Voltage drop is how the supplied energy of a voltage source is reduced as electric current moves through the passive elements (elements that do not supply voltage) of an electrical circuit. Voltage drops across loads and across other active circuit elements are preferred as the supplied energy accomplishes useful work.
A voltage drop greater than 5% can harm the lifespan and the operational efficiency of electrical circuits and equipment. Therefore an effort must be made to contain the voltage drop below 5%. There are many ways to minimize these voltage drops which include decreasing the temperature of the conductor, decreasing length of conductor, increasing quantity/size of the conductors, or reducing power load.
1. Decreasing Temperature of Conductor
In regards to the flow of power, high temperatures of conductors will resist the flow and will cause the voltage drop percentage to rise. The solution to this problem is simple, decrease the temperature of the conductor if you want the voltage drop to be significantly smaller. There is an important formula relating the resistance to the temperature:
R2 = R1[1+a*(T2-T1)]
Where R is resistance, T is temperature, and ‘a’ is a coefficient of electrical resistance of Copper. What you can get from this equation is that as the difference between temperatures decreases, the resistance to ‘a’ also decreases.
2. Decreasing the Length of Conductor
The length of a conductor has a direct relationship with the resistance supplied. Therefore when the length of the conductor decreases, the resistance will also fall, thus causing the voltage drops to lower as well. The best way to go about the decreasing of the conductor would be to install panels and subpanels next to the external loads. This type of panel is recommended for electronic equipment that is highly sensitive.
3. Increasing Quantity/Size of the Conductors
If you increase the quantity/size of the conductors, the resistance will decrease causing the voltage drop to decrease and efficiency will increase. It can also lower the overall power loss, which are involved with standard sized conductors. Inserting an isolated conductor can minimize voltage drops caused due to grounding.
4. Reducing the Power Load
Another way voltage drops can be reduced by decreasing the amount of electrical equipment connected to your circuit. Caution should be taken to see if the number of receptacles connected to each branch circuit is no more than six. Each receptacle should be attached to an individual circuit that has a minimum capacity of 12 AWG. This can further the reducing of the voltage drop.
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