Harmonic

A sinusoidal component of the voltage that is a multiple of the fundamental wave frequency. Harmonics are primarily the result of the today’s modern electronic equipment. Today’s electronics are designed to draw current in “pulses” rather than in a smooth, sinusoidal manner as older, non-electronic equipment did. These pulses cause distorted current waveshapes, which in turn cause distortion of the voltage. Current and voltage harmonics can cause such problems as excessive heating of wiring, connections, motors, and transformers and can cause inadvertent tripping of circuit breakers.

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