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How Does A Metal Oxide Distribution Arrester Work?

®

®

POWER SYSTEMS, INC.
Reprint of a Series of Articles from Ohio Brass®

Chapter One

How Does a Metal-Oxide Distribution Arrester Work?
One in a Series

The comments in this series apply to Ohio Brass Type PDV and PVR arresters.

he distribution class surge arrester is the most widely used of all arrester classifications. This high volume has held the cost to a level where, even in areas of relatively low thunderstorm activity, distribution surge arresters can be used to protect every pole top distribution transformer. In some cases of higher isokeraunic levels, distribution class surge arresters are also used for line protection and are installed periodically along the distribution line. Arrester design advances and progress have allowed for continued improvements in reliability and safety. The polymer-housed MOV distribution class

T

surge arrester is an excellent example of this trend toward higher reliability and safety. The polymer-housed arrester offers a lower failure rate and higher safety because of its leakproof design and its non-fragmenting characteristics.

Arrester Function
The reason for applying an arrester is to provide overvoltage protection for electrical insulation, thereby maintaining high service reliability levels. It is worthwhile to discuss how the distribution class surge arrester performs this function. The principal of the polymer-housed MOV distribution class surge arrester is quite simple. It is a device which is electrically connected in parallel with insulation needing protection. The polymer-housed distribution class metal-

oxide surge arrester is connected line to ground in parallel with this equipment. Therefore, it has a high resistance at the arrester’s normal 60-cycle operating voltage. As shown in Figure 1, the resistance of the metal-oxide arrester elements is a function of the voltage which is applied to them. At normal operating voltages, the resistance of the metal-oxide blocks is extremely high. The MOV arrester essentially behaves as an insulator at these voltages. Under a surge condition, the resistance of the metal-oxide varistors drops dramatically and the arrester permits the surge to be diverted to the ground while providing equipment protection. The current which flows through the arrester is the discharge current, and the voltage which is developed across the terminals of the metal-oxide arrester is

MOV arresters depend on the nonlinear resistance characteristics of their blocks for suitable discharge and continuous operating capabilities.

Figure 1 3

This facility is dedicated exclusively to the manufacture of metal-oxide varistors. the possibilities of moisture ingress are reduced or eliminated. Ohio. Since the arrester is in parallel with the insulation. Therefore. The metal-oxide varistors in the Ohio Brass distribution class arresters are manufactured in our high-volume facility in Wadsworth. The voltage developed in the lead wires will be discussed in a later chapter of this series. The rubber housing provides an external electrical insulation for the internal components. and it also protects them from the effects of the elements. The ESP rubber housing prevents moisture from entering the arrester. Studies have indicated that nearly 90% of all porcelain-housed distribution arrester failures have been a result of moisture ingress. the discharge voltage of the arrester plus the voltage drop in the arrester leads equals the stress level to which the insulation is subjected. causing an arrester failure. The amount of internal air space inside a polymer-housed MOV distribution arrester is quite small compared to a porcelain-housed arrester. The arrester then reverts to the mode where it essentially behaves as an insulator. This is accomplished by a seal on each end of the arrester plus a live silicone interface between the internal elements and the rubber housing. After the discharge current has passed through the arrester and the voltage returns to normal system operating voltage.called the discharge voltage. the arrester again has a higher resistance. The metal-oxide varistors consist 4 . Arrester Design and Manufacture The metal-oxide arrester components are housed in an ESP™ rubber housing.

with approximately 5% of the remaining material consisting of various metal-oxides forming a boundary around zinc-oxide grains. protection of underground distribution systems. lightning phenomenon. (For more information on this please contact Ohio Brass. Ohio Brass manufactures normal duty polymer-housed MOV arresters (PDV65) and heavy duty distribution polymerhoused MOV arresters (PDV-100). testing of metal oxide varistors and assembled metal-oxide distribution arresters both in the factory and in the field. The metal-oxide varistors are fired in controlled-atmosphere kilns at temperatures over 2000°F. In the remaining chapters in this series. The PDV-65 uses a metal-oxide disc 32mm in diameter and the PDV-100 uses a disc 40mm in diameter. These differences will be discussed in more detail in later chapters. This finished arrester component is referred to as a metal-oxide varistor. The sides of the finished metal-oxide varistors are covered with an insulating electrical collar and the ends are given a metalized surface for electrical contact.) The metal-oxide ingredients are processed to a powder state and then this powder is pressed to the necessary diameter to match the application. The primary differences between these designs are in the energy handling capability and the discharge voltage levels (protective levels) of these designs.primarily of zinc-oxide. hardware accessories which are available for distribution arresters. we will discuss other factors which are pertinent to distribution arrester application including ANSI Standard Terms and Tests. These boundary regions give the metal-oxide varistor its nonlinear characteristics. 5 . the effects of lead length. and other factors that should be considered in the evaluation and application of distribution class surge arresters.

Generated by massive thermal instability of the atmosphere. Electric power lines are particularly vulnerable to lightning. On the average. 9 kV Unit. in this installment. There have been recent advances in the field of lightning detection and measurement. rural transmission lines in areas with an isokeraunic level of 30 thunderstorm days per year can expect to experience approximately one lightning stroke per mile per year.Chapter Two How Does a Metal-Oxide Distribution Arrester Work? One in a Series Design distribution arresters for protection against surges To fully understand how distribution and riser pole arresters perform their functions. The most common surges on the distribution system are from lightning. we will examine lightning and its characteristics. PDV-100 Arrester. Therefore. completely unpredictable in most ways. The entire nation is being monitored by The State University of New York Lightning Detection Network. is the most destructive of all elements associated with thunderstorms. One thunderstorm day is defined as "a day on which thunder is heard. Lightning. 6 . In fact. Isokeraunic maps published by the government indicate the average number of thunderstorm days per year for areas of the United States. Conductors. Utilities in areas of average or high isokeraunic levels often report lightning as the primary cause of service interruptions and damage to equipment." One thunderstorm day could be one lightning stroke or it could be hundreds of lightning strokes. maps are now being made that are useful in determining the ground flash density. it is important to understand something about the nature of surges on the power system. thunderstorms represent violent examples of convection whereby huge layers of the atmosphere are disrupted and overturned.

in fact. This is a field in which scientists have made notable progress. The steep wave front is followed by a short wave tail. Simultaneously. even if such paths add substantial length to the strokes. traveling waves are generated in the conductors on either side of the stricken point. 7 . The voltage magnitude is equal to the current magnitude multiplied by the surge impedance of the line and is less than the flashover voltage of the system insulation. We know when lightning strikes a power line. These surges travel along the overhead line at about 1. 15 percent of strokes crest in less than one microsecond.000 feet per microsecond (the speed of light). surge voltage diminishes to half crest value in less than 200 microseconds and completely dissipates in less than 1000 microseconds. Lightning invariably seeks the easiest path between positive and negative charged centers of the storm area. As much as possible must be known about the wave characteristics of the lightning surge in order to devise effective protection. since it is Isokeraunic map prepared by the National Weather Service with hatched areas indicating thunderstorm days per year. there is a zone extending to each side of the actual stroke where the lightning voltage may greatly exceed the insulation level of the line and flashover to ground will occur instantaneously. which means that after crest voltage is reached.towers and poletop equipment all have the attributes which make them attractive targets for lightning. however. A typical lightning surge has an extremely steep wave front. The unpredictability of lightning reasserts itself in attempts to classify stroke dimensions. which means that its voltage is rising at the rate of millions of volts per microsecond. These traveling waves have two components: voltage and current. and design engineers are able to separate lightning surges into a distinct category in relation to the broad spectrum of overvoltage surges.

Discharge currents through distribution arresters are noticeably greater than those recorded through station arresters because of their normal installation on unshielded overhead lines. A tremendous range has been reported. The surge arresters are not only used to protect equipment such as transformers and cables. one stroke following another along the path of the initial stroke. The use of distribution and riser pole surge arresters provides a higher power quality level to the utility customer. In the 1.000 amperes. The destructive power of lightning is well documented. the pertinent information can be consolidated into a statistical graph which compares stroke currents to transmission lines and to towers with discharge currents through distribution and station arresters. Extensive and elaborate scientific investigations have been made to measure and record lightning stroke currents. producing not only the 1. In contrast to the explosive short-duration stroke described as typical.2/50 voltage wave as representative of impulse surges. varying from lows of 1000 amperes to highs of more than 200. Major components of the arrester's protective characteristics are determined by its performance in discharging the surge current.2 microseconds and the wave decays to half crest in 50 microseconds. an established fact that many lightning strokes are actually multiple discharges. The instant a voltage-sensitive device such as a metal oxide arrester goes into a high level of conduction. High-voltage testing laboratories. This analysis shows that currents through arresters are only about one-tenth the total stroke currents. they are also in use to protect the air around line insulators on unshielded lines reducing lightning caused interruptions. it is the current component in the lightning stroke which is the measure of its effect on a stricken object. but it is significant to note that less than five percent of distribution arrester currents exceed 10. but for the arrester application engineer. testing. again emphasizing the unpredictability of lightning. The development. While lightning is usually considered synonymous with extremely high voltage.Rural transmission lines in areas with 30 thunderstorms days per year can expect to experience approximately one lightning stroke per mile per year. it becomes a current-carrying path of relatively low impedance for the duration of the surge discharge. voltage crest is reached in 1.2/50 waves. 8 . This results in better power quality and this is the primary goal. and correlation of insulation with lightning protective devices has been facilitated by adoption of a standard 1. Probability patterns of lightning stroke currents have been ably discussed in several of the technical references of the industry.2/50 wave.000 amperes. have developed surge generators which can stimulate lightning strokes. there are occasional. such as at Ohio Brass. relatively long-duration strokes. but also the steeper-front waves with which arresters are tested for equivalent front-of-wave as specified by standards.

9 . Statistical data compare tower stroke currents with station and distribution arrester currents.Insulation flashover and traveling wave on a power line. Traveling wave voltage is equal to the current magnitude multiplied by the surge impedance of the line.

is the major industry reference document pertaining to metal-oxide surge arresters. distribution and secondary classes of metal-oxide surge arresters.4 29. Therefore. Requirement of uniformity in certain construction aspects. To ensure that the external insulation 10 .11. This standard applies to station. Table 1 shows the standard duty-cycle voltage and MCOV voltage ratings of distribution arresters. Assignment of minimum ratings in the design test categories where such ratings are appropriate and reasonable The scope of C62. ANSI/IEEE Standard C62. Description of electrical test by which conformance to standards can be demonstrated 5.0 24.11 are: 1. producers. The standard defines MCOV (Maximum Continuous Operating Voltage) ratings of the arresters as well as dutycycle voltage ratings. having the capability for repeated limiting of voltage surges on 50/60 Hz power systems by discharging surge current and automatically resealing against system continuous voltage. Conditions are described as standard where the ambient temperature does not exceed 40°C and the altitude is not above 6.Chapter Three How Does a Distribution Class Surge Arrester Work? One in a Series ANSI/IEEE Standard C62. The major objectives accomplished by C62. Conditions exceeding these limits and including unusual circumstances of contamination or clearances are termed nonstandard and require special consideration in the form of recommendations from the arrester manufacturer.11 describes the relevant laboratory tests for distribution class surge arresters.3 17. developed by IEEE.65 8. Establishment of standard and nonstandard service conditions 3. Table 1 Arrester Ratings in (kV) rms Duty-Cycle Voltage 3 6 9 10 12 15 18 21 24 27 30 36 MCOV 2.000 feet and the power system frequency is limited to 50/60 Hz. Formulation of a group of design tests which can be duplicated by properly equipped electrical laboratories to serve as a basis for arrester ratings and classifications 6.4 10. The portions of the standard that relate to metal-oxide distribution class surge arresters are included in this discussion.7 15. The standard also defines the relationship between the duty-cycle voltage rating of the arrester and the MCOV assigned to an arrester.5 22. During the discharge of a surge the arrester limits the voltage to a level below external flashover level.0 Insulation Withstand Test Requirement A surge arrester is known as a "selfprotecting" device. intermediate.11 IEEE/ANSI Standard is defined as applicable to surge protective devices. such as nameplate data and terminal sizes 4.55 5. Service conditions as described in the standard relate to both physical and electrical aspects of the arrester.2 12. and those with general interest. an external flashover of a surge arrester during a discharge is prevented. with input from users. The tests developed to evaluate relative performance of distribution class surge arresters are: (1) Housing withstand test (2) Power frequency sparkover test (3) Discharge current withstand test (4) Impulse sparkover voltage time characteristics (5) Discharge voltage test (6) Duty-cycle test (7) Radio influence and internal ionization voltage test (8) Disconnector test (9) Contamination test (10) Fault current withstand test In this issue we will examine in detail the housing withstand and the discharge current withstand tests. The definition of terms unique to the arrester field 2.1 7.0 19.

of the surge arrester is commensurate with the remaining insulation on the system. There are two types of distribution class surge arresters. resistive current or watts loss. The 60 Hz wet and dry tests are especially important since the arrester spends its service life under 60 Hz conditions. Discharge Current Withstand Tests The discharge current withstand tests are performed to demonstrate the arrester's ability to discharge various types of surges and remain physically intact.11 defines housing insulation withstand test requirements. The 60 Hz voltage must be maintained on the arrester for at least 30 minutes. Within five minutes of the second discharge the surge arrester must be energized at its maximum continuous operating voltage (or higher if required by the arrester design) and must demonstrate thermal stability. The requirements for the discharge current withstand portion of the standard test series vary depending upon the durability designation of the surge arrester. thermally stable and capable of performing its protective function. These are the normal duty and the heavy duty surge arresters. The two discharges are spaced such that the arrester section cools to ambient between discharges.2/50 Full Wave (kV) Crest* (BIL) 60 Hz rms Test Voltage (kV) 1 min Dry Test 1 min Dry Test 3 6 9 10 12 15 18 21 24* 25 27 30 36* 45 60 75 75 85 95 125 125 — 150 150 150 — 15 21 27 27 31 35 42 42 — 70 70 70 — 13 20 24 24 27 30 36 36 — 60 60 60 — * Insulation values are not covered in standards. The two tests which make-up the discharge current withstand capability portion of the test are the low-current long-duration test and the high-current short-duration test. IEEE/ANSI Standard C62. The discharge current withstand tests are critical to determining the durability of a surge arrester. The heavy duty distribution class surge arrester must withstand two discharges of 100 kA with a 4-6/1015 wave. the voltage withstand test of the arrester insulation demonstrates that the assembled insulating members of the arrester can withstand the values listed in Table 2. The test standard specifies requirements for an impulse test and 60 Hz wet and dry tests. The high current short duration test requirements for these types are as follows: The normal duty arrester must withstand two discharges of 65 kA with a 4-6/10-15 wave. Thermal stability is demonstrated by a decrease in temperature. 11 . Table 2 Insulation Withstand Test Voltages rms Duty-Cycle Voltage Rating of Arrester (kV) Impulse Test 1. The test is performed on complete arresters or on thermally prorated sections of the arrester without 60 Hz voltage applied. Under the test conditions outlined in the standard.

The low current long duration portion of the discharge current withstand tests are also performed on complete arrester or on thermally prorated sections of the surge arrester. As with the high current short duration test after the conclusion of the low current long duration portion of the test series the surge arrester must demonstrate thermal stability.25 mA 5 ms/major division 0.09 kV 5. the protective levels of the arrester at 10 kA may not increase by more than 10 percent at the conclusion of this test. The downward deflecting trace represents the current wave form and the upward deflecting trace represents the prorated sample discharge voltage.82 kVp 0. Ohio Brass publishes booklets with design test reports for PDV-65 normal duty and PDV-100 heavy duty distribution class arresters. End of Thermal Stability (100 kA) 2. In addition to the thermal stability requirements there is also a requirement for stability of protective characteristics. 6/14 12 . In the next issue we will continue to examine the series of design tests which apply to distribution class surge arresters and will take a look at how these relate to the arresters ability to perform its function. The discharge current withstand test series allows the arrester to demonstrate that it has the capability to withstand surge currents of both long and short duration and remain intact and functional.38 kAp (resistive) 0.000 microseconds and for the heavy duty arrester 250 amps with a duration of 2. To ensure the arrester protective ability has not been impaired. 28.000 microseconds.49 mAp (total) Test Results The following oscillogram shows the l00kA discharges. The parameters for the normal duty The oscillogram below shows the 60 Hz voltage and current wave shape at the end of the thermal stability test. These design test report booklets include copies of oscillograms which detail the results of the test described in this section.3 kV 104 kA distribution class surge arrester are 20 discharges of 75 amps with a duration of 2.

In this issue. After completion of the duty cycle series. A prorating factor is then applied to the 13 . The duty cycle test is performed by energizing the surge arrester at its duty cycle rated voltage and subjecting it to a series of 20 discharges. Discharge voltage test set up with prorated sample in impulse generator. the measurement of the voltage developed by the arrester when it discharges is critical. The duty cycle test voltage is a 60 Hz voltage in excess of the MCOV rating of the surge arrester. Therefore. For the heavy duty arrester. we will continue our look at the design test requirements for distribution class surge arresters as well as how these test requirements relate to the ability of the arrester to perform its primary function. The discharges are spaced one minute apart. the protective characteristics of the surge arrester are measured to ensure the arrester will perform its function as designed. The arrester then receives two additional discharges of 40 kA. (b) The discharge voltage test. (c) Impulse sparkover voltage time characteristic test. This measurement is performed during the discharge voltage portion of the test sequence. Discharge Voltage Test A surge arrester protects equipment from lightning surges. the arrester is energized at the MCOV rating and is monitored to ensure thermal stability. the surges are 10 kA with an 8/20 wave followed by an oven preheat to 60°C.Chapter Four How Does a Distribution Class Arrester Work? One in a Series ANSI/IEEE Standard C62. In the case of the normal duty distribution arrester. The discharge voltage of a prorated arrester section using the appropriate diameter varistors is measured. The primary function of the surge arrester is protection of utility equipment against overvoltages. After the completion of the duty cycle test. These additional discharges at the higher current level are to ensure the durability which users have come to expect from a heavy duty product. while energized at MCOV. the magnitude of these discharges is 5 kA with an 8/20 wave. we will examine the: (a) The duty cycle test.11-1987 Describes Relevant Laboratory Tests For Distribution Class Surge Arresters In this segment. Duty Cycle Test The duty cycle test is performed to ensure the arrester will support its duty cycle rated voltage while discharging lightning surge currents.

The protective level which then must be used for insulation coordination is the higher of the metal-oxide varistor discharge voltage or the gap sparkover. If the protective level of the arrester is too high to protect the equipment. This testing includes determining if the protective level is defined by the gap sparkover or the varistor discharge voltage. 10. The discharge voltage (therefore. it has a magnitude of 5 kA. The test is performed on the prorated section by measuring the 1. If the surge arrester includes an internal gap. the protective level) of the arrester solely determines its protective characteristics if the arrester is a gapless design.measured values to determine the discharge voltage of arresters made from this same type of varistor. the fast front characteristic of the arrester is also measured. The test is conducted using various voltage wave shapes and the sparkover of the gap element is measured at these wave shapes. The impulse sparkover test is performed by taking a prorated sample of arrester elements including the metaloxide varistors and the gap. Impulse Sparkover Test The impulse sparkover test is performed to ensure the gapped distribution class arrester's protective level is adequately defined for the end user.5. we will complete our examination of the design tests which are appropriate for distribution class surge arresters. intermediate or station class arrester. then the user has the option of selecting a different class of arrester. 14 . then additional tests must be performed. and for a normal duty distribution class surge arrester.5 . In addition to the 8/20 wave discharge voltage. This test helps to assure the manufacturer’s cataloged discharge voltages for the arrester will not be exceeded.µsec. The end user is able to compare the arrester protective characteristics with the insulation to determine if the arrester selected is suitable for the application. analyzing oscilloscope results. The voltage impressed on the protected equipment is the higher of the metal-oxide varistor element discharge voltage or the gap sparkover. For the heavy duty distribution class arrester. In the next installment. Technician monitors discharge voltage test. this current wave has a 10 kA magnitude. 5. This includes the option of using a riser-pole type arrester. This is done by using a current wave that causes the arrester discharge voltage to crest in . 3. 20 and 40 kA discharge voltage using an 8/ 20 wave.

4. 2. The majority of arrester failures occur with the arrester becoming a short circuit to ground. This serves two purposes. 3.11-1987 Describes Relevant Laboratory Tests For Distribution Class Surge Arresters Radio Influence and Internal lonization Voltage Test The surge arrester is continuously energized with a 60 Hz voltage. They are still subject to system-generated failures. Disconnector Tests Today's polymer-housed MOV surge arresters have a very low failure rate.Chapter Five How Does a Distribution Class Arrester Work? One in a Series ANSI/IEEE Standard C62. The tests that will be covered are: 1. All Ohio Brass PDV surge arresters are factory tested at 1. Loose 250 microvolts or less.I . it will have result in radio influence voltage (RIV). It allows the line to be put back in service and allows the failed arrester to be identified for future replacement. If a shorted arrester remains connected to the line.11 requires testing of the internal ionization which may result in arrester design with a circuit in accordegradation of the internal elements.176 x MCOV. ANSI C62.05 x MCOV. this internal ionization can result in dance with NEMA Standard LA. Also. The arrester must exhibit an RIV/IIV of 10 microvolts or less. The disconnector serves to disconnect a failed arrester from the line. In this installment. 15 . The arrester must have an RIV/IIV level of radio and television interference. we will complete our look at design testing of distribution class surge arresters. it is not possible to reenergize the line. Radio influence and internal ionization voltage test Disconnector tests Contamination test Fault current withstand test. If a solid electrical Figure 1 contact is not Cross-section of a ground lead disconnector maintained throughout the surge arrester. This voltage is external hardware connections can also measured at 1000k Hz with the arrester energized at 1.

The test sample is preshorted by one of the two methods prescribed by standards. (The standard does not specify currents and durations.000A Allowable Duration (cycles) PDV-65 PDV-100 120 120 60 60 30 30 10 10 N/A 10 Contamination Tests Gapless MOV arresters are resistant to contamination failures. The first test is a voltage excursion test with a total of 32 test cycles at voltages from MCOV to duty cycle voltage. The fault current withstand test is performed to verify the surge arrester will not fail in a manner that will cause large internal parts to be violently expelled. Table I Fault Current 500A 2500A 5000A 10. This is performed by contaminating the bottom units of a multiple unit arrester. Thermal stability is verified at the end of the test series. The time for the disconnector to operate is plotted as a function of current. In the next issue.) Additional test samples are tested at higher currents until the maximum value claimed by the design is verified. The shorted arrester is then energized on a circuit with a given available fault current. The values achieved by Ohio Brass PDV arresters are summarized in the table below: The test program consists of three separate tests. The second test is a five hour contamination test. The detonation time-current curve for the Ohio Brass PDV arrester is included in this article. This test is performed by 20 separate applications of contaminant solution. The final contamination test is the partial wetting test. the arrester is energized at MCOV.11-1987.Fault Current Withstand Test Since surge arresters fail as line-toground short circuits. Ohio Brass PDV arresters comply with all Contamination Test Requirements. they will conduct system fault current after failure.000A 20. All design tests must be performed with the disconnector installed on the sample. thermal stability is verified.11 requires an external contamination test be performed on the arrester to verify contamination resistance. At the conclusion of the test. Figure 2 Curve of Detonation The disconnector must not operate under any normal service condition. The disconnector operation characteristic must also be verified. Between contaminant applications. This concludes our discussion of design tests required by ANSI/IEEE Standard C62. 16 . ANSI/IEEE Standard C62. This is done by subjecting samples to rms currents of 20 through 800 amps. we will look at the various factory tests used to verify the quality of metal oxide varistors and assembled polymer arresters.

An blocks receive an 8/20 classifying current shot. Design tests provide a measure of the arrester's capability. a number of tests are performed on a sample of blocks from each batch. This testing verifies the high current strength of the varistors. All finished arresters receive two electrical tests. For more information on these tests. RIV and starting voltage tests performed on all PDV arresters. A starting voltage test is performed. In the next issue. These are measured to ensure the batch is within the design limits for the arrester. These tests are in excess of any required by today's industry standards. The varistors are used in arresters that are subject to direct lightning strokes. To ensure the quality of the arrester. 3. This test is a final check on the assembly. It assures the arrester has been energized at least at MCOV before it is shipped. Ohio. a series of factory tests are performed on the metal oxide varistors and the arrester itself. These are briefly described below: 1. South Carolina. 4. 17 .176 x MCOV. they are shipped to Aiken. 2.11-1987. The discharge voltage of each block is stamped on the metallized face. the discharge voltage of each varistor must be measured. but they cannot verify the quality of the finished arrester as manufactured. The metal oxide varistor blocks used in all Ohio Brass PDV arresters are made in a dedicated plant in Wadsworth. Each arrester is tested for RIV at a voltage equal to 1. In addition to the above tests which are performed on every varistor block. The PDV-65 (normal duty arrester) varistor has a 5 kA discharge measured. AC Test—The watts loss and capacitive currents of a sample are measured. Square Wave Energy—A sample of varistors are tested using a switching surge type waves of successively higher current. The arrester must test at ten microvolts or less. It is important to verify they will withstand the type of duty they will see in the field. These blocks are taken to the point of failure. the Ohio Brass 100% energy test recognizes the unique environment in which the PDV arrester operates. After all testing is completed on the blocks.Chapter Six How Does a Distribution Class Arrester Work? In the last several issues we have looked at design tests required on distribution arresters. This test is equivalent to energizing the arrester in service for over 100 years at 40°C. The batch and m data is printed on each block. for assembly into arresters. Each varistor receives an 8120 current surge that ~subjects the varistor to its rated energy. ANSI Standards do not require this type of testing. please request OB publication EU1150HR1 for PDV-100 and EU1281-H for PDV-65 arresters from your Ohio Brass customer service representative. High Current Test—PDV-100 varistors are tested at 100 kA and PDV65 varistors at 65 kA. This is a measure of the voltage at which the arrester begins to conduct. One of the most important characteristics of a distribution arrester is the discharge voltage. we will look at lead length effects. To assemble an arrester with the proper total discharge voltage. However. This test is used to verify the energy rating of the varistors. Life tests performed at elevated temperatures on sample blocks from each batch. Every PDV-100 (heavy duty arrester) varistor has the 10 kA discharge voltage measured. per IEEE/ ANSI C62. Accelerated Aging Test—A sample of each batch is energized at MCOV at 1 30°C for 250 hours.

Now add the voltage drop from the lead wire. The arrester discharge voltage comes from the catalog. We need to determine the protective level of the arrester/lead wire combination. Ohio Brass publication EU1202-H covers various connection methods in much greater detail. This voltage does not always add to the arrester discharge voltage. Request a copy of it from your OB representative. the coordination current will be 10kA. .4kV MCOV PDV-100 arrester protecting a 95kV BIL transformer. The insulation coordination curve gives a graphical method of showing the relationship between the transformer insulation strength and the arrester protective level.Chapter Seven How Does a Distribution Arrester Work? The selection of the best arrester for a given application can be negated by poor installation practices. If the lead wire is coiled. the inductance is . Surge current flowing through the leads causes an inductive voltage drop. For a straight lead wire.4µH/foot. You can also see that the arrester allows a higher voltage to be developed for fast rising waves. the inductance can be much higher. The voltage in the lead is calculated by the formula: di dt There is always a voltage drop in the lead wires. The protection level is the sum of the arrester discharge voltage and the voltage drop in the lead wire. For lead wire voltage to count in protection.4x10-6 H/ft x 10x103A =500V/ft 8x10-6 Sec 18 . The voltage is: V=L You really do not have to do calculus to calculate this voltage. This can really hurt the protective margins. Figure 1 shows the insulation coordination curve for this application. This chapter will examine the effects of voltage drop in the leads on protective margins. The transformer can withstand a higher voltage for waves that have a voltage that crests in a short time. We will look at the protective margins achieved by an 8. In this example. The length and configuration of the line and ground leads is critical in determining the amount of equipment protection available. it must carry surge current and be electrically in parallel with the equipment the arrester is protecting. The 10kA-8/20 discharge voltage of the arrester is 32kV. Both of these are a function of the time it takes for the voltage to crest.

For MOV arresters the current crests in about 70% of the time to voltage crest. In the next issue we will look at the effects of the continuous power loss of the surge arrester. We will look at the protection if the insulation levels have reduced by 20%. Therefore the current crest is .4x10-6 H/ft x 10x103A =11.4kV/ft . This article shows dramatically how much the improper lead wire connection can affect performance of a complete system. It is easy to see how important it is to keep the leads as short and straight as possible! Utilities will often look at insulation coordination when selecting arresters and use the full insulation strength of the transformer. At the BIL the margin is: -1 x 100 = 117% [ 76kV 35kV ] and the fast wave margin is: 88kV -1 x 100 = 16. The voltage in the lead coming to the arrester does not contribute to the voltage stress on the insulation.The total protective level at the 8/20 current level (transformer BIL) is: 32+(.5kV. [ 95kV -1 35kV ] x 100 = 171% Next we need to consider the fast front characteristics.9kV ] Therefore. This also was not true for silicon carbide designs.5kV + 11. 19 .35µsec. The chopped wave strength is approximately 15% higher than the transformer BIL. for the fast front the insulation strength is well below the protective level.5kV/ft) (6ft)=35kV The margin is: The protective margin (Figure 2) is: -1 x 100 = 4. The voltage drop in the lead is: . This is a result of the much faster time for the current to crest.9kV This is a small margin. the BIL and other insulation levels will likely reduce. The ground connection should be made to the tank of the transformer to minimize the lead effect. The arrester 10kA .9% [ 110. The effect of the line and ground leads can be reduced if the connections are made properly. Figure 2 shows the resulting protective margins.5µsec IR is 36.4kV/ft) (6ft) = 104. This value is coordinated with the transformer chopped wave strength.35x10-6Sec The total protective level is: 36.9 (arrester) (lead wire) (total) The voltage drop in the lead is significantly higher than for the 8/20 wave. A reduction of at least 20% is considered typical. The leads must be shortened or eliminated. As the transformer ages however. The lead wire from the phase conductor should go to the arrester before going to the high voltage bushing of the transformer. The protective levels of MOV arresters do not increase with duty.1% [ 104.00kV ] 104.

The high losses of the gapped arrester result from replacing some of the high resistance MOV elements in the gapless 20 . Power losses affect: 1. If this condition continues without the excess heat being removed the arrester will experience thermal runaway. Also the amount of MOV used in the arrester can be reduced to improve the discharge voltage but this may result in higher power losses. The power loss in MOV arresters results from continuous leakage current at MCOV. The temperature of the blocks can rise significantly as a result of the discharge duty. TABLE 2 Arrester Type Operating Cost ($) Ohio Brass PDV-100 . Therefore. Another important trait of all MOV surge arresters is the continuous power loss resulting from leakage currents. etcetera. The load losses vary as the system load fluctuates. Figure 1 is a typical volt-amp curve for a gapless MOV arrester. The utility industry has evaluated the power loss of distribution transformers for many years. These include such factors as fuel costs. these additional operating costs can have a significant impact on the total ownership cost of the arrester. The distribution arrester engineer will not need to calculate these factors if the utility already evaluates transformer losses since these factors are already available from the transformer standards group. The thermal recovery of the arrester after experiencing high energy duty. the MOV blocks absorb energy. Thermal Recovery and Long Term Aging When a surge arrester experiences high energy duty such as a high current lightning stroke. losses. This power loss has several implications for utility engineers. For reference. This high loss may come as a surprise to some so an explanation may be in order. the average watts loss of the Ohio Brass PDV-100 arrester is . The silicon carbide grading circuit in this hybrid arrester allows for a higher continuous current flow than is found in similarly rated gapless designs.28 Type Z (gapped) 4.50/Watt applied to an 8. for an 8.38 Type Y (gapless) 1. All MOV arresters. The usual method of determining these factors is based on the EEI method. If we use a conservative value of $2. The operating and total ownership cost of the arrester. It also shows the extremely high power losses of the gapped type arrester. The power loss of the arrester can be affected by the processing methods and the ingredients in the MOV and by the amount of the MOV material used. time value of money. These factors are expressed in $/Watt of power loss.061 . The continuous surge arrester losses are comparable to the no-load loss of the transformer. MOV blocks exhibit a negative temperature coefficient in the operating voltage region of the volt-amp curve. Power loss “A” factors at most utilities are below $10. the engineer will need to determine the average watts loss of the designs under consideration. The manufacturer of the arrester should be contacted for information on the average power losses.018 watts/kV-MCOV. The no-load factor is commonly known as the “A” factor and the load losses are the “B” factor.4kV MCOV PDV-100 heavy duty arrester the average loss is . The MOV block can be developed to have a low power loss which will affect the shape of the MOV volt-amp curve. 2. The no-load losses are always present and are independent of the system loading conditions. even today’s gapped units. conduct a leakage current. The power losses combined with the “A” factor allow the utility to calculate the effect of the losses on the ownership cost of the arrester.151 watts [(.018 .20 Depending on the first cost of the surge arrester. We have reviewed the important tests and product characteristics. This information should be supplied readily by the manufacturer of the arrester. The “A” factor is applied to the losses of the surge arrester.00/Watt. The negative temperature coefficient is apparent from the fact that at higher block temperatures the MOV elements conduct more current. A utility that evaluates losses of transformers will determine two cost factors associated with these types of TABLE 1 Arrester Type Average (Watts/kV-MCOV) . In fact gapped units can be expected to conduct higher leakage currents and generate higher power losses than gapless arresters.4kV MCOV arrester the above losses translate to the operating costs over the life of the arrester shown in Table 2. Operating and Total Ownership Costs The power loss of the MOV surge arrester results in a cost to the utility.200 Ohio Brass PDV-100 Type Y (gapless) Type X (gapless) Type Z (gapped) This table shows that not all power losses are the same. These are the “no-load” (or “core”) losses and the “load“ losses. Since the blocks conduct more current they become hotter and then will conduct even more current. operating life.Chapter Eight How Does a Distribution Arrester Work? Watts Loss and You In this series we have studied how a distribution arrester works.22 Type X (gapless) 1. There are two types of losses that are evaluated for transformers. The same type of economic analysis can be applied to arresters. arrester with lower impedance silicon carbide grading elements in parallel with the gap assembly. To evaluate the long term operating costs of the surge arrester. We have performed tests on some other designs and the results of the random samples tested are summarized in Table 1.058 .4kVMCOV)].018 watts/kV-MCOV)*(8.

A polymer arrester with blocks in contact with the housing will provide better heat transfer than a design relying on convection.) If the watts loss of the arrester increases with time. The energy rating of the PDV-100 is 2. Also as the MOV blocks age. The Ohio Brass PDV arresters are designed to remain thermally stable after being subjected to two rated energy discharges within one minute. data must be gathered on the average watts loss and the long term aging performance of the arrester. Designs that have higher losses can still be thermally stable. This means that the loss costs will be even lower than calculated. the more likely the arrester will be thermally stable. This will result in a reduced upper thermal equilibrium temperature. The curve in Figure 2 is based on the assumption that the arrester has the highest watts loss blocks that would ever be used in that design.A well designed surge arrester will never experience thermal runaway for any reasonable set of circumstances. Summary The power losses of MOV arresters have economic and performance effects that need to be considered by the utility engineer. the arrester watts generated curve can shift up as shown in Figure 3. As long as the temperature remains below the upper equilibrium point the arrester will slowly cool back to equilib- rium. This is why the design tests call for an accelerated aging test. (However. there is long term effect. In the specific case of the Ohio Brass arresters this is very conservative since the losses of these arresters decrease. Ohio Brass does such a test on each batch of MOV blocks.2 kJ/ kV-MCOV and 1.4 kJ/kV-MCOV for the PDV-65. To do an effective job of evaluating the losses. The lower the initial watts loss. This information should be available from the supplier of the surge arrester. When it discharges high energy duty the block temperature rises. (The Ohio Brass surge arrester actually has decreasing watts over time which helps to make it more stable. The economic calculations are based on the assumption that the losses are constant. the standard does not require one for production.) The arrester design test requires that any thermal recovery tests after high energy duty simulate any increase in watts loss resulting from aging effects. The excess heat being generated by the blocks is dissipated by conduction and convection through the housing and end hardware. 21 . but depending on the magnitude of the losses special heat transfer methods may be required. An increasing watt loss will also affect the economic analysis of the cost of the losses. Figure 2 is a typical curve showing the rate of power generation (of the MOV blocks) versus the rate of heat dissipation (of the housing). In service the arrester will reach equilibrium at a temperature slightly above ambient.

The entire series is being reprinted and bound into Ohio Brass publication number EU1377-H. However. System reliability may also be compromised by animal contact to the energized terminal of the arrester. if you need an 8. *Must be ordered in conjunction with codes 7060 and 7070. This article explains the mounting and hardware accessories that are available for Ohio Brass arresters to obtain maximum benefit.4 kV MCOV is Catalog Number 217259. Ohio Brass PDV arresters are specified by the six digit catalog number which describes the MCOV (maximum continuous operating voltage) rating of the arrester. In response to market requests.4 kV MCOV PDV 65 arrester with a nut. and the bottom end hardware.2 kV MCOV and above. In addition to the basic arrester the optional hardware attachments which are required must also be specified. the mounting hardware. This concludes our series on how MOV distribution arresters work. The hardware described in this table is suitable for the PDV-100 (heavy duty) and PDV-65 (normal duty) surge arresters. please contact your Ohio Brass representative.Chapter Nine How Does a Distribution Arrester Work? Hardware Attachments For PDV Surge Arresters To optimize surge protection. washer. This is available by specifying 76XX code series. For example. If you would like a copy. For example the PDV-65 arrester 8. this six digit catalog number is not sufficient to completely specify the surge arrester. **Transformer Bracket 11 " for 8. Ohio Brass is now offering a “flipper fuse holder” accessory kit. terminal nut and nut as the lower end hardware.4 kV MCOV and below and 7-1/2" for 10. 22 . The three digits following 7 specify the top end hardware. The optional hardware attachments are specified by the use of a four digit suffix code beginning with the Number 7. The table below describes the standard hardware items which are available on Ohio Brass Type PDV arresters. A drawing of the components is shown in Figure 1. so proper selection of hardware options is critical. wire clamp and protective cover on the top end. it is important to properly position the surge arrester near the protected equipment. the insulating base bracket and NEMA crossarm bracket as the mounting attachment and the isolator. then this arrester would be specified by code 217259-7324.

com MEXICO HUBBELL DE MEXICO.A.com CANADA HUBBELL CANADA.hubbell. we reserve the right to change design and specifications without notice.F. 210 N.com E-mail: hpsliterature@hps.com. ©2004 Hubbell EU1377-H A&J 1/01 . INC.hubbellpowersystems. Coyoacan No.com ™ ® ® ® ® NOTE: Because Hubbell has a policy of continuous product improvement. 870 Brock Road South Pickering.com UNITED STATES HUBBELL POWER SYSTEMS. INC. DE. Allen Centralia. 23 Tagore Lane #03-16 Tagore 23 Warehouse Singapore 787601 Phone: 65-6454-4772 Fax: 65-6454-4775 e-mail: hpsliterature@hps.Web: http://www. S. ASIA PTE. LTD. Mo 65240-1395 Phone: 573-682-5521 Fax: 573-682-8714 e-mail: hpsliterature@hps. 1051 Col. D.E. CV Av. Ontario L1W 1Z8 Phone: 905-839-1138 Fax: 905-831-6353 e-mail: infohps@hubbellonline. Phone: 52-55-9151-9999 Fax: 52-55-9151-9988 e-mail: vtasdf@hubbell.mx ASIA HUBBELL S. Del Valle 03100 Mexico.hubbell.hubbell.

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