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Impact of Quasi-DC Currents on Three-Phase Distribution Transformer Installations

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This report summarizes a series of tests designed to determine the response of quasi-dc currents on three-phase power distribution transformers for electric power systems. In general, if the dc injection is limited to the primary side of a step-down transformer, significant harmonic distortion is noted and an increase in the reactive power demand results. For dc injection on the secondary load side of the step-down transformer, the harmonic content at the secondary side is quite high and saturation occurs with a relatively low level of dc injection however, the reactive power demand is significantly lower. These tests produced no apparent damage to the transformers. Transformer damage is dependent on the duration of the dc excitation, the level of the excitation, and on the thermal characteristics of the transformer. The transformer response time is found to be much shorter than seen in power transformer tests at lower dc injection levels. This shorter response time suggests that the response time is strongly dependent on the injected current levels, and that higher levels of dc injection for shorter durations could produce very high reactive power demands and harmonic distortion within a few tenths of a second. The added reactive power load could result in the blowing of fuses on the primary side of the transformer for even moderate dc injection levels, and neutral currents are quite large under even low-level dc injection. This smoking neutral results in high-level harmonic injection into equipment via the neutral and in possible equipment failure.

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  • Electricity and Magnetism

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