Steven McFadyen's Articles

Steven is a Chartered electrical engineering consultant with considerable experience on major internationally recognised and award winning projects in Europe, South East Asia, and the Middle East. His expertise has been called on for numerous technically challenging projects in power systems, airports, rail, mining, pharmaceutical, datacentre, and other industries. 

He has an exceptional aptitude for electrical engineering and utilises this ability to ensure that all details are covered. He has extensive experience working on both public and private sector initiatives, and he is well-versed to undertake work ranging from investigations and electrical studies to full designs for large scale complex projects. 

During his career, whether as electrical director, lead electrical engineer, or consulting on a project, Steven has demonstrated mastery of electrical engineering, project management, client relations, team management and cross-cultural working. He can design, develop, manage, and oversee projects from initial concept stage through to implementation and final handover. 

His vast experience ensures that there are very few electrical systems he has not encountered. These include systems ranging from low voltage to high voltage power transmission. He is as much at home in investigating failures in variable speed drives as in designing traction power substations, working individually or leading a team. No matter the size or complexity of a project, Steven always utilises his skills to achieving the best possible outcome. 

Steven has a particular interest in working with clients on airport electrical fixed ground power systems, rail traction power systems, and power system studies and simulations. 

He has a passion for sharing his specialist knowledge and mentoring. For many years, he has been involved in coaching, and training engineers. In 2002, his desire to share his expert knowledge with a wider audience led to the development of myElectrical.com – an online resource for practising electrical engineers and electrical engineering students. 

Steven holds an MSc in Electrical Engineering, is a registered as a Chartered Engineer in the UK and Professional Engineer in South Africa and also a LEED AP. He is now based in the UK, the founder of myElectrical Engineering Limited and can be contacted at:

Find out more or contact me

Just below are links to download a copy of my biography and send me a message.  While on the site, you can also look around  - apart for a few of guest posts, all the electrical notes are mine, so they should give you some sense for who I am and the commitment I have to my chosen subject.

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Eur Ing Steven McFadyen MSc MIET CEng

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A mechanical engineering paper, some history and memories

I was digging in my bookshelf and came across the 80th Anniversary Association of Mine Resident Engineers, Papers and Discussions Commemorative Edition (May 2004). Within it's dark covers, is a paper I wrote many years ago. Reading through the paper, brought memories of my arrival in South Africa. It seemed a shame to lose them all again; so this is my first off-topic post in a while.

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How a Digital Substation Works

Traditionally substations have used circuit breakers, current transformers (CT), voltage transformers (VT) and protection relays all wired together using copper cables.  With advances in digital technology, communications and standards, this is now changing to what is known as the digital substation.   This is an introduction to the digital substation and the bits and pieces which go into making up the system.

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How D.C. to A.C. Inverters Work

Traditionally generation of electricity has involved rotating machines to produce alternating sinusoidal voltage and current (a.c. systems). With the development of power electronics during the last several decades, semi-conductor devices are now frequently used to convert direct current (d.c.) to a.c. to power conventional alternating current systems.

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Induction Motor Equivalent Circuit

Induction motors are frequently used in both industrial and domestic applications.  Within the induction motor, an electrical current in the rotor is induced by a varying magnetic field in the stator winding. The rotor current produces it's own magnetic field, which then interacts with the stator field to produce torque and rotation.   

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Electromagnetic Fields - Exposure Limits

Exposure to time varying magnetic fields, from power frequencies to the gigahertz range can have harmful consequences.  A lot of research has been conducted into identifying these effects and developing recommended safe exposure limits.

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Star-Delta Motor Starting - Performance

Many questions sent in to the site are in connection with motor starting and in particular star-delta.  For all but the simplest application, there is merit in performing a more detailed study.  Carrying out a software study allows both the electrical performance and that of the connected mechanical systems to be evaluated.

This note illustrates by example one possible approach to studying the performance of a star-delta motor starting circuit.

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What is an Open Delta Transformer

In three phase systems, the use of transformers with three windings (or legs) per side is common.  These three windings are often connected in delta or star, resulting in common transformer configurations such as delta-delta or delta-star.  An open delta transformer is a special arrangement which uses only two windings.

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Tips for a better Low Voltage Protection Discrimination Study

Carrying out a protection system discrimination study is critical to ensure the correct functioning of  the electrical system in the event of faults.  The IEC defines discrimination as:

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Load Flow Study – how they work

A load flow study is the analysis of an electrical network carried out by an electrical engineer. The purpose is to understand how power flows around the electrical network. Carrying out a load flow study assists the engineer in designing electrical systems which work correctly, have sufficient power supplied by the power grid, where equipment is correctly sized, reactive power compensation is correctly placed and transformer taps are optimised.

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Photovoltaic (PV) Panel - Performance Modelling

In an earlier note on the site [Photovoltaic (PV) - Electrical Calculations], the theory of solar (PV) cell calculations was introduced.  In particular the post looked at the PV cell equivalent circuit and the electrical characteristics of the cell.  This note expands on the previous post and shows how we can use tools like MatLab to model the performance of a complete solar panel.

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Cable Sizing Software

When sizing cables nearly, everyone uses some form of software. This ranges from homespun spreadsheets to complex network analyses software. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.

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What happened to the cable notes?

If you are wondering what happened to our cable notes, the short answer is that we have moved them to myCableEngineering.com.  The "Knowledge Base" at myCableEgineering.com have tonnes of useful technical information on power cables.  By adding our myElectrical cable notes, this resource, it is now even better. 

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