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.

RLC Circuit, Resistor Power Loss - some Modelica experiments

Modelica is an open source (free) software language for modelling complex systems. Having never used it before, I thought I would download a development platform and see how it stacked up.  This is where I spent my Saturday.

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Calculating Cable Fault Ratings

When selecting a cable, the performance of the cable under fault conditions is an important consideration. It is important that calculations be carried out to ensure that any cable is able to withstand the effects of any potential fault or short circuit. This not looks at how to do this.

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Dielectric loss in cables

Dielectrics (insulating materials for example) when subjected to a varying electric field, will have some energy loss.   The varying electric field causes small realignment of weakly bonded molecules, which lead to the production of heat.  The amount of loss increases as the voltage level is increased.  For low voltage cables, the loss is usually insignificant and is generally ignored.  For higher voltage cables, the loss and heat generated can become important and needs to be taken into consideration.

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Cable Sheath and Armour Loss

When sizing cables, the heat generated  by losses within any sheath or armour need to be evaluated. When significant, it becomes a factor to be considered in the sizing of cables.

This note looks at how to obtain the necessary loss factors for use within the IEC 60287 calculation.  In addition, the loss factors quantify the ratio of losses in the sheath to total losses in all conductors and have application outside the IEC 60287 standard. 

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Copyright Infringement

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Maxwell's Equations - Gauss's Electric Field Law

Gauss's Electrical law defines the relation between charge ("Positive" & "Negative") and electric field.  The law was initially formulated by Carl Friedrich Gauss in 1835.

In Gauss's law, the electric field is the electrostatic field.  The law shows how the electrostatic field behaves and varies depending on the charge distribution within it.  More formally it relates the electric flux [the electric field flowing from positive to negative charges] passing through a closed surface to the charge contained within the surface.

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Maxwell's Equations - Introduction

Maxwell's Equations are a set of fundamental relationships, which govern how electric and magnetic fields interact. The equations explain how these fields are generated and interact with each other, as well as their relationship to charge and current.  They form the backbone of much of modern electrical and telecommunication technology and are often quoted as being the most important equations of all time. 

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Harmonised Cable Codes and Colours

Within Europe the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC) has standardised the both the designation and colour of cables.   These are published in CENELEC document HD 361 S3:1999 "System for cable designation" and HD 308 S2: 2001

"Identification of cores in cables and flexible cords".  This note provides a general overview to the harmonised system and gives some examples.

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UPS - Uninterruptible Power Supply

A UPS is an uninterruptible power supply.  It is a device which maintains a continuous supply of electrical power, even in the event of failure of the mains (utility) supply.  A UPS is installed between the mains supply and the equipment to be protected.

UPS are used to safeguard various types of equipment.  One of the common uses is computers, particularly in data centres and the critical equipment of large organizations. 

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Photovoltaic (PV) - Electrical Calculations

Photovoltaic (PV) cells (sometimes called solar cells) convert solar energy into electrical energy.  Every year more and more PV systems are installed.  With this growing application, it's a good idea for every practicing professional to have an understanding of the calculations associated with PV cells.

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Fire Resistant and Fire Retardant Cables

Fire resistant and fire retardant cable sheaths are design to resist combustion and limit the propagation of flames. Low smokes cables have a sheath designed to limit the amount of smoke and toxic halogen gases given off during fire situations.

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Capacitors - Energy Storage Application

Capacitors have numerous applications in electrical and electronic applications.  This note examines the use of capacitors to store electrical energy.  The sidebar shows details of a typical commercially available energy storage module.

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Famous Scientists

Here’s list of some famous scientists. Deliberately short, with the aim to provide a quick memory jog or overview. If your looking for more detailed information...

Fault Calculations - Introduction

Fault calculations are one of the most common types of calculation carried out during the design and analysis of electrical systems. These calculations...

Control Theory

Control theory looks at how systems work and are controlled from a mathematical view.  This note gives a brief introduction to some of the concepts – more...

Alternating Current Circuits

Alternating current (a.c.) is the backbone of modern electrical power distribution. In this article I’ll be pulling some of the more important concepts...

Three Phase Current - Simple Calculation

The calculation of current in a three phase system has been brought up on our site feedback and is a discussion I seem to get involved in every now and...

How to Size Power Cable Duct

Some colleagues had an issue earlier in the week on sizing conduits to be cast in concrete for some power cables . It became clear that none of us had...

myElectrical - Cable Sizing Tool Upgrade

Our IEE cable sizing was wrote a few years ago and had become rough around the edges. I thought it was time to give the tool a service. Unfortunately when...

ANSI (IEEE) Protective Device Numbering

The widely used United Sates standard ANSI/IEEE C37.2 'Electrical Power System Device Function Numbers, Acronyms, and Contact Designations' deals with...

What is LED?

Light Emitting Diodes (LED ) are increasing gaining favour in both the domestic and commercial sectors; due to their efficiency, sustainability and durability...

Voltage Levels to IEC 60038

The standard aims to consolidate AC and traction voltages within the industry and defines the following bands: band 1 - A.C. systems 100 V to 1...

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