Harmonic Distortion Symptoms - Electronic Equipment

Although electronic equipment is the main source of current distortion, it can also be the victim. Current distortion can interfere with data flow integrity. As AC current travels through a conductor it generates an electromagnetic field. The higher the current frequency (i.e., the presence of harmonics), the higher the associated frequency of the electromagnetic field. These fields can disrupt the data flow causing lost data, data errors, and slower transmission rates.

Current distortion interacts with system impedance creating voltage distortion. Voltage distortion may interfere with the operation of the power supply, causing downtime, restarts, and even damage to the power supply.

Three-phase variable speed drive controllers cause a type of voltage distortion called line notching. Line notching disrupts all manner of timing circuits by creating additional zero crossings on the voltage waveform.