, together with the presence of harmonics in the network, the installation may be affected by two detrimental phenomena:

  • Firstly, an increase in voltage distortion rate in any section of the installation affected by the resonance, which may affect other loads.
  • On the other hand, the capacitors themselves and other components in the capacitor bank, such as operating elements, may suffer damage as a result of their lower impedance against harmonic currents and high voltage distortion rate, leading to increased capacitor current consumption and possible capacitor burn-out.

Having dealt with the consequences of current harmonics, let's now look at the main problems regarding voltage harmonics:

Voltage distortion

Voltage distortion is a consequence of harmonic currents flowing through the impedances comprising the installation's different distribution and power supply components. Voltage distortion is particularly important, since high levels can cause devices in installations to malfunction, which is why there are compatibility level standards for this type of disturbances. The EN 50160 standard establishes conditions to be met by both the consumer and distributor at the coupling point (PCC), while the 61000-2-4 standard stipulates maximum distortion limits for correct operation of different types of loads. Different types of environment are also specified in this standard. By way of example, the voltage distortion limit for class 1, which includes sensitive loads such as automated systems, computers, etc., is 5%. This means that for higher distortion rates, such loads may be affected and operate incorrectly.

Effect on induction motors

Induction motors will suffer higher losses from an increase in parasitic currents. Furthermore, depending on the rotation sequences induced by the magnetic fields caused by voltage harmonics, the motor may suffer accelerations (positive sequence), braking (negative sequence), or both simultaneously, causing vibrations and eccentricities leading to mechanical wear of components. Derating of motors compared to voltage distortion rate is described in EN 60034-12 and NEMA MG1. In short, the factors identified lead to a loss of torque in the motor and reduced performance.

Zero-crossing disturbances

Many electronic devices have controllers that trigger load operation when voltage crosses zero. This is used to minimise switching current peaks in many inductive loads, thereby reducing the negative effects on electromagnetic compatibility levels. In the event of voltage distortion, such devices may operate incorrectly, causing them to break down, enter a loop, reset, etc.

Zero-crossing disturbances

Once the origins and effects of harmonics have been analysed, it should be pointed out that the purpose for eliminating them from electrical installations is not merely economic, but also helps to guarantee high-quality electric power supply. Unlike what happens with the power factor, nowadays there are no penalties for problems related to the presence of harmonics in electrical energy consumer networks.

In terms of cost saving, although we have already mentioned that harmonics increase the effective current and thus lead to increased energy consumption, it is not advisable to use harmonic filtering solutions in order to reduce additional losses, since the equipment needed to do so would hardly save any costs in consumption.


So why should we reduce the presence of harmonics in our installations?

The answer to this question lies in the advantages of having high-quality electrical energy flowing through our power supply:

Avoiding needless tripping of protections and ensuring devices run smoothly will help to maintain service continuity, so important in any industrial activity.

Keeping distortion rates to a minimum will lead to substantial saving in equipment maintenance costs, ensure that devices always run smoothly under optimum conditions, and avoid premature breakdown affecting both service continuity and high repair or replacement costs.

Besides these considerations, safety in electrical installations must be considered a top priority, especially considering the presence of personnel working with machinery and the need to avoid serious incidents such as fires. With this in mind, correctly dimensioning cabling and devices to suit operating conditions is crucial when it comes to reducing insulation faults and overheating of components.

CIRCUTOR's proposal: Active AFQm filters

Circutor's latest innovation in harmonic filtering comes with the release of the new AFQm active filters. The new AFQ series has been revamped and now offers extra versatility thanks to a more compact, lighter, efficient modular design and the proven top-quality track record of its predecessor, the AFQevo.

The working principle of the AFQm filter is the injection of a counter-phase set of currents into the harmonic currents flowing through the network. The device measures the distortion rate that occurs and then counterbalances it to obtain the best possible setting for an ideal sine wave, as illustrated in the figure below:

Working principle of an active filter
Working principle of an active filter

In this way, high-precision filtering is achieved, helping to maintain a top-quality power supply, which, in turn, leads to more efficiency and better overall functioning of the installation's components, as explained earlier in this article.

Due to the high level of harmonics in today's electrical installations, AFQm active filters can be used in a wide range of applications, especially in industries where an optimum wave shape is essential.high-precision filtering


Characteristics of the active AFQm filter

Multifunctional
Multifunctional

The AFQm eliminates harmonics and guarantees your installation's power supply quality.

Active multifunction filter, with primary selection of the following items:

  • Harmonic current filtering
  • Phase balancing
  • Reactive power compensation

 

Practical
Practical

Quick installation and easy step start-up.

The device just needs to be connected to the filter's network and measurement transformers, configured using its touch screen and then started up. The device itself will check that start-up is safely carried out thanks to an internal self-diagnosis system.

Interactive
Interactive

Its colour display allows the device to be configured and its installation status shown in real time.

  • Easy device configuration with clear, guided steps. The harmonics to be filtered can be selected individually for optimum device operation.
  • Troubleshooting connection problems: Faced with a common problem such as incorrect measurement transformer connection, you only need to enter the configuration menu to correct it in a few clicks.
  • Real-time display: Filter status, main electrical parameter readouts, phasor diagrams, wave shapes and harmonic spectrum are also displayed on the touch screen in real time. Information is displayed to the user in a very visual way by graphs and diagrams, so the behaviour of the installation and device may be instantly checked . The device also displays information for the 5 seconds prior to alarm activation to totally control installation status.

Troubleshooting connection problemsReal-time display

Modular

Find the combination that best suits your filtering needs

Modular

The compact AFQm range consists of 3 wall-mount models: 30A, 60A and 100A. Compared to the previous model, the new active filters are now more compact, lighter, quieter, and, since several arrays are possible, a lot more versatile too. For installations with higher filtering capacity requirements, 100A models may be installed in a cabinet-type array, obtaining cabinets reaching 400A. In such configurations, there will only be one master module, responsible for managing the whole filtering system. In this way, far fewer measurement transformers and much less electrical wiring are required, since only 3 measurement transformers need to be connected to the master and the CAN bus wiring to the slave modules. In the event of an even higher filtering demand, the master-slave function can be expanded to 100 parallel connected units.

ModularModular

Communicable

Manage the device wherever you are via PC or mobile devices

The AFQm includes Ethernet TCP/IP and Modbus TCP communications for on-line web site monitoring , and format may be directly downloaded (without the need for software). Furthermore,the device may be fully configured with all on-screen configuration features, including filter status that may be monitored in real time and remotely.

As an example, the device may be started up and monitored remotely, on-site personnel only being required to physically install the filter. As a result, the cost of sending technical personnel to the installation is spared, allocating such resources only when strictly necessary.

Traceable
Traceable

All readings are stored in the device's memory so no data is lost

The filter stores readings with a one-minute interval and has a 7-year data recording capacity thanks to its 2 Gb internal memory. These data records may be accessed via communications for in-depth analysis of the installation's behaviour.

Safe

Thanks to the device's inbuilt, low-maintenance systems, the product's service needs are kept to a minimum

The AFQm has a variety of systems to guarantee filter safety during operation:

  • Protection system to prevent start-up if there is a problem
  • Anti-resonance system: the device is designed to bypass specific frequencies where resonance is detected
  • Smart thermal management system: fan speed and power regulation under high temperature conditions
  • Safe mode activation in case of fault detection
  • The device performs self-diagnostic tasks for the code and hardware executing it

Safe mode activation

Consult all information regarding Circutor's new AFQm active filters:

New CIRCUTOR corporate identity

We’ve revamped our image

Here at Circutor we have launched our new communication strategy accompanied by a complete revamp of our corporate identity.

Future is Efficiency shows Circutor’s major contribution to the energy efficiency sector since it started out in 1973.

With this upgrade we seek to generate new points of connection with which to enhance the culture and values that our founders established right from the outset.

This will enable us to adapt to future global energy efficiency needs in order to continue developing innovative solutions with customers and suppliers which slowly but surely help to build a more efficient environment for all.

 

In-house presentation of the new corporate identity

 

On 28 March the new corporate identity was presented to the entire CIRCUTOR team at the Terrassa Cultural Centre.

It was a stirring and accessible event which introduced the company’s new corporate identity and reinforced the values which have always been part of CIRCUTOR:

  • We Write the Future: We create new solutions which inspire the electrical energy efficiency market.
  • We Build Together: We are our customers’ and suppliers’ partners. Working together is, and has been, the key to our success.
  • We Move Forward Responsibly: We look forward committed to the future. Responsible, caring for the environment we share.
  • People Here & There: We recognise and value people, everyone and all over the world. Open. Respectful and interested.
Presentation of the new corporate identity CIRCUTOR
Presentation of the new corporate identity at Hannover Messe

 

CIRCUTOR’s new corporate identity was publicly launched on 1 April coinciding with the start of the Hannover Messe 2019 trade show, the world’s leading industrial fair.

The new corporate image was on display at the CIRCUTOR booth to show its new brand image in public for the first time.

It is a new corporate identity which is not designed to change who we are but rather seeks to draw attention to what makes us unique.

Presentation of the new corporate identity CIRCUTOR

Energy Management Systems and consumption analysis

The growing importance of electricity costs in businesses or at home has sparked a keen interest in understanding this consumption.

If you want to save on energy costs, you have to discover the reality hidden behind every power socket. You can explore alternatives which will stop consumption figures from boosting the final amount to quantities beyond your budget.

Basics of electrical installations for energy optimisation

Before attempting to take any steps to reduce electricity costs, the internal electrical grid must be understood. There are three essential categories to be considered when analysing problems:

  1. The total power contracted. It is reflected in the electricity bill and follows a standard type of consumption that meets consumer needs.
  2. The pattern of consumption based on industrial or domestic usage. In practice, this means the installed devices and the energy each unit needs to consume to operate correctly.
  3. Energy consumption rate per device. This stems from the previous category. For example, it specifies the time used by each power consumption device. A fridge will usually consume a continuous amount, whereas a dishwasher will probably consume a different amount from month to month. If you are able to identify these variables, then it is easy to manage power consumption.

It is very useful and revealing to break down contracted power consumption per installed electrical appliance and usage times. If you are unable to find a decent alternative to your consumption, you can always compare rates and offers from electricity companies. All include a discount on electricity consumption subject to individual contract conditions that also need to be evaluated

Keys to understand and calculate electricity consumption

Your electricity consumption may be conveniently tracked by using measuring devices such as energy consumption analysers. Any deviation in the usual rate caused by a device's malfunction is immediately detected. It is as simple as comparing the amounts consumed by the same device for previous periods.

The analysis of over 250 electrical parameters with references to energy, cost and equivalence in emissions shows whether current regulations on Energy Efficiency are being complied with or not. The documentation provided allows you to quickly configure the system, enabling you to safely and reliably track the consumption of your private network. You no longer have to mentally calculate consumption since rates are conveniently updated and even different sources of power are recognised. This is the case, for example, with auxiliary power units or UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply).

A definitive state-of-the art solution providing complete control over the operation of an electrical network. Corrective actions have been clearly indicated for any detected malfunctioning.

Spain, together with Germany, has the highest electricity rates in the European Union. The actions you take to save energy lower its effect on your budget by saving important costs in the medium and long term. The solutions to any doubts arising from this section may be found on commercial networks offering these products.

Power analyzers

Consumption analyzers


Links of interest:


RECmaxCVM. Protect, reclose and measure. Avoid indirect costs to your installations by using reclosing systems

Recent developments in electrical installations have given power supply continuity top priority among all users of the electrical network, especially in those industrial sectors where outages cause serious economic losses, either directly or indirectly. We are talking about plants whose industrial processes are vital, the telecommunications industry, the food and pharmaceutical industries, among others.

Power supply continuity is closely related to devices offering electric protection, another fundamental aspect of any electrical installation Protection devices are responsible for supply outages in our own installation, which may affect several lines depending on which protection device is involved.

Ideally, protection devices should trigger whenever there is a safety risk to those operating the installations or a risk of damaging machinery connected to the network. Having said this, protection devices not only trigger in the event of a real threat, but more often than not transient disturbances with no serious effect on the installation are responsible, and this type of scenario is precisely when protection and power supply continuity come into play.

As a result of the growing demand for solutions that aim to guarantee power supply continuity, devices have been developed to keep installations permanently working without risking personal safety or damage to machinery. Protection devices with self-reclosing systems are responsible for restoring power when there are no longer any risks of doing so. Thanks to such devices, the inconvenience, unnecessary costs and time wasted (in addition to the inherent output losses due to power supply shutdown) in manually switching circuit breakers back on are avoided, especially when they are sometimes located far away, are inaccessible or simply difficult to reach.

They have a wide range of applications since they are suitable for all isolated, mainly unsupervised installations, but where a good balance between safety and power supply continuity is of paramount importance.

What are the causes of untimely circuit breaker tripping?

Reasons for untimely tripping vary widely. From the presence of harmonic currents in the network to the variable behaviour of loads in the installation, including environmental factors such as lightning during a thunderstorm. As will be seen below, any tripping of protection devices in autonomous installations that are far away or difficult to reach leads to substantial losses for many industries.

Telecommunications industry

Telecommunications industry

Telecommunications centres for telephone, radio and television companies are often located on high ground like hills or mountainous areas to maximise the range they cover. When there are thunderstorms and lightning, any lightning that strikes areas adjacent to these centres could trip the earth leakage protection device. This event, though not causing any permanent system leakage, could render the telecommunications centre useless until a supervisor arrives to switch the circuit breaker back on. Bearing in mind the number of people affected by this type of situation, financial losses for telecommunications companies may reach tens of thousands of euros per minute.

The inconvenience and costs involved in bringing a technician to the area just to find out that the installation has not been seriously damaged must also be added to this cost.

Public lighting systems and traffic management
Public lighting systems and traffic management

In large cities, order largely depends on how traffic is managed. Correct synchronisation of traffic lights and signalling systems such as luminous panels are crucial for smooth traffic flow in large cities. Anything affecting elements that control traffic would lead to chaos, causing accidents or the busiest areas to come to a complete standstill.

Likewise, most public lighting systems operate independently and are difficult to monitor due to the presence of multiple lamp posts spread out everywhere. As in the case of traffic management, untimely tripping in this type of installation would affect a large number of people and constitute a serious road safety hazard.

Water and gas distribution systems

Water and gas distribution systems

Some water and gas supply phases take place in areas that are difficult to reach, thereby making it very complicated to restore supply. Furthermore, the typically slow response time of large companies to restore services could lead to outages lasting even longer.

Food sector companies
Food sector companies

Turning to other sectors such as food, we have an industry whose needs for continuous power supply are extremely demanding. Take the case of large supermarkets: this type of business cannot afford lengthy power cuts to lines where refrigerating chambers are connected, as this would adversely affect the state of the stored product and may even result in large quantities of goods being thrown away.

So what can we do to protect our installation without affecting power supply continuity?

Circutor's solution to the above-mentioned problems lies in the use of the RECmax CVM circuit breaker with self-reclosing earth leakage protection and inbuilt measurement.

Designed for power supply continuity

The RECmax CVM features an electric motor designed to operate the switch when reclosing. Reclosing options (sensitivity, delay, reclosure number, reclosure time intervals, reset times) are programmable and enable fully autonomous power recovery.

Protection continues to be a priority

The RECmax CVM includes an over-voltage and short-circuit protection device, and also offers earth leakage protection in the event of leakage in the installation. The device guarantees installation safety at all times.

What does CVM stand for?

The RECmax CVM features inbuilt measurement for over 250 electrical parameters, thereby enabling a much greater control over the installation's behaviour. The display shows the key variables in your installation, such as voltages, currents, powers, harmonic distortion, power factor... as well as important protection parameters: protection status, real-time leakage, total number of trips or number of trips per protection type. The device allows you to browse different menus using its keypad, which can also be used to configure various reclosing parameters: sensitivity, delay, reclosure number, reclosure time intervals, reset time.

RECmax CVM features inbuilt measurement for over 250 electrical parameters

Advantages of CIRCUTOR's RECmax CVM

Save time, space and money

The RECmax CVM's Plug&Play system minimises installation time to just a few minutes. Both the efficient MC measurement transformers and the WGC differential sensor are included in the kit, through which you simply need to feed the power cables, connect them to the device using the plug-in connection terminals, and the device is ready. The aforementioned wiring is all you need for the RECmax CVM to start operating, since it is self-powered through an internal connection to the circuit breaker.

Taking up just 7.5 modules of space for the 4-pole model and 5.5 modules for the 2-pole model, the RECmax CVM is a compact device suitable for installation in switchboards with limited available space.

The equivalent application with separate devices would require 3 more modules and cost 25% more.

Save time, space and money
Ultra-immunised

The ultra-immunised system, present in other products in Circutor's earth leakage protection range, offers the following advantages:

  • The earth leakage device triggers when reaching 85% of the threshold leakage value, which is when there is a serious risk to the installation and its users.
  • Immunity against high-frequency currents
  • Immunity against transient network variations
Installation control

Thanks to the RS-485 communications port, the RECmax CVM may be added to SCADA systems for remote device management, enabling in-depth analysis of device readings as well as remote configuration. The device features two configurable digital outputs, very useful for controlling alarms or other external systems.

By monitoring the unit, the status of the protection device may also be easily checked at all times, enabling remote intervention.

The backlight display, in keeping with other devices in our company range, allows protection device status to be instantly checked. In the event of tripping, the screen (normally green) changes to red in order to detect faults in the installation at a glance, displaying the value of the current that caused the system to trip.

Versatility

The RECmax CVM comes in 2-pole or 4-pole versions for all types of installations. Furthermore, the product range includes the possibility to choose from a 6A to 63A current range and a C or D trip curve.

RECmaxCVM

The above makes the RECmax CVM a very versatile product, an ideal device for:
  • SAVING: Maximises power supply continuity
  • SAFETY: Guarantees user safety and protects the installation's machinery.
  • MONITORING: Offers energy saving potential by monitoring, as well as detecting weak points in the installation that require preventive action.

RECmaxCVMMore information: RECmaxCVM

 


RECmaxCVM guarantess the electrical continuity from unwanted trippings

Saves energy with RECmaxCVM

RECmaxCVM Plug&Play system saves time and space

 

CVM-A1500A. Supply quality management in industry

Continuity in supply of raw materials and the constant flow of resources to production processes have been crucial in preventing financial losses due to production stoppages. As is well known, in both industry and business, time is money.

Production stoppages bring with them financial losses and in most cases they are down to lack of planning, whether due to a logistics issue, lack of preventive maintenance or many other similar problems. There are numerous obvious and visible causes and also others which are harder to identify.

Poor power supply quality is one of them; you cannot see it and its impact may be as serious as any lack of raw material for your production processes. The technology of the machinery involved in these processes is increasingly sophisticated and delicate while the quality of the voltage waveform is taken for granted in most designs.

Many maintenance managers are called in when a machine stops working properly or just comes to a halt for no apparent reason. From then on the experience of the manager and their team comes into play to spot the fault or to restart the system. It is likely that the system will resume operating without any further incidents, meaning the real problem remains unknown and may crop up again at any time with no apparent cause.

There’s no doubt you are getting swells, dips or interruptions in the power supply, and it may be that the electronic systems’ circuit breakers bring the machinery to a halt to prevent damage which can turn out to be very expensive.

Protecting your system against these kinds of problems may also call for significant investment, yet everything depends on how often you have these problems and the impact they have on your operations.

An initial and much more affordable measure is installing a device which can detect and log those problems. With the information from this device you will be able to address the problem with greater chances of a successful outcome.

FD CVM-A1500 factory

Analysing the installation using network analysers

As we have seen, it is crucial to have real information about the status of the electricity network in order to be able to detect whether a production stoppage is due to the quality of the power supply. For this purpose, there are network analysers which can help maintenance managers to understand what is going on at any given time in order to make the best decision, either to avoid production stoppages or to mitigate their impact.

To try to make performing this task as easy as possible, Circutor has designed its CVM-A1500A power quality analyser. It will quickly report any network quality incidents which may occur in a facility so that action can be taken straightaway.

This model is certified under the IEC 61000-4-30 standard and detects faults in power supply quality in the waveform from the half cycle (from 10 ms in 50 Hz networks and 8.3 ms in 60 Hz networks), providing complete information to maintenance managers about the problem. By installing several units at key points in the installation you can get a clear idea of when, where and how a power supply quality problem has impacted it.

The CVM-A1500’s user interface and integrated Web server provide easy, convenient and intuitive access to information about any power quality problems identified.

You don’t have to be an expert to interpret its data

The downside when it comes to analysing network quality has always been the interpretation of data by a specialist engineer. Some installations have quality equipment installed but it is not used because users have difficulty in interpreting its data.

Quality analysers are normally “black boxes” which do not provide information if they are not connected via data interpretation software.

So in addition to needing computer skills to download their data you also have to know about their computer program for interpreting these data. If you additionally combine equipment from several manufacturers, then the task is even trickier.

That’s why Circutor has developed a model featuring browsing by colour screens to provide relevant information for decision making.

ITIC curve

The CVM-A1500A analyser shows the ITIC (also CBEMA and SEMIF 47) curve on the screen. With just three clicks on the equipment, any maintenance manager can display the ITIC curve.

This curve shows red triangles each time an event occurs, quickly displaying how many quality events there have been and how damaging they have been for the installation. This means you can swiftly see what kind of problem you are faced with.

If the triangles are in the green zone, this means that there have been events (power surges or voltage drops) which have not harmed the electronic equipment in your facility. However, if the triangles are in the red zone, this will mean a swell which has most likely damaged your electronic equipment. The closer the triangles are to the top left, the more damaging they will be due to their high value and duration. By contrast, if the triangles are in the yellow zone this means that there have been voltage drops. These voltage drops may impact electronic systems leading to rebooting or stoppage due to low voltage.

Just by glancing at this screen, any maintenance manager will know why there might have been a malfunction. Furthermore, if it is repeated regularly, they will have more information to install a system which mitigates the event’s impact thus avoiding production stoppages and hence financial losses.

ITIC Curve
ITIC Curve

Installation events

In addition to the curves we have discussed above, the equipment has an event counter which shows you how many there have been in each phase so you will know whether the problem always comes from the same phase or if it is repeated regularly. To get a closer look, you can use the analyser’s screen to review each event individually and view it in detail. With several clicks on its screen you enter the event and see in which phase it took place, what its voltage percentage is, what voltage there was before the event (this helps you see whether it was a fast event due to switching or a slow one due to overloading), how long it lasted (from the half cycle) and on what date and at what time it occurred. Plus you can always enter the event to see its associated waveform, showing the voltage sinusoid to see exactly when it happened.

Quality event
Quality event

Transient associated with a quality event
Transient associated with a quality event

Other parameters to be checked to ensure the proper operation of an installation

We have seen how voltage events may bring about production stoppage which leads to financial loss. Furthermore, power supply quality analysers can help us avoid future problems in the installation by checking other relevant parameters.

Harmonics

Harmonic decompositionThese devices show harmonic decomposition up to 63, and you can see what level of harmonic load you have in the installation. Harmonics can impact the installation’s performance and also trip a circuit breaker or lead to overheating or malfunction of electronic loads.

Unbalances

Quite often installations have uneven currents in the various phases due to poor load distribution or a subsequent line extension. This effect may lead to current flowing through the neutral wire. In these cases it is essential to measure the current flowing through the neutral conductor to avoid possible insulation failures which can cause breakage that leads to swells, thus damaging components of the installation. Furthermore, if the installation has its own distribution transformer, this may overheat resulting in premature ageing and changing its useful life. To avoid these hazards, the CVM-A1500 network analyser measures neutral current along with any unbalance in voltages and currents and reports any situation that may entail a risk for the installation both onscreen and by email.

Data display on a PC

The CVM-A1500A analyser has a web server with built-in memory. Any user can access the logged data on a web browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, etc.) to monitor all parameters in real time, produce graphs and tables, view quality events and waveforms and extract data easily in Excel without having to be an expert in power supply quality software. Plus the equipment can be integrated with our PowerStudio Energy Management Software (EMS) and can be integrated into a complete network with equipment for usage management to provide an overview of the installation’s entire status.

Access by web browser or PowerStudio software
Access by web browser or PowerStudio software

Network quality at a glance

As we have seen, with the CVM-A1500A power supply quality analyser any user can have complete control of the parameters which may bring about a malfunction in any installation and also check where an electrical fault comes from, whether it be internal or external. By exporting data, maintenance managers can negotiate with the electric utility in case of a stoppage due to poor power supply quality or may even demand guarantees for all machines with anomalous operation as they can check whether the failure is the result of an external cause or due to malfunction of the machine itself.

The quality of your installation under supervision


More information: CVM-A1500

Spain ranks fifth for electric vehicle charging points

Electric cars are an increasingly frequent sight in our cities. Spain is now the fifth most prolific country in Europe for zero-emission vehicles.

FD 5pais VE cargadorWhen sales of these vehicles began to take off, there were not so many charging points as there are now. Spain now has 3,856 public charging points for electric cars.

It is thanks to those charging points that Spain has the fifth largest infrastructure globally for these vehicles. The data were collected by Unieléctrica, based on figures from electromaps.com and the Spanish Institute of Statistics.

The United States occupies first place for infrastructure, followed by France in second, Germany in third and Holland in fourth.

New users of electric cars are recommended to find out all possible information from institutions and to ask in dealerships. Primary, they must be sure before buying whether they can charge their vehicle adequately in their location. The availability of charging points varies across the country. For example, in the region of Catalonia there are 939 charging points, and in Madrid there are 453.

Eco-friendly cars are becoming more popular across the globe. Numerous Governments across the world are supporting sustainable mobility. What once seemed impossible is now a reality; many companies are pursuing eco-friendly transport, and the number of private charging points is on the rise.

How do I charge my electric car?

All you need to do is connect your car to a charging point. You can usually find the cable in the boot of your electric vehicle. Once it is connected, the charging programme will begin automatically. The LED lights will indicate when charging begins and some cars have a charging current programme.

For the optimum charging of the battery of your electric car, you should be aware of the two different types of plugs. Around 30 models of zero-emission vehicles on the market have a type 2 “Mennekes” plug, which has been EU standard since 2013, designed by the alternative electrical charging company Mennekes.

For a quick charge, the Japanese electrical and automotive industry developed for 2019 the CHAdeMo connector. It is mostly used in Asia, but certain European electric car models are now using this kind of plug.

If you have an adaptor you can also charge your electric car battery at home, but only in an emergency, because domestic electricity infrastructure is not suitable for extended charging.

Recommendations for charging zero-emission vehicles

Tipo 2 ó Mennekes (IEC 62196-2)To fully charge your electric car battery, you need to ask two key questions: What kind of charging? What kind of plug?

Choose the charging mode (full or quick) according to your needs.
Get to know the models of electric cars and charging points in your city.


Link of interest: Move to zero-emission cars! They offer so many advantages.


 

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