What is a Power  Analyzer?

The utilization of highly energy-dependent equipment has become a traditional thing in any commercial or industrial setting. Apparently, keeping machinery working at maximum efficiency has been a never-ending concern for technicians and plant managers. This is where power quality comes in, an important element required in maintaining a device’s optimal performance. Unfortunately, it is often overlooked when it comes to routine maintenance and/or troubleshooting.

Why is Power Quality Crucial?

Low power quality simply results in higher energy costs, not to mention the toll it takes on any machine or equipment. When energy is poorly used, an excess in power usage subsequently happens. It also leads to utilities requiring more financial penalties due to high peak demands and poor power factor. In simple words, low power quality affects the costs of maintenance and repairs, as equipment tends to fail or get damaged.

The costs of poor power quality

About 150 billion Euro is the annually cost of low power quality in the European market according to the Leonardo Power Quality Initiative and The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRi) found  losses of 119-188 billion US dollars in the US market. EPRI  found the most interesting finding: 80% of power quality interference are generated within a facility.

The impact of poor power quality is measured in three general areas: downtime, equipment problems and energy costs.

How Power Analyzer Helps?

As the name suggests, a power quality evaluator is designed for the sole purpose of identifying issues involving power quality. It works by strategically sampling the AC voltage at various points along a waveform shape. From there, it digitizes all points or values and utilizes a microprocessor in order to execute a numerical analysis (which arrives at harmonic frequency magnitudes).

Being able to monitor current, a power quality analyzer can systematically calculate and display common power values, what gives you a whole picture of how your system works and where it fails miserably. It is worth remembering, however, that PQAs are not all the same. Some of them are built for single-phase systems only, while others are designed to evaluate three-phase systems. So, it is important that you use a PQA that perfectly fits your electrical system, both in design and maintenance.

Here are some important points that will help you find the right power quality evaluator:

  • Determine the total power of your system. Is it single-phase or three-phase? Or is there a solar involved?
  • Do you require logging and/or connectivity capabilities?
  • What sort of values do you want to see on the device’s display?
  • What voltage events are you looking to capture (e.g. dips & swells, flickers, harmonics, transients, etc.)?
  • Are you interested in other parameters or calculations, such as crest factor, power inverter efficiency, etc.?
  • What standards are you looking for a power quality evaluator?

Remember that poor power quality can always result in wasted energy, which means more costs. Try using a power quality evaluator and see the real difference it makes.

Power quality analyzer with a continuous waveform recording

Power quality disturbances are divided into 4 main categories:

  1. Transients, which includes the impulsive and the oscillatory phenomena. These events are generally takes no longer than 16 cycles.
  2. Short duration events, Which includes the dips / sags, short interruptions, swells and frequency variations. these events are typically 20 to 60 cycles in length but may be longer if multiple protection operations are required to clear the fault.
  3. Long duration events, which includes events (such as power swings, frequency and abnormal voltage variations) that effect the system stability. These events duration can be varies. Therefore, specialties are required to determine the sampling rate and recording duration.
  4. Steady-state, which includes phenomenons such as voltage unbalance and harmonics that produced by the load and/or the interaction between power system’s components. Selecting the sampling rate, recording duration and parameters, depends on the type of phenomena being analyzed.

Continuous waveform recording eliminates the need to set any triggers or threshold for the recording activation.

Read  more about the advantage of continuous waveform recording.

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