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# Re: [TCML] **External Email** Re: Utility PFC Caps

```HI Bert, all,

While the subject of electrical utility PFC (and protective) capacitors is still fresh on my mind, I was wanting to pick your brain regarding the theoretical maximum DC potential that one of these caps can withstand vs their nameplate AC voltage rating. I have a spare 150 kVAR, 7960 VAC (60 hz) rated (measured C is 6.45 uFd) that I have routinely charged up to around 20 kV (about 2.5X its AC rating) from the rectified output of a 14.4 kV pig  - while toying with the idea of using it for a storage cap for a possible AC to DC resonant conversion of my big coil. I was also hard short discharging it before the internal bleeder resistors had sufficient time to bleed off any significant amount of the charge – say within 5 seconds of initial charge up) with no seeming ill-effects to the said capacitor. I realize that there is a necessary and significant degrading of a capacitor’s voltage rating when dealing with it’s AC rating vs its DC standoff. IIRC, thanks to the negative effect of increased AC frequency to a capacitor’s XC, the higher the AC frequency, the more significant this degrading must be to keep the capacitor within safe voltage limits when applying AC to it. So is there a good ballpark multiplication factor for the AC voltage rating of a 50 or 60 hz AC rated cap to obtain a reasonable maximum safe DC charge voltage? I seem to recall seeing some of the smaller, consumer grade PFC or “motor run” capacitors that had a dual AC and DC voltage rating that was 440 VAC/1000VDC or 660 VAC/1500VDC. Is a 2.27X multiplication conversion factor a reasonable assumption with 50/60 hz AC vs. DC rating with these larger and robust utility style caps or could they reasonably be expected to have an even more aggressive multiplication factor?

Also, one more itty-bitty question. ;^) I noticed that the nameplate on my newly acquired 13,800 VAC @ 0.25 uFd rated GE protective caps did not have a stated biL rating. Am I to assume based on their nameplate voltage rating that they should be good for at least a 110 kV or possibly 125 kV biL, since that seems to the typical biL rating for other electrical  utility components that operate at these voltage levels?

Thanks and hoping that all have a wonderful Memorial Day,
David Rieben

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

From: Bert Hickman
Sent: Monday, May 22, 2017 7:30 PM
To: Tesla Coil Mailing List
Subject: Re: [TCML] **External Email** Re: Utility PFC Caps

Ed,

It can be either.

Some (but not all!) utility PFC capacitors contain internal fuses. These
disconnect failing capacitor rolls, reducing the overall capacitance of
the unit while still keeping the rest of the capacitor rolls in service.
After the fuse blows, the reduction in measured terminal capacitance is
sudden and is typically in the range of 10 - 100% depending on the
internal electrical configuration of series and parallel strings.
Externally fused PFC capacitors usually fail catastrophically, blowing
their associated fuse and, infrequently, expelling insulators or
rupturing their cases.

Lower voltage PFC capacitors use self-healing metalized film technology.
These caps show a more gradual reduction in capacitance over time
(usually 5% or less) unless they're subjected to prolonged over-voltage
stress.

High-voltage PFC capacitors use multiple capacitor rolls connected as
one or more series strings. If a cap in a string fails (i.e., shorts
out), the capacitance of the affected string increases, and the voltage
stress on the remaining rolls in that string increases. The higher
voltage stress may cause other caps in that string to subsequently fail,
resulting in a cascade failure of the string. Any HV cap that has
significantly higher than nominal capacitance should be replaced in the
application.

During preventive maintenance, utilities will look for any signs of case
bulging or leakage. Capacitor current or capacitance of suspect units
may also be measured. Capacitors with significantly higher or lower
reactive current or capacitance may be flagged for replacement.

Any surplus HV cap that has a measured capacitance that is significantly
_lower or higher_ versus the nominal faceplate value (allowing for
expected tolerance) or that shows bulging or leakage should be avoided
by the HV experimenter/surplus scrounger. The capacitor has already
partially failed and will only further degrade over time.

Bert

Terry Oxandale wrote:
> Sorry, can't remember. Too many birthdays since then.
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Tesla [mailto:tesla-bounces@xxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Ed
> Sent: Saturday, May 20, 2017 7:05 PM
> To: Tesla Coil Mailing List <tesla@xxxxxxxxxx>
> Subject: Re: [TCML] **External Email** Re: Utility PFC Caps
>
> Which way did the capacitance 'migrate'  Low or high?
>
> Ed
>
>
> On 5/20/2017 4:36 PM, Terry Oxandale wrote:
>> We would remove these caps from the bank once they migrated outside a specific tolerance, typically 2-3 per year, and hopefully before an internal rupture occurred (bulging).
>>
>> Sent from my iPhone
>>
>>> On May 20, 2017, at 10:15 AM, David Rieben <drieben@xxxxxxx> wrote:
>>>
>>> Hi Bert, (and Terry, if you're still following this thread),
>>>
>>> Yes, I was rather pleasantly surprise to find that the more updated dielectric system of these types of caps renders their latent dissipation factor suitably low for the rapid cycle pulse discharge duty of being employed as the main tank cap of a large RSG/pole pig driven Tesla coil. I was also quite surprised to locate this type of cap in a relatively low capacitance, thus rendering their C within a suitable range for Tesla coil usage  in combo with an adequate ceiling voltage rating (13.8 kVAC). Locating more than one of these identical 0.25 uFd rated (single phase) units meant the possibility of seriesing just two to obtain 0.125 uFd @ a whopping 27.6 kVAC rating! Their GE model # is 9L18CCL101 (whatever that means) and the only drawback is the single bushing (w/casing ground). However, this minor caveat can easily be addressed by simply 'floating' their seriesed outer casings and using the two bushings as the inputs. Not that I really needed these, but considering the
>  o
>>   ft
>>> en fickle nature of availability of affordable capacitors of this caliber, I like to keep a good supply of suitable replacements in case the 0.1 uFd @ 75 kVFD Maxwell pulse cap that I am currently using in my big coil lets out its 'magic smoke' ;-))
>>>
>>> I have two of these ~33 lb. beasts on their way to me now. They are used with no guarantee, but having no visible 'bulging' of the outer casing and having been simply removed from decommissioned switch gear in a fully operational environment, I figure the odds are pretty high that these beauties are still quite functional and well within their nameplate specs. The real kicker is that I will have <\$150 in both of them, including S&H :-) Gotta love that!
>>>
>>> Happy sparking,
>>> David
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> Sent from my iPhone
>>>
>>>> On May 18, 2017, at 11:22 AM, Bert Hickman <bert@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>>>>
>>>> Hi David,
>>>>
>>>> Your plan sounds excellent. As Terry mentioned, you really don't want to tear into these caps. I've also been there, done that, while autopsying a failed/ruptured 175 pound GE pulse cap. NEVER again - what a MESS... :^/
>>>>
>>>> Even worse, unlike castor oil or mineral oil, many of the low-flammability dielectric fluids that GE (and others) used were really nasty, foul-smelling solvents. When the cap failed, the leaking fluid literally "ate" the backing off the indoor-outdoor carpeting below.
>>>>
>>>> Your two caps in series should work great just as they are, while increasing the bang size a bit. A little tweak on tuning and ballasting and they work great. And, they should be virtually bullet-proof.
>>>>
>>>> Play safely and make big sparks,
>>>>
>>>> Bert
>>>>
>>>> David Rieben wrote:
>>>>> Hi Bert, (and Terry O),
>>>>>
>>>>>
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>
>
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