THE UNCERTAINTY IN POWER TRANSFORMER FAULT DIAGNOSTICS USINGCONVENTIONAL TESTING METHODS
Yogendra Dev Vashishtha*, Paul Ascione* and Qi Su*** Power and Water Authority** Monash University
The average age of power transformers in Australia is about 25-35 years. Conventional oil tests,dissolved gas analysis (DGA) of oil, dielectric loss angle (DLA or tan
) of winding and recoveryvoltage monitoring (RVM) are among many diagnostic techniques available. Power and WaterAuthority (PAWA) of Northern Territory refurbished five 66 / 11 kV, 10—30 MVA, 24—33 yearsold transformers.
From the test results it is observed that a transformer which has very goodresults from these diagnostic tests and even has minimum moisture content in the winding(from RVM) may still have very poor mechanical integrity. Winding cellulose paper may beaged to such an extent (assessed from degree of polymerisation; DP) that any sudden force ortransient would cause failure.
DP test is very difficult to perform regularly to ascertainmechanical integrity of winding paper. Furan analysis is another alternative to DP. Most of thetimes Furans are not detected and there is no universal correlation available for DP and Furans.Also, both ageing and moisture content influence Furans. Frequency response analysis (FRA)gives information regarding winding movement but it does not give much information aboutmechanical integrity of a winding which is essential for transformer reliability. This paper alsocompares moisture contents in the winding assessed from RVM and estimated from oil PPM(using Norris diagram) and estimated from winding DLA (based on Gussenbauer’s relationship).
It appears that moisture content from RVM needs further validation and research toseparate out ageing and moisture effects.1.
Transformers represent a high capital investment in atransmission substation at the same time as being akey element determining the loading capability of thestation within the network. With appropriatemaintenance, including insulation reconditioning atthe appropriate time, The technical life of atransformer can be in excess of 60 years. The end of life, however, can be strategic or economic.Quantitative, risk based approach can be used to aidcostly investment decisions involving transformer life,otherwise made from a subjective viewpoint.Diagnostic systems have been listed under threecategories as portable / periodic, continuous on-lineand specialist support . There are various on-linemonitors for load, operating conditions, gas-in-oil andmoisture-in-oil are available these days . Dissolvedgas analysis (DGA) is the main condition monitoringtechnique used at Power and Water Authority(PAWA) in the Northern Territory. Recovery VoltageMonitoring (RVM) has been found as a bettertechnique to estimate moisture content in the windingpaper insulation and its ageing. However, RVM doesnot distinguish between moisture content anddegradation of paper. Some experiments have beenreported correlating charging current with paperageing. Due to very limited work, these are not veryconclusive. There is a possibility that charging currentmay also correlate with insulation resistance (IR) aswe found RVM following polarisation index (PI).
2.BACKGROUND2.1The major factors involved in transformerinsulation life are:
Insulation moisture content
Extent of oil oxidation
Extent of cellulose degradation—water, CO,CO
Insulation Structure compressionMOISTURE, OXYGEN and HEAT are the threeageing accelerators.