The Benefits of Power Analysis
Power analysis provides answers that many testing instruments/practices do not. Instead of only measuring one aspect or phase of power in a power system, complete power analysis provides the total view of a power system by logging all the important measurement types. Here are a few applications of power analysis that demonstrate value to your customers and your bottom line.
1. Accurate 3-Phase Measurements Require a Power Analyzer
- If you are measuring or estimating power or savings by using an ammeter, you are probably measuring or estimating wrong. With AC power, if you calculate power by multiplying voltage x current, your “measurement” of power will usually be too high. If a new technology just lowers the current, you are likely not saving any power.
- You also need the instrument to be a 3-phase power analyzer if you wish to measure 3-phase power. If you measure the power of one phase, you will likely be wrong if you think the total power is 3 times that.
2. Fully Analyze Any Power System or Load
Don’t limit yourself to just the measurements you know you need for a job. If you have a record of all the electric parameters, you (or your customer) can look back after the test or long in the future and spot other issues you did not consider when you started your monitoring session.
Likewise, don’t limit your ability to monitor any system that will come up in the future. You should be able to work with:
- Single phase, split-phase, 3-phase delta & wye, four wire delta, and DC systems
- Low & medium voltages
3. Ampacity & Load Studies
Load studies are beneficial when adding new equipment. Even if the job may only require monitoring amps or volts, there can be great value to measuring more:
- The ampacity may show there is room for a new load, but examination of the voltage may show the supply is not stiff enough to supply it without resulting in dips that will affect other equipment.
- You may monitor the power savings provided by a new lighting system, but not be aware that it is injecting excessive harmonics into your system, which could degrade your power transformer’s rating and possibly cause safety issues.
4. Reduce Costs through Energy Analysis
Often times, electricians and electrical contractors will face a situation that requires accurate energy consumption analysis to show how much a facility or piece of equipment costs to run, or how much money an alternative technology will save. It is not uncommon for a single power analysis study to save a facility tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars on their power.
- If you can show areas of potential savings to your customers, you can provide the services and equipment to achieve those savings.
- If there is a question about the power being billed, an analyzer that includes a Report Writer can provide a compelling presentation to management and utilities (ideally with before & after comparisons).
5. Evaluate Harmonic Distortion of Power
Modern electronic equipment introduces harmonics into a power system, which can have unforeseen consequences. Safety risks related to overheating can arise but can easily be identified by a power analyzer with harmonic analysis.
6. Power Quality Analysis
Many “power analyzers” claim to be “power quality analyzers” that give an even deeper view of a system’s power. The basics you should require in a power quality analyzer is the ability to both “trigger” and “capture”, in addition to the regular logging of power measurements. At a minimum, a power quality analyzer should trigger on voltage dips, voltage swells, and current inrush. Additional trigger capabilities add additional value. So when monitoring for power, why not also look for power quality issues? The added information may be valuable for your client, and if it leads to additional work, that becomes additional value to your bottom line.