How to Calculate Harmonics Filters

by Jonah Quant
Power line detail image by Tasha from <a href=''></a>

In power supply systems based on alternating current (AC) -- such as the main power distribution network from electric utilities -- non-linear loads can feed some amount of power back into the wiring. This feedback typically occurs in the form of harmonics: multiples of the frequency of the original AC wave. Harmonics need to be eliminated from a power circuit by a harmonic filter to prevent them from causing voltage distortions and excessive currents in grounding connections. A harmonic filter consists of a power capacitor connected in series with a tuning reactor, with both of them placed between the power line and ground. The parameters for a harmonic filter depend on the electrical circuit in which harmonic elimination needs to happen.

Step 1

Measure, using the harmonic analyzer on the circuit at 30% load, the load LD in kilowatts and the power factor PF.

Step 2

Calculate the phase angles for both the actual and desired power factors (a typically desirable power factor is 0.97) by evaluating: PAActual = arccos(PF) PADesired = arccos(0.97)

Step 3

Calculate KVAR, the kilo-volt-amperes required to raise the power factor from PF to, for example, 0.97 by evaluating: KVAR = LD x (tan(PAActual) - tan(PADesired))

Step 4

Calculate the capacitance required for the capacitor in the harmonic filter by evaluating: C = KVAR / ((KV)^2 x 2 x Pi x F x 0.001) Replace KV by the power line's voltage in kilovolts, and F by the power line's frequency in Hertz.

Calculate the reactance required for the tuning reactor in the harmonic filter by evaluating: X = 1 / (2 x Pi x F x C)


Photo Credits

About the Author

Jonah Quant has been writing about computer science since 1990. He has contributed to international conferences and journals such as those of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the Association for Computing Machinery. Quant has a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of California.

More Articles