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A student design project to improve power quality for a commercial facility

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3 Author(s)
R. C. Lentz ; Dept. of Electr. Eng., Widener Univ., Chester, PA, USA ; F. J. Mercede ; J. N. Mercede

A recent paper (see ibid., vol.7, no.4, p.1550-8, 1992) reported on the success of industry-sponsored student projects to promote power quality education. One such project, sponsored by BCM Engineers in Plymouth Meeting, PA, was entitled “Power Quality Survey of a Commercial System.” The results of the survey confirmed the suspicion that power line disturbances (i.e., normal-mode and common-mode impulses and “noise”) were responsible for the outages, premature failures and data communication errors of critical microprocessor-based equipment (e.g., terminals, workstations, network file servers, teleconferencing video equipment, etc.). As a follow-up to this project, this paper reports on the results of a student design project to develop a cost-effective implementation plan to mitigate the causes of the BCM power quality problems (i.e., grounding, wiring methods, load configurations, surge protection, and employee practices). Since BCM only leases several floors of the commercial building, it was important that the design be cost-effective and unobtrusive to the other tenants in the building. The design presented is simple and effective, and it conforms to the NEC and accepted industry practice. The students have benefited from this experience by being exposed to real-world constraints on power quality design which cannot be taught in the classroom

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Power Systems  (Volume:10 ,  Issue: 1 )