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DIRANA

Application Guide
Measuring and Analyzing the Dielectric
Response of a Power Transformer

This application guide informs how to measure and


analyze the dielectric response of power
transformers in order to reliably assess the moisture
content of the paper and pressboard insulation.
June 2008

DIRANA Application Guide

Measuring and Analyzing the Dielectric Response of a Power Transformer

OMICRON electronics 2008. All rights reserved.


This Application Guide is a publication of OMICRON electronics GmbH. All rights including
translation reserved. Reproduction of any kind, e.g., photocopying, microfilming or storage in
electronic data processing systems, requires the explicit consent of OMICRON electronics.
Reprinting, wholly or in part, is not permitted. This Application Note represents the technical status
at the time of printing. The product information, specifications, and all technical data contained
within this Application Note are not contractually binding. OMICRON electronics reserves the right to
make changes at any time to the technology and/or configuration without announcement.
OMICRON electronics is not to be held liable for statements and declarations given in this
Application Note. The user is responsible for every application described in this Application Note
and its results. OMICRON electronics explicitly exonerates itself from all liability for mistakes in this
document.

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Contents
1 Using This Document ............................................................................................................ 5
1.1 Operator Qualifications and Safety Standards ................................................................... 5
1.2 Safety Measures................................................................................................................ 5
1.3 Related Documents ........................................................................................................... 5
2 Preparing the Transformer .................................................................................................... 6
2.1 Disconnection from the Network ........................................................................................ 6
2.2 Gathering Transformer Data .............................................................................................. 6
2.2.1 Insulation Temperature................................................................................................. 6
2.2.2 Nameplate Data ........................................................................................................... 7
2.2.3 Oil Tests....................................................................................................................... 8
2.2.4 Environmental Conditions............................................................................................. 9
2.2.5 Other Information ......................................................................................................... 9
3 Connecting DIRANA to the Transformer .............................................................................. 9
3.1 Basic Measurement Circuit Guarding Principle ............................................................... 9
3.2 General Procedure .......................................................................................................... 10
3.3 Wiring Diagram for Various Winding Set-Ups .................................................................. 12
3.3.1 Two Winding Transformer .......................................................................................... 12
3.3.2 Three Winding Transformer........................................................................................ 12
3.3.3 Autotransformer.......................................................................................................... 13
3.3.4 Shunt Reactor ............................................................................................................ 13
3.4 Which HV Devices Can Be Left Connected? ................................................................... 14
4 Setting Up the Software....................................................................................................... 16
5 Performing the Measurement.............................................................................................. 18
5.1 Development of the Dissipation Factor Curve .................................................................. 18
5.2 Measurement Errors ........................................................................................................ 19
6 Interpreting the Dielectric Response in Frequency Domain ............................................. 21
7 Moisture Analysis Using DIRANA....................................................................................... 24
7.1 Principle of Moisture Analysis .......................................................................................... 24
7.2 Step by Step Guide for Moisture Analysis ........................................................................ 25
7.3 Analysis of a Measurement with Limited Frequency Range ............................................. 27

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8 Assessing the Analysis Results ......................................................................................... 28


8.1 Assessment According to IEC 60422............................................................................... 28
8.2 Transformer Drying.......................................................................................................... 29
8.3 Accuracy of Analysis Results ........................................................................................... 30
8.4 Comparison to Other Moisture Measurement Techniques ............................................... 31
9 Literature .............................................................................................................................. 32

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1 Using This Document


This application guide provides detailed information on how to measure and to analyze the
dielectric response of an oil-paper-insulated power transformer using OMICRON DIRANA. Please
refer to national and international safety regulations relevant to working with DIRANA. The
regulation EN 50191 "The Erection and Operation of Electrical Test Equipment" as well as all the
applicable regulations for accident prevention in the country and at the site of operation has to be
fulfilled.

1.1 Operator Qualifications and Safety Standards


Working on HV devices is extremely dangerous. The measurements described in this Application
Guide must be carried out only by qualified, skilled and authorized personnel. Before starting to
work, clearly establish the responsibilities. Personnel receiving training, instructions, directions, or
education on the measurement setup must be under constant supervision of an experienced
operator while working with the equipment. The measurement must comply with the relevant
national and international safety standards listed below:

EN 50191 (VDE 0104) "Erection and Operation of Electrical Equipment"

EN 50110-1 (VDE 0105 Part 100) "Operation of Electrical Installations"

IEEE 510 "Recommended Practices for Safety in High-Voltage and High-Power Testing"

LAPG 1710.6 NASA "Electrical Safety"

Moreover, additional relevant laws and internal safety standards have to be followed.

1.2 Safety Measures


Before starting a measurement, read the safety rules in the DIRANA User Manual and observe the
application specific safety instructions in this Application Note when performing measurements to
protect yourself from high-voltage hazards.

1.3 Related Documents


Title

Description

DIRANA User Manual

Contains information on how to use the DIRANA


test system and relevant safety instructions.

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2 Preparing the Transformer


2.1 Disconnection from the Network
For a dielectric response measurement, the transformer needs to be switched off and then
disconnected from the network. All connections to the HV, MV and LV bushings should be
removed in a similar as to conventional dissipation factor tests. If complete disconnection is
impossible, please refer to p. 14.
After switching off it is not necessary to wait for a cool down period or for moisture equilibrium.
However, in order to avoid rapid temperature changes, the cooling system should be off during the
measurement.

2.2 Gathering Transformer Data


2.2.1 Insulation Temperature
Various data provide useful information in order to reliably assess the condition of a transformer.
The temperature of the insulation is of essential importance for moisture analysis and, therefore,
should be carefully noted. To measure this value, the oil temperature may be used. As an
example, Figure 1 depicts the temperature distribution in a large power transformer with ONAN
cooling. The top oil temperature best correlates with the average insulation temperature.

Top winding
Hot spot

Top oil
72C
Average
oil

92C

98C

Cooling
system

Average
winding
83C

63C

Figure 1: Exemple of

Ambient
20C
Bottom oil

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temperature distribution in

54C

74C

a large power transformer

Bottom winding

with ONAN cooling


according to IEC 60354

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Temperature from Oil Sample


The most accurate way to determine the top oil temperature is to take an oil sample and measure
the temperature directly on-site of that oil. After opening the valve, colder oil trapped in the valve
will flow out at first, thus, wait for sufficient time in order to get a representative reading.
Temperature from Build-In Temperature Gauge
If direct sampling of the oil is not possible, the temperature of the built-in temperature gauge may
be used. This, however, may display inaccurate readings depending on the place, where the
temperature probe is located. Figure 2 depicts a build-in temperature gauge of a transformer.
Taking photographs helps for later data analysis and documentation.

Figure 2: Built-in temperature gauge displaying the top oil


temperature; in this case 42C

Temperature from Contact Thermometers


Another way to determine the top oil temperature is to place a contact thermometer on top of the
transformer tank.
Temperature from Winding Resistance Measurement
The winding temperature may also be calculated using winding resistance measurement. From the
difference between the winding resistance during the dielectric response measurement and that in
the workshop at ambient temperature the winding temperature may be calculated.
Temperature Change during Measurement
If the transformer has been switched off prior to the measurement, the temperature will slowly
decrease. Typical temperature time constants for power transformers are 1-2 Kelvin/h. Since a
dielectric response measurement takes typically less then 1 h, in maximum 3 h, the decrease in
temperature will be of minor importance. However, the cooling systems must be turned off.
2.2.2 Nameplate Data
The transformer nameplate displays the winding configuration which is essential information for
making correct connect of the DIRANA instrument. Beside this, the year of manufacture and the

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voltage ratio help to check the consistency of the subsequent moisture analysis. Taking a
photograph of the nameplate, again, helps in the documentation process.
2.2.3 Oil Tests
The Operators of power transformers depend heavily on the periodic sampling of the oil. The
screening consists of several parameters that are of particular interest with regard to the dielectric
response measurement:

Acidity
High acidity reflects paper and oil aging and often increases the oil conductivity. It takes a
certain quantity of an alkaline material to neutralize these acids. A standard method that is
used to find this quantity neutralization number, is to mix potassium hydroxide (KOH) with
the acid/oil until it is neutralized, and is measured in milligrams of KOH per gram of oil.
[ASTM D974, D664, D1534]. New oils have an acidity below 0.05 mg KOH / g oil. It
increases with aging to 0.5 and above. The conductivity of oil is influenced by acids and
given in Siemens per meter, that is S / m or 1/ / m. New oils have around 0.05 pS/m and a
conductivity of above 20 pS/m at ambient temperature points on a progressed aging state.

Water in oil
Since the water content in oil in ppm strictly depends on temperature, no levels of permitted
moisture concentration based on ppm can be given. By applying the water content in oil
(ppm) and the sampling temperature (C) to a moisture equilibrium diagram (Figure 3) a
very rough estimation of moisture content in paper can be made. Since aging of oil and
paper shifts the equilibrium curves, this method overestimates moisture in paper. This
especially applies if the acidity and / or oil conductivity are high. To overcome the influence
of oil aging, water saturation in oil (%) instead of water content in oil (ppm) can be used [3].

Moisture in cellulose / %

20

50

Solubility in oil / ppm


120

80

5
0C

20C

30C

40C

4
260

Figure 3: Moisture equilibrium

60C

curves based on moisture

500
80C

880
100C

0
0

10

20

30

40

Moisture in oil / ppm

OMICRON electronics GmbH

50

content in oil in ppm (redrawn


according to the original source
[1]). Note, that these diagrams
usually overestimate moisture
content in paper.

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Measuring and Analyzing the Dielectric Response of a Power Transformer

Moisture in aged pressboard / %

DIRANA Application Guide

6
5
4
3
21C
2

40C

60C
80C

0
0

10
20
30
40
Moisture relative to saturation / %

Figure 4: Moisture equilibrium


diagram based on moisture
saturation in oil [2]

2.2.4 Environmental Conditions


In case the transformer was out of service, the ambient temperature helps to judge about the
accuracy of the build-in temperature gauge.
The relative humidity in the air and possible rain should be noted. Wet bushings increase the guard
current and may lead to a negative dissipation factor. This is especially important, if an insulation
system to ground is measured (CL or CH).
2.2.5 Other Information
If available, take note of the setup of the main insulation (number and diameter of barriers and
spacers). Since the position of the tap changer may influence the high frequency portion of the
dissipation factor trace, note the tap changer position.

3 Connecting DIRANA to the Transformer


3.1 Basic Measurement Circuit Guarding Principle
A dielectric response measurement is a three terminal measurement that includes the output
voltage, the measured current and a guard. Generally, the output voltage should be connected to
the bushing, which is mostly exposed to electromagnetic disturbances. Guarding is required to
prevent disturbances due to unwanted current paths as caused by dirty bushings and unwanted
electromagnetic fields.
Figure 11 illustrates the principle of guarding. Without guarding, the ammeter measures the current
through the insulation volume Ivol and the unwanted current over the insulation surface Isur. After
applying a guard wire, the unwanted current Isur will bypass the ammeter and flow directly to the
voltage source.

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ISur

IVol

Insulation
under test

ISur

IVol

Insulation
under test

ISur
A

IVol + ISur

IVol

Figure 5: A dielectric response measurement without guarding (left) and with guarding (right)

Figure 6 illustrates the guarding principle for a power transformer. Here the currents over dirty
bushings will not be measured by the instrument. Additionally, the transformer tank and the

Instrument

shielded measurement cables will prevent electromagnetic field coupling.


Voltage source

=
A

Current sense 1

IVol

ISur

ISur
Guard

CL

CHL

LV

IVol

CH

HV

Figure 6: Guarding principle applied to a


power transformer

3.2 General Procedure


This section gives illustrated introductions how to connect the DIRANA to a power transformer.
Please refer also to the user manual.
1. In order to have the same reference potential, connect the grounding cable to the ground
terminal on the rear panel of the DIRANA, and clamp its other end to the transformer tank.

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2. Next, connect all HV bushings to each other. Do the same for all LV bushings.

3. After this, connect the cable for the voltage output (yellow) to the HV bushings and the
cable for the input channel (red) to the LV bushings.

4. Connect the guard of both measurement cables to the transformer tank. Insure a good
connection, avoid lacquered surfaces or corroded metal.

5. Finally, plug the measurement cables into the DIRANA instrument.

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3.3 Wiring Diagram for Various Winding Set-Ups


3.3.1 Two Winding Transformer
To determine the water content of the main insulation, the capacitance between HV and LV
winding CHL provides the most valuable information. The wiring diagram is the same for three
phase transformer as for single phase (Figure 7).

Output

CH1

A
CH2
CHL

CL

CH

single channel mode


CH1: UST -A  CHL - Measurement of the main insulation (LV - HV)

Figure 7: Typical measurement set-up for a two winding transformer

3.3.2 Three Winding Transformer


For a three winding transformer with HV, MV and LV winding (or tertiary winding), both current
measurement channels can be used simultaneously. Figure 8 depicts this connection. The
measurement voltage is applied to the winding which is located in between the other two windings.
Capacitance measurements help to identify the location of the windings.

Output

V
CH1

A
CH2
CLT

CHL

CHT
dual channel mode
CH1: UST-A  CHL - Measurement of the insulation LV- HV
CH2: UST-B  CLT - Measurement of the insulation LV- TV

CT

CL

CH

Figure 8: Typical measurement set-up for a three winding transformer

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3.3.3 Autotransformer
For an autotransformer, the measurement voltage should be connected to the (internally
connected) HV and LV winding and the input channel to the tertiary winding. In case, the tertiary
winding cannot be reached, use the same connection as for the shunt reactor, p. 13.

Output

V
CH1

A
CH2

A
CHT
CT

CH

single channel mode


CH1: UST-A  CHT - Measurement of the insulation HV- TV

Figure 9: Measurement set-up for an autotransformer with tertiary winding

3.3.4 Shunt Reactor


A shunt reactor contains only one single winding per phase, not two, as for normal power
transformers. Instead of measuring the capacitance between windings CHL, the capacitance of the
single winding to ground CH will be measured. Therefore, the guarding technique (voltage to HV,
current from LV and guard to tank) cannot be used. Since the capacitance of the bushings to tank
will not be guarded, the measured losses will be higher than the losses of the internal capacitance
CH only. Depending on the condition of the bushing (surface wetness, dirt), this will result in an
overestimation of moisture content. A typical overestimation compared to the "true" moisture
content (m.c.) is 15 %; that means for example 2 % m.c. + 15 % = 2.3 % m.c.. Figure 10 displays
the corresponding wiring diagram. In order to minimize disturbances, the voltage here is applied to
the tank and the current is measured at the bushings. Depending upon the on-site conditions, the
connection with fewer disturbances might also be to apply the voltage to the bushings and
measure the current at the tank.

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Output

CH1

A
CH
CH2

single channel mode


CH1: GST-A  C H - Measurement of the insulation HV - Tank/Core

Figure 10: Measurement set-up for a shunt reactor or an autotransformer without tertiary winding

3.4 Which HV Devices Can Be Left Connected?


It is the best practice to completely disconnect the transformer from the network. However, if a
complete disconnection is impossible, it must be distinguished between CHL and CH/CL
measurements. The capacitance between the windings CHL provides most valuable information for
subsequent moisture determination. The high and low voltage winding capacitances to ground (CH
and CL) are only useful if a measurement of CHL is impossible.
Effect of Remaining HV Devices on Guarded CHL- Measurements
While measuring the capacitance between windings CHL (voltage output to HV-winding, current
input to LV or MV winding, guard to tank), the guarding technique prevents disturbing influences by
still-connected devices. However, the following requirements must be fulfilled:

Disconnect voltage transformers and neutral point impedances as they cause a short circuit
to ground.

Avoid overloading of the instrument due to high currents, e.g. long cables.

The still-connected devices should have low capacitances and losses compared to the
transformer insulation; otherwise high guard currents may cause a negative dissipation
factor (p. 19).

Avoid electromagnetic field coupling since the still-connected devices might act as
antennas.

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If these requirements are fulfilled, the instrument can attain the same accuracy as that of a
complete disconnection. Figure 11 illustrates the effect of a still connected HV device CExt which is
connected to ground / guard.
Voltage source

~
Current input

A
Guard/
Ground

CT

CLT

CHL

CH

CExt

Figure 11: Wiring diagram for a


three winding transformer

LV

MV

having an external device CExt

HV

still connected

Effect of Remaining HV Devices on Not Guarded CH/CL - Measurements


For CH and CL measurements (voltage output to HV/LV-winding, current sense to tank, guard to LV
or MV winding if available) the still-connected HV devices will increase the losses and thus lead to
an overestimation of moisture. This is especially ture for insulations having losses or impedances
in the range of the transformer insulation.
Current sense

A
Voltage source

~
Guard

CT

CLT

CHL

CH

CExt

Figure 12: Wiring diagram for CH


- measurement having an

Ground

LV

MV

HV

external device CExt still


connected

A measurement is of little value or impossible in case of

Wet or dirty bushings

Cables with paper / oil insulation

Voltage transformers

Whereas the following devices will have a minor influence:

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Short PE cables

Short bus bars with high resistance to ground

Other devices having low losses compared to the transformer insulation

4 Setting Up the Software


1. Connect DIRANA to one USB port of your laptop and start the DIRANA software. The
status field in the lower right corner of the main window indicates that the connection is
established.

2. Press the button "Configure Measurement".

3. By clicking the drop-down-list, choose the configuration that fits to your measurement
specimen. You may also refer to the corresponding wiring diagram in order to connect
DIRANA to the transformer.

4. Click the settings tab and then enter 100 Hz as stop frequency. The section below will
explain the required frequency ranges.

5. After this, close the dialog field "Configure Measurement" by clicking on "OK".

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Required Stop Frequency for Subsequent Moisture Analysis


For moisture analysis, the very low frequencies of the dissipation factor curve are required. The
dissipation factor plotted over frequency shows a typical s-shaped curve (Figure 13). With
increasing moisture content, temperature, or aging, the curve shifts towards higher frequencies.
Moisture particularly influences the low frequency part. A change in the high frequency part occurs
only for high water content. The middle part of the curve with the steep gradient reflects oil
conductivity. Insulation geometry determines the local maximum or "hump" on the left-hand side of
the steep gradient. In order to determine the moisture content of the insulation, the measurement
should provide the point of inflection on the left-hand side of the area dominated by insulation
geometry. There, the properties of the cellulose insulation and its water content dominate.
moisture and aging
of cellulose

Dissipation factor

high
1
low
insulation
geometry

0,1

high

low
0,01

high

oil
conductivity
low

0,001
0,001

Figure 13: Interpretation scheme of a dissipation

0,01

100
1000
Frequency [Hz]

factor curve providing discrimination between


the influences of moisture, aging, oil
conductivity and insulation geometry

The position of the area influenced by moisture in cellulose and, consequently, the frequency
range required for the specific insulation depends on the condition of the insulation. Dry or cold
insulations require measuring down to very low frequencies, i.e. 100 Hz. For hot or highly
conductive insulations, the stop frequency can be much higher; e.g. 0.1 Hz.
As the condition of the transformer to be measured is unknown in most cases, set the stop
frequency to the lowest value, i.e. 100 Hz. Then, observe the dissipation factor curve during the
measurement and stop the measurement when the "hump" and the point of inflexion on its lefthand side appear. See also the measurement example below.
Note that for elevated temperatures the "hump" will not be as distinct as in Figure 13. The
dissipation factor trace does not show such a clear local maximum, but rather, a slight point of
inflexion (Figure 24).

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5 Performing the Measurement


5.1 Development of the Dissipation Factor Curve
After setting up the software and checking the measurement cables, press the "Send Configuration
to Device and Start Measurement" button

. During the running measurement do not move the

cables since the piezoelectric effect may cause disturbing charges. The dissipation factor curve will
appear, starting at the high frequencies, and developing toward the low frequencies.

Figure 14: Dissipation factor curve starting at the


high frequencies. The table at the top displays the
values for the curser position, currently for power
frequency.

Figure 15: Dissipation factor curve after transition


from time to frequency domain at 0.1 Hz.

Figure 16: Complete dissipation factor curve.


Sufficient data for subsequent moisture analysis
were already available at 0.0005 Hz, corresponding
to 40 minutes measurement time. The
measurement could have been stopped at this
point.

During the measurement, DIRANA can be disconnected from the computer and the measurement
will continue offline. After reconnection to the computer, the measurement results are loaded into
the DIRANA software and displayed in the graphical view pane.

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The measurement can be stopped when the "hump" and the point of inflexion on its left-hand side
are measured; please refer to the explanations for Figure 13.

5.2 Measurement Errors


Voltage Source Overload
If the instrument is not able to reach the desired voltage, an error message will indicate the
instrument overload.
To solve the problem:

Check whether the measurement setup has resulted in a short-circuit.

If capacitive currents cause an overload (typical for long cables), decrease the output
voltage or start the measurement at lower frequencies than 1000 Hz; i.e. at 100 Hz.

Input Overflow
In case the software displays an input overflow error, check that the transformer and the DIRANA
have the same reference potential. Usually this error appears when the transformer tank is on a
floating potential. Connect the transformer tank to the ground terminal on the rear panel of the
DIRANA (p. 10).
Negative Dissipation Factor
The dissipation factor curve may turn negative at high frequencies, see Figure 17. Reasons for this
problem may be at first a high guard impedance, at second a small measured capacitance in
conjunction with a large guard capacitance, at third high guard currents (dirty bushings) and at
fourth the inductivity of coils.
DF
1.000
0.500

CHL

0.100
0.050
0.0100
0.005
0.001

0.010

0.100

1.000

10.000

f/Hz

Figure 17: Dielectric measurement with negative


dissipation factor

To solve the problem:

Connect all guards of measurement cables and if possible an additional wire from the
triaxial connectors at the DIRANA front plate to the transformer tank.

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Try to decrease the guard currents (clean bushings, disconnect all devices which are
possibly still connected to the transformer).

Check ratio of capacitances (measure adjacent windings only).

Ensure a proper connection of the DIRANA housing to the reference potential, usually the
transformer tank.

Dip at the Transition from Time to Frequency Domain


At the transition from time domain (PDC) to frequency domain (FDS) a dip may appear. Two
reasons for this are possible: first a remaining polarization of the dielectric and second
disturbances at in the time domain measurement.
Figure 18 illustrates a dip caused by a remaining polarization. For this transformer, the resistance
of the dielectric was tested with 5 kV DC prior to the dielectric response measurement using
DIRANA. The remaining polarization shifts the time domain current and, consequently, the
dissipation factor as displayed in frequency domain.
DF
0.200
0.100
0.070
0.050
0.030
0.020

Figure 18: Dip at the transition from

0.010
0.007
0.0001

0.0010

0.0100

0.1000

1.0000

10.0000

100.0000

f/Hz

frequency domain (FDS) to time


domain (PDC)

To solve this problem,

Depolarize the dielectric by connecting the terminals of the HV and the LV bushings to each
over and to the transformer tank. The depolarization time should be at least as long as the
polarization time (duration, for which the voltage was applied), however this also depends
on the applied voltage. After this, the DIRANA measurement can be repeated.

Measure the dielectric response using DIRANA at first prior to the resistance test of the
dielectric.

Disturbances during Time Domain Measurement


Disturbances in the time domain current are transformed into the frequency domain and affect the
results displayed in frequency domain (e.g. dissipation factor). Figure 19 shows disturbances on
the time domain current for 600-1100 s measurement time as an example. They cause

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disturbances in dissipation factor for the low frequencies. Generally, the disturbances in time
domain will appear in frequency domain depending on their frequency spectrum.
DF

I/A

HV+LV to tank

HV+LV to tank

0.0000030

2.000
0.0000020

1.000
0.500
0.200

0.0000010

0.100

0.0000007

0.050
0.0000005
0.020
2

10

20

50

100

200

500 1000

t/s

0.0010

0.0100

0.1000

1.0000

10.0000

f/Hz

Figure 19: Time domain current with disturbances at around 1000 s (left) and its transformation in
frequency domain with disturbances at the low frequencies (right). The reason for the disturbances was
that guarding was not applicable for this CL-measurement.

To solve this problem,

Use a guarded measurement set-up

Apply all guards of the measurement cables

Increase measurement voltage

Try to minimize disturbances by e.g. using an electrostatic shield

Perform the measurement in frequency domain only


In the dialog field "Configure Measurement", click on the "Show Advanced Settings" button.
Set the "Switch Frequency" to the same value as the "Stop Frequency", e.g. 100 Hz. Note
that this increases the time duration for the measurement substantially.

6 Interpreting the Dielectric Response in Frequency Domain


The dielectric response of oil-paper-insulated power transformers consists of three components:
The dielectric response of the cellulose insulation (paper, pressboard), the dielectric response of
the oil and the interfacial polarization effect. The superposition of these three components follows
in the dielectric response.
Moisture, temperature, insulation geometry, oil conductivity and conductive aging by-products
influence the dielectric response. The discrimination of moisture from other effects is a key quality
feature for the analysis of dielectric measurements.

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Superposition of Dielectric Properties


Figure 20 displays the dissipation factor of only pressboard with a moisture content of 1, 2 and 3 %
measured at 20C.
DF
1.000
0.500
3%

0.200

2%

0.100
0.050

Figure 20: Dissipation factor of pressboard only

1%
0.020

having moisture content of 1, 2 and 3 %

0.010
0.005
0.001

0.01

0.1

1.0

10.0

100

f/Hz

Figure 21 shows the dissipation factor of only oil with a conductivity of 1 pS/m measured at 20C.
Note, that the losses are much higher as for pressboard and that the dissipation factor is just a line
with a slope of 20 dB / decade.

DF

10.0
1.00

0.10

0.01

0.001

Figure 21: Dissipation factor of oil only having a

0.0001
0.001

0.010

0.100

1.00

10.00

100.00

f/Hz

conductivity of 1 pS/m at 20C

The dielectric properties of pressboard and oil are superimposed together with interfacial
polarization. Interfacial polarization is typical for non-homogeneous dielectrics with different
permittivity or conductivity. Here charge carriers such as ions accumulate at the interfaces, forming
clouds with a dipole-like behavior. This kind of polarization is effective only somewhere below ten
Hertz.

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Pressboard

Oil
conductivity

Insulation
Geometry

Pressboard

DIRANA Application Guide

0.30
0.10

Figure 22: Dissipation factor of pressboard and

0.03

oil together with the interfacial polarization effect

0.01

DF

0.001

0.010

0.100

1.000

10.000

100.000

f/Hz

(insulation geometry)

Figure 22 displays the dissipation factor of pressboard having 1 % moisture content and oil
together with the interfacial polarization effect (insulation geometry). The insulation geometry (ratio
of oil to pressboard) determines the interfacial polarization effect. The frequency range of 100010 Hz is dominated by the pressboard. Oil conductivity causes the steep slope at 1-0.01 Hz. The
interfacial polarization (insulation geometry) determines the local maximum or "hump" at 0.003 Hz.
Finally, the properties of pressboard appear again at the frequencies below 0.0005 Hz. The
frequency limits correspond to Figure 22, but will vary in a wide range with moisture, oil
conductivity, temperature and amount of conductive aging by-products.
Moisture especially increases the losses in the low frequency range of the dielectric response of
pressboard. Thus, data on the left-hand side of the area dominated by interfacial polarization
(insulation geometry) are required for a reliable moisture determination. The point of inflexion on
the left hand side of the area dominated by insulation geometry must be reached.
Since pressboard also dominates the high frequency area above 10 Hz in Figure 22, it might
appear that it is sufficient to measure this frequency range. However, moisture especially affects
the low frequency branch of the dissipation factor curve. Figure 20 illustrates, that the high
frequency part of the dissipation factor curve is very similar for different moisture contents, but the
low frequency part differs. Consequently, if the measurement range is restricted to the high
frequencies, the accuracy of water determination will be very low allowing only for a rough
discrimination between wet and dry.
If geometry data of the transformer are known, it is not necessary to measure down to these low
frequencies. For example, for Figure 22, the measurement could be stopped at 0.001 Hz.
Influence of Moisture and Temperature
For increasing moisture content and oil conductivity, the curve shifts toward higher frequencies, but
the shape remains similar. Figure 23 depicts the dissipation factor over frequency for 3 % moisture
content and 10 pS/m oil conductivity. Figure 24 illustrates the influence of temperature on the same

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insulation system. At 50C the losses of pressboard along with the oil conductivity increase while
the shape of the curve remains similar.

DF

1.00

0.20
0.10

Figure 23: Dissipation factor of an oil-paper0.02

insulation with pressboard having 3 % moisture

0.01
0.001

0.010

0.100

1.000

10.000

100.00

f/Hz

content and oil with a conductivity of 10 pS/m

DF
10.00
5.00

1.00
0.50

Figure 24: Dissipation factor at 50C of an oil-

0.10
0.05

paper-insulation with pressboard having 3 %


moisture content and oil with a conductivity of

0.01
0.001

0.010

0.100

1.000

10.00

100.00

f/Hz

43 pS/m

For the measurement as shown in Figure 23, sufficient data for subsequent moisture analysis was
available at 0.0021 Hz, corresponding to a measurement time of 14 minutes. At this frequency the
only properties of pressboard appear, which is the prerequisite for accurate moisture analysis.
Finally, for the elevated temperature of 50C of Figure 24, the measurement could have been
stopped at 0.01 Hz.

7 Moisture Analysis Using DIRANA


7.1 Principle of Moisture Analysis
Moisture determination is based upon a comparison of the transformer's dielectric response to a
modelled dielectric response. A so-called XY model combines the dielectric response of
pressboard as taken from a database with that of oil with regard to the insulation temperature. A
fitting algorithm rearranges the modelled dielectric response and delivers moisture content and oil
conductivity. The software will automatically compensate for the influence of conductive aging byproducts. Figure 25 depicts the programming flowchart of the analysis algorithm.

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Measurement

Data base
Temperature
Oil

XY-model

Comparison
DF

moisture content,
oil conductivity

1.00
0.50
0.20
0.10
0.05
0.02
0.01
0.005

f/Hz
0.01

44C

0.10

1.00

10.00

100.0

Model Curve

Figure 25: Programming flowchart of the analysis algorithm

7.2 Step by Step Guide for Moisture Analysis


1. Select the Measurement
Select the desired measurement in the measurement
collection, and open the moisture assessment window by
clicking on the Assessment button.

2. Enter Variables
For

temperature

temperature

into

compensation,
the

type

corresponding

the
field.

insulation
For

this

measurement, it was 44C.


The fields barriers (X - ratio of barriers to oil) and spacers
(Y - ratio of spacers to oil) determine the insulation
geometry. If data with a sufficient frequency depth were
measured (3-5 points on the left hand side of the hump),
the software would automatically calculate these values.
Therefore, no numbers have to be entered.

The oil conductivity will also be calculated automatically. If the oil conductivity is known, it can be
entered taking into account the measurement temperature. Using the "Enter Conductivity at
Different Temp." button, the conductivity can be recalculated to the insulation temperature.

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All parameters with a check mark

Measuring and Analyzing the Dielectric Response of a Power Transformer

will be calculated automatically by the DIRANA software. The

only parameter that is absolutely necessary is the insulation temperature.


3. Automatic Assessment
Press the "Start Assessment" button. The fitting algorithm arranges the parameters of the model
(barriers X, spacers Y, oil conductivity, moisture content) in order to obtain the best fit between the
model curve and the measurement curve. Figure 26 displays the result of the automatic curve
fitting.

Figure 26: Assessment screen


after automatic curve fitting

In this example, the automatic curve fitting gives the result of 1.7 % moisture content, 9.3 pS/m oil
conductivity, 20 % barriers and 14 % spacers.
4. Optimizing the Moisture Analysis by Hand
As the low frequencies on the left-hand side of the "hump" reflect moisture, a good fitting of this
area should be observed. In this respect, Figure 26 leaves some room for improvements. Since
insulation geometry causes the hump, decreasing the amount of barriers to 12 % gives a better
fitting of this area. Consequently, the moisture content must be adjusted to 1.5 %.
The automatic assessment gave a different result than the optimization by hand because the lower
limit for barriers was set to 20 %. By setting the limit for barriers to 10 % in the "Advanced Limits
for Automatic Assessment" tab, the automatic assessment comes to the same result as the
optimization by hand.

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Figure 27: Assessment screen


after optimization by hand

7.3 Analysis of a Measurement with Limited Frequency Range


The moisture analysis reaches a high accuracy, if data of the low frequencies dominated by
pressboard are available (Figure 22). Figure 28 depicts an example with a limited frequency range
where the measurement was stopped too early; the low frequency properties of pressboard are
invisible.
DF
0.500

0.200
0.100
0.050

0.020
0.010

Figure 28: Dissipation factor curve without

0.005
0.01

0.10

1.00

10.0

100.0

f/Hz

information on the left hand side of the "hump"

To analyze such a measurement, some estimation of the geometric conditions will help. Set the
geometry condition to fixed values of X = 30 % and Y = 20 %. The amount of barriers to oil X
typically ranges from 15 to 55 % and of spacers Y from 13 to 24 %. Usually, older transformers
contain a higher ratio of pressboard to oil (Figure 29). To estimate the ratio of solid to liquid
insulation, one may also look at the high frequencies of 100-1000 Hz.
After this, perform the automatic assessment and, if necessary, some optimization by hand as
described above. For the example of Figure 28, the assessment result is then depicted in Figure
30.

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Barriers X in %

DIRANA Application Guide

Measuring and Analyzing the Dielectric Response of a Power Transformer

70
60
50

22 kV
110 kV

65 kV
220 kV

400 kV

500 kV
autotransformer

40
30
20

Figure 29: Ratio of barriers to

10

oil X for various transformers


0
1960

1970

1980

1990

2000

2010

Year of manufacture

depending on year of
manufacture.

Figure 30: Assessment result


for a measurement with limited
frequency range

8 Assessing the Analysis Results


8.1 Assessment According to IEC 60422
The DIRANA software assesses the moisture concentration based on the classifications given in
the IEC 60422 "Mineral insulating oils in electrical equipment Supervision and maintenance
guidance". The categories are:
Category

Moisture content in %

Dry

below 2,2

Moderately wet

2,2-3,7

Wet

3,7-4,8

Extremely wet

above 4,8

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IEC 60422 provides categories for moisture contamination of power transformers based on
moisture saturation. Moisture saturation can be converted into moisture content using sorption
isotherms (Figure 31). The IEC rates moisture saturations of more than 6 % as "moderately wet",
which is equivalent to a moisture content of approximately 2.2 %. In this area the water molecules
become more and more active, increasing the dangerous effects of water. At this level,
maintenance actions such as drying should be considered, taking into account the importance and
future operation of the transformer. Figure 31 shows the relationship between moisture content and
moisture saturation and illustrates the categories of IEC 60422 in order to assess the results

Moisture content [%]

analyzed by DIRANA.
5
C
2 1
C
80

4
3
2

on
e
ur nati
t
s
i
i
Mo ntam
co

Moderately
wet

Wet,
> 30 %
extremely
wet
Figure 31: Moisture sorption isotherm for a

Dry
0

cellulose material relating moisture saturation to

10

20
30
Moisture saturation [%]

moisture content with categories according to


IEC 60422

8.2 Transformer Drying


Basically there are three approaches for the drying of power transformers: off-site oven drying, onsite drying and on-line drying.
Off-Site Oven Drying
Off-site oven drying is the traditional drying technique used for new transformers in the factory.
High temperature applied together with low pressure dry the insulation. However, for an already
installed transformer, the transportation to a workshop can be very expensive. Additionally, the
transformer will be off-line for a considerable length of time.
On-Site Drying
For on-site drying techniques, the transformer will be left in the substation. Low frequency heating
of the winding in combination with vacuum is one common on-site drying technique. A second
technique uses hot oil spray together with vacuum. Both techniques are very effective but have the
disadvantage that the transformer will be out of service during the maintenance action.

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On-Line Drying
Here on-line drying systems dry the oil through continuous circulation. The transformer can be left
in service and the oil will regain its dielectric withstand strength very quickly. As the oil contains
only a very small amount of water, typically half of 1 % of all the water in the transformer, this
method of drying the solid insulation will take the long time of months up to years. Additionally,
there is a risk that the inhibitors in the oil may be inadvertently removed.
DIRANA can validate the efficiency of drying methods. Drying methods will at first affect the outer
layers of the cellulose insulation and thus cause an inhomogeneous moisture distribution. In order
to obtain a more realistic moisture distribution for moisture analysis by DIRANA, the transformer
should be in operation and reach at least a top oil temperature of 50C. This procedure causes a
homogenous moisture distribution and a reliable moisture analysis result.

8.3 Accuracy of Analysis Results


The analysis software will reliably calculate moisture content if the following conditions are fulfilled:

Materials consist of oil and oil-impregnated paper/pressboard. An analysis of transformers


without oil is possible as well; however the cellulose materials must be oil-impregnated.

Measurement data on the left-hand side of the "hump" are available (Figure 22). This
makes the analysis independent from the geometric setup and the oil conductivity of the
specific insulation. The software will calculate the insulation geometry; the user doesn't
have to enter the data.

No "direct" oil connection between the windings, at least one winding must be fully covered
with paper/pressboard. This condition is surely fulfilled at voltages above 20 kV. In the other
case the large influence of the oil gap might hide the properties of pressboard and paper. If
this occurs, the dissipation factor curve will not have the specific shape of Figure 22.

The following conditions influence the accuracy of moisture analysis:

Very high temperature:


Cellulose materials have different temperature dependent behavior. The temperature
compensation of the software will perfectly compensate the influence of temperature if the
materials inside the transformer are the same as in the data base. As this is rarely the case,
an increase in temperature of 30 K can lead to an underestimation of moisture content of
0.5 %. For example, the moisture analysis indicated 2.5 % moisture content for a
transformer measured at 50C. Here the "true" moisture content may range from 2.5-3 %
depending on the temperature characteristic of the material used.

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Low temperature:
Temperatures below 10C involve the problems of a reliable temperature measurement and
of the temperature dependent behavior of the cellulose materials used in the particular
transformer.

High oil conductivity


An oil conductivity of more then 20 pS/m at ambient temperature points on conductive
aging by-products. These by-products increase the dielectric losses in a similar way as
water and may lead to an overestimation of moisture. Without compensation the
overestimation can be up to 1.5 % moisture content. DIRANA compensates for this
influence, however an overestimation of moisture of up to 0.3 % may occur.

8.4 Comparison to Other Moisture Measurement Techniques


Oil Sampling with Equilibrium Diagrams
By applying the water content in oil (ppm) and the sampling temperature (C) to a moisture
equilibrium diagram only a very rough estimation of moisture content in paper can be made. Since
aging of oil and paper shifts the equilibrium curves, this method essentially overestimates moisture
content in paper . This especially applies if the acidity and / or oil conductivity are high.
Dielectric Response Methods
For the recovery voltage method RVM, the CIGR task force 15.01.09 stated: "For the RVM
technique, the old interpretation based only on simple relationship between the dominant time
constant of the polarization spectrum and the water content in cellulose is not correct" [4].
The newer methods of polarization and depolarization currents (PDC) and frequency domain
spectroscopy (FDS) are based on a comparison of the measured dielectric response to a modeled
dielectric response. As the data base of the modeled dielectric response was scaled with different
Karl Fischer titration techniques, the moisture contents as analyzed by these methods may differ
as well.
Paper Samples and Karl Fischer Titration
Taking paper samples offers a good opportunity to validate dielectric response methods. On the
other hand, three restrictions apply:

Sampling procedure
During paper sampling and transportation to the laboratory, moisture from the atmosphere
easily increases the moisture content of the sample. A few minutes of exposure to air

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makes the test useless. Therefore the sampling conditions may lead to an overestimation of
moisture content.

Comparability of Karl Fischer titration


Karl Fischer titration suffers from a poor comparability between different instruments and
laboratories [5]. The laboratory measuring the water content of paper samples may use a
different instrument and procedure as the one used to scale the DIRANA data base.
Consequently, the indicated moisture content might differ to a certain extend.

Sample position
The temperature distribution inside a power transformer causes a moisture distribution. The
cold insulation structures (construction elements) accumulate water and the hot structures
(winding paper) are drier. DIRANA will indicate an average moisture content of the barriers
and spacers operated at oil temperature and the winding paper.

Contact Technical Support


In case of further questions, please contact OMICRON's technical support:
Europe/Middle East/Africa

support@omicron.at
Phone: +43 5523-507-333
Fax: +43 5523-507-7333

North and South America

techsupport@omicronusa.com
Phone: +1 713 830-4660 or 1 800 OMICRON
Fax: +1 713 830+4661

Asia/Pacific

support@asia.omicron.at
Phone: +852 2634 0377
Fax: +852 2634 0390

9 Literature
[1] T. V. Oommen: Moisture Equilibrium Charts for Transformer Insulation Drying Practice
IEEE Transaction on Power Apparatus and Systems, Vol. PAS-103, No. 10, Oct. 1984, pp.
3063-3067.
[2] M. Koch, S. Tenbohlen, D. Giselbrecht, C. Homagk, T. Leibfried: Onsite, Online and Post
Mortem Insulation Diagnostics at Power Transformers, Cigr SC A2 & D1 Colloquium,
Brugge, Belgium 2007

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[3] M. Koch, M. Krger: Moisture Determination by Improved On-Site Diagnostics, TechCon


Asia Pacific, Sydney 2008, download at www.omicron.at
[4] S. M. Gubanski et al.: Dielectric Response Methods for Diagnostics of Power
Transformers CIGR Task Force 15.01.09, Technical Brochure 254, Paris, 2004
[5] M. Koch, S. Tenbohlen, J. Blennow, I. Hoehlein: Reliability and Improvements of Water
Titration by the Karl Fischer Technique Proceedings of the XVth International Symposium
on High Voltage Engineering, ISH, Ljubljana, Slovenia, 2007

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