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How can a harmonics problem be analysed?


This section will describe how to conduct a study of harmonics and which units must be used for such purposes. There will also be a standard procedure available for facing any new situation. This section will be followed by actual cases in which corrective actions are determined after analysing a harmonics case.

To correctly analyse harmonics, a power analyzer (portable analyzer AR6, AR5L or CIRe3) is needed, which is capable of measuring all the electrical variables of the installation for their subsequent interpretation.

Analyse harmonics with a power analyzer

There is no standard way of carrying out a study, but the following steps may be considered for it:

- Previous identification of the symptoms that may exist in the installation:

Identification of the symptoms

Being unaware of the existence of any of the symptoms (marked as “?”) does not mean the installation may not suffer them; in fact, you should take more care and supervise the installation, e.g., by monitoring the electrical parameters of various installation points with fixed power analyzers and a PowerStudio-SCADA system.

Installation diagnosis process

Installation diagnosis process

Having identified the symptoms and with the installation information available (see above points), you can carry out a proper diagnosis and provide one or several more accurate solutions against harmonics, adapted to the symptoms.

Process for conducting the study

More specifically these steps must be followed for the study or diagnosis of harmonics:

Process for conducting the study

After interpreting the measured data, try to recognise the effects produced by harmonics and use this data to propose installation improvement solutions. All of this will be shown in the solutions chapter to eliminate or mitigate the effect of harmonics. 

Regulations applicable to electrical harmonics

The results measured can be assessed according to the following standards, directives and regulations :

• Low Voltage Directive 2014/35/EU repealing Directive 2006/95/EC.
• Low Voltage Electrotechnical Regulations (REBT) RD 842/2002
• NATIONAL ELECTRIC CODE 1955/2000, of 1 December, regulating the transmission, distribution, marketing, supply and authorisation procedures for electrical energy installations
• European Directive 2014/30/EU on the approximation of the laws of Member States on electromagnetic compatibility, repealing Directive 2004/108/EC
• European Directive 2014/32/EU on measuring instruments repealing Directive 2004/22/EC
• European Directive 2014/33/EU on lifts repealing Directive 95/16/EC
• UNE-EN 12015 Standard “Electromagnetic compatibility. Product family standard for lifts, escalators and moving walkways. Emission”
• UNE-EN 20460-5-523 Standard “Electrical installations of buildings. Part 5: Selection and installation of electrical materials. Chapter 52: Piping. Section 523: Acceptable currents.”
• UNE-EN 50160 Standard “Voltage features of electricity supplied by public distribution grids”
• UNE-EN 61642:2000 Standard “Industrial AC networks affected by harmonics. Application of filters and shunt capacitors”
• UNE-EN 61800-3 Standard “Adjustable speed electrical power drive systems. Part 3: EMC product standard including specific test methods.”
• UNE-EN 61000-3-2 Standard “Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC). Part 3-2: Limits. Limits for harmonic current emissions (equipment with input current < 16 A per phase)
• UNE-EN 61000-3-12 Standard “Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC). Part 3-12: Limits. Limits for harmonic currents produced by equipment connected to public low-voltage grids with input current > 16 A and < 75 A per phase
• UNE-EN 61000-3-4 Standard “Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC). Part 3-4: Limits. Limits for harmonic currents produced by units connected to public low-voltage grids with input current >16 A
• IEEE 519-1992 Standard “Recommended Practice and Requirements for Harmonic Control in Electric Power System”
• G5/4-1 Standard “Managing Harmonics: ENA Engineering Recommendation”


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