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A Case Study: Faults and Failures in

Power Transformers Based on DGA and
Condition Assessment
Dharmasa
#1
, Hamdan Al hamisi
!"
#

*
Electronic and Computer, Caledonian College of Engineering, Muscat, Oman
1
rdharmasa#$mail%&om
2
hamdan%alhamisi#oman$rid%&om
Abstract- The work on faults and failures in a power
transformer, which is of significant in understanding results
from the Dissolved Gas Analysis (DGA) and condition
assessment measurements. This technical case study paper
discusses advantage of online DGA. irst study describes the
various reasons behind the failure of power transformers with
e!amples. The review will also useful for effective in preventing
power transformer failures, with comparative analysis. Then
paper presents regarding how the developing failures could be
saved through continually Transformer Asset "ealth #eview by
effective DGA analysis combining with effective condition
assessment. urther, study reviles the need of computations of
core (#o and $o) and winding e%uivalent parameters (#o& and
$o&). 't also proposes an e%uation reduction techni%ue in the
procedure of open circuit and short circuit tests of transformer,
which are useful to compute winding and core parameters,
respectively.

Index Terms- DAG, fault, failure, insulation, power
transformer, open circuit and short circuit
I. INTRO!CTION
"n electrical po#er transformer $as to #it$stand t$e
impact of t$ermal, mec$anical, c$emical, electrical and
electromagnetic stresses during normal and transient
loading conditions. Ot$er#ise it leads to failure and fault.
In t$is anal%sis, it is necessar% to understand t$e &arious
causes of po#er transformer failure. T$e conditions of t$e
transformer deteriorate graduall% rig$t from t$e start,
resulting reduction in' dielectric strengt$ i.e. insulating to
#it$stand lig$tening and s#itc$ing impulses( mec$anical
strengt$( t$ermal integrit% of t$e current carr%ing
conductors )normal and o&erloads*( in electromagnetic
integrit% )i.e. to transfer electromagnetic energ%*. " failure
occurs #$en t$e #it$stand strengt$ of one of t$e a+o&e ,e%
properties is e-ceeded +% operating stresses.
ue to &oltage and t$ermal temperature stresses inside
t$e transformer, se&eral gases are t%picall% found in
insulated li.uid under fault conditions' Nitrogen )N2*,
O-%gen )O2*, /%drogen )/2*, Car+on dio-ide )CO2*,
Car+on mono-ide )CO*, Met$ane )C/0*, Et$ane )C2/1*,
Et$%lene )C2/0*, and "cet%lene )C2/2*. T$ese gases are
t$e cause of de&eloping faults in t$e transformer, and t$eir
earl% detection #ill leads to pre&ent costl% e.uipment
failures. Met$od 23-24 de&eloped a po#erful "rtificial
Neural Net#or, and E-pert 5%stem +ased diagnosis tools,
t$en 6ang7s stud% 284 modifies IEC +% ta,ing into
consideration oil and cellulose decomposition, special
fault diagnosis rules #ere de&eloped. "NN
de&elops a relation +et#een gases dissol&ed in oil
and faults in transformers. It can also o&ercome
some limitations of an e-pert s%stem. 9i,e#ise #e
can find fe# more report on transformer failure
anal%sis +ased on :" 20-;4. T$e prediction of
faults +% eac$ of t$e met$ods $as +een compared
and found apprecia+le.
II. <O6ER TR"N5=ORMER CON5TR!CTION "N
>IE6
In t$e design of transformer core 21-?4 is
su+merged in oil for insulation and cooling and is
sealed in an airtig$t metallic tan, as s$o#n in =ig. 3
=ig. 3 T$ree p$ase po#er transformer &ie# )Courtes%' 5IEMEN5*
=urt$er, t$e parameters t$at c$aracteri@e t$e ideal
transformer are permea+ilit%, saturation, resisti&it%
edd% current and $%steresis loss, insulation and
cooling s%stems. !suall% Araft paper $as +een utilised
for #inding conductor insulation, $ig$ densit%
press+oard for inter-#inding and inter-p$ase
insulation, and crBpe paper for lead insulation. T$e
critical properties t$at determine t$e functional life of
dielectric oilCpaper insulation are c$emical purit%,
t$ermal sta+ilit%, mec$anical and dielectric
strengt$s.
III. ON-9INE :"5-IN-OI9 MONITOR5' C"5E 5T!D
T$e transformer condition assessed +ased on li.uid
)oil* and solid insulation assessment. 9a+orator%-
+ased :" tests #ere conducted for e&er% 1 or 32
mont$s and it is found not effecti&e in determining
failure, #$ereas on-line monitors is more effecti&e
+ecause gas anal%sis can +e done for 2 $ours to 32
$ours. Ta+le I gi&es a list of on-line dissol&ed gas
monitors, "NNE<5 22-84 algorit$m is represented in
=ig 2' i* ata read' E&er% ten minutes, sets of
measuring .uantities from t$e data+ase of t$e on-line
3
:" monitor. ii* ata process' T$e core step is running t$e
anal%sis procedure iii* ata storage' "fter data processing,
a c$ec, is made as to #$et$er t$e full da% $as +een
reac$ed. If true, a ra# data +ac,up process is started, t$en
in Ta+le II #e can t$at see t$e results.
T"E9E I
RE<ORT O= ON-9INE I55O9>E :"5 MONITOR5

Monitor Name
& Company
Features
/DR"N 2F3R
Model G
:E Syprotec
-anal%@es and monitors four fault gases'
)C2/2, /2, CO, C2/0*
On-line
Transformer
Monitor
G Serveron
- measures eig$t critical fault gases
)/2, CO, CO2, O2, C/0, C2/2, C2/0, C2/1*'
- measures ot$er parameters
)i.e. moisture or #ater-in-oil*
=ig. 2 Easic structure of "NNE<5 flo# c$art

T"E9E II
="!9T 5"M<9E I":NO5I5 E"5E ON ON9INE-:" 284
Crite
ria
O&er
/eating
of Oil
/ig$
Energ%
isc$arge
or "rc$ing
9o#
Energ%
isc$arge
Cellulose to
egradation
E5< F.F3F 0.990
*
F.F3F F.F3F
"NN 0.994
*
3.FFF F.FF1 0.983
*
***5e&erit% le&el is /I:/, $ence unit indicates "ENORM"9
I>' 9I=E "N /E"9T/ TE5T O= <O6ER TR"N5=ORMER
"s part of t$e transformer asset $ealt$ re&ie# and life
e-tension program, o&er t$e %ears +% o+le <o#er Test
)<T* 20-14 inspect +% t$e process of scrapping and assess in
eac$ component condition during routine operation and
maintenance +ecause of t$eir inaccessi+ilit%. T$e strip do#ns
of transformers remo&ed due to $ig$ ris, e-posure, $a&e
gi&en significant inter&ie# of deterioration. T$is $as +een
considered as an anatom% approac$. <T identifies most
failures are not onl% due to age, ma% +e pro+lems are in
design, manufacture, maintenance and loading. =ig. 8 reports
failure of po#er transformer +% CI:RE 6: 32.3? 2H, 3F4.
=ig.8 =ailure of a transformer as per CI:RE 6: 32.3?
Transformer functional failure mec$anisms are
summarised in Ta+le III, as per 2H-3F4 t$e CI:RE
6:32.3?. Note t$is is a functional failure model onl%
for transformer core and coil assem+l%, not including
On 9oad Tap C$angers )O9TC* and +us$ings. Ano#
a+out fault and t$e failure. " fault is mainl% attri+uted
to permanent and irre&ersi+le c$ange in transformer
condition. T$e failure could +e repaira+le on site,
depending on t$e t%pe of fault as #ell as t$e se&erit%
of t$e failure.
T"E9E III
TR"N5=ORMER =!NCTION"9 ="I9!RE MOE9
Component Possible Defect Fault an Failure
Dielectric
system!
MaIor insulation
Minor insulation
9eads insulation
Electrostatic
screens
"+normal oil
paper
pageing
<artial
disc$arges
E-cessi&e
#ater G Oil
contamination
Flas"o#er ue to!
E-cessi&e paper
ageing
estructi&e partial
disc$arges
Creeping disc$arges
9ocalised surface
trac,ing
Mec"anical
system
Clamping
6indings
9eads support
9oosing
#inding
clamping
9oosing
#inding
Failure of soli
insulation ue to!
=ailure of leads
support
6inding isplacement
)radial, a-ial,
t#isting*
$lectroma%net
ic circuit!
Core
6indings
5tructure
insulation
Clamping
structure
Magnetic
s$ields
:rounding
circuit
Circulating
current
9ea,age flu-
"geing
laminations
9oosing core
clamping
=loating
potential
5$ort-circuit
)open circuit*
in grounding
circuit
$&cessi#e %assin%
ue to!
:eneral o&er$eating
9ocalised
o&er$eating
"rcingCspar,ing
disc$arges
5$ort-circuited
turns in #inding
conductors
Current'
carryin% circuit
9eads
6inding
conductors
Ead Ioint)s*
Ead contacts
Contact
deterioration
("ort'circuit ue
to!
9ocalised
o&er$eating

T$e records and case $istories data, failures of
po#er transformers are commonl% associated #it$
localised stress concentrations )faults*, #$ic$ can
occur for se&eral reasons including' i* <oor design of
conductor si@ing, $ig$ lea,age flu-, not effecti&e
clampCcrimp, poor stress s$ield ii*T$e microstructure
of t$e material utili@ed ma% +e defecti&e rig$t from
t$e start, e.g. containing micro-&oids, micro-crac,s
etc.( iii*Corrosi&e attac, of t$e material, e.g. sulp$ur
corrosion on paper and conductor can also generate a
local stress concentration.
It is o+ser&ed t$at local o&er$eating in current
carr%ing conductor, if not e-tremel% se&ere, often
#ill not itself cause direct failure of t$e transformer,
T$is #ill lead to decrease t$e mec$anical strengt$ of
t$e insulation so t$at #$en t$e transformer is
su+Iected to a s%stem fault close to t$e terminals, it
#ill t$en fail 2334.
2
> TR"N5=ORMER ="I9!RE5' C"5E 5T!D
A Shorted Turns
In "pril 2FFH, a 8F %ear old J;FM>" 0FFC382C33,>
autotransformer :" sample from t$e Euc$$ol@ clearl%
indicated a fault. Condition assessment test after t$e trip
are ta+ulated in Ta+le I>, #$ere #inding resistance
measurements confirm fault in t$e middle series #inding,
#$ic$ #as unli,el% to +e economicall% repaira+le. =ig.
0)a* s$o#s a picture of failure +% s$orted turns. T$erefore
failure of s$orted turns #as e-tensi&e loss of conductors
and conductor insulation in t$e upper part of t$e series
#inding, #$ic$ is unli,el% to +e economicall% repaira+le.
=ig. 0 )a, +* 5$orted Turns and $otspot in middle turn
T"E9E I>
6inding Resistance J;F M>" "!TOTR"N5=ORMER
)inin%*P"ase +'P". ,'P". C'P".
5eries )0FF to 2J; ,>* F.3J?8 (.)&*+ F.3JJ?
Common )2J; ,> to neutral* F.;218 F.;222 F.;281
Note' Measurements made at ;" using Tinsle% ;?H1
Transformer Micro$meter, at 3;KC.
T$e #orst egree of <ol%merisation )<* measurement
o+tained #as 302C301 )a&erage 300* from t$e middle strand
of top disc of t$e middle p$ase series #inding. T$e ne-t
#orst result #as 3;3C313 )a&erage 3;1* from t$e middle
strand of top disc of "Cred p$ase series #inding. T$e <
anal%sis on paper samples also s$o#ed t$at t$e #inding
$otspot #as located in t$e middle strand of t$e upper part of
series #inding. =ig 0)+* s$o#s a &isual comparison of
conductors. O+ser&e t$e se&ere discoloration of t$e middle
strand conductor #$ic$ implies not onl% t$e location of
series #inding $otspot, +ut also t$e inade.uate cooling
design in t$e series #inding.
B Flashover
uring t$e strip do#n it #as found t$at t$e failure
actuall% in&ol&ed one se&ere arcingCspar,ing fault in t$e
main tan,, #$ic$ #as located +et#een t$e +are copper strip
connected to t$e middle p$ase 9> #inding line end and t$e
middle p$ase top steel clamping platform in t$e 9> side,
#$ere t$e arcing seemed to +e particularl% se&ere so t$at
+ot$ t$e +are copper strip and t$e corner of t$e steel
clamping platform $ad +een damaged.

=ig.;)a,+* =las$o&er in tan, and close-up of #inding
T$e failure +% flas$o&er in t$e main tan, can +e
seen in =ig ;)a*. =urt$er inspection of t$e core and
#indings during scrapping found direct e&idence
of mec$anical deformation of all #indings from
t$ree p$ases particularl% in middle p$ase. =ig ;)+*
s$o#s t$e se&ere displacement of t$e middle p$ase
#inding +ottom end-+loc,s. It is o+ser&ed t$at
reduced electrical clearance +et#een t$e +are
copper strip and t$e steel clamping platform
corner and e&entuall% caused a flas$o&er in main
tan,.
C Axial Collapse of Winding
In late 2F3F t$e decision #as made to scrap
32;M>" 2J;C382C33,> autotransformer #$ic$ $ad
suffered a serious tap c$anger fault. T$e fault #as first
noted during planned maintenance
=ig.1 "-ial collapse of t$e tap #inding
"fter t$e transformer #as returned to ser&ice, t$e
&oltage control sc$eme e&entuall% sent t$e
transformer to t$e end of t$e tap range. "t t$e end
position t$e E p$ase di&erter #as re.uired to s#itc$
t$e entire tap #inding, rat$er t$an one tap step as it
#as designed to. T$is resulted into damage to t$e E
p$ase tap c$anger and large currents. =ault
in&estigation tests #ere made on t$e transformer and
results of additional #inding capacitance and po#er
factor measurements are listed in Ta+le >. T$e results
from E p$ase clearl% indicated a serious pro+lem. T$e
large reduction in capacitance seemed to indicate
a-ial collapse of t$e tap #inding.
T"E9E >
6inding Resistance 32F M>" "!TOTR"N5=ORMER
Windings
Capacitance
A Ph. C Ph. C Ph.
Series & Common
to Earth
2370pF 2123pF 2460pF
Series and
Common to Tap
14196pF 10413pF 14071pF
Tap to earth 495pF 375pF 493pF
=ig. 1 s$o#s failure +% a-ial collapse of t$e tap
#inding. O+ser&e t$at t$ere $ad +een no serious
design defects features found during t$e
scrapping. T$e degree of pol%merisation is 0;F-
J;F, #$ic$ indicates little ageing and considera+le
8
useful life remaining.
>I. ="I9!RE <RE>ENTION E"5E ON
:" "N CONITION "55ET5' C"5E 5T!IE5
A Loose Clamping and Leakage Flux
=ig.J Represents loose clamping and its effects
In earl% 2FFH, a 08 %ear old 20FM>" 2J;C382C33,>
autotransformer #as ta,en out of t$e ser&ice as per t$e
planned replacement. T$is transformer $ad loose clamping
for se&eral %ears, and t$e strip do#n inspection of a sister
transformer one %ear +efore it #as remo&ed from t$e s%stem
$ad pro&ided &alua+le information a+out t$e li,el%
condition of t$is transformer +elie&ed to +e significantl% in
ris, of failure. =ig.J s$o#s loose clamping and its effects.
T$e a+o&e anal%sis indicates t$at in t$e main tan, $ad
+een t%pical of t$e larger transformer population until a
%ear +efore t$e transformer #as remo&ed from t$e s%stem.
T$e last sample +efore t$e transformer #as remo&ed from
ser&ice contained 820 ppm of et$%lene, 8F2 ppm of
met$ane, 300 ppm of $%drogen and 328 ppm of et$ane.
T$e dissol&ed gas signature clearl% indicates a serious
t$ermal fault in t$e main tan, #$ic$ de&eloped t$roug$
2FF?. T$e rate of deterioration seems to $a&e increased
during t$e %ear. T$e car+on mono-ide le&el $ad +een less
t$an ;FF ppm for muc$ of t$e ser&ice %ears +ut t$e ratio of
car+on dio-ide to car+on mono-ide &aried +et#een 2 and
0;. T$ese +ot$ seemed to suggest little to moderate solid
insulation ageing onl%.
/o#e&er, t$e relati&e L of gases suggested a localised
$ig$ temperature o&er$eating fault in&ol&ing solid
insulation. "s per resistance measurements, it #as suspected
t$at t$ere #as li,el% a +ad Ioint in t$e C p$ase. uring
scrapping, after t$e C t$e common #inding #as pus$ed out,
it #as found t$at all Ioints #ere s$o#n to +e $ealt$% and
t$ere #as no clear indication of an% pro+lem. =ig. ? s$o#s a
picture of a de&eloping failure point.

=ig.? =ailure point in common #inding due to local o&er$eating
B Developing Failure Saved y D!A
T$is is t$e case of a J;FM>" 0FFC2FC33,>
autotransformer +uilt in 3H1J and currentl% still in ser&ice.
O&er t$e last fe# %ears t$is transformer $as
de&eloped se&ere t$ermal fault t#ice +ut all sa&ed
+% effecti&e :" anal%sis. In late 2FF;, t$e
transformer #as remo&ed from ser&ice +ecause
of rapidl% increasing dissol&ed gas results #$ic$
indicated a +are metal fault inside t$e main tan,
)$ig$ et$%lene as t$e dominant gas*. T$e follo#ing
electrical tests, including #inding resistance
measurements, pointed to a #inding Ioint pro+lem
associated #it$ t$e tertiar% #inding, most li,el%
in&ol&ing connections to t$e tertiar% +us$ings.
=ig. H Tertiar% #inding connections of autotransformer
"fter t$e repair t$e p$ase resistances #ere measured
again, and t$ese confirmed t$at t$ere #ere no furt$er
tertiar% resistance anomalies. 5ee t$at in =ig.H, t$e
tertiar% p$ase connections in t$is transformer are
some#$at unusual in t$at all t$ree corners of t$e
tertiar% are +roug$t out to t$e " p$ase end of t$e
transformer for tertiar% loading, #$ile t$e original
arrangement of +ringing out one corner )T" and TC
leads* for closing and eart$ing e-ternall% is retained
out at t$e C p$ase end
>II. RE!CTION O= EM!"TION5 IN 5/ORT CIRC!IT
"N O<EN CIRC!IT TE5T5
=rom t$e a+o&e cases it is understood t$at #inding
resistance and capacitance are pla%ing &ital role, to
c$ec, t$e status of t$e po#er transformer. 6it$ t$is
Inference t$e con&entional OC and 5C Tests ma% +e
used to identif%Cc$ec, t$e life of a po#er transformer.
/ere, discussion is redistricted to e.uation reductions.
A "eduction of #pen Circuit Test $%uation
If t$e magneti@ing components of t$e po#er
transformer Ro and No e-pressed in matri- form as
gi&en +elo#
oc
& o oc oc oc
oc o oc oc oc
'
(
) " ( * ) Cos + , - , -
. .
( / ( * ) Sin + - , - ,
)
 
 
       
 
       
 
       
 
 
)3*
T$en OC Test related e.uation )3* can +e reduced as
gi&en +elo#
( )
2
2
2
3 F
F 3
I
I
I
oc
o
oc
o
oc oc oc
oc
oc
(
Woc
"
(
/
( W
(
 
 
 
   
  =
   
 
   

 
 
 

0
( )
2
2
3
2
2
3 F
F 3
I
oc
oc
o
o
oc oc oc
(
W
"
( /
( W
 
 
     
=
     
   
 
  −
 
)2*
No#, "o and /o can +e directl% computed in M"T9"E
using onl% e.)2* step, +ecause t$e e.uation in simple 2*2
matri- form.
B "eduction of #pen Circuit Test $%uation
If t$e e.ui&alent parameters of t$e po#er transformer "o,
and /o, e-pressed in matri- form as gi&en +elo#


F3
2
2 2
F2
F3
3 F 3 F
F 3 F 3
0
0 0
o0
sc 0
0
sc sc
-0
1 1 1
1
0
" * k
W * k )
"
( W
2 "
/ 3

k k )
k
 
 
         
= =
        −  
     
 
 
 
 
)8*
T$en 5C Test related e.uation )8* can +e reduced as
gi&en +elo#
F3
F3
3 F
F 3
0 0
sc 0
1 0 0
sc
1 1
0
W * k )
"
) (sc W
/
k )
 
     
=
  −    
   
 
 
)0*
No#, "o, and /o, can +e directl% computed in M"T9"E
using onl% e. )0* step, +ecause t$e e.uation in simple 2*2
matri- form. T$ese passi&e parameters are not useful to
compute regulation of &oltage, +ut also to ,no# t$e status
of t$e failure of po#er transformer. T$is stud% aut$or #ould
li,e to e-tend in future #or,.
>III. RE5!9T5 "N I5C!55ION5

"fter t$oroug$ re&ie# of failure stud% of <o#er
Transformer, it is o+ser&ed t$at ": on line is found useful,
+ut it is re.uired more training and s,illed programs are
essential to de&elop e-pert rules for "NN<E5. T$e :"
anal%sis on Oil results can +e considered as indirect anal%sis,
+ecause #e are deciding t$e nature of core life or current
carr%ing #inding life +ased on c$emical status23-14. T$e
Ta+le II results are +ased on c$emical engineering anal%sis
+ased output confirms t$e failure #it$ reference to
ma-imum &alue 3)failure confirmed* and minimum &alue
)failure not confirmed*. =or e-ample' :" report on oil t$e
lo# energ% disc$arge 29E4)F.FF1, F.F3F* and /ig$ Energ%
isc$arge2/E4)3.FFF,F.HHF* from +ot$ "NN and <E5,
respecti&el% and compara+le t$e same. Eut t$ese test results
are more dependent on c$emical +onding oil.
=rom t$e Ta+le I> and Ta+le >, it is o+ser&ed t$at t$e
failure results are confirmed +ased on an electrical passi&e
parameter conditions le&el identification test. T$ere are' i*
Resistance Test( ii* Capacitance test, decreasing t$e &alue of
#inding resistance from its reference. T$is particular test
can +e treated as direct test 2334. =or e-ample <$ase E
#inding &alue is F.82H1, #$ic$ is less t$an e-pected &alue.
5imilarl%, from Ta+le it is found t$at t$e cause of co-a-ial
#inding collapse is confirmed t$roug$ #inding capacitance
i.e. lesser t$e &alue of capacitance t$en more se&ere a+out
t$e collapse. =rom t$is #e can o+ser&e t$at, magnetising
component /o and core component "o )core resistance* and
Transformer #inding parameters computing t$roug$ Open
Circuit and 5$ort Circuit pla%s an significant role,
+efore and after t$e age. One more indirect test can +e
seen in literature a+out furfuralde$%de anal%sis. It is
&er% sensiti&e as +ecause damage of fe# grams of
paper is noticea+le in t$e oil e&en of a &er% large si@e
transformer. In t$is anal%sis also #e can sa% t$at
insulating paper dielectric support-stud% for t$e
#inding, +ut actual stud% needs to ,no# t$e status of
transformer, #$ic$ $as components are core and
#indings.
IN. CONC9!5ION5
=ault and failure in&estigations on po#er
transformer components $a&e an important role in
impro&ing relia+ilit% are ena+le recommendations for
correcti&e action to +e made t$at $opefull% #ill
pre&ent similar failures from occurring in t$e future.
=ailures also $appen +ecause of maintenance
o&ersig$ts and o&er loadings. Ano# Dour <o#er
Transformer Components functions #it$ t$eir a+ilit%,
can pre&ent recurrences. 6$en design error andCor
#ea,nesses de&eloping o&er time are unco&ered,
en$anced monitoringCin&estigation on similar units
+uilt +% same manufacturer #ill $elp in pre&enting
future failures i.e. practice can leads to a&oid
une-pected failure. T$e computation and anal%sis of
core and #inding parameter ma% gi&e more direct
prediction of failure of transformer and also reduction
of e.uations in s$ort circuit and open circuit tests ma%
$elp in future #or, to identification of failure in
po#er transformer.
.
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