Commissioning of Power Transformers
Since I started the commissioning work 30 years back, transformer commissioning consisted of more tests, but nowadays, the number of tests has been reduced due to costs and time-saving. This article will go through complete testing that needs to be done at the site during the commissioning process of the transformer.
Power transformers testing and commissioning at the site.
- Power transformer tests:
- Measurement of Winding Insulation Resistance
- Winding Resistance Test
- Voltage Ratio Test
- Polarity Test
- No-Load Losses Test
- Load Losses (Short Circuit) Test
- Vector Group Test
- Capacitance and tan δ Test
- Oil Breakdown Test
- Temperature Rise Test
- Frequency Response Analysis (FRA Test)
- Partial Discharge Test
- Transformer General Tests
- Transformer Primary Tests
- Transformer Secondary Tests
- Transformer Tripping Tests
- Transformer Load Tests
1. Power Transformer Tests
These tests include winding insulation resistance test, winding resistance test, vector group test, tan delta test, no-load test or iron losses, load test or copper losses, temperature rise test, partial discharge test, frequency response analysis test, and transformer oil breakdown test.
These tests are detailed as follows:
1.1 Measurement of Winding Insulation Resistance
The purpose of this test is to determine the insulation resistance of the high-voltage winding to the ground, low-voltage winding to the ground, and the high-voltage winding to the low voltage winding, also to assess the amount of moisture in transformer insulation.
This test should be done between the windings as follows:
- High Voltage winding to the Earth as shown in the figure given below.
- Low Voltage winding to the Earth same as HV-Earth but the connection will be between LV-Earth.
- The high voltage winding to the low Voltage Windings as shown in the figure given below.
Figure 1 – Insulation resistance testing: HV-Earth and HV-LV
We take the reading after 15 sec and after 60 sec the result will give the polarization index of transformer insulation, which indicates the transformer insulation condition.
Polarization Index (PI) =R60/R15 should be as follows:
- More than 1.3 for the transformer with voltage up to 35kV
- Between 1.5 to 1.7 for transformers with voltage range from 66 kV up to 500 kV
- If PI reading is more than 3.1 this means the transformer insulation is in good condition.
- As a guide for practical reading:
- LV-Earth 1 G-Ohm.
- HV-Earth 2.5 G-Ohm.
- L.V to H.V 2.5 G-Ohm.
Do not choose the megger test voltage as standard 5000 volts as some transformer’s manufacture has low insulation for big transformer neutral points, for example, 500MVA, 500kV Transformers and if you apply 5000 D.C voltage in the winding you will lose the transformer windings, so please refer to the specified D.C voltage to test the transformer windings as per manufacture manual instruction.
If you find the insulation resistance is not satisfied, further investigation should be done in the transformer before energization.
For Megger, discharge the current to avoid shock. Switch off the power supply when connecting the circuit to avoid a spark.
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1.2 Winding Resistance Test
The purpose of this test is to measure the D.C. resistance of the transformer windings, this test can be done by a voltmeter and ammeter method. For low reading values, we connect the voltmeter after the ammeter, but for high resistance values, we connect the voltmeter before the ammeter. A sensitive voltmeter and ammeter will be used with a 100 DC Amp. This test will give accurate results as shown below:
Figure 2 – DC winding resistance test (current-voltage method)
This test can be done when a transformer is hot or cold, but the temperature of the winding and oil should be recorded during the test. If a transformer for example delta/star windings, then check the resistance as follows:
- HV winding resistance between phase R and phase S
- HV winding resistance between phase S and phase T
- HV winding resistance between phase T and phase R
- LV winding resistance between phase R and neutral N at Tap 9
- LV winding resistance between phase S and neutral N at Tap 9
- LV winding resistance between phase T and neutral N at Tap 9