Troubleshooting guide for young engineers
When Whatsapp, Facebook, or Gmail is down, it’s manageable, but if transformers fail, the entire business comes to a standstill. No-power-no-business transformers, as the heart of every substation, impact industries and affect the country’s economy and have social and political ramifications. Any malfunction in this expensive machinery can be the leading cause for a complete outage of the network failures.
Improving the relationship between types of problems in transformers and their indicators will help identify internal faults and their locations. Therefore, the condition and performance of the power transformer should be very well known, including its reliability and security. When a fault occurs it is quite difficult to determine which failure should have more attention since there are always several visible damages.
Organic materials used in the transformer are subject to ageing processes which lead to the gradual degradation of their physical, chemical, and electrical properties.
This makes it of utmost importance that a thorough investigation is made for ascertaining the root cause of the fault. Besides this, each failure gives learning for taking appropriate corrective and preventive actions at works to prevent the occurrence of such failures in the future.
- Modes of Transformer Failure
- Approach for Fault Analysis
- Caution to be taken care of during fault investigation
- Case Studies:
- Case Study 1: Unbalance Phase Voltage
- Case Study 2: A faulty Transformer Received at Manufacturer’s Workshop
- Case Study 3: Unbalance Winding Resistance
- Case Study 4: Erroneous Value with Ratio Measurement
- Case Study 5: Short circuit and inter-turn insulation failure
- Case Study 6: Transformer Tripped in OLTC OSR
- Case Study 7: Internal Fault of Transformer
1. Different modes Transformer Failure:
With many articles and studies made on types of failure in transformers, let us have a quick recap of the most important points.
1.1 Transformers Five Potential Failure Sources
|No.||Potential Prone Failures||Criticality||Main Causes|
|2.||On-Load Tap Changer (OLTC)||Medium||Internal Arc|
|3.||Windings||High||Stress due to Internal failures|
|5.||Oil||High||Oxidation of the oil|
Figure 1 – Left: Damaged Bushing; Right: Faulty OLTC
Figure 2 – Deformed core due to fault
Figure 3 – Damaged transformer winding
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1.2 Classification of Transformers failures
Major failures in power transformers can be classified into these three categories:
Failure Classification – Thermal Factors
Cause: The composition of transformer oil is organic in nature and the cellulose in oil deteriorate during the working life of the transformer due to thermal expansion and contraction during loading of the transformer.
- Overloading of the transformer beyond its designed capabilities
- Operation of transformer on nonlinear loads.
- Operation of transformers in excessive ambient temperatures.
- Failure of the cooling system.
- Blockage of oil ducts.
- Operation of transformer in an over-excited condition, and
- Blockage in axial or radial oil ducts.