Maintaining machines in industries and commercial setups working efficiently is an ongoing concern all over. Quality issues in power arise in different situations. Cases of improper wiring, unbalanced loads, and poor electrical grounding are just a few of them.
Since this is the situation, employing power quality analyzers in daily electrical activities can become a great booster. In our discussions, we shall touch into detail about the best power quality analyzers. We shall learn about their working principle and how to use them.
What is Power Quality Analyzer?
Before we understand how to use power quality analyzers, we must understand what they are. Adequate electric power helps to prevent malfunction of systems. Power quality analyzers are electrical devices used to determine the load’s ability to offer optimum performance with the available power.
There are a lot of signs of poor power quality in setups. Few of these signs include excessive consumption, malfunction of appliances and machines, and service interruptions. All these leads to damage to systems and end in reduced production.
Employing power quality analyzers can minimize the risks of damaged equipment and low production. These devices help monitor problems in systems, get a root cause, and try to fix the issue before significant damage occurs.
Measuring Power Quality
A measure of power quality by electrical engineers helps to rectify power quality issues before they cause significant problems. Calculation of power quality involves calculating various power indicators. They include the power demand of the system, consumption rate, and power cleanliness.
A measure of the demand and consumption rate helps to identify involved cost centers in electrical systems. Moreover, calculated parameters help to find out a solution to meeting electrical needs. On the other hand, power cleanliness spearheads the usage of power correctly to avoid improper functioning in systems.
Working Principle of Power Quality Analyzers
Here comes another vital thing to learn about power analyzers to lead us to the main topic. To buying power quality analyzers for measuring energy flowing through the DC and AC systems. However, when measuring the flow of energy in AC, there are distinct circuit considerations that technicians employ.
Unlike the traditional power analyzers, modern options use wireless mediums to transmit information. Various channels have switches that convey information to either a stunt or attenuator. There is an impedance buffer within the system, A/D converter, and gain stages to offer excellent performance.
There is also a signal processor responsible for controlling gain and A/D conversions. Power quality analyzers measure several parameters. A few of these include power factor, fundamental harmonics, voltage surge, phase, impedance, and many others.
The analyzer consists of a current shunt that provides wide bandwidth at the lowest phase shift. Internal and external attenuators provide enough bandwidth that suits responses from the current shunt. Power quality users don’t require making any adjustments since all channels have undergone digital calibration.
When taking measurements using this equipment, a crucial task is determining the true RMS period of an electrical signal. Application of the idea in AC signals, however, is somehow a complicated task. Complications arise since there is a need to find the true RMS’s average value in the entire AC frequency cycle.
There is one difference between the AC and DC power analyzers. DC power quality analyzers display digital digits in a display. AC power quality analyzers, on the other hand, have inbuilt oscilloscopes to display data.
How to Use Power Quality Analyzers
Monitoring or inspecting to determine your power quality starts with diligent planning. Find out the purpose of your inspection and get a notebook to record every data to fix problems early. Before you begin the inspection process, ensure you have a sketch of the facility’s electrical distribution system.
You can survey to ascertain certain power aspects. Inspections help to obtain baseline data for future comparison. They also help technicians with any electrical problems that might exist in a system. Whichever the reason for an inspection, starts your survey at the service room.
However, be aware that you will measure a lot of fault current available near the distribution service. When connecting your power quality analyzer in the service distribution, ensure you are extra careful. You can likewise consider setting incident energy limits at acceptable and safe values.
Contacting the utility is also vital since you won’t have an idea about the exact power quality issues cause. Using your sketch, continue with an inspection through the distribution system. At every step, obtain data and record it in your notebook.
Measure all the parameters from the switchboard and do it in plenty to help you for future reference. Power quality analyzers come with manufacturer instructions. Follow the manual closely to connect and set it up for the survey. In the inspection process, you will work on several test equipment and other support documentation.
As an inspector, you need an equipment cart for the tasks you plan to undertake. Moreover, expertise is required to use the power quality analyzers correctly. Overall, the key to successful inspection is before planning and the project.
Successful usage of single phase power quality analyzers is connecting them as outlined in the manufacturer’s guide. Below are common mistakes technicians should avoid when connecting their power quality analyzers.
Mismatching the voltage/current probes
Most users commit this error when metering their power quality analyzers. Mismatching of probes occur if you mistakenly fail to clip the phases into their respective places. Since both the voltage and current leads have the same color in each lead, you should be careful when connecting them.
Errors with the Current Polarity
Another mistake that technicians make is failing to observe current polarity. When connecting a power quality polarizer, observe the current clamp arrow. Ensure the arrowhead on the current clamps is in the direction of the load. Failure to follow the polarity will provide a negative value.
Over-dependent of Battery Power
Most people depend on battery power to run their portable power quality analyzers. However, they are not preferable when working on long inspection sessions. A fully charged battery will maintain the smooth functioning of the power quality for about two hours.
Surveyors planning to carry out long monitoring sessions should ensure they operate their devices while plugged in an AC source. Otherwise, you will get frustrated when you require measuring essential parameters, and the analyzer shuts down suddenly.
Tips to Buy the Best Power Quality Analyzer
Purchasing the best analyzer is the answer to obtaining accurate measurements in your electrical systems. Since there exist several models for sale, selecting a good option becomes a challenge. Below are aspects to consider choosing a power analyzer.
1. Choose From a Reliable Brand
Several manufacturers are competing for space in this industry. They all produce power analyzers performing similar functions. However, their products differ in specs, durability, and overall capability.
These are all crucial aspects when choosing a product worth your money and time. Hence, before you pay for your help a power quality analyzer, determine the brand of that particular product. Moreover, find out whether the brand is reputable.
Furthermore, get a hint about the brand from anyone who has employed it before. Ask friends and relatives for recommendations of the best brand worth the value. You can likewise get online and read customer reviews and testimonials of different brands worth consideration.
2. Price of the Power Quality Analyzer
Your budget is also important when shopping for the best power quality analyzer. Various analyzer brands have different specs at large. The specs are vital determinants of the price of these devices.
Most people will always like going for affordable options in the market to save little coins. However, never sacrifice quality with money. Others believe that expensive options are the best ones to consider. However, expensive doesn’t necessarily mean quality.
Before you close a deal to pay for a particular analyzer, you need to list all options that will fit your needs. Your list should contain power quality analyzers that have the same quality level and performs similar tasks. Compare your preferable options using their price tags and take the most affordable of all.
3. Renting or Buying
Deciding whether to rent or buy is also another essential factor to consider. Some people find it an expensive activity to purchase power quality analyzers. Others opt for purchasing over renting, considering how long you intend a service from them.
Moreover, there are analyzer suppliers that only rent their products, and others allow the complete purchase. Depending on your intended period of use and budget, choose what can work best for you.
Manufacturers face a lot of challenges in their day-to-day production activities. Poor machine performance and high electrical costs contribute to a low production rate. With the use of a power quality analyzer, you will stay to fix problems before they cause significant losses.
Analyzers are purposely meant to determine your power demand, consumption rate, and general power cleanliness tasks. All these ensure there is continuous functioning of equipment for increased production.