Electrical Galloping Gertie Effects?

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Is this possible?

1. Yesterday I talked with a good friend who recently retired from a power company. He worked in the local generating facilities. He said that in the past there were problems of transmissions in a particular line that dead ends in another state. Because this power line did not tie into the grid at the far end there were sometimes problems with tripping breakers etc. I asked him if it was caused by harmonic wave amplifications similar to those that caused the destruction of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. He thought that was the case.

He mentioned that it was a similar effect as when soldiers marched in step, in cadence, over a bridge and the resulting vibrations damaged or destroyed the bridge under certain conditions.

I am no physicist but since both examples involve waveforms it makes sense that harmonic amplifications could occur in the bridge structure as well as in the electrical transmission. Multiple waves reinforce each other, amplifying their effects within their media.

2. He also mentitoned that someone once gave a demo to the power company. They took a new car into an unpoplated are and started it. The man had a gizmo that could interfere with the electronics to stop its engine from a fairly long distance.

Since power co. thought this might be a hoax they brought a new car and it was also shut down by the came method.

Boy, I mean girl, could I have fun with that gizmo!

Since some, most or all of the electrical transmission is synchronized by the GPS system, does this means that if some, even a few of the individual generating systems are not timed with the satellites, they will be out of synch with each other and thereby cause such a harmonic distruction of the system, collapsing the entire interconnected grid?

-- fly .:. (.@...), February 18, 1999



you need to ask this one over on http://www.euy2k.com/

as far as I know the answer is that cannot happen unless ALL of the SCADA were offline at the same time that the entire grid was up...which is generally an impossible condition unless there is an attempt to keep the entire grid up manually...

Arlin Adams

-- Arlin H. Adams (ahadams@ix.netcom.com), February 19, 1999.


-- ? (?@?.??), February 19, 1999.

Here's a related and more plausible scenario:


"DOD braces for space storms...Atmospheric disruptions in 2000 could interfere with satellite, comm systems"

-- Kevin (mixesmusic@worldnet.att.net), February 19, 1999.

From above:

<< unless ALL of the SCADA were offline at the same time that the entire grid was up...which is generally an impossible condition unless there is an attempt to keep the entire grid up manually....>>

And of course, we all know that won't attempted - or ever, ever needed.

Seriously - I've got no idea on this one. Check the other group. I'd rather not guess. It did not happen when we have two generators in parallel on one AC bus - frequency was locked in pretty carefully - didn't change unless a load came on - but those were smaller generators, and relatively larger individual loads than a city's circuits.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.R@csaatl.com), February 20, 1999.

Who told you that some, most or all of the power grid is >i>sychronized using GPS clocks??? We've had over one hundred years of functional and sychronized electrical power grids. GPS is not, and has never been necessary. The use of harmonics (5th, 7th 11th etc - such as in traction-drive systems) is artifcially induced with single phase transformers in closed systems.

-- PNG (png@gol.com), February 20, 1999.


About the use of the GPS to synch the power lines: I don't know much about it. But I do know that our power company layed off people in the early to mid-nineties because it was automating the system.

Also, is it just a simple coincidence that the GPS rolls over so close to the Y2K roll over?

How long has it been in public service? It this the first time that the GPS has rolled back to zero?

Why does it have to reset in the first place?

-- fly .:. (.@...), February 20, 1999.

It's true that utilities automated many functions, but it's also true that GPS has never been necessary to synchronize power. GPS became a a tool to monitor, but not to control. GPS satellites were originally launched for military purpose and this is the first reset. GPS is really very simple. The time differential for a signal to be transmitted to a minimum of three (triangulation - yet 5 are usually used) of the atomic clocks in the 26 satellites provides the longitudinal and latitudinal coordinates. The atomic clocks can be used for any timing function. Quaalcom is using GPS clocks (against the better judgement and concensus of the world) to synchronize cellular phones ( WCDMA-One...Wide Band Code Division Multiple Access - One). The world prefers not to use GPS clocks because of the age and inaccessiblity of the satellites for the next generation of digital cellular technology. It is strictly a coincidence that GPS reset and the year 2000 are within 5 months of each other. They will reset again in about 25 years. Unix will reset in 2038, so there will be a y2038 problem. The timing mechanisms were designed that way...no choice. Note: This was a nontechnical expanation. To go into more detail would not serve fly's purpose and if you want more information, I suggest a search for GPS under any search engine. My recent experience has been working with map links and algorithms for car navigation systems. My past experience includes designing power distribution systems for most major utilities and manufacturing companies in the U.S. and abroad. If you want more info fly, send me ans email. My address has always been real and my website is


-- PNG (png@gol.com), February 20, 1999.

Saw a junkmail newsletter called The Insider, Vol. 9, Issue 3.

It said: " 'There is a Global Positioning System used to synchronize the power grid in various different locations in the US. The GPS is going to be rolling over on Aug. 22, 1999; it's going to be transitioning into a new realm. When it does that, there are ground based receivers that won't interpret the date properly and because they can't interpret the date properly, they're going to be non- functional,' says Rick Cowles, Y2K Consultant."

Whatever a new realm is?

-- fly .:. (.@...), February 20, 1999.

Most companies are not tied to any GPS system.

-- Moore Dinty moore (not@thistime.com), February 20, 1999.

Rick Cowles is much more articulate than that quote would suggest. There is no date associated with GPS "clocks." They are simply counters. The highly accurate time intervals are used. That newsletter was really "junkmail!"

-- PNG (png@gol.com), February 20, 1999.

Thank you PNG,

I believe you have been correct in many statements that you have made on this forum.

-- fly .:. (.@...), February 21, 1999.

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