National Physical Laboratory

EN61000-3-3 - Regulating Flicker

An IEC standard 61000-3-3 imposes limits on the voltage changes and fluctuations induced by a given appliance connected to the mains supply. This standard requires that electrical appliances be type tested to ensure that they meet the requirements in the standard.

In general, testing is carried out by supplying the equipment under test (EUT) using a power amplifier with a defined distortion performance (< 3%) and, importantly, a defined output 'reference' impedance. The measurement of flicker induced by the EUT is carried out using a Flickermeter. A single-phase configuration is shown in Figure 2. The EUT is operated in its usual way and the indication of flicker is recorded on the Flickermeter and compared to the limits as defined in the IEC standard.

Figure 2: The testing of an electrical appliance (EUT) using a Flickermeter and reference impedances
Figure 2: The testing of an electrical appliance (EUT) using a Flickermeter and reference impedances


The values of the reference impedances are most important in this measurement. When connected to the mains supply as in Figure 2, the flicker is caused by the voltage drop across the mains network impedances. In the flicker test, the reference impedances are representative of the network impedances. These values are defined in and should be stable. Any errors in the reference impedances will cause errors in the flicker measurement.

A Description of a Flickermeter >>

Last Updated: 26 Jun 2014
Created: 2 Jan 2008

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