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“A Stitch in Time...”
US $9.95
GBP £5.95
The Complete
Guide to Electrical
Insulation Testing
2 A STlTCH lN TlML A STlTCH lN TlML !
“A Stitch In Time”
The Complete Guide to
Electrical Insulation Testing
Copyright 2006
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WHAT IS “Good” InSulATIon?
Every electric wire in your plant – whether it’s in a motor, generator, cable,
switch, transformer, etc. – is carefully covered with some form of electrical
insulation. The wire itself is usually copper or aluminum, which is known to
be a good conductor of the electric current that powers your equipment. The
insulation must be just the opposite from a conductor: it should resist current
and keep the current in its path along the conductor.
To understand insulation testing you really don’t need to go into the
mathematics of electricity, but one simple equation – Ohm’s law – can be very
helpful in appreciating many aspects. Even if you’ve been exposed to this law
before, it may be a good idea to review it in the light of insulation testing.
The purpose of insulation around a conductor is much like that of a pipe
carrying water, and Ohm’s law of electricity can be more easily understood by
a comparison with water fow. In Fig. 1 we show this comparison. Pressure on
water from a pump causes fow along the pipe (Fig. 1a). If the pipe were to
spring a leak, you’d waste water and lose some water pressure.
With electricity, voltage is like the pump pressure, causing electricity to fow
along the copper wire (Fig. 1b). As in a water pipe, there is some resistance
to fow, but it is much less along the wire than it is through the insulation.
Figure 1–Comparison of water fow (a) with electric current (b).
ConTEnTS PAGE
WHAT IS “GOOd” InSUlATIOn? ........................................................................ 3
WHAT MAkES InSUlATIOn GO BAd? ................................................................ 4
HOW InSUlATIOn RESISTAnCE IS MEASUREd .................................................. 5
HOW TO InTERPRET RESISTAnCE REAdInGS .................................................... 6
FACTORS AFFECTInG InSUlATIOn RESISTAnCE REAdInGS .............................. 8
TyPES OF InSUlATIOn RESISTAnCE TESTS ....................................................... 10
TEST VOlTAGE VS. EqUIPMEnT RATInG .......................................................... 16
AC TESTInG VS. dC ............................................................................................ 17
USE OF dC dIElECTRIC TEST SET ...................................................................... 18
TESTS dURInG dRyInG OUT OF EqUIPMEnT .................................................. 18
EFFECT OF TEMPERATURE On InSUlATIOn RESISTAnCE................................ 21
EFFECTS OF HUMIdITy ...................................................................................... 23
PREPARATIOn OF APPARATUS TO TEST ........................................................... 24
SAFETy PRECAUTIOnS ...................................................................................... 26
COnnECTIOnS FOR TESTInG InSUlATIOn RESISTAnCE OF
ElECTRICAl EqUIPMEnT .................................................................................. 27
AddITIOnAl nOTES ABOUT USInG A MEGGER InSUlATIOn TESTER ........... 33
InTERPRETATIOn-MInIMUM VAlUES .............................................................. 36
MInIMUM VAlUES FOR InSUlATIOn RESISTAnCE .......................................... 38
TESTS USInG MUlTI-VOlTAGE MEGGER InSUlATIOn TESTERS ...................... 42
STEP-VOlTAGE METHOd .................................................................................. 48
USE OF A GUARd TERMInAl ............................................................................ 50
BUSHInGS, POTHEAdS And InSUlATORS ....................................................... 54
OUTdOOR OIl CIRCUIT BREAkERS ................................................................... 57
SETTInG UP A MAInTEnAnCE PROGRAM ....................................................... 60
HOW OFTEn SHOUld yOU TEST? .................................................................... 60
MEGGER 5 And 10 kV InSUlATIOn TESTERS .................................................. 62
MEGGER 1 kV InSUlATIOn TESTERS ................................................................ 64
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Once started, the different enemies tend to aid each other, permitting
excessive current through the insulation.
Sometimes the drop in insulation resistance is sudden, as when equipment
is fooded. Usually, however, it drops gradually, giving plenty of warning,
if checked periodically. Such checks permit planned reconditioning before
service failure. If there are no checks, a motor with poor insulation, for
example, may not only be dangerous to touch when voltage is applied,
but also be subject to burn out. What was good insulation has become a
partial conductor.
HoW InSulATIon RESISTAnCE IS MEASuREd
you have seen that good insulation has high resistance; poor insulation,
relatively low resistance. The actual resistance values can be higher or lower,
depending upon such factors as the temperature or moisture content of the
insulation (resistance decreases in temperature or moisture). With a little
record-keeping and common sense, however, you can get a good picture of
the insulation condition from values that are only relative.
The Megger insulation tester is a small, portable instrument that gives you
a direct reading of insulation resistance in ohms or megohms. For good
insulation, the resistance usually reads in the megohm range.
The Megger insulation tester is essentially a high-range resistance meter
(ohmmeter) with a built-in direct-current generator. This meter is of special
construction with both current and voltage coils, enabling true ohms to be
read directly, independent of the actual voltage applied. This method is non-
destructive; that is, it does not cause deterioration of the insulation.
Figure 2–Typical Megger test instrument hook-up to measure insulation resistance.
Common sense tells us that the more voltage we have, the more current
there’ll be. Also, the lower the resistance of the wire, the more current for
the same voltage.
Actually, this is Ohm’s law, which is expressed this way in equation form:
E = I x R
where, E = voltage in volts
I = current in amperes
R = resistance in ohms
note, however, that no insulation is perfect (that is, has infnite resistance) so
some electricity does fow along the insulation or through it to ground. Such
a current may only be a millionth of an ampere (one microampere) but it is
the basis of insulation testing equipment. note also that a higher voltage
tends to cause more current through the insulation. This small amount of
current would not, of course, harm good insulation but would be a problem
if the insulation has deteriorated.
now, to sum up our answer to the question “what is ‘good’ insulation?”
We have seen that, essentially, “good” means a relatively high resistance
to current. Used to describe an insulation material, “good” would also
mean “the ability to keep a high resistance.” So, a suitable way of
measuring resistance can tell you how “good” the insulation is. Also, if you
take measurements at regular periods, you can check trends toward its
deterioration (more on this later).
WHAT MAkES InSulATIon Go BAd?
When your plant electrical system and equipment are new, the electrical
insulation should be in top notch shape. Furthermore, manufacturers of wire,
cable, motors, and so on have continually improved their insulations for
services in industry. nevertheless, even today, insulation is subject to many
effects which can cause it to fail – mechanical damage, vibration, excessive
heat or cold, dirt, oil, corrosive vapors, moisture from processes, or just the
humidity on a muggy day.
In various degrees, these enemies of insulation are at work as time goes
on – combined with the electrical stresses that exist. As pin holes or cracks
develop, moisture and foreign matter penetrate the surfaces of the
insulation, providing a low resistance path for leakage current.
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Whether you test monthly, twice a year, or once a year depends upon the
type, location, and importance of the equipment. For example, a small
pump motor or a short control cable may be vital to a process in your plant.
Experience is the best teacher in setting up the scheduled periods for your
equipment.
you should make these periodic tests in the same way each time. That is,
with the same test connections and with the same test voltage applied for
the same length of time. Also you should make tests at about the same
temperature, or correct them to the same temperature. A record of the
relative humidity near the equipment at the time of the test is also helpful
in evaluating the reading and trend. later sections cover temperature
correction and humidity effects.
In summary, here are some general observations about how you can interpret
periodic insulation resistance tests, and what you should do with the result:
Condition What To do
(a) Fair to high values no cause for concern.
and well maintained.
(b) Fair to high values, locate and remedy the cause and
but showing a check the downward trend.
constant tendency
towards lower values.
(c) low but well maintained. Condition is probably all right, but
cause of low values should be
checked.


(d) So low as to be unsafe. Clean, dry out, or otherwise raise the
values before placing equipment in
service. (Test wet equipment while
drying out.)

(e) Fair or high values, Make tests at frequent intervals until
previously well the cause of low values is located
maintained but showing and remedied; or until the values
sudden lowering. have become steady at a lower
level but safe for operation; or until
values become so low that it is unsafe
to keep the equipment in operation.

The generator can be hand-cranked or line-operated to develop a high
dC voltage which causes a small current through and over surfaces of the
insulation being tested (Fig. 2). This current (usually at an applied voltage
of 500 volts or more) is measured by the ohmmeter, which has an indicating
scale. Fig. 3 shows a typical scale, which reads increasing resistance values
from left up to infnity, or a resistance too high to be measured.
Figure 4–Typical record of insulation resistance of a mill motor. Curve A shows test values as
measured; Curve B shows same values corrected to 20°C (see page 22), giving a defnite downward
trend toward an unsafe condition. Reverse side of card (at right) is used to record the test data.
Figure 3–Typical scale on the Megger insulation tester.
HoW To InTERPRET RESISTAnCE REAdInGS
As previously mentioned, insulation resistance readings should be considered
relative. They can be quite different for one motor or machine tested three
days in a row, yet not mean bad insulation. What really matters is the trend
in readings over a time period, showing lessening resistance and warning
of coming problems. Periodic testing is, therefore, your best approach to
preventive maintenance of electrical equipment, using record cards as shown
in Fig. 4.
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Figure 5–Curves showing components of current measured during dC testing of insulation.
note also in Fig. 5 that the charging current disappears relatively rapidly
as the equipment under test becomes charged. larger units with more
capacitance will take longer to be charged. This current also is the stored
energy initially discharged after your test, by short-circuiting and grounding
the insulation. AlWAYS TAkE THIS SAFETY MEASuRE.
you can see further from Fig. 5 that the absorption current decreases at a
relatively slow rate, depending upon the exact nature of the insulation. This
stored energy, too, must be released at the end of a test, and requires a
longer time than the capacitance charging current – about four times as long
as the voltage was applied.
With good insulation, the conduction or leakage current should build up to a
steady value that is constant for the applied voltage, as shown in Fig. 5. Any
increase of leakage current with time is a warning of trouble, as discussed in
the tests described in the following section.
FACToRS AFFECTInG InSulATIon RESISTAnCE REAdInGS
Remember that the measured resistance (of the insulation) will be
determined by the voltage applied and the resultant current (R = E/I).
There are a number of things that affect current, including temperature
of the insulation and humidity, as mentioned in the previous section.
Right now, let’s just consider the nature of current through insulation
and the effect of how long voltage is applied.
Current through and along insulation is made up partly of a relatively
steady current in leakage paths over the insulation surface. Electricity
also fows through the volume of the insulation. Actually, as shown in
Fig. 5, our total current comprises three components:
1. Capacitance Charging Current
Current that starts out high and drops after the insulation has been
charged to full voltage (much like water fow in a garden hose when
you frst turn on the spigot).
2. Absorption Current
Also an initially high current which then drops (for reasons discussed
under the section Time-Resistance Method).
3. Conduction or leakage Current
A small essentially steady current both through and over the
insulation.
As shown in Fig. 5, the total current is the sum of the three components
and it is this current that can be measured directly by a microammeter,
or in terms of megohms at a particular voltage by means of a Megger
instrument (ohmmeter). Because the total current depends upon the
time that the voltage is applied, you can see now why Ohm’s law R = E/I
only holds, theoretically, at an infnite time (that is, you’d have to wait
forever before taking a reading).

In practice, as you will see in the test methods described below, you
read a value that is the apparent resistance – a useful value to diagnose
troubles, which is what you want to do.
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If the apparatus you are testing has very small capacitance, such as a
short run of house wiring, the spot reading test is all that is necessary.
However, most equipment is capacitive and so your very frst spot reading
on equipment in your plant, with no prior tests, can be only a rough guide
as to how good or bad the insulation is. For many years, maintenance
professionals have used the one-megohm rule to establish the allowable
lower limit for insulation resistance. The rule may be stated:
Insulation resistance should be approximately one megohm for each 1,000
volts of operating voltage, with a minimum value of one megohm.
For example, a motor rated at 2,400 volts should have a minimum insulation
resistance of 2.4 megohms. In practice, megohm readings normally are
considerably above this minimum value in new equipment or when
insulation is in good condition.
By taking readings periodically and recording them, you have a better basis
of judging the actual insulation condition. Any persistent downward trend
is usually fair warning of trouble ahead, even though the readings may be
higher than the suggested minimum safe values. Equally true, as long as
your periodic readings are consistent, they may be ok, even though lower
than the recommended minimum values. The curves of Fig. 7 show typical
behavior of insulation resistance under varying plant operating conditions.
The curves were plotted from spot readings taken with a Megger instrument
over a period of months.
With a background now of how time affects the meaning of instrument
readings, let’s consider three common test methods: (1) short-time or spot
reading; (2) time-resistance; and (3) step or multi-voltage tests.
TYPES oF InSulATIon RESISTAnCE TESTS
Short-Time or Spot-Reading Test
In this method, you simply connect the Megger instrument across the
insulation to be tested and operate it for a short, specifc time period
(60 seconds is usually recommended). As shown schematically in Fig. 6,
you’ve simply picked a point on a curve of increasing resistance values;
quite often the value would be less for 30 seconds, more for 60 seconds.
Bear in mind also that temperature and humidity, as well as condition of
your insulation affect your reading.
Figure 6–Typical curve of insulation resistance (in megohms) with time for the “short time” or
“spot-reading” test method.
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Time-Resistance Method
This method is fairly independent of temperature and often can give
you conclusive information without records of past tests. It is based on
the absorption effect of good insulation compared to that of moist or
contaminated insulation. you simply take successive readings at specifc times
and note the differences in readings (see curves, Fig. 8). Tests by this method
are sometimes referred to as absorption tests.
note that good insulation shows a continual increase in resistance (less
current – see curve A) over a period of time (in the order of 5 to 10 minutes).
This is caused by the absorption current we spoke of earlier; good insulation
shows this charge effect over a time period much longer than the time
required to charge the capacitance of the insulation.
If the insulation contains much moisture or contaminants, the absorption
effect is masked by a high leakage current which stays at a fairly constant
value, keeping the resistance reading low (remember: R = E/I).

Figure 8–Typical curves showing dielectric absorption effect in a “time-resistance” test, made on
capacitive equipment such as a large motor winding.
The time-resistance test is of value also because it is independent of
equipment size. The increase in resistance for clean and dry insulation occurs
in the same manner whether a motor is large or small. you can, therefore,
compare several motors and establish standards for new ones, regardless of
their horsepower ratings.
Figure 7–Typical behavior of insulation resistance over a period of months under varying operating
conditions, (curves plotted from spot readings with a Megger instrument).
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dielectric Absorption Ratio
The ratio of two time-resistance readings (such as a 60-second reading
divided by a 30-second reading) is called a dielectric absorption ratio. It is
useful in recording information about insulation. If the ratio is a 10-minute
reading divided by a 1-minute reading, the value is called the polarization
index.
With hand-cranked Megger instruments, it’s a lot easier for you to run the
test for only 60 seconds, taking your frst reading at 30 seconds. If you have a
line-operated Megger instrument, you’ll get best results by running the test
10 minutes, taking readings at 1- and at 10-minutes, to get the polarization
index. Table I gives values of the ratios and corresponding relative
conditions of the insulation that they indicate.
Fig. 9 shows how a 60-second test would appear for good and perhaps bad
insulation. When the insulation is in good shape, the 60-second reading is
higher than the 30-second reading.
Figure 9–Typical card plot of a time-resistance or double-reading test.
A further advantage of this double-reading test, as it is sometimes called,
is that it gives you a clearer picture, even when a spot reading says the
insulation looks fne.
For example, let’s say the spot reading on a synchronous motor was 10
megohms. now, let’s assume that the double-reading check shows that the
insulation resistance holds steady at 10 megohms while you hold voltage up
to 60 seconds. This means there may be dirt or moisture in the windings that
bears watching. On the other hand, if the pointer shows a gradual increase
between the 30-second and the 60-second checks, then you’re reasonably
sure the windings are in good shape.
Time-resistance tests on large rotating electrical machinery – especially with
high operating voltage – require high insulation resistance ranges and a very
constant test voltage. A heavy-duty Megger test set, line-operated, serves
this need. Similarly, such an instrument is better adapted for large cables,
bushings, transformers and switchgear.
InSUlATIOn
COndITIOn
60/30-SECOnd
RATIO
10/1-MInUTE RATIO
(POlARIZATIOn IndEX)
dangerous
questionable
Good
Excellent

1.0 to 1.25
1.4 to 1.6
Above 1.6**
less than 1
1.0 to 2***
2 to 4
Above 4**
*These values must be considered tentative and relative—
subject to experience with the time-resistance method
over a period of time.
**In some cases, with motors, values approximately 20%
higher than shown here indicate a dry brittle winding
which will fail under shock conditions or during starts. For
preventive maintenance, the motor winding should be
cleaned,treated, and dried to restore winding flexibility.
***These results would be satisfactory for equipment with
very low capacitance such as short runs of house wiring.
TABLE I—Condition of Insulation Indicated by
Dielectric Absorption Ratios*
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AC TESTInG vS. dC
Up to now, we’ve talked about testing with dC voltage, but you will hear
of AC testing and need to know the difference. Remember that we spoke
of the kinds of current produced in insulation by dC? (The initial surge of
charging current, the drop with time to absorption current, and then, after
more time, the steady conduction current.) We saw that in insulation testing,
the conduction or leakage current is the one that gives us the information
we need.
In contrast, testing with AC gives a charging current that is extremely
large compared to the other kinds; leakage current is relatively minor. AC
frequently is used for high-potential testing; voltage is increased to some
specifed point to see if the insulation can stand that particular voltage. It
is a GO/nO-GO type of test and can cause deterioration of the insulation, in
contrast to the dC test which is basically non-destructive.
If an AC test voltage has been used and you want to use dC tests as
an alternative, you will need to increase the maximum dC test voltage
somewhat to obtain equivalent results.
In some cases, AC testing may be more suitable for proof testing of
equipment (that is, seeing that the equipment meets prescribed standards).
you run the voltage up to the selected value and the equipment either
passes or doesn’t pass the test. With the dC test, you get a more qualitative
picture; you can meter the leakage current as you increase the voltage and
obtain specifc values of insulation resistance.
As the size of your equipment increases, there are also marked economic
advantages in dC over AC testing. As the test voltage increases, both the
cost and weight of AC equipment go up much faster than with comparable
dC test equipment. This is because the AC test set must supply the charging
current which becomes and remains very high in the larger machines. As
explained previously, in dC testing, this current drops rapidly after the initial
charging period.
TEST volTAGE vS. EquIPMEnT RATInG
Commonly used dC test voltages for routine maintenance are as follows:
Equipment AC Rating dC Test voltage
up to 100 volts 100 and 250 volts
440 to 550 volts 500 and 1,000 volts
2,400 volts 1,000 to 2,500 volts
or higher
4,160 volts and above 1,000 to 5,000 volts,
or higher
Test voltages used for proof testing of equipment are considerably higher
than those used for routine maintenance. Although there are no published
industry standards for dC maximum proof test voltages to be used with
rotating equipment, the schedule given below is customarily used. For
specifc recommendations on your equipment, you should consult the
manufacturer of the equipment.
Proof Test voltages for Rotating Equipment:
Factory AC Test = 2 x nameplate Rating + 1000 volts
dC Proof Test on Installation = 0.8 x Factory AC Test x 1.6
dC Proof Test After Service = 0.6 x Factory AC Test x 1.6
Example:
Motor with 2,400 VAC nameplate rating–
Factory AC Test = 2(2,400) +1,000 = 5,800 VAC
Max. dC Test on Installation = 0.8(5,800)1.6 = 7,424 VdC
Max. dC Test After Service = 0.6(5,800)1.6 = 5,568 VdC
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There are various ways to dry out electrical equipment, depending upon
its size and portability. you can use a blast of hot air, an oven, circulation
of current through conductors, or a combination of techniques. local plant
conditions and facilities, together with information from the equipment
manufacturers, can serve as a guide to the best method for your particular
equipment.
In some cases, or with certain equipment, drying out may not be necessary.
you can check this by insulation resistance tests, if you have records of
previous tests on the apparatus. When drying out is required, such records
are also helpful to determine when the insulation is free of moisture.
noTE: Wet equipment is susceptible to voltage breakdown. Therefore, you
should use a low-voltage Megger tester (100 or 250 vdC), at least
in the early stages of a drying-out run. If a low-voltage instrument
is not readily available, slow cranking of a 500-volt tester may be
substituted.
Many testers have an additional test range measuring in kilohms
(kW). This measurement is typically made at only a few volts, and
is the ideal initial measurement to be made on fooded equipment.
This range measures below the Megohm range, and can, therefore,
provide an actual measurement to use as a benchmark in monitoring
the drying process. If a kilohm measurement is obtained, insulation
has been thoroughly saturated, but may be reclaimable. Alternately
test and dry, watching the readings rise until they reach the Megohm
range, at which time higher voltage tests can be safely employed.
As an example of how important past readings are, let’s look at a 100-hp
motor that’s been fooded. After a clean-up, a spot reading with the Megger
tester shows 1.5 megohms. Offhand, you’d probably say this is ok. What’s
more, if past records showed the insulation resistance to run between 1 and
2 megohms, you’d be sure.
On the other hand, if past records showed the normal resistance values to
run 10 or 20 megohms, then you would know that water was still in the
motor windings.
In summary, dC test sets are employed almost exclusively for high-voltage
maintenance and feld testing for the following reasons:
1. lower cost
2. lighter weight
3. Smaller size
4. non-destructive
5. Better information, both in quality and quantity
uSE oF dC dIElECTRIC TEST SET
The Megger instrument, reading directly in ohms and megohms of
insulation resistance, is your best bet for routine in-plant maintenance.
However, some plants, particularly with higher voltage ratings in equipment,
use another Megger product – the dielectric test set. So, you should be
aware of this instrument and its use in insulation resistance measurements.
The dielectric test set can be used to determine insulation resistance by the
same test methods as outlined for the Megger instrument; that is, the short-
time, time-resistance and step-voltage tests. It is designed for other uses, too,
but for insulation testing it provides: (1) an adjustable output voltage and
(2) a monitoring of the resultant current in micro-amperes. The Megger dC
dielectric Test Sets are available with voltage outputs ranging from 5 kV up
to 160 kV.
The curves of Fig. 5 are plotted as current versus time, as are curves for
insulation measurements on typical equipment given near the end of this
manual. Megger supplies graph paper which makes it easy to plot megohms
of insulation resistance from your voltage and current readings.
TESTS duRInG dRYInG ouT oF EquIPMEnT
Wet electrical equipment is a common hazard faced by all maintenance
engineers. If the equipment is wet from fresh water, you go right ahead
drying it out. However, if you’ve got salt water, you must frst wash away the
salt with fresh water. Otherwise, you’ll leave very corrosive deposits of salt
on metal and insulating surfaces as well as in crevices of the insulation. With
moisture, such deposits form a very good conductor of electricity. Also, you
should remove oil or grease from the insulation, using a suitable solvent.
20 A STlTCH lN TlML A STlTCH lN TlML 2!
EFFECT oF TEMPERATuRE on InSulATIon RESISTAnCE
The resistance of insulating materials decreases markedly with an increase in
temperature. As we’ve seen, however, tests by the time-resistance and step-
voltage methods are relatively independent of temperature effects, giving
relative values.
If you want to make reliable comparisons between readings, you should
correct the readings to a base temperature, such as 20°C, or take all your
readings at approximately the same temperature (usually not diffcult to do).
We will cover some general guides to temperature correction.
One thumb rule is:
For every 10°C increase in temperature,
halve the resistance;
or, for every 10°C decrease,
double the resistance.
For example, a two-megohm resistance at 20°C reduces to
1
/
2
megohm
at 40°C.
Each type of insulating material will have a different degree of resistance
change with temperature. Factors have been developed, however, to
simplify the correction of resistance values. Table II gives such factors for
rotating equipment, transformers and cable. you multiply the readings you
get by the factor corresponding to the temperature (which you need to
measure).
For example, assume you have a motor with Class A insulation and you get a
reading of 2.0 megohms at a temperature (in the windings) of 104°F (40°C).
From Table II you read across at 104°F to the next column (for Class A) and
obtain the factor 4.80. your corrected value of resistance is then:
2.0 megohms x 4.80 = 9.6 megohms
(reading (correction (corrected
at 104°F) factor for reading for
Class A 68°F or 20°C)
insulation
at 104°F)
Figure 10-Typical drying curve where one-minute readings of insulation resistance are taken every
four hours.
The typical drying-out curve for a dC motor armature (Fig. 10) shows how
insulation resistance changes. during the frst part of the run, the resistance
actually decreases because of the higher temperature. Then it rises at a
constant temperature as drying proceeds. Finally, it rises to a high value, as
room temperature (20°C) is reached.
note that if you conduct insulation resistance tests during drying, and you
have readings of previous tests on the dry equipment, you’ll know when
you’ve reached the safe value for the unit. you may prefer to use a time-
resistance test, taken periodically (say, once a shift), using the dielectric
absorption ratio or polarization index to follow dry-out progress (no need to
correct for temperature).
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nomograph of temperature correction values for Megger readings
(corrected to 25°C). For rotating machinery with Class B insulation.
EFFECTS oF HuMIdITY
We have spoken at various points in this manual about the presence of
moisture in insulation and its very marked effect upon resistance values. you
might expect, therefore, that increasing humidity (moisture content) in the
surrounding (ambient) air could affect insulation resistance. And it can to
varying degrees.
If your equipment operates regularly above the dew-point temperature (the
temperature at which the moisture vapor in air condenses as a liquid), the
test reading normally will not be affected much by the humidity. Even if the
equipment to be tested is idle, the same is true – so long as its temperature is
kept above the dew point.
note that the resistance is almost fve times greater at 68°F (20°C), as
compared to the reading taken at 104°F. The reference temperature for
cable is given as 60°F (15.6°C), but the important point is to be consistent
and correct to the same base.
TABlE II-Temperature Correction Factors*
TEMP. CABlES
ROTATInG
EqUIP.
°
C
°
F
C
l
A
S
S

A
C
l
A
S
S

B
O
I
l
-
F
I
l
l
E
d
T
R
A
n
S
F
O
R
M
E
R
S
C
O
d
E
n
A
T
U
R
A
l
C
O
d
E
G
R
-
S
P
E
R
F
O
R
M
A
n
C
E
n
A
T
U
R
A
l
H
E
A
T

R
E
S
I
S
T
.
n
A
T
U
R
A
l
H
E
A
T

R
E
S
I
S
T
.

&
P
E
R
F
O
R
M
.

G
R
-
S
O
Z
O
n
E

R
E
S
I
S
T
.
n
A
T
U
R
A
l

G
R
-
S
V
A
R
n
I
S
H
E
d
C
A
M
B
R
I
C
I
M
P
R
E
G
n
A
T
E
d
P
A
P
E
R
0
5
10
15.6
20
25
30
35
40
45
50
55
60
65
70
75
32
41
50
60
68
77
86
95
104
113
122
131
140
149
158
167
0.21
0.31
0.45
0.71
1.00
1.48
2.20
3.24
4.80
7.10
10.45
15.50
22.80
34.00
50.00
74.00
0.40
0.50
0.63
0.81
1.00
1.25
1.58
2.00
2.50
3.15
3.98
5.00
6.30
7.90
10.00
12.60
0.25
0.36
0.50
0.74
1.00
1.40
1.98
2.80
3.95
5.60
7.85
11.20
15.85
22.40
31.75
44.70
0.25
0.40
0.61
1.00
1.47
2.27
3.52
5.45
8.45
13.10
20.00
0.12
0.23
0.46
1.00
1.83
3.67
7.32
14.60
29.20
54.00
116.00
0.47
0.60
0.76
1.00
1.24
1.58
2.00
2.55
3.26
4.15
5.29
6.72
8.58
0.42
0.56
0.73
1.00
1.28
1.68
2.24
2.93
3.85
5.08
6.72
8.83
11.62
15.40
20.30
26.60
0.22
0.37
0.58
1.00
1.53
2.48
4.03
6.53
10.70
17.10
27.85
45.00
73.00
118.00
193.00
313.00
0.14
0.26
0.49
1.00
1.75
3.29
6.20
11.65
25.00
41.40
78.00
0.10
0.20
0.43
1.00
1.94
4.08
8.62
18.20
38.50
81.00
170.00
345.00
775.00
0.28
0.43
0.64
1.00
1.43
2.17
3.20
4.77
7.15
10.70
16.00
24.00
36.00
*Corrected to 20° C for rotating equipment and transformers; 15.6° C for cable.
24 A STlTCH lN TlML A STlTCH lN TlML 25
Megger instrument in use, in which case nothing would be gained by
separating the components, because the insulation resistance of each part
would be still higher.
For an initial test, it may be necessary to separate the component parts, even
though labor and expense are involved, and test each one separately. Also
make a test of all the components connected together. With this information
on record, it may not be necessary to separate the components on future
tests unless unaccountably low readings are observed.
3. discharge of Capacitance
It is very important that capacitance be discharged, both before and after
an insulation resistance test. It should be discharged for a period about four
times as long as test voltage was applied in a previous test.
Megger instruments are frequently equipped with discharge circuits for this
purpose. If a discharge function is not provided, a discharge stick should be
used. leave high capacitive apparatus (i.e., capacitors, large windings, etc.)
short circuited until ready to re-energize.
4. Current leakage at Switches
When apparatus is shut down for the insulation resistance test, make sure
that the readings are not affected by leakage over or through switches or
fuse blocks, etc. Such leakage may mask the true insulation resistance of the
apparatus under test. See Use of a Guard Terminal, page 50.
Or, what may be more serious, current from an energized line may leak into
the apparatus and cause inconsistent readings, particularly if the live line is
dC. However, such leakage usually can be detected by watching the pointer
of the Megger instrument at the moment the test leads are connected to
the apparatus and before the instrument is operated. Before making these
observations, be sure that all capacitance is discharged by short circuiting or
grounding the apparatus.
CAUTION: Never connect a Megger insulation tester to energized
lines or equipment. Never use the tester or any of its leads or
accessories for any purpose not described in this book.
The aforementioned statement assumes that the insulation surfaces
are free of contaminants, such as certain lints and acids or salts,
which have the property of absorbing moisture (they’re called
“hygroscopic” or “deliquescent” materials by chemists). Their
presence could unpredictably affect your readings; they should be
removed before tests are made.
In electrical equipment we’re concerned primarily with the conditions on
the exposed surfaces where moisture condenses and affects the overall
resistance of the insulation. Studies show, however, that dew will form in the
cracks and crevices of insulation before it is visibly evident on the surface.
dew-point measurements will give you a clue as to whether such invisible
conditions might exist, altering the test results.
As a part of your maintenance records, therefore, it’s a good idea to make
note at least of whether the surrounding air was dry or humid when the
test was made. Also, whether the temperature was above or below the
ambient. When you test vital equipment, record the ambient wet and dry
bulb temperatures, from which dew-point and percent relative or absolute
humidity can be obtained.
PREPARATIon oF APPARATuS To TEST
1. Take out of Service
Shut down the apparatus. Open switches. de-energize. disconnect from
other equipment and circuits, including neutral and protective (workmen’s
temporary) ground connections. See Safety Precautions, page 26.
2. Make Sure Just What is Included in the Test
Inspect the installation very carefully to determine just what equipment
is connected and will be included in the test, especially if it is diffcult or
expensive to disconnect associated apparatus and circuits. Pay particular
attention to conductors that lead away from the installation. This is very
important, because the more equipment that is included in a test, the lower
the reading will be, and the true insulation resistance of the apparatus in
question may be masked by that of the associated equipment.
It is always possible, of course, that the insulation resistance of the complete
installation (without disconnecting everything) will be satisfactorily high,
especially for a spot check. Or, it may be higher than the range of the
26 A STlTCH lN TlML A STlTCH lN TlML 27
Slight sparking may be encountered:
(1) When attaching the test leads to equipment in which the capacitance
has not been completely discharged
(2) during a test, arcing through or over faulty insulation
(3) Following a test when capacitance is discharged

CAUTION:
Do not use the instrument
in an explosive atmosphere.
Suggestions:
For (1) and (3): Arrange permanently installed grounding facilities and
test leads to a point where instrument connections can be made in a safe
atmosphere.
For (2): Use low-voltage testing instruments, or a series resistance.
For (3): do not disconnect the test leads for at least 30 to 60 seconds
following a test, allowing time for capacitance discharge.
ConnECTIonS FoR TESTInG InSulATIon RESISTAnCE
oF ElECTRICAl EquIPMEnT
The following diagrams show how to connect a Megger insulation tester to
various types of electrical equipment. The diagrams also show in principle
how equipment must be disconnected from other circuits before the
instrument is connected.
These illustrations are typical and will serve as guides for testing insulation
resistance of practically all types of apparatus and conductors.
Before proceeding with tests, read the article on Preparation of Apparatus
for Test, page 24.
REMEMBER! The Megger insulation resistance tester measures
whatever resistance is connected between its terminals. This may
include series or parallel leakage paths through insulation or over
its surface.
SAFETY PRECAuTIonS
Observe all rules for safety when taking equipment out of service. Block out
disconnect switches. Test for foreign or induced voltages. Apply workmen’s
grounds.
Remember that when working around high voltage equipment there is
always a possibility of voltages being induced in apparatus under test
or lines to which it is connected, because of proximity to energized high
voltage equipment. Therefore, rather than removing a workmen’s ground in
order to make a test, it is more advisable to disconnect the apparatus, such
as a transformer or circuit breaker, from the exposed bus or line, leaving the
latter grounded. Use rubber gloves when connecting the test leads to the
apparatus and while operating the Megger instrument.

Apparatus Under Test Must Not Be Live!
See page 24 on Preparation of Apparatus for Test.
If neutral or other ground connections have to be disconnected, make sure
they are not carrying current at the time, and that when disconnected no
other equipment will lack necessary protection.
Pay particular attention to conductors that lead away from the circuit being
tested and make sure they have been properly disconnected from any source
of voltage.
Shock Hazard from Test voltage
Observe the voltage rating of the Megger instrument and regard it with
appropriate caution. large electrical equipment and cables usually have
suffcient capacitance to store up a dangerous amount of energy from the
test current. Make sure this capacitance is discharged after the test and
before handling the test leads. See also discharge of Capacitance, page 25.
Explosion and Fire Hazard
So far as is known, there is no fre hazard in the normal use of a Megger
insulation tester. There is, however, a hazard when testing equipment
located in infammable or explosive atmospheres.
28 A STlTCH lN TlML A STlTCH lN TlML 29
3. Wiring Installation
Figure 13
Connections for testing to ground each circuit separately, working from the
distribution panel.

Figure 14
1. AC Motors & Starting Equipment
Figure 11
Connections for testing the insulation resistance of a motor, starting
equipment and connecting lines, in parallel. note that the starter switch is
in the “on” position for the test. It is always preferable to disconnect the
component parts and test them separately in order to determine where
weaknesses exist.
2. dC Generators & Motors
Figure 12
With the brushes raised as indicated, the brush rigging and feld coils can be
tested separately from the armature. likewise the armature can be tested by
itself. With the brushes lowered, the test will be that of brush rigging, feld
coils and armature combined.
30 A STlTCH lN TlML A STlTCH lN TlML 3!
I6. Power Cables
Connections for testing the insulation resistance of a power cable. When
testing cable, it is usually best to disconnect at both ends in order to test
the cable by itself, and to avoid error due to leakage across or through
switchboards or panelboards. See also use of Guard Terminal, page 50.
Figure 17
Figure 18
Connections at the main power board, from which point the entire
system can be tested to ground at one time, providing all switches in the
distribution panel are closed.
4. Appliances, Meters, Instruments & Miscellaneous Electrical Apparatus
Figure 15
Connections for testing an appliance. The test is made between the
conductor (the heating unit, motor, etc.) and exposed metal parts. The
apparatus must be disconnected from any source of power and placed on
some insulating material.
5. Control, Signaling & Communication Cables
Figure 16
Connections for testing insulation resistance of one wire in a multi-
conductor cable against all other wires and sheath connected together.
32 A STlTCH lN TlML A STlTCH lN TlML 33
AddITIonAl noTES ABouT uSInG A MEGGER InSulATIon TESTER
Testing leads
Inferior or defective testing leads will cause erroneous and misleading results
of insulation resistance tests. Take care in this respect.
uninsulated leads
To avoid error due to the insulation of leads, place the Megger instrument
close to the ungrounded terminal or conductor of the apparatus under test
and connect a short piece of light bare wire directly from the line terminal
of the instrument to the apparatus. If the Guard terminal is used, it may be
treated similarly. no. 18 or 20 gauge, solid wire will suffce. Support the lead
only by its connections to the instrument and the apparatus.
With this method of connecting from the line terminal, the quality of the
insulation, if any, of the Earth or Ground lead becomes unimportant.
Insulated leads
Where dependence is placed on the insulation of leads, they must be
durable and of the best quality insulating material. Oil resistant, synthetic,
rubber-insulated, single-conductor no. 14 stranded wire is recommended.
The outer jacket should be smooth, with no outer braid. lugs should be
ftted for attaching to the instrument terminals, and stout spring clips are
recommended for connecting to the apparatus or circuit under test. Any
convenient length of lead may be used. Joints are to be avoided.
After connecting the leads to the instrument, and just before connecting
them to the apparatus, make sure there is no leak from lead to lead. do this
by operating the instrument, which should read Infnity. do not correct slight
lead leakage by attempting to reset the Infnity Adjuster on a high-range
instrument. Then touch the test ends of the leads together to make sure
they are not disconnected or broken.
Current testing with the high-range (50,000 megohms) Megger insulation
testers requires that the line test lead be maintained at a high value so that
it will not enter into the measurement. The shielded test lead, with the shield
connected to Guard, prevents any leakages over its terminations or through
the lead insulating material, from being measured.
7. Power Transformers
Figure 19
Connections for testing insulation resistance of a transformer high voltage
winding and bushings, and the high tension disconnect switch, in parallel,
with reference to the low voltage winding and ground. note that the low
voltage winding is grounded for this test.
8. AC Generators
Figure 20
With this connection, the insulation resistance will be that of the generator
stator winding and connecting cable combined. To test either the stator
winding or the cable itself, the cable must be disconnected at the machine.
34 A STlTCH lN TlML A STlTCH lN TlML 35
Short-Time Readings
For short-time readings of insulation resistance, operate the instrument for
a defnite length of time, either 30 seconds or 1 minute, and read at the end
of that time. Continue cranking steadily at slip speed until the reading has
been taken. Make future tests with the same length of operating time.
Time-Resistance Method
When using a hand-cranked instrument, operate continuously for 1 minute.
Take a reading at the end of the frst 30 seconds and another reading at the
end of the minute.
When using a motor-driven or rectifer-operated instrument, the time
intervals are usually 1 minute and 10 minutes from the time the testing
voltage is applied. Or, time-resistance curves may be taken over a period of
10 to 30 minutes or longer.
voltage Scales
Some insulation testers may be supplied with a voltage scale to check for
the absence of voltage before insulation testing. As explained in the Safety
Precautions section, however, insulation testers should never be connected
to energized lines or equipment when operated in any of the Insulation Test
or Resistance Test modes.
Instructions for use
The untagged end of the shielded lead is to be connected to the line and
Guard terminals of the Megger instrument – the end terminal to line and
the side (shield) terminal to Guard. The clip on the line lead is connected to
the apparatus under test in the regular way. The outboard Guard terminal
may be connected to that part of the apparatus under test which the user
wishes to guard. The conductor employed in making this connection must be
insulated for the voltage rating of the Megger instrument used.
Effect of Capacitance
Capacitance in apparatus under test must be charged up to the rated dC
voltage of the Megger insulation tester, and maintained for 30 to 60 seconds
before a fnal reading is taken. Make sure that capacitance is discharged,
by short circuiting and grounding the apparatus before connecting the test
leads. See discharge of Capacitance, page 25.
noTE: Capacitance causes the pointer to swing towards zero while the
instrument is being brought up to speed, and to swing off scale beyond
infnity when the generator is slowing down. This is simply the charge
fowing into and out of the capacitance and through the defecting coil of
the ohmmeter.
Capacitance effects are most noticeable in large generators, in power and
communication cable more than a few hundred feet in length, and in
capacitors. In general, these effects are small with capacitance of less than
0.01 F. It becomes more noticeable as capacitance and/or the sensitivity
of the instrument increases. The heavy-duty series of Megger insulation
testers can be used on large capacitors with good results, particularly when
operated from the power line rather than the hand crank.
operating Time
A very important consideration in making insulation resistance tests is the
time required for the reading of insulation resistance to reach a maximum.
The time required to charge the geometric capacitance is very short – usually
no more than a few seconds – and that which causes further delay in
reaching full charge is a dielectric absorption effect. It may be a matter of
minutes or even hours for this electrifcation time to be completed, and for
the pointer to reach an absolute maximum.
36 A STlTCH lN TlML A STlTCH lN TlML 37
Therefore, it is strongly recommended that records of periodic tests be kept,
because persistent downward trends in insulation resistance usually give fair
warning of impending trouble, even though the actual values may be higher
than the suggested minimum safe values.
Conversely, allowances must be made for equipment in service showing
periodic test values lower than the suggested minimum safe values, so
long as the values remain stable or consistent. In such cases, after due
consideration has been given to temperature and humidity conditions at the
time of test, there may be no need for concern. This condition may be caused
by uniformly distributed leakages of a harmless nature, and may not be the
result of a dangerous localized weakness.
Here again, records of insulation resistance tests over a period of time reveal
changes which may justify investigation. The trend of the curve may be more
signifcant than the numerical values themselves.
The one-Megohm Rule
For many years one megohm has been widely used as a fair allowable lower
limit for insulation resistance of ordinary industrial electrical equipment
rated up to 1000 volts, and is still recommended for those who may not be
too familiar with insulation resistance testing practices, or who may not wish
to approach the problem from a more technical point of view.
For equipment rated above 1000 volts the one megohm rule is usually
stated as a minimum of one megohm per thousand volts. Although this
rule is somewhat arbitrary, and may be criticized as lacking an engineering
foundation, it has stood the test of a good many years of practical
experience. It gives some assurance that equipment is not too wet or dirty
and has saved many an unnecessary breakdown.
More recent studies of the problem, however, have resulted in formulas
for minimum values of insulation resistance that are based on the kind of
insulating material used and the electrical and physical dimensions of the
types of equipment under consideration.
InTERPRETATIon-MInIMuM vAluES
Insulation resistance of electrical equipment is affected by many variables
such as the equipment design; the type of insulating material used, including
binders and impregnating compounds; the thickness of the insulation and
its area; cleanliness, moisture and temperature. For insulation resistance
readings to be a conclusive measure of the condition of the equipment
being tested, these variables must be taken into consideration.
After the equipment has been put into service, factors such as the design of
the equipment, the kind of insulating material used, and its thickness and
area cease to be variables, allowing minimum insulation resistance values
to be established within reasonable tolerances. The variables that must be
considered after the equipment had been put into service, and at the time
that the insulation resistance measurements are being made, are cleanliness,
moisture, temperature and mechanical damage (such as fractures).
Good Housekeeping
The most important requirements in the reliable operation of electrical
equipment are cleanliness, and the elimination of moisture penetration
into the insulation. This may be considered as good housekeeping, and
is essential in the maintenance of all types of electrical equipment. The
very fact that insulation resistance is affected by moisture and dirt, with
due allowances for temperature, makes the Megger insulation tester the
valuable tool that it is in electrical maintenance. It is at once a gauge of
cleanliness and good housekeeping as well as a detector of deterioration
and impending trouble.
What Readings to Expect – Periodic Tests
Several criteria for minimum values of insulation resistance have been
developed and are summarized here. They should serve as a guide for
equipment in service. However, periodic tests on equipment in service will
usually reveal readings considerably higher than the suggested minimum
safe values.
38 A STlTCH lN TlML A STlTCH lN TlML 39
Any components which are superfcially clean and dry and have values less
than 10,000 megohms are usually deteriorated internally, by the presence of
moisture or carbonized paths, to such an extent that they are not reliable
for good service unless reconditioned. This is particularly so when operating
under surge conditions such as during lightning disturbances. In the case of
the stripped bushing itself, the lower stem and upper weather shield must
be either perfectly clean or guarded before it is condemned as unreliable
because of an insulation resistance value less than 10,000 megohms.
What has been said for stripped oil circuit breaker bushings also applies
to bushings for other equipment, such as transformers. Since bushings
and other associated members have very high insulation resistance values
normally, a Megger insulation tester having a range of at least 10,000
megohms is necessary to test such equipment. Megger instruments having
ranges up to 50,000 megohms will permit observation of deteriorating
trends in bushings before they reach the questionable value of 10,000
megohms.
Cable and Conductors
Cable and conductor installations present a wide variation of conditions
from the point of view of the resistance of the insulation. These conditions
result from the many kinds of insulating materials used, the voltage
rating or insulation thickness, and the length of the circuit involved in the
measurement. Furthermore, such circuits usually extend over great distances,
and may be subjected to wide variations in temperature, which will have an
effect on the insulation resistance values obtained. The terminals of cables
and conductors will also have an effect on the test values unless they are
clean and dry, or guarded.
The Insulated Cable Engineers Association (ICEA) gives minimum values
of insulation resistance in its specifcations for various types of cables and
conductors. These minimum values are for new, single-conductor wire and
cable after being subjected to an AC high voltage test and based on a dC
test potential of 500 volts applied for one minute at a temperature
of 60°F.
MInIMuM vAluES FoR InSulATIon RESISTAnCE
Rotating Machinery
The IEEE guide, “Recommended Practices for Testing Insulation Resistance of
Rotating Machinery”, deals with the problem of making and interpreting
insulation resistance measurements for rotating machinery. It reviews the
factors which affect or change insulation resistance characteristics, outlines
and recommends uniform methods for making tests, and presents formulas
for the calculation of approximate minimum insulation resistance values for
various types of AC and dC rotating machinery. The guide states:
“The recommended minimum insulation resistance R
m
for alternating-current
and direct-current machine armature windings and for feld windings of
alternating-current and direct-current machines can be determined by:
R
m
= kV + 1
where:
R
m
= recommended minimum insulation resistance in megohms
at 40°C of the entire machine winding
kV = rated machine terminal to terminal potential, in kilovolts
In applications where the machine is vital, it has been considered good
practice to initiate reconditioning should the insulation resistance, having
been well above the minimum value given by Eq 2, drop appreciably to near
that level.”
It is recommended that those who operate and maintain rotating machinery
obtain copies of the IEEE publication, “Recommended Practices for Testing
Insulation Resistance of Rotating Machinery”, which can be obtained by
writing the IEEE at 345 East 47th St., new York, nY, 10017.
Bushings
In the case of outdoor oil circuit breaker bushings, experience has shown
that any bushing, with its assembled associated insulating members,
should, for reliable operation, have an insulation resistance value above
10,000 megohms at 20°C. This assumes that the oil within the tank is in
good condition, that the breaker is separated from its external connections
to other equipment, and that the porcelain weather shield is guarded.
This means that each component such as the stripped bushing itself,
cross-member, lift rod, lower arcing shield, etc., should have an insulation
resistance in excess of that value.
40 A STlTCH lN TlML A STlTCH lN TlML 4!
The insulation resistance of one conductor of a multiconductor cable to all
others and sheath is:
R = k log
10

d
/
d
where:
d = diameter over insulation of equivalent single-conductor cable
= d + 2c + 2b
d = diameter of conductor (for sector cables d equals diameter
of round conductor of same cross-section)
c = thickness of conductor insulation
b = thickness of jacket insulation
(all dimensions must be expressed in same units)
Transformers
Acceptable insulation resistance values for dry and compound-flled
transformers should be comparable to those for Class A rotating machinery,
although no standard minimum values are available.
Oil-flled transformers or voltage regulators present a special problem in that
the condition of the oil has a marked infuence on the insulation resistance
of the windings.
In the absence of more reliable data the following formula is suggested:
R = CE
√kVA
R = minimum 1-minute 500-volt dC insulation resistance in megohms
from winding to ground, with other winding or windings guarded,
or from winding to winding with core guarded
C = a constant for 20°C measurements
E = voltage rating of winding under test
kVA = rated capacity of winding under test
For tests of winding to ground with the other winding or windings
grounded, the values will be much less than that given by the formula.
R in this formula is based on dry, acid-free, sludge-free oil, and bushings
and terminal boards that are in good condition.
These standard minimum values (for single-conductor cable) are based on
the following formula:
R = k log
10

d
/
d
where:
R = megohms per 1000 feet of cable
k = constant for insulating material
d = outside diameter of conductor insulation
d = diameter of conductor
Minimum values of k at 60° F.
Insulation Type
Impregnated Paper ................................................................... 2,640
Varnished Cambric .................................................................... 2,460
Thermoplastic-Polyethylene ........................................ above 50,000
Composite Polyethylene ......................................................... 30,000
Thermoplastic-Polyvinyl:
Polyvinyl Chloride 60°C ........................................................ 500
Polyvinyl Chloride 75°C ..................................................... 2,000
Grade natural Rubber Synthetic Rubber
Code ...............................................................................................950
Performance ....................................... 10,560 ............................2,000
Heat Resistant..................................... 10,560 ............................2,000
Ozone Resistant...................... 10,000 (Butyl) ............................2,000
kerite ..........................................................................................4,000
See pages 44 and 45 for Tables of log
10

d
/
d
42 A STlTCH lN TlML A STlTCH lN TlML 43
values of C at 20°C
60-Hertz 25-Hertz
Tanked oil-flled type 1.5 1.0
Untanked oil-flled type 30.0 20.0
dry or compound-flled type 30.0 20.0
This formula is intended for single-phase transformers. If the transformer
under test is of the three-phase type, and the three individual windings are
being tested as one, then:
E = voltage rating of one of the single-phase windings
(phase to phase for delta connected units and phase to
neutral for star connected units)
kVA = rated capacity of the completed three-phase winding under test
TESTS uSInG MulTI-volTAGE MEGGER InSulATIon TESTERS
Maintenance practice trends indicate the value of testing insulation with
dC voltages at levels somewhat higher than the peak value of the rated AC
voltage of the equipment being tested. Such dC tests have in some cases
been shown to reveal non-destructively incipient weaknesses in insulation
which could not otherwise be found, except possibly by partial discharge
detection at non-destructive AC test voltage levels.
The technique involves the application of two or more dC voltages, and
critically observing any reduction of insulation resistance at the higher
voltage. Any marked or unusual reduction in insulation resistance for a
prescribed increase in applied voltage is an indication of incipient weakness.
It is important to mention that the merits of this technique arise from more
recent investigations which indicate that rather high dC voltage can be used
to detect weaknesses without damaging the insulation. The maximum value
of voltage which should be used will depend largely on the cleanliness and
dryness of the insulation to be tested.
In making tests on insulation at such dC voltages, the ohmmeter method
has at least two advantages. First, prescribed fxed voltages are switched
into use, and one instrument measurement made with the direct reading
ohmmeter. This is a simple and reproducible method compared to one in
which many choices of voltage are available. Another important advantage
of the ohmmeter can be explained by referring to Fig. 21. In this fgure, the
change which may occur in leakage current after the absorption current has
disappeared is shown plotted in terms of insulation resistance against three
different voltages. note that there is no change in resistance shown in the
fgure between 500 and 1000 volts, indicating no change in the insulation
as a result of applying these two voltages. This is an assumption, but is a
condition which is not uncommon in practice. If the insulation continues to
be stable at 2500 volts, there will be no change in the insulation resistance
value obtained, which is shown by the dotted extension of the horizontal
line in the fgure. When non-linear conditions appear at a higher voltage, the
voltage resistance curve reveals this very clearly by a lower resistance value,
indicated by the downward curve in the fgure. The fgure, therefore, reveals
the simplicity of determining the change in insulation stability by using three
fxed voltages which are easily reproducible when making three-voltage tests
on a routine basis.
Figure 21
We wish to emphasize that the curve in Fig. 21 indicates the resistance
change due to leakage current only, and not the absorption current which
may appear for a period of time with each change in voltage. It may be
necessary to wait an appreciable amount of time after each voltage change
for the absorption current to disappear before taking a reading.
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46 A STlTCH lN TlML A STlTCH lN TlML 47
presence of moisture. If the insulation resistance is frst tested on the short-
time reading basis (frst at one voltage level and then at a higher potential),
a lower value of insulation resistance at the higher dC test voltage usually
indicates the presence of moisture. The applied voltages should preferably be
in the ratio of 1 to 5. Experience has indicated that a change of 25% in the
insulation resistance value, with a 1 to 5 ratio in test voltages, is usually due
to the presence of an excessive amount of moisture.
This method is not based on a dielectric absorption phenomena, but it does
relate to the Evershed Effect. As with time-resistance measurements, the
multi-voltage method of testing insulation resistance has increased value
when made on a periodic or scheduled basis.
Figure 22-Time Resistance Test Forms
To better understand the technique of making insulation resistance tests at
two or more voltages, the following steps are suggested, using an industrial
or traction motor classed in the 300- to 1000-volt range as an example:
1. Make a one-minute Megger instrument test at 500 volts to serve as a basis
of comparison for subsequent steps.
2. After a careful cleaning operation make a second 500-volt test to
determine the effectiveness of the cleaning.
3. If the one-minute insulation resistance value is subnormal, or if the 60
second/30 second insulation resistance ratio is no greater than one at this
point then a drying operation may be desirable before using a higher
test voltage. However, making another test at 1000 volts and comparing
these readings with those from the 500-volt test will help in determining
the need for drying. If the 1000-volt test value is appreciably less than
that at 500 volts, then a drying operation should be performed. On the
other hand, if the 1000-volt and 500-volt test values are approximately
the same, it is reasonable to assume that the decision to perform a drying
operation can be deferred until after the next step.
4. Make a Megger instrument test at 2500 volts. If there is no appreciable
difference in the 500- and 2500-volt test values, good evidence exists that
the motor in question is in reliable condition as far as its insulation is
concerned. On the other hand, if there is an appreciable difference in the
two, there is good evidence that more thorough reconditioning is called
for. If the insulation fails under the 2500-volt test, after following steps 1,
2 and 3, we believe there is a likelihood that the motor in question would
fail in service even though an attempt were made to recondition it on the
basis of low-voltage tests only.
The multi-voltage method can also be helpful in determining the presence
of excessive moisture in the insulation of equipment rated at voltages
equivalent to or greater than the highest voltage available from the multi-
voltage Megger instrument being used. In other words, even though the
highest Megger instrument voltage available does not stress the insulation
beyond its rating, a two-voltage test can, nevertheless, often reveal the
48 A STlTCH lN TlML A STlTCH lN TlML 49
now, when the voltage is increased in steps to produce electrical stresses
which approach or exceed those encountered in service, then local weak
spots infuence the overall insulation resistance more and more. The
resistance of such local faults generally decreases rapidly as the electrical
stress in them increases beyond a certain limit. The plot of consecutive
Megger instrument readings clearly shows the sharp drop when this occurs
(see Fig. 24).
Figure 24-Test curves by the step-voltage method, comparing results with good and bad insulation.
Curve 1 (lower plot) shows defnite drop in resistance with increasing voltage, indicating a problem.
Curve 2 (upper plot) shows conditions found in the same motor winding after cleaning, baking and
impregnating operation.
STEP-volTAGE METHod
In this method, you need a multi-voltage Megger instrument to apply two
or more voltages in steps, like 500 volts and then 1000 volts. you look for
any reduction of insulation resistance at the higher voltage. If the resistance
is lower, it’s a sign of an insulation weakness that shows up only at the
higher voltage. Fig. 23 shows an example in which, instead of progressively
increasing the voltage, you frst test at a low voltage (such as 500 volts) and
then, after discharging the sample, you test again at a higher voltage (such
as 2500 volts). Any difference in the two tests in terms of megohms will show
signs of weakness at the higher voltage – a warning to investigate further.
As the conditions within the sample deteriorate, the higher-voltage plot, as
shown in Fig. 23, will reduce in megohms compared to the lower-voltage
one, and its upward slope will be less.
Figure 23-Typical curves with the “step-voltage” test.
The theory behind the step-voltage technique is a bit complex, but we’ll try
to keep it simple. Moisture and dirt in insulation are usually revealed by tests
at voltages far below those expected in service. However, effects of aging or
mechanical damage in fairly clean and dry insulation may not be revealed at
such low stress.
50 A STlTCH lN TlML A STlTCH lN TlML 5!
The insulation of all electrical apparatus has two conducting or leakage
paths – one through the insulating material and the other over its surfaces.
By providing a third test terminal in the path of the surface leakage, it is
separated into two parts, forming a three-terminal network as shown in
Fig. 25a. In practice, this third terminal may be provided as shown in
Figures 26 to 38.
Figure 25a
Figure 25b
Figure 26-Showing how to use the Guard terminal to eliminate the effects of surface leakage across
exposed insulation at one end of a cable. See also Figures 28, 30 and 31.
you only need to keep the test voltage constant between steps for about
60 seconds. This short period will not affect the trend in resistance change.
The timed period, however, should always be the same for a given piece
of equipment. All the absorption current may not have disappeared in this
time, but your resistance measurements will be made on the same basis and
therefore will be meaningful. your results are independent of the insulation
material and its temperature because you’re looking at the change in
resistance – not the absolute resistance values.
As is true with the spot-reading and time-resistance measurements, the
step-voltage method is more valuable to you when repeated on a periodic,
scheduled basis.
The step-voltage method is particularly useful in determining the presence
of excessive moisture or other contaminants in the insulation of equipment
that is rated at voltages equivalent to or greater than the highest voltage
available in your multi-voltage Megger instrument. In other words, even
though your highest voltage does not stress the insulation beyond its rating,
a two-voltage test can, nevertheless, often reveal the presence of such
contaminants.
For example, assume that you frst test insulation resistance on a short-time
reading basis – at a voltage of 500 VdC, and then at a higher potential of,
say, 2500 VdC. Even though the latter voltage may be nominal in relation to
the voltage rating of your equipment, a lower value of insulation resistance
at the higher test voltage usually indicates the presence of contaminated
fractures or other leakage paths through the insulation to ground.
The applied voltages should preferably be in the ratio of 1 to 5 or greater
(500 and 2500, for example). Results to date show that a change of 25%
in the insulation resistance value, with a 1 to 5 ratio in test voltages, is
usually due to the presence of an excessive amount of moisture or other
contaminant.
uSE oF A GuARd TERMInAl
All Megger insulation testers having ranges of 1000 megohms and higher
are equipped with Guard terminals. The purpose of this terminal is to
provide facilities for making a three-terminal network measurement, so that
the resistance of one of two possible paths can be determined directly. It
has the further or secondary purpose of providing a source of dC voltage of
good regulation and of limited current capacity.
52 A STlTCH lN TlML A STlTCH lN TlML 53
Figure 28-Showing use of the Guard connection to eliminate the effect of leakage to ground, as in
Figure 26, and also the effect of leakage to adjacent conductors. note that the Guard wire is wrapped
around the exposed insulation and also is connected to the adjacent conductors.
do not confuse this diagram with Figure 26, where the Guard wire goes only to the exposed
insulation, and the adjacent conductors are grounded.
Figure 29-To eliminate the effect of surface leakage in measuring the true resistance of an insulating
member, such as a lift rod in a circuit breaker.
There are also cases, such as found in two winding transformers or multi-
conductor cables, where a three-terminal network is formed as shown in
Fig. 25b. Figures 30 and 33 and others show practical applications of this
form of three-terminal network.
In making a three-terminal test involving only one measurement, the line
terminal of the Megger instrument is connected to Terminal 1, Fig. 25a, the
Guard terminal to Terminal 3, and the Earth terminal to Terminal 2. This will
give the true value of r
12
, provided r
23
and r
13
are not too low in value. The
leg r
23
, which is connected across the Megger instrument generator, should
be about 1 megohm or higher to prevent excessive load on the generator,
and maintain satisfactory generator voltage.
In using the Guard terminal, particularly in the case of motor-driven or
rectifer-operated Megger instruments, also make certain that there is no
chance of an arc-over between the guarded terminal of the sample and
ground. Such an arc-over may cause undesirable arcing at the commutator of
the instrument generator.
The leg r
13
, which shunts the Megger defecting coil, should be at least 100
megohms for a measuring accuracy of approximately 1%. The 1% accuracy
fgure is based on the R' ballast resistor being 1 megohm, which is typical.
For more precise determinations of accuracy, obtain the exact value of R' by
writing to Megger and giving the serial number of the instrument in use.
Figure 27-Showing how to use the Guard connection to eliminate the effects of surface leakage
across exposed insulation at both ends of a cable when a spare conductor in the cable is available for
completing the Guard connection.
54 A STlTCH lN TlML A STlTCH lN TlML 55
Figure 31-Connections for testing insulation resistance between one wire and all other wires
connected, without being affected by leakage to ground.
Figure 32-Showing use of spring collar as a Guard connection to eliminate the effects of surface
leakage. The device under test must be disconnected from all other equipment.
The highest accuracy is desired in cases as shown in Fig. 25a, or where
the true resistance of each leg is wanted as in the case of Fig. 25b, three
measurements are required and the following equations are used:
r
12
= R
12
R
13
– (R')
2
R
13
+ R'
r
23
= R
12
R
23
– (R')
2
R
12
+ R'
r
13
= R
12
R
13
– (R')
2
R
12
+ R'
where R
12
, R
23
and R
13
are the actual readings in megohms measured across
the terminals of the network which are connected to the line and Earth
terminals of the Megger instrument with Terminals 3, 1 and 2 respectively
connected to the instrument Guard terminal. R' is the value of the ballast
resistance in megohms of the instrument in use. In making these three
measurements, do no connect the line terminal of the instrument to the
grounded terminal of the network, as any leakage over the instrument case
between the Earth terminal and ground will shunt the resistance being
measured.
BuSHInGS, PoTHEAdS And InSulAToRS
Figure 30-Connections for testing insulation resistance between one wire and ground, without being
affected by leakage to other wires. note use of Guard connection.
56 A STlTCH lN TlML A STlTCH lN TlML 57
ouTdooR oIl CIRCuIT BREAkERS
The four illustrations (Fig. 35 through 38) show the usual methods of testing
bushings and associated parts of an outdoor oil circuit breaker, and the
accompanying table indicates the test procedure by steps.
If the test values are below 10,000 megohms in any of the four steps, the
tank should be lowered or drained so that the excessive losses can be
isolated by further tests and investigations. If the test values are below
50,000 megohms in test #1, the trend of the condition of the particular
bushing involved should be watched by making more frequent tests.
Test
Breaker
Position
Bushing
Energized
Bushing
Guarded
Bushing
Grounded
Part
Measured
1
2
3
4
open
open
open
close
1 (2 to
guard)
1
1 & 2
1 & 2
1
1
1 & 2
1 & 2
……
2
……
……
Bushing 1
Bushing 1 in parallel
with cross member
Bushing 1 & 2 in
parallel
Bushing 1 & 2 in
parallel with lift rod
Figure 33-Connections for testing insulation resistance of a transformer high voltage winding and
bushings, and the high tension disconnect switch in parallel with reference to ground but without
being affected by leakage between the high and low voltage windings through use of the Guard
connection.
Figure 34-Connections for testing insulation resistance between high and low voltage windings
without being affected by leakage to ground.
58 A STlTCH lN TlML A STlTCH lN TlML 59
Figure 37-Step 3
Figure 38-Step 4 Figure 36-Step 2
Figure 35-Step 1
60 A STlTCH lN TlML A STlTCH lN TlML 6!
SETTInG uP A MAInTEnAnCE PRoGRAM
To start insulation testing there is one general rule: Put frst things frst.
That is, review all the electrical equipment and classify it as to relative
importance. For example, if that AC motor failed in department A, how
would it affect overall plant production? your production people can
certainly help in this and should be vitally interested in the idea.
If time permits at the start, test every piece of electrical equipment and
make out a record card. Possibly at frst you will have to combine several
units but it will pay in the long run to have test records for each individual
unit. Then, if insulation weaknesses do show up, your job of tracking down
the offending part will be easier.
Shown in Fig. 40 is one form of test record card, which is available from
Megger. Following is the type of information, which becomes more valuable
to you as tests are repeated at intervals:
1. name and location of the equipment
2. dates and values of test results (record actual reading at the time
of test)
3. Range, voltage, and serial number of the Megger instrument used
4. Temperature of the apparatus (also, particularly for large units,
wet and dry bulb temperatures – for humidity and dew-point
determinations)
5. Insulation resistance measurement corrected for temperature
6. A plot of consecutive readings to show trend and enable you to
anticipate failures
Figure 40
HoW oFTEn SHould You TEST?
That depends upon the size and complexity of your plant. Even identical
units can differ in the required check periods; experience is your best guide.
In general, however, working apparatus – motors, generators etc. – are more
likely to develop insulation weaknesses, as compared to wiring, insulators
and the like. A test schedule for working equipment should be established,
varying from every 6 to 12 months, depending on the size of equipment
and severity of the surrounding atmospheric conditions. For wiring and the
like, tests once a year are generally suffcient, unless the plant conditions are
unusually severe.
62 A STlTCH lN TlML A STlTCH lN TlML 63
The new 10 kV insulation resistance
testers from Megger are also designed
specifcally to assist you with the testing
and maintenance of high voltage electrical
equipment.
All cases are rugged and easy to carry,
being made of tough polypropylene and
achieving an ingress protection rating
of IP65.
nMains or battery powered
ndigital/analog backlit display
nVariable test voltage from 50 V to 10 kV
nAutomatic IR, PI, dAR, SV and dd tests
nMeasures to 15 TW (5 kV) and 35 TW (10 kV)
The new 5 kV insulation resistance testers from Megger are designed
specifcally to assist you with the testing and maintenance of high voltage
electrical equipment.
MEGGER 5 kv & 10 kv InSulATIon TESTERS
Where critical, high-capital equipment is involved, the introduction
of new and improved insulating materials is re-writing the book on
insulation testing. Equipment with operating voltages above 1 kV requires
commensurately higher test voltages. Modern materials, when new or
early in their life cycles, can have insulation values into ranges that were
previously unmeasured. your old insulation tester may not be fully adequate
to meet the demands of a rigorous and thorough program of preventive/
predictive maintenance on modern equipment.
To be fully in conformance with the most modern testing requirements,
Megger offers a family of the highest quality insulation testers at voltages
above 1 kV. At the core of high-voltage testing...5 kV...the MIT510 and
MIT520 afford the highest level of quality testing along with prime safety,
convenience and portability. MIT510 offers selectable test voltages at
250, 500, 1000, 2500, and 5000 V, thereby making the tester suitable for
applications otherwise performed with a standard handheld model, in
addition to the more demanding high-voltage applications. The MIT520
increases the functionality by permitting test voltage to be set in any
10 V increment from 50 V to 1 kV, then in 25 V steps all the way to 5 kV.
The testers measure to 15 Tera-ohms, thereby making them fully suitable
for critical installation tests and establishment of reliable base data for new
high-capital equipment. Test results are displayed on Megger’s patented
electronic digital/analog arc, thereby affording the precision and assurance
of a digital reading combined with the tell-tale pointer travel normally
reserved for mechanical movements.
nMains or battery powered
ndigital/Analog backlit display
nSelectable test voltage from 250 to 5000V
nAutomatic IR test
nMeasures to 15 TW
nComplete with calibration certifcate
Megger MIT1020
Megger MIT510
64 A STlTCH lN TlML A STlTCH lN TlML 65
MEGGER MIT200 SERIES
need only basic 1 kV insulation and continuity testing,
with economy a paramount consideration? no need
to sacrifce! Megger offers the only top quality line of
inexpensive testers on the market...the MIT200 Series.
Though designed with economy in mind, these testers
offer no loss of the quality and reliability that the
name Megger implies. Furthermore, there has been
no sacrifce of safety, which is a serious problem with
inexpensive testers that have cut cost at the risk of arc
fash and operator error.
Four models are available, differing only in the test
voltages offered: MIT200 is a 500 V model for standard
applications; MIT210 is a 1 kV model where higher test
voltage is in order; MIT220 offers two voltages, 250
and 500, for more sensitive applications where a 1 kV
test is to be avoided; for full-spectrum applications,
MIT230 offers all three voltages, 250, 500 and 1 kV.
Megger MIT230
MEGGER MIT300 SERIES
The MIT300 Series is designed along Megger’s familiar principle of ascending
features with no loss of basic quality. Five models comprise the family, each
built on a basic design ensuring the quality and reliability that are Megger’s
trademarks. MIT300 is the simplest model, offering core functions of highest
quality but no additional features that may prove redundant in basic
applications. For applications where a 1 kV test must be avoided, the MIT300
offers a 250 and 500 V test only. Combined with continuity and voltage
warning, plus all the convenience and safety features that distinguish the
family, this is the model of choice for the simplest applications.
If basic function is still
the goal but a 1 kV test
required, the MIT310 is
the perfect ft. With the
possibility of working
at higher voltages, safe
operation has been further
enhanced by the inclusion of
a default voltmeter.
Megger MIT410
MEGGER MIT400 SERIES
A new line of high performance testers rated to CAT IV
600 V provides greater safety when testing at higher
voltage levels.
The MIT400 Series offer test voltages from 10 to 1000 V,
and includes a special user-selectable 10 V to 100 V in
1 V increments tester for low voltage insulation testing
requirements. The units include an exceptional insulation
resistance measurement range that extends from 20
Gigohms to 200 Gigohms, with the option to display
the insulation test voltage or leakage current on the
secondary display.
Timed insulation testing for PI and dAR testing is
available on certain models. A 200 mA continuity
measurement is available with a 0.01-ohm resolution for fast accurate cable
resistance measurement. This can be set to 20 mA where conformity to
electrical testing regulations is not required, extending battery life.
For those who prefer the traditional mechanical analog type of instrument,
the MIT310A offers everything in the MIT310, but with a moving coil display.
The analog display is enhanced by black decals on a white background, to
give high contrast and improved visibility.
The family is completed by the full-featured MIT320 and MIT330. The
former adds a kilohm range for measurements between the extremes of
continuity and high voltage. With this feature, measurements can be made
continuously from 0.01 W to 999 MW. A backlit display is further enhanced
by backlit selections, to make both the setup and results visible in poor light.
The MIT320 also offers audible alarms on both the continuity and megohm
ranges, adjustable across the entire range.
Finally, the MIT330 offers everything described in the MIT320, plus storage of
up to 1000 results, downloading through a USB port via included software,
and a display indication of remaining memory.
Megger MIT300 Series
66 ASTITCHINTIME
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“A Stitch In Time”
The Complete Guide to Electrical Insulation Testing
Copyright 2006

WWW.MEGGER.COM



A STITCH IN TIME

A STITCH IN TIME 

ConTEnTS

PAGE

WHAT IS “Good” InSulATIon?
Every electric wire in your plant – whether it’s in a motor, generator, cable, switch, transformer, etc. – is carefully covered with some form of electrical insulation. The wire itself is usually copper or aluminum, which is known to be a good conductor of the electric current that powers your equipment. The insulation must be just the opposite from a conductor: it should resist current and keep the current in its path along the conductor. To understand insulation testing you really don’t need to go into the mathematics of electricity, but one simple equation – Ohm’s law – can be very helpful in appreciating many aspects. Even if you’ve been exposed to this law before, it may be a good idea to review it in the light of insulation testing. The purpose of insulation around a conductor is much like that of a pipe carrying water, and Ohm’s law of electricity can be more easily understood by a comparison with water flow. In Fig. 1 we show this comparison. Pressure on water from a pump causes flow along the pipe (Fig. 1a). If the pipe were to spring a leak, you’d waste water and lose some water pressure. With electricity, voltage is like the pump pressure, causing electricity to flow along the copper wire (Fig. 1b). As in a water pipe, there is some resistance to flow, but it is much less along the wire than it is through the insulation.

WHAT IS “GOOd” InSUlATIOn? ........................................................................ 3 WHAT MAkES InSUlATIOn GO BAd? ................................................................ 4 HOW InSUlATIOn RESISTAnCE IS MEASUREd .................................................. 5 HOW TO InTERPRET RESISTAnCE REAdInGS .................................................... 6 FACTORS AFFECTInG InSUlATIOn RESISTAnCE REAdInGS .............................. 8 TyPES OF InSUlATIOn RESISTAnCE TESTS....................................................... 10 TEST VOlTAGE VS. EqUIPMEnT RATInG.......................................................... 16 AC TESTInG VS. dC ............................................................................................ 17 USE OF dC dIElECTRIC TEST SET ...................................................................... 18 TESTS dURInG dRyInG OUT OF EqUIPMEnT .................................................. 18 EFFECT OF TEMPERATURE On InSUlATIOn RESISTAnCE................................ 21 EFFECTS OF HUMIdITy ...................................................................................... 23 PREPARATIOn OF APPARATUS TO TEST ........................................................... 24 SAFETy PRECAUTIOnS ...................................................................................... 26 COnnECTIOnS FOR TESTInG InSUlATIOn RESISTAnCE OF ElECTRICAl EqUIPMEnT .................................................................................. 27 AddITIOnAl nOTES ABOUT USInG A MEGGER InSUlATIOn TESTER ........... 33 InTERPRETATIOn-MInIMUM VAlUES .............................................................. 36 MInIMUM VAlUES FOR InSUlATIOn RESISTAnCE .......................................... 38 TESTS USInG MUlTI-VOlTAGE MEGGER InSUlATIOn TESTERS ...................... 42 STEP-VOlTAGE METHOd .................................................................................. 48 USE OF A GUARd TERMInAl ............................................................................ 50 BUSHInGS, POTHEAdS And InSUlATORS ....................................................... 54 OUTdOOR OIl CIRCUIT BREAkERS................................................................... 57 SETTInG UP A MAInTEnAnCE PROGRAM ....................................................... 60 HOW OFTEn SHOUld yOU TEST? .................................................................... 60 MEGGER 5 And 10 kV InSUlATIOn TESTERS .................................................. 62 MEGGER 1 kV InSUlATIOn TESTERS................................................................ 64

Figure 1–Comparison of water flow (a) with electric current (b).



A STITCH IN TIME

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where. these enemies of insulation are at work as time goes on – combined with the electrical stresses that exist. if you take measurements at regular periods. The actual resistance values can be higher or lower. “good” means a relatively high resistance to current. a motor with poor insulation.  A STITCH IN TIME A STITCH IN TIME  . you can check trends toward its deterioration (more on this later). corrosive vapors. even today. has infinite resistance) so some electricity does flow along the insulation or through it to ground. Once started. it does not cause deterioration of the insulation. vibration. For good insulation. portable instrument that gives you a direct reading of insulation resistance in ohms or megohms. note also that a higher voltage tends to cause more current through the insulation. Such checks permit planned reconditioning before service failure. a suitable way of measuring resistance can tell you how “good” the insulation is. excessive heat or cold. giving plenty of warning. of course. providing a low resistance path for leakage current. motors. but also be subject to burn out. the more current for the same voltage. may not only be dangerous to touch when voltage is applied.Common sense tells us that the more voltage we have. the more current there’ll be. The Megger insulation tester is essentially a high-range resistance meter (ohmmeter) with a built-in direct-current generator. Figure 2–Typical Megger test instrument hook-up to measure insulation resistance. If there are no checks. however. Also. that is. depending upon such factors as the temperature or moisture content of the insulation (resistance decreases in temperature or moisture). insulation is subject to many effects which can cause it to fail – mechanical damage. harm good insulation but would be a problem if the insulation has deteriorated. which is expressed this way in equation form: E=IxR E = voltage in volts I = current in amperes R = resistance in ohms note. this is Ohm’s law. With a little record-keeping and common sense. now. poor insulation. HoW InSulATIon RESISTAnCE IS MEASuREd you have seen that good insulation has high resistance. dirt. Actually. oil. This method is nondestructive. This meter is of special construction with both current and voltage coils. moisture and foreign matter penetrate the surfaces of the insulation. the resistance usually reads in the megohm range. As pin holes or cracks develop. the different enemies tend to aid each other. to sum up our answer to the question “what is ‘good’ insulation?” We have seen that. permitting excessive current through the insulation.” So. the lower the resistance of the wire. This small amount of current would not. enabling true ohms to be read directly. Furthermore. and so on have continually improved their insulations for services in industry. moisture from processes. Also. “good” would also mean “the ability to keep a high resistance. Usually. independent of the actual voltage applied. manufacturers of wire. cable. you can get a good picture of the insulation condition from values that are only relative. that no insulation is perfect (that is. or just the humidity on a muggy day. What was good insulation has become a partial conductor. Sometimes the drop in insulation resistance is sudden. if checked periodically. The Megger insulation tester is a small. In various degrees. however. WHAT MAkES InSulATIon Go BAd? When your plant electrical system and equipment are new. Such a current may only be a millionth of an ampere (one microampere) but it is the basis of insulation testing equipment. however. it drops gradually. as when equipment is flooded. nevertheless. essentially. for example. the electrical insulation should be in top notch shape. Used to describe an insulation material. relatively low resistance.

That is. Also you should make tests at about the same temperature. or until values become so low that it is unsafe to keep the equipment in operation. Whether you test monthly. insulation resistance readings should be considered relative. Curve B shows same values corrected to 20°C (see page 22). therefore. which reads increasing resistance values from left up to infinity. and what you should do with the result: Condition (a) Fair to high values and well maintained. (d) So low as to be unsafe. later sections cover temperature correction and humidity effects. What really matters is the trend in readings over a time period. Figure 4–Typical record of insulation resistance of a mill motor. Periodic testing is. (b) Fair to high values. showing lessening resistance and warning of coming problems.The generator can be hand-cranked or line-operated to develop a high dC voltage which causes a small current through and over surfaces of the insulation being tested (Fig. This current (usually at an applied voltage of 500 volts or more) is measured by the ohmmeter. locate and remedy the cause and check the downward trend. or until the values have become steady at a lower level but safe for operation. you should make these periodic tests in the same way each time. location. Figure 3–Typical scale on the Megger insulation tester. Experience is the best teacher in setting up the scheduled periods for your equipment. In summary. 4. HoW To InTERPRET RESISTAnCE REAdInGS As previously mentioned. Clean. 3 shows a typical scale. or otherwise raise the values before placing equipment in service. Reverse side of card (at right) is used to record the test data. Condition is probably all right. or a resistance too high to be measured. A record of the relative humidity near the equipment at the time of the test is also helpful in evaluating the reading and trend. a small pump motor or a short control cable may be vital to a process in your plant. They can be quite different for one motor or machine tested three days in a row. 2). but showing a constant tendency towards lower values.) Make tests at frequent intervals until the cause of low values is located and remedied. or once a year depends upon the type. twice a year. and importance of the equipment. but cause of low values should be checked. yet not mean bad insulation. (c) low but well maintained.  A STITCH IN TIME A STITCH IN TIME  . Curve A shows test values as measured. dry out. What To do no cause for concern. using record cards as shown in Fig. (e) Fair or high values. (Test wet equipment while drying out. For example. your best approach to preventive maintenance of electrical equipment. or correct them to the same temperature. giving a definite downward trend toward an unsafe condition. here are some general observations about how you can interpret periodic insulation resistance tests. which has an indicating scale. previously well maintained but showing sudden lowering. with the same test connections and with the same test voltage applied for the same length of time. Fig.

as shown in Fig. note also in Fig. Any increase of leakage current with time is a warning of trouble. larger units with more capacitance will take longer to be charged. Right now. you’d have to wait forever before taking a reading). 5 that the absorption current decreases at a relatively slow rate. 5. In practice. which is what you want to do. 5. as discussed in the tests described in the following section. including temperature of the insulation and humidity. This current also is the stored energy initially discharged after your test. theoretically. and requires a longer time than the capacitance charging current – about four times as long as the voltage was applied. the conduction or leakage current should build up to a steady value that is constant for the applied voltage. Current through and along insulation is made up partly of a relatively steady current in leakage paths over the insulation surface. you can see now why Ohm’s law R = E/I only holds. depending upon the exact nature of the insulation. you read a value that is the apparent resistance – a useful value to diagnose troubles. must be released at the end of a test. our total current comprises three components: 1. Capacitance Charging Current Current that starts out high and drops after the insulation has been charged to full voltage (much like water flow in a garden hose when you first turn on the spigot). With good insulation. by short-circuiting and grounding the insulation. As shown in Fig. AlWAYS TAkE THIS SAFETY MEASuRE. Conduction or leakage Current A small essentially steady current both through and over the insulation. Absorption Current Also an initially high current which then drops (for reasons discussed under the section Time-Resistance Method). you can see further from Fig. 5 that the charging current disappears relatively rapidly as the equipment under test becomes charged. let’s just consider the nature of current through insulation and the effect of how long voltage is applied. Because the total current depends upon the time that the voltage is applied. as you will see in the test methods described below. 2.FACToRS AFFECTInG InSulATIon RESISTAnCE REAdInGS Remember that the measured resistance (of the insulation) will be determined by the voltage applied and the resultant current (R = E/I). There are a number of things that affect current. This stored energy. as shown in Fig. 3. at an infinite time (that is.  A STITCH IN TIME A STITCH IN TIME  . or in terms of megohms at a particular voltage by means of a Megger instrument (ohmmeter). Figure 5–Curves showing components of current measured during dC testing of insulation. the total current is the sum of the three components and it is this current that can be measured directly by a microammeter. too. Electricity also flows through the volume of the insulation. Actually. 5. as mentioned in the previous section.

Bear in mind also that temperature and humidity. as long as your periodic readings are consistent. a motor rated at 2.With a background now of how time affects the meaning of instrument readings. they may be ok. (2) time-resistance. with no prior tests. let’s consider three common test methods: (1) short-time or spot reading. with a minimum value of one megohm.4 megohms. quite often the value would be less for 30 seconds. more for 60 seconds. can be only a rough guide as to how good or bad the insulation is. and (3) step or multi-voltage tests. the spot reading test is all that is necessary. megohm readings normally are considerably above this minimum value in new equipment or when insulation is in good condition.000 volts of operating voltage. even though lower than the recommended minimum values. 6. specific time period (60 seconds is usually recommended). If the apparatus you are testing has very small capacitance. as well as condition of your insulation affect your reading. you have a better basis of judging the actual insulation condition. maintenance professionals have used the one-megohm rule to establish the allowable lower limit for insulation resistance. 7 show typical behavior of insulation resistance under varying plant operating conditions.400 volts should have a minimum insulation resistance of 2. even though the readings may be higher than the suggested minimum safe values. As shown schematically in Fig. The curves were plotted from spot readings taken with a Megger instrument over a period of months. For example. However. In practice. Any persistent downward trend is usually fair warning of trouble ahead. TYPES oF InSulATIon RESISTAnCE TESTS Short-Time or Spot-Reading Test In this method. you simply connect the Megger instrument across the insulation to be tested and operate it for a short. most equipment is capacitive and so your very first spot reading on equipment in your plant. Equally true. The curves of Fig. such as a short run of house wiring. The rule may be stated: Insulation resistance should be approximately one megohm for each 1. Figure 6–Typical curve of insulation resistance (in megohms) with time for the “short time” or “spot-reading” test method. For many years. you’ve simply picked a point on a curve of increasing resistance values. By taking readings periodically and recording them. 0 A STITCH IN TIME A STITCH IN TIME  .

A STITCH IN TIME   A STITCH IN TIME . regardless of their horsepower ratings. Figure 8–Typical curves showing dielectric absorption effect in a “time-resistance” test. (curves plotted from spot readings with a Megger instrument). good insulation shows this charge effect over a time period much longer than the time required to charge the capacitance of the insulation. note that good insulation shows a continual increase in resistance (less current – see curve A) over a period of time (in the order of 5 to 10 minutes). the absorption effect is masked by a high leakage current which stays at a fairly constant value. made on capacitive equipment such as a large motor winding. you simply take successive readings at specific times and note the differences in readings (see curves. you can. Figure 7–Typical behavior of insulation resistance over a period of months under varying operating conditions. compare several motors and establish standards for new ones. This is caused by the absorption current we spoke of earlier. Fig. It is based on the absorption effect of good insulation compared to that of moist or contaminated insulation. The time-resistance test is of value also because it is independent of equipment size. 8).Time-Resistance Method This method is fairly independent of temperature and often can give you conclusive information without records of past tests. The increase in resistance for clean and dry insulation occurs in the same manner whether a motor is large or small. If the insulation contains much moisture or contaminants. keeping the resistance reading low (remember: R = E/I). therefore. Tests by this method are sometimes referred to as absorption tests.

4 to 1.6 Above 1. let’s say the spot reading on a synchronous motor was 10 megohms. With hand-cranked Megger instruments. dielectric Absorption Ratio The ratio of two time-resistance readings (such as a 60-second reading divided by a 30-second reading) is called a dielectric absorption ratio. with motors. TABLE I—Condition of Insulation Indicated by Dielectric Absorption Ratios* InSUlATIOn COndITIOn dangerous questionable Good Excellent Figure 9–Typical card plot of a time-resistance or double-reading test. taking readings at 1. For preventive maintenance. the value is called the polarization index. values approximately 20% higher than shown here indicate a dry brittle winding which will fail under shock conditions or during starts.Fig. On the other hand. **In some cases. to get the polarization index. the 60-second reading is higher than the 30-second reading. line-operated. let’s assume that the double-reading check shows that the insulation resistance holds steady at 10 megohms while you hold voltage up to 60 seconds. it’s a lot easier for you to run the test for only 60 seconds. and dried to restore winding flexibility. transformers and switchgear. If you have a line-operated Megger instrument. is that it gives you a clearer picture.25 1.  A STITCH IN TIME A STITCH IN TIME  . 9 shows how a 60-second test would appear for good and perhaps bad insulation. now. *These values must be considered tentative and relative— subject to experience with the time-resistance method over a period of time. Time-resistance tests on large rotating electrical machinery – especially with high operating voltage – require high insulation resistance ranges and a very constant test voltage. This means there may be dirt or moisture in the windings that bears watching. if the pointer shows a gradual increase between the 30-second and the 60-second checks.6** 10/1-MInUTE RATIO (POlARIZATIOn IndEX) less than 1 1. taking your first reading at 30 seconds. ***These results would be satisfactory for equipment with very low capacitance such as short runs of house wiring. such an instrument is better adapted for large cables. Table I gives values of the ratios and corresponding relative conditions of the insulation that they indicate.and at 10-minutes.0 to 1. you’ll get best results by running the test 10 minutes. bushings. For example. then you’re reasonably sure the windings are in good shape. as it is sometimes called. It is useful in recording information about insulation. 60/30-SECOnd RATIO — 1. When the insulation is in good shape. If the ratio is a 10-minute reading divided by a 1-minute reading.treated. serves this need. the motor winding should be cleaned. Similarly. A heavy-duty Megger test set.0 to 2*** 2 to 4 Above 4** A further advantage of this double-reading test. even when a spot reading says the insulation looks fine.

you should consult the manufacturer of the equipment.8 x Factory AC Test x 1. Although there are no published industry standards for dC maximum proof test voltages to be used with rotating equipment. there are also marked economic advantages in dC over AC testing.6(5. and then.800)1.400 VAC nameplate rating– Factory AC Test = 2(2. seeing that the equipment meets prescribed standards). or higher AC TESTInG vS.000 volts. testing with AC gives a charging current that is extremely large compared to the other kinds. after more time. we’ve talked about testing with dC voltage. you run the voltage up to the selected value and the equipment either passes or doesn’t pass the test.000 volts 1.000 to 5. As the test voltage increases. This is because the AC test set must supply the charging current which becomes and remains very high in the larger machines.800)1.000 to 2.160 volts and above dC Test voltage 100 and 250 volts 500 and 1.000 = 5.400 volts 4. dC Test on Installation = 0.TEST volTAGE vS. dC Test After Service = 0. AC testing may be more suitable for proof testing of equipment (that is. For specific recommendations on your equipment. dC Up to now. Test voltages used for proof testing of equipment are considerably higher than those used for routine maintenance. It is a GO/nO-GO type of test and can cause deterioration of the insulation.424 VdC Max.) We saw that in insulation testing.800 VAC Max. both the cost and weight of AC equipment go up much faster than with comparable dC test equipment. Remember that we spoke of the kinds of current produced in insulation by dC? (The initial surge of charging current. in contrast to the dC test which is basically non-destructive. EquIPMEnT RATInG Commonly used dC test voltages for routine maintenance are as follows: Equipment AC Rating up to 100 volts 440 to 550 volts 2. In contrast. the drop with time to absorption current. the schedule given below is customarily used. in dC testing.500 volts or higher 1.6 dC Proof Test After Service = 0. this current drops rapidly after the initial charging period.6 = 5. AC frequently is used for high-potential testing.8(5.6 = 7. you get a more qualitative picture. With the dC test.568 VdC  A STITCH IN TIME A STITCH IN TIME  . the steady conduction current. If an AC test voltage has been used and you want to use dC tests as an alternative. the conduction or leakage current is the one that gives us the information we need. but you will hear of AC testing and need to know the difference. As the size of your equipment increases. Proof Test voltages for Rotating Equipment: Factory AC Test = 2 x nameplate Rating + 1000 volts dC Proof Test on Installation = 0.6 x Factory AC Test x 1. you will need to increase the maximum dC test voltage somewhat to obtain equivalent results.400) +1. leakage current is relatively minor. As explained previously.6 Example: Motor with 2. In some cases. you can meter the leakage current as you increase the voltage and obtain specific values of insulation resistance. voltage is increased to some specified point to see if the insulation can stand that particular voltage.

can serve as a guide to the best method for your particular equipment. you’d be sure. However. if past records showed the normal resistance values to run 10 or 20 megohms. and is the ideal initial measurement to be made on flooded equipment. If a kilohm measurement is obtained. both in quality and quantity There are various ways to dry out electrical equipment. an oven. a spot reading with the Megger tester shows 1. However. depending upon its size and portability. TESTS duRInG dRYInG ouT oF EquIPMEnT Wet electrical equipment is a common hazard faced by all maintenance engineers. you should be aware of this instrument and its use in insulation resistance measurements. some plants. you’ll leave very corrosive deposits of salt on metal and insulating surfaces as well as in crevices of the insulation. you should use a low-voltage Megger tester (100 or 250 vdC). reading directly in ohms and megohms of insulation resistance. insulation has been thoroughly saturated. 5 are plotted as current versus time. Megger supplies graph paper which makes it easy to plot megohms of insulation resistance from your voltage and current readings. Many testers have an additional test range measuring in kilohms (kW). circulation of current through conductors. you can use a blast of hot air. Alternately test and dry. On the other hand. non-destructive 5. as are curves for insulation measurements on typical equipment given near the end of this manual. if you have records of previous tests on the apparatus. using a suitable solvent. you go right ahead drying it out. In some cases. or with certain equipment. It is designed for other uses. and can.In summary. local plant conditions and facilities. but for insulation testing it provides: (1) an adjustable output voltage and (2) a monitoring of the resultant current in micro-amperes. let’s look at a 100-hp motor that’s been flooded. or a combination of techniques. As an example of how important past readings are. you should remove oil or grease from the insulation. After a clean-up. slow cranking of a 500-volt tester may be substituted. therefore. together with information from the equipment manufacturers. watching the readings rise until they reach the Megohm range. is your best bet for routine in-plant maintenance. use another Megger product – the dielectric test set. This range measures below the Megohm range. dC test sets are employed almost exclusively for high-voltage maintenance and field testing for the following reasons: 1. you can check this by insulation resistance tests. the shorttime.  A STITCH IN TIME A STITCH IN TIME  . If the equipment is wet from fresh water. at least in the early stages of a drying-out run. such deposits form a very good conductor of electricity. The curves of Fig. such records are also helpful to determine when the insulation is free of moisture. uSE oF dC dIElECTRIC TEST SET The Megger instrument. if past records showed the insulation resistance to run between 1 and 2 megohms. at which time higher voltage tests can be safely employed. time-resistance and step-voltage tests. This measurement is typically made at only a few volts. With moisture. The dielectric test set can be used to determine insulation resistance by the same test methods as outlined for the Megger instrument. that is. If a low-voltage instrument is not readily available. but may be reclaimable. then you would know that water was still in the motor windings. lower cost 2. The Megger dC dielectric Test Sets are available with voltage outputs ranging from 5 kV up to 160 kV. you must first wash away the salt with fresh water. Better information. Offhand.5 megohms. Also. drying out may not be necessary. provide an actual measurement to use as a benchmark in monitoring the drying process. When drying out is required. Smaller size 4. if you’ve got salt water. So. lighter weight 3. Therefore. particularly with higher voltage ratings in equipment. you’d probably say this is ok. Otherwise. too. noTE: Wet equipment is susceptible to voltage breakdown. What’s more.

EFFECT oF TEMPERATuRE on InSulATIon RESISTAnCE The resistance of insulating materials decreases markedly with an increase in temperature. to simplify the correction of resistance values. Factors have been developed. If you want to make reliable comparisons between readings. For example. We will cover some general guides to temperature correction. and you have readings of previous tests on the dry equipment.0 megohms x 4. for every 10°C decrease. using the dielectric absorption ratio or polarization index to follow dry-out progress (no need to correct for temperature). double the resistance. you should correct the readings to a base temperature. or take all your readings at approximately the same temperature (usually not difficult to do). Each type of insulating material will have a different degree of resistance change with temperature. 0 A STITCH IN TIME For example. One thumb rule is: For every 10°C increase in temperature. note that if you conduct insulation resistance tests during drying. or. however. assume you have a motor with Class A insulation and you get a reading of 2. 10) shows how insulation resistance changes. your corrected value of resistance is then: 2. however. tests by the time-resistance and stepvoltage methods are relatively independent of temperature effects.0 megohms at a temperature (in the windings) of 104°F (40°C). such as 20°C. the resistance actually decreases because of the higher temperature. Figure 10-Typical drying curve where one-minute readings of insulation resistance are taken every four hours.80. a two-megohm resistance at 20°C reduces to 1/2 megohm at 40°C. From Table II you read across at 104°F to the next column (for Class A) and obtain the factor 4.6 megohms reading for 68°F or 20°C) A STITCH IN TIME  . taken periodically (say. you multiply the readings you get by the factor corresponding to the temperature (which you need to measure). Then it rises at a constant temperature as drying proceeds. Finally. as room temperature (20°C) is reached. you’ll know when you’ve reached the safe value for the unit. giving relative values. it rises to a high value. you may prefer to use a timeresistance test. once a shift). during the first part of the run. Table II gives such factors for rotating equipment. transformers and cable. As we’ve seen.80 = (reading (correction (corrected at 104°F) factor for Class A insulation at 104°F) 9. The typical drying-out curve for a dC motor armature (Fig. halve the resistance.

43 2.60 44.00 10.40 0.75 74.28 0.45 29.10 122 10.58 2.00 1.10 54.6°C). TABlE II-Temperature Correction Factors* TEMP. nATURAl OZOnE RESIST.60 13.40 1.53 1.36 0.00 2.20 4. GR-S PERFORMAnCE nATURAl HEAT RESIST.50 3.83 0.49 1.00 38.20 3.83 2.15 5.73 1.56 0.70 27.00 15.58 2.00 1.72 8.23 0.40 118. For rotating machinery with Class B insulation.48 2.00 0. but the important point is to be consistent and correct to the same base.00 12.08 8.08 6.85 34.80 0. & PERFORM.60 1.00 116.00 7. ROTATInG EqUIP.29 5.6° C for cable.70 25.85 78.00 0.00 775.72 10.45 0.30 193.68 2.20 0.81 1.60 0.note that the resistance is almost five times greater at 68°F (20°C).47 1.15 17.90 22.40 0.94 4.00 1.80 6.60 313.15 3.00 20.00 24.53 11.00 4.00 45.85 5.46 1.71 1.58 1.00 0.00 1.20 3. you might expect.67 3. the same is true – so long as its temperature is kept above the dew point.00 170.76 1.50 0.93 3.20 1.62 18. The reference temperature for cable is given as 60°F (15.25 1.55 0.52 7.64 1.85 20. If your equipment operates regularly above the dew-point temperature (the temperature at which the moisture vapor in air condenses as a liquid).77 VARnISHEd CAMBRIC COdE nATURAl ClASS A ClASS B COdE GR-S °C °F *Corrected to 20° C for rotating equipment and transformers. that increasing humidity (moisture content) in the surrounding (ambient) air could affect insulation resistance.50 7.45 131 15.27 3.47 0.00 11.00 10. therefore. Even if the equipment to be tested is idle.50 140 149 158 167 2.62 73.00 1.31 0.25 0.17 3.26 3. EFFECTS oF HuMIdITY We have spoken at various points in this manual about the presence of moisture in insulation and its very marked effect upon resistance values.26 0.25 0. the test reading normally will not be affected much by the humidity.63 0.42 0.24 2.00 0.37 0.70 8.48 3.24 1.00 31.22 0.50 0.43 0.10 0.30 15. CABlES OIl-FIllEd TRAnSFORMERS HEAT RESIST.00 36. And it can to varying degrees.74 1.28 1.6 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 75 32 41 50 60 68 77 86 95 0.40 50.00 1.00 26.14 0.95 8. nATURAl GR-S 0 5 10 15. nomograph of temperature correction values for Megger readings (corrected to 25°C).58 11.80 113 7.00 0.00 22.  A STITCH IN TIME A STITCH IN TIME  .20 6.03 6.29 4.98 7.00 16.00 345.00 5.98 2.20 6.43 1. as compared to the reading taken at 104°F.12 0.45 14.40 81.24 0.32 5.00 IMPREGnATEd PAPER 0.10 41.21 0.65 104 4.61 1.00 1. 15.75 2.

Such leakage may mask the true insulation resistance of the apparatus under test. Before making these observations. etc. Or. from which dew-point and percent relative or absolute humidity can be obtained.. a discharge stick should be used. Pay particular attention to conductors that lead away from the installation. in which case nothing would be gained by separating the components. discharge of Capacitance It is very important that capacitance be discharged. that the insulation resistance of the complete installation (without disconnecting everything) will be satisfactorily high. therefore. Take out of Service Shut down the apparatus. and test each one separately. Current leakage at Switches When apparatus is shut down for the insulation resistance test. it may be necessary to separate the component parts. Megger instrument in use. large windings. because the insulation resistance of each part would be still higher. Megger instruments are frequently equipped with discharge circuits for this purpose. etc. altering the test results. See Use of a Guard Terminal.) short circuited until ready to re-energize. It is always possible. of course. Or. the lower the reading will be. Never use the tester or any of its leads or accessories for any purpose not described in this book. leave high capacitive apparatus (i. however. However. and the true insulation resistance of the apparatus in question may be masked by that of the associated equipment. dew-point measurements will give you a clue as to whether such invisible conditions might exist. which have the property of absorbing moisture (they’re called “hygroscopic” or “deliquescent” materials by chemists). particularly if the live line is dC. 4. Also. As a part of your maintenance records. Their presence could unpredictably affect your readings. both before and after an insulation resistance test. disconnect from other equipment and circuits.e. especially if it is difficult or expensive to disconnect associated apparatus and circuits. PREPARATIon oF APPARATuS To TEST 1.The aforementioned statement assumes that the insulation surfaces are free of contaminants. Open switches. whether the temperature was above or below the ambient. including neutral and protective (workmen’s temporary) ground connections. For an initial test. it may not be necessary to separate the components on future tests unless unaccountably low readings are observed. de-energize. it’s a good idea to make note at least of whether the surrounding air was dry or humid when the test was made. page 26. Studies show. When you test vital equipment. It should be discharged for a period about four times as long as test voltage was applied in a previous test. current from an energized line may leak into the apparatus and cause inconsistent readings. Make Sure Just What is Included in the Test Inspect the installation very carefully to determine just what equipment is connected and will be included in the test. they should be removed before tests are made. be sure that all capacitance is discharged by short circuiting or grounding the apparatus. record the ambient wet and dry bulb temperatures. 2. even though labor and expense are involved. such leakage usually can be detected by watching the pointer of the Megger instrument at the moment the test leads are connected to the apparatus and before the instrument is operated. This is very important. capacitors. If a discharge function is not provided. page 50. In electrical equipment we’re concerned primarily with the conditions on the exposed surfaces where moisture condenses and affects the overall resistance of the insulation. make sure that the readings are not affected by leakage over or through switches or fuse blocks. such as certain lints and acids or salts. 3. CAUTION: Never connect a Megger insulation tester to energized lines or equipment. With this information on record. Also make a test of all the components connected together. it may be higher than the range of the  A STITCH IN TIME A STITCH IN TIME  . that dew will form in the cracks and crevices of insulation before it is visibly evident on the surface. what may be more serious. especially for a spot check. because the more equipment that is included in a test. See Safety Precautions.

 A STITCH IN TIME A STITCH IN TIME  . REMEMBER! The Megger insulation resistance tester measures whatever resistance is connected between its terminals. however. large electrical equipment and cables usually have sufficient capacitance to store up a dangerous amount of energy from the test current. These illustrations are typical and will serve as guides for testing insulation resistance of practically all types of apparatus and conductors. such as a transformer or circuit breaker. Apparatus Under Test Must Not Be Live! See page 24 on Preparation of Apparatus for Test. Pay particular attention to conductors that lead away from the circuit being tested and make sure they have been properly disconnected from any source of voltage. a hazard when testing equipment located in inflammable or explosive atmospheres. Make sure this capacitance is discharged after the test and before handling the test leads. ConnECTIonS FoR TESTInG InSulATIon RESISTAnCE oF ElECTRICAl EquIPMEnT The following diagrams show how to connect a Megger insulation tester to various types of electrical equipment. This may include series or parallel leakage paths through insulation or over its surface. from the exposed bus or line. leaving the latter grounded. For (3): do not disconnect the test leads for at least 30 to 60 seconds following a test. and that when disconnected no other equipment will lack necessary protection. page 24. Remember that when working around high voltage equipment there is always a possibility of voltages being induced in apparatus under test or lines to which it is connected. Shock Hazard from Test voltage Observe the voltage rating of the Megger instrument and regard it with appropriate caution.SAFETY PRECAuTIonS Observe all rules for safety when taking equipment out of service. Test for foreign or induced voltages. See also discharge of Capacitance. Suggestions: For (1) and (3): Arrange permanently installed grounding facilities and test leads to a point where instrument connections can be made in a safe atmosphere. read the article on Preparation of Apparatus for Test. there is no fire hazard in the normal use of a Megger insulation tester. For (2): Use low-voltage testing instruments. rather than removing a workmen’s ground in order to make a test. arcing through or over faulty insulation (3) Following a test when capacitance is discharged CAUTION: Do not use the instrument in an explosive atmosphere. it is more advisable to disconnect the apparatus. because of proximity to energized high voltage equipment. Before proceeding with tests. or a series resistance. Explosion and Fire Hazard So far as is known. Block out disconnect switches. The diagrams also show in principle how equipment must be disconnected from other circuits before the instrument is connected. page 25. Therefore. If neutral or other ground connections have to be disconnected. Use rubber gloves when connecting the test leads to the apparatus and while operating the Megger instrument. Apply workmen’s grounds. allowing time for capacitance discharge. There is. Slight sparking may be encountered: (1) When attaching the test leads to equipment in which the capacitance has not been completely discharged (2) during a test. make sure they are not carrying current at the time.

Wiring Installation Figure 11 Figure 13 Connections for testing the insulation resistance of a motor. in parallel. It is always preferable to disconnect the component parts and test them separately in order to determine where weaknesses exist. the brush rigging and field coils can be tested separately from the armature.1. field coils and armature combined. likewise the armature can be tested by itself. Figure 12 With the brushes raised as indicated. starting equipment and connecting lines. 2.  A STITCH IN TIME Figure 14 A STITCH IN TIME  . working from the distribution panel. note that the starter switch is in the “on” position for the test. the test will be that of brush rigging. AC Motors & Starting Equipment 3. dC Generators & Motors Connections for testing to ground each circuit separately. With the brushes lowered.

4. motor. from which point the entire system can be tested to ground at one time. and to avoid error due to leakage across or through switchboards or panelboards. Appliances. The apparatus must be disconnected from any source of power and placed on some insulating material. Figure 15 Connections for testing an appliance. Signaling & Communication Cables Figure 17 Figure 16 Connections for testing insulation resistance of one wire in a multiconductor cable against all other wires and sheath connected together. Instruments & Miscellaneous Electrical Apparatus I6.Connections at the main power board. Meters. Control. When testing cable.) and exposed metal parts. providing all switches in the distribution panel are closed. page 50. it is usually best to disconnect at both ends in order to test the cable by itself. etc. Figure 18 0 A STITCH IN TIME A STITCH IN TIME  . Power Cables Connections for testing the insulation resistance of a power cable. 5. See also use of Guard Terminal. The test is made between the conductor (the heating unit.

rubber-insulated. with the shield connected to Guard. do this by operating the instrument. Joints are to be avoided. Insulated leads Figure 19 Connections for testing insulation resistance of a transformer high voltage winding and bushings.  A STITCH IN TIME A STITCH IN TIME  . of the Earth or Ground lead becomes unimportant. it may be treated similarly. make sure there is no leak from lead to lead. which should read Infinity. do not correct slight lead leakage by attempting to reset the Infinity Adjuster on a high-range instrument. If the Guard terminal is used. Current testing with the high-range (50. place the Megger instrument close to the ungrounded terminal or conductor of the apparatus under test and connect a short piece of light bare wire directly from the line terminal of the instrument to the apparatus. Any convenient length of lead may be used. note that the low voltage winding is grounded for this test. Take care in this respect. from being measured. solid wire will suffice. no. if any. the insulation resistance will be that of the generator stator winding and connecting cable combined. and just before connecting them to the apparatus. The shielded test lead. prevents any leakages over its terminations or through the lead insulating material. AC Generators Where dependence is placed on the insulation of leads. the cable must be disconnected at the machine. Then touch the test ends of the leads together to make sure they are not disconnected or broken. and the high tension disconnect switch. single-conductor no. lugs should be fitted for attaching to the instrument terminals. The outer jacket should be smooth. with reference to the low voltage winding and ground. With this method of connecting from the line terminal. Figure 20 With this connection. 8. Power Transformers AddITIonAl noTES ABouT uSInG A MEGGER InSulATIon TESTER Testing leads Inferior or defective testing leads will cause erroneous and misleading results of insulation resistance tests. 14 stranded wire is recommended. the quality of the insulation. To test either the stator winding or the cable itself. with no outer braid.7. they must be durable and of the best quality insulating material. Support the lead only by its connections to the instrument and the apparatus. After connecting the leads to the instrument. Oil resistant. and stout spring clips are recommended for connecting to the apparatus or circuit under test. synthetic. in parallel. uninsulated leads To avoid error due to the insulation of leads. 18 or 20 gauge.000 megohms) Megger insulation testers requires that the line test lead be maintained at a high value so that it will not enter into the measurement.

It may be a matter of minutes or even hours for this electrification time to be completed. Continue cranking steadily at slip speed until the reading has been taken. and read at the end of that time. and in capacitors. Capacitance effects are most noticeable in large generators. in power and communication cable more than a few hundred feet in length. The conductor employed in making this connection must be insulated for the voltage rating of the Megger instrument used. by short circuiting and grounding the apparatus before connecting the test leads. When using a motor-driven or rectifier-operated instrument. This is simply the charge flowing into and out of the capacitance and through the deflecting coil of the ohmmeter. Or. insulation testers should never be connected to energized lines or equipment when operated in any of the Insulation Test or Resistance Test modes. and to swing off scale beyond infinity when the generator is slowing down. In general. voltage Scales Some insulation testers may be supplied with a voltage scale to check for the absence of voltage before insulation testing. Effect of Capacitance Capacitance in apparatus under test must be charged up to the rated dC voltage of the Megger insulation tester. however. these effects are small with capacitance of less than 0. operating Time A very important consideration in making insulation resistance tests is the time required for the reading of insulation resistance to reach a maximum. particularly when operated from the power line rather than the hand crank. page 25. Time-Resistance Method When using a hand-cranked instrument. The heavy-duty series of Megger insulation testers can be used on large capacitors with good results. operate continuously for 1 minute. As explained in the Safety Precautions section. Make future tests with the same length of operating time. either 30 seconds or 1 minute. time-resistance curves may be taken over a period of 10 to 30 minutes or longer. Take a reading at the end of the first 30 seconds and another reading at the end of the minute. The clip on the line lead is connected to the apparatus under test in the regular way. and maintained for 30 to 60 seconds before a final reading is taken. See discharge of Capacitance. Make sure that capacitance is discharged.  A STITCH IN TIME A STITCH IN TIME  . noTE: Capacitance causes the pointer to swing towards zero while the instrument is being brought up to speed. Short-Time Readings For short-time readings of insulation resistance.Instructions for use The untagged end of the shielded lead is to be connected to the line and Guard terminals of the Megger instrument – the end terminal to line and the side (shield) terminal to Guard. the time intervals are usually 1 minute and 10 minutes from the time the testing voltage is applied.01 F. It becomes more noticeable as capacitance and/or the sensitivity of the instrument increases. and for the pointer to reach an absolute maximum. operate the instrument for a definite length of time. The time required to charge the geometric capacitance is very short – usually no more than a few seconds – and that which causes further delay in reaching full charge is a dielectric absorption effect. The outboard Guard terminal may be connected to that part of the apparatus under test which the user wishes to guard.

and is still recommended for those who may not be too familiar with insulation resistance testing practices. and its thickness and area cease to be variables. cleanliness. and the elimination of moisture penetration into the insulation. After the equipment has been put into service. Here again. the type of insulating material used. and may not be the result of a dangerous localized weakness. and may be criticized as lacking an engineering foundation. factors such as the design of the equipment. so long as the values remain stable or consistent.  A STITCH IN TIME A STITCH IN TIME  . even though the actual values may be higher than the suggested minimum safe values. moisture. moisture and temperature. makes the Megger insulation tester the valuable tool that it is in electrical maintenance. The very fact that insulation resistance is affected by moisture and dirt. these variables must be taken into consideration. Good Housekeeping The most important requirements in the reliable operation of electrical equipment are cleanliness. the thickness of the insulation and its area. are cleanliness. The variables that must be considered after the equipment had been put into service. including binders and impregnating compounds. have resulted in formulas for minimum values of insulation resistance that are based on the kind of insulating material used and the electrical and physical dimensions of the types of equipment under consideration. For equipment rated above 1000 volts the one megohm rule is usually stated as a minimum of one megohm per thousand volts. records of insulation resistance tests over a period of time reveal changes which may justify investigation. and is essential in the maintenance of all types of electrical equipment. allowances must be made for equipment in service showing periodic test values lower than the suggested minimum safe values. after due consideration has been given to temperature and humidity conditions at the time of test. it has stood the test of a good many years of practical experience. In such cases. This condition may be caused by uniformly distributed leakages of a harmless nature. They should serve as a guide for equipment in service. The one-Megohm Rule For many years one megohm has been widely used as a fair allowable lower limit for insulation resistance of ordinary industrial electrical equipment rated up to 1000 volts. What Readings to Expect – Periodic Tests Several criteria for minimum values of insulation resistance have been developed and are summarized here. however. More recent studies of the problem. It gives some assurance that equipment is not too wet or dirty and has saved many an unnecessary breakdown. This may be considered as good housekeeping. Therefore. temperature and mechanical damage (such as fractures). Conversely. or who may not wish to approach the problem from a more technical point of view. with due allowances for temperature. and at the time that the insulation resistance measurements are being made. It is at once a gauge of cleanliness and good housekeeping as well as a detector of deterioration and impending trouble. periodic tests on equipment in service will usually reveal readings considerably higher than the suggested minimum safe values. it is strongly recommended that records of periodic tests be kept. The trend of the curve may be more significant than the numerical values themselves. Although this rule is somewhat arbitrary. However.InTERPRETATIon-MInIMuM vAluES Insulation resistance of electrical equipment is affected by many variables such as the equipment design. because persistent downward trends in insulation resistance usually give fair warning of impending trouble. the kind of insulating material used. For insulation resistance readings to be a conclusive measure of the condition of the equipment being tested. there may be no need for concern. allowing minimum insulation resistance values to be established within reasonable tolerances.

and the length of the circuit involved in the measurement. Furthermore. These minimum values are for new.000 megohms. The guide states: “The recommended minimum insulation resistance Rm for alternating-current and direct-current machine armature windings and for field windings of alternating-current and direct-current machines can be determined by: where: Rm kV = = Rm = kV + 1 recommended minimum insulation resistance in megohms at 40°C of the entire machine winding rated machine terminal to terminal potential. a Megger insulation tester having a range of at least 10. It reviews the factors which affect or change insulation resistance characteristics. should. What has been said for stripped oil circuit breaker bushings also applies to bushings for other equipment.000 megohms will permit observation of deteriorating trends in bushings before they reach the questionable value of 10. or guarded. and that the porcelain weather shield is guarded.000 megohms.. In the case of the stripped bushing itself. which will have an effect on the insulation resistance values obtained. the voltage rating or insulation thickness. and may be subjected to wide variations in temperature. This means that each component such as the stripped bushing itself. The Insulated Cable Engineers Association (ICEA) gives minimum values of insulation resistance in its specifications for various types of cables and conductors.000 megohms are usually deteriorated internally. by the presence of moisture or carbonized paths. nY. This assumes that the oil within the tank is in good condition. 10017. etc. for reliable operation. cross-member. In applications where the machine is vital. Cable and Conductors Cable and conductor installations present a wide variation of conditions from the point of view of the resistance of the insulation. should have an insulation resistance in excess of that value. with its assembled associated insulating members. deals with the problem of making and interpreting insulation resistance measurements for rotating machinery.000 megohms at 20°C. which can be obtained by writing the IEEE at 345 East 47th St. single-conductor wire and cable after being subjected to an AC high voltage test and based on a dC test potential of 500 volts applied for one minute at a temperature of 60°F.” It is recommended that those who operate and maintain rotating machinery obtain copies of the IEEE publication. outlines and recommends uniform methods for making tests. “Recommended Practices for Testing Insulation Resistance of Rotating Machinery”.. and presents formulas for the calculation of approximate minimum insulation resistance values for various types of AC and dC rotating machinery. “Recommended Practices for Testing Insulation Resistance of Rotating Machinery”. have an insulation resistance value above 10. such as transformers.000 megohms is necessary to test such equipment. The terminals of cables and conductors will also have an effect on the test values unless they are clean and dry. lower arcing shield. drop appreciably to near that level. that the breaker is separated from its external connections to other equipment. it has been considered good practice to initiate reconditioning should the insulation resistance. lift rod. This is particularly so when operating under surge conditions such as during lightning disturbances.MInIMuM vAluES FoR InSulATIon RESISTAnCE Rotating Machinery The IEEE guide. to such an extent that they are not reliable for good service unless reconditioned. Bushings In the case of outdoor oil circuit breaker bushings. having been well above the minimum value given by Eq 2. in kilovolts Any components which are superficially clean and dry and have values less than 10. new York. These conditions result from the many kinds of insulating materials used. such circuits usually extend over great distances. the lower stem and upper weather shield must be either perfectly clean or guarded before it is condemned as unreliable because of an insulation resistance value less than 10.  A STITCH IN TIME A STITCH IN TIME  . Megger instruments having ranges up to 50. experience has shown that any bushing. Since bushings and other associated members have very high insulation resistance values normally.

...... Insulation Type Impregnated Paper ....560 ...460 Thermoplastic-Polyethylene ........................................................................................... 2............................ sludge-free oil...................2..... the values will be much less than that given by the formula................ 10........... In the absence of more reliable data the following formula is suggested: R= R = CE √kVA Code ............... above 50................................ and bushings and terminal boards that are in good condition..................................... 2..................4......000 (Butyl) .000 Grade natural Rubber Synthetic Rubber Transformers Acceptable insulation resistance values for dry and compound-filled transformers should be comparable to those for Class A rotating machinery.................... or from winding to winding with core guarded a constant for 20°C measurements voltage rating of winding under test rated capacity of winding under test kVA = For tests of winding to ground with the other winding or windings grounded........................................These standard minimum values (for single-conductor cable) are based on the following formula: where: R k d d = = = = R = k log10 d/d megohms per 1000 feet of cable constant for insulating material outside diameter of conductor insulation diameter of conductor The insulation resistance of one conductor of a multiconductor cable to all others and sheath is: where: d d of c b = = R = k log10 d/d = diameter over insulation of equivalent single-conductor cable = d + 2c + 2b = diameter of conductor (for sector cables d equals diameter round conductor of same cross-section) thickness of conductor insulation thickness of jacket insulation (all dimensions must be expressed in same units) Minimum values of k at 60° F.............................. 30....................................................................640 Varnished Cambric ...........000 Composite Polyethylene ..............000 Thermoplastic-Polyvinyl: Polyvinyl Chloride 60°C .....000 Ozone Resistant......... 0 A STITCH IN TIME A STITCH IN TIME  ....560 . with other winding or windings guarded.......................... R in this formula is based on dry...2......................... 500 Polyvinyl Chloride 75°C ............................... 2.000 See pages 44 and 45 for Tables of log10 d/d C E = = minimum 1-minute 500-volt dC insulation resistance in megohms from winding to ground...................... although no standard minimum values are available......2....................... 10...... acid-free...........000 Heat Resistant.. 10..000 kerite .........................950 Performance ................................................ Oil-filled transformers or voltage regulators present a special problem in that the condition of the oil has a marked influence on the insulation resistance of the windings........

In this figure.0 This formula is intended for single-phase transformers. and critically observing any reduction of insulation resistance at the higher voltage. The maximum value of voltage which should be used will depend largely on the cleanliness and dryness of the insulation to be tested. The figure. but is a condition which is not uncommon in practice. It may be necessary to wait an appreciable amount of time after each voltage change for the absorption current to disappear before taking a reading. the ohmmeter method has at least two advantages. The technique involves the application of two or more dC voltages. reveals the simplicity of determining the change in insulation stability by using three fixed voltages which are easily reproducible when making three-voltage tests on a routine basis.0 30. which is shown by the dotted extension of the horizontal line in the figure. Any marked or unusual reduction in insulation resistance for a prescribed increase in applied voltage is an indication of incipient weakness. the voltage resistance curve reveals this very clearly by a lower resistance value. indicated by the downward curve in the figure. and the three individual windings are being tested as one.0 20. there will be no change in the insulation resistance value obtained. It is important to mention that the merits of this technique arise from more recent investigations which indicate that rather high dC voltage can be used to detect weaknesses without damaging the insulation. note that there is no change in resistance shown in the figure between 500 and 1000 volts. and one instrument measurement made with the direct reading ohmmeter. First.0 25-Hertz 1. If the insulation continues to be stable at 2500 volts. then: E = voltage rating of one of the single-phase windings (phase to phase for delta connected units and phase to neutral for star connected units) rated capacity of the completed three-phase winding under test kVA = of the ohmmeter can be explained by referring to Fig. except possibly by partial discharge detection at non-destructive AC test voltage levels. indicating no change in the insulation as a result of applying these two voltages. 21 indicates the resistance change due to leakage current only. This is an assumption. If the transformer under test is of the three-phase type. Another important advantage Figure 21 We wish to emphasize that the curve in Fig. This is a simple and reproducible method compared to one in which many choices of voltage are available. When non-linear conditions appear at a higher voltage.5 30. prescribed fixed voltages are switched into use. therefore. Such dC tests have in some cases been shown to reveal non-destructively incipient weaknesses in insulation which could not otherwise be found.values of C at 20°C 60-Hertz Tanked oil-filled type Untanked oil-filled type dry or compound-filled type 1. TESTS uSInG MulTI-volTAGE MEGGER InSulATIon TESTERS Maintenance practice trends indicate the value of testing insulation with dC voltages at levels somewhat higher than the peak value of the rated AC voltage of the equipment being tested. 21.  A STITCH IN TIME A STITCH IN TIME  . In making tests on insulation at such dC voltages.0 20. and not the absorption current which may appear for a period of time with each change in voltage. the change which may occur in leakage current after the absorption current has disappeared is shown plotted in terms of insulation resistance against three different voltages.

255 .130 .699 .288 .460 .293 .123 .000 1.445 .000 1.258 .212 .0943 .453 .196 .266 .0708 .127 .921 .447 .164 .341 .120 .590 .122 .347 .309 .340 .589 .549 .121 .078 .836 .686 .0656 .748 .660 .140 .137 .211 .145 .384 .945 .315 .0854 .110 .0789 .0425 .568 .0943 .698 .122 .338 .208 .0836 .203 .279 .000 800.576 .249 .244 .000 2.483 .286 .526 .111 .382 .172 .425 .221 .204 .144 .203 .415 .608 .116 .209 .257 .128 .229 .350 .373 .583 .153 .232 .458 .141 14 12 10 8 6 Str.652 .0734 .138 .856 .000 .102 .470 .0901 .440 .225 .366 .529 .832 .356 .289 .238 .550 .448 .227 .170 .106 .264 .189 .293 .779 .433 .0993  A STITCH IN TIME Sol.W.143 .187 .146 .271 .170 .538 .821 . 5 4 3 2 1 1/0 2/0 3/0 4/0 250.720 .505 .166 .164 .746 .212 .218 .225 .233 .134 .793 .0851 .136 .176 .172 .139 .626 .525 .239 .284 .113 .0500 .540 .199 .0546 .866 .248 .273 .259 .0688 .889 .119 .628 .352 .173 .000 1.303 .000 500. or C.143 .187 .105 .199 .173 .000 2.0691 .501 .392 .153 .267 .328 .341 .281 .0620 .211 .168 .0853 .365 .320 .326 .589 .0812 .216 .615 .594 .547 .000.125 .770 .334 .148 .0580 .222 .125 .272 .804 .153 .157 A STITCH IN TIME  .516 .359 .151 .223 .163 .403 .410 .609 .0749 .495 .094 .141 .266 .150 .000 300.198 .640 .000 700.160 .328 .554 .000 2.806 .248 .116 .181 .712 .269 .167 .273 .217 .177 .369 .281 .706 .431 .000 900.0793 .0581 .4 3 8 Str.141 .252 .155 .0856 .132 .760 .428 .355 .232 .289 .248 .000 500.594 .342 .215 .339 .0861 .219 .267 .670 .000 600.622 .114 .236 .399 .191 .0934 INSULATION THICKNESS – INCHES A.181 .515 .362 .220 .416 .296 .292 .691 .694 .297 .347 .G.395 .343 .570 .295 .0357 .836 .203 .676 .669 .369 .102 .0541 .000 800.118 . .254 .359 .0952 .165 .320 .000 Sol.470 .0397 .105 .125 .734 .653 .641 .250 .180 .535 .375 .0681 .047 .750.119 .435 .0590 .384 .155 .316 .640 .405 .311 .480 .168 .297 .000 1.228 .165 .100 .176 .354 .313 .181 .535 .113 .236 .149 .144 .871 .598 .171 .395 .0658 .751 .346 .345 .731 .122 .173 .479 .186 .204 .329 . D vAluES oF loG10 d INSULATION THICKNESS – INCHES A.514 .645 .289 .278 .371 .117 .126 .206 .283 .342 .553 .302 .880 .0492 .000.651 .804 .128 .000 1.139 .771 .225 .379 .414 .259 .0623 .161 .466 .M.163 .150 .000 400.218 .129 .0731 .506 .851 . 14 12 10 8 6 5 4 3 2 1 1/0 2/0 3/0 4/0 250.236 .159 .301 .309 .0763 .723 .195 .194 .155 .141 .000 400.000 900.130 .188 .894 .185 .787 .0897 .343 .250 .373 .273 .197 .129 .441 .250.392 .0870 .331 .296 .603 .133 .450 .215 .0619 .139 .000.238 .281 .401 .0888 .000 values continued on next page. .383 .275 .363 .0551 .0995 .0686 .157 .0830 .206 .621 .103 .165 1.359 .298 .866 .575 .0845 .134 .203 .678 .454 .466 .164 .251 .360 .190 .370 .431 .108 .337 .187 .446 .314 .300 .853 .223 .262 .196 .135 .197 .317 .198 .260 .643 .148 .537 .590 .219 .0994 .0769 .551 .373 .331 .142 .176 .104 .218 .168 .186 .193 .0625 .187 .130 .321 .218 .000 300.404 .707 .309 .111 814 .000 1.625 .110 .344 .315 .113 .216 .313 .115 .189 .512 .179 .225 .122 .230 .203 .561 .204 .165 .180 .242 .265 .219 .0810 .611 .154 .237 .720 .108 .132 .191 .373 .3 9 1 .276 .0954 .414 .500.189 .266 .500.894 .230 .262 .131 .160 . D .429 .108 .0770 .691 .302 .185 .0456 .245 .525 .0700 .250 .177 .537 .204 .0946 .000 2.189 .392 .203 .4 0 7 .063 .578 .168 .000 350.351 .152 .000 600.399 .281 .228 .245 .284 .283 .0899 .301 .667 .204 .166 .500.259 .278 .418 .566 .220 .244 .201 .0874 .128 .0787 .0948 .256 .202 .227 .204 .457 .212 .450 .239 .348 .234 .517 .491 .367 .239 .269 .140 .204 .185 .265 .500.221 .305 .562 .480 .498 .190 .114 . or C.103 .193 .183 .155 .153 .0895 .185 .402 .103 .637 .483 .409 .332 .234 .289 .192 .0687 .0755 .214 .0727 .906 .482 .750.243 .172 .150 .0971 .415 .139 .000 700.645 .227 .500 .0898 .156 .453 .000 750.613 .469 .180 .463 .403 .538 .289 .487 .436 .497 .163 .272 .172 .267 .922 .334 .834 .770 .0644 .425 .0963 .385 .152 .175 .323 .250.000 750.500 .284 .732 .116 .318 .308 .125 .461 .109 .380 .172 .146 .179 .117 .111 .242 .245 .474 .293 .189 .G.206 .398 .242 .565 .257 .123 .392 .266 .405 .432 .513 .246 .0687 .502 .467 .vAluES oF loG10 d .000 1.397 .720 .255 .0558 .142 .520 .0923 .174 .0423 .261 .104 .0761 .602 .156 .606 .351 .234 .M.239 .000 350.490 .666 .249 .183 .466 .107 .159 .136 .172 .327 .532 .422 .0665 .000.103 .224 .128 . .266 .318 .342 .317 .572 .145 .181 .157 .680 .426 .162 .327 .157 .0750 .0472 .135 .0965 .W.379 .250 .4 2 2 .146 .568 .243 .751 .0502 .388 .310 .210 .

is usually due to the presence of an excessive amount of moisture. 4. with a 1 to 5 ratio in test voltages. If there is no appreciable difference in the 500. 3. This method is not based on a dielectric absorption phenomena. 2. we believe there is a likelihood that the motor in question would fail in service even though an attempt were made to recondition it on the basis of low-voltage tests only. the multi-voltage method of testing insulation resistance has increased value when made on a periodic or scheduled basis. then a drying operation should be performed. Make a Megger instrument test at 2500 volts. If the one-minute insulation resistance value is subnormal. a two-voltage test can. If the insulation fails under the 2500-volt test. after following steps 1. On the other hand. making another test at 1000 volts and comparing these readings with those from the 500-volt test will help in determining the need for drying.to 1000-volt range as an example: 1. there is good evidence that more thorough reconditioning is called for. nevertheless. Experience has indicated that a change of 25% in the insulation resistance value. If the 1000-volt test value is appreciably less than that at 500 volts. or if the 60 second/30 second insulation resistance ratio is no greater than one at this point then a drying operation may be desirable before using a higher test voltage. it is reasonable to assume that the decision to perform a drying operation can be deferred until after the next step. but it does relate to the Evershed Effect. After a careful cleaning operation make a second 500-volt test to determine the effectiveness of the cleaning. However. If the insulation resistance is first tested on the shorttime reading basis (first at one voltage level and then at a higher potential).and 2500-volt test values.To better understand the technique of making insulation resistance tests at two or more voltages. The multi-voltage method can also be helpful in determining the presence of excessive moisture in the insulation of equipment rated at voltages equivalent to or greater than the highest voltage available from the multivoltage Megger instrument being used. if the 1000-volt and 500-volt test values are approximately the same. good evidence exists that the motor in question is in reliable condition as far as its insulation is concerned. even though the highest Megger instrument voltage available does not stress the insulation beyond its rating. a lower value of insulation resistance at the higher dC test voltage usually indicates the presence of moisture. The applied voltages should preferably be in the ratio of 1 to 5. In other words. As with time-resistance measurements. if there is an appreciable difference in the two. Make a one-minute Megger instrument test at 500 volts to serve as a basis of comparison for subsequent steps. 2 and 3. the following steps are suggested. Figure 22-Time Resistance Test Forms  A STITCH IN TIME A STITCH IN TIME  . On the other hand. using an industrial or traction motor classed in the 300. often reveal the presence of moisture.

but we’ll try to keep it simple. The resistance of such local faults generally decreases rapidly as the electrical stress in them increases beyond a certain limit. the higher-voltage plot. The plot of consecutive Megger instrument readings clearly shows the sharp drop when this occurs (see Fig. will reduce in megohms compared to the lower-voltage one. The theory behind the step-voltage technique is a bit complex. now. 23. Any difference in the two tests in terms of megohms will show signs of weakness at the higher voltage – a warning to investigate further. like 500 volts and then 1000 volts. Figure 23-Typical curves with the “step-voltage” test. instead of progressively increasing the voltage. 24). However.  A STITCH IN TIME A STITCH IN TIME  . as shown in Fig. then local weak spots influence the overall insulation resistance more and more. Figure 24-Test curves by the step-voltage method. Curve 1 (lower plot) shows definite drop in resistance with increasing voltage. you need a multi-voltage Megger instrument to apply two or more voltages in steps.STEP-volTAGE METHod In this method. Curve 2 (upper plot) shows conditions found in the same motor winding after cleaning. baking and impregnating operation. indicating a problem. As the conditions within the sample deteriorate. you first test at a low voltage (such as 500 volts) and then. you test again at a higher voltage (such as 2500 volts). when the voltage is increased in steps to produce electrical stresses which approach or exceed those encountered in service. it’s a sign of an insulation weakness that shows up only at the higher voltage. effects of aging or mechanical damage in fairly clean and dry insulation may not be revealed at such low stress. If the resistance is lower. Moisture and dirt in insulation are usually revealed by tests at voltages far below those expected in service. comparing results with good and bad insulation. 23 shows an example in which. you look for any reduction of insulation resistance at the higher voltage. after discharging the sample. and its upward slope will be less. Fig.

your results are independent of the insulation material and its temperature because you’re looking at the change in resistance – not the absolute resistance values. a two-voltage test can. 0 A STITCH IN TIME Figure 26-Showing how to use the Guard terminal to eliminate the effects of surface leakage across exposed insulation at one end of a cable. this third terminal may be provided as shown in Figures 26 to 38. nevertheless. For example. As is true with the spot-reading and time-resistance measurements. 30 and 31. It has the further or secondary purpose of providing a source of dC voltage of good regulation and of limited current capacity. uSE oF A GuARd TERMInAl All Megger insulation testers having ranges of 1000 megohms and higher are equipped with Guard terminals. so that the resistance of one of two possible paths can be determined directly. This short period will not affect the trend in resistance change. The insulation of all electrical apparatus has two conducting or leakage paths – one through the insulating material and the other over its surfaces. The timed period. for example). assume that you first test insulation resistance on a short-time reading basis – at a voltage of 500 VdC. By providing a third test terminal in the path of the surface leakage. The step-voltage method is particularly useful in determining the presence of excessive moisture or other contaminants in the insulation of equipment that is rated at voltages equivalent to or greater than the highest voltage available in your multi-voltage Megger instrument. Figure 25a Figure 25b The applied voltages should preferably be in the ratio of 1 to 5 or greater (500 and 2500. and then at a higher potential of. A STITCH IN TIME  . but your resistance measurements will be made on the same basis and therefore will be meaningful. often reveal the presence of such contaminants. In other words. In practice. it is separated into two parts. say. however. scheduled basis. with a 1 to 5 ratio in test voltages. See also Figures 28. should always be the same for a given piece of equipment. Even though the latter voltage may be nominal in relation to the voltage rating of your equipment. a lower value of insulation resistance at the higher test voltage usually indicates the presence of contaminated fractures or other leakage paths through the insulation to ground. All the absorption current may not have disappeared in this time. 25a. The purpose of this terminal is to provide facilities for making a three-terminal network measurement. the step-voltage method is more valuable to you when repeated on a periodic. 2500 VdC. forming a three-terminal network as shown in Fig. even though your highest voltage does not stress the insulation beyond its rating.you only need to keep the test voltage constant between steps for about 60 seconds. Results to date show that a change of 25% in the insulation resistance value. is usually due to the presence of an excessive amount of moisture or other contaminant.

obtain the exact value of R' by writing to Megger and giving the serial number of the instrument in use. Such an arc-over may cause undesirable arcing at the commutator of the instrument generator. such as a lift rod in a circuit breaker. This will give the true value of r12. and maintain satisfactory generator voltage. Figure 29-To eliminate the effect of surface leakage in measuring the true resistance of an insulating member. The leg r13. Fig. The 1% accuracy figure is based on the R' ballast resistor being 1 megohm. 25a. For more precise determinations of accuracy. should be about 1 megohm or higher to prevent excessive load on the generator. and the Earth terminal to Terminal 2. should be at least 100 megohms for a measuring accuracy of approximately 1%. Figure 27-Showing how to use the Guard connection to eliminate the effects of surface leakage across exposed insulation at both ends of a cable when a spare conductor in the cable is available for completing the Guard connection. where the Guard wire goes only to the exposed insulation. do not confuse this diagram with Figure 26. the Guard terminal to Terminal 3.There are also cases. particularly in the case of motor-driven or rectifier-operated Megger instruments.  A STITCH IN TIME A STITCH IN TIME  . which is connected across the Megger instrument generator. which shunts the Megger deflecting coil. Figures 30 and 33 and others show practical applications of this form of three-terminal network. In making a three-terminal test involving only one measurement. note that the Guard wire is wrapped around the exposed insulation and also is connected to the adjacent conductors. In using the Guard terminal. such as found in two winding transformers or multiconductor cables. and also the effect of leakage to adjacent conductors. Figure 28-Showing use of the Guard connection to eliminate the effect of leakage to ground. the line terminal of the Megger instrument is connected to Terminal 1. and the adjacent conductors are grounded. 25b. provided r23 and r13 are not too low in value. as in Figure 26. where a three-terminal network is formed as shown in Fig. The leg r23. which is typical. also make certain that there is no chance of an arc-over between the guarded terminal of the sample and ground.

or where the true resistance of each leg is wanted as in the case of Fig. 1 and 2 respectively connected to the instrument Guard terminal.  A STITCH IN TIME A STITCH IN TIME  . In making these three measurements. 25b. PoTHEAdS And InSulAToRS Figure 32-Showing use of spring collar as a Guard connection to eliminate the effects of surface leakage. 25a. Figure 30-Connections for testing insulation resistance between one wire and ground. BuSHInGS. Figure 31-Connections for testing insulation resistance between one wire and all other wires connected. three measurements are required and the following equations are used: r12 = R12 R13 – (R')2 R13 + R' R12 R23 – (R')2 R12 + R' R12 R13 – (R')2 R12 + R' r23 = r13 = where R12.The highest accuracy is desired in cases as shown in Fig. as any leakage over the instrument case between the Earth terminal and ground will shunt the resistance being measured. without being affected by leakage to ground. note use of Guard connection. do no connect the line terminal of the instrument to the grounded terminal of the network. R' is the value of the ballast resistance in megohms of the instrument in use. R23 and R13 are the actual readings in megohms measured across the terminals of the network which are connected to the line and Earth terminals of the Megger instrument with Terminals 3. The device under test must be disconnected from all other equipment. without being affected by leakage to other wires.

and the accompanying table indicates the test procedure by steps. 35 through 38) show the usual methods of testing bushings and associated parts of an outdoor oil circuit breaker. If the test values are below 50. Test Breaker Bushing Bushing Bushing Position Energized Guarded Grounded 1 2 Figure 33-Connections for testing insulation resistance of a transformer high voltage winding and bushings.000 megohms in any of the four steps. the trend of the condition of the particular bushing involved should be watched by making more frequent tests.ouTdooR oIl CIRCuIT BREAkERS The four illustrations (Fig. the tank should be lowered or drained so that the excessive losses can be isolated by further tests and investigations. Part Measured Bushing 1 Bushing 1 in parallel with cross member Bushing 1 & 2 in parallel Bushing 1 & 2 in parallel with lift rod open open open close 1 (2 to guard) 1 1&2 1&2 1 1 1&2 1&2 …… 2 …… …… 3 4 Figure 34-Connections for testing insulation resistance between high and low voltage windings without being affected by leakage to ground. and the high tension disconnect switch in parallel with reference to ground but without being affected by leakage between the high and low voltage windings through use of the Guard connection.  A STITCH IN TIME A STITCH IN TIME  . If the test values are below 10.000 megohms in test #1.

Figure 35-Step 1 Figure 37-Step 3 Figure 36-Step 2 Figure 38-Step 4  A STITCH IN TIME A STITCH IN TIME  .

particularly for large units. Temperature of the apparatus (also. which becomes more valuable to you as tests are repeated at intervals: 1. – are more likely to develop insulation weaknesses. and serial number of the Megger instrument used 4. if that AC motor failed in department A. review all the electrical equipment and classify it as to relative importance. experience is your best guide. generators etc. name and location of the equipment 2. wet and dry bulb temperatures – for humidity and dew-point determinations) 5. Then. That is. however. working apparatus – motors. dates and values of test results (record actual reading at the time of test) 3. Possibly at first you will have to combine several units but it will pay in the long run to have test records for each individual unit. A test schedule for working equipment should be established.SETTInG uP A MAInTEnAnCE PRoGRAM To start insulation testing there is one general rule: Put first things first. If time permits at the start. as compared to wiring. your job of tracking down the offending part will be easier. tests once a year are generally sufficient. A plot of consecutive readings to show trend and enable you to anticipate failures HoW oFTEn SHould You TEST? That depends upon the size and complexity of your plant. Insulation resistance measurement corrected for temperature 6. if insulation weaknesses do show up. unless the plant conditions are unusually severe. insulators and the like. voltage. Range. varying from every 6 to 12 months. how would it affect overall plant production? your production people can certainly help in this and should be vitally interested in the idea. For wiring and the like. 40 is one form of test record card. which is available from Megger. Following is the type of information. For example. Figure 40 0 A STITCH IN TIME A STITCH IN TIME  . test every piece of electrical equipment and make out a record card. Even identical units can differ in the required check periods. depending on the size of equipment and severity of the surrounding atmospheric conditions. In general. Shown in Fig.

Modern materials. Megger offers a family of the highest quality insulation testers at voltages above 1 kV. 1000. The new 5 kV insulation resistance testers from Megger are designed specifically to assist you with the testing and maintenance of high voltage electrical equipment. the introduction of new and improved insulating materials is re-writing the book on insulation testing. Test results are displayed on Megger’s patented electronic digital/analog arc. PI. dAR. thereby making the tester suitable for applications otherwise performed with a standard handheld model. in addition to the more demanding high-voltage applications.. SV and dd tests Measures to 15 TW (5 kV) and 35 TW (10 kV) Megger MIT1020  A STITCH IN TIME A STITCH IN TIME  .MEGGER 5 kv & 10 kv InSulATIon TESTERS Where critical.5 kV.. your old insulation tester may not be fully adequate to meet the demands of a rigorous and thorough program of preventive/ predictive maintenance on modern equipment.. when new or early in their life cycles. thereby making them fully suitable for critical installation tests and establishment of reliable base data for new high-capital equipment. MIT510 offers selectable test voltages at 250. n n n n n n Mains or battery powered digital/Analog backlit display Selectable test voltage from 250 to 5000V Automatic IR test Measures to 15 TW Complete with calibration certificate Megger MIT510 The new 10 kV insulation resistance testers from Megger are also designed specifically to assist you with the testing and maintenance of high voltage electrical equipment. All cases are rugged and easy to carry. Equipment with operating voltages above 1 kV requires commensurately higher test voltages. At the core of high-voltage testing. n n n n n Mains or battery powered digital/analog backlit display Variable test voltage from 50 V to 10 kV Automatic IR.. and 5000 V. The testers measure to 15 Tera-ohms. can have insulation values into ranges that were previously unmeasured. convenience and portability. The MIT520 increases the functionality by permitting test voltage to be set in any 10 V increment from 50 V to 1 kV. To be fully in conformance with the most modern testing requirements.the MIT510 and MIT520 afford the highest level of quality testing along with prime safety. thereby affording the precision and assurance of a digital reading combined with the tell-tale pointer travel normally reserved for mechanical movements. high-capital equipment is involved. 500. then in 25 V steps all the way to 5 kV. 2500. being made of tough polypropylene and achieving an ingress protection rating of IP65.

MIT230 offers all three voltages. with economy a paramount consideration? no need to sacrifice! Megger offers the only top quality line of inexpensive testers on the market. A STITCH IN TIME  . The units include an exceptional insulation resistance measurement range that extends from 20 Gigohms to 200 Gigohms. the MIT310A offers everything in the MIT310.01 W to 999 MW. The analog display is enhanced by black decals on a white background. MIT300 is the simplest model. MIT210 is a 1 kV model where higher test voltage is in order. these testers offer no loss of the quality and reliability that the name Megger implies. With this feature. the MIT300 offers a 250 and 500 V test only.. there has been no sacrifice of safety. The MIT400 Series offer test voltages from 10 to 1000 V. Megger MIT410 For those who prefer the traditional mechanical analog type of instrument. Furthermore. Megger MIT230 MEGGER MIT300 SERIES The MIT300 Series is designed along Megger’s familiar principle of ascending features with no loss of basic quality. This can be set to 20 mA where conformity to electrical testing regulations is not required. the MIT310 is the perfect fit. the MIT330 offers everything described in the MIT320.MEGGER MIT400 SERIES A new line of high performance testers rated to CAT IV 600 V provides greater safety when testing at higher voltage levels. Five models comprise the family. plus all the convenience and safety features that distinguish the family. Combined with continuity and voltage warning. If basic function is still the goal but a 1 kV test required. this is the model of choice for the simplest applications. and a display indication of remaining memory. MEGGER MIT200 SERIES need only basic 1 kV insulation and continuity testing. downloading through a USB port via included software. Though designed with economy in mind. each built on a basic design ensuring the quality and reliability that are Megger’s trademarks.. With the possibility of working at higher voltages. Finally. measurements can be made continuously from 0. adjustable across the entire range. A 200 mA continuity measurement is available with a 0. safe operation has been further enhanced by the inclusion of a default voltmeter. extending battery life.the MIT200 Series.01-ohm resolution for fast accurate cable resistance measurement. for full-spectrum applications. plus storage of up to 1000 results. offering core functions of highest quality but no additional features that may prove redundant in basic applications. Timed insulation testing for PI and dAR testing is available on certain models. to give high contrast and improved visibility. 500 and 1 kV. For applications where a 1 kV test must be avoided. 250. 250 and 500. with the option to display the insulation test voltage or leakage current on the secondary display. The family is completed by the full-featured MIT320 and MIT330. which is a serious problem with inexpensive testers that have cut cost at the risk of arc flash and operator error. and includes a special user-selectable 10 V to 100 V in 1 V increments tester for low voltage insulation testing requirements. to make both the setup and results visible in poor light. but with a moving coil display. The former adds a kilohm range for measurements between the extremes of continuity and high voltage. for more sensitive applications where a 1 kV test is to be avoided. MIT220 offers two voltages. Megger MIT300 Series  A STITCH IN TIME Four models are available. A backlit display is further enhanced by backlit selections. differing only in the test voltages offered: MIT200 is a 500 V model for standard applications. The MIT320 also offers audible alarms on both the continuity and megohm ranges.

engineering services and communications. process manufacturing. 66 A STITCH IN TIME . building wiring.Megger makes more than just insulation resistance testers Megger also makes high quality instruments for the following electrical testing applications: n n n n n n Earth/Ground Testing Relay Testing Oil Testing Circuit Breaker Testing Power Quality Analysis Low Resistance Testing n n n n n n Battery Testing Watthour Meter Testing Transformer Testing Cable Fault Testing Power Factor Testing Hi Pot Testing Megger manufactures electrical test and maintenance instruments for electric power.megger. TX 75237 The word “Megger” is a registered trademark. Visit our website for local assistance worldwide at www.com. MEG-486/MIL/4M/Rev F/9/2006 Megger 4271 Bronze Way Dallas.

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