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Measurement of 40 power system harmonics in real-time on an economical ARM® Cortex™-M3 platform

Roscoe, Andrew and Sklaschus, Tom and Oldroyd, Gavin and Blair, Steven Macpherson and Burt, Graeme (2013) Measurement of 40 power system harmonics in real-time on an economical ARM® Cortex™-M3 platform. Electronics Letters, 49 (23). pp. 1475-1476. ISSN 0013-5194

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Within future homes and electrical power networks, emphasis is being placed on intelligent, distributed measurement devices. In particular, the recognition of individual or aggregated loads through harmonic signature has been proposed as a useful way to enhance the value of home energy monitoring/control. Clearly, the cost of implementing such measurement devices is a major barrier to acceptance. In a recent project, a challenge was set to implement real-time software on an ARM ® Cortex™ LPC1768 microcontroller platform (chip cost c. £4). The software must be capable of measuring a single-phase AC frequency, real and reactive power flows and provide a full breakdown of the voltage and current (and power) behaviour via harmonic analysis from DC to the 40th, in real-time with a new output every 20 ms. In addition, the algorithm must be capable of adapting the measurement when the frequency is not nominal (50 Hz) so that spectral leakage is minimised. It is found that the LPC1768 processor is capable of supporting such an algorithm when it is coded appropriately. This knowledge de-risks the proposed use of such cheap microcontrollers for these relatively complex tasks.