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How PFC Capacitors Affect Harmonic Levels

Category: PQ Theory, PMI Products, Power Quality, Guardian, Harmonics/Interharmonics, Eagle

It is essential to understand how PFC capacitors affect PF and harmonics, and their importance to power networks.


Power networks have become increasingly more complex with the rapid growth of non-linear loads. These additions place significant burden on a network, resulting in a reexamination of today’s installations.


This whitepaper briefly overviews some power quality basics including: power factor, harmonics, and power factor correction capacitors.


A firm grasp on the behavior of PFC capacitors along with their effect on PF and harmonics is necessary before making any alteration to a power network. Before adding a PFC, a harmonic survey is useful to determine existing levels, and help predict if filtering will be necessary.


After installation, monitoring near the PFC for harmonic level and switching transients should be performed to determine if a sharp resonance is present, and what effect is has on the circuit. Waveshape triggering and harmonic trend data are essential for analysis in ProVision to verify that a PFC is not creating more problems than it solves.


This white paper includes:

  • Understanding Power Factor Correction
  • Power Factor Basics
  • Improving PF
  • Harmonic Distortion
  • Overview of Harmonics
  • Harmonic Effects of PFC Capacitors
  • Resonance with System Impedence
  • Overloading PFC Capacitors
  • Overcoming Resonance
  • Harmonic Filtering
  • Harmonic Evaluation

Download White Paper Here