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  #21  
Old 27.07.2011, 18:17
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Re: Was there ever a black out in Switzerland?

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Thank you for enlightment!
I was looking around my apartment and realized that the only power source in my life here was electricity. It made me a little scared.
We have district heating so I suppose that might continue working if there is a power outage, but then I suppose the pumps and things are electric too ...
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  #22  
Old 27.07.2011, 19:41
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Re: Was there ever a black out in Switzerland?

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I had an unused 3-phase outlet under the sink (I guess for a dishwasher, as the stove is on another circuit), so I went to the local electical supplier and bought the correct plug and a 5m cable, and wired up 3 230V sockets at the other end. No more blown fuses!

Tom

Yeah---that sound about right in your situation. Unfortunately I have exactly 3 wall sockets, all on the same breaker. Luckily they've upgraded away from fuses, or it would more of a hassle and cost.
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  #23  
Old 29.07.2011, 11:58
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Re: Was there ever a black out in Switzerland?

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SBB own their own power plants by the way, so their electricity network is largely independent of the national one, although they also do buy some power. There's a big converter plant in Seebach for example, which I think is the biggest.
The railways are in a slightly odd situation here (in common with Austria and Germany) in that their supply is at 16.7 Hz rather than the conventional 50 Hz used for industrial and domestic supply (there were good reasons 100 years ago for the choice, not the least of which was that there was no domestic grid to connect to). This means that the railways' power supply is very largely independent from the domestic/industrial grid, and if one goes down, it is unlikely to affect the other.
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  #24  
Old 29.07.2011, 12:45
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Re: Was there ever a black out in Switzerland?

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The railways are in a slightly odd situation here (in common with Austria and Germany) in that their supply is at 16.7 Hz rather than the conventional 50 Hz used for industrial and domestic supply (there were good reasons 100 years ago for the choice, not the least of which was that there was no domestic grid to connect to). This means that the railways' power supply is very largely independent from the domestic/industrial grid, and if one goes down, it is unlikely to affect the other.
[ANORAK MODE ON]

The longer reason is actually that 16.7Hz is one third of 50, so in the time that the domestic grid does three cycles, the railway grid does one. Furthermore, whereas the domestic grid has three phases, the railway grid has only one. This makes it relatively easy to convert, the simplest method being a motor and a generator stuck head to head, although of course nowadays solid state converters are more popular. But by converting this way, the railway grid is drawing from all three domestic phases equally. The problem is actually far greater for railways that are 50Hz electrified such as in France or the UK because they only draw from two of the three phases which leads to an assymetric load on the domestic grid and calls for all sorts of extra equipment to balance. 16.7Hz is thus easier to operate.

The other reason being that back in the early days, they couldn't make 50Hz motors that were relaible ebough. 16.7Hz was easier.
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  #25  
Old 29.07.2011, 12:52
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Re: Was there ever a black out in Switzerland?

Also, 16.7 Hz gives better torque than 50 Hz. (and DC even better, but back in the day vary a DC voltage was not possible, and AC just needs a multi-tap transformer).

Tom
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  #26  
Old 29.07.2011, 12:57
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Re: Was there ever a black out in Switzerland?

There was a Blackout in Regensdorf on 1 December 2008.

It was a transformator that got flooded in Rain, and they fixed it in 2-3 hours time.

Doc.
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  #27  
Old 29.07.2011, 15:35
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Re: Was there ever a black out in Switzerland?

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[ANORAK MODE ON]

The longer reason is actually that 16.7Hz is one third of 50, so in the time that the domestic grid does three cycles, the railway grid does one. Furthermore, whereas the domestic grid has three phases, the railway grid has only one. This makes it relatively easy to convert, the simplest method being a motor and a generator stuck head to head, although of course nowadays solid state converters are more popular.
Certainly that was why 16.7 Hz in particular (rather than 15 or 20 or 25 Hz), but...

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The other reason being that back in the early days, they couldn't make 50Hz motors that were relaible ebough. 16.7Hz was easier.
this is the reason why a lower frequency was required. Specifically that until the '60s a rectifier could not be reasonably fitted into a railway vehicle.

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Also, 16.7 Hz gives better torque than 50 Hz. (and DC even better, but back in the day vary a DC voltage was not possible, and AC just needs a multi-tap transformer).
DC was certainly possible (Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and parts France as well as southern England all use DC systems that were developed contemporaneously with the Swiss/German/Austrian system). In all cases, until the rise of power electronics the actual motors used for final drive were DC motors (in the case of the low frequency system, series wound, hence the need for low frequency). Modern equipment uses AC motors supplied by a variable voltage, variable frequency supply (which makes the "singing" noises that modern electric trains make).
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  #28  
Old 29.07.2011, 15:37
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Re: Was there ever a black out in Switzerland?

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Certainly that was why 16.7 Hz in particular (rather than 15 or 20 or 25 Hz), but...
well the American railways electrified at 25Hz (yes, there are AC electrified rail lines over there), their domestic frequency is 60Hz. that one never made sense to me.
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  #29  
Old 29.07.2011, 15:55
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Re: Was there ever a black out in Switzerland?

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until the rise of power electronics the actual motors used for final drive were DC motors
Where did they get the DC from, vacuum tube rectifiers? (something doesn't make sense here)

Tom
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  #30  
Old 29.07.2011, 16:02
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Re: Was there ever a black out in Switzerland?

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Where did they get the DC from, vacuum tube rectifiers? (something doesn't make sense here)

Tom
Tube-based rectifiers were used sometimes but not really considered desirable as they tended to fail a lot due to the vibrations etc typical in railway applications and then oozed mercury all over the place. There were also some mad professor type converters with moving parts tested in the 1930s but they never caught on. Starting in the late 1960s, silicon diode-based converers started appearing but power electronics didn't really catch on in a big way until the 1980s. The first generation used phase thyristors and later technology transitioned to GTOs and today its virtually all IGBTs. Before power electronics there was typically no AC to DC conversion on the train. Rather AC was fed into DC motors which worked because the excitation was also fed from the same AC so when the rotor current changed direction, so did the stator current and with it the magnetic field. A lot of the trains running today still work like that. They were still mkaing them like that into the late 1970s.

Last edited by amogles; 29.07.2011 at 16:14.
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  #31  
Old 29.07.2011, 16:25
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Re: Was there ever a black out in Switzerland?

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Before power electronics there was typically no AC to DC conversion on the train. Rather AC was fed into DC motors which worked because the excitation was also fed from the same AC so when the rotor current changed direction, so did the stator current and with it the magnetic field.
So how is that NOT an AC motor?

Tom
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  #32  
Old 29.07.2011, 16:41
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Re: Was there ever a black out in Switzerland?

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So how is that NOT an AC motor?

Tom
Yes, sloppy use of language but a lot of people refer to them as DC motors, and say AC motors when they imply synchronous motors, asynchronous motors and similar, ie, motors that wouldn't work with DC.
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  #33  
Old 29.07.2011, 16:55
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Re: Was there ever a black out in Switzerland?

I guess when I think of DC motors, I think of permanent magnet ones.

Tom
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  #34  
Old 29.07.2011, 20:05
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Re: Was there ever a black out in Switzerland?

I guess no one here remembers Lothar, that storm which caused quite a bit of chaos in December, 1999? As far as I remember parts of Bern were without electricity for a few days. And it was cold winter too.
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  #35  
Old 29.07.2011, 20:09
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Re: Was there ever a black out in Switzerland?

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I guess no one here remembers Lothar, that storm which caused quite a bit of chaos in December, 1999? As far as I remember parts of Bern were without electricity for a few days. And it was cold winter too.
Yes, but we didn't get any of it here. Saw the damage when we went to Alsace a few days later.

Tom
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  #36  
Old 29.07.2011, 20:24
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Re: Was there ever a black out in Switzerland?

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I guess no one here remembers Lothar, that storm which caused quite a bit of chaos in December, 1999? As far as I remember parts of Bern were without electricity for a few days. And it was cold winter too.
Post #4 mentions it. I think the majority of the EF community has been here less than 10 years. I've heard about it, and our building was without power for a few days, but we didn't move in until almost a year later, so it didn't bother us.

In the 10 (almost 11) years we've been here, we've never had a power outage longer than about 5 minutes at home. I had one at work, but it was just my building and it lasted about 30 minutes. I think a rat got fried in the transformer. The infrastructure's been upgraded since then.
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  #37  
Old 02.09.2011, 12:49
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Re: Was there ever a black out in Switzerland?

There was a power outage in one of the supermarts in Cham last Saturday. The cashiers could not cope as they couldn't scan the barcodes.

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