Seeing is believing?

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Today I attended a presentation on "tuning 60 cycles!"

30 years ago when I studied AC theory and power factor correction we would calculate the amount of correction needed to approach a unity power factor, so when an RF engineer told us he could "tune" a 60 Hz circuit and reduce kVAR's I was skeptical to say the least.

After his presentation we did a "live" demonstration. One a 3 phase, 480 volt motor drawing about 24 amps per leg we connected his "tuning" device.(BTW - The device is proprietary and cannot be opened) I watched a power factor meter sitting at about 95% and then - on went the switch for his device. Immediately the load on all three phases dropped by 6 amps and the total KW draw dropped also. The motor continued to hum away - seemingly unaffected!

Some history:
In the inner city of Saint Louis we have an old utility infrastructure left over from the days of the industrial revolution. Old factories with large inductive loads were fed with 3 phase delta configurations with a grounded B phase. The idea was that if another phase was lost the motors would stop running rather that start "single-phasing" and burn up. Back in those days factories with high inductive loads were fined by the utility company and power factor was an issue.

Nowadays:
In my 30 years in the industry I have never implemented the power factor correction techniques I learned in school.
As computers with sporadic intermittent loads and electronic lighting ballasts introduce "triplets," power factor and harmonics once again became an issue. Codes changed to prevent down-sizing neutral conductors, "super neutrals (jacketed cables with over-sized neutral conductors)", and K-rated transformers became the solution of the day for switching loads and harmonics.

Clean power became important again for industries with sensitive electronic equipment and that brings me back full circle to what I witnessed today.

An RF engineer told me today that by tuning the RF energy generated by fluctuating 60 cycle loads- and more specifically - by tuning the RF frequencies generated from the INTERACTION of those 60 cycle loads - that I could reduced the kVAR's required by our utility transformer by 10% or more and save tons on our electric bill!

So, did he hook up big heavy power-rated capacitor banks? Nope, it weighed about 5 pounds and dropped the load by almost 6 amps by "tuning" the 60 cycles....

I saw this with my own eyes, but I am still skeptical...is this snake oil? He has convinced some pretty big factories that his device works...

Any thoughts?

HERE is his company!

thanks
John

Just some guy

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Cliff, I just realized I posted this in GE - you can move to OT if preferred!

Just some guy

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long long time ago when I was in school....

A teacher tolled us that only the 'Real' power used is measured by the power meters. So the Imaginary part is not measured, as it is not consumed. It is only giving a bad power factor and thus a bad loading on the electricity net. Wel this was in the old days, I am not sure how modern meters measure the power taken from the grid. and I have only done power stuff at school, so not sure if these things then stated are in the mean time overhauled by new insights.

Power factor correction is nothing more than adding a specific value of capacitance to an inductive load to compensate for the inductive offset created by the motor.
I wonder if the load on the motor was changed during the demonstration or if it ran at a constant pace. As the load changes the inductance value changes of the motor and that would lead to the need of another capasitance value if I recall correctly.

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The words used to describe the unit seem a bit fast and loose suggesting snake oil. I'd suggest hiring a proper mains analyser and see what it tells you. These will measure harmonics in the 100's of kHz.

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...and of course, with all the suggested exact measurement of the power at the input side, one would also need to exactly measure the output side to judge about the behaviour of that black box. I mean

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The motor continued to hum away - seemingly unaffected!

isn't quite engineering work, right? Does it indeed deliver the exact same amount of power?

Einstein was right: "Two things are unlimited: the universe and the human stupidity. But i'm not quite sure about the former..."

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The motor continued to hum away - seemingly unaffected!

Any load on the motor axle? If not, methinks you've been had..

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BTW - The device is proprietary and cannot be opened

Then this is more akin to religion than sciense. Goes in the same bin as the Italian with a working cold fusion device.

This also makes the '?' in the subject header crucial. You are actually not seeing (the whole thing). Little difference e.g. to a magician making a bus disappear behind a curtain.

-----

This reminds me of a close relative that could not understand that if the air conditioner in the car was on the car would consume more petrol. "The motor is running any way, right?"

As of January 15, 2018, Site fix-up work has begun! Now do your part and report any bugs or deficiencies here

No guarantees, but if we don't report problems they won't get much of  a chance to be fixed! Details/discussions at link given just above.

 

"Some questions have no answers."[C Baird] "There comes a point where the spoon-feeding has to stop and the independent thinking has to start." [C Lawson] "There are always ways to disagree, without being disagreeable."[E Weddington] "Words represent concepts. Use the wrong words, communicate the wrong concept." [J Morin] "Persistence only goes so far if you set yourself up for failure." [Kartman]

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Little difference e.g. to a magician making a bus disappear behind a curtain.

I have a bus running behind the curtain in my hobby room since years. It's a well-known american brand.

Ok... US Bus.

Ok... USB.

Einstein was right: "Two things are unlimited: the universe and the human stupidity. But i'm not quite sure about the former..."

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The magic of lower current, is the voltage increases from adding capacitors. The experiment focused on current.

A motor without a mechanical load is nearly inductive. There is significant current but it is nearly 90 degrees out of phase with voltage, so little real power. It has all to do with the math and physics. Adding capacitance negates the inductance, reducing losses associated with reactive current. This can be learned if one studies power systems. The University of Missouri Columbia is a great school for that. Dr. Michael Devaney is excellent, and knows much about micro controllers too.

It all starts with a mental vision.

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I agree with everything that has been posted, and as I said I am familiar with traditional power factor correction techniques.

He does sample the incoming service with a mains analyzer - a three-phase recording ammeter that monitors load factors and kVAR's...

He has convinced some popular US manufacturers...

The motor we tested was the supply fan for our HVAC system so it was under load at the time - the KW and amperage both dropped significantly, but you know what they say - if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is! Then there are the testimonials!

He claims that it is the RF signal on the power conductors that he is tuning with his device.

Is it possible that there could be such a sudden leap forward in efficiency? These improvement s normally creep along a few percentage points a year. Now one guys walks in and flips and switch and claims to be able to drop service transformer kVAR's by up to 10%. In a factor that is huge!

Just some guy

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There are active power factor controls, while they reduce losses by correcting power factor, real power in at best is load plus losses. The greatest loss savings will be at light load conditions.

The typical tools for electricians are voltmeter and ammeter, not real power meter. While copper losses follow current, real power to load follows the instataneous V, I product, not voltamps or apparent power. Testimonials without proper measurement may not be valid.

It all starts with a mental vision.

Last Edited: Sat. Dec 7, 2013 - 01:45 AM
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There are really two elements to power factor. One is the phase angle between voltage and current (the "real" and "imaginary" power). This is what traditional power factor correction is all about. Here, there is NO issue about harmonics.

Then, we have the power factor that results from nonlinear loads. Examples include rectifier and SCRs. gas discharge lamps, and more. This sort of power factor does, indeed, involve "harmonics". And, this is what the power correction circuits as part of power supplies deal with. The EU requires it, I think over 90W, at least for power supplies.

I could see some nonlinear effects in a universal motor, but not in an induction motor. Or, very little, anyway. It is possible that the device might not be snake oil, but it might well be. I, personally, would want to try it with some load that i was pretty confident about.

jim

Jim Wagner Oregon Research Electronics, Consulting Div. Tangent, OR, USA http://www.orelectronics.net

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I always see new solution about lower the electrical bill. Once a company appears with a black box that claims that it filters the noise reducing the losses but they couldn't explain to me what type of filters it was made. When I went to a supermarket here and saw that equipment I think: "spend money on nothing"

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He has convinced some popular US manufacturers...

Do you prove this? Or He just say?

Quote:
The motor we tested was the supply fan for our HVAC system so it was under load at the time - the KW and amperage both dropped significantly, but you know what they say - if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is! Then there are the testimonials!

Is your motor? He just grab his equipment on you system (motor+load)?

His equipment is in series or parallel?

Quote:
An RF engineer told me today that by tuning the RF energy generated by fluctuating 60 cycle loads- and more specifically - by tuning the RF frequencies generated from the INTERACTION of those 60 cycle loads - that I could reduced the kVAR's required by our utility transformer by 10% or more and save tons on our electric bill!

As an RF engineer it impress a little more... :D
Did you search info about him?
Quote:
He claims that it is the RF signal on the power conductors that he is tuning with his device.

Tuning? He didn't say about power transfer?

Well the motor was working on 24 A and with his equipment it dropped to 6 A. Well, when the PF is correct, the input current is always lower than the motor current. But in this case the input current really dropped and this make some suspicious. Old motor with lower PF? Some time this motor had burned? Low load for this motor?

This is really interesting discussion... 8)

Regards,

Bruno Muswieck

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What is important though, to you, is the "savings".

So ignore if it works or not, and simply offer to reward him with a % of your electricity bill savings. If his device really works, then he should take you up on your offer. If his device is snake oil, then expect some complicated reason why he can't do that!

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Do you prove this? Or He just say?

He secured Rubbermaid Plants across the US.

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Is your motor? He just grab his equipment on you system (motor+load)?

Yes, it was our air handler - our disconnect / motor starter.

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His equipment is in series or parallel?

Parallel - it's a tank circuit with a proprietary 3 phase capacitor which he gained a patent on! He was rejected 22 times before his application was accepted.

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Did you search info about him?

Yes, see the links above - he tried this in the residential market and it backfired...there is some dirt out there, but the savings in the residential market was not substantial. He does have a counter-argument. At one point he stated that he was approached my Nikola Tesla's son (a physicist) on how he was achieving the savings.

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Tuning? He didn't say about power transfer?

No, that is the interesting part. As an old "pipe and wire" guy (as we say in our culture) I associate component size with power dissipation, but in this case he claims to ONLY be addressing the RF noise generated on the power conductors after the interaction of various load types (switching power supplies, inductive motor loads, etc)

I don't know what to think. If I show you a .5 watt resistor and then I show you a 50 watt resistor what would you expect to see? Well, when you tell me you can reduce kVAR's with a small box it doesn't compute in my brain!!

As a young electronic hobbyist I always laughed at the NO USER SERVICEABLE PARTS INSIDE stickers on all my appliances and electronics. My response was, "You are just afraid I can fix it!" Now, he won't let us peak either!!

He claims to have something that nobody else can figure out, but I doubt that!

And here is the thing - I can drop the measurable current and power by messing with the phase angle - we all can, but we are also gonna burn up some hardware in the process!!

Just some guy

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Why ponder?

Simply use a 3 Phase power meter like the Square D PM600. It has the capability of measuring real power, reactive power, apparent power, harmonics and a few hundred other parameters. I am an insider about all that, I was the project development engineer.

It all starts with a mental vision.

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I am an insider about all that, I was the project development engineer.

About the black box or the power meter?

John your company will work with him?
There is a certain black box for each load?

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ONLY be addressing the RF noise generated on the power conductors after the interaction of various load types (switching power supplies, inductive motor loads, etc)

RF noise?? Isn't the harmonics? For me is...
Anyway, if your load increase his black box must increase because the current noise will increase...

Regards,

Bruno Muswieck

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johnrk,

I think I smell the faint, but unmistakebale, scent of snake oil in the air.

A few questions:

A. What is the patent number of this device?

B. How do you define "RF" in this context? (E.g. Anything above 60 Hz? Or, like most of the EE world, above a few hundred kilohertz? ) 60 Hx harmonics are one thing, RF is another.

C. As part of the demo was a conventional three-phase power meter included? This is the bottom line as far as I am concerned: If I use this device will LESS cumulative power ( KwH ) be registered on the device used by the power company to bill me each month (that is, the actual watt-hour meter hanging on the outside wall of your factory)?

Also, I assume the motor used in the demonstration is a type of synchronous AC motor. As such its speed will be maintained under a large range of voltage and impedance operating conditions.

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I developed the power meter about 18 years ago. I admit it does not have the capability in the sampling rate to measure RF. I too smell fish oil in the RF.

I was suggesting the power meter be used to measure KWH and KVAR demand for cost comparison. It features the capability of waveform captures, and many power quality analysis features. The accuracy is 0.1% for KWH and was verified by an independent lab.

It all starts with a mental vision.

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Quote:
B. How do you define "RF" in this context? (E.g. Anything above 60 Hz? Or, like most of the EE world, above a few hundred kilohertz? ) 60 Hx harmonics are one thing, RF is another.

I agree Chuck and I have very little experience with RF.

I was actually asked to attend a presentation given by the designer. His presentation included a brief explanation of the application of his device and a cursory overview of his background.

I was asked for my input/opinion on the product and no, we are not going to use his device but we "may" help train project managers who oversee installs. I met with a millionaire investor and offered my sincere opinion and reservations - he is considering a substantial investment in the product to control distribution in the US. I arranged for one of our training instructors to accompany him to a factory using the equipment.

I - like all of you - was duped by two "brilliant" physicists who claimed to have successfully built a cold fusion device.

So, in my opinion one of two things are happening here: A. Either the device is marginally effective (using traditional power factor techniques) and will not show a satisfactory return on investment or B. He does not really understand what he has and has convinced himself...I do not know what to think. I will see what my the results are of the factory visit!

Just some guy

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johnrk,

Thanks for your response. I am very interested in the internal structure & operation of this device. E.g. Is it strictly passive (Rs, Ls, Cs)? Does it have active elements (FETs, diodes, etc)? Does it contain any sort of digital processing?

You mentioned in one post about a patent. Do you happen to know the patent number? The inventor's name? Did you see the patent? Were you simply told the device was "patented" or that it has "patent pending" status? Does the product itself display any reference to a patent, patent status, or patent number?

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Hi Chuck,

I do not have your answers - we were not allowed to look inside and I do not have access to the patent number. We sent one of our instructors to the Rubbermaid facility and he said the installs were shoddy, but did witness the kVAR improvements. He also said many of the induction motors were old with 30% PF ratings. The device raised this figure to around 75%.

Seems like traditional techniques at work, not a new cutting edge application (IMHO).

John

Just some guy

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johnrk,

Thanks for your answers. Maybe at some point someone will open one of the devices and snap a few photos you can share with us.

So, by "traditional techniques at work" you mean they are simplying using a phase compensating capacitor? Could be. Or maybe some kind of "active" capacitor like a digital filter.

But the "RF" explanations are somewhat dubious. Then again, it wouldn't be the first time in the history of the world that somebody was Right for the Wrong Reason.

Please keep us posted if you learn anything new.

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If it is so good, and legit, he MUST have FCC, UL, and other official markings. Ask him the registration numbers. He also must have a patent. Look it up.

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If you dig deep enough on their website they actually have a pretty good technical description of their system:

Quote:
Frequency Dependent Design Circuit

Xeco Power Systems SOLUTION: A frequency design circuit is a special tuning circuit designed to notch a 60 hertz signal, so external frequencies (harmonics) will not interfere with the center frequency of 60 hertz. These external frequencies will cause substantial harmonic issues with resistive loads (lighting). The Xeco Power Systems technology is designed to notch the 60-hertz signal, while reducing the external frequencies for a cleaner, noise free signal.

Heat Control Design

Xeco Power Systems SOLUTION: The Xeco Power Systems technology is designed with a heat control circuit for improving the resistance levels at 60-hertz. Reducing the resistance levels on the line allows for less reactive energy to be created within inductive loads (i.e. motors, compressors, air handlers, etc.), allowing for the motors to run more on real power, and less on apparent power, while operating with less amperage

Parallel ‘Wave-Control’ Filtering

Xeco Power Systems SOLUTION: A parallel ‘wave-control’ filter is a specially designed filter that helps filter noise at 60 hertz, but performs such tuning in parallel, so the Xeco Power Systems technology never sees the load directly.

Improves Impedance Levels on the Line

Xeco Power Systems SOLUTION: Because of the special tuning circuit and the special materials used in the Xeco Power Systems technology, better and more consistent impedance levels are achieved, allowing for better and more consistent flows of current, while reducing the EMF radiation levels on the power line. By reducing the EMF radiation levels by approximately 85% from the power line also helps in providing a cleaner environment.

Upstream Line-Conditioned Filtering

Xeco Power Systems SOLUTION: The Xeco Power Systems technology is designed to improve ‘upstream line-conditioning’ by notch filtering the 60 hertz signal and, by controlling the heat on the line. In addition, by paralleling the line conditioning through filtering and improving the resistance levels on the line, there are better current returns through the neutral line of a single or three phase electrical system.

Reduces EMF Radiation on the line

Xeco Power Systems SOLUTION: The Xeco Power Systems technology is equipped with special EMF radiation reducing technology designed for cleaning up any typical electrical system to allow for a radiation-free environment. Since 99.9% of all electrical systems reek of EMF radiation, the Xeco Power Systems technology will provide ideal environmental conditions for most any work environment.

Floating Ground design for ‘Phase-Syncing'

Xeco Power Systems SOLUTION: The Xeco Power Systems technology is equipped with a floating ground for phase-syncing. Phase syncing is critical when stray frequencies are detected by the 60 hertz signal. Without this specially designed filter circuit, the 60 hertz signal will also cause lines to run with more heat, causing the 60 hertz signal to compete with the external frequencies, causing amplified harmonic levels at as much as 15 levels deep.

High Amp Stress Tested

Xeco Power Systems SOLUTION: The Xeco Power Systems technology is designed as a parallel system, which will tune and condition the power line, reducing noise, amp start-up loads and surges on the line, without passing directly through the Xeco Power Systems circuitry. The specially designed parallel configuration allows for a much safer electrical environment without compromising any inductive or resistive equipment in the building. The Xeco Power Systems technology has been tested under the toughest scrutiny, by applying a fluctuating 5000 amp signal to the Xeco Power Systems circuit for a continuous 1000 hour period. The result is that the Xeco Power Systems circuit was able to withstand the test without failure.

15 Odd-Harmonics Level Reduction

Xeco Power Systems SOLUTION: The Xeco Power Systems technology has been tested for reducing 15 levels of harmonics on the line, allowing for longer lasting resistive loads (lighting systems), while reducing the harmonics from variable frequency drive (VFD’s)

Multi-Frequency Calibration for Improved Tuning

Xeco Power Systems SOLUTION: The Xeco Power Systems is factory tested for ‘multi-frequency calibration’, which allows for every unit that is installed in the field, to operate in its full capacity, for keeping failure rates at its lowest level.

Secondary Safety Circuit for Line Protection

Xeco Power Systems SOLUTION: The Xeco Power Systems technology is equipped with a secondary safety circuit designed to protect customer’s equipment as well as protect the Xeco Power Systems equipment while in operation.

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Sounds like crap.

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Kartman wrote:
Sounds like crap.

I agree, time for a barnyard sneeze!!!

"I may make you feel but I can't make you think" - Jethro Tull - Thick As A Brick

"void transmigratus(void) {transmigratus();} // recursio infinitus" - larryvc

"It's much more practical to rely on the processing powers of the real debugger, i.e. the one between the keyboard and chair." - JW wek3

"When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive: to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love." -  Marcus Aurelius

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Yes, I read that too - and I also listened to his PowerPoint presentation live - and he did more dancing around than Michael Jackson. I tried to press him with my limited knowledge but I got a lot of double-talk in return.

One thing is sure - he believes in the product.

Here is a book that I own that everyone should read called VOODOO SCIENCE: The Road From Foolishness to Fraud.

Just some guy

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Quote:
One thing is sure - he believes in the product.

Or he is a good actor.

As of January 15, 2018, Site fix-up work has begun! Now do your part and report any bugs or deficiencies here

No guarantees, but if we don't report problems they won't get much of  a chance to be fixed! Details/discussions at link given just above.

 

"Some questions have no answers."[C Baird] "There comes a point where the spoon-feeding has to stop and the independent thinking has to start." [C Lawson] "There are always ways to disagree, without being disagreeable."[E Weddington] "Words represent concepts. Use the wrong words, communicate the wrong concept." [J Morin] "Persistence only goes so far if you set yourself up for failure." [Kartman]

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Quote:
One a 3 phase, 480 volt motor drawing about 24 amps per leg we connected his "tuning" device.(BTW - The device is proprietary and cannot be opened) I watched a power factor meter sitting at about 95%

That is not difficult to calculate.
You didn't tell if 480V voltage is a mains voltage in between phases or in between phases and Earth wire.
Lets suppose the former so real power of the motor is P = sqrt(3)*480V*24A*0.95 ~= 19kW.
Quote:
The motor we tested was the supply fan for our HVAC system so it was under load at the time

That is a 19kW beast. I suppose it is low rpm or it has some beefy gearbox.
I bet it is a squirrel cage type and it operates at a constant load and speed. The fans are easy to start (do not require high starting torque because, unlike pumps, the starting fan does not have to face any extra load then) so the squirrel cage type fits. And if it is for HVAC then most likely it has fixed blades and constant output (you cannot control the output of such fan with frequency when it has fixed blades).

Such motors have the efficiency of about 95% so your statement the current dropped from 24A to 6A (suggesting the same load), even with cos(phi)=0.99999999 suggests it is now somewhere nearly 250% efficient :lol:

The characteristic thing with fans is that the mechanical power requirement rises faster than cube of rpm (you want 2*rpm - you have to put over 8*power) which is counter-intuitive.

So it is enough to drop the rpm by a factor of x to decrease the required mechanical power by a factor of (1-x)^3. This seems like nothing but consider that for 5% rpm drop the power requirement drops nearly 15%.

So, what I would do is I would decrease the phase voltage on the induction motor (for example by inserting a small load in series) and then the motor torque falls down a bit, and rpm a bit. It is hard to notice a <5% rpm drop with a fan.

Of course that tweak would skew the cos(phi) but that can also be tweaked by adding something extra.

Magician wrote:
"Thank you gents,(..) $30000, I love you too."

No RSTDISBL, no fun!

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Hi Brutte,

It is 277/480 so each phase to ground is 277 and between phases is 480.

I actually said the amperage dropped approximately 6 amps per leg - to around 17 amps.

The motor drives a squirrel cage blower and is connected through a belt driven reduction drive.

Thanks,
John

Just some guy

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It is 277/480 so each phase to ground is 277 and between phases is 480.

Ok, then the 19kW input power calculation was correct. It is the first time I hear about 277V.. I thought you have 110V there. Whatever.

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I actually said the amperage dropped approximately 6 amps per leg

Ok, sorry, you are right, my English runs on low power factor today.
"Dropped by 6A" means "x-=6;"

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to around 17 amps.

Lets assume for now that 24-6=18.

So considering that cos(phi) could be changed from 0.95 to almost 1 (which by itself would decrease the current by 5%). Then The Magician could drop that 0.95 to 0.66 (for the total 24/18 current decrease) which requires a 30% decrease in electrical power requirement. To get 30% power reduction you would need to drop the rpm of a fan by about 1-(0.7)^.333 which is about 11%. Not that much, considering it is an upper boundary. In practice you need less than that because not only fan influences power requirement but also the slip of the squirrel cage motor, heated wiring, (..) etc...
It is also possible that the installed motor was slightly undersized (the contractor installed a cheaper and smaller motor that does not work in its maximal efficiency point, but was a bit cheaper in investment). Then it is also possible that after reducing its load the overall efficiency could have risen a bit.

Quote:
a belt driven reduction drive.

this is also a factor but it has about a constant slip (losses are only proportional to rpm).

Razzle-dazzle them.

No RSTDISBL, no fun!

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From the description the device seems to be aimed at controlling wiring impedance tightly, and reducing loss in wiring in general, as well as signal shaping the 60Hz waveforms. It makes mention of "notching" the 60Hz waveform, which might mean cutting off the high potential portion of the waveform. This might reduce considerably the total power delivered without significantly throttling actual performance. The signal conditioning might also considerably reduce noise on the mains, thus further reducing power loss. Another thing to consider is that the mains voltage always tends to overshoot specification, in a 110v system you might actually have 125v to 150v live. If the system regulates the actual voltage more closely, motors are actually using less power but still operate within specification.

Everything described points towards higher efficiency in the power distribution network, but I highly doubt it would be anywhere above a few percent. The reading taken at the motor is probably skewed if the waveform was trimmed to begin with, the actual increase in efficiency should be measured before the box, not after it.

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If you want to be certain, hook up a scope and compare the actual waveforms, with and without the magic box.

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Quote:
the contractor installed a cheaper

This is a place for improvements.
I do not know the economy in other parts of the planet but in PL many investments are still made by government and not by private sector. This means that the decision making is not based on physics and economy. So instead of minimizing the sum of:
J = min(design+investment+exploitation+utilization)

the decision is actually minimizing some completely crazy performance index (like self-adoration of a decision committee, color of a wiring, label size, brand name etc).
No, it is not funny.

In such conditions it is quite easy to decrease the total cost substantially (if anyone cares). But I highly doubt that the efficiency of a modern commercial motor available on a free market can be increased by some fraction at a cost that is lower than potential savings. And we are talking about 95% efficiencies in here because that is the current technical level of electrical motors in the 20kW range.

No RSTDISBL, no fun!