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The Effects of Harmonics in Power Systems and Methods to Reduce or Eliminate Them 

Date: Thursday March 15, 2012

Speaker: Wilbur N. Dale, PhD, PE - Click Here for the speaker's bio.

Subject: "The Effects of Harmonics in Power Systems and Methods to Reduce or Eliminate Them"

View Presentation: 290 KB PDF


In this talk, the sources that introduce harmonics into power systems and the effects the harmonics have on the power system are presented. The most common source of harmonics is electronic power supplies; hence, sources for harmonics exists in almost all power systems. In single phase systems, harmonics cause more power losses (heating), larger voltage drops in the power cables, and false circuit breaker trips (a trip when not necessary to protect the system). In three phase systems, harmonics also cause larger currents in the neutral (wye connection) or a circulating current (delta connection) in addition to the single phase effects mentioned above. Specification of transformers for harmonic loads is thus more complex and will be discussed.

Once the sources and effects of harmonics are presented, methods to handle the effects of harmonics and methods to reduce the effects of harmonics will be presented. Finally, methods for eliminating the harmonics using better power supplies will be discussed.

Biographical Information:

Wilbur grew up in Portsmouth, VA and graduated from Old Dominion University with a BSEE. He received his MS and PhD from The Ohio State University in Control Systems. His thesis project for his MS involved the control of a resistance spot welding machine, which is how he became involved in power issues such as harmonics in power systems. He was a Senior Research Engineer for the Edison Welding Institute in Columbus, OH and a Software Engineer for Lumin Software in the Netherlands. He was also a Visiting Professor at Cleveland State University and an Assistant Professor at Virginia Military Institute.

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