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Thread: North American Electrical Grid going 'Stuxnet' as part of 'experiment'

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    Great Value Carrots
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    North American Electrical Grid going 'Stuxnet' as part of 'experiment'

    "A lot of people are going to have things break and they're not going to know why,"

    The clock is the sheep story, my angle may be too severe but admitted! Varing or changed electrical grid frequency . That is how the Israeli virus destroyed the nuclear equipment, by changing frequencies while things were running. Interesting run the grid with less peak power angle, as well as a whiff of earth and or grid harmonic effects (teluric currents) resulting in different frequency harmonics in different areas.

    If your concerned the AP included government contacts that will give you the time of day. (LOL)

    PysOrg: Power grid change may disrupt clocks
    June 24, 2011 By SETH BORENSTEIN , AP Science Writer

    A yearlong experiment with the nation's electric grid could mess up traffic lights, security systems and some computers - and make plug-in clocks and appliances like programmable coffeemakers run up to 20 minutes fast.

    "A lot of people are going to have things break and they're not going to know why," said Demetrios Matsakis, head of the time service department at the U.S. Naval Observatory, one of two official timekeeping agencies in the federal government...

    The group that oversees the U.S. power grid is proposing an experiment would allow more frequency variation than it does now without corrections, according to a company presentation obtained by The Associated Press.

    Officials say they want to try this to make the power supply more reliable, save money and reduce what may be needless efforts. The test is tentatively set to start in mid-July, but that could change.

    Tweaking the power grid's frequency is expensive and takes a lot of effort, said Joe McClelland, head of electric reliability for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

    "Is anyone using the grid to keep track of time?" McClelland said. "Let's see if anyone complains if we eliminate it."

    No one is quite sure what will be affected...

    The North American Electric Reliability Corp. runs the nation's interlocking web of transmission lines and power plants. A June 14 company presentation spelled out the potential effects of the change: East Coast clocks may run as much as 20 minutes fast over a year, but West Coast clocks are only likely to be off by 8 minutes. In Texas, it's only an expected speedup of 2 minutes.

    Some parts of the grid, like in the East, tend to run faster than others. Errors add up. If the grid averages just over 60 cycles a second, clocks that rely on the grid will gain 14 seconds per day, according to the company's presentation.

    Spokeswoman Kimberly Mielcarek said the company is still discussing the test and gauging reactions to its proposal, and may delay the experiment a bit.

    Mielcarek said in an email that the change is about making the grid more reliable and that correcting the frequency for time deviations can cause other unnecessary problems for the grid. She wrote that any problems from the test are only possibilities.

    ...But Tom O'Brian, who heads the time and frequency division at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, expects widespread effects.

    He said there are alternatives if people have problems from the test: The federal government provides the official time by telephone and on the Internet.

    More information:
    Official U.S. government time: http://time.gov or call 202-762-1401
    North American Electric Reliability Corporation: http://www.nerc.com/
    2011 The Associated Press.

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    Iridium Dogman's Avatar
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    This may be interesting to see what will happen , if they vary the frequency above or below the 60 Hz standard, there could be trouble synchronizing the generators on shared power grids. And that could cause big trouble in the power stations , and with users.
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    Iridium Glass's Avatar
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    Lets hope all the machines that go ping! in the hospitals keep working as expected. I wonder if the oxygen machines would run faster or slower? What about the drug pumps?
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    One needs a subscription for whole article.

    Scientific American: Hacking the Lights Out: The Computer Virus Threat to the Electrical Grid
    Computer viruses have taken out hardened industrial control systems. The electrical power grid may be next

    By David M. Nicol | June 20, 2011
    In Brief

    Every facet of the modern electrical grid is controlled by computers. It is our greatest example of physical infrastructure interlinked with electronics.

    The Stuxnet virus that infected Iran’s nuclear program showed just how vulnerable machines could be to a well-crafted electronic virus.

    The grid shares many of the vulnerabilities that Stuxnet exposed; being larger, its vulnerabilities are, if anything, more numerous.

    Although a sophisticated attack could bring down a large chunk of the U.S. electrical grid, security is being ramped up.

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    Tired Administrator Gaillo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glass View Post
    Lets hope all the machines that go ping! in the hospitals keep working as expected. I wonder if the oxygen machines would run faster or slower? What about the drug pumps?
    All of the things you mentioned are microprocessor controlled, with independent crystal-driven timebases. They should not be affected by this. In fact, MOST of the modern world's high-tech equipment doesn't give a rats ass what the power-line frequency is... only older stuff and "cheap-o" consumer crap without microprocessor control is likely to be affected by this.
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    Iridium palani's Avatar
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    Dranetz equipment (diagnostic equipment used to record power line abnormalities) routinely pick up the small changes in zero crossing points when the power company adjusts the grid frequency. For a 20 minute change in a typical mechanical clock a 2 pole generator would have to be off synch by 72,000 revolutions, a 4 pole generator would have to be off synch by 36,000 revolutions and a 6 pole generator would have to be off synch by 24,000 revolutions (during the time period the 20 minute change was recorded).

    All they do is adjust the grid frequency. Generators do NOT lose synch with the grid.... ever ... without BIG BANGS!!!!

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    Iridium Dogman's Avatar
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    Found a good explanation on a forum, about why line frequency is so important.

    http://www.epanorama.net/phpBB3/view...hp?f=14&t=1964



    For most of the appliances +/- 1 Hz variation is not critical at all.
    Keeping that frequency variation small is critical for the operation of the electrical network and for the applications where the mains frequency is used to run clocks. For clock applications it is essential that the number of mains cycles in one day or longer time period should stay as much as possible same. Of example if at some time mains frequency slows down, then later on when things have been corrected mains frequency is run somewhat higher frequency.

    The mains frequency should be stable because mains power network is a distributed power system, where many power plants feed power to the same grid. All those power plants within one network need needs to be very carefully in sync to be able all feeding power to the network, meaning all pushing the positive voltage at the same time, negative voltage at the same time, zero crosses at the same time. If the power plants were not in sync, this would not work (at some time some power plant would feed power to network, and some other on different phase would try to to take power out...). It is a very careful planning and adjustment to keep each power plant to operate well so that the phase of the power coming of their generator is just very very slightly ahead of the network phase and at right voltage, so that is pushes the right amount of current to network (based on how much the power plant is designed to give and what amount of that the plant has agreed to supply at the given time). If the generator is somewhat behind the phase, the current flow is from network to generator, and generator would try to works as an electric motor (this is not what is wanted). Power plant engineers and automatic control systems make sure that their plans work a planned. If things do not work correctly, there are protection relays (they are called relays, but are actually complicated microprocessor based protection devices) that disconnect the power plant in case something bad happens (too much current flows in any direction, or any considerable current starts to flow from network to generator).

    A power network frequency in 50 Hz frequency on normal power network in typically in something like 49.5 to 50.5 Hz range. If the frequency goes beyond those limits there is something terribly wring. The mains frequency starts to drop when there is more consumption than the power plants can properly produce at the moment, and frequency starts to go up when there is more supply than demand... When frequency starts to slow beyond those limits I gave, new power plants sources needs to be connected to the electrical power network or some loads needs to be disconnected from it to keep it stable. When frequency starts to go up, the power feed to network needs to reduced (power plant controls needs to be adjusted or power plants are disconnected to network).

    The frequency variation can be greater at some "separate network", for example few equipment powered by your own small generator, your DC to AC converter, electrical networks on boats/ships etc..

    Many typical mains operated equipment can nicely take some frequency changes quite nicely. Usually something like +-5% or +-10% on the frequency is not too much problem for most devices. If frequency is slower, electrical motors will run somewhat slower and may become slightly hotter when frequency goes down, and runs faster when frequency g goes up.. For normal transformers when voltage stays at normal limits (not in extremes) slight frequency change is not a problem. Typically transformers are designed for certain minimal frequency and maximum voltage they can handle at that frequency. Going at that voltage to lower frequencies can start to saturate the transformer (starts to distort signals and heat up the transformers considerably). You can go to lower frequency than the normal limits if the input voltage is reduced as the voltage drops. Typical mains transformers do not have any considerably problems when running at somewhat higher than normal operating frequency, meaning normal 50 Hz mains transformers have no problem at all in running at 60 Hz. If you go much beyond that (something like 400 Hz or higher) problems might start to come into picture (leakage inductances, increased core losses at higher frequencies etc. can be problem).

    A typical "normal" mains power transformer designed for 60Hz frequency cannot operate at say 50 Hz since the magnetic flux will reach greater value to maintain the same induced voltage at secondary which causes the core to saturated. But if you have an "oversizes" transformer core on normally 60 Hz frequency, should not have problems in running at 50 Hz. The thing is that you can design a 60 Hz transformer that can also run at 50 Hz easily, but it is more expensive to make such thing than 60 Hz transform that can just handle 60 Hz and higher frequencies. The economics say that the cheaper alternative wins on 60 Hz only markets.
    "My reading no matter how transient is a dagger in the heart of ignorance." Un perro llamado St. pluto!

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    Great Value Carrots 7th trump's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by palani View Post
    Dranetz equipment (diagnostic equipment used to record power line abnormalities) routinely pick up the small changes in zero crossing points when the power company adjusts the grid frequency. For a 20 minute change in a typical mechanical clock a 2 pole generator would have to be off synch by 72,000 revolutions, a 4 pole generator would have to be off synch by 36,000 revolutions and a 6 pole generator would have to be off synch by 24,000 revolutions (during the time period the 20 minute change was recorded).

    All they do is adjust the grid frequency. Generators do NOT lose synch with the grid.... ever ... without BIG BANGS!!!!
    No big bang from generators you can only change the frequency by adjusting the revolution of the generators.
    The chicken comes before the egg in this case.
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    Great Value Carrots 7th trump's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gaillo View Post
    All of the things you mentioned are microprocessor controlled, with independent crystal-driven timebases. They should not be affected by this. In fact, MOST of the modern world's high-tech equipment doesn't give a rats ass what the power-line frequency is... only older stuff and "cheap-o" consumer crap without microprocessor control is likely to be affected by this.

    My refrigerator is microcontroller controlled but the motor running the pump requires 60 hz or it goes poof!
    &quot;If you wanna be a clown, at least post a pic with a red rubber nose.&quot;<br />Spectrism 2/21/2011

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    Iridium palani's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 7th trump View Post
    No big bang from generators you can only change the frequency by adjusting the revolution of the generators.
    The chicken comes before the egg in this case.
    In the case of the power grid you have MANY generators tied together. One generator picks up more load than the other by leading in phase. On the other hand lagging phase results in less load on the generator relative to others on the grid. While phase can change slightly all generators operate at the same frequency.

    Motors operate with slip. Generators ... not so much.

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