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Power Quality for

Electrical Contractors
Application Guide,
Volume 2: Recommended Practices: Revision 1

Final Report, August 1999

EPRI Project Managers

W. Moncrief
M. Grossman

EPRI 3412 Hillview Avenue, Palo Alto, California 94304 PO Box 10412, Palo Alto, California 94303 USA
800.313.3774 650.855.2121


Electric Power Research Institute, Inc.

Requests for copies of this package should be directed to the EPRI Distribution Center, 207 Coggins Drive, P.O.
Box 23205, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523, (925) 934-4212.
Electric Power Research Institute and EPRI are registered service marks of the Electric Power Research Institute, Inc.
EPRI. POWERING PROGRESS is a service mark of the Electric Power Research Institute, Inc.
Copyright 1999 Electric Power Research Institute, Inc. All rights reserved.

This report was prepared by
3412 Hillview Avenue
Palo Alto, California 94304
Principal Investigators
W. Moncrief
M. Grossman
This report describes research sponsored by EPRI.
The report is a corporate document that should be cited in the literature in the
following manner:
Power Quality for Electrical Contractors: Applications Guide, Volume 2: Recommended
Practices: Revision 1. EPRI, Palo Alto, CA: 1999. TR-111762-V2R1.



A wide variety of sensitive electronic equipment is finding its way into new and
existing buildings. To insure that this equipment functions properly, building owners
and equipment users are showing more concern for their buildings power quality.
Volume 2, Focusing on Recommended Practices, of the Power Quality for Electrical
Contractors Applications Guide discusses the issues involved in providing good power
To meet current and future power quality needs, a building requires an electrical
environment that is responsive and adaptable to changing electronic technologies.
Currently, many electronically enhanced buildings are unable to fully support the
electrical requirements for such processes as computation, information processing,
communication, security and safety, and control. Although new low-voltage, fastswitching electronic equipment provides improved performance, it also is more
sensitive to power disturbances that can originate from either side of the electric meter.
When customers experience power disturbances, they often assume the problem is
utility related. In fact, recent EPRI studies indicate up to 80% of all power quality
problems are attributable to inadequate electrical grounding or wiring or to interactions
between loads within the facility. Regardless of the power quality problems source,
more readily accessible information is needed to better understand and correct these
To offer recommended solutions for solving power quality problems.
Written for an electrical contractor audience, project authors provided a comprehensive
introduction to the tools important in the diagnosis and resolution of power quality
Volume 2 of the Guide details wiring and power distribution equipment, grounding,
and mitigating devices typically used to improve power quality and reliability. It also
discusses on-site surveys for facilities experiencing equipment problems that appear to

be power-related and discusses survey procedures and instrumentation needed to

perform the survey. To further assure power quality, the Guide discusses maintenance
requirements, including general safety guidelines, preventive maintenance, restoring
system operation after failure, and record keeping.
EPRI Perspective
With more and more sensitive electronic equipment being added to support worker
productivity, the electrical environment in commercial and industrial buildings is
changing rapidly. To meet current and future requirements, a building needs an
electrical environment that is friendly both to those who work in it and to the changing
electronic technologies that support their productivity. Since many of these
electronically enhanced buildings are incapable of supporting the electrical
requirements of such equipment, power quality is becoming an increasingly important
concern for building owners and end users. EPRI has sponsored The Power Quality for
Electrical Contractors Applications Guide: Volume 2Recommended Practices to help
increase and spread understanding of how to prevent and solve power quality
problems. Volume 1 in the series discusses power quality fundamentals
Power quality
Power quality solutions
Electrical contractors
Electronic equipment


This Application Guide was developed through valuable cooperation and contribution
by the following individuals and companies whose help was greatly appreciated.

Allen Morinec, FirstEnergy

Naresh Khosla of Enviro-Management & Research, Inc.

Lewis Tagliaferre of Electrical Contracting Foundation

Peter Hofmann of Consolidated Edison Co. of New York, Inc.

Aubrey Braz of Consolidated Edison Co. of New York, Inc.

Frank Sinicola of Consolidated Edison Co. of New York, Inc.

Northwest Power Quality Service Center:

Dalene Moore, President, Tacoma Public Utilities
John McClaine, Puget Sound Power & Light Co.
Joe McArthur, Portland General Electric Co.
Francis Tong, Seattle City Light
George VanGinhoven, Bonneville Power Administration
Rob Penney, Electric Ideas Clearing House
David Barber, Idaho Power

Northwest Power Quality Service Center Technical Committee:

John McClaine, Chairman, Puget Sound Power & Light Co.
Jeff Harvey, Portland General Energy Systems
Barry Kennedy, Bonneville Power Administration
Hardev Juj, Tacoma Public Utilities
Jon Roholt, Idaho Power
Joe Frani, Snohomish PUD


Large numbers of sensitive electronic equipment (e.g., computers, microprocessorbased communication, safety and security, and electronic control systems and facsimile
equipment) are being used in new and existing buildings to support worker
productivity. To meet current and future needs, a building must establish an electrical
environment that is hospitable not only to those who work within it but also to the
changing electronic technologies on which their productivity advances rely.
All too many of these electronically enhanced buildings are incapable of supporting the
electrical requirements of such equipment. Most of this equipment is vulnerable to
fluctuations in power supply and is sensitive to intermittent electrical disturbances. As
a result, power quality is becoming an increasingly important concern for building
owners and end users.
The Power Quality for Electrical Contractors Applications Guide (Guide) discusses
the technical issues involved in providing for good power quality. Targeted to the
electrical contractor audience, its purpose is to increase understanding of the technical
factors involved in power quality problems and to offer recommended solutions for
their mitigation.
The Guide is presented in two volumes:
Volume 1Power Quality Fundamentals
Volume 2Recommended Practices
Volume 1 describes power quality fundamentals.
Chapter 1 Discusses the growing importance of power quality and proliferation of
sensitive electronic equipmentand consequences for building owners and
electrical contractors. Also highlights how power quality problems are
being addressed by electric utilities, equipment manufacturers, electrical
contractors, and end users.
Chapter 2 Overview of electrical wiring systems commonly used in commercial and
industrial facilities.


Chapter 3 Fundamentals of power quality, including a power quality concept and

definition, types and consequences of electrical disturbances, and
Chapter 4 Sources of power disturbances are discussed: power system faults,
lightning surges, load switching, nonlinear loads, electrostatic discharges,
grounding design and installation, wiring design and installation, and the
source-load interface.
Chapter 5 Characteristics of typical loads, including voltage and current
characteristics of typical nonlinear loads, power factor characteristics of
loads, and harmonic generating characteristics. Explores load sensitivity to
harmonics, voltage variation, voltage flicker, and noise.
Volume 2 details recommended practices and equipment with respect to the control
and abatement of power quality problems.
Chapter 1 Introduction
Chapter 2 Wiring and power distribution equipment, including premises wiring,
transformers, switchgear/switchboards, panelboards, metal conduit and
metal enclosed raceway, pull and junction boxes, wiring devices, feeders,
branch circuits, individual branch and shared circuits, conductors, flexible
cords and conductors, performance shielding/bonding, power factor and
nonlinear loads, harmonic current control, and sizing of neutral/grounds.
Chapter 3 Grounding, including current NEC requirements, power system grounding
and equipment grounding. Also describes electronic equipment grounding
methods and cellular raised floor grounding/bonding.
Chapter 4 Mitigating devices typically used to improve power quality and reliability,
including noise filters, current harmonic filters, line voltage regulators,
power line conditioners, isolation transformers, transient voltage
suppressors, uninterruptible power supplies, standby power supply, and
Chapter 5 On-site survey for facilities experiencing equipment problems that appear
to be power-related. Discusses survey procedures and instrumentation
required to perform the survey.
Chapter 6 Maintenance requirements to assure power quality, including general
safety guidelines, preventive maintenance, restoring system operation after
failure, and record keeping.


1 INTRODUCTION ................................................................................................................. 1-1

2 WIRING AND POWER DISTRIBUTION EQUIPMENT ........................................................ 2-1
Premises Wiring.................................................................................................................. 2-1
Power Wiring................................................................................................................... 2-1
Communications Wiring (Voice and Data)....................................................................... 2-3
Wiring and Equipment in Specialized Areas.................................................................... 2-3
Transformers....................................................................................................................... 2-6
Switchgear/Switchboards.................................................................................................... 2-7
Panelboards........................................................................................................................ 2-8
Metal Conduit and Metal Enclosed Wireway..................................................................... 2-10
Metal Conduit ................................................................................................................ 2-10
Metal-Enclosed Wireway............................................................................................... 2-10
Pull and Junction Boxes ................................................................................................... 2-11
Wiring Devices .................................................................................................................. 2-11
Feeders............................................................................................................................. 2-12
Branch Circuits.................................................................................................................. 2-13
Shared Circuits and Dedicated Circuits ............................................................................ 2-13
Conductors ....................................................................................................................... 2-14
Flexible Cords and Conductors......................................................................................... 2-14
Performance Shielding...................................................................................................... 2-15
Power Factor Correction and Nonlinear Loads ................................................................. 2-15
Harmonic Current Control ................................................................................................. 2-17
Sizing of Neutral/Grounds................................................................................................. 2-18

3 GROUNDING....................................................................................................................... 3-1
NEC Requirements ............................................................................................................. 3-1


Power System Grounding ................................................................................................... 3-2

Equipment Grounding......................................................................................................... 3-3
High-Frequency Effects on Grounding Conductors ............................................................ 3-4
Grounding Methods for Electronic Equipment .................................................................... 3-7
Single-Point Grounding ................................................................................................... 3-7
Separately Grounded Systems ..................................................................................... 3-13
Signal Reference Grids (Multi-Point Grounding) ........................................................... 3-13
Grounding of Computer Power Centers............................................................................ 3-15
Grounding/Bonding of Cellular Raised Floors in Computer Rooms............................... 3-16

4 MITIGATING DEVICES ....................................................................................................... 4-1

Noise Filters .................................................................................................................... 4-1
Harmonic Current Filters ..................................................................................................... 4-2
Line Voltage Regulators ..................................................................................................... 4-4
Tap Changers ................................................................................................................. 4-4
Buck-boost Regulators.................................................................................................... 4-5
Constant Voltage Regulators .......................................................................................... 4-6
Power Line Conditioner....................................................................................................... 4-8
Magnetic Synthesizers .................................................................................................... 4-8
Motor-Generators............................................................................................................ 4-9
Isolation Transformers................................................................................................... 4-11
Transient Voltage Surge Suppressors .............................................................................. 4-14
Computer Power Center ................................................................................................... 4-17
Uninterruptible Power Supplies......................................................................................... 4-18
Standby UPS .................................................................................................................... 4-18
Double Conversion UPS ................................................................................................... 4-20
Rotary UPS....................................................................................................................... 4-22
Ferroresonant UPS ........................................................................................................... 4-23
Line Interactive UPS ......................................................................................................... 4-24
UPS Selection................................................................................................................... 4-25
UPS Sizing........................................................................................................................ 4-26
UPS Specification ............................................................................................................. 4-26

5 CONDUCTING ON-SITE SURVEYS ................................................................................... 5-1


Survey Objective................................................................................................................. 5-1

Basic Survey ................................................................................................................... 5-2
Intermediate Survey ........................................................................................................ 5-6
Power Monitoring ............................................................................................................ 5-7
Documentation .............................................................................................................. 5-10
Data Analysis and Recommendations Development .................................................... 5-11
Comprehensive Survey ................................................................................................. 5-11
Instrumentation ................................................................................................................. 5-12
Oscilloscope.................................................................................................................. 5-13
Power Disturbance Monitors ......................................................................................... 5-14
Spectrum Analyzers ...................................................................................................... 5-15

6 MAINTENANCE REQUIREMENTS TO ASSURE POWER QUALITY ................................ 6-1

General Safety Guidelines .................................................................................................. 6-1
Preventive Maintenance ..................................................................................................... 6-2
Cleaning.......................................................................................................................... 6-3
Inspecting........................................................................................................................ 6-3
Adjusting ......................................................................................................................... 6-4
Restoring System Operation After Failure .......................................................................... 6-4
Record Keeping .................................................................................................................. 6-5

A RELEVANT CODES AND STANDARDS............................................................................A-1

B GLOSSARY OF TERMS.....................................................................................................B-1
C REFERENCES....................................................................................................................C-1
E OVERVIEW OF POWER QUALITY PROBLEM SOLVING ............................................... E-1
Power Quality Problem Solving Flow Chart..................................................................... E-1



Figure 2-1 Building electrical distribution system components. Source: Dranetz

Technologies Inc. ............................................................................................................ 2-2
Figure 3-1 Example of system grounding. ............................................................................. 3-3
Figure 3-2 Example of isolated, dedicated branch circuit. ..................................................... 3-4
Figure 3-3 Resonance effect on a ground wire...................................................................... 3-6
Figure 3-4 Example of correct grounding for isolated grounding. .......................................... 3-8
Figure 3-5 A single-point design prevents unwanted ground loops by providing only
one conductive path between it and all external grounds. Point 1 illustrates a
single- point ground. Source: National Institute for Standards and Technology (8) ...... 3-10
Figure 3-6 Example of unsafe Isolated computer ground.................................................. 3-11
Figure 3-7 Grounding of a typical process controlled by microprocessor equipment.
Source: National Electrical Contractors Association (9) ................................................ 3-12
Figure 3-8 Typical grounding of isolation transformer. ......................................................... 3-13
Figure 3-9 Typical computer room power and HF grounding system................................... 3-14
Figure 4-1 Typical basic noise filter........................................................................................ 4-2
Figure 4-2 Several types of harmonic current filters. Source: Ontario Hydro (10)................. 4-3
Figure 4-3 Tap changers. Source: Ontario Hydro (10)........................................................... 4-5
Figure 4-4 Typical buck-boost regulator................................................................................. 4-6
Figure 4-5 Typical constant voltage regulator. ....................................................................... 4-7
Figure 4-6 Typical magnetic synthesizer................................................................................ 4-9
Figure 4-7 Motor-generators. Source: National Electrical Contractors Association (11) ..... 4-10
Figure 4-8 Typical isolation transformer............................................................................... 4-12
Figure 4-9 Typical isolation transformer with shielding. ....................................................... 4-13
Figure 4-10 Clamping action of a typical 130-V RMS-rated MOV. A. 500 V, 1 A
impulse, clamped to 100-V peak B. 500 V, 1000 A impluse, little clamping action
C. 500 V, 100 A impluse, clamped to 300-V peak D. 100 V peak-to-peak, no
clamping action Source: Portland General Energy Systems ......................................... 4-16
Figure 4-11 Standby uninterruptible power supply. Source: National Electrical
Contractors Assoc. (11)................................................................................................. 4-19
Figure 4-12 Example of a double conversion uninterruptible power supply......................... 4-20


Figure 4-13 Step-function source wave vs. true ac sinusoidal wave. Source: National
Electrical Contractors Assoc. (11) ................................................................................. 4-21
Figure 4-14 Hybrid uninterruptible power supply. Source: National Electrical
Contractors Assoc. (11)................................................................................................. 4-23
Figure 4-15 Ferroresonant UPS. Source: Ontario Hydro (10)............................................. 4-24
Figure 4-16 Line interactive UPS. ........................................................................................ 4-25
Figure 5-1 Example of power monitor hookup procedure for single-phase application.......... 5-8
Figure 5-2 Example of power monitor hookup procedure for single-phase application
with power conditioner. ................................................................................................... 5-8
Figure 5-3 Example of three-phase Wye power monitoring. .................................................. 5-9
Figure E-1 Power quality problem solving flow chart (continued).......................................... E-2


Table 2-1 Switchgear location and installation considerations............................................... 2-8
Table 3-1 The inductance of 100 feet of two wire sizes. ........................................................ 3-5
Table 3-2 The ac resistance of 100 feet of two wire sizes. .................................................... 3-6
Table 4-1 Voltage vs. current characteristics of a typical 130-V MOV. ................................ 4-15
Table 5-1 Typical survey data................................................................................................ 5-7
Table 5-2 Typical test instruments for conducting a site survey........................................... 5-13
Table A-1 Power quality standards and issues covered. ....................................................... A-1



Volume 1 of this guide provided the necessary background on the issues collectively
referred to as power quality. Volume 2 provides a comprehensive introduction to the
tools important in the diagnosis and resolution of power quality issues.
As with most problems today, power quality problems drive a natural desire to hold
effective solutions as very simple, inexpensive, and global in their influence.
Unfortunately, truly effective power quality solutions often involve several approaches
and careful implementation if long-term performance is the ultimate goal. This is not
meant to imply that all power quality solutions are complicated and expensive, but
only to suggest that, since electrical power quality can be impacted with even subtle
changes to an electrical system, long-term performance may only be ensured by
evaluating and addressing a broad range of existing and potential electrical system
The automobile provides a useful example. If your performance goal is to maintain the
absolute maximum efficiency in gasoline consumption, realistically you would focus
attention on the state of tune of the engine, driving style, the nature of the terrain, the
use of air conditioning, level of tire inflation, etc. Addressing only one or two of these
points would not ensure meeting your performance goal.
Since virtually all power quality problems can be addressed by a range of different
solution options, each having a different level of impact on the system performance, the
challenge is often matching the solution options with the customers cost-benefit
The tools discussed in this guide will, in some combination, make up the range of
solution options for any customer power quality problem. The expense associated with
these solution options will provide the cost portion of the cost-benefit equation for the
customer. It will be necessary to invest some effort on the benefit portion of the
equation on the customers behalf. This investment will pay off in helping the customer
to view the expense and effectiveness associated with any power quality solution
option as a business investment with a discernible payback.
As a significant part of this effort it is very useful to assist the customer in quantifying
the cost associated with the power quality problems being experienced. In the


customer's eyes this might be as simple as the bill for the repair of damages suffered
due to a power quality problem. In most cases, the actual cost of power quality
problems include expenses far less immediately tangible. These less tangible expenses
are typically a greater challenge for customers to quantify and, therefore, may be
overlooked without your direction. If these expenses are overlooked in the cost-benefit
analysis the customer may opt for a less-effective solution (for lesser expense) that may
only bring short-term success resulting in unexpected expenses over time.
In an effort to provide some basis for discussion with your customers, the following
briefly summarizes some of the areas of expense that may be associated with most
power quality problems.
Profitability Losses

Revenue Losses

Opportunity Losses

Equipment Repair
Lost Productivity
Lost Product (scrap)

Data Losses
Lost Sales

Anticipated Sales Losses

Orders Presumed Lost

Equipment Repair
Lost Productivity
Lost Product
Data Losses

The cost to repair equipment damaged.

The cost of resources or processes not operating at their full potential.
The cost associated with product damage and disposal.
The cost associated with identifying and correcting data errors or
losses effecting critical systems such as billing data, inventory data,
sales data, accounts payable data, etc.
The cost of sales and customer accounts lost due to lost data records.
The cost of lost sales due to the unavailability of systems
(i.e., phone systems not in operation).
The cost associated with unexplained orders or client accounts lost.

Lost Sales
Anticipated Sales
Orders Presumed

The process of quantifying the impact of power quality problems and using this
information to support power quality solution options might look like this:
Cost of Problem




Profitability Cost
Revenue Cost
Opportunity Cost
Total Annual Cost


Solution Option A

Total Cost to Implement

Level of Effectiveness
Annual Savings ($43,850*.98)


Simple Payback ($87,600/$42,973)

Solution Option B

Total Cost to Implement

Level of Effectiveness
Annual Savings ($43,850*.75)

2.0 years

Simple Payback ($55,350/$32,887)

Solution Option C

Total Cost to Implement

Level of Effectiveness
Annual Savings ($43,850*.50)
Simple Payback ($87,600/$42,973)

1.6 years
1.5 years

This example does not cover all possible scenarios you might encounter in this type of
analysis, but it does illustrate the general process. If information on solution options is
presented to the customer in this manner, it becomes easier for the customer to make
informed business decisions on the best action to take to resolve power quality
This volume discusses the various tools and methods used to diagnose, correct, and
maintain power quality solutions. You should consider the various ways these tools
work together to solve often complex problems, and how best to present valid solutions
options to your customer to drive an informed solution.



Successful, reliable operation of modern sensitive electronic equipment requires proper

design and installation of wiring and power distribution equipment. Although the
wiring and distribution equipment and installation must meet all local building code
requirements, most local codes currently do not address power quality and
performance issues. Personnel and equipment safety are their primary goal. This
section describes recommended design and installation practices (based on
recommendations drafted by the P1100 Standards Subcommittee of the IEEE Working
Group on Powering and Grounding Sensitive Electronic Equipment) that can assure
high quality power that enhances operational efficiency and cost-effectiveness. These
recommendations are incorporated in the Emerald Book (5).

Premises Wiring
The performance of sensitive electronic equipment typically is tied closely to the
method of installation of premises wiring. Of particular interest are the requirements
for the system grounding, connection of the external ac power supply, and grounding
of the connected equipment. In most cases, equipment and ac system grounding
incompatibilities are the most common electrical wiring problems encountered. A great
variation exists among original electronic equipment manufacturer's recommendations
for either of these installation parameters. In certain instances, these recommendations
may conflict with the applicable NEC safety requirements for installation. When this
occurs, NEC safety requirements and the original equipment manufacturer's
recommendations must be reconciled.

Power Wiring
Modern buildings contain electrical and electronic equipment that draw nonsinusoidal
current from the power system. These loads are capable of creating harmonics that
affect the electrical distribution system performance. Inadequate phase, neutral, and
grounding conductors can exacerbate the harmonic affects. Thus, careful consideration
should be given to the selection of power wiring for electronic equipment.
The NEC (Article 300) provides all of the basic requirements for supporting and
securing in place all wiring equipment, such as conduits, raceways, trays, boxes, and

Wiring and Power Distribution Equipment

equipment. In addition, the NEC (Section 300-10) requires all metal conduit, boxes,
equipment (all types) to be properly grounded/bonded, unless permitted by a specific
exception. When complete longitudinal electrical continuity of the metal raceway,
conduit, tray, box, and enclosure system is not maintained, the likelihood of shock and
fire safety hazard increases. Further, this high resistance ground can create commonmode noise.
An electrically conductive path must be formed by solidly joining all metal equipment
parts such as enclosures, raceways/conduits, and equipment grounding conductors
(green wires). Ultimately, the common interconnection point of all grounded items is
connected to the grounded conductor of the ac system supplying the equipment, if the
ac system is of a grounded type. The NEC 250-50 also requires that all earth grounding
electrodes present on the premises must be specifically grounded/bonded to one
another to form a single, interconnected system.
The phase neutral and grounding conductors should be the same size and should be
selected for an adequately low voltage drop considering the length of the circuit. If a
three-phase circuit has high harmonic line-to-neutral loads, the neutral should be larger
than the phase conductors. All circuits should have a continuous copper grounding
conductor to supplement the conduit path. In the design of the building power
distribution system, noisy loads should be separated as much as possible from sensitive

Figure 2-1
Building electrical distribution system components.
Source: Dranetz Technologies Inc.


Wiring and Power Distribution Equipment

Communications Wiring (Voice and Data)

Computer rooms usually have communication circuits connected to other electronic
equipment inside and/or outside the building. These circuits and their wiring must be
designed and installed with care, particularly because noise and electrical interference
can affect their performance.
Basic requirements regarding safety for the communication systems is covered in the
NEC, Chapter 8, Article 800. Communication circuits that may be installed (outside the
building) should be protected in accordance with the requirements of the NEC, Chapter
8, Sections B and C. Circuits installed underground either outside or inside the building
should be installed in accordance with NEC, Chapter 8, Section D, or applicable local
codes. The communication circuits should be separated at least two inches from
electrical power circuits, unless the communication circuits are in a metallic raceway; in
metal sheathed, metal-clad, nonmetallic sheathed, Type ac or Type UF cables; or are
permanently separated by a continuous and permanently fixed nonconductor. The
metal-sheath communication cables entering buildings should be grounded as close as
practicable to the point of entrance. Refer to EIA/TIA Standards 568, 569, and 570 for
details on design recommendations.
Two of the largest power quality-related problems with data wiring circuits are
coupled noise and ground offset voltages. The coupled noise problem can be improved
with proper cable selection, shielding of the circuits, and separation of the circuits from
noisy circuits and devices. A ground offset voltage exists when there is a voltage
difference between the chassis of the two pieces of equipment. This problem can be
improved by the use of low impedance ground bonds or signal isolation devices (optoisolators or transformers).

Wiring and Equipment in Specialized Areas

The NEC details requirements for wiring and equipment in several specialized areas,
including computer rooms, hospital operating rooms, and automated factories.
Requirements for each of these areas are briefly described below.

Computer RoomsThe NEC (Article 645, Electronic Computer/Data Processing

Equipment) covers wiring and equipment in computer rooms. However, it is
recommended that similar wiring and equipment practices also be implemented in
other areas that are not classified as computer rooms but contain sensitive electronic
equipment. Note, however, when an area contains sensitive electronic equipment,
but is not classified as a computer room, then all of the other appropriate sections
of the NEC are applicable, and the wiring and equipment installation must conform
to the requirements of these sections.


Wiring and Power Distribution Equipment

The following paragraphs of NEC Article 645 (Section 5, Supply Circuits and
Interconnecting Cables), are applicable to computer rooms:

Paragraph (a), Branch Circuit Conductorsrequires rating of the branch circuits to

125% of the total connected load with no reductions allowed for intermittent duty or
diversity factors.

Paragraph (b), Connecting Cablesrefers only to the ac power input means from
the branch circuit to the associated electronic load unit. This connection is permitted
by any of the following means: computer/data processing cable and attachment
plug cap; flexible cord and attachment plug cap; or cord-set assembly.

Paragraph (c), Interconnecting Cablesrefers only to those cables listed as a part of

the electronic computer/data processing system and are used to connect between
listed units of the system. These cables are permitted to be installed per the listing's

Paragraph (d), Under Raised Floorsrequires that unless all listed conditions are
met, there is to be no installation of power cables, communications cables,
interconnecting cables, and (branch circuit) receptacles associated with the
electronic computer/data processing equipment installed under a cellular raised
floor. The conditions are (1) The cellular raised floor must be of suitable
construction and offers accessibility to the area beneath it per ANSI/NFPA 75. (2)
The branch circuit supply conductors (part of the premises wiring system) to
receptacles or field-wired equipment must be contained in one or more of the
following wiring material forms: rigid metal conduit (RMC); intermediate metal
conduit (IMC); electrical metallic tubing (EMT); metal (enclosed) wireway (MEW);
surface metal raceway (SMR) with a metal cover; flexible metal conduit (FMC);
liquid-tight flexible metal conduit (LTFMC); nonmetallic liquid-tight flexible
conduit (NMLTFC); type MI cable; type MC cable; or type AC cable.
Nonmetallic types of conduit will provide no shielding condition. (5) states that by
July 1, 1994, all cables, other than those covered in (2) above, shall be listed as Type
DP cables, or shall be other acceptable types with equivalent fire-resistance

The NEC (Section 645-15) requires that all electronic computer/data processing
equipment be grounded/bonded in accordance with Article 250 (Grounding). In
addition, all exposed noncurrent-carrying metal parts of the electronic computer/data
processing system should be grounded/bonded. A ground grid or signal reference grid
(SRG) will provide excellent grounding and bonding, and should be considered for all
computer rooms. For maximum performance, the grid should be bonded to (1) the
chassis of all equipment, (2) the power line grounding conductor, (3) the ground of any
separately derived source supplying equipment on the SRG, (4) building steel, (5) all
metallic piping crossing the SRG, (6) and to a transient suppression plate, if used.

Wiring and Power Distribution Equipment

The NEC Article 645 stipulates that power systems (separately) derived within listed
electronic computer/data processing equipment, and that supply other units of the
electronic computer/data processing system through receptacles or cable assemblies
supplied as a part of this equipment, should not be considered separately derived ac
systems for applying Section 250-20(d). Fundamentally, this section means that such
derived systems are not required to be (but may be) connected to a system grounding
electrode, and are not to be considered an extension of or part of the fixed wiring
system on the premises as would otherwise be the case under Article 250-30
(Grounding Separately Derived Alternating-Current Systems) for applying Section 25020(d). A computer room Power Distribution Unit with an internal transformer is
effectively a separately derived source and has the important advantage that it can be
bonded to the grounding conductor and ground grid. This will improve the grounding
and reduce the common-mode noise.
Note that even under NEC Article 645, there is a requirement for observing the special
connection requirements for isolated/insulated grounding (IG)-style receptacles per
(Section 250-146) Connecting Receptacle Terminal to Box; Section (d) within a
computer room than any other location and application where they are used.

Healthcare FacilityThe circuits, wiring, and equipment in hospital operating

rooms are covered by NEC Article 517. All possible safeguards must be taken to
guarantee the isolating properties of the electrical system in these locations. For
example, each power circuit located near a flammable anaesthetizing location
should be isolated from any distribution system supplying power to other parts of
the hospital.

Electric power is usually made available to hospital operating rooms by isolating

transformers, in which the secondary winding of the transformer is ungrounded
and isolated from the primary winding by suitable means. All fixed wiring and
equipment, and all portable equipment operating at more than 10 V, should comply
with NEC Article 501 requirements. In addition, a line isolation monitor is required
to provide warning in hospital operating rooms when a single ground fault occurs.
Current due to a single ground fault will not result in a hazard unless a second
ground fault also occurs at the same time. All metallic raceways, metal-sheathed
cables, and noncurrent-carrying conductive portions of fixed or portable electric
equipment should be grounded, so heavy fault currents can be routed away from
grounded circuits in the operating room.

Automated FactoriesControl computers and programmable logic controllers

(PLCs) operating at low voltage have replaced 120-V relays, timers, and sequencers
in automated factories and industrial complexes. PLCs and electronic monitoring
devices are very susceptible to electrical interference. Installation of wiring and
circuits not tailored to these devices can lead to unexpected and unpredictable

Wiring and Power Distribution Equipment

operating problems (e.g., variation and reading errors and intermittent halts and
faults). In many cases, sources of these problems are hard to locate.
Proper installation is required to avoid errors in digital equipment from electrical noise
and interference. Having a full understanding of the wiring, circuits, and equipment is
critical, before undertaking actions to eliminate the electrical interference. Designers
and installers must understand how to achieve separation between susceptible PLCs,
electronic devices in the system, and noise sources within the system. This can be
accomplished by controlling unwanted current at all frequencies and providing a low
impedance ground path for them. The existence of these paths means current can be
diverted from sensitive locations using practical and correct wiring and circuits. More
information on noise reduction and grounding is contained in IEEE Standard 518,
IEEE Guide for the Installation of Electrical Equipment to Minimize Electrical Noise
Inputs to Controllers from External Sources.

Transformers used to supply electronic loads may consist of different types discussed
in Section 8. These transformers should be selected carefully since each type has certain
advantages and disadvantages. When an isolation transformer is used to support
sensitive electronic loads, it should have at the minimum a single-layer electrostatic
shield between the primary and secondary windings. If additional reduction in the
conversion of common-mode noise to normal-mode noise is desired, then a second
layer shield operating at primary voltage may be necessary.
Some manufacturers now supply shields on all their transformers, and it is
recommended that all transformers feeding sensitive loads, or noisy loads, have a
single shield to reduce noise transfer. Transformers are a preferred choice to attenuate
common-mode noise because they do not shunt large noise and transient currents into
the grounding conductor as do filters and transient voltage surge suppressors.
Transformers can be separately derived sources. This reestablishes the neutral-toground bond, which reduces common-mode noise, as well as the tendency of noise
currents in grounds and building steel to couple into sensitive circuits. Transformers
can also help reduce sag and low line problems if they are fed at a higher line voltage
that reduces line voltage drop.
Because electronic loads draw nonsinusoidal currents, consideration should be given to
the derating of transformers; the size of the transformer should be selected such that it
is not 100% loaded. The neutral of wye-connected transformers should be sized
adequately (i.e., 200% rated neutral) to handle the neutral currents that may exceed
phase currents due to third harmonic currents. Also, the impedance of transformers
supplying electronic loads should be kept low to provide good voltage regulation.


Wiring and Power Distribution Equipment

The derating of transformers for nonlinear loads may be calculated by using either
formulas given in ANSI C57.110 (1986) or a method proposed by the Computer &
Business Equipment Manufacturer's Association (CBEMA), which uses only the crest
factor of the load current compared to a sinusoidal crest factor (1.414). These methods
are useful guides, but they may not take into account all of the circumstances and thus
should factor in adequate safety margins. A serious potential problem with derating is
that it is very difficult to ensure that the transformer remains derated for the life of the
installation. Underwriters Laboratory (UL) and manufacturers of transformers have
established a K factor rating for dry-type power transformers used for nonsinusoidal
current loads. The K factor relates to the transformer's ability to serve nonlinear loads
without exceeding its rated temperature rise limits.
The standard K factor ratings for the dry-type transformers are 4, 9, 13, 20, 30, 40, and
50. The K factor for a linear (balanced) load is 1. The K factor tends to be reduced
when you sum a large number of individual loads, so K factors larger than 13 are
seldom seen when the load is measured at the transformer. The K factor for a given
nonlinear load can be calculated if the harmonic current components are known. As
long as the load K factor is equal to or less than the K factor of the transformer, the
transformer does not need to be derated. A K factor transformer is likely to be
smaller and less expensive than the oversized transformer and will have lower starting
inrush and available short-circuit current. Therefore, a K factor-rated transformer is a
preferred choice compared to an oversized (derated) transformer for application of
nonlinear loads.

Switchgear/switchboards require a complete equipment grounding conductor (EGC;
green wire) bus-bar system. This is because almost every feeder conductor attached
to a switchgear/switchboard used on a site supporting sensitive electronic equipment
requires an equipment grounding conductor. Termination of these conductors without
a proper bus degrades the reliability of the grounding path, especially for HF currents.
Neutral bus-bars in switchboards are sometimes rated less than the line current busbars due to estimated diversity factors. In some cases neutral bus-bars may be sized in
the 50-80 % range. These low ratings of neutral bus-bars pose harmonic problems
except when the switchgear/switchboard directly serves line-to-neutral connected high
harmonic loads.
High harmonic currents may be encountered on the neutral bus of three phase,
208Y/120 VAC switchgear due to the collective action of many line-to-neutral
connected nonlinear loads, such as switch-mode power supplies. Although this
condition relates principally to third harmonic currents, it is very likely that such a bus
will have to be oversized (compared to NEC minimum) to prevent overheating. Note,
however, that overheating of the neutral due to harmonic problems is not of concern on

Wiring and Power Distribution Equipment

switchgear/switchboards where the harmonic-producing loads are not connected in

line-to-neutral fashion.
Switchboards may be specified with heavy-duty neutral bus-bar assemblies from the
switchgear/switchboard's original equipment manufacturer (OEM). In these cases, a
200% rated neutral bus-bar can be placed into a 125% rated line bus-bar
switchgear/switchboard. The large neutral-bus is better able to handle current
Switchgear/switchboards comprise two basic types of construction: draw-out and fixed
designs. The draw-out type is recommended over fixed designs because of its ease of
inspection and maintenance. Inspection can be performed with power still to the
switchgear/ switchboard bus, avoiding unwanted downtime. Table 2-1 lists several
location and installation considerations for switchgear.
Table 2-1
Switchgear location and installation considerations

Locating a typical free-standing switchgear serving only line-to-line connected loads

(e.g., isolation transformers, motor alternator sets, and power conditioning
equipment) inside or outside the room housing the sensitive electronic equipment
usually avoids performance penalties.
One exception is when the switchboard has to directly support connected sensitive
electronic equipment loads. In this case, the switchboard is installed upon the same
signal reference grid (SRG) that the loads are themselves referenced. It is located
within the same room unless the SRG to be commonly shared has been extended
into an adjacent area used to house the switchboard itself.


When installing a typical switchboard, specific clearances are necessary around each
portion of the equipment. Requiring such clearances provides space for maintenance
and lateral expansion. If the switchboard is installed directly onto the subfloor, a level
and elevated concrete or metal equipment-mounting pad ensures protection from
water seepage. Also recommended is a water spray shield for the switchboard to
prevent water damage if fire sprinklers are located within the room.

Panelboards used to support branch circuits feeding sensitive electronic equipment
should be of the industrially rated power and lighting types and not be of the lighterduty load center types. For these panelboards, minimum line bus-bar capacity should
be calculated on the basis of maximum full-load rated current for the total connected
load and then be multiplied by 1.25 (80% derated). Required panelboard ampacity can
then be selected as being minimally equal to this number or may be the next higher
rated standard bus-bar system available. In addition, the presence of unused pole space
in the panelboard must also be accounted for in the calculation above. This is because
the later addition of more circuit breakers may easily create overloading of the buses.

Wiring and Power Distribution Equipment

The neutral bus-bar assembly should be sized larger in comparison to the line current
bus-bars by a factor of no less than 1.73 in the following instances:

Where a neutral bus-bars assembly is included in a three-phase panelboard

Where the panelboard is expected to support sensitive electronic loads with high
third-harmonic currents resulting from line-to-neutral connected nonlinear loads

Since many sensitive electronic loads are line-to-neutral connected and require an
individual dedicated neutral conductor, the load neutral connection capacity of the
neutral bus-bar is very important. As a minimum, an individual termination point
should be available on the neutral bus-bar for each neutral conductor. In addition, the
neutral bus-bar should always have sufficient termination points of adequate size to
accommodate neutral load conductors, which may be oversized due to third-harmonic
current considerations.
The equipment grounding bus-bar in a panelboard supporting sensitive electronic
equipment load need not be larger because harmonic currents are not a problem for the
ground. Ground bus-bar ampacity should be provided to assure that the bus-bar
assembly is adequate for the intended panelboard itself. The grounding bus-bar in the
panelboard should have sufficient termination points of adequate size for connection of
individual grounding conductors. As a minimum, the panelboard should properly
accommodate all of the neutral and equipment grounding wires that will be connected
to it, plus a reasonable amount of termination points for future expansion.
Consideration should also be given to the addition of an IG ground.
The last panelboard in a distribution system is an important place for the installation of
a transient voltage surge suppressor (TVSS). Room should be left for installation of an
external TVSS box, and installation with minimum lead length is critical. In many
installations, every inch of added lead length adds 10/20 volts to the clamping voltage.
Some manufacturers are producing computer-grade panelboards with oversize
neutrals, built-in IG bus-bars and, in some cases, built-in TVSS.
Panelboards should be directly mounted onto any well-grounded/bonded structural
building steel surface in the location, but can also be mounted on masonry or drywall.
For best results, panelboards serving branch circuits connected to sensitive electronic
equipment need to be placed in the same area as the equipment and should be
grounded/bonded into the same signal reference structure used by the equipment. If
possible, downstream panelboards (sub-panels) located in the sensitive electronic
equipment area should also be similarly located in the same area and
grounded/bonded to the same signal reference structure as the served loads, this is
recommended at least for the first level of large panelboards used upstream. For
minimum acceptable results, if there is no ground signal reference grid structure in the

Wiring and Power Distribution Equipment

sensitive equipment area, care should be taken to install the panelboards and branch
circuits in a manner that minimizes the total length of grounding conductor between all
of the sensitive equipment. This is important for units interconnected by data lines
because the impedance of the grounding conductor is directly proportional to its
length, and thus longer grounding conductors mean greater offset voltage between

Metal Conduit and Metal Enclosed Wireway

The choice of conduit or wireway is a major power quality decision for a new structure
or upgrade of an existing one. Metal conduit has several NEC-related functions:
protection from physical damage and environmental degradation, separation of power
wiring from public contact and can serve as grounding conductor for fault currents.
Metallic conduit has several power quality-related functions: shielding power lines
from outside interference, preventing radiation of noise from a noisy power line and, if
well constructed, serving as a grounding connector for low-level noise signals and
currents. It can also help attenuate power line noise and transients due to its
capacitance and it allows the use of IG circuits.

Metal Conduit
One method of proper shielding is the use of solid-wall metal conduit. Several
materials are recommended for conduit in most premises wiring systems. They include,
in descending order of cost, and both conductivity and shielding effectiveness: rigid
metal conduit (RMC), intermediate metal conduit (IMC), and electrical metallic tubing
(EMT). EMT appears to perform very well at a typical site because it has the lowest cost
and appears to be the easiest to use. In contrast, RMC is quite expensive and difficult to
install and/or modify. IMC falls between EMT and RMC in all respects. The quality of
joints is critical for all conduit and raceway, especially for EMT where compression
fittings are recommended over the set-screw type.
In general, ferrous metal for the conduit is recommended slightly over nonferrous
conduits. The only exception to this rule is for 400-Hz ac power circuits, which are best
routed in nonferrous metal conduit (for lower loss involving magnetic fields emitted
from the 400-Hz conductors).

Metal-Enclosed Wireway
Metal-enclosed wireway (MEW) provides similar performance as the conduit system.
However, MEW is generally not recommended to transport multiple circuits. Because it
does not offer intercircuit shielding of any kind, it may not be particularly economical


Wiring and Power Distribution Equipment

or practical for smaller individual branch circuits. However, it may be considered

useful for larger feeders serving the same load.

Pull and Junction Boxes

As a part of the fault and shielding current path, only metal pull and junction boxes
should be used. Boxes of the solid walled (unpunched) NEMA-1 type are
recommended, while those equipped with concentric knockout forms of conduit
connections are not. NEMA-12 types are good candidates for underfloor applications.

Wiring Devices
Wiring devices specified for sensitive electronic equipments are receptacle and
connector-body (i.e., in-line) type devices. Several standards exist for electrical
connector configurations. In the United States, however, the most widely used
configuration standard is the NEMA/ANSI Std. C-63.
If connectors do not conform to a NEMA standard configuration, great care must be
taken to ensure that there are not multiple uses of any given connector. An unintended
interchange of connectors into differing branch circuits or interconnecting cable types
could result in poor performance and safety problems.
Current ratings of connectors are always maximum-rated values that should not to be
exceeded except for a short time during motor starting. Voltage ratings of connectors
are always maximum RMS and should not be exceeded. Lower voltages can be applied
to any connector, as long as it is otherwise being used in accordance with its listing and
NEMA configuration limitations. This situation typically is encountered with
connectors rated at 250-VAC, for example, and which may be used on circuits in the
208-VAC range. Similarly, 125-VAC connectors are often used on circuits in the 120VAC range.
Wiring device conductor terminations are a major source of problems at many sites due
to careless or improper assembly techniques. In some cases, unforeseen design
problems create incompatibility between a conductor and a connector's wiring
terminal. In all cases, however, most wiring termination problems can be controlled if
the conductor and connector's terminals are compatible with one another with regards
to wire size, range, and materials of construction (e.g., aluminum/copper
compatibility). Small receptacles such as the common NEMA 5-15/20 types are often
provided with push-in wiring contacts, in addition to screw compression wiring
contacts. These push-in contacts should not be used because of their unreliability when
used with most sensitive electronic equipment.


Wiring and Power Distribution Equipment

Currently available receptacles are not capable of accepting neutral conductors of

approximately two times the cross sectional area of the associated line conductors
where the load-neutral conductor has been sized larger to compensate for harmonic
currents in three-phase, line-to-neutral loads. This represents a possible area of
localized failure due to I2R loss overheating at the point of connection if the neutral
conductor is somehow inserted in the receptacles.
The typical receptacle and plug (cap) connected to an equipment grounding conductor
must be a connector intended for this service and listed for such connection. This
connector has a dedicated and keyed pin reserved especially for the equipment
grounding conductor. Note that grounding and nongrounding types of connectors are
not permitted to be cross-mated per the NEC (Article 410). Only plugs and receptacles
that are OEM designed and configured to be connected to a neutral, i.e., grounded
conductor, in a circuit may be used on such a circuit.

Feeders are typically used to route bulk ac power between a source and a distribution
or transformation point and between distribution points such as switchgear/
switchboards or panelboards and disconnects. Since the feeder length can be quite long,
it is essential to control the voltage drop in the circuits.
Excessive voltage drop can have a negative influence on a system's capability to
continue operation during a sag or brownout. For example, operating a switching-type
power supply under lower input line voltage conditions causes more current to be
drawn on each half-cycle as the power supply substitutes increasing current for
decreasing voltage. To minimize these unwanted effects, it is recommended that the
voltage drop be kept to less than 12% (NEC recommends less than 3% for all loads)
total under actual operating conditions. It is important to have proper grounding in
these circuits to handle large fault currents that a feeder may be capable of providing
under short-circuit conditions involving a ground.
Feeder design should consider that sensitive electronic loads are generally continuously
running. Feeders directly serving these loads (nonlinear loads) must be sized to handle
higher neutral currents as high as 173% of the phase currents. When a busway is used
as a feeder, it is recommended that it be enclosed for its entire length without any load
taps. This avoids problems that often result from multiple loads being connected to the
same feeder along its length and that typically may interact with one another via the
commonly shared wiring impedances. Bus-ducttype feeders with taps should be
avoided for sensitive electronic loads. Refer to the IEEE Emerald book for design
recommendations. Also, stray fields may couple noise into the feeder conductors if
installed in nonmetallic conduit, other nonmetallic or open raceway, or cable tray. Stray
coupling is discussed in more detail under Performance Shielding in this section.

Wiring and Power Distribution Equipment

Branch Circuits
Branch circuits are the connection between the power feeders and the electronic
equipment installed within a building. Because branch circuits may be long, it is
essential to control the voltage drop and the losses in these circuits. The voltage drop in
a branch circuit serving electronic or power conditioning equipment should be limited
to 12% as previously discussed under Feeders in this section. Impact on electronic
equipment is based on the combined voltage drop of the feeder and branch circuits.
Branch circuits should be installed in metallic-shielded conduits and raceways for
protection against stray coupled fields at HF (HF). Conduit/raceway materials offering
good shielding for branch circuits include RMC, IMC, EMT, and LTFMC. Use of
ferrous conduit/raceway materials is recommended over use of nonferrous materials.
Nonmetallic wiring methods are not appropriate because branch circuit wiring is often
located near interconnecting data cables used in an electronic computer/data
processing system. For optimum protection, bidirectional shielding prevents HF
electrical disturbances on branch circuits from coupling onto the cables.
Flexible metal conduit should not be used for branch circuit wiring because it fails to
provide an adequate coverage of the contained conductors from HF interference due to
gaps between the spiraled overlapping metal armor. This loosely overlapping spiral
armor also makes the shield highly inductive and a poor grounding conductor at HF. A
separate continuous grounding conductor is recommended for all circuits in conduit to
ensure that there is a good ground for low-level signals, even if the conduit has some
poor joints.

Shared Circuits and Dedicated Circuits

Many wiring system designs place more than one sensitive electrical load onto the
same circuit and have loads of unlimited variety share both feeder and branch circuit
wiring. Load sharing occurs because of economics and lack of understanding of load
incompatibility between electronic loads and other loads. Loads sharing a circuit can
cause unwanted interaction, which may cause performance and reliability problems.
Some loads create voltage sags on their branch circuit when they draw large currents,
and any load on the same branch circuit will see the full magnitude of the sag. Loads
with a shared grounding conductor will see more noise on their grounds due to the
sum of their ground leakage currents flowing through the shared ground. In general,
any shared conductor means that a current variation in one load will subject the other
load to a voltage variation due to the shared impedance. Sharing circuits means that a
transient produced in one load will have a more direct path to other loads and will be
attenuated less. If a load has a short circuit and trips a breaker, all loads on the shared
circuit will lose power.

Wiring and Power Distribution Equipment

Serious unwanted interactions may be produced by the sharing of any wiring path by
electronic equipment. With regards to this type of problem, branch circuits and feeders
are affected as follows:

In branch circuits, the problem is most likely to occur when multi-outlet assemblies
are used at the ends of branch circuits and multiple electronic load equipment units
are then attached and share the same branch circuit.

In feeders, the problem is most likely to occur when a feeder is tapped-off along its
length (e.g., riser type of feeder) for the support of several panelboards, etc., which
support branch circuits for electronic load equipment.

Dedicated circuits are branch circuits that serve only one load and are recommended
for sensitive equipment. It is also recommended that feeders used to support electronic
loads generally be grouped in one panelboard, and that each branch circuit be
configured to serve only one load unit at a time.

High-quality conductors should be used in feeders, branch circuits, and control and
signaling circuits for sensitive electronic equipment. During installation, they should be
handled with care to avoid damaging insulation and/or the conductor itself. The use of
insulated wire is recommended for all forms of grounded or ungrounded circuits
contained within equipment and/or conduit/raceway systems.
Uninsulated (bare) conductors are used only for short forms of grounding/bonding
jumpers and similar items not enclosed within a conduit/raceway, but may be external
to one. They also may be used for similar purposes when installed internal or external
to equipment for equipment-grounding purposes. The use of uninsulated wire is
expressly not desired for two reasons:
1. Localized destructive arcing can occur between the uninsulated conductor and the
metallic conduit/raceway at one or more points during ground-fault or lightning
2. Electrical noise may occur due to intermittent contact being made/broken
(vibration, etc.) to the metallic conduit/raceway at one or more points along the
uninsulated conductor's path.

Flexible Cords and Conductors

The use of flexible cords and conductors as a substitute for the fixed portion of the
premises wiring systems is prohibited by the NEC (400-8, Uses Not Permitted). They

Wiring and Power Distribution Equipment

can be used as interconnecting cables or ac line cord assemblies only when they are an
OEM-listed part of the electronic computer/data processing system itself. Flexible
cords are usually not shielded and thus provide no protection against pick up of noise,
transients, and other forms of EMI.

Performance Shielding
When sufficient capacitance exists between two conductors, an electric field from one
will cause a current to flow in the other. Power conductors are strong sources of
continuous low-frequency electric fields. Electric fields are also generated by power
switching devices, such as thyristors and silicon-controlled rectifiers, or by mechanical
switching devices, which cause rapid changes in voltage. Thus, a voltage change
occurring in one conductor can create an impulse voltage in another conductor running
alongside. Electric field coupling is a principal mechanism by which noise is induced,
and magnetic field coupling is present in some circuits.
Electric field coupling can be reduced by the following methods:

Shielding the source cables and equipment or the involved cables and equipment, or

Twisting the source conductors, or the involved conductors, or both; reducing the
lay of twist (increasing twists per inch)

Increasing separation between source and involved conductors

Shortening the parallel run of source and involved cables

Feeders generally should not be carried in nonmetallic conduit or other nonmetallic or

open raceway or cable tray. These materials do not effectively shield the feeder's circuit
conductors from the unwanted effects of stray coupled fields of any type. The effects of
stray coupling along the length of a typical nonmetallic conduit run housing a feeder
are known to have caused problems from currents induced by lightning.

Power Factor Correction and Nonlinear Loads

Some types of loads, especially motors that appear highly inductive, have a low
displacement power factor. In this condition, the current is not in phase with the
voltage and the reactive currents that flow use up some of the capacity of the
distribution system, but they do not work in the loads. To regain this lost capacity, or to
reduce the low power factor penalties that some utilities charge, the power factor
should be corrected to be close to unity. This is usually done by adding capacitor banks
to supply capacitive reactive current to balance the inductive currents from the low

Wiring and Power Distribution Equipment

power factor loads. The greatest benefits come when the capacitors are placed at the
source of the reactive currents, but they are usually applied at the service entry or
The second type of low power factor problem, low true power factor, occurs when
there are large nonlinear loads. This type of load has a distorted waveform that usually
has a high harmonic content. This type of low power factor can cause serious problems
in conventional capicator banks.
The addition of power factor correction capacitors to reduce current and improve
power factor on upstream conductors requires careful examination. Resonances may be
created due to combinations of the capacitive reactance of the power factor correction
equipment and power system source inductive reactance. The resultant parallel and
series resonant circuits may become excited from existing harmonic currents, power
electronic switching, or the effects of lightning and thus can produce abnormally high
or transient voltage and current. Therefore, the distribution system should be examined
for possible resonances and their effects, prior to the actual connection of any power
factor correction equipment to the system.
Corrective measures need to be taken when capacitors are attached to ac power lines
feeding SCRs or static UPS systems. The energy stored in the capacitors can discharge
in violent fashion through one or more SCRs if there is not adequate impedance in the
wiring system to limit the current. As a result, SCRs are destroyed until the capacitors
are removed, relocated further upstream, or lumped series inductances are deliberately
inserted between the equipment containing the SCRs and the capacitors for impedance
A delta-wye connected isolation transformer inserted between the ac supply and the
equipment creating poor power factor can sometimes provide significant benefits in
power factor correction on three-phase circuits. In this arrangement, transmission of
triplen harmonics from the load to the ac supply is decreased due to the closed-loop
delta, which recirculates them within itself. As a result, power factor on the upstream
circuit is improved. The heating effects of the harmonic must be considered in the
transformer selection.
Since the value of power factor changes with time in most cases, the use of fixed
capacitance across the line is a poor practice where the loads are variable. One solution
involves the use of capacitance that is capable of being varied in response to a power
factor correction signal, which reflects the power factor conditions caused by the
changing loads.
Typical available designs for automatic power factor correction equipment simply
switch capacitors on-off line via an electromechanical means such as a contactor. This
almost always produces serious switching transients on the affected line(s), which also

Wiring and Power Distribution Equipment

disturb(s) connected electronic equipment. One solution is to use pre-insertion

(charging) resistors on the capacitors, in addition to normally required safety
discharging resistors. Another solution involves synchronous switching by means of
solid-state switches instead of electromechanical contact arrangements, which cannot be
well synchronized.

Harmonic Current Control

Proper control of harmonic currents help prevent excessive heating in magnetic cores of
transformers and motors, low power factor, and neutral overloading. The following
discussion describes methods that can be used for harmonic current control.
The use of series-tuned, shunt-connected harmonic filters (called traps) is one
method of diverting harmonic currents into defined paths and away from unwanted
paths and/or through other equipment. The series-tuned circuit is used as opposed to
the application of simple untuned capacitor banks that may cause resonance problems
on circuits with significant harmonic currents on them. There are three principal forms
of series tuned traps that can be applied to the problem of harmonic current control.
A safe and effective harmonic filter installation must be designed specifically for the
site and for the load and harmonic current level. A detailed harmonic current and load
level study should be done to properly specify the filter. If there are significant changes
in loads, distribution system wiring, or harmonic levels, the filter may require changing
to work properly under the new conditions.
Traps (except low-current EMI filters, etc.) should never be installed in a line-toground/chassis/frame connected mode so that harmonic return currents are passed
into and through the safety grounding system or into the earth grounding electrode. If
this is done, these currents will be identifiable as objectionable currents per NEC
Article 250-6 (Objectionable Current Over Grounding Conductors), and their use will
have to be discontinued in order to meet the safety requirements of the NEC. Harmonic
currents passed into the safety grounding system by series-tuned circuit traps
connected as above can easily create electrical noise problems in the sensitive
electronic equipment also referenced to the same grounding system. Such problems
should also be expected in voice-grade communications systems such as typical
telephone key systems.
Harmonic currents can also be reduced by the use of a delta-wye transformer. As
previously discussed, the interposition of a delta-wye connected transformer between
triple harmonic-producing loads and the supply circuit from which they are to be kept
out is recommended. This is especially the case if the isolation transformer is an
integral part of a computer power center (CPC) which is used to interface harmonicproducing electronic equipment to the supply source.

Wiring and Power Distribution Equipment

Sizing of Neutral/Grounds
In the past it was assumed that the current in the neutral conductor of a balanced threephase system (i.e., a three-phase system in which the current in each phase is equal)
will be zero and, therefore, the neutral conductor can have a smaller crosssection than
the phase conductors. When dealing with single-phase electronic loads, especially the
ones with switching power supplies, this assumption is not valid.
Electronic loads generally draw all of their current near the peak of the sine wave, in
order to charge filter capacitors through bridge rectifiers. Line-side switching power
supplies may exhibit even sharper pulses than secondary-switching or linear supplies,
because the latter have available inductance in their power transformer. When singlephase electronic loads are connected from phase-to-neutral in three-phase branch
feeder systems, their currents do not cancel in the neutral conductor even if they are
perfectly balanced; instead, each peak can be observed in the neutral conductor current.
Every third positive peak is associated with the load on one particular phase, as is the
negative peak centered between the positive peaks. Different load characteristics on
different phases cause patterns of pulses. Because the neutral currents of single-phase
electronic loads on a balanced three-phase branch feeder system do not cancel, the
neutral current can be 1.73 times as much as the current in each phase conductor, and
occasionally more. For single-phase electronic loads, the common neutral conductor in
a three-phase, four-wire circuit should be at least 1.73 times the cross-sectional area of
each of the phase conductors.
The problem sometimes occurs with modular partitions prewired with three line-toneutral circuits with a common neutral. Modern office loads are mostly high harmonic
loads and this can result in overloaded wiring and connectors in these prewired
The NEC permits the grounding conductor to be sized substantially smaller than the
phase conductors, based on the premise that it does not normally carry current. In the
real world, the grounding conductor carries a wide variety of noise currents and to
maintain a low impedance bond between sensitive electronic equipment, it is
recommended that the grounding conductor be sized the same as the phase conductors.



The primary function of electrical groundings is to provide safety for equipment and
personnel. Grounding also provides a path for dissipation of high-energy electrical
discharges caused by lightning, and prevents buildup of static charges on equipment
and materials. In addition, the ground establishes an equipotential, or zero voltage
reference point, for the electrical system.
Although designed and installed to permit all of the above, grounding systems in
today's commercial and industrial buildings must also ensure the proper and efficient
operation of sensitive electronic equipment. However, performance grounding must be
accomplished without conflict with the safety requirements included in the NEC,
ANSI/NFPA-78, and other applicable local codes. In all cases, performance grounding
of sensitive electronic equipment for safe and efficient operation must meet the
following objectives:
1. Limit touch voltage difference to a safe value by bonding and grounding to avoid
shock hazards.
2. Ground fault current return path to the power source must be low enough in
impedance to enable it to actuate over current protection devices and disconnect the
3. Reduce ground potential differences between equipment in an area to create a
constant potential reference.
4. Grounded conductive enclosures should be able to serve as electromagnetic shields.
5. Grounding should be in compliance with the requirements of all safety codes.
6. Follow equipment manufacturer's recommendations to the extent that they are
consistent with the safety codes.

NEC Requirements
During a fault condition in electrical and electronic equipment, grounding provides a
return path for fault current to trip the assigned circuit breaker. Requirements


established by the NEC attempt to ensure that enough current flow will exist to trip the
circuit breaker. Equipment groundingthe path to ground and the neutral-ground
bond from circuits, equipment, and conductor enclosuresas defined by the NEC
(Article 250-2) must meet the following criteria:

Be permanent and continuous. This ensures that the path for fault current is not
interrupted for any reason.

Have capacity to conduct safely any fault current likely to be imposed on it. This
ensures that if a fault occurs and fault current begins to flow, the equipment
grounding conductor will be able to carry the current without overheating or

Have sufficiently low impedance to limit the voltage to ground and to facilitate the
operation of the circuit protective devices in the circuit. This ensures that the
equipment ground path must have impedance low enough to allow ample current
to develop, tripping the circuit breaker. The circuit breaker must trip fast enough so
that any person in contact with the equipment enclosure when the fault occurs will
not be unduly harmed.

The earth shall not be used as the sole equipment grounding conductor. This
ensures that a metallic grounding conductor is used for the ground path.

Power System Grounding

Power system grounding, also known as earth grounding (earthing), establishes a
zero voltage reference for an electrical power distribution system via the grounding
electrode system (NEC Article 250-50 and -52) and the equipment grounding conductor.
In addition, grounding provides protection for the electrical system and equipment
from superimposed voltages from lightning and contact with higher voltage systems. It
also prevents a buildup of potentially dangerous static charges in a building. Some
electronic equipment does not work properly with an ineffective power system ground.
Figure 3-1 illustrates a simplified example of power system grounding. This type of
grounding comprises a grounding electrode conductor (E) and the grounding electrode
(F). Recommended practice is to ground electrical systems and equipment if the system
incorporates a neutral conductor. A solidly grounded system is recommended for the
direct connection and support of sensitive electronic equipment. Solid grounding is
necessary for proper operation of sensitive electronic equipment and creates a
conductive path for line-to-ground/chassis-connected line filter (LC filter) and
transient voltage surge suppressor (TVSS) return current.



Figure 3-1
Example of system grounding.

Equipment Grounding
Equipment grounding effectively interconnects all noncurrent-carrying conductive
surfaces such as equipment enclosures, raceways, and conduits to earth ground. The
purpose of equipment grounding is twofold:
1. To minimize voltages on electrical equipment, thus providing protection from shock
and electrocution to personnel who may come in contact with the equipment.
2. To provide a low impedance path for fault current, ensuring the rapid operation of
overcurrent devices under ground fault conditions.
Many microprocessor-based devices are either plugged or wired directly into a
building's electrical system. Load current flows through ungrounded (hot) and
grounded (neutral) conductors in electrical circuits. Under normal operating
conditions, the hot wire delivers the electrical current, while the neutral wire provides a
return path for that current. The green grounding conductor in the same raceway as the
hot and neutral wires serves as an intentional path for any fault current to flow back to
the power source. It also serves to provide the voltage reference point for electronic
As shown in Figure 3-1, the equipment grounding path is the wire that runs from the
equipment enclosure (G) to the equipment ground bus (D), through the main bonding
jumper (C) to the service neutral bus (B) and the grounded circuit conductor (A) to the
source transformer.


Proper equipment grounding for electronic equipment no longer includes utilizing

conduit as the sole means of grounding. If conduit is only used for system grounding,
many operational problems can occur, particularly when communication between a
number of facilities is expected. In all cases, the best grounding reference is provided
by a parity-sized grounding conductor run in the same raceway as both hot and neutral
wires. An example of a separately pulled, insulated grounding conductor in the same
raceway is shown in Figure 3-2.

Figure 3-2
Example of isolated, dedicated branch circuit.

High-Frequency Effects on Grounding Conductors

An increasing amount of electronic equipment is connected to other pieces of
electronics by data cables, and if there is a ground offset voltage present between the
chassis of two pieces of equipment, then this noise voltage can cause equipment
malfunctions. To minimize this offset voltage, the two chassis are bonded together by
the signal ground wires in the data cable and by the grounding conductors in the


power lines of the equipment. The noise signals present in these ground bonds often
have frequencies ranging up to 10 MHz or more, so to minimize the voltage offset
caused by the broad frequency range of noise currents, the ground bonds must have a
low impedance over this broad range of frequencies.
Maintaining a low impedance at high frequencies is difficult for long wire lengths. As
an example, 100 feet of number 2 AWG copper wire has an impedance of 0.025 ohms at
60 Hz. At 1 MHz, this same 100-foot piece of wire will have an impedance of 340 ohms,
an increase over ten thousand times, and it will be very poor bond wire. There are three
effects that combine to cause this startling increase in impedance at higher frequencies.
One of the largest increases in impedance is due to the inductance of the wire. All wire
has self-inductance caused by the magnetic field of the current through the wire. This
changing magnetic field induces a new voltage into the wire, which tends to oppose the
original current; this effect appears as an increased resistance whenever the current is
changing. The combination of the dc resistance and this ac resistance effect (inductive
reactance) is called impedance. This inductive reactance is directly proportional to
frequency, so if the frequency doubles, the impedance also doubles. Inductive reactance
is directly proportional to length, so a doubling of length also doubles the impedance.
The inductance of a conductor varies very little with size. As an example, compare 100
feet of #12 and #2 wire.
Table 3-1
The inductance of 100 feet of two wire sizes.



Reactance, 60 Hz

Reactance, 1 MHz


61 uH

0.024 ohms

380 ohms


52 uH

0.021 ohms

340 ohms

In this example, a conductor with ten times the cross-sectional area had only a 15%
decrease in inductance and inductive reactance. The best ways to minimize inductive
reactance are to keep the wires short and use multiple wires in parallel.
Skin effect is the second cause of increased impedance of wires at higher frequencies.
This effect causes the current to stay near the surface of a conductor at higher
frequencies. Almost all of the current stays within two skin depths of the surface of a
conductor, and if a conductor diameter is much larger than the skin depth, no current
flows in the center of the conductor and the effective resistance increases. The skin
depth of a conductor is inversely proportional to the square root of the frequency, so if
the frequency increases by a factor of four, the skin depth is cut in half and the effective
resistance doubles. The skin depth of copper is 0.335 inches at 60 Hz and 0.003 inches at
1 MHz. As an example of how this changes the effective resistance, let us compare the
ac resistance of 100 feet of #12 and #2 copper wire (Table 3-2).

Table 3-2
The ac resistance of 100 feet of two wire sizes.


Resistance, 60 Hz

Resistance, 1 MHz



0.160 ohms

1.23 ohms

0.081 inches


0.016 ohms

0.39 ohms

0.258 inches

The small #12 wire increased about eight times in effective resistance between 60 Hz
and 1 MHz, but the large #2 wire increased twenty-four times in resistance because
most of the copper in the interior of the wire is unused at 1 MHz. The best ways to
minimize the high-frequency resistance are to keep the wires short or try to increase the
surface area by using several smaller wires in parallel, or use a wide and very thin
conductor that has all of its material near the surface.
The third effect that degrades the bonding effectiveness of wires at high frequencies is
resonance, which occur when the cable length approaches one-fourth of the wavelength
of the noise current on the wire. When this occurs, there will be a voltage difference
between the two ends of the wire and it no longer performs as a low-impedance bond
at that frequency.

Figure 3-3
Resonance effect on a ground wire.



In this example (Figure 3-3), a wire is connected to ground at one end and has an HF
noise current flowing down it. At one end the voltage-to-ground is zero, but as you
move down the wire the voltage rises and becomes a maximum at one-fourth
wavelength (and at 3/4, 5/4, etc.). This is related only to length, and wire size has little
influence on it. For example, a plastic-insulated wire at 1 MHz has a quarter
wavelength at about 160 feet, and will not function as a bond wire at that frequency.
Any ground or bondwire longer than about one-twentieth of the wavelength of the
noise currents on it will not be a reliable low-impedance bond. The best way to
minimize the resonance problem is to use multiple conductors, or paths of different
lengths so that there will always be a low-impedance path that is not near a quarter
wavelength. A signal reference grid (SGR) is a good example that provides excellent
bonding over a wide range of frequencies.
All of these effects are best minimized by keeping all ground paths as short as possible.
For units widely separated, it is difficult to prevent ground offset voltages, so isolation
elements (optoisolators, fiberoptics, transformers) can be used to allow proper
operation. Data line TVSS may also be used to prevent damage to line drivers or
receivers if transients cause a large offset voltage.

Grounding Methods for Electronic Equipment

Grounding accomplishes multiple functions, all of must be considered in the design
and installation of the grounding system for the electronic equipment. A grounding
system is required both for safety reasons and for reliable operation of sensitive
electronic equipment. There should be no compromise between these objectives. For
reliable operation, the ground offset voltage must be minimized between units
connected by metallic data lines, and any extraneous ground currents flowing through
the ground wires in the data cable must be minimized.
Several grounding methods can be used to attain these objectives. These are discussed

Single-Point Grounding
Single-point grounding is recommended for controlling noise and interference and to
avoid improper installations that result in unsafe grounding for personnel and system
safety. It is the most widely accepted design strategy for effectiveness and safety and
meets all NEC safety requirements.
In a single-point grounding system, all safety and/or reference ground conductors
terminate at the same point. This point is usually the service entrance ground
connection, and is located at the secondary of the service transformer or in the main
breaker panel, according to the facility's size. It is the only intentional path provided to


earth within the electrical distribution system and from supplied equipment. Highfrequency effects must be considered in the lengths of the grounding conductors.
Two examples of single-point grounding are isolated/insulated and segregating the
grounding system. Each is briefly described below.

Isolated/Insulated Grounding. An isolated/insulated ground (IG) is a separate

equipment grounding conductor (green wire) run in the same conduit as the supply
conductors and terminated at the ground bus in the main service panel, as shown in
Figures 3-5 and 3-6 for single-phase and three-phase systems, respectively. This
type of grounding system provides a low-impedance path for fault currents to
return to the source and meets safety requirements of the NEC. However, for singlephase load applications as shown in Figure 3-5, the wall receptacle is not the
standard commercial unit. It usually is an isolated ground or orange-faced
receptacle with a darkened triangular IG marking. A standard receptacle, which
has its ground terminal connected through its mounting screws to the building
conduit grounding system, defeats the IG intent of grounding.

Figure 3-4
Example of correct grounding for isolated grounding.

An IG receptacle is used to separate the ground from building conduit by means of

insulation. IG receptacles are essential to maintain an isolated, dedicated ground
conductor. In the IG circuit, and in all circuits for sensitive electronic equipment, the
grounding conductor should be the same size as the phase conductor. When specifying
the installation of an isolated ground, it is essential that an IG-type receptacle be
specified. NEC Article 250-146(d), allows the grounding terminal to be purposely
insulated from the receptacle.


IG grounding method is not recommended for general purposes and for loads not
susceptible to electrical noise. Rather, this method should be used as a possible means
of obtaining common-modeconducted noise reduction on the circuit in which it is
used. The IG grounding method is only directly applicable to metal-enclosed wiring
means. It has no special purpose on nonmetallic wiring systems and may be unsafe if it
is applied to them.
The NEC allows the grounding conductor in an IG circuit to be run one or more
panelboards without connection to the panelboard grounding terminal (NEC Article
250-146(d); 384-20, exception). For sensitive equipment interconnected by data cables,
the IG grounding conductor should be terminated at a ground bus in the first
panelboard that supplies all of the interconnected equipment. This will minimize the
length of the ground loop formed by the grounding conductors and the grounds in the
data cables, and will assure better ground bonding for all units. This ground bus could
also be an insulated one, and a single IG grounding conductor can be run further
toward the service entrance. This would help keep ground noise currents of other
equipment from sharing the grounding conductor of the sensitive equipment.



Figure 3-5
A single-point design prevents unwanted ground loops by providing only one
conductive path between it and all external grounds. Point 1 illustrates a singlepoint ground.
Source: National Institute for Standards and Technology (8)

An isolated ground system does not imply that the IG is separate from the building
ground system, i.e., the ground at main service panel. Improperly installed isolated
grounding can create problems with damaging effects. It is not at all uncommon to find
microprocessor-based equipment connected to a clean ground that happens to be a
ground rod driven into the earth through the room floor, as shown in Figure 3-6. In this


system, the earth becomes the sole equipment grounding conductor, which presents a
serious safety hazard and is in direct violation of NEC Articles 250-2 and 250-146(d). As
shown, when a fault occurs in the equipment, the impedance of the ground path can be
high, which will limit the fault current to a very low value, which does not trip the
overcurrent device. Furthermore, the equipment case is energized at 120 volts and
ground fault current sufficient to electrocute personnel is possible.

Figure 3-6
Example of unsafe Isolated computer ground.

Segregating the Grounding System. Electrical grounding required by the NEC may
not be adequate for control system signal grounds because its purpose is to provide
an assured path for faults; a path that will reliably trip the protective device to
remove the power. Due to differences between power frequencies (60 Hz) and
control system frequencies (MHz), NEC grounds may not be adequate for signal

A segregated grounding system achieves a separation between susceptible

microprocessor-based equipment and noise sources within the system. This is achieved
by providing a low-impedance path for system currents at all frequencies. Current can
be diverted from sensitive locations by taking advantage of the required NEC grounds,
low inductance signal return paths, isolation RF chokes, single-Faraday shield
transformers, (isolation transformers), power line filters, metallic conduits, and other
common devices. Such a system meets all NEC safety requirements and provides an
inherent isolation of sensitive equipment from electrical noise. Figure 3-7 illustrates a
typical segregated grounding system for power sources, process controllers, heating
and air conditioning equipment, lighting, etc. Figure 3-8 shows the grounding of the
isolation transformer.



Figure 3-7
Grounding of a typical process controlled by microprocessor equipment.
Source: National Electrical Contractors Association (9)

In the process control application shown in Figure 3-7, each major component has an
independent low-impedance signal return to the process center. Return currents to
noncontrol equipment are separated from return currents to controllers, so that ground
loops do not exist. Interaction is limited because of the shielded transformers and RF
Equipment such as blowers, pumps, etc., do not share return currents with process
controllers. A separate ground path is provided for the equipment, as shown in the
Figure 3-7. The ground return for the equipment is a copper shield or copper pipe as
short as possible of sufficient cross-sectional area. The isolation transformers consist of
a single-Faraday shield with series capacitance of 30 picofarads or less. The incoming
and outgoing grounds at the isolation transformer are connected via a RF choke to
provide a continuous path. The choke is approximately 50 microhenries. At 60 Hz, it
presents approximately .02 ohm impedance and at 7.5 MHz it presents 2355 ohms
impedance. The choke becomes a part of the continuous safety ground but electrically
separates the systems at signal frequencies because of the differences in impedances at
60 Hz and 7.5 MHz. The choke must have the capacity to conduct safely any fault
current imposed on it.



Figure 3-8
Typical grounding of isolation transformer.

Separately Grounded Systems

A facility may occasionally contain multiple separated earth grounding electrodes that
act as isolated or dedicated earth grounding and are deliberately not
grounded/bonded into the overall earth grounding electrode system. Such separately
grounded systems usually are in violation of the NEC (Article 250) because they
circumvent the safety ground system and create a safety hazard. The typical earth
resistance at each electrode in this type of grounding system limits the fault current to a
value insufficient to trip the circuit breaker.

Signal Reference Grids (Multi-Point Grounding)

A SRG provides a ground plane so short connections can be made from sensitive
electronic equipment to the plane. The SRG is a network of cable or copper straps
bonded together on 1- or 2-foot centers and designed to have very low impedance,
almost a zero voltage drop across it even when 60 Hz or HF currents are flowing
through it. Multi-point grounding of the SRG is recommended; that is, all metallic
objects crossing the SRG are bonded to it. A fully integrated, dual-grounding SRG
system (Figure 3-9) meets the requirements of NEC grounding, and addresses the
concerns of the computer manufacturers by providing an equipotential grid to
minimize unwanted HF voltage differentials between the chassis of different pieces of
equipment. Connection of above-the-floor electrical distribution panels and support


equipment to the SRG is accomplished using braided equipment bonding straps, while
underfloor metallic components and steel building columns are tied in with
appropriate size bare copper bonding conductors.
The computer room shown in Figure 3-9 consists of power distribution units (PDU)
containing isolation transformers and electrical distribution panels (EDP). The power
grounding system originates on the secondary side of the isolation transformer. As
required by NEC, a bonding jumper is used to connect the equipment grounding
conductors to the grounded neutral conductor of the 208Y/120 VAC secondary through
the ground bus. However, if the PDU is UL-listed ADP equipment, this bonding
jumper is not required by the NEC.

Figure 3-9
Typical computer room power and HF grounding system.



An insulated copper grounding electrode conductor connects the PDU ground bus to
the grounding electrode, which is the steel building column. From the ground bus, an
individual insulated copper (green wire) equipment grounding conductor, sized in
accordance with NEC, is run radially to and terminated on each equipment enclosure.
The equipment grounding conductors are run in the same conduit with the circuit
In general, a SRG typically comprises two-foot squares to provide an effective
equipotential reference (ground) between any two points on the grid for signals up to
30 MHz. This grid can be fabricated in the field by interconnecting a number of bare
conductors or it can be a prefabricated grid. The interconnections of the intersecting
strips of the grid are made by welded connections to provide noise-free integrity.
Connection between the EDP equipment and SRG is provided by appropriately sized
braided copper straps. In addition, transient suppression plates may be used
underneath panelboards and PDU input power junction boxes, located beneath the
raised floor to prevent noise currents in the concrete slab reinforcing bars from being
coupled into underfloor data cables. All metallic objects under the raised floor, such as
metallic raised floor pedestals, conduits, water piping, ducts, steel columns, etc., are
connected to the SRG using a short bonding conductor.

Grounding of Computer Power Centers

A computer power center generally consists of a shielded isolation transformers, output
distribution panelboards with circuit breakers for each load, and flexible output cables
for each load that act as dedicated branch circuits. It is built in a stand-alone cabinet,
usually has a flexible input cable, and is UL listed for installation in a computer room.
Computer power centers may contain separately derived ac systems (SDS) such as an
isolation transformer or a motor-generator set. Centers whose power is supplied by a
SDS are usually preferred, because they can reduce common-mode noise on the power
line. The use of the isolating transformer in the computer load provides a shorter
connection to the loads and also re-establishes a new ground reference point for the
power source close to the load it services. Although an isolating transformer implies no
connection between primary and secondary windings, in actuality, they have the same
equipment grounding conductor, and their neutrals are bonded to this. The benefits of
using SDS in computer room centers is that it minimizes common-mode noise voltages
and reduces impedance of the return path for any residual noise. From a performance
standpoint, SDS provides the lowest possible impedance grounding path between the
load and its power source, thereby providing a cleaner ground for the computer loads.



Grounding/Bonding of Cellular Raised Floors in Computer Rooms

Most computer centers have cellular raised floors, and the grounding/bonding of these
floors involves many considerations. General considerations are briefly described
1. The basic electrical safety grounding plan for proper grounding/bonding of a
cellular-raised floor must account for both the perimeter and interior portions of the
floor. The perimeter grounding/bonding conductor is a heavy-gauge conductor that
follows the perimeter of the computer room raised floor, and it is bonded to all
metallic objects crossing it, the ac power grounding conductor, and the SRG or
interior grounding system.
2. No connections should be made to any remote grounding point and/or earth
grounding electrode system. Such connections could act as a path for electrical noise
currents to circulate between the areas, and will create safety problems under
lightning current conditions.
3. Bond the perimeter grounding/bonding conductor system directly to the cellular
raised floor pedestal system. Then bond both to any accessible steel building
4. Bond the SDS or computer power centers to the perimeter grounding/bonding
conductor if they are in close proximity. Otherwise, it is acceptable to bond these
items to the nearest SRG conductor (a metal stringer will do if it is a bolt-in type
designed to act as a ground grid and maintained properly) in the cellular raised
5. All construction drawings should clearly show such items as HVAC-process
cooling, UPS units, power conditioners, transformers, switchboards, panelboards,
and electrical conduits as being grounded/bonded into the nearest perimeter or
interior grounding/bonding conductor.
6. Install a cellular raised floor's perimeter grounding/bonding conductor on the
perimeter of the floor's boundary. Identify it as the line of demarcation over which
no metallic object may be run without being immediately and effectively
grounded/ bonded to it. This prevents metallic items from introducing unwanted
currents and potentials into the under floor area where the data/communication
interconnecting cables are installed for the electronic load equipment.
7. Depending on pedestal design, it is possible that any grounding/bonding
conductor connected to the pedestal's vertical support member will be connected to
the associated metal cap and its attached stringers. This connection is made via a
telescoping tubular steel pedestal joint held together only by gravity and not by a


clamp or nut/bolt. As a result, an unreliable electrical connection will exist between

the grounding/bonding conductor attached to the tubular member below the loose
joint. Therefore, the electrical connection must always be made above any such joint,
so as to make effective connection to the pedestal's metal cap and then to the
stringers. If the recommended points cannot be connected as above, then any loose
or otherwise improper electrical joint should be specifically bonded across by a
suitable bonding jumper with a low inductance design.



Mitigating devices condition electrical power to improve its quality and reliability.
They can perform a range of functions such as voltage regulation, noise elimination,
and standby power supply, among others. Many different types of mitigating devices
are available, but specification and selection of equipment is dependent upon two
First, the type of load to be powered must be considered. Single loads are effectively
regulated with the proper mitigating device. However, larger systems that support
many loads are far more complex. Second, the equipment requirements for each
application must be considered. Examples of such requirements include power quality
requirements of the load, problems (improper wiring and grounding, temperature,
humidity, electrostatic discharge, etc.) that could interfere with proper operation of the
critical load, type of conditioning required, future quality and reliability of the power
supply, and cost to eliminate or mitigate power-related problems. For more details on
application of these devices, refer to the IEEE Emerald Book (5).

Noise Filters
Noise filters prevent low-level high-frequency noise (generally volts to tens of volts of
noise) from traveling into sensitive electronic equipment from the power source. These
filters also prevent equipment that generates interference from feeding it back into the
power line. All electronic devices that have any digital circuitry in them are required by
the FCC to have a noise or EMI filter on their power line. Generally, these filters will
attenuate noise by a factor of about 100 (40 dB) over the frequency range from about
400 kHz to 30 MHz. Above and below this range they are not very effective. A basic
noise filter passes 60 Hz voltage and blocks the very high frequencies or steep
wavefront transients (Figure 4-1). This is accomplished by series inductors followed by
capacitors to ground. The inductor forms two impedance paths: one low for the 60 Hz
power and one high for the high-frequency (HF) noise. The remaining HF noise is
conducted by the capacitor to ground before it reaches the load. While noise filters do
not introduce additional harmonic current distortion, they can be designed to reduce
distortion from electronic devices, including solid-state uninterruptible power supply
systems. (Note: RFI filters are ineffective for frequencies near 60 Hz [e.g., low-order

Mitigating Devices

Figure 4-1
Typical basic noise filter.

Noise attenuation is highly dependent upon how the noise filter is connected to the
line. Filters, connected line-to-ground and neutral-to-ground or used in conjunction
with a balun transformer, can be used for reducing common-mode noise between any
of the conductors. They can also be connected line-to-line or line-to-neutral for rejection
of normal-mode noise. Noise filters are the most cost-effective way to attenuate low
levels of high or very HF noise. Noise filters are seldom installed as stand-alone
devices; they are usually part of mitigation devices such as transient voltage surge
suppressors or power conditioners, and are very valuable in this function. A very good
filter will attenuate by at least a factor of one hundred, or forty dB (60 dB = 1000 to 1, 40
dB = 100 to 1, 20 dB = 10 to 1), over the entire frequency range from about 40 kHz to
around 40 MHz; lesser filters will have smaller attenuation over a narrower frequency
range, or may only specify attenuation at a single frequency.
If noise filters are used or installed incorrectly, they can cause significant oscillations
ringing on the line. As a result, filters larger than simple RFI filters are seldom used
as line-conditioning devices.

Harmonic Current Filters

Harmonic current filters prevent harmonic currents drawn by nonlinear electronic
loads from being fed back into the power service. Nonfiltered current harmonics can
generate excess heat, which can have an effect on conductors and transformers, and
cause voltage distortion. The filters vary in size from small units for plug-connected
loads to larger devices for hard-wired loads. Different types of harmonic current filters
are illustrated in Figure 4-2.


Mitigating Devices

Figure 4-2
Several types of harmonic current filters.
Source: Ontario Hydro (10)

Harmonic current filters typically are placed in parallel with the load. If installed and
used properly, these filters work best at reducing harmonic currents at their source.
They also eliminate the need for other changes to compensate for the problems caused


Mitigating Devices

by the harmonic currents. Harmonic filters generally must be custom designed for each

Line Voltage Regulators

Line voltage regulators maintain the voltage output within a specified narrow range
(for example, 3%), regardless of input voltage variations. Although dc voltage
regulators are built into most sensitive electronic equipment, ac regulators are only now
being built into some equipment. These regulators use the same ground reference on
output as for the incoming power. They can only modify input line voltage amplitude
and cannot establish a new signal. A range of line voltage regulators currently is
available. Constant voltage and tap-changing transformers are being used almost
exclusively, rather than electromechanical types.
Line voltage regulators are typically used to protect against momentary and transient
disturbances within a certain range. These regulators have a typical response time of 1
cycle. This causes many regulators to apply a slight overvoltage to the load for about
one cycle when a deep sag ends. Voltage regulators do not have any energy storage
(except ferroresonant) and thus cannot correct dropouts.
While many voltage problems can be handled by the appropriate application of a line
voltage regulator, it is not suitable to protect sensitive electronic loads against rapid
(less than 1/2 cycle) changes in volage. They also may not have noise suppression
capabilities. The regulators also can become unstable if other regulators with similar
response times are on the same circuit.
Three types of line voltage regulators are currently available: tap changers, buck-boost,
and ferroresonant. A brief discussion of each device follows.

Tap Changers
Tap changers, also known as tap switchers or electronic tap-switching transformers,
regulate output voltage in response to fluctuations in input voltage or load (Figure 4-3).
This is accomplished with solid-state switches (SCRs or triacs) that automatically select
appropriate taps on a power transformer (either isolating type or auto-transformer
type) at the zero current point of the output wave. Some of these devices are voltageswitching-type units that make the tap change at the voltage zero crossing. This causes
a transient to be generated except when the load is at power factor. The magnitude of
this transient is determined by actual load conditions.


Mitigating Devices

Figure 4-3
Tap changers.
Source: Ontario Hydro (10)

The range of input voltage regulation and the size of the output voltage steps
determine the number of taps required. For example, a typical fast-response tap
changer has a minimum of 4 taps below normal and 2 taps above normal. Taps usually
are around 45% steps. Zero current switching criteria usually limit response time to 1
cycle. Practical sensing time and control system stability limits full correction time to 3
5 cycles.
Advantages of the tap changer transformers or autotransformers are that they introduce
lower impedance in the circuit, create less harmonic distortion under steady-state
operation, and minimize load-induced disturbances, as compared to higher impedance
regulators. In addition, tap changers have high short-term overload capability, which
can better handle starting inrushes. They also have wide undervoltage capability and
provide both regulation and common-mode isolation in their usual configuration with
an isolating transformer.
A disadvantage is that voltage output changes are not continuous, but are in discreet
steps. Smaller voltage steps can be achieved by employing more taps.

Buck-boost Regulators
Buck-boost regulators provide smoothly regulated output power that can easily
provide the heavy inrush currents needed by computer startups or disk drive motors
(Figure 4-4). When power is fed into these regulators, it uses thyristor switching to
either add to (boosts) or subtract from (bucks) the incoming voltage. These electronic

Mitigating Devices

devices eliminate use of steps as compared to the tap changer. Output is maintained
constant within 1% for 1520% variations of input voltage. This is accomplished by
comparing output voltage to the desired (set) level and by the use of feedback to
modify the level of boost or buck. A path for nonlinear currents generated by the load
and by the regulator itself is provided by an output harmonic filter.

Figure 4-4
Typical buck-boost regulator.

An advantage of buck-boost regulators is that they attenuate normal-mode noise and

surges. In addition, if they are built with isolation and shielding, the regulators can be
separately derived sources for power grounding, and can provide common-mode noise
These regulators are available in two sizes: three-phase units with ratings from 10 to
300 kVA and costing $10,000 to $100,000; and single phase units with output ratings
from 500 VA to 25 kVA and priced from $1000 to $6000.

Constant Voltage Regulators

A constant voltage regulator is typically referred to as ferroresonant regulator or
constant voltage transformer (CVT). This type of regulator is a relatively simple device
because it has no moving or active electronic parts. It uses a saturating transformer with
a resonant circuit made up of the transformer's inductance and a capacitor (Figure 4-5).
The unit maintains a nearly constant voltage ( 3%) on the output for input swings of


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Figure 4-5
Typical constant voltage regulator.

Constant voltage transformers are susceptible to large, quick load swings and can
become unstable. If the load current gets too high, these transformers tend to go out of
resonance. They often can only supply 150200% of their full load rating. As a result,
the CVTs cannot support starting current of motors exceeding these limits without a
drastic dip in output voltage and are not recommended for starting large motor loads.
Constant voltage transformers are inefficient with light loads but are reasonably
efficient with heavy loads. Their poor efficiency is due to the resonant circuit, which
handles relatively large amounts of current all the time. As a result, the circuit causes
the heat loss to be higher than other types of regulators. Noise can be a problem with
these transformers because they require special enclosures. Because of its saturating
elements, the constant voltage transformer is a nonlinear device and introduces
harmonic currents on the power source supplying it.
The constant voltage regulators should be oversized if the load demands heavy starting
or inrush currents. This is because output voltage is significantly reduced when these
regulators are loaded over 100%. In some cases, this may shut down other devices as a
result of low output voltage of the overloaded constant voltage transformer.
Constant voltage transformers have been used extensively in automated data
processing (ADP) equipment, but are generally being replaced in newer products by
switching-type regulated power supplies. If the transformer were to be placed ahead of
another similar device with an ADP unit, the combination of the external and internal
regulators with similar response times could become unstable and oscillate. Some
constant voltage transformers produce transients during momentary line voltage
interruption, or significant drop in load current.

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When the constant voltage transformer is not supplied with an input having a constant
frequency, the regulated output usually will vary, typically 1.5% for each 1% of line
frequency change. This applies only to a range of about 3% change of frequency, and
this could be of concern if the unit may be used on a generator.

Power Line Conditioner

Power line conditioner is a widely used but poorly defined term. Many
manufacturers use it to describe a shielded isolation transformer with voltage
regulation, noise filtering, and transient voltage surge suppression. Some of these have
options for output receptacles, and computer room power distribution units can be
purchased with all of these features. A unit with all of these features will protect
against all power line disturbances except those caused by lack of energy; that is, very
deep sags, dropouts, and long-term power failures. There are two power line
conditioners that have all the above features, and also include a moderate amount of
internal energy storage, which will allow ride-through of brief dropouts.

Magnetic Synthesizers
Magnetic synthesizers consist of nonlinear inductors and capacitors in a parallel
resonant circuit with six saturating pulse transformers (Figure 4-6). These synthesizers
draw power from the source and generate their output voltage waveform by combining
the pulses of the saturating transformers in a step wave manner. They provide noise
and surge rejection and regulation of output voltage to within 5% over large swings
(40%) of input voltage. These units generally include additional filtering to eliminate
self-induced harmonics and pulse transformer shielding to attenuate common-mode


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Figure 4-6
Typical magnetic synthesizer.

The magnetic synthesizer provides inherent current limiting, but generally will provide
200% of rating with little voltage drop. With greater loads, voltage drops off rapidly,
producing typically 250300% current at short circuit. Large step-load changes, even
within the unit's rating, can cause significant voltage and frequency transients in the
output of this conditioner. These regulators work best when the load does not make
large step changes.
Due to the magnetics involved, these synthesizers tend to be large and heavy. They also
can be acoustically noisy without special packaging. Some of the larger units display
good efficiencies, as long as they are operated at close to full load. The magnetic
synthesizer introduces current distortion on its input, due to its nonlinear elements,
which is at its highest when the conditioner is lightly loaded.
Synthesizers provide good protection against transients and noise with common-mode
and differential-mode attenuations of 100 dB (100,000 to 1) available. They are available
in sizes ranging from 15 kVA to 200 kVA, and some models can be paralleled.

Motor-generators (MGs) transform ac electrical power to mechanical power, then back
to ac electrical power. They consist of an ac-powered electric motor driving an ac
generator, which then supplies ac power to the load as shown in Figure 4-7.

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Figure 4-7
Source: National Electrical Contractors Association (11)

Two types of MGs are utilized today. These are shaft- or belt-isolated MGs and rotating
transformer MGs. In the former, the motor and generator are coupled by a shaft or
belts. The latter units have a common rotor, a motor stator, and a generator stator. They
generally are small units and have excellent efficiency values. One disadvantage is that
they do not provide the same level of noise and surge isolation between the input and
the output as conventional MGs. Because of the coupling between the two stators
(which are wound one on top of the other), the noise has a path through the unit.
Shaft- or belt-isolated MGs are used widely as a source of 415 Hz power for large
computers requiring this frequency. They can be easily powered by a single 60-Hz
induction motor. As the induction motor speed varies, the output frequency varies with
motor speed since the generator output is a function of its shaft speed. However, the
output voltage is maintained by controlling the excitation of the field winding of the
generator and the generator output voltage is independent of small motor speed

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For computers, low-slip induction motors are typically used. The most critical
applications require a synchronous motor drive to assure that output frequency is
identical to the utility input. Totally synchronous MGs also maintain their outputs
nearly in phase with the utility source. This allows for uninterrupted transfers between
the MG and utility for maintenance.
MGs are versatile and effective. They shield loads from transients, momentary
disturbances, and common-mode noise. The MGs also are effective in protecting the
load from voltage sags, swells, surges and have an input voltage operating range of
typically +15% to -35% and, in some cases, down to -50%. Further, they have a ridethrough or bridging ability for short power sags and outages. In most cases, MGs can
span these sags or outages for up to 0.3 seconds.
Some energy created by the rotating elements and stored in the MG can be lost by the
dynamic braking action of the motor due to short circuits or loss of input power. As
energy is removed from the MG set, shaft speed decreases. Although this is a limiting
factor in its use, the MG's stored rotational energy can be extended by adding inertia
via a flywheel. Large flywheels can extend ride-through times up to several seconds.
MG sets with special variable pole rotors can achieve ride-through times that are
significantly longer than other devices with the same rotating energy. Devices that
maintain output frequency, even while shaft speed is slowing down are available. They
do not have fixed poles in the generator. Poles are created or written as the device
rotates. As input power is reduced and shaft speed decreases, the spacing of the poles
is reduced and the number increases, so the frequency remains constant.
MGs are usually large and quite heavy. Some have relatively low efficiencies, which
can create substantial life cycle electrical energy costs. Some are noisy and require
sound-proof enclosures. MGs do not introduce measurable current distortion on their
input source, but their output impedance is high, and high harmonic loads can produce
a distorted output voltage waveform. MG sets are available in sizes ranging from under
20 kVA to over 1 MVA.

Isolation Transformers
Isolation transformers are a very effective form of power conditioning for noise,
transient, and grounding problems and, next to transient voltage surge suppressors, are
probably the most widely used form of power conditioning. Isolation transformers
have electrically isolated primary and secondary windings (Figure 4-8) that are
magnetically coupled through an iron core so that power can be transferred between
the windings. Transformers have five functions in the power distribution system.


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Figure 4-8
Typical isolation transformer.

First, transformers allow power to be distributed at a high voltage and then stepped
down at the point of use. This decreases line losses, helps to isolate sensitive loads from
the disturbance created by other loads, and decreases the amplitude of sags created by
large loads turning on because the connection point is closer to the service entrance and
the power system is at a lower impedance. Distribution transformers are very efficient
devices, with typical efficiencies of 9598%.
The second function is voltage adjustment. Most transformers have taps on either
primary or secondary, spaced several percent apart, that allow compensation for a
primary voltage that is consistently too high or too low. A system will have its greatest
immunity to sags, surges, brownouts, and dropouts when it is operating at its designed
line voltages.
The third function of isolation transformers is that they allow the creation of separately
derived sources where a new bond is established between the neutral and ground. This
helps to reduce common-mode noise and ground loops, and the new connection to the
grounding electrode eliminates any voltage difference between the ground of the
power system and attached sensitive electronic equipment, and the surrounding
building steel and any currents flowing in it.
The fourth function, one of the most important power quality functions, is the
attenuation of common-mode noise and transients. All transformers have some
capacitance between the primary and secondary windings, and at high frequencies the
capacitance looks like a low impedance, so that some of the noise on the primary is
coupled into the secondary. In a conventional unshielded distribution transformer, a
large fraction of the primary noise can pass through. If a grounded metal shield
(Figure 4-9) is placed between the primary and secondary windings, it interrupts the
primary to secondary capacitance and dramatically reduces the noise transfer between

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the windings. A standard transformer may reduce the noise by 2 to 1 (6 dB), but a
single shield can easily reduce it by 100 to 1 (40 dB) to 1000 to 1 (60 dB), and units with
box shields have specifications of over 1,000,000 to 1 (120 dB) reduction of commonmode noise and transients. When transformers are connected in series, their attenuation
multiplies, so two 40 dB (100 to 1) units in series have an 80-dB (10,000 to 1)
attenuation. A well-designed unit will maintain the common-mode attenuation over a
frequency range of 100 Hz to 1 MHz or more. Shielded isolation transformers have the
great advantage in that they act like a large series impedance to a high-energy transient
and simply attenuate it. Surge suppressors have the disadvantage of shunting large
common-mode transients into the grounding conductor, where large current can cause
possibly damaging ground offset voltage. Single shields add little to the size, weight, or
cost of transformers, but do a good job of attenuating common-mode noise and
transients, and are recommended for all installations. Some manufacturers now offer
shields as a standard feature on all of their transformers.

Figure 4-9
Typical isolation transformer with shielding.

The fifth function of transformers is to help reduce some harmonics. A delta primary,
wye secondary transformer has the advantage of trapping triplen (3, 9, 15, etc.)
harmonics in its delta primary and not allowing them to go further. The disadvantage
of this effect is that it causes extra heating in the primary and could overheat the
transformer. High harmonic levels cause other heating effects as well in the
transformer, and to prevent possible damage the harmonic levels should be measured
and a properly selected K-rated transformer should be installed.
Transformers are designed to couple differential-mode power through them, so they
can couple significant amounts of differential-mode noise and transients, too. High or
ultra isolation transformers will give moderate attenuation of differential-mode
transients, but at the expense of a higher internal impedance and thus more voltage
drop under load. EMI filters and transient surge suppressors generally work better for

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differential-mode transients than common-mode, so a combination of these with a

shielded isolation transformer will give good isolation for both common-mode and
differential-mode noise and transients. Shielded isolation transformers are available in
sizes from 125 VA to over 100 kVA, and with different attenuation levels. In most cases
the low-to-moderate attenuation levels (about 40 to 60 dB) are adequate.
One disadvantage of the isolation transformer is that no voltage regulation or ridethrough capabilities are available. In addition, some additional degradation of voltage
regulation occurs due to the transformers' series impedance. Another disadvantage is
that noise attenuation capabilities are compromised when the ground connection is
more than a few feet long.

Transient Voltage Surge Suppressors

Transients occur on all power lines, and transient voltage surge suppressors (TVSS) are
designed to attenuate high-voltage transients (up to 6000 V) down to nonhazardous
levels (300400 V for a 120-V circuit). Five parameters of a pulse determine its potential
to damage or upset electronics and electrical equipment. All must be considered when
trying to determine the damage potential of a given transient, and when designing and
installing transient protection.
1. Absolute peak voltage above zero volts
2. Voltage of any fast risetime section of the transient
3. Current available
4. Energy available, determined by the product of the voltage, current, and pulse
5. Risetime of the transient
TVSS function through a combination of blocking transients and diverting them into
other paths. Most TVSS units are diversion units, with few blocking elements such as
series inductors or isolation transformers. The diversion units take differential-mode
(line-to-line) transients and divert them into the neutral, while common-mode (line-toground) transients are diverted into the grounding conductor, which sometimes causes
new problems in the form of ground skews or offset voltages. The most common
diversion components are crowbar type such as spark gaps, and clamp types such as
MOVs and avalanche diodes.
Spark gaps are usually gas-filled discharge tubes, but air gaps are still used in some
high-voltage equipment. The spark gap is normally an insulator, and at or above its
breakdown voltage it will arc over internally and become a short circuit until the

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current through it drops to zero, usually at the next ac zero crossing. Spark gaps have
the advantages of carrying very large currents with a very low (about 20 V) voltage
drop across them, but they are sometimes slow to turn on, and this can create a large
transient when their abrupt turn-on crowbars the transient voltage down to 20 V in
several microseconds.
The most common clamping element is the metal oxide varistor, or MOV. The MOV
acts like a variable resistor whose resistance decreases as the voltage across it increases.
Table 41 illustrates this for a 130 MOV that is typically used in many 120-V TVSS
Table 4-1
Voltage vs. current characteristics of a typical 130-V MOV.
Voltage Peak


Effective Resistance

170 V

0.0001 A

1,700,000.0 ohms

200 V

0.001 A

270 V

1.0 A

270.0 ohms

310 V

10.0 A

31.0 ohms

340 V

100.0 A

3.4 ohms

420 V

1000.0 A

0.42 ohms

200,000.0 ohms

Once the MOV starts conducting (around 1 A), a large increase in current through it
creates only a small increase in voltage. Some TVSS manufacturers incorrectly advertise
the 1 milliamp voltage as the clamping voltageof the system. The voltage at 100 A is a
more realistic figure of merit. MOVs have a moderately low clamping voltage, high
current and energy capabilities, fast-response, and in general are rugged low-cost units.
If exposed to an excessive number of large transients, their characteristics will degrade
slightly. Figure 4-10 shows how four different sizes of pulse are clamped by a typical
130-V RMS-rated MOV.


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Figure 4-10
Clamping action of a typical 130-V RMS-rated MOV.
A. 500 V, 1 A impulse, clamped to 100-V peak
B. 500 V, 1000 A impluse, little clamping action
C. 500 V, 100 A impluse, clamped to 300-V peak
D. 100 V peak-to-peak, no clamping action
Source: Portland General Energy Systems

The other widely used clamping element is the avalanche diode, a type of zener diode
that is optimized for high power transient clamping. It has a lower clamping voltage
than a MOV and thus a lower let-through voltage, but it cannot handle high currents or
energies. No degradation occurs when used with its ratings. For example, a 1500-W,
200-V unit, typically used in TVSS units, draws 0.001 A at 200 V peak and clamps to 275
V at 5.5 A, compared to about 300 V for a 140-V RMS MOV. But the MOV is rated at 10
20 A for 1-millisecond pulse rather than the 5.5 A of the avalanche diode.
MOVs have good clamping levels and good energy/current capability, and avalanche
diodes have very good clamping levels but only fair energy/current capabilities. Many
high-performance TVSS units use a hybrid circuit composed of some combination of
multiple MOVs, blocking elements such as series inductors, avalanche diodes, and
capacitors. The series inductors and the capacitors act as EMI filters and are very useful
in slowing the risetime of fast transients, and in attenuating small- to medium-voltage
noise and transients. Some TVSS units advertise sine wave tracking capability, which
appears to be heavy-duty EMI filters that attenuate noise and transients not large
enough to reach clamping levels. It is important for units to protect all three lines in a

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120-V circuit. Units should have hot-to-neutral, hot-to-ground and neutral-to-ground

protection to handle both differential-mode and common-mode transients.
All units should be UL listed under the UL 1449 standard for Transient Voltage Surge
Suppressors, which subjects the units to 6000-V impulses while measuring the letthrough voltage (remnant of impulse passed to the load) for each unit and prints the
result on the label for each unit. The lowest ratings are 330 V, 400 V, and 500 V, and all
units for a 120-V branch circuit should have one of these. All units should have a 5000A minimum rating and should be fused or have internal over-temperature protection.
TVSS units are available for plug-in and hardwired application on branch circuits, and
larger units are available for installation at panelboards and at the service entrance. For
maximum protection, these should be applied as staged protection. This concept uses a
very high current, moderate clamping level unit at the service entrance to divert most
of the current; a medium current, medium clamping level at panelboards; and a lower
current, low clamping level unit on branch circuits.
Proper installation is critical to achieve maximum performance. Units must be installed
with short lead lengths and with a very good ground connection. Costs will vary from
several tens of dollars for plug-in units to thousands of dollars for a large service
entrance unit.
TVSS units are available that also have special suppression circuits for data and
communications circuits. These units have the advantage that the data line TVSS is
referenced to the power line ground, which helps to prevent damage from ground
offset voltages.

Computer Power Center

The computer power center (CPC) is an isolation transformer or power conditioner
packaged with output panelboards, circuit breakers, and branch circuits in liquid-tight
flexible metal conduit to each load. The critical characteristic that sets it apart from
conventional power conditioners is that it is UL listed as computer room equipment,
and thus falls under NEC Article 645 and is not considered part of the premises wiring.
This gives the CPC several advantages:
1. The CPC can be installed on the computer room raised floor as a separately derived
source, which creates a new local neutral-to-ground bond for less common-mode
noise, provides very short grounding conductors for good ground bonding, and
gives short branch circuits for low line drop and cleaner power.
2. If the computer room has a signal reference grid (ground grid), the CPC ground can
be bonded to the SRG; this combination provides excellent grounding.

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3. Each load can be on a dedicated branch circuit in shielded metallic conduit for
minimum interaction.
4. The CPC power cables under the raised floor do not need to be fastened in place, so
the computer room equipment can be easily moved and rearranged.
5. Additional power cables can be ordered and easily installed to expand the system.
6. CPCs are designed to be easily integrated into the emergency power off circuit and
have the necessary shunt trip breakers and wiring built in.
These systems can be ordered with isolation transformers, surge suppressors, EMI
filters, harmonic filters, and most combinations of power conditioners. They provide
enhanced power quality and a large degree of freedom for rearranging and expanding
the computer room.

Uninterruptible Power Supplies

Uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) differ from all other types of power conditioners
in that they have an internal source of energy (batteries) that allow them to supply
uninterrupted power to the load during dropouts and extended power failures. UPSs
also provide power conditioning, and this varies from the standby unit that only
provides TVSS backup power, to the double conversion and other types that completely
recreate the sine wave and provide almost total isolation from power line disturbances.
As can be expected the units that provide better power conditioning also cost much
more. The types of power conditioning provided by some UPS designs include TVSS,
noise filtration, harmonic filters, shielded isolation transformers, and voltage
An UPS is a very complex piece of power electronics, and each design has its own
combination of advantages and disadvantages. The creation of specifications for these
units is quite critical because you are creating your own power, in effect becoming your
own utility, and you now have to control aspects of the power formerly taken care by
the utility.

Standby UPS
In the standby UPS (Figure 4-11), the load is normally on slightly conditioned ac line
power, and when the ac line fails (dropout or power failure) this unit turns its inverter
on to create ac power from the dc battery power, and then switches the load from the
failed ac line to the ac power from the inverter. Compared to a double conversion UPS,
you could consider that the standby UPS is normally in bypass mode and goes to
inverter only after a power failure. Most units use an electromechanical relay to switch

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the power to the load, and this causes an interruption of power for about 4 to 10
milliseconds. Some units use a solid-state relay, which is faster but more expensive. The
power failure detection circuitry takes a few milliseconds to sense the power failure,
and this must be added to the relay transfer time. Most electronic loads have switchmode power supplies that will ride through a 16 millisecond dropout so they should
not be affected by the short dropout caused by the UPS.

Figure 4-11
Standby uninterruptible power supply.
Source: National Electrical Contractors Assoc. (11)

The standby UPS usually has a low-cost inverter design that outputs a square wave or
modified square wave. Most loads will run acceptably on this for short periods of time,
but a sine wave output is less stressful on the load. The batteries that power the inverter
are usually a sealed lead-acid style and their usable life will vary between one and five
years, depending upon battery quality, charging circuit design, and the number and
depth of discharge cycles that the battery is subjected. A typical standby UPS may have
only five minutes of holdup at full load, and more time at partial loads. Their recharge
time is long to very long and this makes them less suitable for locations subjected to
frequent dropouts.
The typical standby UPS has some TVSS capability and some degree of EMI filtration,
but they often are not high-performance circuits. They usually have no transformer
isolation, little common-mode noise filtration, and no voltage regulation. To paraphrase
an old saying, You don't get what you don't pay for. These units are available in sizes
ranging from 200 VA to around 2000 VA, and some of the smaller units are priced
around $100 and the largest units around $2000.


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Double Conversion UPS

The double-conversion UPS (also called static on online) is what most people think of
as a UPS. In this system, the ac is converted to dc and then converted back to ac to form
a totally new source of ac power that is not influenced by the original ac power.
In a typical double-conversion UPS system, the utility power is fed into a
rectifier/charger and then into the inverter, as shown in Figure 4-12, to an isolation
transformer, and is then brought to the load. Principal UPS components are a rectifier,
dc bus, battery, and static inverter. The rectifier converts incoming ac power to dc at a
voltage high enough to charge the battery connected across the bus. Because the
rectifier also acts as a battery charger, it is sometimes referred to as a rectifier/battery
Inverters use thyristors, transistors, or FETs to generate 6 or 12 step waves, pulse-width
modulated waves, or a combination of the two to create a sine-wave output. Basically, a
static inverter receives dc power from the rectifier, initially converting it to a stepfunction square ac sine wave (Figure 4-13). Three inverter filter sections (one for each
phase) give the wave form more of the characteristics of a true ac sine wave and also
reduce harmonic distortions to an acceptable level.
The inverter is critical to UPS performance because it is the source of the new ac power
and it determines the quality of this power. Some of the important specifications
determined by the inverter design are output waveshape, harmonics, response to input
power line disturbances, step load changes, and high crest factor or nonlinear loads.

Figure 4-12
Example of a double conversion uninterruptible power supply.


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Figure 4-13
Step-function source wave vs. true ac sinusoidal wave.
Source: National Electrical Contractors Assoc. (11)

Static UPS systems provide power from the battery to the load in the event of a power
failure. Batteries used for large installations usually are lead-acid wet cells. Some
smaller units use gelled-electrolyte cell or immobilized-electrolyte (maintenance-free)
batteries. Cost is influenced considerably by the length of battery protection time
required and the load size. In most instances, 15 minutes of protective time is
considered adequate because it permits an orderly shutdown of the load equipment. In
many instances, however, the UPS system is used in conjunction with an enginegenerator set to provide continuous power in long-term power outages.
In the event of an inverter failure, or while maintenance is being performed on the UPS,
a bypass transfer switch is included to allow connection of the utility to the critical
load. This load can be transferred without interruption because UPS output is kept in
phase with the utility source under normal operation.
Most systems have two bypass switches: a high-speed static switch that uses SCRs to
switch from the inverter to the bypass line in a fraction of an ac cycle to compensate for
inverter overload or failure, and a manual switch or maintenance bypass that is used to
keep the load powered when the entire UPS is taken off-line. In some installations a

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stepdown transformer will be needed in the bypass line, and the need for power
conditioning in either or both bypass lines should be carefully evaluated.
A well-designed double conversion UPS will be a high performance and reliable power
source. They are available in single phase from under 1 kVA to about 20 kVA, and in
three phase from about 10 kVA to around 1 MVA, and the larger units can be
paralleled for higher capacity and reliability. A 1-kVA single-phase unit is around
$2000, a three-phase 20-kVA unit is about $15,000 to $20,000, and the price of the very
large units varies widely, depend upon the configuration and any special

Rotary UPS
A rotary UPS system (RUPS) consists of a motor-generator (MG) set with backup power
supplied by either a battery-powered inverter or a battery-powered dc motor.
UPS systems can be configured in several different ways. In one configuration, shown
in Figure 4-14, the rectifier of a RUPS is supplied from the utility source, while the
battery floats on-line. The inverter's output frequency is slaved to the utility source
and follows it exactly. The solid-state rectifier supplies direct current to the inverter,
and also maintains the battery at appropriate float charge. The step-function square
wave ac output is used to drive the motor, which in turn powers the generator. The
MG's output frequency is maintained at 60 Hz. When the incoming power is
interrupted, the high-capacity batteries supply the inverter, which in turn supplies
power to the MG set. The inverter frequency control system maintains motor frequency
within 0.1% of rated 60 Hz while the batteries supply the load.
Another version uses a dc motor powered by a rectifier and battery bank, or the dc
motor can be mechanically coupled to the standard ac motor and only used for backup.
A standard M-G set has about 100 ms of holdup due to its stored rotational energy, so
most of these RUPS can be used in a standby configuration where the backup energy
source is normally turned off and is only activated after a power failure has occurred.


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Figure 4-14
Hybrid uninterruptible power supply.
Source: National Electrical Contractors Assoc. (11)

RUPS are a proven technology with a history of good reliability, and this can be
improved in the standby configuration where the complex power electronics are
normally off. RUPS are available in sizes from 5 kVA to greater than 500 kVA.

Ferroresonant UPS
The ferroresonant UPS is a hybrid of the ferroresonant power conditioner (Figure 4-15)
and the standby UPS. It gives no break output power by using the stored energy in the
ferro to bridge the break in power that is inherent in the standby power source.
This UPS regulates the output voltage to 3% for a wide range of input voltages, has
an isolated output, and usually has very good transient and noise isolation for both
common-mode and differential-mode disturbances. The reliability of this system is
good because the power electronics are usually off and the ferroresonant transformer
has a high reliability.


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Figure 4-15
Ferroresonant UPS.
Source: Ontario Hydro (10)

The full load efficiency of these units range from around 85% for small units to 92% for
large units, and it will be less at partial loads.
The ferroresonant UPS starts to current limit at round 150% of full load, and large step
load changes will cause some disturbance of the output waveform. This unit is sensitive
to large (+1 Hz) frequency changes, but these are usually only seen on engine-generator
systems and their effect is to cause the unit to switch to battery power. Ferroresonant
UPSs are heavy and may be acoustically noisy.
The ferroresonant transformer will produce an output sine wave with a slight amount
of distortion, but it should be acceptable to power all sensitive electronic loads. They
are available in single-phase outputs in sizes ranging from 500 VA to around 20 kVA,
and approximate list prices are under $1,000 for the 500 VA unit to about $14,000 for a
larger unit.

Line Interactive UPS

At the heart of the line interactive UPS (Figure 4-16) is a three winding isolation
transformer that normally powers the load and also provides power conditioning. A
bidirectional inverter is connected to the third winding and this pulls power from the
transformer to charge the battery and also provides to the transformer the exact amount
of power needed to compensate for low line, high line, sag, dropout, or power failure
conditions. The result is that the load sees regulated, no-break ac power regardless of
the input ac line conditions.


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Figure 4-16
Line interactive UPS.

These systems usually have input TVSS subsystems and noise filters which, along with
the shielded isolation transformer, give good protection against noise and transients.
The inverter is isolated from the input ac line, which helps to protect it from transients,
and it typically provides +2% regulation of the output voltage. The inverter normally
runs at low power, which reduces the stress on it, and also allows continual checking of
it for proper operation. In the event of an inverter failure, the system reverts to the
isolation transformer mode. This is a new UPS technology and it is available in sizes
ranging from under 400 VA to over 60 kVA.

UPS Selection
The five major types of UPS technologies can be configured into systems to provide a
wide range of solutions. The type selected is primarily determined by the level of
protection vs. cost, and the total size of the load must be considered as some types are
only available in limited size ranges. In size ranges where several types are available
you must compare the level of protection for the seven types of power disturbances
(sags, swells, dropouts, power failures, transients, noise, and harmonics) against the
level of disturbance activity (if known) and against the susceptibility levels of the loads.


Mitigating Devices

UPS Sizing
Sizing of the UPS is one of the first decisions that must be made, and it also has a major
influence on which type of UPS to use. Proper sizing means selecting a UPS large
enough to run the total load and have some spare capacity for reliability, load surges,
and future expansion. The UPS output voltages are determined by the needs of the
loads. Single-phase UPSs are available with 120 V, 208 V, 240 V outputs, or different
combination of these voltages. Three-phase systems are usually 120/208 V wye with
277/480 V available for large systems and where a PDU with a step-down transformer
is used.
The best method to determine the actual load is to measure it with a true RMS
ammeter. If possible, measure the current surge at turn on and estimate the length of
this surge. If measurements cannot be made, the next best method is to use the
nameplate values for current or VA. In some equipment this value may be much larger
than actual because the manufacturer has left spare capacity for additional internal
equipment or possible future upgrades, or did an absolute worst-case measurement, or
was just conservative and wanted to be sure that the system was installed on a large
enough branch circuit. The only legal requirement is that the actual value should not be
greater than the nameplate value. If possible, the wattage and true power factor of the
loads should be measured.
The kVA drawn by the load is calculated by multiplying current times nominal voltage.
The UPS should be derated to increase reliability and to allow for load turn on current
surges. Many power quality professionals derate so that the actual load is no more than
80% of the UPS rating. The user may want to do further derating to allow for future
expansion of the load.

UPS Specification
The UPS output creates a new isolated source of ac power and the specifications
necessary to ensure proper power for the critical load are quite complex. The intent of
this section is to make the potential specifier, purchaser, and/or user of a UPS aware of
all the parameters that should be considered when specifying, purchasing, and
installing a UPS. For more detailed information on these parameters, consult References
5 and 14. These specifications are divided into three sections and cover the interaction
between the UPS and the load, the powerline, and the environment.
A. SpecificationsUPS Output to Load Interaction
1. Output nominal voltage, frequency, and phase.
2. Maximum output current and kVA at a specified power factor.
3. Maximum output wattage.
4. Overload capabilities in normal and bypass modes, both continuous and for
limited time.

Mitigating Devices

5. Output waveform quality:

a. Sine wave, square wave, modified square wave.
b. Specified for both linear loads and nonlinear, high crest factor power
supply-type loads.
c. Percent voltage total harmonic distortion (THD) for loads in Step b
6. Output harmonic filter, and its capacity to absorb harmonics from the load.
7. Frequency stability.
8. Load regulation; response to step load changes and time to recover.
9. Response to an unbalanced, three-phase load.
10. Batteries:
a. Holdup time vs. percentage of full load.
b. Expected battery life in years.
c. Expected battery life in number of full discharges and in number of
d. Partial discharges.
e. Types of batteries.
f. Time to recharge.
g. Battery maintenance needs.
h. Battery equalization charge ability.
i. Installation needs: Does the battery need a separate room, venting,
floor reinforcement, seismic bracing?
11. Static bypass switch:
a. Response time.
b. Overload capabilities.
c. Control and sensing features.
12. Maintenance bypass switch.
13. Reliability, redundancy, guaranteed uptime, MTBF.
14. Output configuration: Hardwired, PDU, or receptacles?
15. Acceptance testing after installation to confirm that UPS operates properly
and meets specifications.
B. SpecificationsPowerline to UPS interaction.
1. Nominal input voltage, frequency, and phase.
2. Input operating voltage range without battery discharge.
3. Input current:
a. Nominal.
b. At low line voltage.
c. Maximum during battery recharge.
d. Inrush and current soft start (walk-in).
e. Current THD.
f. Input power factor.
g. Input current crest factor, notching.
4. Line regulation; response to abrupt input voltage change and recovery time.
5. Efficiency at full and partial loads.

Mitigating Devices

6. Transient protection.
a. Maximum transient withstand without damage (per ANSI C62.41).
b. Maximum transient pass through to load for a given input transient,
both common-mode and differential-mode.
7. Input to output isolation.
a. Separately derived source.
b. CM noise attenuation; how much over what frequency range.
8. For standby systems:
a. Switching time.
b. Response time to sense a power failure.
c. Voltage level at which it switches, peak or RMS sensing.
d. Necessary power good time before it switches back to power line.
9. Ability to run off generation power and its frequency shifts.
C. SpecificationsUPS to environment interaction.
1. Operating temperature and humidity range.
2. Heat output and air conditioning needs.
3. Will the room stay cool enough during a power failure?
4. Size and weight, including batteries.
5. Adequate passageway for installation.
6. Clearance around UPS for maintenance.
7. Separate battery room; special ventilation for hydrogen gas and acid spill
8. Desired control panel and electrical metering.
9. Internal diagnostics.
10. Interface to computer room emergency power off (EPO) circuit.
11. Interface to the loads so the UPS can initiate an orderly shutdown of the
12. UPS remote communication ability.
13. UPS maintenance needs, battery maintenance needs.
14. Service support, response time, spares.
15. Warranty.
16. Electro static discharge (ESD) sensitivity.
17. UL Listing and CSA Certification.
18. FCC EMI Certification.



Electronic systems and equipment are much more sensitive to power disturbances than
conventional electrical equipment. They can experience significant operational
problems such as data errors, system interruptions, memory or program loss, and even
equipment damage due to power disturbances. In fact, a single power disturbance can
cost more in downtime and equipment damage than the investment in power quality
protection that would have prevented the disturbance from occurring. Meeting the
needs of sensitive equipment often requires surveying the present power distribution
system in a building and making appropriate changes.

Survey Objective
In facilities experiencing equipment problems that appear to be power related, on-site
surveys generally are required in order to verify that power disturbances are the cause
of electronic equipment malfunction or failure. The specific objectives of such a survey,
listed in order of priority, follow:

Determine condition and adequacy of the wiring and grounding system

Determine ac voltage quality at the point of use

Determine sources of power disturbances and their impacts of power disturbances

on equipment performance

Analyze findings to identify immediate and long-term cost-effective solutions

Survey procedures employed depend largely on the magnitude and severity of the
power quality problems and budgetary limitations. Several types of on-site surveys can
be undertaken, ranging from basic to comprehensive. Critical to an effective on-site
survey is the order in which problem areas are tested and analyzed. In all cases, power
distribution (wiring) and grounding should be tested and analyzed before any testing
is conducted to determine ac voltage quality or site environmental parameters (e.g.,
temperature, humidity, electrostatic discharges, and radiated EMI). Some of these
procedures can affect the operation of loads, so they must be carefully coordinated with
the customer.

Conducting On-Site Surveys

A detailed log of problems should be kept by the customer. If no log exists, encourage
the customers to begin logging problems immediately.

Basic Survey
The basic survey only involves testing and analysis of the power distribution and
grounding system. Recent EPRI studies indicate that roughly 80% of electronic
equipment malfunctions or failures can be attributed to wiring and grounding system
problems. (12) Such problems can include loose connections, reversed conductors, and
improper or poor quality connections in the wiring and grounding from the power
source to the load.
Installation problems such as those listed above are detectable through effective testing
and analysis of the wiring and grounding system. However, a single line diagram of
the power system supplying the equipment is needed to determine the types of tests
needed, as well as the location and quantities of tests. Wiring and grounding tests
should be performed by a qualified electrical contractor. A good place to begin testing
is the main building service panel or supply transformer. If the quality of the earth
ground systems is questionable, an earth ground tester can be used to measure the
resistance of the grounding system. Additional tests performed at this location should
include RMS voltage levels (phase-to-phase, phase-to-neutral, phase-to-ground, and
neutral-to-ground), peak voltage levels, current levels (phase, neutral, and ground),
and verification of proper neutral-ground bonding. From this point, each panel in the
power distribution system serving the affected equipment should be tested or verified.
Tests should include voltages, currents, phase rotation, ground impedance, and neutral
impedance. Verification also should include proper isolation of neutral conductor,
proper conductor sizing, tightness of connections, and types of loads being served.
Upon completion of the transformer and/or panel testing, it is necessary to verify all
branch circuits supplying the sensitive equipment. Verification tests should include
voltages, proper conductor termination (wiring errors), the absence of neutral-ground,
and isolated ground shorts, as well as measurement ground and neutral impedance
Several measurements and other steps are required to successfully resolve distribution
and grounding problems. These are as follows:


Initial Physical Site ExaminationBefore conducting a survey to identify

distribution and grounding problems, an initial physical site examination is
recommended. It typically begins at the location of the sensitive electronic load
equipment and progresses back to the service entrance through the following
sequence: sensitive load equipment, branch circuit wiring, breaker panel, feeder
wiring, transformer, main breaker panel, switchboard, and service entrance.

Conducting On-Site Surveys

Sensitive Load EquipmentStart at the load equipment to check the wiring for code
violations, adequate insulation, visible damage, miswired connectors (e.g., phase
and neutral-reversed or phase sequence reversed); secure connections; and measure
the phase, neutral, and ground voltages and currents.

Breaker PanelVerify that the breakers in the panel feed the sensitive electronic
load. Check that no other loads are on a dedicated circuit. Visually check for any
code violations, the use of wire nuts, insulation, other visible damage, and for
secure connections. Look for signs of burnt areas or carbonization, which indicate
previous faults, flashovers, arcing, etc. Note the size of incoming and outgoing
conductors and make sure that they are adequately sized for the load, especially the
neutral. Check for shared neutrals and possible overloads with high harmonic
loads. Check the temperature of the insulated face of circuit breakers and for visual
signs of overheating. Smell the panel, which may indicate overheating conditions.
Measure phase, neutral, and ground voltages and currents, as well as the voltage
drop across each critical breaker. More than about 0.1-V indicates a possibly bad

TransformerVerify that it feeds the electronic load equipment. Record the

nameplate data of the transformer. Check the transformer for code violations,
connections, and visible damage; primary and secondary conductors, including the
neutral and ground; for neutral overheating; and the transformer temperature.
Measure and record primary and secondary voltages and and currents, including
neutral and grounds, as well as the current in the neutral-to-ground bond. If the
latter is more than a few hundred milliamperes, additional neutral-to-ground bonds
exist. Listen to the transformer for hissing and buzzing noise.

Main Breaker Panel and SwitchboardsCheck for code violations, insulation,

visible damages, and secure connections. The voltage drop across a breaker when
current is flowing through it should not exceed 50 to 100 millivolts. Look for signs
of previous faults such as burnt areas, flashovers, arcing, etc. Note the size of
incoming and outgoing conductors. Check for visual signs of overheating. Use an
infrared camera, if available, for examining the hot spots in the main breaker panel
and switchboard.

Service EntranceVisually inspect incoming service, including the wiring. Note

whether there are demand meters and/or power factor meters. Also determine
whether there are switched capacitors for power factor correction in the building or
at the service entrance, and whether there are inductive loads regulated by a
demand controller.

Examination of DataAnalyze occurrences of disturbance and the problem log. Is

there a correlation with the equipment failure and occurrence of the disturbance?
Can the disturbance be correlated with shift changes, machine cycles, air

Conducting On-Site Surveys

conditioning cycles, etc.? Are the disturbances of sufficient magnitude to disrupt the
sensitive electronic loads? If they are, further examination may be required.

Wiring and GroundingWiring and grounding measurements detect problems in

the feeders and branch circuits serving the critical load. The test instruments used to
conduct these tests should be selected carefully. Commonly available three-light
circuit testers should be used with caution. These instruments have limitations and
can provide a correct indication when the circuit being tested actually has one or
more problems. They also are incapable of indicating the integrity of power
conductors. Recommended instruments for these measurements include true RMS
multimeter, clamp-on ammeter, and ground impedance testers. These are described
later in this section.

Continuity of Conduit/Enclosure GroundsElectronic equipment should be

grounded with a separate equipment grounding conductor. This conductor can be
terminated in an isolated grounding system, insulated from the conduit ground, or
in the conduit ground system. This is because both are ultimately connected to the
building ground systems. However, the isolated ground and conduit ground must
terminate at the first upstream neutral-ground bonding point. Try to avoid long
runs of isolated grounding conductor, as they have significant impedance and this
can create noise voltages and possible safety problems.

Ground impedance testers can be used to measure the quality of both the isolated
ground and conduit ground systems from the equipment to the power source. To
achieve good performance from sensitive electronic loads, phase, neutral, and
equipment grounding conductors should be routed through continuously grounded
metallic conduit. Continuously grounded metal conduit provides a shield for radiated
Load Phase and Neutral CurrentsMeasurements of load-phase current and neutral
current are necessary to determine whether the load is sharing a neutral conductor with
other loads. They also determine whether the neutral conductor sizing is adequate.
When sizing neutral conductors, remember that the current in the neutral can exceed
current in the phase conductor in three-phase circuits supplying single-phase loads
with nonlinear current characteristics. A true RMS reading clamp-on ammeter must be
used to make phase and neutral conductor measurements. To determine whether the
neutral serving the sensitive electronic load is shared with other loads, check the
neutral current with the sensitive load turned off. If the current is not zero, a shared
neutral is being used.


Transformer SizingMeasurements for transformer sizing are necessary to verify

that the transformers are sized according to load. Recommended practices for
transformer derating for nonlinear loads are discussed in Chapter 6.

Conducting On-Site Surveys

Neutral-Ground BondsThe NEC requires bonding of the neutral and equipment

grounding conductor at the main service panel (NEC Article 250-24, -28) and the
secondary side of separately derived systems (NEC Article 250-30). If not properly
bonded, a significant neutral-ground voltage may occur, possibly creating shock
hazards for operating personnel and degrading sensitive electronic equipment
performance. These bonds can be detected using a wiring and grounding tester.

A voltage measurement between neutral and ground at the outlets may indicate
voltage from a millivolt to few volts range under normal operating conditions. A zero
voltage indicates the presence of a nearby neutral-ground bond. Excessive current on
equipment grounds in distribution panels also indicates the possibility of a load-side
neutral-ground bond. Generally, neutral-to-ground voltage greater than about 2 volts
will exceed some manufacturers recommendations; greater than about 4 volts indicates
overloaded neutral or wiring problems.

Equipment Grounding Conductor ImpedanceEquipment grounding conductor

impedance is measured using a ground impedance tester. Properly installed and
maintained equipment ground conductors exhibit very low impedance levels. A
high impedance measurement indicates poor quality connections in the equipment
grounding system or an improperly installed equipment grounding conductor. An
open ground measurement reveals no equipment grounding conductor
connection. Recommended practice is to verify an impedance level of 0.25 ohms or
less. This also helps assure personnel protection under fault conditions.

Neutral Conductor ImpedanceNeutral conductor impedance is measured because

a low impedance neutral is essential to minimize neutral-ground potentials at the
load and help reduce common-mode noise. A ground impedance tester can be used
to conduct these measurements. It is necessary for neutral conductors to have low

Grounding Electrode ResistanceThe grounding electrode system provides an

earth reference point for the facility and a path for lightning and static electricity.
The electrode conductor serves as the connection between the building grounding
system and the grounding electrode system. An accurate measurement of
grounding electrode resistance can be taken only when the grounding electrode is
disconnected from all other grounds. This is not recommended for a building in
service. For new construction, the resistance of the grounding electrode system is
measured with an earth ground tester using the fall-of-potential method. It is
recommended that the measured resistance be in accordance with the design values
and NEC.

Current flow in the grounding electrode conductor can be measured using a clampon ammeter. In most cases, small current flow will exist. However, zero current


Conducting On-Site Surveys

flow usually indicates an open connection. Current flow on the order of the phase
currents indicates serious problems or possible fault conditions.

Isolated Ground and Conduit Ground SystemsThe quality of both the isolated
ground and conduit ground systems from the equipment to the ground source
needs to be measured. This is to ensure that sensitive electronic loads are grounded
with a separate equipment grounding conductor and are ultimately connected to the
building grounding system. Both ground systems terminate at the first upstream
neutral-ground bonding point. The phase, neutral, and equipment grounding
conductors should be routed through continuously grounded metallic conduit. As a
result, better performance of sensitive electronic equipment is achieved and safety
codes are met.

Dedicated Feeders and Direct Path RoutingMeasuring phase currents with the
critical loads turned off is one way to determine if sensitive electronic loads are
being served by dedicated feeders and branch circuits. These should have conductor
routing as short and direct as possible. If there is any current flow, the feeder is
being used to serve other loads.

Separately Derived SystemsNo direct electrical connection should exist in

separately derived systems between output and input phase conductors. Separately
derived systems are required by the NEC to have a load-side neutral-ground bond
connected to the grounding electrode system. All equipment ground conductors,
any isolated grounding conductors, neutral conductors, and the metal enclosure of
the separately derived systems are required to be bonded together and bonded to
the grounding electrode conductor. Visual inspections and measurements with a
ground impedance tester can determine the quality of these connections.

DocumentationAll survey and test results should be properly recorded to ensure

effective data analysis. A standard survey form should be developed. The type of
data that needs to be recorded is listed in Table 5-1.

Data Analysis and Recommendations Development Once testing has been

completed, all survey and test data should be analyzed. Computer software
packages can simplify this task. Upon completion of this analysis, a formal list of
recommendations should be prepared in writing and forwarded to the enduser or
individual responsible for implementation of recommendations. Immediate
corrective steps must be undertaken to correct any condition(s) found during the
on-site survey that represent a serious safety hazard to personnel or equipment.

Intermediate Survey
The intermediate survey involves all procedures described in the basic survey, in
addition to the monitoring of ac voltage supplying the affected electronic equipment.

Conducting On-Site Surveys

Note, however, the distribution and grounding system must be tested and analyzed before any
monitoring is undertaken to determine the quality of ac voltage.
Table 5-1
Typical survey data.

General Data

Building uses
System type

Transformer Data

Rating (kVA)
Primary voltage
Secondary voltage
Taps and tap position
Phase rotation

Distribution Panel
Source of power
Panel description
(manufacturer, model,
ampere rating,
number of volts, main
lugs or main CB, etc.)
Feeder description
(size, number of
conductors including
neutral and ground,
Branch circuit loads
(circuit breaker, size,
type of load, number
of conductors)

Nature of Problems
and Possible
Load description (sensitive
equipment type, power
Nature of problem
Coincidence of events
Power quality problem source
Site observations and
Possible solutions

Branch circuit tests

(voltage, current,
wiring, N/G short,
ground z,
neutral z)

Power Monitoring
Power disturbance monitors typically are used to detect various types of voltage
disturbances. Figures 5-1, 5-2, and 5-3 illustrate recommended hookup procedures for
power monitors in various applications. Using twisted pair cables for monitor inputs
reduces the possibility of picking up radiated RFI/EMI fields. It is also recommended
that the monitor be connected in the same mode as the equipment i.e., phase-to-phase
or phase-to-neutral.


Conducting On-Site Surveys

Figure 5-1
Example of power monitor hookup procedure for single-phase application.

Figure 5-2
Example of power monitor hookup procedure for single-phase application with
power conditioner.


Conducting On-Site Surveys

Figure 5-3
Example of three-phase Wye power monitoring.

Input power to the monitor should be provided from a circuit other than the circuit to
be monitored. In addition, grounding of the power monitor should be carefully
performed. Since a chassis ground is provided through the ac input power cord, any
chassis ground connections to the circuit being monitored can create ground loops that
result in additional noise being injected on the sensitive equipment feeder. To avoid
this problem, it is recommended that no chassis ground connection be made to the
circuit being monitored. The instrument manufacturer should be contacted for
guidance, as required.
Power monitoring equipment requires selection of thresholds at which disturbances are
to be recorded. Thresholds are designed to detect surges that cause component
degradation or destruction. If equipment tolerance limits are unknown, a high-voltage
threshold of 126 V and a low voltage of 108 V is recommended. However, in most
cases, high- and low-voltage thresholds are set slightly within the voltage operating
limits of the equipment. This permits detection of voltage levels close to the critical
maximum or minimum voltage limits that can result in equipment overstress or
failures. For detecting surges if no equipment surge limits are specified, a threshold
approximately 100 V-peak could be used. If the monitor has high-frequency noise
detection, a 23 V-peak threshold should be used for detection of high-frequency noise
between the neutral and ground.
Location and duration of power monitoring equipment is also important. It is
advantageous to install the monitor at the power panel feeding the system to obtain an
overall profile of voltage, particularly at sites that serve several loads. The monitor can

Conducting On-Site Surveys

then be relocated to the circuits serving individual loads such as CPUs, disk drives, and
other such equipment experiencing malfunctions or failures. Power disturbance sources
and solutions can be effectively found when disturbance data is compared.
Recommended practice is that the minimum monitoring period include at least one full
business or process cycle, usually one week (78 days).
There are limitations on the ability of power monitoring equipment to predict power
supply disturbances at a specific location. For example, severe disturbances may occur
infrequently or on a seasonal basis. Therefore, monitoring periods of less than a year
might produce an inaccurate power disturbance profile. Also, monitoring equipment
produce only current information for changes within the site and neighboring sites and
does not predict future problems.
Power monitor measurements can be adversely affected by surge protection devices
(e.g., varistors) installed in the proximity of the point being monitored. They are
affected in the following ways:

Lower voltage surges are likely to be manifested in locations where voltage surges
were previously identified. This assumes that there is no change in the source of the
surges. In addition, current surges are likely to occur in the newly installed
protective devices and their grounding connection.

The presence of nearby varistors will change the peaks and waveforms of the
observed voltages. If a varistor is located between the source of the surge and the
recording instrument, the instrument records the clamping voltage of the varistor.
This voltage will have lower peaks but longer time to half-peak than the original

If the instrument is located between the source of the surge and a varistor, or if a
parallel circuit contains a varistor, the instrument records the clamping voltage of
the varistor, preceded by a spike corresponding to the inductive drop in the line
feeding the surge current to the varistor. If a varistor is connected between the line
and neutral conductors, and the surge is impinging between the line and neutral at
the service entrance (normal-mode), a new situation is created. The line-to-neutral
voltage is clamped as intended; however, the inductive drop in the neutral
conductor returning the surge current to the service entrance produces a surge
voltage between the neutral and the grounding conductors.

In addition to documentation required for the basic survey, information such as the site
name, date, circuit being monitored, hookup scheme, and other related data should be
recorded at the beginning of data printout from the monitor to facilitate future
reference to data. Most monitors can be accessed via an RS-232 port by a remote

Conducting On-Site Surveys

terminal or computer. This feature can be very helpful in downloading data, changing
thresholds, and performing other functions on several monitors in the field from a
single terminal in the office.

Data Analysis and Recommendations Development

The data provided by the power monitor should be carefully analyzed to determine
sources of voltage disturbances, as well as cost-effective methods for correction or
elimination of disturbances. Although the determination of the power disturbance
source(s) is a difficult task, the following guidelines will help:

If the equipment experiencing malfunction is supplied by an isolation transformer

or other power conditioner and disturbances are recorded on the output of the
conditioner only, then the conditioner or the equipment may be the source of the

When comparing disturbances on the dc output of the power supply to events on

the ac input to the equipment, if no time correlation can be made, the events on the
dc channel could be originating at an external device and are being reflected into
the system by the data or communication cables. If disturbances are occurring about
the same time during the working day, determine what equipment is being
operated in the facility at that time. If no time correlation can be obtained, the source
of disturbance may be external to the facility.

The recommendations developed based on this survey must highlight the power
disturbances being experienced and suggest solutions. However, the recommendations
must stress that problems in the power and grounding distribution system must be
corrected before problems relating to ac voltage quality are corrected.

Comprehensive Survey
The comprehensive survey involves all procedures described in the basic and
intermediate surveys, in addition to monitoring of site environmental parameters. It
requires additional measurements for electrostatic discharge, temperature, humidity,
and electromagnetic interference (EMI). Measurements may be required at several
locations and over a longer period of time. Instruments needed to conduct these
measurements are discussed later in this section.

DocumentationData collected on site environmental parameters should be

properly recorded and categorized to ensure effective analysis.

Data Analysis and Recommendations DevelopmentInformation to be analyzed

under this survey includes data collected from both basic and intermediate surveys

Conducting On-Site Surveys

as well as data relative to the environmental parameters. Recommendations

developed must prioritize actions required to mitigate power disturbance problems.

Power quality surveys require a variety of instrumentation due to the many different
measurements that must be performed. Test instruments recommended for use in each
type of survey are summarized in Table 5-2. Note that a multimeter, ammeter, ground
impedance tester, and power line monitor are absolutely essential equipment for
minimum effective power disturbance detection and analysis.
RMS digital multimeters are used to measure voltage and continuity. Units with the
ability to measure peak voltage within a one-millisecond time window are very useful
to determine the actual peak voltage of a distorted sine wave. Most power supplies are
sensitive to peak voltage, not RMS voltage.
True RMS clamp-on ammeters are used to measure current and analyze current
waveforms, particularly when nonsinusoidal waveforms are involved. They are
recommended due to their ease of use and broad bandwidth characteristics of
transformer-based meter designs. Several types of ammeters are currently available,
such as direct-reading and indirect-reading ammeters.
A ground impedance tester is a multifunctional instrument designed to detect wiring
and ground problems in low-voltage power distribution systems. Such problems can
include wiring errors, neutral ground shorts and reversals, isolated ground shorts, and
ground and neutral impedance shorts. Some testers are designed for use on 120-VAC
single-phase systems while others can be used on both single- and three-phase systems
up to 600 VAC.
An earth ground tester is used to measure the ground electrode impedance. Ground
resistance tests should be conducted with a fall-of-potential method instrument. Clampon instruments that do not require the grounding electrode to be isolated from the
building grounding systems for the test generally are not recommended.


Conducting On-Site Surveys

Table 5-2
Typical test instruments for conducting a site survey.

An oscilloscope can be used to a limited extent to detect harmonics in an electrical
system. It can also be used to examine the voltage waveform and measure for noise
when combined with a line decoupler. In this case, the input is connected to the voltage
of interest with the appropriate lead. If a voltage above the range of the oscilloscope is
to be examined, probes with resistance-divider networks are available to extend the
range of the instrument.
The oscilloscope cannot measure current directly because only a voltage as current
passes through the input resistance. Current measurements can be made through use of
a current transformer and/or shunt (current-viewing resistor) if a differential input is
provided to the oscilloscope. If only a single-ended input is available, the signal is then
applied between the high input and the oscilloscope chassis, creating a ground loop.
Attempts are then sometimes made to break this ground loop by disconnecting the
equipment safety grounding conductor (green wire) of the oscilloscope. This practice,
known as floating scope, is a safety risk and must be prohibited.


Conducting On-Site Surveys

Power Disturbance Monitors

A power disturbance monitor detects ac (and dc) voltage disturbances. Some monitors
can also be used to record current variations, temperature/humidity levels, and other
parameters. Time-domain and limited-frequency domain measurements also are
possible. These devices provide strip charts of voltage, frequency, impulses,
temperature, humidity, etc.
Although developed for the common application of detecting voltage aberrations that
affect the operation of electric equipment, power disturbance monitors have many
characteristics. Differences include data output, measurement performance, channel
capacity, and ancillary features that are of considerable importance to the user.
Recording functions of power monitors used in on-site surveys are classified as follows:

Digital peak recordersWithin this device, the surge is converted to a digital value
that is recorded in a buffer memory for later playback, or printed out immediately
after it occurs. Early recorders only registered the peak value, while later recorders
registered the duration of the surge.

Oscilloscope with cameraSurges that trigger a single sweep on the cathode ray
tube (CRT) of the oscilloscope are recorded by a shutterless camera as they occur. In
earlier types of these devices, differential measurements were not allowed.

Storage screen oscilloscopeThis device displays and stores the surge on the CTR.

Digital storage oscilloscopeThis device digitizes and stores the surge in a shift
register for subsequent playback and display whenever a preset threshold is
exceeded. The oscilloscope also has the capability of displaying events prior to the
beginning of the surge.

Digital waveform recorderThis device digitizes and stores the surge in a manner
similar to the digital storage oscilloscope. Because of its data processing functions,
which are incorporated in the instrument, the recorder allows reports of many
different parameters of the disturbance, relating voltage to time.

Threshold countersApplied to a calibrated voltage divider, this device triggers a

counter each time a preset voltage is exceeded. Early threshold counters were
analog, but recent counters are digital.

Considerable progress has been made in the recording capability of monitoring

instruments, primarily as a result of digital hardware and software. Improvements
include multi-channel synchronized recording of different parameters, fast data
acquisition, automated data reduction, and improved resolution. Some monitors can
make simultaneous current and voltage measurements, which are helpful in

Conducting On-Site Surveys

determining disturbances direction. Three types of power disturbance monitors are

available: text monitors, event indicators, and waveform analyzers.

Spectrum Analyzers
A spectrum analyzer equipped with appropriate measurement capabilities can be used
to measure harmonics, electronic noise, and frequency deviations. Special-purpose
harmonic meters or low frequency or broad-band spectrum analyzers can also be used
to measure these voltage and current disturbances.
Static meters are hand-held devices typically used to measure the electrostatic potential
of surfaces. High electrostatic fields can easily damage electronic components.
Psychrometers are used to measure temperature and humidity in the environment,
although such measurements can also be made with power monitoring devices
equipped with special probes.
A field strength meter equipped with a special probe can be used to measure electric or
magnetic field strength.
Infrared detectors can be used to detect overheating of transformers, circuit breakers,
and other electrical apparatus.


Power maintenance of sensitive electronic equipment and power conditioning
equipment is necessary to assure power quality. Equipment must be kept in efficient
operating condition to contribute to the success of the process in which it is employed.
Improperly maintained equipment can become unreliable and substandard.
Maintenance personnel should fully understand the importance of routine upkeep,
which is integral to the overall performance of the equipment.
Maintenance of sensitive electronic and power conditioning equipment is designed to:

Protect the equipment from adverse effects of heat, dust, moisture, and other

Maintain top reliability and minimize costly downtime

Prolong the useful life of the equipment

Recognize incipient problems and take corrective action

Because a power quality survey requires access to, and measurement of, line electrical
circuits, all maintenance work must be performed by qualified personnel observing all
safety guidelines.

General Safety Guidelines

Safety is most important when maintaining sensitive electronic equipment.
Maintenance personnel should regularly use caution and care when handling such
equipment. Examples of general safety guidelines for performing maintenance work
are as follows:

Avoid physical/mechanical strains on wires, cables, and connections.

Maintain equipment in a neat, orderly, and workmanlike manner.

Disconnect all power from the equipment prior to servicing.


Maintenance Requirements To Assure Power Quality

Discharge all stored energy in capacitors to the ground, or short circuit the leads for
at least one full minute.

Avoid touching tubes, resistors, heat sinks, etc., to which power has just been
removed. Their component temperatures remain very high for some time.

Observe special care when using or servicing equipment that employs the chassis as
one side of the circuit, as this equipment may be hazardous in the presence of
grounded or some ungrounded three-phase circuits.

If it is necessary to troubleshoot energized circuits of high voltage, maintenance

personnel should ensure that the insulation on the test equipment leads is fully
rated for the operating voltage under test and is in good mechanical condition.

Replace equipment and panelboard covers or install barricades to prevent

accidental contact with hazardous voltages during work or inspection.

Install barricades or warning tape around monitoring equipment. Place a sign on

the equipment indicating that monitoring is in process. The sign should also list and
a contact name with telephone or pager number in case of emergency.

Use approved tools and test equipment. Periodically inspect electric hand tools such
as wire wrap guns, drills, etc.

Replace worn or broken tools and test equipment.

After working on equipment, restore all safety devices as shields, guards, signs, and
ground leads. Replace any safety devices that have been used to protect
maintenance personnel.

Be alert to potential hazards in the working environment (damp floors, ungrounded

extension cords, power surges, missing safety grounds, etc.).

Power supplies, pumps, blowers, MGs, and other units must not be serviced with
power on. The unit must not be removed from its normal operating position. In this
way, proper grounding is maintained.

Never assume anything about equipment or a circuit. No equipment is completely

safe all the time. Use judgment and exercise caution before beginning.

Preventive Maintenance
Equipment with moving parts usually requires periodic maintenance in order to assure
reliable operation. Cleaning, lubrication, and adjustments for wear are common

Maintenance Requirements To Assure Power Quality

procedures. Sensitive electronic equipment, power disturbance equipment, and the

power conditioning equipment require similar maintenance as well. A proper schedule
of periodic inspections can lessen the likelihood of equipment failure and increase its
Preventive maintenance for sensitive electronic equipment and power conditioning
equipment involves cleaning, inspecting, and adjusting. Each is briefly described

Cleaning the equipment, both inside and out, is essential for reliable operation.
Contaminants, such as dirt and dust, can increase the potential for current leakage or
flashover that can result in equipment malfunction or damage to critical parts. Any
accumulation of dust should be removed with a vacuum cleaner, if possible, or
manually cleaned during maintenance shutdown periods. Enclosure filters should be
cleaned at regular intervals and replaced when damaged or clogged.

Inspecting is a critical factor in maintaining sensitive electronic equipment. Time and
effort can be saved if defects are detected and corrected before they lead to major
shutdowns or even breakdowns. Observe equipment parts for the following signs:

ColorDiscoloration or other visual spectrum characteristics may indicate

overheating or other problems.

PlacementLeads, cable clearances, and rub points should be checked.

CleanlinessRecesses should be examined for accumulation of dust, particularly

between connecting terminals. Parts, connections, and joints should be free of dust,
corrosion, and other foreign material.

TightnessTesting is recommended for soldered or screw terminal connections and

mountings by slightly pulling on the wire or feeling the lug or terminal screw.

Aging and wearMechanical components usually wear during operation. This

wear can usually be seen or measured. Some electrical components wear during
operation as well but it is sometimes more difficult to detect. The rate of wear
(degrading) with time is a function of the design of the component and the level of
stress to which it is subjected. A given component may have a much longer
operational life in a conservatively designed product than it would in a design
where its stress level is higher. The design stress level of a component is related to

Maintenance Requirements To Assure Power Quality

how close the component is operating to the manufacturer's maximum

specifications. In most cases, the designed stress level interacts with the operational
environment to determine the ultimate life of the component. High temperature
environments tend to shorten the life of nearly all components. The life of some
components such as electrolytic capacitors and batteries are greatly affected by
operation at elevated temperatures.

Adjustments should be made only when equipment performance indicates that it is
required to maintain normal operating conditions. Specific adjustments vary with each
type of equipment and usually are contained in the instruction booklets supplied by the
manufacturer. Equipment calibrations should be scheduled on a routine basis with the
frequency depending upon individual operating conditions peculiar to the process or

Restoring System Operation After Failure

Sensitive electronic equipment and power conditioning equipment can experience
failure, even if it is well-maintained. When a failure occurs, it is important to take the
proper steps to restore system operation as soon as possible. General procedures for
restoring system operation after failure, in order of priority follow:

Determine what has failed and why it has failed.

Restore power to load through the use of maintenance bypass switchgear or other
means. Replace or repair the failed component or assembly.

Restart system and perform operational checks.

Place system back on line.

Restoring power is the first step if the critical load has lost power. In most cases, bypass
switchgear can be used to connect the utility power directly to the load. A manual
bypass switch should be closed even if the load is being supplied through a static
switch or other automatic switch.
The next step is to determine the cause of the equipment failure. Many modern power
conditioning systems provide alarm annunciation and some provide effective
diagnostics to help identify the source of the problem. Because of design variations, the
amount of time required to determine what has failed and how long till it is repaired is
different for all equipment. In general, it is typically easier to replace complete


Maintenance Requirements To Assure Power Quality

assemblies as opposed to individual components. System designs that have made good
use of modular repair concepts will generally be easier and faster to put back on line.
Another step is to determine why the failure has occurred. Normally, each failure has
its identifiable cause. This must be determined and dealt with to avoid re-occurrences
of the same failure. In some instances, this will be difficult because the cause is often
transient and no longer present. The source of the problem can be internal to the
equipment, in the utility feed, the building power distribution, or the load itself. If
system operation is restored before the cause of the failure is determined, steps should
be taken immediately to identify and eliminate the source of the failure.
Operational tests should be performed on the equipment to assure proper functioning
before placing it back on-line. Other components may have been damaged and in need
of repair. Accurate records of the failure and all associated data should be kept.

Record Keeping
Record keeping is an essential element of any maintenance program. Many different
record keeping systems are available, each with its own advantages. The system
selected or created should be the one that best fits the needs of the facility involved.
In general, the record-keeping system should have at least five basic components:
equipment record, repair cost record, inspection checklist, maintenance schedule
record, and maintenance inspection and test records. With respect to power quality, all
survey and test results should be recorded to assure effective data analysis.



Many different codes and standards address power quality, safety, and operational
integrity of sensitive electronic equipment. Among them, the National Electrical Code
(NEC) is applied most commonly. The NEC is a series of specific and detailed
requirements developed by a national consensus process. Most local jurisdictions have
adopted NEC requirements in part or entirely. The NEC requirements focus on safety
rather than efficient equipment operation.
Many new standards are being developed by different organizations (e.g., Institute of
Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), American National Standards Institute
(ANSI), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), National Fire
Protection Agency (NFPA), National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA),
and Underwriters Laboratories (UL)) that specifically address performance-related
requirements and power quality characteristics, particularly of sensitive electronic
Table A-1 lists important standards as they relate to various power quality issues. A
brief description of each standard follows.
Table A-1
Power quality standards and issues covered.




Surge Protection

ANSI C84.1

Voltage Levels


Industrial Powering


Grounding, Powering


Interface Equipment






Relevant Codes and Standards


Harmonics, Utility Interface


Harmonics, Utility Interface


Harmonics, Utility Interface

IEEE P-487

Life/Fire Safety

IEEE P-1100

Grounding, Powering, Disturbances, Interface Equipment,

Monitoring, Load Susceptibility

IEEE P-1159

Disturbances, Monitoring


Equipment Interface




Life/Fire Safety


Surge Protection


Grounding, Disturbances, Life/Fire Safety, Telecommunications,

Noise Control



UL 1449

Surge Protection

ANSI C62 provides a collection of 11 guides, standards, and specifications regarding

the nature of surge voltages, protective devices, device testing, and applications for
surge protection. (Sponsored by IEEE Power Engineering Society, Surge Protective
Device Committee)
ANSI C84.1 lists nominal voltage ratings for electric power systems and equipment (60
Hz). It also includes recommended limits for voltage imbalance on the power system.
ANSI/IEEE STD-141 provides the latest procedures for planning the electric power
distribution systems of an industrial plant. Includes new chapters on surge voltage
protection, electric energy and conservation, and cost of substations and distribution
ANSI/IEEE STD 142 describes procedures for a thorough investigation of the problems
of grounding and the methods for solving these problems.
ANSI/IEEE STD-446 presents recommended engineering practices for the selection and
application of emergency and standby power systems. Means for coping with power
quality problems related to computer power supplies are also covered.
ANSI/IEEE STD-493 covers industrial and commercial power system reliability.

Relevant Codes and Standards

ANSI/IEEE STD-519 provides guidance for control of harmonic current and voltage.

ANSI/IEEE STD-929 covers interconnection practices for photovoltaic power systems.

ANSI/IEEE STD-1001 presents a guide on the engineering considerations and
regulation that have an impact on dispersed storage and generation (DSG)
interconnections with utility systems. DSGs and utility system characteristics are
described. Electrical interaction, protection, and safety are covered.
ANSI/IEEE STD-1035 recommends test procedures pertaining to utility compatibility
for static power converters (one- and three-phase, 1500 kW). Tests cover power factor
and harmonics, voltage and frequency trips, time to disconnect, and
conducted/radiated EMI. This recommended practice applies to static power
converters whose primary function is to deliver electric energy to the grid. Adjustable
speed drives are not covered unless they are of the regenerating type. (IEEE Standard
Coordinating Committee on Dispersed Storage and Generation (SCC 23), Working
Group on Test Procedures for Utility Interconnected Static Power Converters)
IEEE- P-487 covers wire-line communications protection in power stations.
IEEE 519 (revised) establishes goals and recommends practices for customers and
utilities to control harmonic distortion levels. The new standard also outlines harmonic
limitations that utilities should comply with. It reflects input from the Power
Engineering Society and the Industry Applications Society.
IEEE P-1100 covers power and grounding of sensitive electronic equipment.
IEEE P-1159 covers monitoring (and definition) of electric power quality.
NEMA-UPS covers uninterruptible power supply specifications.
NIST FIPS-94 describes techniques for resolving typical power and grounding
problems frequently encountered with large- and medium-scale automated data
processing (ADP) installations. These include grounding, power conditioning, life
safety, control of static electricity, and lightning protection.
NIST-SP768 provides information on power quality covering issues regarding impact
on sensitive electronic equipment problems and solutions.
NFPA-70 provides the most widely adopted electrical safety requirements. It provides
detailed descriptions of electrical wiring and grounding requirements for different
types of installations. These are the minimum requirements for system grounding and
do not deal with the increased requirements for noise reduction at sensitive loads.


Relevant Codes and Standards

NFPA-75 covers protection of electronic computer data processing equipment.

NFPA-78 covers lightning protection for ADP installations.
UL 1449 contains basic requirements for products covered by Underwriter's
Laboratories, Inc. Requirements cover surge suppression products designed for
repeated limiting of transient voltage surges on 50- or 60-Hz power circuits.



The following definitions have been derived from a variety of IEEE, EPRI, and other
industry publications. (2,3,4,5,8)
Balun Transformer. A longitudinal transformer in which inductive effects are canceled
and common-mode noise is sufficiently restricted.
Commercial Power. Electricity furnished by the electric utility company.
Converter. A device that converts ac power into dc power or dc power into ac power.
Coupling. Circuit element(s) or network that may be considered common to the input
mesh and the output mesh and through which energy may be transferred from one to
the other.
Critical Load. Equipment whose failure to operate satisfactorily jeopardizes the health
and safety of personnel, and/or results in loss of function, financial loss or damage to
property deemed critical by the user.
Dropout. A loss of equipment operation due to noise, sag, or interruption.
Dropout Voltage. The voltage at which the device will release to its deenergized
Flicker. A variation of input voltage sufficient in duration to allow visual observation
of a change in electric light source intensity.
Frequency Deviations. Power frequency increases or decreases lasting from several
cycles to several hours.
Ground. A conducting connection, whether intentional or accidental, by which an
electric circuit or equipment is connected to the earth, or to some conducting body of
relatively large extent that serves in place of the earth.
Grounding Electrode. Conductor(s) in contact with the ground for the purpose of
providing a connection with the ground.

Glossary of Terms

Ground Loop. A condition created when two or more points in an electrical system
that are nominally at ground potential are connected by a conducting path such that
either or both points are not at the same ground potential.
Harmonics. Power frequency harmonics are periodic distortions of the time-domain
voltage or current waveforms seen as integer multiples of the fundamental frequency.
Interruption. The complete loss of voltage for a time period.
Inverter. A device that converts dc power into ac power.
Linear Load. An electrical load device that, in normal operation, presents an essentially
constant load imbalance to the power source throughout each cycle of applied voltage.
Motor-Generator Set. A machine that consists of one or more motors mechanically
coupled to one or more generators.
Noise. Unwanted wideband disturbances superimposed upon a useful signal that tend
to obscure its information content.
Noise, Common-mode. The noise that appears equally and in phase between each
signal conductor and ground.
Noise, Differential Mode. See Noise, Transverse Mode.
Noise, Normal Mode. See Noise, Transverse Mode.
Noise, Transverse Mode. Noise signals measurable between or among active circuit
conductors feeding the subject load, but not between the equipment grounding
conductor or associated signal reference structure and the active circuit conductors.
Off-Line Operation. Pertaining to UPS systems whereby an inverter is off during
normal operation conditions.
On-Line Operation. Pertaining to UPS systems whereby an inverter is operating and
supplying the load during normal operating conditions.
Outage. See Interruption.
Overvoltage. Any long-term change above the prescribed input voltage range for any
given piece of equipment.
Power Conditioner. A device designed to reduce or eliminate electrical disturbance or
electrical noise on ac power lines supplying a critical or sensitive load.

Glossary of Terms

Power Disturbance. Any deviation from the nominal value or selected thresholds
(based on load tolerance) of the input ac power characteristics.
Power Quality. A concept of powering and grounding sensitive electronic equipment
in a manner that is suitable to the operation of that equipment.
Rectifier. A device that converts ac power into dc power.
Sag. A momentary (0.5 to 120 cycles) reduction in voltage at the power frequency
beyond a particular piece of equipment's voltage tolerance.
Shield. A conductive sheath (usually metallic) applied over the insulation of a
conductor or conductors to provide means to reduce electrostatic coupling between the
conductors so shielded and other conductors that may be susceptible to or that may be
generating unwanted electrostatic or electromagnetic fields (noise).
Shielding. The use of a conducting and/or ferromagnetic (permeable) barrier between
a potentially disturbing noise source and sensitive circuitry. It is used to protect cables
(data and power) and electronic circuits.
Surge. See Transient.
Surge Suppressor. A device or network of devices that reduces the voltage of an
incoming transient.
Transformer, Isolation. A transformer of the multiple winding type, with the primary
and secondary windings physically separated, that inductively couples its secondary
winding to the ground feeder systems that energize its primary winding, thereby
preventing primary circuit potential from being impressed on the circuits.
Touch Potential. The voltage difference between any two conductive surfaces that can
be touched by an individual.
Voltage Distortion. Any deviation from the nominal sine wave form of the ac line
Voltage Regulation. The degree of control or stability of the voltage waveform at the
load. The ability of the source to provide effective constant voltage (EMF) at the load.
Undervoltage. Any long-term change below the prescribed input voltage range for a
given piece of equipment.
UPS, On-Line. UPS system which, in normal operation, supplies the critical load from
the output of its inverter.


1. Problems With Power Quality, EPRI Journal, Electric Power Research Institute,
Palo Alto, California, July/August 1991.
2. Martzloff, Francois D. and Thomas K. Gruzs, Power Quality Site Surveys: Facts,
Fiction and Fallacies, Paper presented at 1987 IEEE Industry Applications Society
Annual Meeting, Nashville, Tennessee, May 47, 1987.
3. The Dranetz Field Handbook for Power Quality Analysis, Dranetz Technologies
Incorporated, Edison, New Jersey, 1991.
4. ANSI C84.1-1989 American National Standard for Electric Power Systems and
Equipment Voltage Ratings (60 Hz), American National Standards Institute, New
York, New York, 1989.
5. Emerald Book, IEEE Recommended Practice for Powering and Grounding Sensitive
Electronic Equipment Standard-1100, Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers,
New York, New York, March 1990 and February 1992.
6. Foster, Jim, Tuning Out Harmonic Problems, Plant Engineering, May 16, 1991.
7. Smith, Charles J., Electrotek Concepts, Inc., Power Quality and Intelligent Buildings,
Proceedings of Future Build 2000, Intelligent Buildings Institute, Washington,
District of Columbia, October 3031, 1990.
8. FIPS Pub. 94 Guidance on Electrical Power for ADP Installations, National Institute
for Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, Maryland, September 1983.
9. Effective Grounding of Electronic Equipment, National Electrical Contractors
Association, Bethesda, Maryland, December 1989.
10. Power Quality Reference Guide, U.S. Edition, Ontario Hydro, Toronto, Ontario, 1989.
11. Computer Power Conditioning, National Electrical Contractors Association, Bethesda,
Maryland, September 1982.
12. Wiring and Grounding for Power Quality, EPRI, Palo Alto, California, 1990.


13. IEEE Std. 518-1982. IEEE Guide for the Installation of Electrical Equipment to Minimize
Electrical Noise Inputs to Controllers from External Source, Institute for Electrical and
Electronic Engineers, New York, 1982.
14. Uninterruptible Power Supplies, Griffith, David C., Marcel Dekker, Inc., New York,


T.S. Key & F.D. Martzloff, A Consensus on Powering and Grounding Sensitive Electronic
Equipment, Conference Record IEEE-IAS Annual Meeting, Oct 1986. General
tutorial discussion of this topic and proposed computer susceptibility curve.
Warren H. Lewis, A Dozen Electrical Mistakes, Datamation, May 1984.
P.D. Speranza, A Look at the Quality of ac Power Serving the Bell System, Bell Lab
Record, July/Aug 1982, pp. 148-152. Generic report of recordings and statistical
Rex M. Teets, AC Power Handbook of Problems and Solutions, Gould, Inc., 2727 Kurtz
Street, San Diego, CA 92110, 1981. A useful and informative description of
computer-related power problems that can be solved with UPS and other power
conditioning apparatus. A small 93-page handbook written for those new to the
William D. Roehr & O. Melville Clark, AC Power Line Protection for an IEEE 587 Class B
Environment, General Semiconductor Industries, Inc., Tempe, AZ, 1984.
Peter Nystrom, Analyze System Needs Before You Decide to Add Voltage
Regulation, Computer Technology Review, Winter 1987.
Vladimir Basch, Analyzing Harmonic Problems, Plant Engineering Magazine, March
ANSI/IEEE C57 (1986). Recommended Practice for Establishing Transformer Capability When
Supplying Nonsinusoidal Load Currents.
ANSI/IEEE Standard 100, Standard Dictionary of Electrical and Electronics Terms, 4th
ANSI/IEEE Standard 587, IEEE Guide for Surge Voltages in Low-Voltage ac Power Circuits.


Annotated Bibliography for Power

Quality Technical Information

ANSI/NFPA 70, National Electric Code. A fundamental document providing minimum

requirements for safe installation practices. A companion handbook provides
explanations for application of the code. Updated every three years.
ANSI C84.1, American National Standard Voltage Ratings for Electric Power Systems and
Equipment (60 Hz). Defines limits of system voltages for the United States.
Addresses only steady-state voltages or short-term departures from nominal
conditions. Provides list of related standards with address of sponsor.
Alexander McEachern, Approaching Power Problems Systematically, Compute
Electronic Service News, August 1986.
Winn Rosch, Backup Power When the Juice Stops Flowing, PC Magazine, September
16, 1986.
Alex McEachern, Changing Strategies for Using Power Line Monitors, Basic
Measuring Instruments, Foster City, CA, no date.
Gwen Nielsen & Frank Brletich, Changing Technology Leads to Changes in Power
Requirements, Computer Technology Review, Winter 1983.
Emil B. Rechsteiner, Comprehensive Power Protection Requires a Static or Rotary
UPS, Computer Technology Review, Spring 1986.
Mark Waller, Computer Electrical Power Requirements, Power Management Associates,
Howard W. Sams & Company, 1987.
Kenneth G. Brill, Computer Power Protection Equipment: An Introductory Guide, Atlas
Energy Systems, California, 1977.
C.A. Carson, Guide Specification: EDP Site Grounding, Computer Power Systems, no
R.P. Olin, Hoolihan & Romano, Computer System Grounding Theory, Engineering Design
Guide Cdc-PUB 1501 3006, Control Data Corporation, Minneapolis, MN 55440,
1979. Provides insight into computer ground requirements.
Michael Z. Lowerstein, et al., Controlling Harmonics While Improving Power Factor,
Electrical System Design Magazine, March 1988.
F.D. Martzloff, Coordination of Surge Protectors in Low-Voltage ac Power Circuits, IEEE
Transactions, PAS-99, #1, Jan/Feb 1980, pp. 129-133. Coordination between gaptype and clamp-type protectors. Coupling between grounding conductor and
phase wires.

Annotated Bibliography for Power

Quality Technical Information

F.D. Martzloff, Coupling, Propagation and Side Effects of Surges in an Industrial Building
Wiring System, IEEE Transactions IA-26, #2, March/April 1990, pp. 193203.
Propagation and attenuation in multibranch systems. Surges in power lines may
cause failures of data port components when ground loops exist between
separate pieces of equipment connected by data link.
G.W. Allen, Design of Power-Line Monitoring Equipment, IEEE Transactions on Power
Apparatus and Systems, 90:26042609, Dec 1971.
J.F. Kalbach, Designer's Guide to Noise Suppression, Digital Design Magazine, 1050
Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215, January 1992. A nine-page
condensed discussion of grounding and electrical noise control for computer and
electronic equipment products and their installation.
Thomas S. Key, Diagnosing Power Quality-Related Computer Problems, IEEE Transactions
on Industry Applications, 1A-15, #4, July/Aug 1979. Discusses classes of
disturbances and types of power conditioning products and projects that can be
directed to solving these problems.
Arthur Freund, Double the Neutral and Derate the TransformerOr Else!, Electrical
Construction & Maintenance Magazine, December 1988.
O.M. Clark & J.J. Pissicaroli, Effect of Lead Wire Lengths on Protector Clamping Voltages,
1979 Federal Aviation Administration Workshop on Grounding and Lightning
Technology, Report FAA-RD-79-6, pp. 6973, 1979.
Con Edison, Electric Power and the Computer, New York, 1984.
G.T. Heydt, Electric Power Quality, Stars in a Circle Publication, West LaFayette, IN,
1991. Provides description, analysis, modelling and solution of difficulties
relating to distortion of the waveshape in alternating current power systems.
This also includes problems of voltage regulation.
McGraw-Edison Power Systems, Electric Power System Harmonics Design Guide. This
guide provides useful reference information for designing power systems to
minimize the potentially harmful effects of harmonics on the electric power
R.M. Ziegler, Electrical Common Reference for Computer Systems, A Technology and
Application Guide, Burroughs Corporation, Box CB7, Malvern, PA 19355, 1980.
Contains practical details and a list of electrical hardware suitable for
constructing signal reference grids for ADP sites, either by separate conductors
or by use of the raised floor structure.

Annotated Bibliography for Power

Quality Technical Information

J.F. Kalbach, Electrical Environment for Computers, IEEE Conference paper

presented May 6, 1981, IEEE Industrial and Commercial Power Systems
Conference, (# 81CH1674-1), May 47, 1981, St. Louis, MO.
Warren H. Lewis, Electrical Power, Grounding and Life-Safety Systems for EDP Sites,
Technical Report, WHL-800310-01(B), Computer Power Systems Corporation,
PO Box 6240, Carson, CA 90749. Contains very specific recommendations for a
power and grounding strategy that simultaneously meets safety codes
requirements and the need of common-mode noise suppression in the industrial
and commercial building environments. Also includes design for life-safety
interface wiring functions.
Robert J. Lawrie, editor, Electrical Systems for Computer Installations, McGraw-Hill, New
York, 1988.
U.S. Department of Commerce, National Bureau of Standards, Guideline on Electrical
Power for ADP Installations, Federal Information Processing Standards
Publication (FIPS PUB) 94, 21 September 1983.
U.S. Department of Defense Military Handbook 419, Grounding, Bonding, and Shielding
for Electronic Equipment and Facilities, Jan 21, 1982.
M. Mardiguian, Grounding & Bonding, Vol. 2, A Handbook Series on Electromagnetic
Interference and Compatibility, Interference Control Technologies, Inc., Gainesville,
P.E. Soares & C. Eustace, Grounding Electrical Distribution Systems for Safety, March
Publishing Company, PO Box 630, Mayne, NJ 07470. A 181-page textbook
devoted to the details of grounding in building wiring, with particular emphasis
on the return path for ground fault currents. Very good illustrations, with
A. McEachern, Handbook of Power Signatures, Basic Measuring Instruments Publishers,
Foster City, CA, 1989. Reports generic types of disturbances.
David Kreiss, Harmonic Analyzer Helps Solve Power Problems, Electrical
Construction & Maintenance Magazine, March 1989.
Dranetz Technologies, Inc., How to Correct Power Line Disturbances, Edison, NJ, 1985.
Dranetz Technologies, Inc., How to Identify Power Line Disturbances, Edison, NJ, 1985.
J.F. Kalbach, How Utility Power Affects Computers, Proceedings of the Electric Council
of New England, T&D Committee Meeting No. 60, Oct. 12, 1981 in Waterville,

Annotated Bibliography for Power

Quality Technical Information

NH. Describes those disturbances created by utility power operations and by

multiple users who share power sources. It suggests techniques to minimize
their effects on ADP systems, what can be done by utility, and what can be done
by ADP user.
IEEE Standard 18. Shunt Power Capacitors.
IEEE Standard 519. Recommended Practice for Harmonic Control and Reactive Compensation
of Static Power Converters.
IEEE Recommended Practice for Electric Power Distribution for Industrial Plants, Red Book,
ANSI/IEEE Standard 141.
IEEE Recommended Practice for Electric Power Systems in Commercial Buildings, Gray Book,
ANSI/IEEE Standard 241.
IEEE Recommended Practice for Emergency and Standby Power Systems for Industrial and
Commercial Applications, Orange Book, ANSI/IEEE Standard 446.
IEEE Recommended Practice for Energy Conservation and Cost-Effective Planning in
Industrial Facilities, Bronze Book, ANSI/IEEE Standard 739.
IEEE Recommended Practice for Grounding of Industrial and Commercial Power Systems,
Green Book, ANSI/IEEE Standard 142.
IEEE Recommended Practice for Industrial and Commercial Power System Analysis, Brown
Book, ANSI/IEEE Standard 399.
IEEE Recommended Practice for the Design of Reliable Industrial and Commercial Power
System, Gold Book, ANSI/IEEE Standard 493.
John Fredrick Kalbach, Interaction Between Computer Systems and Their Power Sources,
Kalbach Engineering, Boston, MA, 1984.
Mark F. McGranaghan, Measuring and Monitoring Equipment for Power Quality
Analysis, Paper presented at APPA Engineering & Operations Workshop,
March 1988.
Ed Palko, Monitoring and Analyzing Quality of Electric Power, Plant Engineering,
April 25, 1985, pp. 44-51.
Allen & Segall, Monitoring of Computer Installations for Power Line Disturbances,
IBM Corp., IEEE Conference Paper C74 199-6 presented at 1974 IEEE Power
Engineering Society Winter Meeting. An informative summary of the

Annotated Bibliography for Power

Quality Technical Information

magnitudes and frequencies of occurrence on normal-mode power source

disturbances and outages observed at numerous ADP sites.
Vicki C. Daughtry & David Keller, New Ferro Power Conditioners Deliver ComputerGrade Power, Computer Technology Review, Summer 1986.
Henry W. Ott, Noise Reduction Techniques in Electronic Systems, John Wiley & Sons, NY
10016, 294 pp.., 1976. Contains very good chapter on grounding as it applies to
communications and ADP circuits and their interface with power circuits.
Content is written from a background of Bell Laboratories' experience.
Tim Devore, Nonlinear Loads and UPS Systems, EC&M, July 1985.
Mark Waller, PC Power Protection, Power Management Associates, Howard W. Sams &
Company, Division of Macmillan, Inc., 1989.
Ben G. Crosby, Power Conditioning, Journal of Healthcare Material Management, January
T.M. Gruzs, Power Disturbance and Computer Systems: A Comparison of the Allen-Segall and
the Goldstein-Speranza Power Line Monitoring Studies, Proceedings of 1986
Electrical Overstress Exposition, Nelson Publishing Co., 1986. The effect of
arbitrary threshold selection on statistics.
J.D. Cuffman, J. Linders & M.A. Zucker, Power Factor Correction Capacitors and Their
Side Effects, IEEE 28th Annual Conference of Electrical Engineering Problems in
the Rubber and Plastics Industry, pp. 3749, 1976.
John R. Raiger, Power Line Conditioning, BTT, MayJune 1987.
Don Tremaglio, Power Line Disturbances and How to Eliminate Them, Superior Electric,
Bristol, CT, 1985.
A.H. Duell & W.V. Roland, Power Line Disturbances and Their Effect on Computer Design
and Performance, Hewlett-Packard Journal, 32:2532, Aug 1981.
Dranetz Technologies, Inc., Power Line Harmonic ProblemsCauses and Cures, 1990.
Power Quality Harmonics, Energy Management Series, Ontario Hydro Marketing
Operations Division, Toronto (no date).
J. Douglas, Power Quality in the Electronics Age, EPRI Journal, pp. 313, November


Annotated Bibliography for Power

Quality Technical Information

F.D. Martzloff, Power Quality Measurements: Bringing Order Out of Chaos, Proceedings of
1988 Energy Technology Conference, Feb 1988, pp. 947959. Condensation of
Martzloff/Gruzs paper for power quality context.
Maura C. Ryan & Don Dederer, Power Quality Reference Guide, Ontario Hydro,
Toronto, Ontario, 1989. This reference guide is a follow up to the Power Quality
Product Knowledge Day, held October 20, 1988, and organized by the Industrial
Product Development Department of Ontario Hydro. The seminar was an
information session for Ontario Hydro regional staff and its associated
municipal utilities.
F.D. Martzloff & T.S. Gruzs, Power Quality Site Surveys: Facts, Fiction and Fallacies, IEEE
Transactions IA-24, #6, Nov/Dec 1988, pp.1001018. Review of instrumentation
development, definition deficiencies and past surveys.
University of New Brunswick Centre for Research and Applied Science, Power System
HarmonicsA Review and Assessment of Problems, Fredericton, March 1988.
J. Arrillaga, D. Bradley & P. Bodger, Power System Harmonics, John Wiley & Sons,
Chichester UK, 1985. This text presents applications and calculations for various
parameters, how to design filters and other circuits, how measurements are
made, etc. This book deals only with harmonics.
H.O. Nash & F.M. Wells, Power Systems Disturbances and Considerations for Power
Conditioning, IEEE Transactions Industry Applications, 21:14721481, Nov 1985.
Emil B. Rechsteiner, Power to Computers: Keep It Clean and Stable!, Frequency
Technology, Inc., Littleton, MA, no date.
M.J. Kania, R.F. Piasecki, D.R. Sewart & S. Danis Protected Power for Computer Systems,
Western Electric Engineer, 24:4047, 1980.
National Fire Protection Association, Protection of Electronic Computer/Data Processing
Equipment (NFPA 75), Boston, MA 02210. This code addresses special
requirements for ADP systems over and above those described in NFPA-70, and
deals with protection of records and recording media as well as life-safety
Robert C. McLoughlin & Randall J. Redding, Protection of Electronics from Lightning
and Other Larger ac Power Pulses, EMC Technology, SeptemberOctober 1987.
Richard N. Bowyer, Rotary and Static UPS Both Convert DC to AC But Total Costs Vary,
Computer Technology Review, Winter 1985.


Annotated Bibliography for Power

Quality Technical Information

R. DeVre, Sources and Effects of Power System Disturbances: Harmonic Distortion Produced
by Supply Networks by Television Receivers and Light Dimmers, IEE publication #210,
London, May 1982.
William G. Klein, Static Electricity, Problems and Solutions in Computer Facilities, United
Technical Products, Inc., 23 Southwest Industrial Park, Westwood, MA 02090,
1978. An unusually lucid explanation of the static charge generation process and
its abatement in ADP facilities where carpeting is desired.
Rodney Bent, Warren Lewis, O. Melville Clark, Francois D. Martzloff, Peter Richman,
Maurice Tetreault, J. Fred Kalbach, Madison, Surge Protection of Computers and
Other Electronic Systems, University of Wisconsin, WI, no date.
F.D. Martzloff, The Coordination of Transient Protection for Solid-State Power Conversion
Equipment, 1982 IEEE/Industry Applications Society International
Semiconductor Power Conference, pp. 97105, May 24, 1982.
M. McGranaghan, The Dranetz Field Handbook for Power Quality Analysis, Dranetz
Technologies, Inc., Edison, NJ 08818. This book will help the reader understand
power problems and the methodology for a successful power survey. These are
the first steps in the essential process of establishing and maintaining a power
quality program.
U.S. Department of Commerce, The Effects of Electrical Power Variations Upon Computers:
An Overview, Domestic and International Business Administration, Stock No.
G0325-00025, July 24, 1974, Superintendent of Documments, U.S. Govt Printing
Office, Washington, DC 20402. A 16-page overview that is still basically valid in
1983, although the rising costs make the argument even more compelling. May
help provide supporting arguments and justification for expenditures to
improve the quality and continuity of power for ADP systems.
F.D. Martzloff, The Protection of Computer and Electronic Systems Against Power Supply and
Data Line Disturbances, General Electric Corporate Research and Development
Report 85CRD084, July 1985b.
Ben G. Crosby, Total System Reliability, Microservice Management, October 1987.
N.R. Grossner, Transformers for Electronic Circuits, 2nd edition, McGraw-Hill, New York,
467 pp., 1983.
Ken Price, Troubleshooting Down to the Ground, Computer/ Electronic Service News,
March 1988.
Understanding Power Line Disturbances. Dranetz Technologies, Inc., Edison, NJ, 1985.

Annotated Bibliography for Power

Quality Technical Information

Howard Bobry, Understanding Uninterruptible Power Supplies, EC&M= Electrical

Construction & Maintenance Magazine, April, May, June, August, November 1983,
and February, March 1984.
Thomas O'Neill, Understanding Uninterruptible Power Supplies, EC&M= Electrical
Construction & Maintenance Magazine, April and July 1984.


The process of diagnosing electrical power quality problems requires diligent attention
to detail, careful planning, proper and accurate tools, and assistance from a wide range
of resources. The information presented in this chapter is intended to outline the
diagnostic process and provide references to additional information in this book.

Power Quality Problem Solving Flow Chart

Most power quality diagnostic projects adhere to a standard flow of actions from first
acknowledgement of a problem to the final diagnosis and cure. An understanding of
this project flow can be very helpful in setting an appropriate scope of work for the


Overview of Power Quality

Problem Solving

Figure E-1
Power quality problem solving flow chart (continued).


Overview of Power Quality

Problem Solving

Figure E-1
Power quality problem solving flow chart (continued).


Overview of Power Quality

Problem Solving

Figure E-1
Power quality problem solving flow chart (continued).