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Diagnostic Techniques of Power Transformers

ISEI 2010 Short Course San Diego June 6th 2010 Ali Naderian, P.Eng., PhD.
Kinectrics Inc. Toronto, Canada +1-416-797-3724

 ITC ( Siemens Power Transformer) 1998-2000  Designed a 3-step cascade Testing Transformer (2000)  Rebuilding High voltage Lab of the University of Waterloo (2005)  Kinectrics (Ontario Hydro Research) since 2007 working at the HV Lab, as well as Testing on Transformers/Cables

Identify the diagnostic and condition assessment methods Explain the selected conventional testing methods Identify innovative techniques of transformer diagnostics Interpret the test results of case studies

Routine (conventional) Winding/Insulation Diagnostics Tests:
 Polarization Index (insulation resistance)  Turn ratio  DC resistance  Short circuit Impedance  Excitation Current  Power Factor, capacitance

Oil Tests:
  DGA Oil quality tests (Dielectric, Power factor, )

Advanced Condition Assessment Techniques:
 Partial Discharge (PD) :Electrical/Acoustic  Dielectric Frequency Response (DFR)  Frequency Response Analysis (FRA)

Polarization Index
 Tests : Winding Insulation + Oil  Overall integrity of the winding insulation  Verify that the state of dryness of insulation

Definition: Polarization Index : PI=R10-min /R1-min

Trend Measure of dielectric deterioration

Absorption ratio : AR=R60s /R15s Test Method: H-LG, L-HG, HL-G

Utest=5 kV-DC Time= 15 s, 60 s, 10 min

Insulation Resistance Model

iL iC

RA is not a fix resistance: Req

Test Arrangement
When to use Guard?

Typical Insulation Resistance M

kV 6.6 22-45 66 20 C 400 1000 1200 30 C 200 400 500 600 40 C 100 200 250 300 50 C 50 100 125 100 60 C 25 50 65 75

6.6-19 800


R60 " kUWinding

R Needs temp correction


k=1.5 for oil-filled transformer k=30 for untanked or dry-type transformers

1.3AR3.0: Dry Transformer PI (Large Power transformers)

PI Less than 1 1.0 - 1.1 1.1 - 1.25 1.25 - 2.0 Above 2.0 Condition Dangerous Poor (wet or poor dielectric) Questionable Acceptable Very Good

1- Make sure transformer is grounded before and after test.

2- The energy stored must

be discharged safely by short-circuiting at least x4 of the test period.

Turn Ratio (TTR)

r= Np/Ns=Ep/Es
IEEE 62, IEEE C57.12.00 +/-0.5% nameplate ratio IEC 60076-1 The lesser of +/-0.5% of declared voltage ratio or 0.1*Uk%

Deviation indicates problem in either of windings

 High-resistance connections in the lead circuitry or high contact resistance in tap changers, open circuits  Low resistance: shorted turn-to-turn

Minimum accuracy : 0.1%


Test Arrangement


Test Case
Auxiliary Transformer 230kV/13.8kV

Nothing wrong with transformer!

Tap changer index is off by one position. Position 1 is 2, position 2 is 3, , position 5 is 1.

DC Resistance
Measure of winding resistance For temp-rise=55C corrected to 75C For temp-rise=65C corrected to 85C Before test:
(IEEE)different between top and bottom temp 5C (IEC) 3hours rest time

Test current 10% of rated current DC resistance should be 2% factory test


DC Resistance
Can detect: Shorted-turns Loose connection on bushing Loose connections or high-contact resistance on tap changers Broken winding strands The above issues leads to hot-spots, generates gases DGA

Short circuit impedance

Applications:  Investigate winding deformation  confirm the name plate values  To check shipping as a receiving (pre- commissioning test) If possible run three-phase if not feasible it can be done single-phase , then average the results

Short circuit impedance


Single phase

 Apply voltage and measure current in HV side while shorting out the dual leg of the LV side.  Applied voltage is 100 V-500 V  Watch the current in LV side  LTC is in neutral position


Short circuit impedance

If deviation exists it could be due to:
 Type of excitation (1-phase versus 3-phase)  Different instrumentation  Winding deformation

Deviations of over 3% from the benchmark Per Phase Tests could be related to winding deformations. Even 3-phase test result may be different from nameplate because of the Vtest.

Excitation Current
Can possibly detect:  Core problems such as:
Shorted core laminations poor joints

 Winding problems such as:

short circuit (turn to turn) open circuit poor connections

 LTC problems such as:

high hesitance connection open circuit Coking and wear of LTC and DETC contacts

Excitation Current Test

Factory tested at rated voltage (no-load) If possible run three-phase if not ,can be done single-phase. Perform Excitation Test before any DC test: DC test leaves residual magnetism in the core. Voltage is applied to HV :5kV or 10 kV LTC set to: 1- Neutral , 2- 1 step up, 3- 1 step down
4- Full raise , 5- Full lower

Excitation Current Setup


Excitation Current Pattern

H1 H2 H3

Excitation H1-H0 Similar to H3-H0


Higher R results higher excitation current


Excitation Current Results

Possible Characteristics of patterns H-L-H 3 leg core-type (Most common) 5 leg core or shell type with a delta secondary L-H-L 3 leg core-type ,Y secondary, inaccessible neutral All equal 5 leg with Y secondary 3 single phase connected as 3- phase Shell-type with Y-connected secondary All Can be due to magnetized core different Defects, Faults
Excitation current Criteria to detect defect Iext<50 mA Iext >50 mA The difference between 2 higher current >10% The difference between 2 higher current >5%

Excitation Current with LTC

When the Autotransformer is in the bridging position the excitation current goes up.


Power Factor Testing

Dissipation Factor or is the ratio of the resistive current to capacitive current Power Factor : P.F.= IR/I Dissipation factor : tanH=IR/IC IC IR I=IC+IR I

To check the condition of the capacitive insulation:  Between windings Between winding and core Between winding and tank


2-Winding Transformer 1 phase of 3 phases shown

CH: HV bushing + HV winding +Oil CL: LV bushing + LV winding + Oil CHL: Both windings+ barriers + Oil


Test Arrangement
3 test modes:
Ungrounded Specimen Test (UST)

Grounded Specimen Test (GST) Grounded Specimen with Guard (GST-g)


Test Arrangement
One of the most common source of measurement error: Neutral is not properly connected.

Usually 6 tests are performed to confirm the values:

Test 1 2 3 4 5 6 Mode UST UST GST GST-g GST GST-g Energize Ground HV LV HV HV LV LV LV HV Guard LV HV Winding CHL CHL CH+CHL CH CL+CHL CL

P.F. Interpretation
Power Factor Above 1.0% 0.7 1.0 0.5 0.7 Less than 0.5 Insulation Condition Dangerous wet transformer Investigate Deteriorated Good

IEEE Std 62: Service aged transformers : P.F.<2% 3 winding transformer Shielding between LV/HV


Oil Test: DGA

Rogers Ratio Doernenburg Ratio Duval Triangle IEC1 - (1st Edition 1978) IEC2 (2nd Edition 1999) ANSI/IEEE (C57.104-1991) CIGRE Method Laborelec Japanese Method Russian Method

Key Gas Method

Key Gas Secondary Gas Fault Pattern Possible Root cause Aging of insulation, possible Low energy carbon particles in oil, poor CH4 and minor C2H6 grounding of metal objects, loosed Partial and C2H4 lead, floating metal or Discharge contamination Paper insulation destroyed. Metal CH4 and minor H2 and Oil overheating discoloration. Oil heavily C2H6(ethane) carbonized. Poor contacts in leads, weakened H2 and minor CH4 and High Energy insulation from aging, carbonized C 2H 4 Arcing oil. Overloading or cooling problem, If the fault involves bad connection in leads, stray and oil-impregnated Conductor structure CH4 and Overheating magnetic flux, discoloration of paper. C 2H 4





Duval Triangle
x = (C2H2); y = (C2H4); z = (CH4), in ppm %C2H2=100x/(x+y+z); %C2H4 = 100y/(x+y+z); %CH4 = 100z/(x+y+z),
T1: Low-range thermal fault (below 300 C) T2 :Medium-range thermal fault (300-700 C) T3 :High-range thermal fault (above 700 C) D1: Low-energy electrical discharge D2 :High-energy electrical discharge DT: Indeterminate - thermal 31 fault or electrical discharge.

IEEE Std C57.104

Four-condition DGA guide to classify risks to transformers with no previous problems. Uses combinations of individual gases and total dissolved combustible gas concentration (TDCG). Rogers Fault Tree The three-ratio version of Rogers ratio Method uses the following ratios: R1= C2H2/ C2H4 , R2= CH4/H2 , R3= C2H4/ C2H6
Gas Inputs R1,R2, R3 Y Y Y R2<0.1 0.1<R1<1 N R3<1 Y N Case 0 No fault or it cannot be detected N Y 1<R3<3 Case 3 Low Temp Thermal Overloading Case4 Thermal <700 oC Y Y R1>1 1<R3<3 N Y R3>3 Case5 Thermal >700 oC Y Y R1<0.1 R3<1 Case1 PD low energy N Y 1<R2<3 0.1<R1<1 Y R3>3 Y Case2 High energy arcing


IEEE Std C57.104

Status Condition 1 Condition 2 Condition 3 Condition 4 H2


C 2H 2
35 36-50

50 51-100 101-200 >200



2500 25004000 400110000 >10000

720 7211920 19214630 >4630

101-700 121-400 7011800 >1800

401-1000 51-80 >1000 >80

66-100 351570 101571150 1400 >150 >1400

Not all techniques were applicable in all cases CIGRE: CO2/CO <3 Excessive paper degradation

If most of Gas levels < 1 and one or two is high, the error of regular methods might be high. Call your judgment, do not 33 forget Key Gas Table.

Case 1:750 MVA,500kV

Date April 2010 May 2009 Key Gas H2 10 10 CH4 5 5 C2H2 C2H4 2 2 6 2 C2H6 2 2 CO2 1398 155 CO 277 71 TCG ppm/day 47,800 0.13


IEEE Rogers ratio Not conclusive


Duval Method

Doernenb Suggestion -urg Ratio

DGA every day, On-line PD test (electric follow up with acoustic) , temporary removal from service for offline tests 34

Conductor Overheating

Partial discharge or power discharge

TCG levels indicate excessive decomposi tion

D1:Disch- No -arge of diagnosis low energy

Case 2:300 MVA, 420 kV

The content of hydrogen detected by the on-line monitoring system increased continuously. Concentration of hydrogen is only dependent on the oil temperature.

Oil used was uninhibited oil considered as moderately stray gassing Avoid misleading of DGA pattern (Stray Gassing) caused by catalytic effects of zinc surfaces and oil .


Oil Quality Tests

Test Recommended oil quality tests for insulating oil [IEEE Std C57.106-2006] Dielectric Dissipation Interfacial Neutralizati Strength Factor tension on number (IFT) (acidity) ASTM D1816 ASTM ASTM D- ASTM -97 (1 mm D924-99 971-91 D974-92 gap) @ 25 0C [min] [max] ASTM 877 [max] [min] 1816:23kV 0.1% 35 mN/m 0.03 mg 877: 26 kV KOH/g 1mm 0.5% 24 mN/m 0.2 mg gap:23kV KOH/g PCB


ASTM 4059-91 [max]

Limit (new oil) Limit (service aged oil)

2 50


Post Failure Test Interpretation

Suggested Problem Category Turn-to-turn fault Damage to major insulation Lead and terminal issues Through fault mechanical damage Core heating Moisture 1st priority Out of tolerance ratio High power factor Abnormal DGA, trend inclines FRA shows different pattern for faulty phase Abnormal DGA High insulation power factor Test Data 2nd priority Low winding resistance Low insulation resistance DC resistance 3rd priority Excitation increase Abnormal DGA Excitation increases if load increases Change in impulse

Deviation of exciting current Low core ground resistance Low dielectric oil test

Excitation increases Low insulation resistance


Time for Break!


Selected Advanced Techniques

Partial Discharge Dielectric Frequency Response (or Frequency Domain Spectroscopy) Frequency Response Analysis

Partial Discharge

IEEE Std C57.127

Draft IEEE PC57.113


Partial Discharge-IEC 60270

PD should be done along with induced voltage test
Background noise < 100 pC
   max (pC)=100 at 110%Urated max (pC)=300 at 130%Urated max (pC)=500 at 150%Urated

Wide-Band PD measurement

Narrow-band PD measurement


Partial Discharge Measurement

Signal from coupling capacitor or bushing tap

coupling device in series with the coupling capacitor frequently used circuit in test laboratories

Via Bushing Tap often applied in on-site offline /online PD investigations


Bushing Tap Sensors

To get down the voltage to U, it is necessary to use capacitance (Cz)

Possible power that can be taken from the test tap:

To avoid bushing damage:


Partial Discharge Patterns

1 Cycle screenshot 1 Cycle screenshot

Corona at HV electrode

Corona at Ground

1 Cycle screenshot

PD Resolved Pattern


Floated metal object

Creeping discharges

UHF Measurement Via Oil Valve

PD-signals :UHF frequency range (300 MHz 1 GHz) Sensor application at oil valves, which are available e.g. for oil filling or draining.

Courtesy of LDS GmbH (Lemke)



Drawback: High attenuation (high frequency); cannot determine which phase?; Hard to use for ball valves.


How to distinguish PD?

External noises appear often independent from the applied AC test voltage level. Pulse-shaped noises may appear unsynchronized with the applied AC test voltage, whereas PD pulses occur always phase-correlated. Rise-time of PD is different from noise signals are different from pulse. Pattern recognition techniques help a lot!


T-F Classification Map


Acoustic PD :Off-line/On-line
1. All-Acoustic (minimum 3 sensors) 2. Acoustic with Electrical PD trigger

Velocity of sound in oil :1413 m/s at 20 C


Acoustic PD
Vibration noises (core,fan,pump) <50kHZ Band Pass filter: f1=50 kHz, f2=350 kHz Propagation path: direct , indirect

Sensor locations when phase of PD source is not known


Acoustic PD
Before placing the AE transducer, wipe the area (dirt, oil, bugs,). Acoustic couplant needed for enhancing the mechanical and acoustical coupling between the transducer and the tank surface. A sound transmitting epoxy to be used if the mounting location is non-magnetic. Magnetic tank shielding causes extra signal attenuation. LTC operation contains a high electromechanical energy that usually propagates through the entire transformer. To be distinguished in post-analysis. Initial place to start: one sensor in the bottom connection of each bushing.

Application of Acoustic PD
When electrical PD is detected, for confirmation and source location When DGA indicates the possible presence of PD For PD detection during factory impulse testing When static electrification is suspected


Acoustic PD
Electrical PD has a threshold 300 (500)pC. There is no similar threshold for acoustic systems. A strong signal buried deep within a winding may be very weak by the time it reaches the acoustic sensor. Sometimes longer monitoring period is necessary: weeks Only high PD levels can be detected. The correlation is weak between measured and real PD level due to attenuation.
Direct signal Wall propagation


Test Case:
Single phase autotransformer: 500/230/13.8 kV,146/194/243 MVA After two years in operation started gassing.

Acoustic monitoring for 5 days :significant activity

Load is minimum Voltage is maximum


Test Case:3-D Plot


Dielectric Frequency Response

Dielectric Frequency Response also called Frequency Domain Spectroscopy DFR is Power factor measured in a wide range of frequency (mHZ-kHZ) unlike conventional 60Hz measurement.
Power Factor @60Hz DFR


How to Measure DFR

Measurement modes: UST, GST, GTS-g


Originally to Estimate the Moisture Content Now extend to find out other problems :

Insulation Contamination Degradation of overall insulation system High resistance contacts Bushings issues .


DFR to Estimate Moisture

Using DFR curve, the Wt% can be estimated.


How DFR Estimates Moisture?

X-Y Model of Insulation

1 1 !  Ccomb ([ ) C spacer ([ )  Coil ([ ) Cboard ([ )


How DFR Estimates Moisture?

l l

Oil Non-polar liquid; Ir = 2.2 Pressboard, oil impregnated cellulose More polar; Ir = 4.5 Sensitive to moisture


Why moisture is important?


Conventional Moisture Estimation


Uncertain area

Low accuracy at low temperatures because 62 the water has migrated to the paper

Conventional Method Cons

Transformer needs to reach Thermal Equilibrium Oil Moisture changes with temperature Not accurate in lower temperatures Aged oil resolved higher Water% than New oil DFR found to be the most accurate method to estimate the insulation moisture.

DFR & Moisture %


Test Case :500 MVA 230kV GSU,1976

Conventional Power Factor :

Measurement CHL CH CL

Year 2000 0.16 0.29 0.48

Year 2009 0.2 0.59 0.99

CH and CL increased 100%! DGA had gone up in the past but was constant lately. The unit was taken out. One reason for increasing P.F. is moisture. Should the unit be dry-out? Just shipping to the closest maintenance cost $500K. 65 Kinectrics offered DFR to diagnose.

Test Case
CHL is normal showing Water content 0.5-1% CL does not match with any moisture model curve, So it is not moisture. The whole curves shifted up. Insulation conductivity has changed. Conclusion: Contamination, no dry-out needed. Shipped out to replace the windings.

DFR Result

After opening tank: carbon deposit found on LV and HV winding due to arcing of tank shipping bolt to the core.

DFR Is Able to:

Estimate the moisture content of power transformers accurately.  Identify unsatisfactory conditions during routine testing.  Detect contamination on insulating system.  Characterize transformers to avoid potential catastrophic failures. Drawbacks:  Needs basic transformer design data  Needs expertise to interpret results

Two methods: - Applying LV Impulse (Obsolete) :Time domain - AC , Sweep Frequency (SFRA)


Test techniques
Freq response analysis (FRA) Impedance/admittance/transfer measurements Typically 1kHz 1MHz Network analyzer or equivalent Detects deformations/displacements Compare against other phases , previous measurement, or sister unit The lead lengths need to be as short as possible, and the test configuration must remain constant for repeated tests.

Detecting Faults which involves:
Winding deformations  Core movements Faulty core grounds Partial winding collapse Hoop buckling Broken clamping structures Shorted turns and open windings

Generate a base-line data for future comparison To Confirm Smooth Transportation






Repeatability is Key in FRA Measurement

Core NOT grounded Core grounded


FRA-Typical Curves


Low frequencies Core problems shorted/open windings Medium frequencies Winding deformations High frequencies Tap connections Other winding connection problems


FRA-Applied voltage
It is usually 10V.

2.8 V Omicron

10 V FRAX, Doble and others


FRA-Proper Grounding
Good grounding practice Poor grounding practice


FRA-Test Case -180 MVA off-shore

Acetylene up Change in winding resistance

LV distorted at 5 kHz 500 kHz


Shipped for repair


Time for More Questions!