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RALPH J. TITUS

MEMBER, IEEE

HDR Engineering

Building C, Suite 200

11225 S.E. 6th St.

Bellevue, W A , 98004 U.S.A.

voltage drop formula is presented to correct an existing

error in standard. A updated and more accurate formula

for calculating a voltage drop is then presented as proposed

replacement to the current standard's formula. The two

methods are contrasted with an example from an industrial

application.

I. INTRODUCTION Fig. 1.

Phasor Diagram

IEEE STD 141-1986 (IEEE Recommended Practice for

Electric Power Distribution for Industrial Plants),also known as

the "Red Book," is one of the most popular and widely used

standards for electrical power distribution systems in the world.

The standard provides the latest procedures for a thorough

analysis of electrical power system considerations. This

analysis includes guidance on the design, construction, and "his tells us that the supply voltage must be equal to the

continuity of industrial power systems. Building wiring voltage of the m i v i n g end plus the equivalent voltage drop

designers must have a working knowledge of voltage drop along the path. This may sound simple, but let us not forget

calculations, not only to meet NEC requirements, but also to that if there were no voltage drops, the supply would q u a l the

ensure that the voltage applied to utilization equipment is receiving end and we would have no losses. Rearranging (l),

maintained within proper limits [l]. Because of widespread use the voltage supplied less receiving end voltage is the voltage

and technical significance of this pmticular standard, it is drop we are seeking to calculate, as shown in (2).

hperathe that the standard be as e m r fret and up to date as

possible.

VOLTAGE DROP FORMULA Noting that this voltage drop is equal to the load current 0)

multiplied by the equivalent impedance (Z) of the system

A. Phasors between sending and receiving voltages, we may substitute for

vs-vRash(3).

In power analysis, a phasor can be described as a line

representing a magnitude (such as voltage or current), with

direction (location in space of one magnitude relative to

another), with respect to time. Phasor relationships are shown

in FIG. 1 for full load amperage (I), sending or supply voltage

Ps), receiver voltage (VR), voltage drop (VD), and phase Substituting (3) into (1) for VD gives (4).

angle (8)whose cosine is the load power factor. From the

addition of two phasors, one may deduce (1).

OIEEE

~~803-0634-1/92$03.O0 1268 VS = VR + Iz (4)

B. Phasor Components Rearranging wc have (6).

components, we 6nd the components which make up the 12, or

quivalcnt voltage drop phasor, c o n s h of the bad current

multiplied by the resistance and reactance rwpcctively.

Ruristancc opposes the flow of current and o r u ~ shcating to

develop in a conductor. Rtactanot O C C U ~because a

g-

current flowing in a given conductor c r d a a magnetic kld Taking the square root of both sides of (6) gives (7).

I which builds up and c o l l a p uound each coaducbr. A

voltage is induced propoaiOnal to the rate of change of thia

magnetic field, which will be a &um when the currcnt

passes through zero, or lap the cumnt wave by 90 degrees.

These phasor componeats which make up the I2 phaoor arc

shown as IR and IX respectively in FIG. 2. It should be noted

that the IR component is in phase with the I phosor. This is

because resistance has no direction and ruimnce is simply a Solving for receiving voltage we have (8).

magnitude to the IR phasor. As discussed, the IX phosor

shown lags the IR phasor by 90 degrees. The 1R component is

the reeistive portion of the drop in voltage while the IX

component is the reactive pottion.

C. TngottometricMethodfor Calcvlaling VD

Extending lined for cluity, the following trigonom&ic It is worth noting now that (8) is the correct quation for the

relationships are developed as shown in mG. 3. Extending a d v i n g voltage. Thin equation is incorractly given in Chapter

line from the VR phosor terminal point (arrow) to the right, and 3 (voltage Considerations), page 98 of the ANSylEEE S T D

drawing a line perpendicular to it up through the terminal point 141-1986. The expected voltage drop is found by substituting

of the VS phasor, a right triangle is now completed. Derling (8) into (2) and rearranging. The exact theorctical voltage drop

with the magnitudes of the pbason and from the Pythagonrn to be expected in given as (9).

theorem, the following rrigonometric nktionship U given an

(5).

IN IEEE STD 141

A. Copnpkx Numbers

complex number. Complex number simply means that its tern

must be added U phason. A complex number A U a number

of the fonn U shown in (10).

A =a + jb (10)

Fig. 2. and b the imaginary part. The magnitude of a complex number

Voltage Drop Phasor Components is the squarc root of the sum of the squarur as shown in (11).

1269

I

I

\

Fig. 3.

Phosor Trigonometric Relationships

VERSUS EXISTING VOLTAGE DROP FORMULAS

B. Impedance Magnitude

Referring back to Fig. 2., we see that we may form a A. Voltage Drop Problem

complex number for impedance in the form of (12).

An industrial client had two identical existing blower systems

Z = R + j X (12) with quite long feeder cables. Each of the feeder cablee was

being evaluated for voltage drops since a planned retrofit

From (3) we note that the voltage drop we are seeking is necessitated them to be lengthened even further. Each supply

simply the load current multiplied by the equivalent impedance. voltage was 480V, 3 phase, serving a variable frequency drive

Since we know the load current magnitude, we must only (VFD). The feeder cables (350MCM cables) consisted of two

calculate the magnitude for the equivalent impedance as shown parallel circuits from each voltage supply to each variable

in (13). frequency drive. Each drive w a s in turn connected to a 400 HP

blower which was being used for an aeration system. The

Z = (R2 + X2)lh (13) circuit parametera are given in FIG.4.

C. Voltage Drop Formula Using information from ,the existing variable frequency

driveu, a power factor of 91.7% is used for calculation

With this value now known, the proposed voltage drop purposes. Power factor is the ratio of average power compared

formula to be used in IEEE STD 141 is shown in (14). to the apparent power or the cosine of the power factor angle 8

as in (15):

1270

I

i Circuit Pormotarr

cables - I 227.5 Amp Motor Naneplato

Data fLA& Amp)

R 0.017 0 (Lino Retistonto for

a

30 corrductor)

X O.O18fl(Limo Roodonce for

Ono conductor)

Power Factor = core (15) The pcnxatage voltage drop from (17) is thar 2.0%.

or D. Rwvfu

e = oos-1powt~F.otor) (16)

core =

0.917, and sine 0.399.

5 obviowly it k much easier to oalculate voltage drop

utitizingthe propod formula than it k wing the existing IEEE

B. VD Using LEEE S l D 141-1986 STD-141 formula. The b r htmduce~the probabilay of mor

just in the number of u l c u h*oIU om must do to get a result.

If wc substitute the numerical valucs and circuit parametera One .Ira notea the discrepancy rcgardiig numerical valucs.

hto (9) wc find thpt the Voltage drop VD = 5.189V. The what the propod formula is thee-y cxpct, the current

1 percentage voltage drop is given u (17): atandad trigonometrio formula introduces an error in the

approximation of the voltage drop.

V. CONCLUSION

The percatage voltage drop in thb wc is approximately

1.8%.

Thir paper began U 8 derivation of the trigonome(ricvoltage

C. VD Using Proposed Voltage Drop Formula drop formula due to an m r in the existing standard. As a

ruult, a updated and more Lccuntc formula for calculating

If wc subatitutc the numeriorrl valw urd cimuit p u a m w voltagcdropr hr been preKntsd u aproposcd replacement to

into (13) and (14) wc find that the vohgc drop VD = 5.633V. the current 8tanchd's formula.

127I

Using the proposed formula versus the existing standard can

literally make the difference between making a correct

engineering decision and an incorrect one. Because of the

widespread use and technical significance of this particular

standard, it is truly imperative that the standard be as e m r free

and up to date as possible.

REFERENCES

Industry Applications Society, ANSUEEE Std 141-1986 IEEE

Recommended Practice for Electric Power Distribution for

Industrial Plants, New York, N.Y.:1986

1272

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