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A laboratory for power quality analysis

Julio Barros, Daniel Cando and Iker Durana


Departamento de Electro nica y Computadores, Universidad de Cantabria, Santander, Spain
E-mail: barrosj@unican.es
Abstract This paper describes a laboratory designed for electrical power quality analysis. Among the different
types of disturbances in voltage supply that the laboratory allows us to generate are harmonics, voltage dips and
short interruptions in voltage supply, voltage imbalance and frequency deviations. Using this laboratory we can test
software for analysis, detection and classification of power quality disturbances and also study their effects
on equipment.
Keywords frequency deviations; harmonics; power quality; voltage dips and short interruptions; voltage imbalance
The term power quality refers to a wide variety of electromagnetic phenomena
that characterize the voltage and current at a given time and at a given location
on the power system. The International Electrotechnical Commission classies
the dierent types of low frequency electromagnetic disturbances that aect
the electrical power quality in the following groups:1 harmonics and inter-
harmonics, voltage uctuations, voltage dips and short interruptions in voltage
supply, voltage imbalance, frequency deviations, low frequency induced
voltage and d.c. in a.c. networks.
These disturbances aect in dierent ways the voltage characteristics of
electricity supplied and their relevance is growing steadily due to the increasing
use of non-linear electrical/electronic loads. The eects of power quality disturb-
ances on equipment and on the power system itself and their economic impor-
tance in industrial processes have focused growing attention to this issue. The
European Community has developed dierent standards to dene the charac-
teristics of voltage at the user supply terminals and the compatibility levels for
low-frequency conducted disturbances in power supply systems.27
This paper describes a laboratory designed for electrical power quality analy-
sis. The laboratory is able to generate dierent types of disturbances in voltage
waveform and thus test dierent software for analysis, detection and classi-
cation of disturbances. It can also be used to study their eects on electrical
loads, protection systems or measurement systems.
Structure of electrical power quality laboratory
The structure of the laboratory designed for electrical power quality analysis
is shown in Fig. 1. It is made up basically of an a.c. programmable power
source used to feed any type of electrical/electronic, single phase/three phase
load and a data acquisition system used for data handling and analysis.
A personal computer controls the programmable a.c. power source/analyzer
through an HP-IB interface. The HP-6834B power source produces single
phase/three phase arbitrary waveforms with programmable amplitude, fre-
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211 A laboratory for power quality analysis
Fig. 1 Structure of power quality analysis laboratory.
quency and waveshape and is used to generate a voltage supply with dierent
types of disturbances. The maximum ratings of the power source are
300 V r.m.s., 4500 VA and 05 kHz output frequency range.8
The data acquisition system designed uses a DT-01EZ data acquisition board
and voltage and current transducers to measure voltage and currents in the
electrical load supplied by the a.c. power source.
The data acquisition board is installed in a second personal computer. This
is a general-purpose board with 16 single-end/8 dierential input channels with
12-bit resolution and 27.5 kHz throughput, two analog output channels with
a resolution of 12 bits and 29.7 kHz throughput and 16 digital input/output
lines.9
A LEM LV 25-P voltage transducer based on the Hall eect is used to
measure a.c. and d.c. voltages. An external resistor R
1
selected by the user and
installed in series with the primary circuit is used to produce a current pro-
portional to the measured voltage ( Fig. 2(a)). The external resistor should be
calculated to produce a primary current of 10 mA at the nominal voltage to
be measured and thus obtain the transducer optimun accuracy. The turns ratio
is 2500 : 1000, producing an analog output current I
M
of 25 mA.
A measuring resistor R
M
in series with the power supply zero is used to
derive a voltage output (Fig. 2(a)). This voltage output is connected to one of
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212 J. Barros, D. Cando and I. Durana
Fig. 2 (a) LV 25-P voltage transducer, (b) L A 25-NP current transducer.
the input channels of the DT-01EZ board. The LV 25-P voltage transducer is
suitable for measuring nominal voltages from 10 to 500 V.
The current transducer used in the laboratory is the LEM LA 25-NP. This
is a multirange current transducer based on Hall eect technology that allows
electronic measurement of d.c. and a.c. current with galvanic isolation. Using
a set of primary connection pins the range of nominal currents capable of being
measured is 25/12/8/6/5 A with an output current I
s
of 25 mA. The output
current is fed through a measuring resistor R
M
in series with the power supply
zero to derive a voltage output (Fig. 2( b)). This voltage output is connected to
one of the input channels of the data acquisition board.
Both types of transducers, voltage and current, have linear frequency response
in the frequency range in which they are used. Any type of linear/non-linear
single phase/three phase electrical/electronic load can be used in the laboratory
with a maximun power of 4500 VA.
Software for generating and analyzing electrical power quality disturbances
A software application in Microsoft Visual Basic has been developed to control
the types of power quality disturbances generated by the laboratory.
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213 A laboratory for power quality analysis
Harmonics, voltage dips and short interruptions in voltage supply, voltage
imbalance and frequency deviation of dierent magnitudes can be applied to
any electrical load connected to the a.c. programmable power source.
The a.c. power source is controlled through a built-in HP-IB interface and
the functions of this interface are implemented through SCPI commands.10
The HP-6840 board is used for HP-IB interface. When the software application
is started the a.c. power source is set to its single phase or three-phase mode
and nominal voltage and frequency are dened.
Figure 3 shows the window for voltage supply disturbances generation. The
user is requested to choose one type of disturbance in the voltage waveform
to be generated by the laboratory.
To control the data acquisition system used for data handling and analysis
the DTx-EZ software package is used.11 DTx-EZ allows us to access the
capabilities of the DT-01 EZ board using Microsoft Visual Basic or Microsoft
Visual C++. It provides two controls: data acquisition custom control and
plotting custom control. The rst control facilitates data acquisition functions
and the second one provides a high-speed plotting control useful for plotting
xed or oating-point data in a Visual Basic application.
Harmonics in voltage supply
Harmonic voltages are sinusoidal voltages with a frequency equal to an integer
multiple of the fundamental frequency of the supply voltage. Harmonics are
produced by the connection of non-linear loads to the distribution systems.
These loads are drawn on non-linear currents which in combination with the
line impedances cause a harmonic voltage drop and disturb the sinusoidal
generated supply voltage.
The harmonics generated in this way spread through the distribution system
and greatly aect protection systems, electrical machines and transformers,
cables, measurement equipment, etc., also leading to interference in communi-
Fig. 3 Window for voltage supply disturbances generation.
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214 J. Barros, D. Cando and I. Durana
cation systems. The lifetime of devices might be reduced, the power factor
decreased and sensitive loads could malfunction or even be damaged.12
According to European Standard EN50160 (Ref. [2]) harmonic voltages can
be evaluated in two dierent ways:
1 individually by their relative amplitude (U
h
) related to the fundamental
voltage U
1
, where h is the harmonic order
u
h
=
U
h
U
1
2 globally, for example by the total harmonic distortion factor THD, calcu-
lated using the following expression:
THD=
S

40
h=2
(u
h
)2
Standard EN50160 and IEEE-519 (Ref. [13]) dene the limits for individual
voltage distortion and for total voltage distortion in percentages under normal
operating conditions.
If the user of the laboratory chooses the option for harmonic generation in
the voltage supply, the application rst requests the higher harmonic order to
be generated and then the amplitude and phase of the dierent harmonics, as
can be seen in Fig. 4. The voltage supply waveform generated by the power
source is also shown. There is no restriction on the harmonic order nor on the
total harmonic distortion in the voltage supply generated using the laboratory.
Figure 5 shows the voltage waveform generated by the laboratory when a
0.92% third harmonic, 3.06% fth harmonic, 1.21% seventh harmonic, 0.39%
ninth harmonic and 0.11% eleventh harmonic are selected by the user.
Fig. 4 Window for harmonic generation in voltage supply.
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215 A laboratory for power quality analysis
Fig. 5 Example of voltage waveform generated using the laboratory.
Voltage dips and short interruptions in voltage supply
A voltage dip is a sudden decrease in the voltage amplitude followed by a
return to the initial level after a short time, while a short interruption in voltage
supply is a complete voltage cut o during a time interval necessary for
automatic restoration of supply. Voltage dips and short interruptions may be
produced by faults in the supply network, both permanent and transitory,
rapidly varying loads or equipment taking high current at starting.
A voltage dip is dened by a pair of data: duration and magnitude. The
duration corresponds to the period during which the r.m.s. values measured
remain less than 90% of the declared value (U
N
). The depth of a voltage dip
is dened as the dierence, expressed as a percentage of the declared voltage,
between the minimum r.m.s. value during the voltage dip and the declared
value. If the supply voltage value drops below 1% of the declared voltage the
event is considered an interruption, otherwise it is classied as a voltage dip.
According to Ref. [3], the lower limit for dip duration is set to 10 ms ( half
a 50 Hz cycle), because this is the minimim time period over which an r.m.s.
value can be calculated. The upper limit of duration is set to 60 s.
The window for voltage dips and short interruptions generation in voltage
supply is shown in Fig. 6. First of all the user is requested to choose among a
single phase, two-phase or three-phase voltage dip. Then the elapsed time, step
duration, voltage magnitude and voltage slew must be dened for each of the
steps of the voltage dip or for a short interruption in voltage supply. There are
no restrictions on the voltage dips that can be generated. Complex voltage
dips with many steps and dierent durations can be generated using the
laboratory.
Figure 7 shows the schematic representation of the voltage dip generated
using the values established in Fig. 6. There are ve steps involved in the
generation of this voltage dip. In step 1 the output voltage is set to 230 V for
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216 J. Barros, D. Cando and I. Durana
Fig. 6 Window for voltage dips and short interruptions generation in voltage supply.
Fig. 7 Schematic representation of a voltage dip.
1 s. In step 2 the output voltage is set to 110 V for 50 ms. In step 3 the output
voltage is set to 85 V for 150 ms. In step 4 the output is set to 170 V for 20 ms
and, nally, in step 5 the output voltage is set again to 230 V. The voltage slew
in each transition of voltage dip is set to its maximum value, 9.9e+37, to
produce sudden transitions between the dierent steps. After the voltage dip is
nished, the output voltage returns to the settings in eect before the voltage
dip was executed.
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217 A laboratory for power quality analysis
Voltage imbalance
The imbalance of a three-phase supply voltage consists of a loss of symmetry
of the phase voltage vectors (magnitude and/or phase) created mainly by an
unbalance of the load. The primary source of voltage imbalance less than 2%
is imbalanced single phase loads on a three-phase circuit. Voltage imbalance
can also be the result of capacitor bank anomalies, such as a blown fuse on
one phase of a three-phase bank. Several voltage imbalances, greater than 5%,
can result from single-phasing conditions.
The imbalance of the supply voltage U
u
is dened by the negative sequence
component U
i
expressed in p.u. or percentage of the positive sequence compo-
nent U
d
(U
u
=U
i
/U
d
).
Voltage imbalance can be generated without any restriction using the labora-
tory. The user is requested to introduce the desired voltage magnitude and
phase angle for each phase. Voltage imbalance is calculated and is also shown
to the user.
Frequency deviations
The power system frequency is directly related to the rotational speed of the
generators of the system. At any instant, the frequency depends on the balance
between the load and the capacity of the available generation. When this
dynamics changes, small changes in frequency occur. The size of the frequency
shift and its duration depends on the load characteristics and the response of
the generation system to load changes. In general, utilities maintain very close
control of the power system frequency.
Frequency variations that go beyond accepted limits for normal steady-state
operation of the power system are normally caused by faults on the bulk power
transmission system, a large block of load being disconnected, or a large source
of generation going o-line.
O-nominal power system frequencies can be generated using the laboratory.
The user is requested to introduce the new voltage supply frequency in Hz and
the frequency slew in Hz/s. If the user wants a sudden transition to the new
supply frequency, frequency slew must be set to its maximum value (9.9e+37).
Lower values of frequency slew are used to produce slower transitions to the
new values.
Using the power quality analysis laboratory
Dierent types of experiments can be carried out using the laboratory. Users
can generate power quality disturbances for testing software for harmonic
analysis, harmonic tracking, voltage dips analysis, frequency measurement,
frequency tracking, voltage imbalance, disturbance detection and classication,
eects of power quality disturbances on equipment, etc.
The following experiments provide examples of using the power analysis
laboratory:
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218 J. Barros, D. Cando and I. Durana
1 Eects of harmonics in voltage supply on the performance of induction
motors.
2 Measurement of voltage dips and short interruptions in voltage supply.
Effects of harmonics in voltage supply on the performance of induction motors
The aim of this experiment is to study how the operation performance of a
induction motor is aected by harmonic distortion in voltage supply. To carry
out the test a three-phase, two-pole induction motor is used. The motor is
loaded with a prony break and a motor speed sensor and torque sensor are
also used.
Tests have been made when the motor is fed using the programmable a.c.
power source, with a pure 50 Hz sinusoidal voltage, and when it is fed with a
pure 50 Hz sinusoidal voltage and 5%, 10% and 15% voltage distortion factor
of harmonics from order 3 to 13. FFT analysis is performed on the motor
voltage and current. In each test, input current, power factor, real power,
reactive power, apparent power and eciency measurements are made to
investigate the eect of non-sinusoidal voltages in the electrical and mechanical
performance of the motor.
Table 1 and Fig. 8 show the motor eciency obtained when the motor is fed
with dierent harmonics and several voltage distortion factors. In all events
the harmonic voltage is in phase with the fundamental component of the
supply voltage.
As can be seen from the results, harmonic order and voltage distortion factor
aect motor performance in a dierent way. Lower motor eciency results
from lower order harmonics, particularly 3rd and 5th harmonics, and also
from higher voltage distortion factors. Motor eciency increases for higher
harmonic order.
A new aspect taken into account in this experiment is the inuence of the
relative phase dierence between harmonics in the voltage supply. For a given
voltage distortion factor, the phase dierence between harmonics modify the
waveform of the voltage supply, being more attened than a perfect sinusoidal
wave or with higher peak value than the pure sinusoidal. In this way, currents
TABLE 1 Motor eYciency under diVerent voltage distortion factors
Voltage distortion factor (%)
Harmonic
order 5 10 15
1 80.77 80.77 80.77
1+3 70.95 70.48 69.87
1+5 75.37 74.39 73.37
1+7 77.46 76.60 74.44
1+9 78.21 77.34 75.25
1+11 79.72 79.44 78.67
1+13 79.84 79.65 78.92
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219 A laboratory for power quality analysis
Fig. 8 Motor eYciency under diVerent voltage distortion factors.
drawn by loads connected to the mains are also modied. To take into account
this eect, the voltage crest factor ( VCF) is dened as:
VCF=
Peak voltage
r.m.s. voltage
A pure sinusoidal waveform has a VCF equal to 1.41.
To study the eect of voltage crest factor in the motor performance dierent
tests have been made, specially for low order harmonics (3rd and 5th), for
constant voltage distortion factors (10%) and dierent crest factors. Input
current, input current harmonics, current harmonic distortion factor and cur-
rent crest factor depend on the crest factor of the voltage supply, and also the
motor eciency as can be seen from Ref. [15]. There is no linear relation
between voltage crest factor in voltage supply and total harmonic distortion
current of the motor. From the tests, in general higher voltage crest factor
results in higher total harmonic distortion current and in lower motor eciency.
Measurement of voltage dips and short interruptions in voltage supply
The purpose of this experiment is to develop a software application to measure
voltage dips and short interruption in voltage supply following the specica-
tions given in Ref. [3].
To carry out the experiment the a.c. power source of the laboratory is
programmed to generate voltage dips of dierent depths and durations. Using
the data acquisition system, voltage magnitude is continuously monitored
through LV 25-P voltage transducers. The selected sampling rate of voltage
supply is 3.2 kHz, with a 10 ms sampling window.16
Every half-cycle of voltage supply the r.m.s. voltage is computed using the
expresion:
V
rms
=
S
W
N
i=1
v2(n)
N
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220 J. Barros, D. Cando and I. Durana
where v(n) are the voltage samples and N is the number of samples taken in
the sampling window (32 samples in our case).
The r.m.s. voltage computed in this way is compared with the threshold for
voltage dip detection (this threshold is set at 10% below the nominal voltage).
If no voltage dip in voltage supply is detected the software application does
not take any action. Otherwise, in case of a voltage dip, r.m.s. voltage, duration
and depth of voltage dip are computed and stored in memory. The date and
time of occurrence of a voltage dip is also stored in memory and a statistical
analysis is also carried out, classifying the voltage dip as shown in Table 2,
where Nij represents the number of voltage dips belonging to the corresponding
classes of depth and duration.
To test the software application developed, the a.c. power source of the
laboratory is programmed to generate the voltage dip of Fig. 5. As can be seen
in this gure, the duration and depth of this voltage dip are 220 ms and 61.36%
(dierence expressed in % of the declared voltage between the minimum r.m.s.
value during the voltage dip, 85 V, and the declared value, 220 V) respectively.
The voltage dip is correctly detected and classied by the software application
developed as shown in the window for statistical classication of the voltage
dip (Fig. 9) and in the window for voltage dip representation of Fig. 10.
TABLE 2 Statistical classication of voltage dips
Dips/ 10<100 100<500 0.5<1 1<3 3<20 20<60
Duration (ms) (ms) (s) (s) (s) (s)
10%<depth<15% N11 N21 N31 N41 N51 N61
15%<depth<30% N12 N22 N32 N42 N52 N62
30%<depth<60% N13 N23 N33 N43 N53 N63
60%<depth<99% N14 N24 N34 N44 N54 N64
Fig. 9 Window for statistical classication of voltage dips.
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221 A laboratory for power quality analysis
Fig. 10 Window for voltage dips representation.
Conclusions
An electrical power quality analysis laboratory has been described. Harmonics
in voltage supply, voltage dips, short interruptions in voltage supply, voltage
imbalance and frequency deviations can be generated in a programmable way
by the user of the laboratory. This laboratory has proved to be a powerful
tool for testing software for analysis, detection and classication of power
quality disturbances and also for studying their eects on electrical loads,
protection systems or measurement systems.
Acknowledgements
The authors wish to thank the Spanish Commission of Science and Technology
(CICYT) for the support of the research project Cancelacio n activa de armo n-
icos de tensio n y corriente en redes de distribucio n de energ a electrica
(TIC96-0728) of which the present paper is a part.
References
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Environments.
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alimentacio n de baja tensio n.
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222 J. Barros, D. Cando and I. Durana
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