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2.2.

2 Voltage drop

In an electrical installation it is important to evaluate voltage drops from the


point of supply to the load.

The performance of a device may be impaired if supplied with a voltage


different from its rated voltage. For example:

motors: the torque is proportional to the square of the supply voltage; therefore,
if the voltage drops, the starting torque shall also decrease, making it more
difficult to start up motors; the maximum torque shall also decrease;

incandescent lamps: the more the voltage drops the weaker the beam
becomes and the light takes on a reddish tone;
discharge lamps: in general, they are not very sensitive to small variations in
voltage, but in certain cases, great variation may cause them to switch off;

electronic appliances: they are very sensitive to variations in voltage and


that is why they are fitted with stabilizers;
electromechanical devices: the reference Standard states that devices such as
contactors and auxiliary releases have a minimum voltage below which their
performances cannot be guaranteed. For a contactor, for example, the holding
of the contacts becomes unreliable below 85% of the rated voltage.

To limit these problems the Standards set the following limits:

IEC 60364-5-52 Electrical installations of buildings. Selection and erection of


electrical equipment - Wiring systems Clause 525 states that in the absence
of other considerations it is recommended that in practice the voltage drop
between the origin of consumers installation and the equipment should not be
greater than 4% of the rated voltage of the installation. Other considerations
include start-up time for motors and equipment with high inrush current.
Temporary conditions such as voltage transients and voltage variation due to
abnormal operation may be disregarded.

IEC 60204-1Safety of machinery Electrical equipment of machines


General requirements Clause 13.5 recommends that: the voltage drop
from the point of supply to the load shall not exceed 5% of the rated
voltage under normal operating conditions.

IEC 60364-7-714 Electrical installations of buildings - Requirements for special


installations or locations - External lighting installations Clause 714.512
requires that the voltage drop in normal service shall be compatible with the
conditions arising from the starting current of the lamps.

2.2 Installation and dimensioning of cables

L [km] is the length of the conductor;

2 Protection of feeders
n is the number of conductors in parallel per phase;
Voltage drop calculation
r [/km] is the resistance of the single cable per kilometre;
For an electrical conductor with impedance Z, the voltage drop is
calculated by the following formula:

x [/km] is the reactance of the single cable per kilometre;

L
( r cos + xsin ) [V]

cos is the power factor of the load: sin

= 1- cos2 .

(1)
Normally, the percentage value in relation to the rated value U r is calculated by:
U = kZIb = kIb n

u%=
U
100
(2)
where

k is a coefficient equal to:

2 for single-phase and two-phase systems;


-

for three-phase systems;

Ib [A] is the load current; if no information are available, the cable carrying
capacity Iz shall be considered;

Ur

Resistance and reactance values per unit of length are set out on the
following table by cross-sectional area and cable formation, for 50 Hz; in
case of 60 Hz, the reactance value shall be multiplied by 1.2.

56

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57

2.2 Installation and dimensioning of cables


single-core cable

2 Protection of feeders

two-core/three-core cable
S
r[/km]

Table 1: Resistance and reactance per unit of length of copper cables

x[/km]

r[/km]
x[/km]
2

[mm ]

5.57

@ 80 [C]

0.143
5.68

@ 80 [C]

0.101

1.5
14.8
0.168
15.1
0.118
6
3.71
0.135
3.78
0.0955

2.5
8.91
0.156
9.08
0.109
10
2.24
0.119
2.27
0.0861

0.334
0.0751

16
1.41
0.112

95

1.43

0.236

0.0817

0.0975

25

0.241

0.889

0.0762

0.106
0.907
0.0813
35
0.641
0.101
0.654
120
0.0783
0.188
50
0.0939
0.473
0.191
0.101
0.074
0.483
0.0779
70
0.328
0.0965

150
0.153
0.0928
0.157
0.0745

Table 2: Resistance and reactance per unit of length of


aluminium cables

single-core cable
two-core/three-core cable
185

0.123

r[/km]

0.0908

x[/km]

0.125

r[/km]

0.0742

x[/km]

240

[mm ]

0.0943

@ 80 [C]

0.0902
0.0966
@ 80 [C]
0.0752
300
0.0761
0.0895
0.078
0.075

1.5
24.384
0.168
24.878

0.118

1.494

2.5

0.0813

14.680

35

0.156

1.056

14.960

0.101

0.109

1.077

0.0783

9.177

50

0.143

0.779

9.358

0.101

0.101

0.796

0.0779

6.112

70

0.135

0.540

6.228

0.0965

0.0955

0.550

10

0.0751

3.691

95

0.119

0.389

3.740

0.0975

0.0861

0.397

16

0.0762

2.323

120

0.112

0,310

2.356

0.0939

0.0817

0.315

25

0.074

1.465

150

0.106

0.252

0.0928

2.2 Installation and dimensioning of cables

0.259
0.0745

2 Protection of feeders

185
0.203
0.0908
0.206

The following tables show the Ux [V/(A km)] values by cross


section and formation of the cable according to the most
common cos values.

0.0742
240
0.155

Table 3: Specific voltage drop at cos = 1 for copper cables

0.0902
0.159
0.0752
300
0.125

cos = 1

0.0895
0.129
0.075

single-core cable
two-core cable three-core cable
2

S[mm ]
single-phase
three-phase
single-phase
three-phase
1.5
29.60
25.63

30.20

2.82

26.15

2.44
2.86
2.48

2.5
17.82
15.43

25

18.16

1.78

15.73

1.54

1.81

11.14

1.57

9.65
11.36
9.84
6
7.42
6.43
7.56
35
6.55
1.28
10
1.11
4.48
1.31
3.88
1.13
4.54
3.93
16

0.33
150
0.31
0.27
50

0.31

0.95

0.27

0.82

185

0.97

0.25

0.84

0.21
0.25
0.22
240
0.19
0.16
0.19

70

0.17

0.66
0.57
0.67
0.58
95
0.47
0.41

300

0.48

0.15

0.42

0.13

120

0.16

0.38

0.14

0.33
0.38

16.44
14.24
4
10.15

Table 4: Specific voltage drop at cos = 0.9 for copper cables

8.79
10.31
8.93
6
6.80

cos = 0.9

5.89
6.89
5.96
10
4.14

single-core cable
two-core cable three-core cable

3.58
4.16

S[mm ]
single-phase
three-phase
single-phase
three-phase
1.5
26.79
23.20
27.28
23.63
2.5
16.17
14.01

3.60
16
2.64
2.28
2.65
2.29
25
1.69
1.47
1.70
1.48
35
1.24

1.08

0.35

1.25

150

1.08

0.36

50

0.31

0.94

0.35

0.81

0.30

0.94

185

0.81

0.30

70

0.26

0.67

0.29

0.58

0.25

0.67

240

0.58

0.25

95

0.22

0.51

0.24

0.44

0.21

0.50

300

0.43

0.22

120

0.19

0.42

0.21

0.36

0.18

0.41

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2.2 Installation and dimensioning of cables

2 Protection of feeders

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59

Table 5: Specific voltage drop at cos = 0.85 for copper cables

13.47
cos = 0.85

single-core cable
two-core cable three-core cable
2

S[mm ]

9.62

single-phase

8.33

three-phase

9.76

single-phase

8.45

three-phase

1.5

6.45

25.34

5.59

21.94

6.53

25.79

5.65

22.34

10
3.93
3.41
3.95
3.42
16
2.51

2.5
15.31
13.26
15.55

2.18
2.52
2.18
25
1.62

1.41
1.63
1.41
35
1.20
1.04

150

1.19

0.36

1.03

0.31

50

0.35

0.91

0.30

0.79
0.90
0.78
70
0.66
0.57
0.65
185
0.56
0.30
95
0.26
0.50
0.29
0.44
0.25
0.49
0.42
120
0.42
0.36
0.40
0.35
240

0.26
0.22
0.24
single-core cable
0.21
two-core cable three-core cable
2

S[mm ]
single-phase
three-phase
single-phase
three-phase
1.5
300
0.22
0.19
0.21
0.18

23.88
20.68
24.30
21.05
2.5
14.44
12.51
14.66
12.69
4
9.08

Table 6: Specific voltage drop at cos = 0.8 for copper cables

7.87
9.21
7.98
6
6.10

cos = 0.8

5.28
6.16

5.34

0.62

10

0.54

3.73

95

3.23

0.49

3.74

0.43

3.23

0.48

16

0.41

2.39

120

2.07

0.41

2.39

0.36

2.07

0.39

25

0.34

1.55

150

1.34

0.36

1.55

0.31

1.34

0.34

35

0.29

1.15

185

0.99

0.31

1.14

0.26

0.99

0.29

50

0.25

0.88

240

0.76

0.26

0.87

0.22

0.75

0.24

70

0.21

0.64

300

0.55

0.23

0.20

2.2 Installation and dimensioning of cables

0.21
0.19

2 Protection of feeders

Table 7: Specific voltage drop at cos=0.75 for copper cables

cos = 0.75

single-core cable
two-core cable three-core cable
2

S[mm ]
single-phase
three-phase
single-phase
three-phase
1.5
22.42
19.42
22.81
19.75

3.05
16
2.26
1.96
2.5

2.25

13.57

1.95

11.75

25

13.76

1.47

11.92

1.28
1.47
1.27
35
1.10
0.95
1.08

4
8.54
7.40
8.65
7.49
6
5.74
4.97
5.80
5.02
10
3.52
3.05
3.52

0.94
50
0.84
0.73
0.83
0.72
70
0.62
0.54
0.60
0.52
95
0.48
0.42

0.46

0.25

0.40
120
0.41
0.35
0.38
0.33

240
0.26
0.23
0.24
0.21

150
0.35
0.31
0.33
0.29

300
0.23
0.20
0.22
0.19

185
0.30
0.26
0.29

18.35

Table 8: Specific voltage drop at cos = 1 for aluminium cables

15.89
18.72
16.21
6
12.22

cos = 1

10.59
12.46
10.79
10
7.38

single-core cable

6.39

two-core cable three-core cable

7.48

S[mm ]
single-phase
three-phase
single-phase
three-phase
1.5
48.77
42.23
49.76
43.09
2.5
29.36
25.43
29.92
25.91
4

6.48
16
4.65
4.02
4.71
4.08
25
2.93
2.54
2.99
2.59
35
2.11
1.83
2.15
1.87

50

150

1.56

0.50

1.35

0.44

1.59

0.52

1.38

0.45

70

185

1.08

0.41

0.94

0.35

1.10

0.41

0.95

0.36

95

240

0.78

0.31

0.67

0.27

0.79

0.32

0.69

0.28

120

300

0.62

0.25

0.54

0.22

0.63

0.26

0.55

0.22

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2.2 Installation and dimensioning of cables

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61

2 Protection of feeders

Table 9: Specific voltage drop at cos = 0.9 for aluminium cables

2.5
26.56
23.00
27.02
23.40

cos = 0.9

single-core cable
two-core cable three-core cable
2

S[mm ]
16.64
single-phase
14.41
three-phase
16.93
single-phase
14.66
three-phase
6
1.5
11.12
44.04
9.63
38.14
11.29
44.88
9.78
38.87
10
6.75
5.84
6.81
5.89
16

4.28

120

3.71

0.64

4.31

0.55

3.73

0.63

25

0.55

2.73
2.36
2.76
2.39
35
1.99
1.72
150
2.01
0.53
1.74
0.46
50
0.53
1.49
0.46
1.29
1.50
1.30
70
1.06
0.92
1.06
0.91

185

95

0.44

0.78

0.38

0.68

0.44

0.78

0.38

0.68

cos = 0.85

240
0.36
0.31
0.35

single-core cable
two-core cable three-core cable

0.30

S[mm ]
single-phase
three-phase
single-phase
three-phase
1.5
41.63
300

36.05

0.30

42.42

0.26

36.73

0.30

2.5

0.26

25.12
21.75
25.55
22.12
4
15.75

Table 10: Specific voltage drop at cos = 0.85 for aluminium cables

13.64
16.02

13.87

1.43

1.24

10.53

70

9.12

1.02

10.69

0.88

9.26

1.01

10

0.88

6.40

95

5.54

0.76

6.45

0.66

5.58

0.76

16

0.65

4.07

120

3.52

0.63

4.09

0.54

3.54

0.61

25

0.53

2.60
2.25
2.63
2.27
35
1.90
1.65
150
1.91
0.53
1.66
0.46
50
0.52
1.43
0.45
1.24

2.2 Installation and dimensioning of cables

2 Protection of feeders

Table 11: Specific voltage drop at cos = 0.8 for aluminium cables

185
0.44
0.38
0,43

cos = 0.8

0.37
240
0.36
0.31
0.35
0.30
300

single-core cable
two-core cable three-core cable
2

S[mm ]

0.31
single-phase
0.27
three-phase
0.30
single-phase
0.26
three-phase
1.5
39.22
33.96
39.95
34.59

5.27
16
3.85
3.34
2.5

3.87

23.67

3.35

20.50

25

24.07

2.47

20.84

2.14
2.49
2.16
35
1.81
1.57
1.82

4
14.85
12.86
15.09
13.07
6
9.94
8.61
10.08
8.73
10
6.05
5.24
6.09

1.57
50
1.37
1.18
1.37
1.18
70
0.98
0.85
0.97
0.84
95
0.74
0.64

0.73

0.36

0.63
120
0.61
0.53
0.59
0.51

240
0.36
0.31
0.34
0.30

150
0.51
0.45
0.50
0.44

300
0.31
0.27
0.30
0.26

185
0.43
0.38
0.42

Table 12: Specific voltage drop at cos = 0.75 for aluminium cables

14.17
12.27

cos = 0.75

single-core cable
two-core cable three-core cable
2

6
9.35
8.09

S[mm ]
9.47
single-phase
8.20
three-phase
10
single-phase
5.69
three-phase
4.93
1.5
5.72
36.80
4.96
31.87
16
37.47
3.63
32.45
3.15
2.5
3.64
22.23
3.15
19.25
25
22.58
2.34
19.56
2.02
4
2.35
13.95
2.03
12.08
35

1.72

0.57

1.49

0.49

1.72

150

1.49

0.50

50

0.43

1.30

0.49

1.13

0.42

1.30

185

1.12

0.42

70

0.37

0.94

0.41

0.81

0.35

0.92

240

0.80

0.35

95

0.31

0.71

0.34

0.62

0.29

0.70

300

0.60

0.31

120

0.27

0.59

0.29

0.51

0.25

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2.2 Installation and dimensioning of cables

u% =

.100=

2.03

.100= 0.51% Ur 400

2 Protection of feeders
Example 2
Example 1

To calculate a voltage drop on a three-phase cable with the following


specifications:

To calculate a voltage drop on a three-phase cable with the following


specifications:

rated voltage: 690 V;


rated voltage: 400 V;

cable length: 50 m;
cable length: 25 m;

cable formation: multi-core copper cable, 2x(3x10) mm ;


2

cable formation: single-core copper cable, 3x50 mm ;


load current Ib: 50 A;
load current Ib: 100 A;

power factor cos: 0.85.

power factor cos: 0.9.

From Table 4, for a 50 mm single-core cable it is possible to read that a


Ux voltage drop corresponds to 0.81 V/(Akm). By multiplying this value
by the length in km and by the current in A, it results:

From Table 5, for a multi-core 10 mm cable it is possible to read that Ux


voltage drop corresponds to 3.42 V/(Akm). By multiplying this value by the
length in km and by the current in A, and by dividing it by the number of
cables in parallel, it results:
U = U x

U = U x I b L = 0.81 100 0.025= 2.03 V

Ib

.
L

which corresponds to this percentage value:

= 3.42.50

2.2 Installation and dimensioning of cables

0.05
= 4.28 V

2 Protection of feeders

Method for defining the cross section of the conductor according to


voltage drop in the case of long cables

In the case of long cables, or if particular design specifications impose low


limits for maximum voltage drops, the verification using as reference the
cross section calculated on the basis of thermal considerations (calculation
according to chapter 2.2.1 Current carrying capacity and methods of
installation) may have a negative result.

To define the correct cross section, the maximum Uxmax value calculated
by using the formula:

U
=

u% Ur
(3)

which corresponds to this percentage value:

u% =

xmax

.100=

4.28

.100= 0.62% Ur 690

100 I b L
Ib
=

is compared with the corresponding values on Tables 4 12 by choosing the


smallest cross section with a Ux value lower than Uxmax.

Example:

Supply of a three-phase load with Pu = 35 kW (Ur=400 V, fr= 50 Hz,


cos=0.9) with a 140 m cable installed on a perforated tray, consisting of a
multi-core copper cable with EPR insulation.

= 56 A
Maximum permitted voltage drop 2%.

Load current Ib is:

Ur cos

Pu

.
35000

400 0.9

Formula (3) shows:

U
3

xmax

u% Ur
=

2% 400

The Table 8 of Chapter 2.2.1 shows S = 10 mm .

=1.02 V/(A km)

From Table 4, for the multi-core 10 mm cable it is possible to read that the
voltage drop per A and per km is 3.60 V/(Akm). By multiplying this value
by the length in km and by the current in A, it results:

. .

U = 3.60 I b L = 3.6 56 0.14 = 28.2 V

which corresponds to this percentage value:

u% =

.100=

28.2

.100= 7.05% Ur 400

100 I b L
This value is too high.

. .

100 56 0.14

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2.2 Installation and dimensioning of cables

65
2
3. r . I . L

Pj =

[W]

2 Protection of feeders
1000 whereas single-phase losses are:
2

From Table 4 a cross section of 50 mm can be chosen. For this cross section Ux =
0.81< 1.02 V/(Akm).

2
2.r . I . L

By using this value it results:

Pj =

U = U x I b L = 0.81 56 0.14 = 6.35 V

[W]

1000
where:
Ib is the load current [A];

This corresponds to a percentage value of:


r is the phase resistance per unit of length of the cable at 80 C [/km] (see Table 1);

u% =

.100=

6.35

.100=1.6% Ur 400

2.2.3 Joule-effect losses

L is the cable length [m].

Table 1: Resistance values [/km] of single-core and multi-core cables in copper


and aluminium at 80 C

Joule-effect losses are due to the electrical resistance of the cable.

The lost energy is dissipated in heat and contributes to the heating of the conductor
and of the environment.

Single-core cable
Two-core/three-core cable
S

A first estimate of three-phase losses is:

10
2.24
3.691
2.27
2

[mm ]

3.740

Cu

16

AI

1.41

Cu

2.323

AI

1.43

1.5

2.356

14.8

25

24.384

0.889

15.1

1.465

24.878

0.907

2.5

1.494

8.91

35

14.680

0.641

9.08

1.056

14.960

0.654

1.077

5.57

50

9.177

0.473

5.68

0.779

9.358

0.483

0.796

3.71

70

6.112

0.328

3.78

0.540

6.228

0.334

0.550

185

95

0.123

0.236

0.203

0.389

0.125

0.241

0.206

0.397

240

120

0.0943

0.188

0.155

0.310

0.0966

0.191

0.159

0.315

300

150

0.0761

0.153

0.125

0.252

0.078

0.157

0.129

0.259