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Old 08-28-2010, 10:11 PM   #1
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Question what is "clean power" and "dirty power"?

I have been in the trade for a few years and still learning, so bare with me.. I have heard many different terms in the field, but clean and dirty power are new to me. What does it mean on a commercial job site and what does it refer to? Im thinking ac/dc, transformer, etc.... Im drawing a blank. I know its not solar, wind, etc. Can you tell me what it means?

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Old 08-28-2010, 10:13 PM   #2
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"dirty" power has a lot of "noise" in it -- surges, sags, sine wave distortions, etc. Many electronic items (including newer ballasts) can't handle dirty power for very long without failure.

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Old 08-28-2010, 10:18 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by btr View Post
I have been in the trade for a few years and still learning, so bare with me.. I have heard many different terms in the field, but clean and dirty power are new to me. What does it mean on a commercial job site and what does it refer to? Im thinking ac/dc, transformer, etc.... Im drawing a blank. I know its not solar, wind, etc. Can you tell me what it means?

Thanks



See the wave form in my avatar? That is a perfect 60 cycle wave form and perfectly clean power. If it were powering something that was causing distortion or harmonics, you would see it on the oscilloscope as really erratic instead of smooth, that's dirty power.

Some triac dimmers chop off the front half of a wave form, some chop off the back half of a wave form, although not what I would consider "dirty power" it is certainlty not ideal, and can damage fan controllers in ceiling fans.
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Old 08-28-2010, 10:20 PM   #4
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Default I agree

Kbsparky is most correct it is not a good condition to have. Ends up with lost of issues and is quite harmful
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Old 08-28-2010, 10:27 PM   #5
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dirty power can be cleaned up with the use of capacitors, in case you wanted to know.
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Old 08-28-2010, 10:29 PM   #6
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Ill try to be a little clearer.

Im on a job site running seperate conduit runs for "clean power" and "dirty power". Although i dont know what they mean Im pretending to understand... Im at a new company and trying to understand the lingo from my new foreman/co-workers. At this time I dont need to terminate any wires, just continue the EMT runs so, I wont ask what the terms mean.. yet..

anything?
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Old 08-28-2010, 10:33 PM   #7
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Clean "Pure" sine wave:



"Dirty" sine wave:


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Old 08-28-2010, 10:34 PM   #8
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It sound like one run is " conditioned power" probably from a UPS, The other run is not. Just a guess.
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Old 08-28-2010, 10:42 PM   #9
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Dont pretend to understand something you dont know, this is the wrong trade to act like a smart guy by not asking. Their is two many things that can HURT you. Their is nothing wrong with asking questions it shows you care about your career and want to learn. Dont be that guy that always screws things up on the job because his ego is to big to ask questions.

good luck
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Old 08-28-2010, 10:46 PM   #10
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Dont pretend to understand something you dont know, this is the wrong trade to act like a smart guy by not asking. Their is two many things that can HURT you. Their is nothing wrong with asking questions it shows you care about your career and want to learn. Dont be that guy that always screws things up on the job because his ego is to big to ask questions.

good luck



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Old 08-28-2010, 11:05 PM   #11
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The terms are relative to the end user, anything that effects your operation. If it doesn't effect your facility there is no issue.

Often (quite often) the power is blamed for anything that goes wrong and the term "dirty power" gets thrown at all issues that in reality are hardware or software problems.
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Old 08-28-2010, 11:13 PM   #12
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Most likely what they are talking about is "dirty" power is used for receptacles or lighting.

Your "clean" power is an IG circuit, A neutral and a ground for each circuit Instead of sharing a neutral for every 3 circuits and 1 ground per pipe. This will be used for point of sale equipment and computer loads.
Some of the ones I've done you can share a neutral, some you can't. It just depends on how it is speced.
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Old 08-28-2010, 11:14 PM   #13
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Speaking of clean power, has anyone ever worked with something like this ?
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Old 08-28-2010, 11:20 PM   #14
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Most likely what they are talking about is "dirty" power is used for receptacles or lighting.

Your "clean" power is an IG circuit, A neutral and a ground for each circuit Instead of sharing a neutral for every 3 circuits and 1 ground per pipe. This will be used for point of sale equipment and computer loads.
Some of the ones I've done you can share a neutral, some you can't. It just depends on how it is speced.
IG has nothing to do with whether or not a branch circuit can provide usable power to equipment, other than to waste copper.

NOW spec's are something different if the customer wants it for some who doo voo doo electrical engineering, they pay for it they get it.
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Old 08-28-2010, 11:20 PM   #15
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Often (quite often) the power is blamed for anything that goes wrong and the term "dirty power" gets thrown at all issues that in reality are hardware or software problems.
It's always a power issue when equipment doesn't work right.
That or a gorund rod.
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Old 08-28-2010, 11:21 PM   #16
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it's always a power issue when equipment doesn't work right.
That or a gorund rod.
true......................
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Old 08-28-2010, 11:21 PM   #17
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Are harmonic currents known as "dirty power"?

And is the fix for this dirty power a super (oversized) neutral?

I've always thought that dirty power was power that created electrical noise.
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Old 08-28-2010, 11:28 PM   #18
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IG has nothing to do with whether or not a branch circuit can provide usable power to equipment, other than to waste copper.

NOW spec's are something different if the customer wants it for some who doo voo doo electrical engineering, they pay for it they get it.
I know that and you know that, but it amazes me how many engineers don't.
Like you said, if they want to pay for it I'm more than happy to run twice the pipe and pull more wire in.

The OP said commercial so I bet this is what he is talking about. If he was industrial I would lean more towards an isolation transformer or reactor.
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Old 08-28-2010, 11:30 PM   #19
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Clean power has its own transformer (K-factor or an non-linear type). A clean power panel (which is nothing more than a regular panel with a 200% rated neutral). And if its true clean power it will have one neutral for one circuit (no neutral sharing). Non linear loads (switching power supplies, electronic ballast..etc.) cause harmonic distortion, mostly on the odd numbered harmonics.
Most affected is the 120/208Y system. Single phase 120/240 does not seem to have the same harmonic distortion problem.
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Old 08-28-2010, 11:31 PM   #20
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I know that and you know that, but it amazes me how many engineers don't.
Like you said, if they want to pay for it I'm more than happy to run twice the pipe and pull more wire in.

The OP said commercial so I bet this is what he is talking about. If he was industrial I would lean more towards an isolation transformer or reactor.
Hey I have seen numerous ground rods driven outside office buildings for a PQ issue on the 12th floor of a high rise.

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