Alternating Current Fundamentals

Edition II

© Copyright MMVII T&D PowerSkills, LLC 5501-A John Eskew Blvd. Alexandria, LA 71303 866-880-1380 All rights reserved. This book or any part thereof must not be reproduced in any form without the written permission of T&D PowerSkills, LLC. Printed in the United States of America

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Field Performance Requirements (FPR)
NAME: _____________________________ #___________ Complete Incomplete SECTION: Maintenance Basics UNIT(S):
VG ACC NI NA = = = = Very Good Acceptable Needs Improvement Not Able to Complete on this Crew

Alternating Current Fundamentals

REQUIREMENTS

SUPERVISOR SIGN-OFF
VG ACC NI NA

SEGMENT 1 – ALTERNATING CURRENT 1.1 Can explain the differences between direct current and alternating current ……………………………………………………………………..

SEGMENT 2 – INDUCTANCE 2.1 2.2 Can define inductance and inductive reactance ……………………… Can differentiate between in-phase and out-of-phase current flow …

SEGMENT 3 – CAPACITANCE 3.1 Can describe the effects of capacitance on current and voltage .….

SEGMENT 4 – AC POWER 4.1 Can differentiate among true power, reactive power and apparent power ……………………………………………………………………..

SEGMENT 5 – SINGLE –PHASE AND THREE-PHASE SYSTEMS 5.1 Can describe the difference between single-phase and three-phase AC systems ……………………………………….………………………. 5.2 Can differentiate between delta-connected and wye-connected three-phase AC systems ………………………………………………..

______________________________ ______________________________ _______________ Employee’s Signature Supervisor’s Signature Date

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Performance Notes:
_____________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________

1910.269(a)(2)(vii) as of July, 2006: The employer shall certify that each employee has received the training required by paragraph (a)(2) of this section. This certification shall be made when the employee demonstrates proficiency in the work practices involved and shall be maintained for the duration of the employee’s employment. Note: Employment records that indicate that an employee has received the required training are an acceptable means of meeting this requirement.

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1 2.2 Alternating Current Current Flow and Polarity Sine Waves Peak Values.1 3.2. and Effective Values Inductance Inductance and Inductive Reactance Factors That Affect Inductive Reactance Effects of Inductance on Current and Voltage Capacitance Capacitors Effects of Capacitance on Current and Voltage AC Power True Power Reactive Power Apparent Power Power Factor Single-Phase and Three-Phase Systems Single-Phase Systems Three-Phase Systems Delta Connections Wye Connections Title 7 7 11 14 16 16 18 20 24 25 27 31 31 32 35 36 38 39 40 41 42 Page T & D PowerSkills – Edition II Page 5 . 5.2 4.TABLE OF CONTENTS Section 1.1 5.3 2.1 5.3 4. 2.1 1.2 4.1 4.2.2 2.4 5.2 5.3 3. 1. Peak-to-Peak Values. 4. 3.2 1.

and reactive Power in a Purely Inductive Circuit Sine Waves for Voltage.LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS Figure 1-1 1-2 1-3 1-4 1-5 2-1 2-2 2-3 2-4 2-5 3-1 3-2 3-3 4-1 4-2 4-3 4-4 5-1 5-2 5-3 5-4 5-5 Title Simple DC Current Simplified AC Generator Rotation of a Conductor Induced Voltage Graph Voltage and Current Sine Waves Magnetic Field Around a Conductor Magnetic Fields Around a Coiled Conductor Metal Core Placed Inside Coil Voltage and Current Sine Waves for a Purely Resistive Circuit Voltage and Current Sine Waves for a Purely Inductive Circuit Simplified Capacitor Charging a Capacitor Voltage and Current Sine Waves for a Purely Capacitive Circuit Sine Waves for Voltage. Current. Current. and Reactive Power in a Purely Capacitive Circuit Circuit for Apparent Power Simplified Single-Phase System Simplified Three-Phase System Simplified Three-Wire System Delta-Connected Three-Phase System Wye-Connected Three-Phase System T & D PowerSkills – Edition II Page 6 Page 8 9 10 & 11 12 13 17 19 20 21 22 25 26 29 32 33 34 36 38 39 40 41 42 . Current. and True Power in a Purely Resistive Circuit Sine Waves for Voltage.

and what factors affect the operation and maintenance of AC equipment such as motors. 1. • Define peak value. current flows first in one direction. stops. In a DC circuit. how it works. lights. • Explain how current flow and polarity change in AC circuits. concepts. T & D PowerSkills – Edition II Page 7 . Alternating Current Most of the electrical equipment used today operates on alternating current (AC).1 Current Flow and Polarity There are two types of current: direct current (DC) and alternating current (AC). The purpose of this training unit is to review significant terms. In an AC circuit. 1. current flow is always in one direction.ALTERNATING CURRENT FUNDAMENTALS 1. then flows in the opposite direction. • Explain what frequency is and how it is measured. and effective value with respect to AC voltage and current. and principles associated with alternating current. Emphasis is placed on what alternating current is. and communications equipment. Alternating Current OBJECTIVES: • Explain the differences between direct current and alternating current. peak-to-peak value.

do not have fixed polarity. The negative terminal in this. The current flow is always in this direction. on the other hand. The battery has two terminals. the current it produces always flows in the same direction. It has two important parts – a power source and a load. one negative and one positive. and all other DC power sources. Alternating Current (continued) Figure 1-1 shows a simple DC circuit. Figure 1-1. T & D PowerSkills – Edition II Page 8 . Simple DC Circuit Simple DC Circuit AC power sources. Their positions do not change. One way of referring to this is to say that a DC power source has fixed polarity. through the circuit. The power source is a battery and the load is a resistor.AC FUNDAMENTALS 1. is always the same terminal and the positive terminal is always the opposite terminal. Their polarity changes periodically. the direction of the current it produces also changes. Current flows from the negative terminal. When a power source has fixed polarity. to the positive terminal. As the polarity of the power source changes.

is made up of a number of lines of flux. a magnetic field.) The relative motion occurs when the conductor is rotated through the magnetic field. (The north and south poles of the magnet are visible in the figure. and relative motion. the two ends of the conductor have been labeled X and Y. This simplified generator has two more components: slip rings and brushes. its rotation can be demonstrated by using the 360 degrees that make up a circle. the lines are shown as straight lines. This generator produces voltage by means of induction. without the slip rings or brushes. each half of the loop cuts through the magnetic lines of flux. T & D PowerSkills – Edition II Page 9 .) When the conductor turns. first in one direction and then in the opposite direction. indicated by the blue lines in Figure 1-2. Simplified AC Generator The magnetic field. the slip rings are attached to the ends of the conductor. The three requirements for inducing voltage are: a conductor. (For simplicity. Figure 1-2. Alternating Current (continued) Figure 2-1 shows a simplified AC generator. and the magnetic field is provided by a permanent magnet. In this generator. they are curved. This movement is illustrated in Figure 1-3. which shows an end view of the conductor. Current produced by the generated voltage could flow through the brushes and through a circuit connected to the generator. a loop of wire is the conductor. Actually.AC FUNDAMENTALS 1. For ease of explanation. Because the conductor moves in a circular pattern. they slide against the brushes as the conductor rotates.

As the conductor starts to rotate. Now. Alternating Current (continued) Figure 1-3 Rotation of Conductor At zero degrees. Since there is no relative motion between the conductor and the magnetic field. so the induced voltage decreases. T & D PowerSkills – Edition II Page 10 . As the conductor moves toward 90 degrees. the ends of the conductor are not cutting across any of the lines of flux. the X end of the conductor begins to cut the magnetic field in a downward direction. no voltage is induced. When the conductor reaches 180 degrees. while the Y end of the conductor cuts the magnetic field in an upward direction. As rotation continues towards 180 degrees. the conductor cuts fewer and fewer flux lines. Maximum voltage is induced at the instant that the conductor reaches the 90-degree point. more and more flux lines are cut. so the induced voltage increases. voltage is being induced. so no voltage is induced.AC FUNDAMENTALS 1. the conductor is cutting through no lines of flux.

voltage begins decreasing. 1. At the instant that the conductor reaches 270 degrees. because no flux lines are being cut. at 360 degrees. The X end of the conductor starts cutting the magnetic field in an upward direction. or the direction in which a magnetic field cuts a conductor. the conductor once again cuts through more and more lines of flux. while the Y end cuts the field in a downward direction. T & D PowerSkills – Edition II Page 11 . so maximum voltage is induced. From 180 to 270 degrees. as easy method of showing how the polarity changes is to use a graph. the polarity changes. no voltage is induced. Alternating Current (continued) At 180 degrees. because the conductor is cutting through few and fewer lines of flux. determines the polarity of the voltage that is induced.2 Sine Waves The direction in which a conductor cuts a magnetic field. When the conductor completes its rotation. it is again cutting the maximum number of flux lines. As rotation continues from 270 degrees to 360 degrees.AC FUNDAMENTALS 1.

From 90 degrees to 180 degrees.) Figure 1-4. it reaches its maximum negative value. so no voltage is induced. because the conductor is not cutting across any flux lines. because the conductor cuts across fewer and fewer lines of flux. At 270 degrees. the induced voltage reaches its maximum positive value. the conductor is not cutting through the magnetic fields. (On this graph. From 180 degrees to 270 degrees. Voltage that is above the horizontal line is positive. the horizontal line also represents the time that elapses as the voltage changes.AC FUNDAMENTALS 1. so voltage increases. the conductor starts to cut across the flux lines in the opposite direction. the vertical line of the graph represents the magnitude of the induced voltage. At 270 degrees. no flux lines are being cut. voltage increases in the negative direction. Alternating Current (continued) Figure 1-4 is a graph that represents the voltage induced as the conductor in Figure 1-3 makes a complete rotation through the magnetic field. As the conductor rotates toward 90 degrees. Voltage that is on the horizontal line is neither positive nor negative – it is zero. At 360 degrees. At 90 degrees. At 180 degrees. so no voltage is induced. more and more lines of flux are cut. voltage decreases. At this point. From 270 degrees to 360 degrees. and voltage that is below the horizontal line is negative. it reaches its maximum negative direction. voltage is again zero. T & D PowerSkills – Edition II Page 12 . Induced Voltage Graph At zero degrees. voltage decreases again.

no voltage is induced. sine waves are often used to plot electrical quantities. If the simplified generator shown in Figure 1-2 were part of a complete circuit. Finally. both voltage and current are again zero. the induced voltage would cause current to flow. voltage and current increase in the negative direction. In Figure 1-5. voltage and current increase. a sine curve. it is just a smooth rise and fall. so no current flows. Alternating Current (continued) The type of graph shown n Figure 1-4 is called a sinusoidal curve. At 360 degrees. voltage and current decrease. The current sine wave represents current flow through the complete circuit. Voltage and Current Sine Waves When the conductor is at zero degrees. as the conductor begins to rotate. From 180 degrees to 270 degrees. Figure 1-5. or a sine wave. Both voltage and current reach their maximum values at 90 degrees. both voltage and current decrease. As rotation continues. a current sine wave has been added to the voltage sine wave shown in Figure 1-4.AC FUNDAMENTALS 1. T & D PowerSkills – Edition II Page 13 . so no current can flow. reaching their maximum negative values at 270 degrees. A sine wave has no sharp bens or straight portions. At 180 degrees. as the conductor moves from 270 to 360 degrees. no voltage is induced.

effective values are use. be referred to as 60 hertz. Peak-to-Peak Values. each time the conductor rotates a full 360 degrees. peak value. Peak values and peak-to-peak values are not commonly used for AC current or voltage except when designing AC equipment (for example. Most meters read RMS values. and Effective Values The amount of voltage or current at the maximum positive or negative point on a sine wave is called the peak value of the voltage or current. The number of cycles completed each second by a given AC voltage is called frequency. like direct current does. Peak AC values and peak-to-peak AC values are related as follows: Peak-to peak = 2 x peak And RMS values are related to peak values like this: RMS = Peak x . Frequency is measured in units called hertz. the insulating rating on equipment is based on peak voltage). therefore. Most often. A peak AC value is not equivalent to a DC value with the same numbers: 120 volts peak AC voltage is not the same as 120 volts DC. The reason for using effective values instead of peak values is that alternating current does not maintain a constant value. which applies to both current and voltage (because voltage produces current) is the basis for effective values. 60 cycles are completed every second. Sixty cycles per second can. Peak values occur twice in each cycle: once positive and once negative.3 Peak Values. What is important is to understand that RMS values are used to rate operating voltages on almost all AC equipment. all AC values are RMS (effective) values. In a typical AC power system. too. RMS stands for root-mean-square. 1. Effective values for AC are often called RMS values. Alternating Current (continued) In this example. Effective AC values are equal to peak AC values multiplied by . Unless the data plate on a meter or piece of equipment indicates otherwise.707 amperes of direct current. it completes a cycle. In summary.707 T & D PowerSkills – Edition II Page 14 .707. The amount of voltage or current represented by the distance between the positive peak and the negative peak is called the peak-to-peak value. The formula itself is not important here. When scientists conducted tests to find the exact relationship between peak AC values and DC values. which refers to the mathematical formula used to determine effective values. or 60 Hz. they discovered that one ampere. It does not build up to a peak and then stay there.AC FUNDAMENTALS 1. This relationship. of alternating current produces the same heating effect as .

___________________________________ 1-3. List the three requirements for inducing a voltage. The letters used to express effective AC values are __________________. When a sine wave is used to represent voltage.AC FUNDAMENTALS 1. The ____________ of an AC power source changes periodically. T & D PowerSkills – Edition II Page 15 . Alternating Current (continued) Questions 1-1. a. 1-4. Circle the correct answer. 1-5. 1-2. The conductor stops moving No voltage is induced Maximum voltage is induces None of the above True or False. c. ___________________________________ c. voltage below the horizontal line is negative The number of cycles completed each second by a given AC voltage is called (a) _____________ and is measured in (b) ______________. 1-6. a. ___________________________________ b. When a conductor rotating in a magnetic field is cutting through the maximum number of flux lines. b. d.

in hertz L is the inductance. it is measured in ohms. however. Inductance is covered i this section. capacitance is covered in Section 3. AC current is affected by voltage and resistance.1 Inductance and Inductive Reactance Inductance is a physical property of all AC circuits that opposes any change in current flow. like resistance. Ohm’s Law holds true for all applications. 2. Ohm’s Law states that current is equal to voltage divided by resistance. AC current. is affected by additional factors. because the only two factors that affect DC current are resistance and voltage. which must be taken into account. It is measured in units called henrys. can be calculated by using the following formula: XL = 2 π f L where: π is the constant 3. Differentiate between in-phase and our-of-phase currents and voltages. limits current flow. but AC current is also affected by inductance and capacitance. In DC circuits.AC FUNDAMENTALS 2. The common symbol for inductive reactance is XL. Inductive reactance is the measure of the opposition to current flow that is created by inductance.14 f is the frequency. The value of inductive reactance. Explain how inductive reactance limits current flow. The symbol for inductance is a capital L. Like DC current. Since inductive reactance. in henrys T & D PowerSkills – Edition II Page 16 . Inductance OBJECTIVES: • • • Define inductance and inductive reactance. in ohms.

counter electromotive force (CEMF).AC FUNDAMENTALS (continued) 2. Because the CEMF opposes the applied voltage. Inductance To understand how inductive reactance limits current flow. which is the induction of voltage i a conductor by AC current following through that same conductor. And. because the field itself is moving. a magnetic field. The current flow causes a magnetic field to build up around the conductor. it limits current. the induced voltage. In this case. it is first necessary t understand a process call self-induction. and relative motion. Current flow is actually limited by an induced voltage that opposes the applied voltage. as the magnetic field builds up. current starts to flow through the conductor. This induced voltage is called counter voltage or. T & D PowerSkills – Edition II Page 17 . Figure 2-1 Magnetic Field Around a Conductor Conductor While the magnetic field is building up. there is relative motion between it and the conductor. as shown in Figure 2-1. is counter electromotive force. more commonly. its motion induces a voltage in the conductor. When voltage is applied to a conductor. Since the current-carrying conductor is inducing a voltage in itself. the process is called self-induction. Counter electromotive force is caused by self-induction. whenever there is a conductor. voltage is induced. which is opposite in polarity to the applied voltage. The magnetic field continues to expand outward from the center of the conductor until the current that is producing it reaches its peak value.

Since the motion is opposite. no self-induction. if current is trying to increase. The voltage that is induced in the conductor by the changing magnetic field is always in such a direction as to oppose the current change. The voltage that is induced in the conductor now has the same polarity as the applied voltage. this time with the opposite polarity. 2. When the magnetic field has collapsed completely. the magnetic field also changes. The decreasing current causes the magnetic field to collapse. T & D PowerSkills – Edition II Page 18 . the induced voltage opposes the applied voltage. it decreases until it reaches zero. For example. there is no motion and therefore. Likewise. if current is trying to decrease. It can be increased even more by placing a metal core inside the coil.AC FUNDAMENTALS (continued) 2. inductive reactance can be increased by coiling a conductor. The basis behind both of these factors is that the number of lines of flux that cut a conductor affects the amount of inductive reactance. Inductance After the current flowing through the conductor reaches its peak value. as the current again increases towards its peak value. Then. Anything that increases the number of magnetic lines of flux cutting a conductor increases the inductive reactance. The motion of the magnetic field collapsing is opposite to the motion of the field building up. the induced voltage aid the applied voltage. the self-induction is also opposite.2 Factors that affect Inductive Reactance There are several factors that affect the amount of inductive reactance – the amount that current flow is limited by inductance – in a circuit. anything that decreases the number of magnetic lines of flux cutting a conductor decreases the inductive reactance. Whenever there is a change in the current. the magnetic field again builds up. So.

the higher the inductive reactance will be. Magnetic Fields Around a Coiled Conductor T & D PowerSkills – Edition II Page 19 .AC FUNDAMENTALS (continued) 2. A straight conductor is cut only once by its magnetic field when the magnetic field changes. The more turns there are in the coil. In a coiled conductor. the magnetic field from each turn cuts across the other turns. Inductance A conductor that is wound into a coil provides more inductive reactance than a straight conductor. as shown in Figure 2-2. Figure 2-2.

AC FUNDAMENTALS (continued) 2. Increasing the inductive reactance decreases the current. the term ”purely resistive” means that resistance is the only factor that limits current flow. a change in inductive reactance also means a change i current. T & D PowerSkills – Edition II Page 20 . The magnetic field produced by the coil is concentrated and directed by the metal core. and decreasing the inductive reactance increases the current. 2. Metal Core Placed Inside Coil Since inductive reactance limits current. Such a circuit is called a purely resistive circuit. as shown in Figure 2-3. Figure 2-3. also more line of flux cut across the conductor as current changes. Any inductance in the circuit was considered to be so small that it was insignificant.3 Effects of Inductance on Current and Voltage The current and voltage sine waves shown in Section 1 were associated with a circuit that had only resistance as a current-limiting factor. Inductance The inductive reactance that a coil provides can be further increased by placing a metal core inside the coil.

Voltage and Current Sine Waves for a Purely Resistive Circuit T & D PowerSkills – Edition II Page 21 . Since voltage and current stay together. current also increases.AC FUNDAMENTALS (continued) 2. always increasing or decreasing in the same direction at the same time. they are said to be in phase. when voltage increases. Figure 2-4. Figure 2-4 shows in-phase voltage and current sine waves for a purely resistive circuit. Inductance In purely resistive circuits.

When voltage starts to decrease the induced voltage opposes a decrease in current. inductance causes voltage and current to be out of phase. The counter EMF keeps current from increasing immediately. when voltage starts to increase. A purely inductive circuit is a circuit that has only inductive reactance as a current-limiting factor. However.AC FUNDAMENTALS (continued) 2. it can be said that current lags behind voltage by 90 degrees during the entire cycle. In a purely inductive circuit. Inductance Figure 2-5 shows sine waves for voltage and current in a purely inductive circuit. T & D PowerSkills – Edition II Page 22 . Actually. Therefore. current does not change right away. Whenever voltage and current increase and decrease at different time. they are said to be out of phase. Therefore. the decrease in current takes place later than the decrease in voltage. the increase in current takes place later than the increase in voltage. Voltage and Current Sine Waves for a Purely Inductive Circuit In a purely inductive circuit. there is no circuit that is purely inductive. Figure 2-5. Because the changes in current always take place later than the changes in voltage. the idea of a purely inductive circuit is helpful in understanding the effects of inductance on the relationship between voltage and current. because there is always some resistance in a circuit.

There is no magnetic field around the conductor True or False. b. Whenever voltage and current increase or decrease at different times. 2-3 2-4 2-5 In a purely inductive circuit. When current flowing through a conductor is increasing. Inductance Questions 2-1 The physical property of all AC circuits that opposes any change in ___________ is called inductance. List two ways to increase inductive reactance in an AC circuit. a. 2-7 T & D PowerSkills – Edition II Page 23 . Circle the correct answer. The magnetic field around the conductor is building up b. The magnetic field around the conductor is collapsing c. a. they are said to be _______________. _________________________ is the measure of the opposition to current flow that is created by inductance. ______________________ is the only currentlimiting factor.AC FUNDAMENTALS (continued) 2. it has the effect of increasing current. No voltage is induced d. When CEMF opposes the applied voltage in an AC circuit. 2-6 ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ 2-2.

when the inductance in a circuit would limit current flow more than a desirable amount. like inductive reactance. Capacitance is a physical property of all AC circuits that opposes a change in voltage. in hertz C in the capacitance. additional capacitance can be added to that circuit to bring current flow up to the level that is needed. The device used to do this is called a capacitor. Explain the effects of capacitance o current and voltage. Name the basic components of a capacitor. in farads The effects of capacitance. as will be explained in this section. Capacitance and capacitive reactance are related in the same way that inductance and inductive reactance are related. For example. Capacitance is measured in units called farads. The common symbol for capacitive reactance is XC . can be calculated by using the following formula: XC = 1 ÷ 2 π f C where: π is the constant 3. The value of capacitive reactance. cause current and voltage to be out of phase. Capacitive reactance is the measure of the opposition to current flow that is created by capacitance. is measured in ohms. in ohms. Capacitive reactance. Capacitance OBJECTIVES: • • • Define capacitance and capacitive reactance. In fact. The symbol for capacitance is a capital C. capacitance is often added to AC circuits to counter the effects of inductance. T & D PowerSkills – Edition II Page 24 . like the effects of inductance.14 f is the frequency.AC FUNDAMENTALS (continued) 3. However. the effects of capacitance are not the same as the effects of inductance.

3. (a) General. air acts as a dielectric whenever two conductors are side-by-side for any significant distance. including air. In fact. The dielectric can be made of any good insulating material. which is called a dielectric. Figure 3-1 Simplified Capacitor Dialectric (insulating material) Conducting Plates OSHA Regulations Snap-Shot 1910.AC FUNDAMENTALS (continued) 3. Safety-related work practices shall be employed to prevent electric shock or other injuries resulting from either direct or indirect electrical contacts. The specific safety-related work practices shall be consistent with the nature and extent of the associated electrical hazards. when work is performed near or on equipment or circuits which are or may be energized. A simplified capacitor is shown in Figure 3-1. the two conductors act like capacitor plates. The purpose of the dielectric is to keep electrons from flowing from one plate to the other.333 (as of January. It has three main components: two plates and an insulator. 2007) Selection and use of work practices. T & D PowerSkills – Edition II Page 25 .1 Capacitance Capacitors Capacitors are devices that store energy.

it has to have energy supplied to it. When the power source is turned on and the switch is closed. This plate thus has an excess of electrons. Figure 3-2. The process of supplying energy to a capacitor is called charging. the negatively charged electrons on the first plate force electrons away from the second plate. Since like charges repel each other. electrons flow from the power source to one of the capacitor’s plates. as show in Figure 3-2. so it becomes negatively charged. Charging a Capacitor A/C Power Source Switch T & D PowerSkills – Edition II Page 26 . the second plate becomes positively charged. Charging a capacitor requires connecting it to a power source. Capacitance Before a capacitor can store energy. Therefore. because the dielectric keeps them from getting to the other plate.AC FUNDAMENTALS (continued) 3. The electrons that are forced away from the positive plate flow back to the power source. The electrons stay on the negative plate.

two many electrons will be forced onto the negative plate. Since a difference in potential is voltage. the racks shall be bonded to ground. or simply.2 Effects of Capacitance on Current and Voltage When a capacitor is being charged.AC FUNDAMENTALS (continued) 3. each unit in series-parallel capacitor banks shall be short-circuited between all terminals and the capacitor case or its rack. Each electron that is added to the negative plate makes that plate more negative. Knowing the capacity of a capacitor is important. short-circuited. If the dielectric breaks down. (ii) Before the units are handled. 3. the capacitor is fully charged. it can be said that voltage builds up across a capacitor as it is charged. T & D PowerSkills – Edition II Page 27 . As a result. and the current stops flowing. (i) Before employees work on capacitors. after a wait of at least 5 minutes from the time of disconnection. the capacitance. and the flow of electrons from the positively charged plate of the capacitor back to the power source continues until the peak voltage is reached. The polarity of this voltage is such that it opposes the source voltage. the negative plate has gained a certain number of electrons. The following additional requirements apply to work on capacitors and on lines connected to capacitors. current flowing through a capacitor will destroy the capacitor. In most cases. the specific number of electrons that the negative plate can hold is called the capacity of the capacitor. the voltage across the capacitor increases until it is equal to the source voltage. a difference in potential develops across it. If too much voltage is supplied to a capacitor. 2007) Special conditions. but opposite in polarity. OSHA Regulations Snap-Shot 1910. (iii) Any line to which capacitors are connected shall be short-circuited before it is considered deenergized. When the peak voltage is reached.269 (w) (as of February. If the cases of capacitors are on ungrounded substation racks. (1) Capacitors. For any given voltage. and each electron that leaves the positive plate makes that plate more positive. the dielectric could break down. At this point. As the capacitor continues to be charged. the capacitors shall be disconnected from energized sources and. and the positive plate has lost the same number of electrons. and the flow of the capacitor. they have the effect of canceling each other out. Capacitance The flow of electrons from the power source to the negatively charged plate of the capacitor. Since the source voltage and the voltage across the capacitor are equal. current can flow through the capacitor from one plate to the other.

the capacitor is completely charged in the opposite direction. During the whole cycle. When the source voltage reaches zero again. Current now flows in the opposite direction. T & D PowerSkills – Edition II Page 28 . so current is zero. When the source voltage reaches zero. the capacitor again starts to discharge.AC FUNDAMENTALS (continued) 3. At this point. After the source voltage reaches zero. but with the opposite polarity. because they do not increase and decrease in the same direction at the same time. The capacitor is again being charged. and current flow is again zero. it again begins to increase toward its peak value. the opposing voltage has built up to the same value (but opposite polarity). At the beginning of the cycle. By the time the source voltage reaches its peak positive value. current is at its peak positive value. After the source voltage passes its peak. Capacitance When the source voltage passes its peak. as the source voltage rises from zero. the opposing voltage is at its peak value. the capacitor starts to discharge. current flow is maximum in the opposite direction. Current and voltage are out of phase. When the source voltage reaches its peak value. the changes in current take place ahead of the changes in voltage. but in the opposite direction. The sine waves show in Figure 3-3 indicates the relationship between the source voltage and the current that is produced during a full AC cycle in a purely capacitive circuit. current flow is maximum in the opposite direction. Discharging is the reverse of charging: electrons flow onto the positively charged plate and electrons leave the negatively charged plate. the source voltage and the opposing voltage have the effect of canceling each other out.

Another way to say this is to say that in a capacitive circuit. changes in current always occur ahead of changes in voltage.AC FUNDAMENTALS (continued) 3. current leads voltage by 90 degrees. In a purely capacitive circuit. capacitance causes current and voltage to be out of phase. Voltage and Current Sine Waves for a Purely Capacitive Circuit The sine waves shown in Figure 3-3 represent the behavior of source voltage and current in a purely capacitive circuit – that is a circuit in which resistance and inductance have no significant effects. Capacitance is the only factor that affects current and voltage. T & D PowerSkills – Edition II Page 29 . Capacitance Figure 3-3. Because capacitance opposes a change in voltage.

3-6.AC FUNDAMENTALS (continued) 3. it must first be ______________________. Capacitive reactance is measured in ___________________. True or False. Notes: _____________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________ T & D PowerSkills – Edition II Page 30 . 3-3. b. What is capacitive reactance? 3-2. Capacitance Questions 3-1. the source voltage and the voltage across the capacitor are equal in amount but opposite in polarity. Capacitance is a physical property of all AC circuits that opposes a change in voltage. When a capacitor is fully charged. Before a capacitor can store energy. 3-4. A dielectric in a capacitor: a. Increases the flow of protons to the positive terminal Keeps electrons from flowing from one plate to the other Aids electrons in their flow from positive to negative Decreases the number of electrons on any plate 3-5. c. Circle the correct answer. True or False. Capacitance causes (a) ______________ (b) _______________ to be out of phase. 3-7. d.

T & D PowerSkills – Edition II Page 31 . however. there are three different kinds of power in AC circuits: true power. and apparent power. AC Power OBJECTIVES: • • Differentiate between true power. Explain how power factor is used in calculating true power in AC Circuits. In DC circuits. current.AC FUNDAMENTALS (continued) 4. The power used in a purely resistive circuit is true power. voltage. so AC power calculations can be much more complicated than DC calculations. 4. reactive power. The only factor that limits current in a DC circuit is resistance. In AC circuits.1 True Power True power in an AC circuit is the power actually used to do work. power is equal to voltage times current (P=EI). so the only factors that affect DC power are current.) Figure 4-1 shows simplified voltage. (A “purely resistive” AC circuit is one in which inductance and capacitance are not large enough to be significant. and resistance. Because inductance and capacitance cause AC current and voltage to be out of phase. reactive power. inductance and capacitance must also be considered. and apparent power. and true power waves for a purely resistive circuit.

This is done by multiplying the voltage at any instant by current at that same instant. they are both positive at the same time and negative at the same time. will always be positive. Negative power. their product. The term “positive power” is used as a convention. Since voltage and current are in phase. since two positive numbers or two negative numbers multiplied together will always yield a positive result-positive power. true power. Sine Waves for Voltage. the. Therefore. reactive power does no useful work. 4-2. is power that is returning to a power source from a load. T & D PowerSkills – Edition II Page 32 . AC Power Figure 4-1. Reactive Power Reactive power is the type of power that is found in a purely inductive circuit or a purely capacitive circuit. Unlike true power.AC FUNDAMENTALS (continued) 4. Current. and True Power in a Purely Resistive Circuit Voltage and current sine waves like the ones shown in Figure 4-1 can be used to determine the true power in the circuit at any instant. Positive power is power that is going to a load from a power source.

Multiplying the two together will yield a negative value. and reactive power in a purely inductive circuit. When voltage becomes negative.AC FUNDAMENTALS (continued) 4. voltage is positive and current is negative. their product is positive power. the result is positive power. voltage times current equals negative power. During the second quarter of the cycle. so the product of voltage and current is negative power. Sine Waves for Voltage. at this point. Thus. If voltage and current are multiplied together during this portion of the cycle. because the product of a positive number and a negative number is always a negative number. with current lagging behind voltage. T & D PowerSkills – Edition II Page 33 . current is still positive. AC Power Figure 4-2 shows simplified sine waves for voltage. but current is now also positive. because two negative numbers multiplied together give a positive result. The same relationships can be seen in the second half of the cycle. Voltage and current are out of phase. When voltage and current are both negative. and Reactive Power in a Purely Inductive Circuit In the first quarter of the cycle represented in Figure 4-2. in the final quarter of the cycle. Current. Figure 4-2. current. voltage is still positive.

As was explained earlier. The power in a purely inductive circuit is only reactive power. is power returning to the power source from a load. and reactive power sine waves for purely capacitive circuit. positive power goes from the power source to the inductance. there is no power that can be identified as true power. as defined earlier. the amount of power that is returned from the inductance to the power source is equal to the amount of power that is supplied by the power source to the inductance. As indicated by the sine waves in Figure 4-2. The power in a purely capacitive circuit is also reactive power. In an inductive circuit. Figure 4-3 shows voltage. power just goes back and forth between the power source and the inductance. positive power is power that goes from a power source to a load. The inductance absorbs power from the power source as its magnetic field builds up. current. the negative power periods are those during which the power absorbed by the inductance returns to the power source as the magnetic field collapses. in a purely capacitive circuit.AC FUNDAMENTALS (continued) 4. Figure 4-3. then. In a purely inductive circuit. Since no power is used to do work. Sine Waves for Voltage. AC Power As defined earlier. current leads voltage. Negative power. In a purely inductive circuit. and Reactive Power in a Purely Capacitive Circuit T & D PowerSkills – Edition II Page 34 . Current.

power. so it is reactive power rather than true power. an inductor.) Figure 4-4 shows a circuit that includes a power source. During the third quarter of the cycle. it is returning power to the power source.3. so power is again negative. so their product. apparent power and true power are the same. current is positive and voltage is negative. (In a purely resistive circuit. Apparent pow3r is voltage times current in any circuit. so it is storing up power. In the second quarter of the cycle. AC Power During the first quarter of the cycle represented in Figure 4-3. either. the capacitor is charging. because thee is a resistor in the circuit. in the last quarter of the cycle. Finally. The product of voltage times current in this circuit is apparent power. The product of voltage times current in this circuit cannot be the true power of the circuit. because true power can be calculated this way only for purely resistive circuits. In a purely capacitive circuit. both current and voltage are negative. T & D PowerSkills – Edition II Page 35 . when power is positive. is positive. The power in a capacitive circuit does not do any work. current is negative and voltage is positive.AC FUNDAMENTALS (continued) 4. which makes power positive again. Apparent Power Apparent power is the power used to do work plus the power stored during part of a cycle by inductance and capacitance and then returned to the power source. a resistor. the capacitor is discharging. The effect is the same for a purely capacitive circuit as for a purely inductive circuit: the amount of power that is supplied by the power source to the capacitor is equal to the amount of power that is returned from the capacitor to the power source. When power is negative. so power is negative. both voltage and current are positive. and a capacitor. The product cannot be reactive power. 4.

inductance. In mathematical terms. T & D PowerSkills – Edition II Page 36 .AC FUNDAMENTALS (continued) 4. this is expressed as P = E x I x PF. AC Power Figure 4-4. on power. the true power in an AC circuit is the ratio of the true power to the apparent power in that circuit. therefore. In most cases. Impedance can be calculated. but this is not done very often by maintenance personnel. is called impedance.4 Power Factor In a circuit like the one shown in figure 4-4. Circuit for Apparent Power 4. the effects of resistance. the combined effect of these three factors on current flow and. and capacitance must all be considered in determining true power. Power factor is used as follows: When the apparent power of a circuit and the power factor for that circuit are known. In other words. true power is calculated by multiplying the apparent power times the power factor. Power factor is usually expressed as a decimal value. Taken together. the true power in an AC circuit is equal to voltage times current times the power factor.

E I PF = = = 110 volts 10 amps . The product of a negative current and a positive voltage d. (in. true power in AC circuits is calculated with the aid of the ________________ associated with the specific circuit. Questions: 4-1. 4-6. Going to a load from a power source. Equal to voltage times resistance Reactive power is power that _____________ do useful work. Positive power is power that is a. Circle the correct answer.8. (does. True or False. does not) The voltage and current sine waves for reactive power are always __________ phase. 4-8.AC FUNDAMENTALS (continued) 4. 4-2. The combined effect of resistance. 4-4. inductance. Apparent power is the result of multiplying voltage times current in any circuit. b. Returning to a power source from a load c. . and capacitance on current flow in an AC circuit is called _________________. 4-9. If the voltage is 480 volts and the current is 50 amps. In most cased.5 T & D PowerSkills – Edition II Page 37 AC Power (continued) 4-3. 4-5. what is the true power used by the circuit? Given the following values. 4-7. out of) True or False. calculate true power. True power is the amount of power actually used to do work. The power factor for a certain AC circuit is .

Figure 5-1. and a load. Differentiate between delta-connected and wye-connected three-phase AC systems.AC FUNDAMENTALS (continued) 5. It consists of two wires. Simplified Single-Phase System T & D PowerSkills – Edition II Page 38 . A simplified single-phase system is illustrated in Figure 5-1. The purpose of this segment is to introduce some terms that are associated with these systems. There are two common types of AC power systems: single-phase systems and threephase systems. a voltage source. Single-Phase and Three-Phase Systems OBJECTIVES: • • • Explain the difference between single-phase and three-phase AC systems Explain how a three-wire single-phase AC system supplies two different voltages. which is represented by a resistor.

a voltage source (indicated by the three coils in the circle). Figure 5-2. T & D PowerSkills – Edition II Page 39 . the voltage supplied has only one value.1 Single-Phase Systems Single-phase systems are the most commonly used AC power systems for general electrical needs.AC FUNDAMENTALS (continued) 5. Simplified Three-Phase System 5. The three-wire system makes it possible to have two different voltages from one voltage source. This system consists of three wires. There are two basic types of single-phase systems: the two-wire system and the three-wire system. and a load (indicated by the three resistors). the three-wire system was developed. In the two-wire system. Since it is often desirable to have more than one voltage for home and office use. Single-Phase and Three-Phase Systems (continued) A simplified three-phase system is shown in Figure 5-2.

it is possible to get either 110 volts or 220 volts from this three-wire system. two lines come into the transformer on the primary side. Because the three-wire system provides more than one voltage.AC FUNDAMENTALS (continued) 5. As Figure 5-3 illustrates.2 Three-Phase Systems Three-phase systems are most often found in large industrial installations where large amounts of power are used. in a three-wire system. The two types of connections commonly used for power sources and for loads in three-phase systems are delta connections and wye connections. T & D PowerSkills – Edition II Page 40 . it has many applications for general electrical use. Thus. Simplified Three-Wire System One of the lines in a two-wire system and the neutral line in a three-wire system are usually grounded as a protective measure. if an un grounded line accidentally becomes grounded. Voltage between the top and bottom lines is 220 volts. The middle line on the secondary side is called the neutral line. The. a short circuit will occur and the circuit’s fuses or circuit breakers will open the circuit. 5. Single-Phase and Three-Phase Systems (continued) The component that changes a two-wire system into a three-wire system is a transformer. Figure 5-3. Voltage between the neutral line and either the top line or the bottom line is 110 volts. and three lines come off the transformer on the secondary side.

The three wires coming out of the transformer are connected to three resistors.2.1 Delta Connections Figure 5-4 shows the wiring for a delta connection. and the voltage that is applied to the wires is called line voltage. or two resistors. which are also delta-connected. the three coils represent a three-phase transformer. In this example. The voltage that is applied across the resistors or induced in the coils is called phase voltage. so the phase currents add together to T & D PowerSkills – Edition II Page 41 . the ends of two coils.AC FUNDAMENTALS (continued) 5. Delta-Connected Three-Phase System The current and voltage in the cols and the resistors of a system like this are not always the same as the current and voltage in the wires. The current that flows through the wires is called line current. the phase voltage equals the line voltage. The current that flows through the coils or resistors is called phase current. the voltage in each coil or resistor (the phase voltage) is equal to the voltage in the wires (the line voltage). Each coil or resistor shown in Figure 5-4 is connected across two wires. but the phase current does not equal the line current. Therefore. In a delta-connected system. However. The ends of each coil are connected to the ends of the other two coils. Figure 5-4. are connected to one wire. Single-Phase and Three-Phase Systems (continued) 5.

Wye Connected Three-Phase System. EL is the line voltage.2.73 equals the line current. multiplying the phase current time 1. Single-Phase and Three-Phase Systems (continued) form the line current. (A wye connection is also known as a star connection.AC FUNDAMENTALS (continued) 5.2 Wye Connections The wiring for a typical wye-connected three-phase system is shown in Figure 5-5. The free ends of the coils or resistors are connected to the three phase lines.) In a wye connected system. Then. EP is the phase voltage.73) times the phase current. IL is the line current. T & D PowerSkills – Edition II Page 42 . Figure 5-5. 5. and IP is the phase current. The relationships between voltage and current in a delta connected system can be summarized in the following formulas: EL IL = = EP IP √3 In these formulas. The line current is actually equal to the square root of three (which is 1. one end of each coil or resistor is connected to one end of both of the other coils or resistors.

However. the phase voltage times 1. the phase current is equal to the line current. but the phase voltage is not equal to the line voltage. Therefore. As shown in Figure 5-4.73 equals the line voltage. EP is the phase voltage. the current that flows through each line has to flow through the coil or the resistor in the line. Single-Phase and Three-Phase Systems (continued) Wye connections have different effects on voltage and current than delta connections do. the current in a wye-connected system cannot split or add together the way it does in a deltaconnected system. In a wye-connected system. the voltage in each coil or resistor (the phase voltage) has to be added to the voltage in one of the other coils or resistors to form the voltage across any two wires (the line voltage). The relationships between voltage and current in a wye-connected system can be summarized in the following formulas: EL IL = = EP √3 IP In these formulas. and IP is the phase current.AC FUNDAMENTALS (continuted) 5. Notes: _____________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________ T & D PowerSkills – Edition II Page 43 . EL is the line voltage. In wye-connected systems. IL is the line current.

5-4. T & D PowerSkills – Edition II Page 44 . but phase current does not equal line current. In a wye-connected three-phase system. Single-Phase and Three-Phase Systems (continued) Questions: 5-1. Circle the correct answer. 5-2. The component that changes a two-wire single-phase system into a three-wire single phase system is a __________________. In a delta-connected system. line) True or False. multiply the phase voltage by __________________. d. phase voltage equals line voltage. 5-3. In a three-phase system. b. 5-5. c. The middle line on the secondary side of a three-wire single-phase system is a.AC FUNDAMENTALS (continued) 5. 5-6. (phase. To calculate the line voltage of a wye-connected three-phase system. the current that flows through the coils or resistors is called _____________ current. Called the neutral line Connected in a delta pattern Never used 110 volts. phase current and line current are ______________.

Current that always flows in the same direction. The number of cycles completed each second by a given AC voltage. peak value. inductance. measured in ohms. Voltage times current in any circuit. A physical property of all AC circuits that opposes a change in voltage. The voltage that is applied to the wires in a three phase system. T & D PowerSkills – Edition II Page 45 Capacitance Capacitive reactance Delta connection - Direct current (DC) Effective values - Frequency Impedance Inductance Inductive reactance Line current Line voltage - . of AC current produces the same heating effect as . and capacitance on current flow. AC values for current and voltage based on the relationship that one ampere. also called RMS values. measured in henrys. The current that flows through the wires in a threephase system. and then flows in the opposite direction. measured in farads.707 amperes of DC current. measured in ohms.AC FUNDAMENTALS (continued) Glossary Alternating current (AC) Apparent Power Current that flows in one direction. The measure of the opposition to current flow that is created by capacitance. A connection used in three-phase systems in which three coils (or three resistors) are connected end-to end so that they effectively form a triangle. Power used to do work plus power stored during part of a cycle by inductance and capacitance and then returned to power source. A physical property of all AC circuits that opposes a change in current. stops. The measure of the opposition to current that is created by inductance. The combined effect of resistance.

AC FUNDAMENTALS Glossary (continued) Negative power Peak value Peak-to peak value Power that is returning to a power source from a load. The amount of voltage of current represented by the distance between the positive peak and the negative peak on a sine wave. Phase current Phase voltage - T & D PowerSkills – Edition II Page 46 . The voltage that is applied across the resistors or induced in the coils of a three-phase system. The current that flows through the coils or resistors in a three-phase system. The amount of voltage or current at the maximum positive or negative point on a sine wave.

Add a metal core to a coiled conductor Inductive reactance Out of phase Frequency Hertz 1-3. 1-4.) a. 1-5. T & D PowerSkills – Edition II Page 47 .AC Fundamentals Review Workbook Section Quiz Answers 1-1. Relative motion c True a.) a. RMS Current flow Inductive reactance a False (These answers may be in any order. 2-6. Polarity (These answers may be in any order. 2-5. b. 1-2. 2-1. 2-2. Magnetic field c. 2-3. Conductor b. 2-7. Coil the conductor b. 2-4. 1-6.

T & D PowerSkills – Edition II Page 48 . 4-4. 4-3. 4-6. Current True a Does not Out of True Impedance Power factor 19. 4-2. 3-4. 4-5. Voltage b. 3-7. 4-9.AC Fundamentals Review Answers (continued) 3-1. True Capacitive reactance is the measure of the opposition to current flow that is created by capacitance. 3-6. 3-3.200 watts 550 watts 4-1. 4-8. 3-5. 3-2.) a. Ohms b Charged True (These answers may be in either order. 4-7.

5-6. 5-2. Transformer a Phase True 1. 5-3.AC Fundamentals Review Answers (continued) 5-1. 5-5.73 Equal T & D PowerSkills – Edition II Page 49 . 5-4.

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