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General

 

  • What is involved with Grounds or Grounding?
  • What is a Grounding Transformer?
  • What is an Isolation Transformer?

      Practically all transformers (with the exception of Autotransformers) are, in fact, Isolation Transformer.  This is due to the fact that their primary and secondary windings are PHYSICALLY isolated from each other (they are not physically connected to each other).  The transformation in voltage and current between primary and secondary windings occurs as a result of the shared magnetic field in the core (Mutual Inductance).

  • What does ANC mean?

      “Air Natural Convection Total Enclosed” – The dry-type transformer is enclosed in a non-ventilated enclosure.  Heat is transferred through the sides of the enclosure to the air to cool the unit.

  • What is the abbreviation UL?
  • What does the abbreviation NEMA refer to?
  • What are Static Synchronous Compensators (STATCOMs)?
  • When is Sound Level an issue in the design?

      Sound needs to be considered when transformers are located in close proximity to occupied areas. All energized transformers emanate sound due to the alternating flux in the core. This normal sound emitted by the transformer can be a source of annoyance unless it is kept below acceptable levels. There are ways of minimizing sound emission as discussed in the HPS “Field Service Guide”. HPS  Transformers are built to meet the latest ANSI, CSA and UL standards. These standards are outlined in the accompanying table.

  • What is a Solid State Device?

      It is a device that contains components that do not depend on electronic conduction in a vacuum or gas. Semiconductors or the use of otherwise completely static components such as resistors or capacitors performs the electrical function of a solid-state device.

  • How are single phase and three phase load amps and load kVA calculated?

      Single phase Amps = (kVA x 1000)/Volts

      Three phase Amps = (kVA x 1000)/Volts x 1.73

      Single phase KVA = (Volts x Amps)/1000

      Three phase KVA = (Volts x Amps x 1.73)/1000

  • Should low voltage system be assessed for arc-flash hazards?

      IEEE 1584-2018 provides mathematical models for designers and facility operators to apply in determining the arc-flash hazard distance and the incident energy to which workers could be exposed during their work on or near electrical equipment.

      It generally indicates that systems with an available short circuit current of 2000 Amps or higher should be assessed for arc-flash potential. A rule of thumb would indicate that most systems fed by a 45 kVA or larger transformer will need to be assessed if impedance (%Z) of 45 kVA is less than 6%, 30 kVA if %Z is less than 4% or 15 kVA if %Z is less than 2%.

  • What is Series Compensation?
  • How are Seismic Units Rated?

      Three criteria are typically defined for seismic units:  Sds, Ip, z/h.

      Sds = Design earthquake spectral response acceleration parameter at short periods (ASCE 7-16 Section 11.4.4 Design Spectral Acceleration Parameters).  The required motion coefficient is dependent on the facility’s location and soil type. Most of the United States requires Sds = 0.05 to 1.5g. Specific regions require an Sds = 2.0g such as along the Missouri state line south of Illinois and parts of California.

      Ip = Component Importance Factor (ASCE 7-16 Section 13.1.3 Component Importance Factor).  Ip is dependent on the function of the building in which the transformer is installed. Typically, an Ip is assumed to equal 1.5 for transformers expected to function continuously through and after an earthquake.

      z/h = A ratio of the height in the structure that the component has been anchored, to the overall height of the structure.  A value of z/h of 1.0 states that the component is capable of being installed anywhere within the structure (ASCE 7-16 Section 13.3.1 Seismic Design Force).

      z/h - a ratio of the height of the structure

  • What is Seismic Certified?

      A fair amount of construction projects require components to be “Seismic Certified.” A Seismic Certification ensures the component will withstand and operate after an event such as an earthquake. In addition to requiring structural components to meet specific seismic regulations, most jurisdictions also require non-structural components – including electrical systems – to be “Seismic Certified.”

      Seismic requirements are defined by the International Building Code 2018 and the California Building Code (2019). ASCE 7-16 is the base standard for many building codes, and is referenced by both IBC and the CBC.

      OSHPD, the Office of State-wide Health Planning and Development, requires actual “shake-testing” of products prior to allowing products to be specified for construction or retrofit projects anywhere in the state of California. This testing must be reviewed by a California state certified structural engineer. Without a widespread nationwide approval process, many other jurisdictions require the OSHPD Special Seismic Certification Preapproval (OSP) for projects.

  • What is a Secondary Winding?
  • What is Secondary Voltage Rating?
  • What is a Rectifier Transformer?
  • What is a Ratio Test?

      A test that is used to ensure the correct number of turns on the primary and secondary windings.  When the resulting ratio of turns between the primary and secondary windings is applied to the secondary winding phase voltage, you should arrive back at the primary phase voltage.

  • What is Ratio in terms of Voltage?

      In terms of voltage, the ratio of a transformer can be viewed from the primary side (the ratio of the primary voltage to the secondary voltage), or inversely from the secondary side (the secondary voltage to the primary voltage).

  • What are Static VAR Compensators (SVCs)?
  • What is a Primary Winding?
  • What are Primary Taps?

      Primary taps are additional terminals added to the primary winding that allows the customer to apply different supply voltages.  Primary taps can be provided as FCBN (Full capacity Above Nominal), or FCBN (Full Capacity Below Nominal).  The taps are generally below or above the nominal rated primary voltage in specific percentage increments provided by the customer.

  • What is Power Factor or True Power Factor?

      The ratio of real power to apparent power and is:  PF = (Power actually delivered to load) ÷ (RMS Voltage x RMS Current).  Waveform distortion caused by harmonics is included in this calculation.  The worse the phase shift between voltage and current and/or the worse the harmonic distortion, the worse the power factor.  Low power factor cause by either harmonic currents (and a distorted sine wave) or reactive power can increase transformer heating.  If PF is low but DPF is not, adding power factor correction capacitors may not help

      Displacement power factor (DPF) is different.  DPF is the cosine of phase angle between the current and voltage fundamental sine waves.  Low power factor is typically caused by inductive loads such as motors.  Fundamental power factor only looks at the 60 Hz sine wave and does not take into effect harmonic currents.  DPF is most useful for sizing and measuring the effectiveness of power factor correct capacitors.

      If PF is low but DPF is not, harmonics may be causing the problem and adding power factor correction capacitors may not improve either PF or DPF.  Solutions such as harmonic mitigating transformers or line reactors should be considered.

  • What is a Potential (Voltage) Transformer?
  • Why do non-linear loads have low power factors and why is it important to have a high power factor?

      Power factor is a measure of how effectively a specific load consumes electricity to produce work. The higher the power factor, the more work produced for a given voltage and current. Figure 3-1 shows the power vector relationships for both linear and non-linear loads. Power factor is always measured as the ratio between real power in kilowatts (kW) and apparent power in kilovolt-amperes (kVA).

      For linear loads, the apparent power in kVA (S = V•I) is the vector sum of the reactive power in kVAR (Q) and the real power in kW (P). The power factor is P/S = CosΦ, where Φ is the angle between S and P. This angle is the same as the displacement angle between the voltage and the current for linear loads. For a given amount of current, increasing the displacement angle will increase Q, decrease P, and lower the PF. Inductive loads such as induction motors cause their current to lag the voltage, capacitors cause their current to lead the voltage, and purely resistive loads draw their current in-phase with the voltage. For circuits with strictly linear loads (a rare situation) simple capacitor banks may be added to the system to improve a lagging power factor due to induction motors or other lagging loads.

      For non-linear loads, the harmonic currents they draw produce no useful work and therefore are reactive in nature. The power vector relationship becomes 3 dimensional with distortion reactive power, H, combining with both Q and P to produce the apparent power which the power system must deliver. Power factor remains the ratio of kW to kVA but the kVA now has a harmonic component as well. True power factor becomes the combination of displacement power factor and distortion power factor. For most typical nonlinear loads, the displacement power factor will be near unity. True power factor however, is normally very low because of the distortion component. For example, the displacement power factor of a personal computer will be near unity but its total power factor is often in the 0.65 – 0.7 range. The best way to improve a poor power factor caused by non-linear loads is to remove the harmonic currents.

      Most Utilities charge their customers for energy supplied in kilowatt-hours during the billing period plus a demand charge for that period. The demand charge is based upon the peak load during the period. The demand charge is applied by the utility because it must provide equipment large enough for the peak load even though the customer’s average power may be much lower. If the power factor during the peak period (usually a 10 minute sliding window) is lower than required by the utility (usually 0.9), the utility may also apply a low PF penalty charge as part of the demand charge portion of the bill.

      More Harmonic Mitigating Transformer Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Dielectric Material in a transformer?
  • Does HPS have NRTL certification?
  • What is the lowest temperature transformers can be energized

      Dry-type transformers with the exception of Cast Coil (HPS Endura Coil) can be stored to temperatures of -50 degress C. Cast Coil Transformers can only be stored to temperatures of -20C. If a standard cast coil transformer is stored below -20C, the epoxy coils can crack. Transformers which are energized before 0C can be run in ambient temperatures to -40C.

      There are two main concerns with low temperatures occur during storage when the units are not energized. Energized transformers have load and no-load losses which will keep the core and coils operational to -40C:

      • Contraction and Expansion of the core and coil during low temperatures can crack or damage the insulation.
      • Cold temperatures can cause condensation to form on the transformer which can result in short circuits and insulation damage.

      The minimum ambient temperature designed for is -40C based on the Environment Canada data Extreme Minimum Temperatures for Wiarton, ON (-36.4C on 18-Jan-1977) and Lucknow, ON (-36.7C on 05-Feb-1918). If the temperature of a transformer’s core and coil is below -25C (typically during unenergized storage), please consult HPS for the cold start procedure before any energization. If the temperature of a transformer is below 0C, please follow the HPS Cold Start Procedure. It is recommended that the transformer be meggered to make sure it has a minimum value of 100 Megaohm before energization after storage.

  • Where is a Scott-T Transformer used

      Typical applications for a Scott-T transformer include:

      • Used in an electric furnace installation where it is needed to operate two single-phase feeds and draw a balanced load from the three-phase supply.
      • Used to supply the single phase loads such as traction power. This helps to keep the load on the three-phase system as nearly balanced as possible.
      • Used to link a 3-phase system with a two–phase system with the flow of power in either direction.

      The Scott-T connection permits conversions of a 3-phase system to a two-phase system or vice versa. Since 2-phase generators are not available, the conversion from two phases to three phases is not a practical application.

  • What problems can occur if I undersize the short circuit protection on a transformer?

      Nuisance tripping is a concern when short circuit protection is undersized from the National Electric Code recommendations in NEC 450.3.  All transformers experience an inrush current during any energization. The inrush current results from the transformer establishing the initial electromagnetic field and is not linked to load. If short circuit protection is undersized, there is a chance for nuisance tripping of fuses and circuit breakers anytime the transformer is energized.

  • What is the term Load?
  • What is the lowest temperature transformers can be stored in

      Dry-type transformers with the exception of Cast Coil (HPS Endura Coil) can be stored to temperatures of -50 degrees C. Cast Coil Transformers can only be stored to temperatures of -20C. If a standard cast coil transformer is stored below -20C, the epoxy coils can crack. Transformers which are energized before 0C can be run in ambient temperatures to -40C.

      There are two main concerns with low temperatures occuring during storage when the units are not energized. Energized transformers have load and no-load losses which will keep the core and coils operational to -40C:

      • Contraction and Expansion of the core and coil during low temperatures can crack or damage the insulation.
      • Cold temperatures can cause condensation to form on the transformer which can result in short circuits and insulation damage.

      The minimum ambient temperature designed for is -40C based on the Environment Canada data Extreme Minimum Temperatures for Wiarton, ON (-36.4C on 18-Jan-1977) and Lucknow, ON (-36.7C on 05-Feb-1918). If the temperature of a transformer’s core and coil is below -25C (typically during unenergized storage), please consult HPS for the cold start procedure before any energization. If the temperature of a transformer is below 0C, please follow the HPS Cold Start Procedure. It is recommended that the transformer be meggered to make sure it has a minimum value of 100 Megaohm before energization after storage.

  • What is a Transformer?

      It is a static electrical device, which, by electromagnetic induction transforms energy at one voltage and current to another voltage and current at the same frequency.

  • What is a SCR?
  • What is the induction principle of transformers

      A transformer consists of laminated silicon steel cores on which one or more coils of wire have been wound. The two windings are electrically isolated from each other (with the exception of autotransformers) and usually have widely different numbers of turns.

      If the transformer primary is connected to an A.C. power source of suitable voltage, a small no-load current called the exciting current will flow into the coil and produce a magnetic flux in the iron core. Since the source is A.C., the flux will also be alternating. This alternating magnetic flux links the secondary turns and induces a small voltage in each turn. The induced volts per turn of the secondary windings adds to appear across the secondary terminals. It should be understood that the flux induces a voltage in each primary turn equal to that in each secondary turn. The difference between the total induced primary voltage and the applied voltage is approximately equal to the IR drop. The ratio of turns between the primary and secondary coils determines the output voltage.

  • What is the hot spot allowance of a transformer?

      The coils of a transformer core do not evenly heated during energization. Parts of one coil will be hotter than the surrounding areas because they are farther from any ventilated openings or closer to the core which also produces heat. The hot spot allowance is a set number as defined by industry standards and is associated with the insulation class. Typically the smaller the transformer, the lower the insulation class and the more uniform the heating.

      • 105C Insulation System: 10C Hot Spot Allowance
      • 150C Insulation System: 30C Hot Spot Allowance
      • 180C Insulation System: 25C Hot Spot Allowance
      • 220C Insulation System: 30C Hot Spot Allowance

      The Hot Spot Allowance is added the expected ambient temperature and full load temperature rise to get the total expected temperature rise of a transformer.

  • What is Primary Voltage Rating?
  • Do any performance issues arise during low ambient temperatures?

      Generally low ambient temperatures do not affect an energized transformer. No-load losses on an energized transformer typically generate enough heat to operate effectively in temperatures to -20°C or lower.

      The main issue with lower temperatures is when the unit is not energized. Extremely low temperatures or if the transformer heats up too quickly may cause welds and insulation to become brittle and crack, especially if the transformer experiences any mechanical stresses.

      More importantly, low temperatures can cause moisture (dew, frost) to form on the unit. This can be absorbed into the insulation system and not be apparent.

      If ambient goes below -30°C, special designs and cold start procedures may be necessary. Care should be taken to store transformers in dry areas with temperature control. Installation manuals typically suggest that transformers be tested (meggered), brought above 0°C and/or go through a dry-out process if moisture is suspected to be present.

      Damage and injury can result from energizing a transformer which has had its insulation system compromised by moisture.

  • What is a Step-Down Transformer?

      It is a transformer where the high voltage winding (primary) is connected to the input or power source and the low voltage winding (secondary) to the output or load.

  • What is Temperature Class?

      It is the maximum temperature that the insulation can continuously withstand.

      The classes of insulation systems in a transformer are rated as follows:

      Class 105°C

      Class 150°C

      Class 180°C

      Class 220°C

  • What does the abbreviation NEC refer to?
  • What is Reactance?
  • What is RCBN – Reduced Capacity Below Nominal

      For transformer equipped with primary or secondary taps designed for RCBN, the customer is permitted to connect to a lower voltage tap (BELOW NOMINAL), provided that the customer load capacity (KVA) is also REDUCED so as to ensure that the rated winding current does not exceed its nominal value.

  • What is Polarity?
  • What is Overload?

      Overload is when a transformer is subjected to voltages and/or currents that exceed its design specifications. Transformer voltages and current limits are typically governed by their nameplate specifications.

  • What is NFPA 70E?

      NFPA 70E is the titled Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace, is a standard of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). The document covers electrical safety requirements for employees. The NFPA is best known for its sponsorship of the National Electrical Code (NFPA 70).

      NFPA 70E addresses employee workplace electrical safety requirements. The standard focuses on practical safeguards that also allow workers to be productive within their job functions. Specifically, the standard covers the safety requirements for the following:

      • Electrical conductors and equipment installed within or on buildings or other structures, including mobile homes, recreational vehicles, and other premises (yards, carnivals, parking lots, and industrial substations)
      • Conductors that connect installations to a supply of electricity
      • Not covered are – electrical installations in marine, aircraft, auto vehicles, communications and electrical utilities.

      Key principles covered are JSA/JHA/AHA procedures to ascertain shock protection boundaries, arc flash incident energy expressed in calories/cm2, lockout-tagout, and personal protective equipment. While the various OSHA, ASTM, IEEE and NEC standard provide guidelines for performance, NFPA 70E addresses practices and is widely considered as the de facto standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace.

  • What is Inrush Current?

      It is an abnormally high transient current, caused by residual flux in the core, which is drawn for a short period when a transformer is energized.

  • What is Inductance?

      Inductance is the property of a conductor by which when exposed to alternating current flow, the change in current flow induces a voltage across the conductor.

  • What is Impedance?

      It is the apparent resistance in a circuit to the flow of an alternating current analogous to the actual resistance to a direct current.

  • Transformer Short Circuit Considerations

      Short circuits or faults can and do occur on electric power and distribution systems.  When a fault occurs on the load side of a transformer, the fault current will pass through the transformer.  As components on these systems, transformers need to be able to withstand these fault currents.

      Fault currents flowing through transformers are significantly higher than the rated currents of the transformers.  In worst case, the current would be as high as the current that would flow if system voltage was applied to the primary terminals while the secondary terminals are shorted – limited by the transformer impedance only.  These currents produce both mechanical and thermal stresses in the transformers.

      Forces resulting from the currents passing through the transformer act on the conductors.  The forces are a function of the peak asymmetrical current (the highest peak value of any cycle of the current), which is usually at its highest during the first half cycle of the fault.  The duration of the fault is not normally a concern for mechanical withstand because the peak value of each cycle of the current reduces as the fault persists.  The transformer manufacturer needs to ensure these forces do not damage the transformer.

      The thermal stress is caused by the high current causing heating in the transformer.  Both the RMS symmetrical current magnitude and duration of the fault contribute to the heating of the transformer.  The transformer manufacturer needs to ensure the components of the transformer do not become hot enough to be damaged.

      General purpose dry type transformers are typically designed to withstand the mechanical and thermal stresses caused by a short circuit occurring on the secondary terminals of the transformer with rated voltage applied to the primary terminals for a maximum of 2 seconds, provided the current does not exceed 25 times rated current.  The fault current magnitude is a function of the transformer impedance.  The table below shows the fault current for selected impedances and applies to both line currents and phase currents.

      Transformer Impedance Fault Current (times rated)
      4.0% 25.0
      5.0% 20.0
      6.0% 16.7
      7.0% 14.3
      8.0% 12.5
       

      The maximum of 25 times rated current is listed so that transformers with an impedance below 4% need only be able to withstand 25 times rated current, although the fault current could be higher than this.  It does not mean that all transformers are able to handle a fault current up to 25 times rated current – with rated voltage applied to the primary a transformer impedance above 4% will not allow 25 times rated current to flow.

      Many specifications indicate a fault level at the primary terminals of the transformer.  Some customers will ask for a transformer to be braced for the primary fault level.  A general purpose transformer is suitable to be connected to a system with the specified fault level, but the transformer impedance will limit the fault current through it to well below the available fault level.  As an example, the customer requests a 2500 kVA transformer, 13.8  kV delta to 480Y/277 V, 5.75% impedance to be braced for 750 MVA fault level at 13.8 kV.  In this case, the available fault current at the primary terminals is 31.4 kA.  For a fault on the secondary side of the transformer, the transformer impedance will limit the fault current that flows in the primary to 1.8 kA in the lines and 1.1 kA in the coils – significantly lower than the available fault level.  There is no need for the transformer primary conductors to be sized and braced to handle a 31.4 kA fault current.

      Some operating conditions need special attention.  Some customers specify the transformer to operate continuously with load at higher than rated voltage.  If a fault occurs when the transformer is operating at higher than rated voltage, the resulting fault current would be higher than a typical transformer is designed for.  This will increase both the forces in the transformer and the heating of the transformer.  Some customers specify a fault duration longer than 2 seconds without specifying a higher voltage.  This does not affect the forces but does increase the heating in the transformer.  In these cases, a special design may be required.

      One case in particular requires special attention – transformers directly connected to a generator.  When a generator is supplying a load and the load is suddenly disconnected, the output voltage of the generator rises significantly for a short time until the excitation system decreases the voltage.  If a fault occurs on the secondary of a transformer at this time, the fault current can be significantly higher than a typical transformer is designed for.  Some applications may not have any overcurrent protection between the generator and the transformer primary winding, resulting in an increased duration.  In such cases, it is recommended that IEEE C57.116 IEEE Guide for Transformers Directly Connected to Generators be reviewed to determine the short circuit withstand requirement for the transformer.

      General purpose transformers have short circuit withstand capabilities that are sufficient for many applications.  The transformer manufacturer needs to be informed of cases where a fault could occur on the secondary of the transformer when the transformer is supplied above rated voltage or the fault duration is longer than 2 seconds to ensure the transformer is suitably designed to withstand the possible secondary faults.

  • What is Transverse Mode Noise Attenuation (TMNA)?

      It is attenuation of electrical noise or voltage disturbances that occurs between phase and neutral (between lines), or from spurious signals across the metallic hot line and the neutral conductor. A transformer’s impedance, isolation properties and electrostatic shield may all contribute to the total TMNA level. This is typically expressed in decibels.

  • What are some of the Tests performed on transformers?

      Normal, routine production tests include:

      1. core loss;
      2. load loss – winding or copper loss;
      3. Impedance;
      4. hi-pot – high voltage between windings and ground;
      5. induced – double induced two times voltage.

      Optional special tests include:

      1. heat run – temperature testing;
      2. Noise tests – sound level measurement;
      3. impulse tests – BIL tests:
      4. partial discharge

  • What are the overload capacities of cast coil transformers?

      Cast coil transformers typically come with two insulation systems. 155C is common for IEC rated transformers while 185C is required for U.L. listed units. The 185C insulation system offers additional overload ratings over the 155C system. Assuming a maximum ambient of 40C and average of 30C, a 185C insulation system is typically rated at 115C temperature rise. When built with a 100C temperature rise, the unit will have an overload capacity of 6%. At an 80C temperature rise, the unit will have an overload capacity of 17%.

      A cast coil transformer using a 155C base insulation system has a base 80C temperature rise. So, at 80C, there would be no additional overload capacity.

  • Why Are There Physical Clearance (Distance) Requirements on the Nameplate?

      A ventilated transformer’s physical clearance requirements are designed to provide adequate clearance for airflow cooling. Generally, the larger the transformer the more airflow and clearance is needed. The more important areas are the front and back of ventilated transformers where the air may enter in the bottom and exit at the top. Since the sides of distribution transformers generally don’t have ventilation openings, side clearance is less important. There must also be no obstructions that limit airflow into the bottom vents and top clearance from ceilings must also be maintained.

      All smaller clearances should be reviewed by the manufacturer to verify they are adequate. Also note that electrical codes require minimum front panel clearances to allow safe and easy access to the wiring area. Units supplied with factory installed wall-mounting brackets may also have the back closer to the wall than the nameplate requirements; this is acceptable.  These statements may not apply to non-ventilated and/or potted transformers which don’t have ventilation slots and/or may have zero clearance when mounted to wall suing supplied brackets.

  • Can neutral currents such as the 3rd harmonic be reduced by the use of 3rd harmonic blocking filters?

      Some manufacturers are promoting the use of 3rd harmonic (180 Hz) blocking filters for the treatment of high neutral currents caused by non-linear loads such as personal computers. These devices are parallel L-C filters tuned to 180 Hz and are connected in the neutral of 4-wire systems between the transformer secondary and the neutral-to-ground connection.

      Their high impedance to the flow of 3rd harmonic current forces all connected equipment to draw current that does not contain the 3rd harmonic. Although their use will result in a significant reduction in 3rd harmonic current, it is achieved at the risk of rather severe consequences.

      1. The installation raises questions with respect to NEC 2002 compliance. NEC 250.30(A)(2)(a) states that “a grounding electrode conductor for a single separately derived system … shall be used to connect the grounded conductor of the derived system to the grounding electrode…” In addition, “the grounding electrode conductor shall be installed in one continuous length without a splice or joint…” [See NEC 250.64(C)].

      If a simple splice connection is not allowed, then certainly the L-C circuit of the 3rd harmonic blocking filter should not be allowed either. Also, the installation results in an impedance grounded wye system rather than a solidly grounded system. The only reference in NEC that allows for the introduction of impedance between the neutral and the grounding electrode is found in Section 250.36, High-Impedance Grounded Neutral Systems. However, these systems are permitted only at 480V and higher and only if they do not serve line-to-neutral loads. They also require the use of ground fault detectors. None of these requirements is met in the normal application of the 3rd harmonic blocking filter where the loads are primarily 120V, phase-to-neutral connected computer or other power electronic equipment.

      2. Although tuned to 180 Hz, the L-C circuit will introduce some impedance at 60 Hz as well. The consequences are:
      a. Line-neutral short circuit current will be reduced which will limit a circuit breakers ability to clear a line-neutral fault. This can be very dangerous because an uninterrupted fault (commonly referred to as an arcing fault) will often result in an electrical fire.
      b. The neutral point at the transformers wye secondary can shift. This can result in 120V line-neutral voltages that rise and fall unpredictably as the load balance between the phases varies.

      3. High impedance to the flow of 3rd harmonic current will produce voltage distortion in the form of flat-topping – a dramatic reduction in peak to peak voltage. This will:
      a. Significantly reduce the ride-through capability of switch-mode power supplies (SMPS) since the DC smoothing capacitors will not be allowed to fully charge.
      b. Reduce the SMPS DC bus voltage, thereby increasing the current demand the associated I2R losses. Component reliability will be reduced due to higher operating temperatures.
      c. Often cause Single Phase UPS systems to switch to battery back-up.
      d. Force connected equipment to operate without a 3rd harmonic current – an operating mode for which they have not been intended or tested.

      At first, when loading is light, problems may not be extremely obvious. However, as the load increases, voltage distortion and flat-topping will also increase until problems do arise. Although neutral current can be reduced, it is often achieved at the expense of a tremendous increase in voltage distortion. At 30%, the voltage distortion can be up to 4 times the maximum limit of 8% recommended by IEEE std 519. In addition, the measured crest factor can be significantly below the normal sinusoidal crest factor of 1.414.

      4. The 180 Hz L-C blocking filters requires the use of capacitors and it is well known that capacitors are less reliable than inductors and transformers. Failure of the capacitor or its protection could result in a very high impedance ground at the neutral over the full frequency range. This would have a dramatic effect on 60 Hz unbalance and fault currents.

      5. At frequencies above the resonant point (180 Hz), the parallel L-C circuit becomes capacitive which could result in a resonant condition at some higher harmonic frequency.

      More Harmonic Mitigating Transformer Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can equipment manufacturers design their products to be free of harmonics

      Yes they can, but lowering the current distortion levels at the input to the SMPS in a computer will add to the cost of the computer. This is not a step that computer manufacturers wish to take because of the continuous and intense cost cutting in the computer industry.

      Actually it is less costly overall to provide a harmonic mitigating transformer to feed several hundred computers than it is to improve the operation of the SMPS in each computer. This is especially true when we consider that the added cost of the improved SMPS will reappear every three years when a new computer system is purchased.

      More Harmonic Mitigating Transformer Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are there standards that can help in addressing harmonics?
  • Why do 3rd harmonic currents overload neutral conductors?

      Sinusoidal currents on the phases of a 3-phase, 4- wire system with linear loads sum to return on the neutral conductor. The 120° phase shift between the sinusoidal load currents causes their vector sum to be quite small. In fact it will be zero if the linear loads are perfectly balanced.

      The instantaneous sum of the currents in the three phases taken at any moment will also be zero if the linear loads are perfectly balanced. If they are not, then there will be a small residual neutral current.

      With linear loads, the neutral conductor can be the same size as the phase conductors because the neutral current will not be larger than the highest phase current. Unfortunately, this is definitely not true for non-linear phase-to-neutral loads.

      120VAC non-linear loads like the SMPS used in computers and in monitors draw current in two distinct pulses per cycle. Because each pulse is narrow (less than 60 degrees), the currents in the second and third phases are zero when the current pulse is occurring in the first phase. Hence no cancellation can occur in the neutral conductor and each pulse of current on a phase becomes a pulse of current on the neutral.

      Even if the phase currents of the SMPS loads are perfectly balanced in RMS amperes, the RMS value of the neutral current can be as much as √3 times the RMS value of the phase current because there are 3 times as many pulses of current in the neutral than in any one phase. If the phase current pulses do overlap because they exceed 60 degrees in width, then there will be some cancellation so that the neutral current will be less than √3 times the phase current. Overlapped or not, because there are 3 times as many pulses in the neutral than in a phase, the predominant component of the neutral current will be the 3rd harmonic (180Hz for a 60Hz system). The linear current completes only 2 cycles in the same time period that the non-linear neutral current completes 6 cycles or 3 times the fundamental.

      Often, in new construction this situation is addressed by simply doubling the neutral conductor ampacity. In existing facilities however, it is most often very difficult and too costly to implement this solution, therefore an alternate method is usually necessary. Question 11 describes how Zero Sequence Harmonic Filters can be used very effectively to reduce 3rd harmonic currents in the neutral conductor.

      More Harmonic Mitigating Transformer Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is a Lamination?
  • What is a Harmonic?

      A sinusoidal component of a periodic wave having a frequency that is a multiple of the fundamental frequency. A component whose frequency is twice the fundamental frequency is referred to as the 2nd harmonic, (120 Hz is the 2nd harmonic of 60 Hz).

      It is recommended that transformers which experience high harmonic levels be specified with a K-rating.

  • What is a Step-Up Transformer?

      A transformer in which the low voltage winding (secondary) is connected to the input or power source and the high voltage winding (primary) is connected to the output or load.

  • What does the term Hertz (Hz) mean?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of an open delta transformer configuration ?

      Open-delta configurations are typically deployed by utilities, typically to loads with little single-phase requirements.

      Advantages:

      • Open-deltas only require the utility to install two transformers.
      • Future Capacity can be increased by simply installing a third similar sized transformer verses installing 2-3 larger transformers.

      Disadvantages:

      • While the line to line voltages will be equal, the line to neutral voltages will have two phases being equal and one phase being 1.732 times larger.
      • Unbalanced single phase loads can cause voltage fluctuations and additional, uneven transformer heating.
      • An open delta connection only has 58% of the capacity of a full set of three transformers, that is a 42% decrease in actual capacity event though the installed capacity only drops by 33%.

       

  • What are non-linear loads and why are they a concern today?

      A load is considered non-linear if its impedance changes with the applied voltage. The changing impedance means that the current drawn by the non-linear load will not be sinusoidal even when it is connected to a sinusoidal voltage. These non-sinusoidal currents contain harmonic currents that interact with the impedance of the power distribution system to create voltage distortion that can affect both the distribution system equipment and the loads connected to it.

      In the past, non-linear loads were primarily found in heavy industrial applications such as arc furnaces, large variable speed drives, heavy rectifiers for electrolytic refining, etc. The harmonics they generated were typically localized and often addressed by knowledgeable experts.

      Times have changed. Harmonic problems are now common in not only industrial applications but in commercial buildings as well. This is due primarily to new power conversion technologies, such as the Switch-Mode Power Supply (SMPS), which can be found in virtually every power electronic device (computers, servers, monitors, printers, photocopiers, telecom systems, broadcasting equipment, electric vehicle chargers, etc.). The SMPS is an excellent power supply, but it is also a highly non-linear load. Their proliferation has made them a substantial portion of the total load in most commercial buildings.

      More Harmonic Mitigating Transformer Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are Knockouts and what are they used for?
  • What are Insulating Materials?

      Those materials used to electrically insulate the transformer’s windings, turn-to-turn or layer-to-layer, and other assemblies in the transformer such as the core and busswork.  Nomex, polyester, epoxy, rubber, Glastic and plastic are commonly used as insulating materials in the electrical industry.

  • What is Voltage Regulation?

      Voltage regulation is the difference between the transformer secondary No-Load and Full-Load voltage with respect to its Full-Load voltage.  Essentially, every transformer has a voltage drop caused by its own impedance (which is composed of its winding resistive and inductive properties).  Therefore, at different voltages and loading conditions, this internal voltage drop across the transformer windings will vary and ultimately will affect the final secondary output voltage.

  • What is Volt-Amperes (VA)?

      The VA or volt-ampere output rating designates the output that a transformer can deliver for a specified time at its rated secondary voltage and rated frequency, without exceeding its specified temperature rise.  It is the current flowing in a circuit multiplied by the voltage of the circuit.

  • Define Vacuum Pressure Impregnation?

      A vacuum and pressure impregnation process using a resin that is then oven cured to completely seal and protect the surface of a transformer and provides a strong mechanical bond. This process is standard on all HPS transformer products.

  • How does a UPS transformer’s efficiency affect the overall system efficiency?

      ASHRAE 90.4 Section 6.2.1.2.1.1 notes that UPS transformer’s efficiencies at given loads must be included in the total losses for evaluation. Active single feed systems should be evaluated at 100% and 50% ITE load while active dual feed systems should be evaluated at 50% and 25% loads.

  • What is Transverse Mode?

      It is electrical noise or voltage disturbance that occurs between phase and neutral (between lines), or from spurious signals across the metallic hot line and the neutral conductor.

  • What type of transformers does the NEC 2017 require a 1 hour fire seperation barrier

      A 1 hour fire separation barrier is required for any dry type transformer over 112.5 kVA with less than class 155C insulation. As a practical matter, few dry type transformers in this size range utilize insulation systems below 155C. The most common insulation type is 220C.

      The 1 hour fire separation requirement would also apply to liquid-filled transformers specified in Article 450 based on the type of liquid used and other ratings.

  • Under what circumstance is D.C. Resistance Measurement needed?

      Current from a D.C. resistance bridge is applied to the transformers windings to determine the D.C. resistance voltage of the coils. This test is important for the calculation of transformer winding heat losses used for winding temperature testing, and as base data for future assessment in the field.

  • Can variable frequency drives be powered from an open delta system?

      There are several issues that occur when a Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) is powered from an open delta system:

      • Uneven voltages in an open delta circuit can cause the diode bridge to unevenly draw current which causes additional heating.
      • The current harmonic distortion caused by the diode bridge will also not be balanced line to line which will cause even more additional heating.
      • Some utilities may require a harmonic study to be performed anytime a large VFD load is to be supplied by an open delta system.

      Overall, an open delta system can result in shorted diodes or DC bus capacitor failures on a VFD. Using DC Link Chokes and/or Line Reactors will mitigate some of this additional distortion. The VFD may need to be de-rated for open-delta configurations.

  • What is a SMPS and how does it generate harmonics?

      The Switch-Mode Power Supply (SMPS) is found in most power electronics today. Its reduced size and weight, better energy efficiency, and lower cost make it far superior to the power supply technology it replaced.

      Electronic devices need power supplies to convert the 120VAC receptacle voltage to the low voltage DC levels that they require. Older generation power supplies used large and heavy 60 Hz step-down transformers to convert the AC input voltage to lower values before rectification. The SMPS avoids the heavy 60 Hz step-down transformer by directly rectifying the 120VAC using an input diode bridge. The rectified voltage is then converted to lower voltages by much smaller and lighter switch-mode dc-to-dc converters using tiny transformers that operate at very high frequency. Consequently the SMPS is very small and light.

      The SMPS is not without its downside, however. The operation of the diode bridge and accompanying smoothing capacitor is very nonlinear in nature. That is, it draws current in nonsinusoidal pulses at the peak of the voltage waveform. This non-sinusoidal current waveform is very rich in harmonic currents.

      Because the SMPS has become the standard computer power supply, they are found in large quantities in commercial buildings. Acting together, the multitude of SMPS units can badly distort what started out as a sine wave voltage waveform.

      Twice per cycle every SMPS draws a pulse of current to recharge its capacitor to the peak value of the supply voltage. Between voltage peaks the capacitor discharges to support the load and the SMPS does not draw current from the utility. The supply voltage peak is flattened by the instantaneous voltage drops throughout the distribution system caused by the simultaneous current pulses drawn by the multiple SMPS units. The expected sine wave with a peak of 120 x √2 = 169.4V instead starts to resemble a square wave. The flattened voltage waveform contains a lowered fundamental voltage component plus 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th and higher voltage harmonics.

      More Harmonic Mitigating Transformer Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is an Earthing Transformer
  • What is the duty cycle of a transformer?

      Duty cycle is the amount of load over set periods of time. Transformers are designed to run continuously at full load without exceeding the insulation temperature limits provided that parameters such as ambient temperature, harmonic distortion, power factor, etc., are met. Transformers can also be designed to run for short term duty cycles which may result in a smaller unit. Short term duty cycles will need lower or no-load periods to aid in cooling. High load duty cycles can affect parameters such as impedance and voltage regulation.

  • What is a dual output Harmonic Mitigating Transformer

      Like a standard HMT, a dual put HMT minimizes the voltage distortion rise due to the transformer itself. Harmonic Mitigating Transformers (HMTs) are designed to reduce the impedance seen by the harmonic currents. This is accomplished through zero sequence flux cancellation and through phase shifting. The secondary winding configuration of the HMT cancels the zero sequence fluxes; those produced by the 3rd, 9th, 15th (triplen) current harmonics, without coupling them to the primary windings.

      This prevents the triplen current harmonics from circulating in the primary windings as they do in a delta-wye transformer. The flux cancellation also results in much lower impedance to the zero sequence currents and hence lower voltage distortion at these harmonics. In addition, the reduced primary winding circulating current will lower losses and allow the transformer to run cooler.

      More Harmonic Mitigating Transformer Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do dry type transformers require a Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) plan per 40 CFR part 112?

      A Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) plan per 40 CFR part 112 is typically required for many liquid cooled transformer installations. The purpose of the Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) rule is to help facilities prevent a discharge of oil into navigable waters or adjoining shorelines. Dry type transformers do not require an SPCC plan.

  • Does HPS build network transformers?

      Network Transformers typically range from 300 kVA to 2,500 kVA three-phase. The Primary voltage ranges from 2400 VAC to 34,500 VAC and the secondary from 600VAC to 208 VAC. The type may be oil, dry (VPI) or cast-coil. The primary is usually delta connected, and the secondary is wye connected. The high-voltage connection is usually to a network switch or an interrupter-type switch. The secondary connection is usually to a network protector or a low-voltage air circuit breaker.

      HPS can provide both VPI and Cast Coil Secondary Unit Network Transformers. There is a type of Network transformer often called a subway type. This is installed in a vault and used in areas where they are occasionally or frequently submerged in water, HPS does not currently offer this type of system.

  • Do different types of non-linear loads generate different harmonics?

      By far the majority of today’s non-linear loads are rectifiers with DC smoothing capacitors. These rectifiers typically come in 3 types:
      (i) single phase, line-to-neutral
      (ii) single phase, phase-to-phase
      (iii) three-phase

      Single-phase line-to-neutral rectifier loads, such as switch-mode power supplies in computer equipment, generate current harmonics 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th and higher. The 3rd will be the most predominant and typically the most troublesome. 3rd, 9th and other odd multiples of the 3rd harmonic are often referred to as triplen harmonics and because they add arithmetically in the neutral are also considered zero sequence currents. Line-to-neutral non-linear loads can be found in computer data centers, telecom rooms, broadcasting studios, schools, financial institutions, etc.

      208V single-phase rectifier loads can also produce 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th and higher harmonic currents but if they are reasonably balanced across the 3 phases, the amplitude of 3rd and 9th will be small. Because they are connected line-line, these loads cannot contribute to the neutral current. The largest current and voltage harmonics will generally be the 5th followed by the 7th. Typical single phase, 208V rectifier loads include the switch-mode power supplies in computer equipment and peripherals.

      Three-phase rectifier loads are inherently balanced and therefore generally produce very little 3rd and 9th harmonic currents unless their voltage supply is unbalanced. Their principle harmonics are the 5th and 7th with 11th and 13th also present. They cannot produce neutral current because they are not connected to the neutral conductor. The rectifiers of variable speed drives and Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS) are typical examples of three-phase rectifier loads.

      More Harmonic Mitigating Transformer Frequently Asked Questions

  • How bad can the Dirty Power problem get?

      One form of dirty power usually called a surge can burn out computer, audio, video or nay other electronic circuitry in seconds. A surge is a high voltage pulse riding the normal power wave. Surges will commonly measure 600 to 2500 volts. Even though they occur for only mille-seconds, this is enough time to melt down circuits.

  • How does Dirty Power affect my electronic equipment?

      Your computer operates by reading electronic impulses. Dirty power contains a great number of random pulses riding on the normally smooth surface of a power wave. As these random pulses enter the circuits, your computer ‘reads’ them as data. This can cause a whole range of problems. You may suddenly get garbled numbers or letters in a readout or printout.

      You could loose files, skip program steps, have trouble loading programs or have connection problems while on the Internet.

  • What is a Harmonic Mitigating Transformer and how is it different than a K-Rated Transformer?

      Harmonic Mitigating Transformers, or HMTs, are specifically designed to minimize the voltage distortion and power losses that result from the harmonics generated by non-linear loads such as personal computers. The accomplish this through the use of a zig-zag winding.

      K-rated transformers, on the other hand, are simply designed to prevent their overheating when subjected to heavy non-linear loading, but do very little to reduce the harmonic losses themselves. And as for voltage distortion, K-rated transformers perform the same as conventional general purpose delta-wye transformers.

      More Harmonic Mitigating Transformer Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the difference between a Variable Frequency Drive’s (VFD) fundamental frequency and the VFD’s carrier (switching) frequency?

      A VFD’s fundamental frequency is the frequency of the output current, typically >0 to 400HZ for most VFD’s. This frequency determines the speed of the motor and is simulated by the drive’s higher carrier frequency output.

      The VFD’s Carrier (Switching) frequency is the frequency of the PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) pulses, i.e. the frequency at which the VFD’s output transistors; usually IGBTs (Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistors), are switching. This typically ranges from 2 to 20 kHz. This high frequency PWM current output simulates a lower frequency sine wave and provides the drive’s variable fundamental frequency output.

  • Describe Transient?

      Transient is a temporary change in the steady-state voltage and current, that can be impulsive or oscillatory in nature, depending on the cause for transient behaviour.

      i.e. A lightning strike on electrical power equipment is a common cause for impulsive transient behaviour.

  • Describe the term Rating?
  • Describe Saturation?
  • Describe Moisture Resistance?
  • Define VPI Impregnation?

      A vacuum and pressure impregnation process using a resin that is then oven cured to completely seal and protect the surface of a transformer and provides a strong mechanical bond. This process is standard on all HPS transformer products.

  • Define Series/Multiple?

      A winding consisting of two or more sections which can be connected for series operation or multiple (parallel) operation. Also referred to as dual voltage or series-parallel.

  • Can a damaged coil be repaired, refurbished or replaced?

      Low and medium voltage coils which have been damaged can be repaired, refurbished or replaced. Repairing involves fixing the issue without removing the coil from the core. This may be an option for transformers which have sustained much physical damage or if an issue such as lowering insulation levels is diagnosed before actual failure. This may also be possible for transformers which are dirty or have been submerged. In some cases the the coil can be removed and refurbished. This would typically be done for larger, often medium voltage transformers which have sustained damage to the outer, primary winding. The last option is to replace the coil entirely which is often done if the coil is severely damage, the inner winding is damaged or the transformer can’t be sufficiently cleaned.

      While coils can be repaired, refurbished and replaced, this must be compared to the cost of providing a new unit. Repairs must factor in additional transportation and testing costs, higher disassembly and assembly costs, core damage and replacement and the benefits of using a new transformer, often with modern higher efficiencies. Repair is often only practical for large custom transformers.

  • Do HPS transformers conform to the NEC 451-10 grounding requirements?

      All HPS enclosed transformers and reactors can be installed to be compatible with the NEC 451.10 grounding requirements.

      A) Dry-Type Transformer Enclosures. Where separate equipment grounding conductors and supply-side bonding jumpers are installed, a terminal bar for all grounding and bonding conductor connections shall be secured inside the transformer enclosure. The terminal bar shall be bonded to the enclosure in accordance with 250.12 and shall not be installed on or over any vented portion of the enclosure.

      Exception: Where a dry-type transformer is equipped with wire-type connections (leads), the grounding and bonding connections shall be permitted to be connected together using any of the methods in 250.8 and shall be bonded to the enclosure if of metal.

      HPS ventilated low-voltage transformers are typically supplied with pre-installed grounding bars or lugs. If the unit does not have pre-installed lugs, the enclosure is compatible for the user to install the required lugs in accordance with NEC 250.12. It is the installer’s final responsibility to determine if the final installation complied with local code requirements.

  • Why is Clean Power so critical?

      Your computer is a delicate electronic instrument. When you use the keyboard, you’re sending a series of tiny electronic impulses through the computers circuits. The computer ‘reads’ these electronic impulses and makes calculations or performs tasks according to your programmed instructions. If the electrical power feeding your computer is smooth and clean, your computer will behave normally. However, if the power fed into your computer is “dirty”, you could be in for many unpleasant surprises.

      Practically all electronic devices are sensitive to fluctuations in voltage, therefore clean power is vital in order to ensure uninterrupted performance of modern-day electronic equipment.

  • Can a Scott-T connected transformer be fed to go from two phases to three phases?

      In theory, you can feed a Scott-T connected transformer with two phase power and derive three phases. However, the two phase feed would need to have the two phases offset by 90 degrees. In practicality, there are no two phase generators on the market that can provide this feed.

      In some cases, this is discussed with an open delta system. Since an open delta system does not have the two phases offset by 90 degrees, a Scott T connected transformers can not be used in this application.

  • Can a Scott-T connected transformer be fed from two phases of an open delta system to create a three phase system?

      No. The two phase input of a Scott-T connected transformer requires the two phases to be offset by 90 degrees. Since an open delta system does not have the two phases offset by 90 degrees, a Scott-T connected transformer can not be used in this application. There are currently no practical magnetics solutions to this application.

  • When you calculate the VA requirement of a Transformer, do you use the Primary or the Secondary Voltage?
  • When is audible sound level an issue in the design?

      Sound needs to be considered when transformers are located in close proximity to occupied areas. All energized transformers emanate sound due to the alternating flux in the core. The larger the kVA, the louder the audible noise. This normal sound emitted by the transformer can be a source of annoyance unless it is kept below acceptable levels. There are ways of minimizing sound emission as discussed in the HPS “Field Service Guide”.

      HPS Transformers are built to meet the latest ANSI, CSA and UL standards. Audible noise is typically define by NEMA ST-20.

  • Are Harmonic Mitigating Transformers (HMT’s) available in medium voltage configurations?
  • Are electrical systems safe from harmonics if K Rated transformers

      K-Rated transformers made their appearance several decades ago as a means of preventing transformers from failing when subjected to heavy non-linear loading. They are essentially ‘beefed up’ transformers with extra steel in their cores and conductors in their windings to allow for better dissipation of the excessive losses produced by harmonic currents. K-Rated transformers are not designed to cancel harmonics or their fluxes and therefore, do nothing but protect themselves from overheating.

      Harmonic losses are normally not significantly reduced and voltage distortion will typically remain quite high under more heavily loaded conditions. To improve power quality in the form of reduced voltage distortion and to save energy costs, the use of a transformer designed to cancel harmonics is necessary.

      Over-sizing neutrals, on the other hand, can be a reasonably low cost method for the prevention of neutral conductor overheating. It is important to remember that the non-linear loads are the source of the harmonic currents. They must flow from the loads back to the transformer. Because the 3rd and 9th current harmonics created by the 120 VAC switch-mode power supplies are flowing back on the neutral, the neutral current is usually larger than the phase currents. This is of minimal consequence provided the neutral has suitable ampacity to carry the extra current and the 120/208V 4-wire run length is not too long.

      When selecting phase and neutral conductor sizes in a non-linear load application, the electrical code requires that an ampacity adjustment or correction factor be applied. This is because the neutral conductor is considered to be a current carrying conductor along with Phase A, Phase B and Phase C. With more than 3 current carrying conductors in a conduit or raceway, a 0.8 factor must be applied.

      To minimize harmonic problems in new installations, avoid the old approach of using a large central transformer with a 120/208V secondary and long 4-wire risers or radial runs through the building. The impedances of these long runs are high so that harmonic currents flowing through these impedances will create high levels of voltage distortion and neutral-to-ground voltage. To prevent these problems, an effective rule of thumb is to limit each 120/208V run length to that which would produce a 60Hz voltage drop not greater than 1/2% to 3/4%. For a typical 200 amp feeder this would be < 50 ft.

      Combining the use of Harmonic Mitigating Transformers with short 120/208V feeder runs and double ampacity neutrals will ensure compatibility between the distribution system and the non-linear loads. Generally this will keep voltage distortion safely below the maximum of 5% as recommended for sensitive loads in IEEE Std 519-2014.

      More Harmonic Mitigating Transformer Frequently Asked Questions

  • What does ANN mean?
  • What is the effect of “Overload”?

      Overload is when a transformer is subjected to voltages and/or currents that exceed its design specifications. During overloading conditions, excess heat will cause the insulation system to break down, resulting in decreased life expectancy of the transformer.

  • What Effects Does EMF (Electric and Magnetic Fields) Have on Equipment?
  • What is EMF (Electric and Magnetic Fields)?
  • Explain the term Phase?
  • Do any performance issues arise during high ambient temperatures?

      Temperatures which exceed the rated ambient temperatures for which the insulation system is designed can cause insulation damage and premature failure. This can often occur in hotter
      environments or in rooms which have inadequate ventilation. Care should be taken in installing stacked transformers because the top transformer may use air that has been heated by the lower unit. Damage from high ambient temperatures often does not cause an immediate failure but can cause damage that results in a failure weeks, months or years later.

      High ambient temperatures can be mitigated several ways:

      • Order a transformer designed with a lower temperature rise.
      • Use fan cooling, this is typically an economical solution when a unit exceeds 500-1500kVA.
      • Place the transformer in a temperature controlled location.
      • Properly ventilate the location that the transformer is located in.

      Never try to use cooling fans directly on a transformer or blow across a transformer’s windings.

      Manufacturers use special fans, specific locations, and cooling patterns to cool transformers. Improper placement of airflow could cause disruption of the convection airflow and cause the transformer to overheat.

  • Can you operate a 60Hz Transformer at 50 Hz?

      Transformers rated at 60Hz should not be used on a 50Hz supply due to higher losses and core saturation, and the resultant higher temperature rise. Transformers rated for 50Hz, however, can be operated on a 60Hz supply.

  • What does ONAN mean?
  • What does ONAF mean?

      “Oil Natural Air Forced” – Natural convectional circulates the flow of oil for cooling.  Fan forced air is applied to the cooling surface of the enclosure to improve cooling.

  • What does OFAF mean?

      “Oil Forced Air Forced” – Fan forced air is applied to the cooling surface of the enclosure to improve cooling.  In addition, an oil pump further forces additional oil flow to aid in cooling.

  • What are No-Load Losses (Excitation Losses)?

      It is the loss in a transformer that is excited at rated voltage and frequency, but without a load connected to the secondary. No-load losses include core loss, dielectric loss, and copper loss in the winding due to exciting current.

  • What are NEMA Premium Efficiency Transformers?

      NEMA Premium provides 30% fewer losses than the 2006 DOE 10 CFR Part 431 (commonly called TP1) or Canadian C802.2. This covers low voltage distribution transformers and is measured at 35% load.

      NEMA Premium is largely obsolete as a term and has been replaced by similar efficiencies in the U.S.A’s DOE 2016 and Canada’s NRCan 2019 energy efficieny regulations. NEMA no longer promotes the NEMA Premium specification or specifications higher than the current DOE 2016 and NRCan 2019 levels.

  • What are the most common power problems?
  • What is a Mid-tap?
  • Are “Low Temperature Rise” transformers more efficient?

      One common misconception is that low temperature rise units are more efficient.

      While they usually have better efficiency at full load, it doesn’t guarantee that this will be the case at lower loads.

      Efficiency regulations typically use an average load of 35% to 50% when specifying efficiency. A low temperature rise transformer with more mass and surface area, but running with a low load may be less efficient and produce more heat than a standard transformer, while still maintaining a low overall temperature rise.

      Core loss for low temperature rise units are higher than a transformer with the same kVA rating, but a higher rise (present whenever unit is energized).

      Transformer temperature rise and efficiency should be regarded as two separate issues. If a high efficiency unit is desired, the TP1 (DOE 10 CFR Part 431), C802.2 (Canada) or NEMA Premium® energy efficient specifications should be noted. These regulations are all compatible with low temperature rise transformers.

  • What are Load Losses?

      They are losses in a transformer, which are incident to load carrying. Load loses include I2R loss in the windings due to load current, stray loss due to stray fluxes in the windings, core clamps, etc., and to circulating currents (if any), in parallel windings

  • What is a Line Reactor?

      It is an electrical, single winding device with an air or iron core whose primary purpose is to introduce a specific amount of inductive reactance into a circuit, usually to reduce or control current.

  • What does ANN/AFN mean?

      “Air Natural Convection Cooling plus Forced Air Cooling” – Fans force more air to circulate through a dry-type transformer to cool the unit typically adding 33% additional capacity verses a similar non-fan cooled unit.

  • What does the abbreviation KVA stand for?

      “Kilovolt Ampere Rating” designates the output that a transformer can deliver for a specified time at rated secondary voltage and rated frequency without exceeding the specified temperature rise. (1 kVA = 1000 VA, or 1000 volt amperes)

  • Insulating Materials, what are they made of and what is their purpose?

      HPS utilizes Mylar, Nomex and other high-quality insulating materials.  These materials are used to provide insulation throughout many areas of a transformer so as to prevent failure between components having different voltage potentials (for example, Core to Ground).

  • What is an Induced Potential Test?

      It is a standard dielectric test that verifies the integrity of insulating materials and electrical clearances between turns and layers of a transformer winding.

  • Can I increase the efficiency of an existing transformer?

      There are two main loss area of a transformer, load losses in the coils and no-load losses in the core. Coil losses can only be lowered by completely replacing the coils and using a larger conductor which typically would not be compatible with existing core. In order to reduce core losses, better grades of steel and/or more advanced core design would require the complete replacement of the core while still reusing the coils. While possible, it’d typically be uneconomical to do except for large, custom transformers. The last option for increasing transformer efficiency is to provide line power meeting IEEE 519 THDi and/or removing harmonics on the load side before they reach the transformer.

      In most cases the most economical method to increase a transformer’s efficiency is to replace older transformers with modern high efficiency models meeting current North American efficiency requirements.

  • What is an Impulse Test?

      It is a dielectric test that determines the BIL (Basic Impulse Level) capability by applying high frequency, steep wave-front voltage between windings and ground.  This test is commonly used to simulate the impact of a lightning strike on power equipment.

  • How to transformer taps adjust voltage?

      The ratio between the number of windings in the primary and secondary coil’s of a transformer determines the voltage ratio. If a transformer has 100 primary windings and 25 secondary windings, the ratio is 100:25 = 4:1. If the primary is fed with 480VAC, the ratio of primary to secondary voltage is 4:1 or 480:120. Taps are used to adjust for voltage differences at the transformer’s primary winding.A 5% adds or subtracts 5% of the windings.

  • How do Harmonic Mitigating Transformers save energy?

      Harmonic Mitigating Transformers reduce harmonic losses in the following ways:

      1. Zero phase sequence harmonic fluxes are cancelled by the transformer’s secondary windings. This prevents triplen harmonic currents from being induced into the primary windings where they would circulate. Consequently, primary side I2R and eddy current losses are reduced.

      2. Multiple output HMTs cancel the balanced portion of the 5th, 7th and other harmonics within their secondary windings. Only residual, unbalanced portions of these harmonics will flow through to the primary windings. Again I2R and eddy current losses are reduced.

      More Harmonic Mitigating Transformer Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do Harmonic Mitigating Transformers reduce voltage distortion?

      Delta-wye transformers, even those with a high K-factor rating, generally present high impedance to the flow of harmonic currents created by the non-linear loads. Non-linear loads are current sources that push the harmonic currents through the impedances of the system. Any voltage drop across the impedance of the transformer at other than the fundamental frequency (60 Hz) is a component of voltage distortion.

      Because of its higher impedance to harmonic currents, the voltage distortion at the output of a delta-wye transformer often reaches the 8% maximum voltage distortion limit recommended by IEEE Std. 519-2014 by the time that the secondary side load has reached just one-half of full-load RMS current. At closer to full-load, these transformers can produce critically high levels of voltage distortion and flat-topping at their outputs and at the downstream loads.

      To minimize the voltage distortion rise due to the transformer itself, Harmonic Mitigating Transformers (HMTs) are designed to reduce the impedance seen by the harmonic currents. This is accomplished through zero sequence flux cancellation and through phase shifting. The secondary winding configuration of the HMT cancels the zero sequence fluxes; those produced by the 3rd, 9th, 15th (triplen) current harmonics, without coupling them to the primary windings.

      This prevents the triplen current harmonics from circulating in the primary windings as they do in a delta-wye transformer. The flux cancellation also results in much lower impedance to the zero sequence currents and hence lower voltage distortion at these harmonics. In addition, the reduced primary winding circulating current will lower losses and allow the transformer to run cooler.

      The remaining major harmonics (5th, 7th, 11th, 13th, 17th & 19th) are treated to varying degrees through the introduction of phase shifts in the various HMT models.

      Single output HMTs are offered in 0° and -30° models to provide upstream cancellation of 5th, 7th, 17th and 19th harmonic currents on the primary feeder.

      More Harmonic Mitigating Transformer Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are High Voltage and Low Voltage windings?
  • What does “Hi Pot” refer to?
  • Who Needs Seismic?

      Healthcare facilities and emergency response locations, including police stations and other vital government facilities, will often include a Seismic Certification requirement. Power generation stations may also have this requirement as well as facilities handling hazardous, toxic or explosive materials.

      To determine the Sds criteria for a specific location, the U.S. Geological Survey provides a utility on their website, which can be viewed at https://seismicmaps.org/

  • What is Zone Classification?

      Obsolete versions of seismic standards used to classify seismic areas ranging from zone 0 to zone 4, where zone 0 indicates the weakest earthquake ground motion and zone 4 indicates the strongest. The zone classification is no longer used. The current standards specify the Sds design earthquake spectral response acceleration parameter as described above.

      Please refer link https://seismicmaps.org/ to determine the Sds criteria for a specific location.