Preliminary Evaluation of the Impact of Sustained Overvoltage on Low Voltage Electronics-Based Equipment

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Low voltage devices connected to public electricity supply networks can be subjected to a wide range of voltage quality, including sustained overvoltage. Assessing the impact of sustained overvoltage on devices connected to the distribution network is important in determining the appropriate variance of standard voltage levels without unduly impacting the utility and customers from a technical and economic perspective. Therefore, a clear understanding of the impact that sustained overvoltage has on the lifetime of the connected equipment is a necessary task. This paper investigates the impact of sustained overvoltage through a series of accelerated-life testing experiments on a custom designed test device representative of a common interface between the power supply and distribution network, a switch mode power supply. The switch mode power supply with combined rectifier and filtering capacitor represents one of the most common front ends of LV equipment in modern appliances, and the work here concentrates on the impact of overvoltage on capacitor ageing. The results of the testing indicate that there is an accelerated ageing impact correlated with the applied voltage magnitude. Furthermore, analysis shows that mismatches between appliance voltage rating and sustained network voltage, leading to accelerated ageing, may result in premature device failure without the consumer being aware of the root cause.

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