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Power Quality Testing Resources & Solutions

This collection of resources aims to improve your knowledge and skills related to power quality measurements and power quality analysis. Taking power quality measurements can help you identify the sources of poor power quality and energy waste. This can help your facility save money and protect your equipment from future damage.

Power Quality

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All power quality articles

Article

How to use the power quality indicator on the 378 FC clamp meter

Detect basic 3 phase power quality issues with the versatile Fluke 378 FC clamp meter for industrial electricians. Increase productivity and safety without test leads.

Article

What is power factor and why is it important?

What is power factor and why is it important? Learn how to calculate the power factor formula, each component of the equation, and why it matters.

Article

Why is there an arrow on your current clamp?

Learn why on all current clamps and current clamp accessories, there is an arrow placed close to the beak or inside the beak opening.

Article

Electrical Noise and Transients

Electrical noise is the result of more or less random electrical signals getting coupled into circuits where they are unwanted, i.e., where they disrupt information-carrying signals.

Article

Diagnosing Power Quality Issues in Older Electrical Systems

Learn how to diagnose power quality issues in older electrical systems using a Fluke multimeters and oscilloscope.

Article

5 Reasons to Monitor Power Consumption

Why monitor power consumption with a power logger? Get the data you need to make important energy management decisions including plant safety, cost savings, and power quality troubleshooting.

Article

What Does Class A Mean To Me?

Power quality measurement is still a relatively new and quickly evolving field. Whereas basic electrical measurements like RMS voltage and current were defined long ago, many power quality parameters have not been previously defined, forcing manufacturers to develop their own algorithms.

Article

Turning electricians into power quality detectives in data centers

Article

Troubleshooting Power Harmonics: Basic Troubleshooting Using Multimeters and Current Clamps

This application note details the procedures for using Fluke power quality analyzers for average watt measurements and converting those to watt-hours.

Article

More Snow With Power Quality

A ski resort near Silverthorn, CO., depends on its snowmaking capacity to augment nature's snowfall, especially during drought years.

Article

What is the difference between single-phase and three-phase power?

Learn the difference between single-phase and 3-phase power supplies, including uses and configurations.

Article

How to set up the 1748 power quality logger

The most important step in any measurement process is setting up your measurement device correctly. Do this incorrectly and you can find out your data is useless after a measurement cycle of days or weeks. That means starting all over again—if you can.

Article

How to setup the 173x series energy logger

Article

Get peak variable speed drive efficiency through power quality analyzer

Article

How to find the root cause of intermittent production stops

How to find the root cause of production line stoppage and reduce downtime in manufacturing.

Article

Remote power monitoring helps prevent football power failures

Filmwerks International is one company that has implemented a better way to monitor utility power for their backup UPS systems and generators

Article

Power Quality Measurements at Receptacle Branch Circuits

Many power quality problems show up at the branch circuit level. There's a simple reason for this: that's where most of the sensitive loads (and sensitive employees) are located.

Article

Power Quality at the Service Panel

Voltage sags, tripping breakers, overheated electrical panels, and excessive voltage levels are all indications of possible trouble in an electrical distribution system.

Article

Power monitoring improves real-world maintenance programs

Three organizations found cost and time savings after implementing the Fluke 3540 FC Three-Phase Power Monitor into their maintenance programs.

Article

How to improve power factor

Learn how to improve power factor, including specific solutions for different root causes of poor power factor.

Article

Performing Power Quality Studies and Troubleshooting Loads

Mac McArthur performs power quality studies for commercial, industrial, and residential clients.

Article

Measuring output torque without mechanical sensors

Measuring output torque without mechanical sensors

Article

Making Watt-Hour Measurements with Fluke Power Quality Analyzers

The need to manage power is never more critical than when power prices skyrocket and power quality becomes suspect.

Article

Simplify troubleshooting: Making sense of electrical signals

Rely on the Fluke 120B Series Industrial ScopeMeter® Handheld Oscilloscopes when your work calls for detailed and accurate signal measurements.

Article

Is it the Motor, the Drive, or the Load?

In troubleshooting situations involving a motor, more than half the battle is simply isolating the problem.

Article

Instant Power Replay Solves a Breaker Trip

After experiencing some nuisance tripping of breakers in the subpanel feeding the second floor of this industrial building, we installed a Fluke 1750 Power Recorder at the subpanel to gather information about power usage.

Article

For installation, a digital multimeter is no longer enough

Article

How to use a phasor diagram?

Article

How Adjustable Speed Drives Affect Power Distribution

Adjustable speed drives (ASDs) can be both a source and a victim of poor power quality.

Article

Future proofing your Power Quality measurement equipment with IEC 61000-4-30 third edition

Article

Fluke Instruments Add Reliability to Oceanographic Research

It was in his capacity as an electrical troubleshooter and an electronics expert that Gagne, almost two years ago, first began to use a Fluke 434 Power Quality Analyzer and a Ti30 Thermal Imager.

Article

Fluke electrical analysis tool verified to measure torque without halting motor operation

Article

The Power Of A Waveform: Expanded Troubleshooting Options With The Fluke 345 Power Quality Clamp Meter

Electricians are discovering that the new Fluke 345 goes beyond simply monitoring voltage or current. It displays waveforms and harmonics, performs power measurements for power-factor evaluations, measures inrush current, and logs data over time for later analysis.

Article

How to diagnose high-voltage surge arresters

How to diagnose a high voltage surge arrester with a Fluke thermal imaging camera.

Article

Find problems early by monitoring motor and drive efficiency

Article

How to collect data with the Fluke 1748 Power Quality Logger?

Article

Troubleshooting power quality issues in critical medical diagnostic equipment

Diagnosing and troubleshooting power quality issues in medical equipment in hospitals and health care facilities.

Article

Overheated Transformer

You could almost call it a happy accident. During a routine job at a large industrial facility, an electrical maintenance worker set a plastic kit on top of a nearby transformer.

Article

Finding a Power Quality Needle in a 30-Mile Haystack

At the end of April 2005, Crystal Mountain Resort in Washington suffered catastrophic failure of two power filters associated with their chair lifts.

Article

Clean Power Delivers Clean Water

Maintenance electrical specialist Mark Newport was in the process of installing new electronic power factor correction units at multiple motor control centers (MCCs) to improve power quality, protect equipment and reduce costs.

Article

Why does cable length between VFDs and motors matter?

Article

Electrical Power Explained – Part 3: Balanced three-phase AC power

Article

Comparing the Fluke 438-II and Fluke MDA-500

Extend motor drive production performance, trend data over time and troubleshoot excess energy consumption. Compare the 438-II Power Quality and Motor Analyzer and the Fluke MDA-550 Motor Drive Analyzer.

Article

Troubleshooting the Most Common Power Quality Problems

Troubleshooting the most common power quality problems—voltage distortion and harmonics. Tools needed, types of problems

Article

Case Study: The Malfunctioning Medical Machine

This case history is a classic example of the importance of a systematic approach to solving a problem. It involves a contractor who works with several high-technology manufacturing plants.

Article

How power quality issues affect the plant and how to get rid of them for good

The electrical power issues that most frequently affect industrial plants include voltage sags and swells, harmonics, transients, and voltage and current unbalance. The proper tools to correct these issues include knowledge and electrical test instruments ideally suited for each task.

Article

How to find harmonics in electrical systems

Article

Case Study: Machine Shop Motor Failures

Motor failures can be mysterious. Often, the mechanical loads on the motors have not changed and other loads connected to the same service appear to work normally - yet, the motors just fail.

Article

Why clean power is critical to smooth operations

When optimizing productivity in industry, energy use is one of the few inputs you can readily control.

Article

Determining Load Horsepower, Wiring, and Breaker Size for Safe and Efficient Installations

“Let's just oversize the motor and we can run it lightly loaded—that will save us some money and be easier on the motor.” This is a false belief among some who select and install motors. Properly sizing motors for a given load results in driving loads more efficiently, saving energy, and saving dollars. Motors typically are most efficient when they are 90 % to 95 % loaded. Just because a motor says “25 Hp” on the nameplate does not mean the motor is producing twenty-five horsepower as it operates.Clamp meter readings: Problems and Solutions

Article

Recommended battery tests and testing schedule for battery back-up systems

Healthy batteries should main¬tain a capacity above 90 % of the manufacturer’s rating; most manufacturers recommend replacing the battery if it falls below 80 %. A series of regular tests are recommended for ensuring that batteries are maintaining capacit

Article

Remote power monitoring for maintenance managers

Article

How to track faults in overhead utility cables

Article

Connecting to power quality loggers remotely

Article

Voltage fluctuations, flicker and power quality

Article

Case study: Fluke power monitor saves California wastewater plant thousands of dollars

Read the wastewater plant case study on how the Fluke 3540 Power Monitor paid for itself in five months by eliminating the need to use contractors.

Article

Frequently Asked Questions Power Quality

Article

How a power facility reduced 40% of calibration time

Many facilities, such as power plants or production facilities, depend on a strong preventive maintenance program. These programs are essential to keep processes running safely and efficiently.

Article

5 ways test tools can improve safety around rotating machinery

The electrical hazards associated with electro-mechanical equipment are severe and the electrical safety PPE requirements are extensive. But what about safety concerns from the mechanical side of rotating machinery?

Article

Electric motor efficiency and reliability: New testing approach matches real world conditions

Measure torque while motors are still in service using an advanced tool that eliminates external torque and speed sensors.

Article

Case Study: Three-Phase Motor Failure

For three years in a row, a particularly large three-phase motor would fail twice a year. The facility maintenance manager called in both the electrical contractor and the motor manufacturer, who pointed fingers at each other but failed to resolve anything on site.

Article

Case Study: Low Power Factor

Because power quality issues are difficult to pinpoint, clients often reach the wrong conclusions about their power issues. That often leads to expensive solutions that don't actually correct the underlying problem.

Article

Case Study: Network Hub Failure

Ever fixed something and still not solved the problem? Sometimes multiple deficiencies can all cause the same symptoms.

Article

Case Study: Elevator Trips Emergency Generator Breaker

A large commercial building had just finished an elevator equipment upgrade - but they hadn't been able to bring the elevator back into normal operation.

Article

Case Study: The Vibrating Transformer

This case history comes from an electrical contractor. Several of this contractor's clients operate large commercial buildings.

Article

Case Study: Half Wave Rectifier

One winter morning, the electrician received a call from a local school. The caller said a transformer supplying power to three portable classrooms was making a chattering noise, as if something were loose inside.

Article

Case Study: Rural Transformer Failure

This case history involves the investigation of a utility transformer failure that occurred in a rural area surrounded mostly by farmland and open space. The failure occurred in a location where power quality problems are rare.

Article

Case Study: Lighting Ballast Evaluation

In most facilities, lighting is a major element of operating cost. Part of that cost is due to energy, and part is due to maintenance.

Article

Case Study: Malfunctioning Traffic Light

The engineer carries a Fluke 43B on all trouble calls, because it provides a graphical display that allows customers to see a picture of the problem.

Article

Case Study: 5th Harmonic Resonance

A small city gets its water from a mountain lake 30 miles away. A pumping system at the lake brings water up a short incline and into a long gravity pipeline that feeds the city's water distribution system.

Article

Common Power Quality Factors Affecting Transformers

Transformers supplying nonlinear loads should be checked periodically to verify operation within acceptable limits. Transformers are also critical to the integrity of the grounding system.

Article

3 asset diagnostic challenges condition monitoring helps solve

Limited resources can make monitoring all vital plant equipment difficult, if not impossible. That’s where a condition monitoring system with wireless sensors monitoring comes in.

Article

5 ways condition monitoring can improve your maintenance program

Wireless sensors paired with condition monitoring software can improve reliability programs, decrease costs and increase uptime.

Article

What are voltage sags, dips, swells and transients?

Article

Quick guide to power quality symptoms and causes

Article

Why peak demand management matters

Article

Make better energy consumption decisions

The Fluke 1738 Advanced Three-Phase Power Logger automatically captures and logs more than 500 power quality parameters to give electricians and technicians more visibility into the data needed to make better power quality and energy consumption decisions.

Article

Texas Power Consultant Keeps Uninterruptible Power Supplies Up and Running

Critical systems run smoothly with regular maintenance and reliable tools Everybody knows that consistent, dependable electrical power is critical to any plant's function. But perhaps even more critical is a reliable uninterruptible power supply (UPS) system. UPS systems are the silent partners that just sit and wait until there's a break in power. At that point, the UPS system is the most important system in the plant. It has to be ready to spring into action in milliseconds to keeps things running for anywhere from seconds to hours.

Article

Electrical Panel Overheating for No Apparent Reason?

Troubleshooting an electrical panel overheating problem from unusual causes; testing with the power on, ruling out harmonics—and the resolution.

Article

Power Reliability for Facility Managers

Power reliability for facility managers (bottom line): top issues; adds, moves, changes; electrical and electronic loads; emergency power; older facilities

Article

Reliable backup power

Since information technology (IT) installations are particularly sensitive to power supply fluctuations and distortions, they typically rely on an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) to compensate. Some installations even include a second UPS supplied by a separate feeder, and a standby generator that can be set to start automatically three minutes after detecting a power interruption.

Article

Moving up to three-phase power quality measurements

Monitoring three-phase power quality is a must. Whether you troubleshoot mysterious electrical problems or provide additional services to a client, it is three-phase power that is provided to commercial and industrial customers and three-phase power that is distributed throughout a facility.

Article

Practical applications for single-phase voltage recording

Voltage stability may be a problem in areas where loads are cycling on and off during the day. Large compressors, motors, welding machines, arc furnaces, power factor correction capacitors and other large electrical machinery along with system impedance can easily cause voltage dips, swells, and transients.

Article

Seven steps to mitigate VFD harmonic issues

To determine the best solution for mitigating unwanted harmonics, start by investigating the equipment suspected of producing the bulk of the harmonic currents. Most often these are Variable Frequency Drives (VFD's). Use measuring equipment to measure and analyze the frequencies and amplitudes of the harmonics. This is much simpler than it sounds.

Article

Troubleshooting power factor correction capacitors

Power factor correction capacitors reduce energy costs by avoiding the premium rates that utilities charge when power factor falls below specified values.

Article

A hospital tech develops his power quality knowledge

Downtime is costly, both in terms of patient wellbeing and monetary costs - the X-Ray, mammography, and other systems themselves cost millions and a failure can also idle technicians or surgical teams. Most of the facilities have motor/generators and can maintain operations independent of the utility, making the power system robust but also complex.

Article

Electronics in your building don't like power problems

As we have seen, power problems have a bad effect on electronic devices. To detect a power problem, a technician will first check out the power supply to a device to make sure it is functioning properly.

Article

Energy waste you didn't even know about. Do you care?

In 2005, most facilities viewed their monthly electrical utility bill as a standard cost of doing business. When oil topped $100 per barrel, attitudes changed practically overnight, generating a surge of interest in energy-conscious retrofits that previously would not have been cost-efficient. Yet, when the energy costs came down, attitudes and practices did not entirely revert. The United States was still trying hard to shake a recession. Global competition for providing products and services had grown even more intense. American facilities had found a potential new source of margin and profitability in the form of their monthly energy bill, and they weren't giving it up.