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#39856 - 07/05/04 11:04 AM unbalanced load  
ronaldsax  Offline
Junior Member
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 6
west palm beach,fl
hi
can anybody tell me what is an unbalanced load please? I can't find much information online


Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades

#39857 - 07/05/04 11:26 AM Re: unbalanced load  
sparky  Offline
Member
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 5,311
ronaldsax,
it is usually referenced as current measured on a nuetral, which exists in every installation the majority of the time...

however, even straight 3 ph deltas can have one leg pull more than the other two....

~S~

[This message has been edited by sparky (edited 07-05-2004).]


#39858 - 07/05/04 06:25 PM Re: unbalanced load  
electure  Offline


Member
Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 4,260
Fullerton, CA USA
Is that really you, Steve?


#39859 - 07/05/04 09:19 PM Re: unbalanced load  
sparky  Offline
Member
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 5,311
yeah it's me

good to chat w/you again

~Steve

[This message has been edited by sparky (edited 07-05-2004).]


#39860 - 07/06/04 06:16 PM Re: unbalanced load  
earlydean  Offline
Member
Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 751
Griswold, CT, USA
You mean its not a deranged and useless electrician? But rather, when phase A pulls more current than phase B or C?


Earl

#39861 - 07/07/04 12:57 AM Re: unbalanced load  
e57  Offline
Member
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 2,876
S.F.,CA USA
I know we can get more detailed than this. I could, but the Simpsons are on in 3 minutes.... I'll be back!


Mark Heller
"Well - I oughta....." -Jackie Gleason

#39862 - 07/07/04 03:27 AM Re: unbalanced load  
e57  Offline
Member
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 2,876
S.F.,CA USA
"when phase A pulls more current than phase B or C", or vise versa. As a consiquence, you'll have higher than normal "current measured on a nuetral, (the common conductor to circuits of each phase) which exists in every installation the majority of the time..."

This current, in extreme situations can result in over load of the neutral. Some people consider it good practice to over-size neutrals in 3 phase loads where there is an imbalance known.

When balance is achieved, near equal loading, neutral current is reduced.

There are whole sections of code requiring balancing of load, and sizing of neutrals.

Unbalanced loads can also damage generator sets, and transformers.

[This message has been edited by e57 (edited 07-07-2004).]


Mark Heller
"Well - I oughta....." -Jackie Gleason

#39863 - 07/07/04 09:30 AM Re: unbalanced load  
Ryan_J  Offline
Moderator
Joined: Aug 2003
Posts: 1,374
West Jordan, Utah, USA
Quote
There are whole sections of code requiring balancing of load...


Where?


Ryan Jackson,
Salt Lake City

#39864 - 07/07/04 09:40 PM Re: unbalanced load  
e57  Offline
Member
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 2,876
S.F.,CA USA
Hi Ryan, maybe I should have said "reguarding", not "requiring". But, did you ask "where"?
Not looking to start anything, but there are many places throughout...

I did a search on "balance" and "balanced", this is some of what I got, plus a few that didn't come up, and some commentary.


210.11(B) in so many words...
220.22... Some commentary on its purpose...
Quote
Section 220.22 describes the basis for calculating the neutral load of feeders or services as the maximum unbalanced load that can occur between the neutral and any other ungrounded conductor.
For a household electric range or clothes dryer, the maximum unbalanced load may be assumed to be 70 percent, so the neutral may be sized on that basis. Although 220.22 permits the reduction of the feeder neutral conductor size under specific conditions of use, the last two sentences, revised for the 2002 Code, cite two specific cases that would prohibit reducing a neutral or grounded conductor of a feeder.
If the system also supplies nonlinear loads such as electric-discharge lighting, including fluorescent and HID, or data-processing or similar equipment, the neutral is considered a current-carrying conductor if the load of the electric-discharge lighting, data-processing, or similar equipment on the feeder neutral consists of more than half the total load. Electric-discharge lighting and data-processing equipment may have harmonic currents in the neutral that may exceed the load current in the ungrounded conductors. It would be appropriate to require a full-size or larger feeder neutral conductor, depending on the total harmonic distortion contributed by the equipment to be supplied (see 220.22, FPN No. 2).
In some instances, the neutral current may exceed the current in the phase conductors. See the commentary following 310.15(B)(4)(c) regarding neutral conductor ampacity.

Here's some commentary on 230.42C...
Quote
The maximum unbalanced load determines the size of the grounded service conductor. Section 220.22 allows this value to be reduced, based on the maximum unbalanced load that can occur between the ungrounded conductors and the grounded (neutral) conductor. However, the minimum size of the grounded service conductor cannot be smaller than that required by 250.24(B)(1) and (B)(2).
The additional heating effect of harmonic currents, due to nonlinear loads should be considered when sizing the neutral conductor of a 3-phase, 4-wire wye system. If the service to a building is a single-phase, 3-wire, 120/240-volt system with no 240-volt loads, the maximum current in the neutral would be the same as the maximum current in the ungrounded conductor. If all loads connected to one leg are “on” and all the other loads on the other leg are “off,” maximum current will flow in the neutral. In such cases, the service neutral size cannot be reduced but would be sized the same as the ungrounded conductors. See 310.15(B)(4) for more information on sizing the ungrounded conductor.

310.4 Conductors in parralel
310.15(B)4 a,b,and c Some Commentary from this...
Quote
During the 1996 NEC cycle, a task group composed of interested parties was created to recommend to the National Electrical Code Committee the direction its standards should take to improve the safeguarding of persons and property from conditions that can be introduced by nonlinear loads. This group was designated the NEC Correlating Committee Ad Hoc Subcommittee on Nonlinear Loads. The scope of this subcommittee was as follows:
(1) To study the effects of electrical loads producing substantial current distortion upon electrical system distribution components including, but not limited to
a. Distribution transformers, current transformers, and others
b. Switchboards and panelboards
c. Phase and neutral feeder conductors
d. Phase and neutral branch-circuit conductors
e. Proximate data and communications conductors
(2) To study harmful effects, if any, to the system components from overheating resulting from these load characteristics
(3) To make recommendations for methods to minimize the harmful effects of nonlinear loads considering all means, including compensating methods at load sources
(4) To prepare proposals, if necessary, to amend the 1996 National Electrical Code, where amelioration to fire safety may be achieved
The subcommittee reviewed technical literature and electrical theory on the fundamental nature of harmonic distortion, as well as the requirements in and proposals for the 1993 NEC regarding nonlinear loads. The subcommittee concluded that, while nonlinear loads can cause undesirable operational effects, including additional heating, no significant threat to persons and property has been adequately substantiated.
The subcommittee agreed with the existing Code text regarding nonlinear loads. However, the subcommittee submitted many proposals for the 1996 NEC, including a definition of nonlinear load, revised text reflecting that definition, fine print notes calling attention to the effects of nonlinear loads, and proposals permitting the paralleling of neutral conductors in existing installations under engineering supervision.
As part of the subcommittee's final report, nine proposals for changes to the 1993 NEC were submitted. All were accepted without modification as changes to the 1996 NEC. Also included in this report and now pertinent to the 2002 NEC 310.15(B)(4)(c) is the following discussion.
SHOULD NEUTRAL CONDUCTORS BE OVERSIZED?
There is concern that, because the theoretical maximum neutral current is 1.73 times the balanced phase conductor current, a potential exists for neutral conductor overheating in 3-phase, 4-wire, wye-connected power systems. The subcommittee acknowledged this theoretical basis, although a review of documented information could not identify fires attributed to the use of nonlinear loads.
The subcommittee reviewed all available data regarding measurements of circuits that contain nonlinear loads. The data were obtained from consultants, equipment manufacturers, and testing laboratories, and included hundreds of feeder and branch circuits involving 3-phase, 4-wire, wye-connected systems with nonlinear loads. The data revealed that many circuits had neutral conductor current greater than the phase conductor current, and approximately 5 percent of all circuits reported had neutral conductor current exceeding 125 percent of the highest phase conductor current. One documented survey with data collected in 1988 from 146 three-phase computer power system sites determined that 3.4 percent of the sites had neutral current in excess of the rated system full-load current.

551.42D...

We could then search all the warnings and requirements reguarding unbalaced loads....


[This message has been edited by e57 (edited 07-07-2004).]


Mark Heller
"Well - I oughta....." -Jackie Gleason

#39865 - 07/07/04 10:54 PM Re: unbalanced load  
Roger  Offline
Member
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 1,716
N.C.
e57, let's go back to your first post,
Quote
when phase A pulls more current than phase B or C", or vise versa. As a consiquence, you'll have higher than normal "current measured on a nuetral,
what do you mean by higher than normal, I think you are confusing additive harmonics with the true function of a neutral, there is no mention of Non-Linear loads in the question.

Quote
This current, in extreme situations can result in over load of the neutral. Some people consider it good practice to over-size neutrals in 3 phase loads where there is an imbalance known.


Once again I think you are referring to an additive harmonic problem, not an unbalanced load.

Quote
When balance is achieved, near equal loading, neutral current is reduced.


When balance is achieved there is NO
neutral current, therefor this conductor is not needed period, but none of the above has anything to do with the question of what an unbalanced load is this can occur without a grounded conductor (neutral) being involved.

Quote
Unbalanced loads can also damage generator sets, and transformers.
This is true, but once again this doesn't involve a grounded conductor.

Roger


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