IEEE Guide, Interactions Between Power System Disturbances & Surge Protective Devices

Lightning striking house in blue darkness, prompting need for IEEE C62.41.3-2020 surge protective devices.

Power system disturbances can wage severe adverse effects on electrical equipment. To help consumers navigate the darkness outside normal state operations, manufacturers produce surge protectors. International standard IEEE C62.41.3-2020 acts as a guide for interactions between power system disturbances and surge protective devices (SPDs).

How Surge Protective Devices (SPDs) Mitigate Electrical Equipment Damage

Power system disturbances take various forms, with large surges damaging equipment and other components in an electrical distribution system. Smaller surges, such as lightning induced transients and power switching transients, while not as disastrous, can trip and cumulatively damage equipment. Both the surge voltage and current can be damaging.

A surge protector’s response to protect equipment lasts only for very short durations, and it generally mitigates transients of less than a few milliseconds in duration. While many may falsely perceive SPDs to achieve total immunity against any or all power surges, the capabilities of surge protector devices, in reality, respond to these smaller, less disastrous disturbances.

Electrical equipment has long been common—a century has passed the days of Edison and Tesla—but, nothing quite matches the bounty of devices channeling electricity today. Just think about the computers, smartphones, and other devices and appliances in your home or workplace—you’re likely surrounded by electrical equipment. Of course, since this equipment is susceptible to lightning and surges, its rise is paired with a corresponding growth in the use of SPDs.

About IEEE C62.41.3-2020

For manufacturers and users, the IEEE C62.41.3-2020 guide describes the effects on SPDs of power system disturbances occurring in low-voltage AC power circuits. It applies to surge-protective devices (SPDs) intended for connection to 50 Hz to 60 Hz AC power circuits rated 1000 V RMS or less, and it discusses both voltage and current surges, although it is not limited to surges.

Specifically, IEEE C62.41.3-2020 addresses the response to voltage surges, swells, temporary overvoltages (TOVs), notches, sags, temporary undervoltages, harmonics, noise, and voltage magnification by informing the user what is expected from such devices. It also details the effects of the presence and operation of SPDs on the quality of power available to the connected loads and the interaction among multiple surge protective devices on the same circuit.

Considerations for Users of the IEEE Guide

Uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs), ferroresonators, motor-generators, and filters containing only inductive and/or capacitive components are not considered SPDs in the IEEE C62.41.3-2020 guide. Current surges that are solely the result of load changes and do not result in voltage increases, such as a short circuit, are not discussed in this guide.

Please note that data used for the preparation of this standard was obtained primarily from low-voltage AC power distribution systems used in North America.

IEEE C62.41.3-2020 is the third edition of the standard guide for interactions between power system disturbances and surge protection devices, the original publication of which dates back to 1995. This standard revises and supersedes IEEE Std C62.48-2005 (note the new title).

Get IEEE C62.41.3-2020 and Other Surge Protection Standards

IEEE C62.41.3-2020: Guide For Interactions Between Power System Disturbances And Surge Protective Devices is available on the ANSI Webstore. Any user of this standard may benefit through compliance with the other IEEE documents that deal with power system surges and surge protection. You can find all IEEE C62 standards here.

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