Current Distortion

General

When the current waveform is not sinusoidal, we call it harmonically distorted. This implies that frequencies higher than just 60 Hz exist in the current.

Associated with these higher frequencies are electromagnetic fields surrounding the wires. These fields can induce energy into nearby conductors based on how close the other conductors are and the strength of the distortion.

If power lines are run in the same raceway as data cables, the fields from the current distortion in the power lines can induce energy into the cables and cause data integrity errors. These errors require re-transmission of data, slowing down the system's communications. Dramatic improvements in transmission rates have been seen simply by separating power lines from data lines.

Links to Related Topics

Wiring and Grounding
Transients
Voltage Sags
EMI