Digital Voltage Regulator Saves Money, Helps Control Generator Output

Story Number: NNS150604-25Release Date: 6/4/2015 4:24:00 PM
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By Joseph Battista, NAVSSES Public Affairs

PHILADELPHIA (NNS) -- Engineers at Naval Ship Systems Engineering Station (NAVSSES) completed installation and testing of a Digital Voltage Regulator (DVR) on the mine countermeasure (MCM) ship USS Scout (MCM 8) May 30.

The new regulator provides Sailors better control of the Ship Service Diesel Generator's (SSDG) output voltage than the analog regulators currently on MCMs, regardless of load fluctuations. Additionally, use of a DVR to replace a nonfunctioning analog system saves the Navy more than $65,000 per unit and cuts down on the readiness wait time by six months.

"The DVRs are better than the Analog Voltage Regulator (AVR) because the parameters of the regulator can be preset to optimize control of a specific generator without changing components," said Andy Guo, systems electrical engineer with Steam, Diesel and Electrical Power Systems Branch at NAVSSES. "In addition, the DVR has more built-in functions such as generator protection features, programmable output relays, soft-start buildup, and generator paralleling with either reactive droop compensation or cross current compensation."

NAVSSES engineers developed the DVR design for the MCM class, and they oversee the installation, validation, training and in-service support. Guo said one of their goals was to meet the Navy's desire for commonality. Other ship classes such as LSD 41, LSD 49 and LCC 19 have received similar upgrades from analog regulators to DVRs - further reducing the Navy's cost. The DVR is scheduled for installation on Wasp (LHD 1) class ships during their mid-life upgrade availability.

Scout is the eighth MCM ship to receive the DVR, which regulates the SSDG output voltage to the switchboard that powers the entire ship. Guo said the first installation was in 2009 and the remaining ships in the class are scheduled for upgrades by the end of 2018.

"The DVRs are located outside the switchboard, whereas the old AVRs are located inside - making troubleshooting the DVR much easier since the Sailor no longer has to secure power to the entire ship to troubleshoot or replace the DVR if an issue arises," said Guo. "All the parameters such as voltage, current, power, and frequency can be viewed from the human-machine interface (HMI) screen in front of the DVR enclosure. It certainly saves the Navy time and money."

According to Guo, it took three years to go from design to the first installation of the DVR. Installations take about five weeks and testing another two weeks. Guo, who has been involved with the project since its inception in 2005, added there have been minimal issues with the DVR system over the past five years.

The Naval Ship Systems Engineering Station in Philadelphia is the Navy's principal test and evaluation station and in-service engineering agent for all hull, mechanical and electrical ship systems and equipment and has the capability to test and engineer the full range of shipboard systems and equipment from full-scale propulsion systems to digital controls and electric power systems.

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