POWER TRANSFORMERS IN SERVICE TESTING BASIC AND TUTORIALS

POWER TRANSFORMERS IN SERVICE TESTING BASIC INFORMATION
What Is Power Transformer In Service Testing?

Two types of in-service testing are used. Surveillance testing involves periodic checks, and condition monitoring offers a continuous check on transformer performance.


(a) Surveillance testing – oil samples

When transformers are in operation, many users carry out surveillance testing to monitor operation. The most simple tests are carried out on oil samples taken on a regular basis.

Measurement of oil properties, such as breakdown voltage, water content, acidity, dielectric loss angle, volume resistivity and particle content all give valuable information on the state of the transformer. DGA gives early warning of deterioration due to electrical or thermal causes, particularly sparking, arcing and service overheating.

Analysis of the oil by High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) may detect the presence of furanes or furfuranes which will provide further information on moderate overheating of the insulation.

(b) On-line condition monitoring

Sensors can be built into the transformer so that parameters can be monitored on a continuous basis. The parameters which are typically monitored are winding temperature, tank temperature, water content, dissolved hydrogen, partial discharge activity, load current and voltage transients.

The data collection system may simply gather and analyse the information, or it may be arranged to operate alarms or actuate disconnections under specified conditions and limits which represent an emergency.

Whereas surveillance testing is carried out on some distribution transformers and almost all larger transformers, the high cost of on-line condition monitoring has limited the application to strategic transformers and those identified as problem units.

As the costs of simple monitoring equipment fall, the technique should become more applicable to substation transformers.

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