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Compact Florescent Lamp Harmonic Analysis And Model Development An Undergraduate Research Experience

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Project-based Education in Energy Courses

Tagged Division

Energy Conversion and Conservation

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.296.1 - 15.296.11



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Paper Authors


Carl Spezia Southern Illinois University, Carbondale

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Carl J. Spezia is an Assistant Professor in the Electrical Engineering Technology Program located in the Department of Technology at Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC). He joined the program in1998 as a Visiting Assistant Professor. He worked as a power systems engineer for electric utilities for eight years prior to seeking a career in higher education. He is a licensed professional engineer in Illinois. His industrial assignments included power system modeling, power systems protection, and substation design. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. from SIUC in 1991 and 2002 respectively. He teaches courses in electric power and machinery, industrial automation, and electric circuits. His research interests include power systems economics, power markets, and electric energy management.

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Jason Buchanan Southern Illinois Universaity, Carbondale

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Jason Buchanan received the Navy Education Code (4125) in the U.S. Navy in 1995. From 1995 to 1999, he was a Gas Turbine Systems Electrician, power distribution operator, gauge calibration coordinator, investigative firefighter, and a propulsion plant monitor in the U.S. Navy. From 1999 to 2006, he worked as a maintenance electrician in the underground coal mining industry and received a federal underground electrical license in 2001. He received his associate in applied science in electrical engineering technology in 2008. He is presently an undergraduate student earning his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering technology at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Compact Fluorescent Lamp Harmonic Analysis and Model Development -- An Undergraduate Research Experience


Modern electrical devices should operate efficiently to reduce electricity consumption and environmental impacts without introducing undesirable side effects. Incandescent electric illumination is a very inefficient method for producing light. Compact fluorescent lamps have much higher conversion efficiencies but produce non-sinusoidal currents with high harmonic content. These harmonics can cause power quality problems in distribution systems that have significant numbers of compact fluorescent lamps installed. This paper documents the results of an undergraduate research experience in which a student performed harmonic analysis tests on compact fluorescent lamps from three manufacturers. The tests determine the harmonic composition of the lamp currents and their sensitivity to line voltage variation. Measurements using multiple lamps examine how harmonic currents combine. A circuit model derived from test data describes the lamp harmonic performance as voltage varies. An example tests the circuit model and computes voltage harmonic distortion for different levels of lamp load. The research experience utilizes many topics and skills taught in the student’s curriculum and gives practical application to theory within a research context. The paper summarizes how this research experience enhanced the student’s normal academic performance.


Efficient utilization of electricity limits consumer costs, promotes better utility load factors, and reduces environmental impacts. Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL’s) are much more efficient at producing light than incandescent bulbs. CFL’s reduce electricity consumption by seventy-five percent compared to incandescent bulbs. Although CFL’s are much more efficient, they require electronic ballasts to operate that can adversely affect power system operations.

Electronic ballasts are non-linear loads that generate harmonic currents of the 60 Hz line frequency. 1,2 Large, non-linear loads produce significant levels of harmonic currents that interact with system impedances. The result is voltage distortion, which can cause mis-operation of sensitive electronic equipment and interfere with communication systems. High levels of harmonic currents in a power system cause transformers and neutral conductors to overheat. The harmonic currents produce corresponding fluxes in transformers that reduce efficiency and contribute to power losses. Harmonic currents find return paths in neutrals, which add to the imbalance load currents in neutral conductors. IEEE Standard 519-1992 sets voltage and current distortion limits to address these issues.3

New government policies mandate all incandescent bulbs from 40 to 100 watts be phased out by 2014.4 This will increase the penetration of CFL’s into the distribution system. High penetration of CFL’s could introduce sufficient harmonic currents into the power grid to cause widespread violations of voltage distortion limits. Research on CFL harmonic currents began shortly after product introduction and continues today to address possible effects of the large-scale application of these devices on the grid.5,6,7,8,9

Spezia, C., & Buchanan, J. (2010, June), Compact Florescent Lamp Harmonic Analysis And Model Development An Undergraduate Research Experience Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--15688

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