(from Alex McEachern) Electric Power Quality Newsletter - August 2014

In this Electric Power Quality Newsletter:
Need a PSL Industrial Power Corruptor?

We build IPC's in batches, and we have just 10 left in this batch. If you need a reliable source of bad-quality power, up to 200 amps, please contact Marco@PowerStandards.com right away - thanks!

Power Quality in Tanzania (Africa); Swahili Added to PQube Instrument

I recently heard about a fascinating project that is planned by a second-year PhD student at UC Berkeley named Veronica Jacome, who completed her Peace Corp Work in Tanzania. Currently studying in Berkeley's Energy and Resources Group, Veronica wants to better understand power quality in her second home in Africa, so she will return to Tanzania with PQube instruments to monitor and collect voltage and frequency disturbances (as well as energy data at the household level). Ultimately, her research will target both energy efficiency measures and technology implementation in the region.

To better equip Veronica, we have just added Swahili to the PQube's list of 22 supported languages, so it now can email beautiful disturbance graphs (right) carefully labeled in Swahili.

Africa has 6 of the 10 fastest-growing economies in the world, so we are all looking forward to diagnosing power quality problems on the continent. And with individuals like Veronica leading the way, the future of African energy looks promising!

SCC-22: Standards Coordinating Committee for Power Quality in the IEEE

I'm now the Chair of the IEEE SCC-22 Standards Coordinating Committee on Power Quality. My plan is to redirect it slightly, to pay more attention to standards outside the IEEE -- including National standards, industry standards, standards developed by other engineering organizations, and more.

Please, if you know any power quality standards issued by your government agencies or power companies, can you please send me an email? (It doesn't matter if it's in English or not - I'll still be grateful!)

Mark McGranaghan Awarded IEEE Charles Proteus Steinmetz Award

A friend and distinguished colleague of mine for over 35 years, Mark McGranaghan, recently received the Steinmetz Award for his truly exceptional lifetime contributions to the development of standards in electrical and electronic standards engineering.

Boy, does he deserve this award! Over the years, he has taught me a great deal about everything from power terminology to harmonics, and I've been proud to share the podium with Mark at hundreds of harmonics and power quality conferences.

If you would like to send him your congratulations, his email address is: mmcgranaghan@epri.com. (And he wants everyone to know that he's not even close to retiring yet -- he's still working on lots of new and interesting long-range projects...)

Stéphane Do joins PSL as Global Product Manager

I am proud to welcome the newest member of our worldwide PSL team, Stéphane Do, who has served for years as Belgium's national Expert on the Power Quality Measurement Methods.

Stéphane and his family have moved from Belgium to sunny Alameda, California, where he can actually bicycle to the PSL office. "It took a few weeks, and some effort," he says, "but we have finally found places in the Bay Area to buy good bread and good cheese." I like his priorities.

Welcome, Stéphane! (You can welcome him too, if you like, at stephane@powerstandards.com.)

PQube-Compatible Software Applications from All Around the World!

The PQube, as always, continues to be my favorite power quality and power flow instrument. One of the reasons is that it doesn't require any software, and I'm notorious for losing software, or forgetting how to use it. So the PQube, all by itself, writes reports and formats photographs of power events, and emails them to you (each PQube comes from the PSL factory with its own email account).

But if you need software to monitor multiple PQubes, we've found some very good third-party software solutions, including PQView from ElectroTek Concepts, and MPMS by Tectra. Here's a list of PQube-compatible software packages.

Then there are other creative ways of viewing PQube data...

In the Dominican Republic, for example, there are 16 PQubes monitoring the national network of power generators. The head of Information Technology at the Dominican Republic utility actually wrote his own iPhone app that lets him watch the behavior of his generators through PQubes. It's a sleek and elegant application, and it gives me great pleasure to see a powerful executive who has personal software skills!

You can also get live meters from your PQube through its Modbus-over-ethernet interface. Here's a little program I wrote to show meters and stripcharts using Modbus (available for free download here).

Solving Power Quality Problems with Voltage Sag Immunity Testing

We've been doing it for years, all around the world, and it continues to be the cheapest, most effective ways to solve industrial power quality problems: hit your sensitive equipment with a known, repeatable voltage sag; solve the problems, whatever they are; and repeat. We have several knowledgeable engineers are happy and ready to test your equipment anytime, anywhere in the world.

Or you can do it yourself - just purchase an Industrial Power Corruptor from PSL (see the note at the top of this email).

Here's a friendly note from Dave Layden, Electrical Power System Engineer, who enjoyed his experience with one of PSL's Industrial Power Corruptors. Dave writes, "What a well-thought-out piece of gear. Quite happy with it, for sure. Especially love all the channels of monitoring available. That?s it; again, a most impressive machine! Helped us out tremendously." (Thanks, Dave!)

Voltage sag testing equipment is portable and easy to use, and the standards are readily available -- SEMI F47, IEC 61000-4-11, and 61000-4-34.

If you would like to test the sag immunity of almost any electronic device (VFD's, chillers, wind turbines, auto welding robots, semiconductor tools, power supplies, routers) almost anywhere in the world (North America, Europe, Saudi Arabia, Japan, China, etc.), please contact Andreas Eberhard or one of our Test Engineers. They will help, test and certify your equipment wherever you are around the world.

Update on ARPA-E Synchrophasors-for-Distribution-Grids Project

We're starting to see fascinating data flowing out of our Department of Energy ARPA-E Project -- more information at http://micro-pmu.com -- that is applying synchrophasor technology to the distribution grid.

Six utilities have been selected as test sites, and we're starting to see real-world measurements from Lawrence Berkeley National Lab.

Some of the data has us scratching our heads, and we've found and fixed some high-temperature challenges in the ultra-low-cost micro-PMU instrument, but that's what research projects are for. As my friend and colleague, Professor Sascha von Meier (the Principal Investigator on this project) likes to say, if we were completely confident we knew what we're doing, then it wouldn't be real research!

We're all looking forward to having a mass of real world data to examine soon, using some excellent sMap database visualization software developed by Michael Andersen under the guidance of Professor David Culler. Dr. Culler is one of the few people I've met who can quietly get me to change my mind, almost instantly, on a technical topic. It sure is a pleasure to work with this team.

Do let me know if you would like to learn more about this project.

With my best wishes to you for a peaceful, warm (at least in the Northern Hemisphere!) summer season -

Alex McEachern
Power Standards Lab
2020 Challenger Drive      
Alameda, California 94501 USA
TEL ++1-510-522-4400
FAX ++1-510-522-4455

Alex McEachern


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