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EXPERIMENT NO.

EXTERNAL CHARACTERISTICS OF A THREE-PHASE ALTERNATOR

OBJECTIVE:

To obtain the external characteristics of a three-phase alternator under different loading conditions

BACKGROUND INFORMATION:

The type of load connected and constants of the alternator determine the shape of the external
characteristic curve of an alternator operating under load. Changes in output voltages as load current is
increased depend on the armature resistance, armature inductance, armature reaction and effect of salient-
pole rotor shapes.

Figure 1 shows the vector diagrams for loads having different power factor. They show the
relationship between output voltage and the output current. For a given load current, the more lagging the
power factor, the smaller is the magnitude of the phase voltage. On the other hand, a leading power factor
causes the phase voltage to increase.

Although alternator voltage regulation has some interest to the engineer in comparing the
characteristics of alternators, it is seldom used in operation. The usual plan of operation is to change the
exciting field current as the load changes to maintain plan alternator terminal voltage constant. Control of
field current may be done manually but requires the continuous attention of an operator. Usually, a
voltage regulator does it automatically. Automatic voltage regulators take many forms depending upon
the speed with which the field current must be made to response and upon the state of the art at the time
of the installation of the generating unit

(a) Resistive load

(b) Inductive load (c) Capacitive load

Figure 1-(a), (b) and (c)


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EQUIPMENT INITIAL SETTINGS

FH2 MkIV Test Bed Speed Range 1800 rev/min


Armature Rheostat to infinity (∞).
Field Rheostat to zero.
DC Supply to 110V.

FH100 Slip Ring Machine Test Machine


FH50 DC Compound Machine Prime Mover

FH3 MkIV Instrumentation Frame


V2 DC Voltmeter 150V Range
2 0L2109T26 250V Range
2 0L2109T26 0.5A Range
2 0L2109T26 100W Range for both meters
R3L Triple Resistive See setting for each Run
Load L10 Inductive Load Each control to MIN
C1 Capacitive Load (3 sets) Each to 10µF
R1 Resistive Load 50-Ω Rheostat set to zero and
2000-Ω Rheostat set to infinity (∞)

PROCEDURES:
1. Position the FH100 Mimic Diagram over the FH2 MkIV Machine Access Sockets.
2. Locate the FH100 Slip Ring Machine into the right-hand test position and the FH DC
Compound Machine into the left-hand test position. Insert the 16- way plugs of each machine into
their respective adjacent sockets.
3. Set up the equipment and connect as shown in the diagrams of figure 2(a) and Figure 2(b)
4. Switch on the power to the FH2 MkIV Test Bed, first at the Mains Switch and then press the
Green ON push-button to activate the contactor
5. Start the FH50 drive motor (prime mover) by rotating the FH2 Armature Rheostat clockwise to
zero.

6. Set the L10 controls to minimum and R3L, to infinity to give zero line currents, Adjust the
alternator speed to 1800 rev/min using the Armature Rheostat and record the output voltage.
7. In steps, as indicated by the Results table, set R3L to 1.5 kΩ (constant) and start adjusting L10
controls to produce the stated currents and record corresponding values of current, output voltage
and power.

Notes:
It is recommended that each step in the load is achieved by a series of small changes in R3L or
L10 as the case may be with corresponding corrections in alternator speed and, if necessary, the excitation
voltage.
It is important to note that the drive motor and the excitation field are both fed directly from the
same DC supply. Better control of the excitation voltage can be achieved by increasing the DC supply
setting and including a series resistor (Resistive Load Type R1) in the excitation circuit. V2 must be
connected across the excitation winding

To obtain good results, ensure that; -


a) The line currents are always as near equal as possible for each reading.
b) The speed is maintained at 1800, rev/min exactly.
c) The DC excitation voltage is maintained constant at 110V.

GRAPHS:
Plot graphs of output voltage, output power and power factor against current for each of the three runs.

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CALCULATIONS:
Output Power = Algebraic Sum of Wattmeter Readings
Volt-Amperes = √3 x Line Voltage x Line Current
Power Factor = (Output Power) (Volt-Amperes)

RESULTS:

INDUCTIVE LOAD

Line Line Wa Wb Output Volt-Amps Power


Current Voltage Power (W) (VA) Factor

0.00

0.10

0.12

0.14

0.16

0.18

0.20

0.22

0.24

0.26

0.28

0.30
WIRING DIAGRAM

Figure2(a)

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Figure2(b)
QUESTIONS AND PROBLEMS:

1. Why is the output voltage from a phase not equal to the internal generated voltage when there
is armature current flowing through the armature?

2. Why does an alternator's voltage drop sharply when it is loaded down with a lagging load?

3. Why does the alternator's voltage rise when the load has a leading power factor?

4. There is a maximum allowable flux in any given alternator. For this reason, the generated
voltage is directly proportional to the rotor speed at that maximum flux. Explain why a 60-Hz
generator be derated if it is to be operated at 50 Hz. How much derating must be done?

5. Large airplanes use 400-Hz generators. Would you expect a 400-Hz generator to be larger
or smaller than a 60-Hz generator of the same power and voltage rating, Why?

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