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Maintenance of Electrical Plant

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HYDROELECTRIC POWER PLANTS


Selected Topics for Consultation Engineers







Maintenance of Electrical Plant


SCOPE and PURPOSE
Maintenance recommendations are based on industry
standards and experience. The electrical plant within a
power station, by the duty it performs, must have high
reliability and thus a regime of planned maintenance





Linz
2007


Maintenance of Electrical Plant
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Content
MAINTENANCE OF ELECTRICAL PLANT........................................................................................... 4
INTRODUCTION...................................................................................................................................... 4
Preventive Maintenance............................................................................................................... 4
CONDITION-BASED MAINTENANCE.......................................................................................................... 5
COMBINATION OF CONDITION-BASED AND PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE..................................................... 5
MAINTENANCE AND TEST PROCEDURES........................................................................................ 6
GENERAL .............................................................................................................................................. 6
INFRARED SCANNING............................................................................................................................. 6
FAULT AND LOAD FLOW STUDIES/EQUIPMENT RATINGS........................................................................... 7
MAINTENANCE SCHEDULES AND DOCUMENTATION.................................................................................. 7
ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT MAINTENANCE ....................................................................................... 8
ANNUNCIATORS..................................................................................................................................... 8
ARRESTERS .......................................................................................................................................... 8
SWITCH-GEAR ....................................................................................................................................... 9
High voltage switch-gear ............................................................................................................. 9
Medium and low voltage switchgear ........................................................................................ 11
Incoming and bus-section circuit breakers ............................................................................. 11
Contators ..................................................................................................................................... 11
Isolators ....................................................................................................................................... 12
Control indication and protection equipment.......................................................................... 12
Function checks ......................................................................................................................... 12
Switchboard inspection and overhaul ...................................................................................... 12
PROTECTION EQUIPMENT TESTING........................................................................................................ 13
Primary injection tests ............................................................................................................... 13
Secondary injection tests .......................................................................................................... 14
Automatic voltage regulator (AVR)........................................................................................... 15
Supervisory and protection equipment.................................................................................... 15
ELECTRIC MOTORS.............................................................................................................................. 15
ROUTINE MAINTENANCE (ON THE SITE)................................................................................................. 16
ROUTINE MAINTENANCE - FULL WORKSHOP OVERHAUL .......................................................................... 18
Bearings....................................................................................................................................... 20
Slipring, brushgear, commutator .............................................................................................. 21
Cooling circuit ............................................................................................................................. 21
Airgaps......................................................................................................................................... 21
REPAIR FOLLOWING BREAKDOWN ......................................................................................................... 21
MOTOR TESTING.................................................................................................................................. 22
Insulation resistance measurement ......................................................................................... 22
Polarisation index measurement .............................................................................................. 22
Loss angle testing ...................................................................................................................... 24
Squirrel-cage rotor testing......................................................................................................... 26
TRANSFORMERS................................................................................................................................ 26
FLUID-FILLED TRANSFORMERS.............................................................................................................. 26
Fluid ............................................................................................................................................. 27
Breather ....................................................................................................................................... 28
Transformer tank and compound ............................................................................................. 28
Neutral earthing resistors .......................................................................................................... 28
Bushings and connections........................................................................................................ 28
Off-load tapchanger.................................................................................................................... 29
On-load tapchanger .................................................................................................................... 29
Winding temperature indicators ............................................................................................... 29
Buchholz relay ............................................................................................................................ 30


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Pressure relief diaphragm ......................................................................................................... 30
Pressure relief valve................................................................................................................... 30
Cooling equipment ..................................................................................................................... 30
Marshalling kiosk........................................................................................................................ 30
Dry air-cooled and cast-in-resin air-cooled transformers ...................................................... 30
ANCILLARY EQUIPMENT ................................................................................................................... 31
BATTERY SYSTEMS AND CHARGERS ...................................................................................................... 31
LEAD-ACID BATTERIES ......................................................................................................................... 31
NICKEL-CADMIUM ALKALINE BATTERIES ................................................................................................ 33
BATTERY CHARGERS ........................................................................................................................... 34
SECURE INSTRUMENT SUPPLY SYSTEMS (UPS)..................................................................................... 34
Rotary converters ....................................................................................................................... 34
Inverters....................................................................................................................................... 34
Maintenance Schedule – Flooded, Wet Cell, Lead Acid Batteries......................................... 35
Maintenance Schedule – Battery Chargers ............................................................................. 35
CABLING AND EARTHING ................................................................................................................. 36
CABLING SYSTEMS............................................................................................................................... 36
EARTHING SYSTEMS ............................................................................................................................ 36
STANDARDS AND RECOMMENDED PRACTICES........................................................................... 37



Maintenance of Electrical Plant
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Maintenance of Electrical Plant
Introduction
Maintenance recommendations are based on industry standards and experience.
However, equipment and situations vary greatly, and good engineering and
management judgment must be exercised when applying these recommendations.
Several sources of information must be consulted (e.g., manufacturer’s
recommendations, unusual operating conditions, personal experience with the
equipment, etc.) in conjunction with these maintenance recommendations.

The electrical plant within a power station, by the duty it performs, must have high
reliability and thus a regime of planned maintenance, rather than breakdown
maintenance, must be adopted. Such maintenance can be on the basis of:

• Elapsed time,
• Running hours.
• Number of operations.
• Performance monitoring.
• Condition monitoring.

For rotating plant, the last two would seem ideal, but monitoring is usually manpower
intensive and so can only be applied to certain prime items. Even the checking of
running hours or number of operations would be a major exercise if carried out on the
multitude of electrical plant items within a station, and thus is again only of limited
application.
Preventive Maintenance
Preventive maintenance (PM) is the practice of maintaining equipment on a regular
schedule, based on elapsed time, run-time meter readings, or number of operations.
The intent of PM is to “prevent” maintenance problems or failures before they take
place by following routine and comprehensive maintenance procedures. The goal is
to achieve fewer, shorter, and more predictable outages.

Some advantages of preventive maintenance are:
• It is predictable, making budgeting, planning, and resource leveling possible.
• When properly practiced, it generally prevents most major problems, thus
reducing forced outages, “reactive maintenance,” and maintenance costs in
general.
• It gives managers a level of assurance that equipment is being maintained.
• It is easily understood and justified.

Preventive maintenance does have some drawbacks:
• It is time consuming and resource intensive.
• It does not consider actual equipment condition when scheduling or
performing the maintenance.
• It can cause problems in equipment in addition to solving them (e.g.,
damaging seals, stripping threads).


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Traditionally, preventive maintenance has been the standard maintenance practice in
power stations. The maintenance recommendations - in this lecture series - are
based on a preventive philosophy and should be considered as “baseline” practices
to be used when managing a maintenance program.

Whether utilizing a preventive maintenance (PM), reliability centered maintenance
(RCM,) or condition based maintenance (CBM), or a combination of these, the
primary focus of the in-house maintenance staff should be scheduled maintenance.
This will reduce reactive (emergency and corrective) maintenance. Scheduled
(planned) maintenance should have a higher priority than special projects.
Scheduled maintenance should be the number one priority.

Elapsed time planned maintenance is the most practical, routine method for the
majority of electrical plant. Considerable effort is needed to ensure that the time
periods are correctly chosen and there must be a willingness to change them in the
light of experience. The maintenance planning system used must therefore have a
flexibility, which allows such changes to be made simply as one of its main features.
Condition-Based Maintenance
This program relies on knowing the condition of individual pieces of equipment.
Some features of CBM include:
• Monitoring equipment parameters such as temperatures, pressures,
vibrations, leakage current, dissolved gas analysis, etc.
• Testing on a periodic basis and/or when problems are suspected, introduce
double testing, vibration analysis and infrared scanning.
• Careful monitoring of operator-gathered data.
• Results in knowledgeable maintenance decisions, which would reduce overall
costs by focusing only on equipment that really needs attention.
Combination of Condition-Based and Preventive Maintenance
A combination of condition-based maintenance and preventive maintenance is
perhaps the most practical approach. Monitoring, testing, using historical data, and
preventive maintenance schedules may provide the best information on when
equipment should be maintained. By keeping accurate records of the “as found”
condition of equipment when it is torn down for maintenance, one can determine
what maintenance was really necessary. In this manner, maintenance schedules can
be lengthened or perhaps shortened, based on experience and monitoring.


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Maintenance and Test Procedures
General
Electrical maintenance activities fall into three general categories:
• Routine Maintenance – Activities that are conducted while equipment and
systems are in service. These activities are predictable and can be scheduled,
staffed, and budgeted. Generally, these are the activities scheduled on a time-
based, run-time-meter-based, or a number of operations schedule. Some
examples are visual inspections, infrared scans, cleaning, functional tests,
measurement of operating quantities, lubrication, oil tests, governor, and
excitation system alignments.
• Maintenance Testing – Activities that involve the use of test equipment to
assess condition in an offline state. These activities are predictable and can be
scheduled, staffed, and budgeted. They may be scheduled on a time, meter,
or number of operations basis but may be planned to coincide with scheduled
equipment outages. Since these activities are predictable, some offices
consider them “routine maintenance” or “preventive maintenance.”
Some examples are Doble testing (insulation test), meggering, relay testing,
circuit breaker trip testing, alternating current (AC) high-potential (Hipot) tests,
high voltage direct current (HVDC) ramp tests, battery load tests.
• Diagnostic Testing – Activities that involve use of test equipment to assess
condition of equipment after unusual events such as faults, fires, or equipment
failure/repair/replacement or when equipment deterioration is suspected.
These activities are not predictable and cannot be scheduled because they
are required after a forced outage. Each office must budget contingency funds
for these events. Some examples are Doble testing, AC Hipot tests, HVDC
ramp tests, partial discharge measurement, wedge tightness, core
magnetization tests, pole drop tests, turns ratio, and core ground tests.
Infrared Scanning
Infrared (IR) scanning is recommended as a regular maintenance procedure. Infrared
scanning and analysis have become an essential diagnostic tool throughout all
industries and have been used in power industry to detect many serious conditions
requiring immediate corrective action. Several forced outages already have been
avoided.

Infrared scanning is non-intrusive and is accomplished while equipment is in
service. It can be used not only for electrical equipment but also to detect mechanical
and structural problems. Therefore, infrared scanning is HIGHLY recommended as a
regularly scheduled maintenance procedure.

Effective infrared scanning and analysis require the following:
• The scanning equipment (IR camera and accessories) must be high quality
and correctly maintained and calibrated.


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• The IR camera operator must be trained to use the equipment and deal
with complicating issues such as differing emissivities of surfaces and
reflectivity. Certified Level 1 Thermographer (e.g., Academy of IR
Thermography) credentials, or higher, are recommended.
• The IR system operator must be able to analyze results using state-of-the-
art software critical to successful interpretation of problems.
• Experiences in the field have shown that technical knowledge of the
equipment being scanned is highly desirable.
Fault and Load Flow Studies/Equipment Ratings
Electrical power systems change as new generation and transmission lines are
added or modified. Changes also occur as new equipment is added or upgraded
inside the power plant. This may mean that load ratings of various equipment and
interrupting ratings of breakers and fuses are no longer adequate. Underrated or
misapplied electrical equipment can be hazardous to personnel, to the integrity of the
power plant and power system, and to the equipment itself. Therefore, it is necessary
to periodically conduct fault and load studies and to review equipment ratings for
adequacy (continuous current, momentary current, momentary voltage, basic
impulse insulation level [BIL], current interrupting ratings, etc.) and for coordination of
protective relays, circuit breakers, and fuses to ensure safe and reliable operation.

Maintenance Schedules and Documentation
Complete, accurate, and current documentation is essential to an effective
maintenance program. Whether performing preventive, predictive, or reliability
centered maintenance, keeping track of equipment condition and maintenance —
performed and planned — is critical.

The maintenance record keeping system must be kept current so that a complete
maintenance history of each piece of equipment is available at all times. This is
important for planning and conducting an ongoing maintenance program. Regular
maintenance and emergency maintenance must be well documented, as should
special work done during overhauls and replacement.

The availability of up-to-date drawings to management and maintenance staff is
extremely important. Accurate drawings are very important to ongoing maintenance,
testing, and new construction; but they are essential during emergencies for
troubleshooting. In addition, accurate drawings are important to the continued safety
of the staff working on the equipment.



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ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT MAINTENANCE
Annunciators
Annunciators provide essential plant condition status information to operators and
maintenance personnel. Two aspects must be considered:
(1) correct operation of the annunciator itself
(2) integrity of the alarm devices and interconnected wiring.

Annunciator operation is easily tested using the “Test” button provided on most
annunciators and is considered an “operations” activity. Verifying integrity of the
alarm devices and interconnecting wiring requires a “functional test” of these circuits.
Functional testing is accomplished by
(1) resetting the annunciator,
(2) closing (or opening) contacts at the alarm device,
(3) verifying that the correct annunciator window is activated.
It is recommended that the alarm device actually be triggered, where possible, for
best assurance; however, it may be necessary to simulate contact operation with a
“jumper” (or lifted lead) when device activation is not possible.

Caution:
Operating the alarm device may trigger unwanted
control or protection actions as well as annunciation.

Know what “should happen” by consulting up-to-date drawings before triggering
alarms.
Arresters
Lightning or surge arresters provide protection for important equipment from high-
energy surges. These arresters are static devices, which require fairly infrequent
maintenance. Most maintenance must take place while the associated circuit is de-
energized. However, crucial visual inspections and infrared (IR) scans can take place
while energized.
Maintenance schedule for arresters

Maintenance or Test Recommended interval
Review equipment rating 5 years
Visual inspection Quarterly to semiannually
Clean insulator and check connections 3-6 years
Ambient dependent
Doble test (power frequency dielectric
loss, direct current [DC], insulation
resistance, power factor)

3-6 years
Ambient dependent
Replace all silicon carbide arresters
with metal oxide varistor (MOV) type

As soon as possible
Infrared scan Every year



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Switch-gear
High voltage switch-gear
The high voltage (HV) switch-gear used within the works power system on a modern
power station usually operates at 11 kV or 3.3 kV and is one of the foIlowing types:

• Air circuit-breaker
• Oil circuit-breaker
• Vacuum circuit-breaker.

It is not intended to give a detailed description of the maintenance of each type of
switch-gear but rather to outline the essential aspects which must be borne in mind
on any maintenance schedule.

The duty cycle of some of the switch-gear is arduous and the potential fault levels
that the switch-gear may be required to interrupt are high (typically, 750 MVA on an
11 kV switchboard). The aim of all maintenance activity must therefore be not only to
ensure reliable operation in normal circumstances but also that the switch-gear
remains capable of safe operation under fault conditions throughout its life.

Setting the periodicity of switchgear maintenance is not an easy task. Some devices
operate many times per day and are thus subject to wear; others may only operate a
few times a year and are therefore unlikely to cause operational difficulties due to
mechanical problems. Usually an annual overhaul is planned, with an additional
check if a switch has operated under fault conditions or if it performs a particularly
erroneous duty cycle.

All HV switchgear overhaul specifications must cover the following points (where
applicable to the particular design):
• Pre-overhaul check of insulation resistances (e.g. with IR camera)
between phases and phase-to-earth, and measurement of the resistance
of each phase.

• Lifting and inspection of arc chutes (air circuit-breakers).

• Removal of oil tank, replacement of oil with clean tested oil
(oil circuit-breakers).

• Cleaning and inspection of moving and fixed main contact assemblies.

• Checking of contacts for wear, clearances, wipe and alignment
(phase-to-phase and between phases).

• Checking of flexible connections for wear.

• Inspection and checking of 'close' and 'trip' mechanisms, carrying out all
specified measurements to ensure correct operation.

• Checking the operation of isolating and earthing mechanisms.



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• Examination of all auxiliary electrical equipment and overhaul of closing and
tripping solenoids, contactors and anti-pump devices.

• Checking the operation and integrity of air-blowing systems.

• Checking all locking devices.

• lnspection of all insulation for cracks, discoloration,
or other signs of distress.

• Checking of mechanicaI interlocks.

• Lubrication of moving parts.

• Final checks for 'hot spots' and measurement of resistance of each phase.

• Cleaning and checking cubicle - check cubicle heater.


Throughout the maintenance, all electrical checks should be recorded on a
checksheet.

As experience is gained on each particular type of switch-gear, particular fauIts and
weaknesses will be discovered and additional checks will be added to the
maintenance specification.

Following the overhaul of a circuit-breaker, a full function test must be carried out
before returning it to service. The following checks must be included:
• Operation from all positions, taking account of circuit
interlocks and group interlocks.
• Operation from each protection system.
• Alarm checks
• Trip circuit supervision checks.

In addition to the overhaul and function checking of each circuit, the switchboard itself
must be overhauled periodically. The planning of such maintenance can be difficult,
since a total board outage will be required; however, since the board contains no
moving an overhaul every five years will be usually sufficient with interim short
outages for bus bar spout cleaning and incoming circuit-breaker maintenance. Areas
of work covered by a switchboard outage are:
• Cleaning of busbar spouts and checking of associated interlocks.
• Cleaning of busbars, checking of busbar joints and support arrangements.
• Busbar insulation and conductivity checks.
• Checking the security of all covers.
• Overhaul of board auxiliary wiring and supplies.
• lnspection of earthing.

Protection testing is also often carried out following HV switchgear overhaul work.
This is discussed later in lecture series.


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Medium and low voltage switchgear
Medium and low voltage (MV and LV) switchgear is usually in a modular board
arrangement, each module being the switchgear associated with a particular circuit.
This is not invariable; sometimes contactors, isolators, etc., are part of a control
panel which is the total control package for a plant item, e.g. a shoot-blower control
panel for coal or oil fired systems or an auxiliary boiler control panel.

The comments below are in the context of the component parts of a multi-circuit
0.4kV switchboard of modular design, but the particular maintenance details for each
item apply equally to the components used in other MV and LV switchgear
applications.

It must be remembered that a 0.4kV board in a power station is subject to a high
potential fault level (about 30 MVA). There have been many instances of electrical
flashovers within 0.4kV switchgear which have been attributed to dirt, poor
connections, loose fuses and bad condition of contacts. The consequences of such
faults can be serious so, whilst the overhaul and maintenance of such switchgear can
appear not a real pleasure and repetitive, a high standard of work must be
encouraged.

Incoming and bus-section circuit breakers
These are similar in many aspects to the HV automatic circuit breakers; previously
discussed and do not need to be dealt with separately.
Contators
The duty performed by the contactors in power station switchgear is often very
complicated, with many operations a day. Such difficult duty is reflected in
mechanical wear and tear, electrical contact wear. Therefore particular attention must
be given to these aspects when undertaking a contactor overhaul.

Maintenance instructions for a contactor must include, where applicable:

• Cleaning.
• Resurfacing (dressing) or renewal of main and auxiliary contacts.
• Note that some contacts are plated and cannot be dressed successfully.
• Checking of contact aIignment, wipe and spring loading.
• Mechanical operation of armature, alignment of pole faces.
• Checking of the mechanical interlocking between reversing starters and the
latching mechanism on latched starters.
• Trip mechanism inspection.
• Electrical checks on main and trip coils (resistance and insulation).
• Check tightness and condition of all connections.
• Arc chute inspection.
• Lubrication.



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Isolators
The maintenance of isolators consists mainly of cleaning, checking contact condition
and tightness of connections, overhaul and checking of the operating mechanism,
and confirming the tightness and continuity of fuses, if fitted.

Isolators are usually interlocked with the cubicle door and often with their associated
contactor. These interlocks are important safety features, which must be checked.
Control indication and protection equipment
The contactor cubicle may contain control relays, control selectors, fused supplies,
mechanical and electrical indication equipment, protection relays, counters and
timers, ammeters, etc., all of which are included in the maintenance routine. The
cubicle heater is also checked.

DC starters may have a series of timed contacts to switch starting resistances. Such
starting resistances are usually only short-time rated, so that the correct timing of the
contact operation is important.

Function checks
At the completion of the overhaul of each circuit, a function check is performed, as
outIined for HV switchgear.
Switchboard inspection and overhaul
The complete MV or LV board is isolated and overhauled periodically. The frequency
depends on the environment.

The main areas of work are the busbars, common control supplies, auxiliary wiring,
security of panel fixings and inspection of earthing.



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Protection equipment testing

The electrical protection equipment fitted as an integral part of power station HV and
MV switch-gear requires little routine maintenance apart from occasional careful
cleaning and visual inspection. To ensure correct and reliable operation each device
needs to be tested periodically, the results being entered into a record system
containing the details of the device, its settings, and a record of tests performed on
the device. Additionally, it is advisable to insert a relay-setting record card in each
relay case. This enables a cross-check to be made after testing to ensure that the
relay setting has not been inadvertently left at an incorrect value.

Station: Relay:
Panel: C.T. Ratio:
Date Current setting Time setting Initials Remarks






Central Workshop of Electricity Generating Co.

Table 1. Typical relay-setting record card.

Two types of protection testing are normally undertaken:
• primary injection tests
• secondary injection tests

Primary injection tests

This test is used to check the operation of the total system associated with a
protection device. Connections are made to the main primary conductors of circuit
under test and a current is injected in such a way as to check the operation of the
protection system under normal and fault current conditions.

The test set used for this is a single-phase transformer, fed by a 0 - 415 V variable
transformer on its HV side and rated to suppIy about 2000 A at a few volts at its
secondary terminals.

Particular test procedures need to be prepared for each type of protective device.
The means of connecting the heavy current test supply into the circuit should be
specified; some HV switch-gear is supplied with connection devices for this purpose.



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Figure 1. Primary injection testing of 11 kV switch-gear

The figure above shows a typical arrangement for 11 kV metal clad switch-gear.

Primary injection testing is time consuming and would normally only be undertaken
on a few occasions during the life of the equipment, say, every 5 years, unless
evidence justified more frequent testing, or a fault was suspected on a particular
circuit.

Secondary injection tests
This is used to check the operation of the protective relay alone and can be
undertaken on the site or, for plug-in relays, with the relay plugged into a purpose
built test rig. A test current from a secondary injection test set is fed into the relay
circuit in such a way as to check the performance of the relay over its range of
operation, in accordance with a specified test procedure.

The secondary-injection test set will include:
• A low voltage single-phase variable output up to, typically, 100 A.
• A harmonic filter for use with relays sensitive to harmonic interference.
• Accurate current indication
• A timer initiated from the test set 'start' button and stopped from the relay
trip contacts.
• 0-240 V AC and DC low power variable-voltage outputs.
The frequency of secondary injection testing should initially be set at every two years
and then modified as a result of the experience gained on each type of device.



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Automatic voltage regulator (AVR)
Off-load maintenance of the AVR consists initially off cleaning the equipment, using a
soft brush and vacuum cIeaner to remove all accumulations of dust, followed by a
thorough examination of all components and wiring for signs of damage, overheating,
loose fixings, etc.

Relays should be checked and cleaned, if necessary. Motorised potentiometers and
their cam-operated switches should be checked and lubricated, followed by a check
of their traverse times. Correct operation of all tripping functions must also be
checked.

Fault finding and setting-up the AVR are specialised tasks, for which detailed
procedures need to be prepared.
Supervisory and protection equipment
A schedule, identifying each supervisory and protection device, should be prepared.
The schedule should give reference to particular test and calibration procedures for
each device and thus form the basis of a routine maintenance system which ensures
that the accuracy and reliability of this equipment is maintained.

ln addition to the testing of individual devices in protection equipment, overall
protection system checks must be carried out at regular intervals (typically annually).

Electric Motors

The high number of electric motors employed in a power station are so varied in size,
type, application and environment that it would be meaningless to stipulate a fixed
periodicity of maintenance for all motors.

A good basic approach is to plan regular on site maintenance and an occasional full
workshop overhaul for each motor, the frequency being based on a consideration of
all factors influencing the wear and tear on the particular machine.

As a guide, most machines would need annual in situ maintenance, with perhaps a
full workshop overhaul in every 3-rd year.

The activities comprising in situ maintenance are outlined below, followed by a more
detailed description of the work to be included in a workshop overhaul.

The comments obviously do not apply to all machines; similarly, the complexity of
each task varies between HV and MV motors and between different designs.
Sufficient information is given to identify the activities in the maintenance schedule for
a particular machine.



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Routine maintenance (on the site)

• GeneraIly clean down the motor, check for obvious mechanical damage, check
holding-down bolts, security of guards, etc. Inspect for oil leaks, coolant leaks and
effectiveness of weather protection.

• Tests From terminal box or switchgear, check insulation resistance of winding
and supply cable; check resistance balance of windings.

• Terminal box Clean terminal box internally; check connections; check insulation
condition; ensure that cable glanding and earthing arrangements are satisfactory.
Ensure that the terminal box is adequately sealed after maintenance.

• Cooling circuit For open motors, remove covers (where possible) and blow out
winding with dry compressed air.
For enclosed motors, with air-to-air coolers, clean heat exchanger tubes. lnspect
water-cooled machine heat exchangers for leaks, build-up of scale, or any other
defect which may impair the cooling efficiency.

• Windings It is not normally necessary to inspect the windings of an enclosed
machine. Open machines should be thoroughly inspected at every accessible
point for signs of serious contamination, winding damage, etc.



Figure 2. 11kV 10MW wound-rotor induction motor

• Bearings
1. Ball and roller.
The in situ check of the bearings is made by the best practicable method.
For bearings fitted with end caps, the outer cap is removed, having first
supported the inner cap with guide studs. The bearing can then be inspected
for scoring, roughness, cracking, metallic debris or any other sign of distress.
It may be feasible to assess bearing wear by checking the lift on the shaft.
Where the bearings are inaccessible, it may be possible to run the motor to
listen for bearing noise, or at least to turn the shaft to try to detect any


Maintenance of Electrical Plant
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roughness or rubbing that may indicate wear. Finally, the bearing should be
lubricated. Care is needed, over-greasing can cause the bearing to overheat
due to churning of the grease.

2. Pad or sleeve bearings.
Examine bearing housing for Ieaks from joints, shaft seaIs, drain plugs or level
indicators, including (if possible) a check for internal oil leakage into motor.
Drain the bearing oil and examine its condition, Iooking for signs of sludge,
metallic debris or water. If unsatisfactory, further investigation of the bearing
will be required. Check that bearing clearances are within tolerance by
measuring shaft lift or by the gap between shaft and bearing top, as
applicable.

• Airgaps On motors provided with access points for air-gap readings, measure the
air-gaps, using Iong, cIean feeler gauges, and check that they are within tolerance.

Where the access points are placed at 120
O
around the stator, three sets of three
readings should be taken, turning the shaft through 120
O
at each set. The three
readings at each position are then averaged.

Where the points are at 90
O
around the stator, take two sets of readings, turning
the rotor through 180
O
between readings.

• Coupling Remove guards and examine for excessive play.
Excessive play in coupling gear requires checks of the spring and teeth for wear or
damage. The grease on a coupling gear should also be checked and replaced, if
necessary.

Excessive play in a rubber-bushed coupling needs checks for rubber-bush wear,
elongation of coupling bush holes, bolt waisting and bolt tightness.

• Slip-rings (variable-speed AC motors)
The overhaul of slip-rings and brush-gear has already been outlined in the
generator maintenance section of this chapter. The principles described therein
apply equally to slip-ring motors. On completion of maintenance, particular care
must be taken to ensure that the assembly is clean and free of contamination from
oil, grease or carbon dust.

• Commutators (DC machines and AC commutator machines).
Whilst the same general comments on sIip-ring and brushgear rnaintenance apply
to commutator machines, particular care has to be taken to ensure that correct
brush position is maintained.

A good commutator eIectrical surface must be achieved. The surface must be
uniform in appearance and irregularities should be regarded as indicators of
electrical or mechanical faults requiring further investigation.



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Routine maintenance - full workshop overhaul

The main stages of a full motor overhaul are now described. It is assumed that the
motor has been checked electrically and any evidence of faults has been noted for
investigation during the overhaul:

Cleandown and strip After a thorough external clean, normal dismantling
techniques are used, whereby each item is marked, where necessary, to show its
position relative to other parts. All non-maintainable parts, such as covers, bearing
housing, baffles, etc., should be cleaned after removal and inspected for cracks,
distortion or other damage.

Rotor removal The larger the machine, the higher the probability that special
equipment will be required to enable the rotor to be removed. A typical method,
employing a trolley, an extension shaft (a steel tube machined such that it just slips
over the protected journal surface) and an overhead beam or crane.

Stator The method of cleaning the stator depends upon the extent and nature of
contamination. Common methods are:
• Dry dusting and blow-out.
• Wiping clean, using grease solvent.
• Spraying with electrical solvent.
• Washing with distilled water (followed by dry-out).

When cleaning the windings of HV motors, particular care must be taken to ensure
that contamination is not driven into the windings, thus becoming the focus of a future
failure. Insulation resistance readings of the stator are taken before and after
cleaning.

A thorough inspection of the stator is now undertaken and any remedial work carried
out. The following points should be covered:
• Condition of winding insulation.
Is the taping satisfactory?
Is re-varnishing required?
• End-winding integrity.
Inspect for evidence of looseness,
defective lashings, bracing or spacers.
• Slot conductors.
Check for any evidence of discharge, loose or damaged wedges.
• Winding connections.
To cable box and star point (if accessible).
• Stator laminations.
Evidence of hotspots or looseness, rubbing or scoring.
Looseness of the stator pack may be indicated by evidence of
brown powder from the insulation coating on the laminations.


Maintenance of Electrical Plant
19




Figure 3. Usual technique for large rotor removal

A stator in poor overall condition may be referred to a specialist repair contractor for
overhaul. General deterioration can often be reduced by through cleaning and a
treble dipping/baking in epoxy resin varnish, a service offered by most repairers.

Rotor Cleaning methods described in earlier paragraphs are also applicable to the
rotor. The condition of the rotor is determined with regard to the following points:
• Loose, cracked or broken rotor bars.
• Cracked rotor bar-to-endring joints.
• Cracked or broken end-rings.
• Blockage of ventilation ducts.
• Laminations - signs of rubbing or scoring.
Evidence of hot spots.
• Rotor fan damage.

Non-destructive testing (NDT) techniques may be used to inspect rotor bar-to-
endring joints, if cracking is suspected.


Maintenance of Electrical Plant
20

An indication of poor rotor bar-to-endring joints may be obtained by using a 'growler',
an electromagnetic test instrument which produces a change of resonant sound
when passed over a defective bar.
Bearings

1. Ball and roller bearings. Remove the bearing from shaft using a hydraulic bearing
puller. Clean all grease from bearing and inspect for:
• Scored or worn outer journals.
• Cracked or distorted cages.
• Pitting of balls or rollers.
• Excessive play.
• lndications of slack fit between bearing and housing.
• Slack fit to shaft.
• Rough running (when spun after light oiling).

Unsatisfactory bearings should be scrapped and replaced.

To enable the bearing to be refitted to the shaft it should be expanded by heating to
about 80
O
C using either a thermostatically controlled oil bath or a purpose made
induction heater.

Great care must be taken throughout the reassembly to ensure that no dirt enters the
bearing. The bearing itself should be packed with the correct grade of grease and the
housing about half-filled with grease. Overgreasing will lead to churning and
subsequent overheating of the bearing.

2. Pad and sleeve bearings. The essential points on the overhaul of pad and sleeve
bearings are given below; the techniques used vary with the particular design of
bearing:

• Pad type bearings. Inspect for pivot wear and bearing surface scoring,
cracking or overheating. Measure oil clearances by taking leads. Take care
to ensure that offset type pads are fitted in the correct relationship to the
direction of rotation.

• Sleeve type bearings. Inspect the bearing surface for heavy scoring,
cracking, or signs of overheating, or polishing marks where the shaft has
worn the sleeve.
Check oil pick-up rings for wear or distortion. Check bearing bore against
shaft dimension in several positions. If new sleeves are being fitted, check
sleeve-to-casing fit, using feeler gauges.
Check shaft-to-bearing contact arc by engineers' blue (ink paper to indicate
contacting surfaces). Arc of contact should typically be 60
O
for high speed
shafts (3000 r/min) and 100
O
for low speed shafts (500 r/min). Remove high
spots on bearing surface. Check bearing clearance, using leads.


Maintenance of Electrical Plant
21
Slipring, brushgear, commutator
Comments made under the section on in situ maintenance give an outline to the
overhaul of these items.
Additionally, the opportunity may be taken to mount the rotor in a Iathe for grinding or
machining the slip-ring or commutator.
Cooling circuit
A thorough clean and check of the cooling circuit should be carried out. Water
coolers need a pressure test to ensure that they are Ieak-free.
Airgaps
After reassembling the motor, the rotor-to-stator airgap requires checking. If
necessary, the bearing positions should be adjusted to ensure that the airgap error
does not exceed 10%.
The gaps between the shaft and oil seals, and between the air baffles, then also
require checking and adjustment.

Repair following breakdown
It is common practice to employ the services of motor repair workshops, either at the
motor manufacturers or at specialist repair firms, for all major repair work on electric
motors.

Usually a fast turnaround time can be achieved. One of the major delays on large
motor repairs is the availability of the correct size of copper conductor. Consideration
should be given to stocking sufficient material within the station stores in order to
avoid this delay for critical machines.

lt is also feasible to stock a complete set of stator windings ready for installation by a
contractor in the event of a serious fault.

Now that extensive standardisation has been achieved on 0.4kV machines, it is often
cheaper and quicker to scrap a small machine needing a rewind and to buy a
replacement ex-stock.

To ensure that a high standard of motor repair work is maintained, the relevant
standards are already prepared and specified for all repairs.

ln addition to the basic repair of the motor, consideration is also given to whether it
may be advantageous to:
• Up-rate the motor, by winding to a higher insulation class.
• Improve the protection on particularly troublesome drives by embedding
thermocouples within the stator.
• Improve damp resistance by improved sealing.




Maintenance of Electrical Plant
22
Motor testing

Some of the main techniques used for fault finding on a motor, or for checking its
fitness for duty are outlined below. Much of the detail associated with these
techniques has already been given in the generator maintenance section to which
reference is made.
Insulation resistance measurement
Insulation resistance measurement is used to measure the DC resistance of a motor
winding to earth, or the resistance between windings. The test is carried out using a
battery- or mains-powered, or hand-operated, megohmmeter (megger). Typically, a
500 V DC test is used on 0.4kV machines (care must be taken to disconnect diodes)
HV motors are usually tested at 1 kV, for all windings up to 6.6 kV, and at 5 kV for
windings of 11 kV or more.

While this resistance measurement is a very quick method of assessing insulation
integrity, it must be realised that the value of the information obtained is limited. On
open motors, insulation resistance values can be affected by atmospheric humidity.
When comparing readings with previous results, a temperature correction should be
made, using the nomogram given in below.

Where insulation systems are open to the atmosphere, the insulation resistance (IR)
reading can be greatly affected by humidity. Water cooled windings, when drained
down, need careful blowing through to remove water from all hoses if satisfactory IR
readings are to be obtained. The manifold should be connected to the guard terminal
on the megohmmeter so that a true reading of winding resistance to earth is
obtained.

Insulation resistance tests on filled winding will give a low reading due to the number
of parallel paths to earth via the water circuit. To assess whether readings so
obtained are reasonable, an equivalent circuit will need to be drawn which takes
account of the resistance of the water (of known conductivity) in each hose.
Polarisation index measurement
Polarisation index (PI) measurement is an extension of insulation resistance (IR)
testing an other method of assessing the surface contamination of insulation.

The method of applying the test is outlined here, but the details can be found in the
measurement section of this Course book. The voltages used are the same as those
for insulation resistance testing, indicated above.

The DC voltage is applied to the insulation for 10 minutes. The PI is the ratio of the
IR reading obtained after 10 minutes to the reading obtained after 1 minute. As a
general rule, a value of PI greater than 2 is desirable. Low PI is usually an indication
of surface contamination of the end winding insulation by dirt or moisture, although,
when accompanied by a low one-minute IR reading, more serious degradation of the


Maintenance of Electrical Plant
23
bulk of the insulation may be indicated. This can only be determined by loss angle
measurement


Figure 4. Nomogram for correcting insulation resistance measurements
to a standard temperature

A polarisation index test should be made on any machine that has been out of
service for some time to determine whether energisation or testing with AC is
advisable.



Maintenance of Electrical Plant
24
Table 2 gives a guide to the interpretation of results obtained from insulation
resistance (IR) and polarisation index (PI) testing. If values at or below those listed in
the table are obtained after correction to 20
O
C, serious moisture or other
contamination is indicated. Further investigation of the cause of this condition, and
possibly a dry-out, will be required prior to AC energisation or testing.


Line voltage
of machine
Minimum acceptance value of insulation resistance (IR),
complete winding at 20
O
C
[Megohms]
PI >1.6 PI <1.6
[kV] IR
1min
IR
10min
IR
1min
IR
10min
3.3 any value 15 30 any value
6.6 any value 30 50 any value
11.0 any value 50 100 any value

Table 2. Guide to determine acceptable values of
insulation resistance and polarisation index testing

If a constant-potential (high voltage) megohmmeter is available, a ratio of the 1-min
ground-insulation-resistance reading to that obtained after 10 min is a very useful
guide to insulation dryness.

Values of 1.5 and over are obtained from a clean, dry winding (Figure 5.). The lower
the ratio the greater the leakage path of the test voltage to ground. This method in
effect measures the capability of the insulation to hold a capacitive charge.

Figure 5. Change in 1- and 10-min insulation resistance during drying process
of Class B insulated AC armature winding.
Loss angle testing

Loss angle testing (or tangent delta testing) is a method of assessing the condition of
the bulk of the insulation of an HV motor.


Maintenance of Electrical Plant
25

The test is made on each phase, with the other two phases earthed, where the
neutral can be split, or on the complete winding, where the neutral is solid.

A maximum test voltage equivalent to line voltage is recommended, although a lower
maximum voltage may be used where insulation is suspect. The Loss angle test
should not be applied until satisfactory insulation resistance and polarisation index
test results have been obtained.

As it is stated earlier the Loss angle testing (or tangent delta testing) is a method of
assessing the condition of the bulk of the insulation. As insulation deteriorates, it
develops voids which in turn, cause a change in the capacitance of the winding and
hence a change in the loss angle (delta)

The test method is as follows:
• Check that the winding has a satisfactory insulation resistance (IR) by
means of a DC test.
• Apply an AC voltage to the winding in steps of (0.2 x line voltage V
1
) from
0.2 to 1.0 V
1
(The condition of the insulation may dictate that 0.8V
1

should not be exceeded.)
• At each step, record the capacitance and tangent of the Loss angle of the
insulation, using an AC bridge.
• On completion of the test, take great care to discharge the winding.

Tangent delta is plotted against line voltage. Actual results will be affected by factors
such as whether or not cooling water was present in the winding, the type of gas in
the generator frame and its pressure and the amount of surface contaminant on the
windings.

By comparison with other tests on the same and similar machines, assessment can
be made of the condition of the insulation.

Figure 6. Insulation loss angle
The insulation may be considered as a capacitor and resistor in parallel.
The ratio of resistive leakage current to capacitive leakage current is
represented by the tangent of the loss angle.
Interpretation of the results is more straightforward than for a generator, where the
effects of the cooling media have to be taken into account.




Maintenance of Electrical Plant
26
Squirrel-cage rotor testing
Defects, such as broken rotor bars or high resistance bar-to-endring joints, in squirrel
cage rotors can be detected on-load by detection of the current, flux or speed
fluctuations caused by the fault.

A particularly sensitive device for the early identification of developing rotor faults is
based on the stroboscopic effects. The device works on the principle that the
rotational period of a motor with an electrically defective rotor bar will fluctuate slowly
at twice the slip frequency. The device measures this fluctuation by processing the
information from a speed pick-up on the motor shaft.
Transformers
For maintenance purposes, the power transformer in use in a modern power station
can be devided into three categories:
• Fluid-filled.
• Dry air-cooled.
• Cast-in-resin air-cooled.

In each, reliability is very high and normal maintenance consists of routine cleaning,
checking and testing to ensure that the electrical integrity of the transformer is
sustained.
Fluid-filled transformers
The majority of HV and some MV power transformers are fluid-filled.
The fluid acting as both an insulation and cooling medium.
The fluid may be cooled by
• natural convection,
• forced air,
• water-cooled heat exchangers.

Mineral oil based insulating oil is the most commonly used fluid. In high risk areas,
fire-resistant fluids may be used, such as silicone fluid or a phosphate-ester.
Polychlorinated biphenyIs (PCBs) are being phased out because of their high toxicity
and non-biodegradability.

The main routine activities are outlined below and consist of regular checks on fluid
and on air breather systems, together with outage checks of other equipment.
Normally, the outage checks should be yearly, but some flexibility in this may be
needed to fit in with main unit outage dates.

If, at any time, it becomes necessary to open up the transformer tank, extreme care
must be taken to impose clean conditions and to ensure that no foreign matter is
allowed to enter the tank. Those working on an open transformer should use one-
piece pocketIess overalls and wear no loose items.



Maintenance of Electrical Plant
27
All tools must be accounted for and taped to the operative so that they can be
recovered, if accidentally dropped. Carelessness in the application of these
measures can turn a simple task into a major, time consuming and costly exercise.
Fluid
Regular checks of fluid levels must be made and recorded to ensure that an
adequate level of fluid is maintained. Where applicable, a note of winding
temperature should also be made, since the level will obviously vary with fluid
temperature.

A particular danger applicable to transformers fitted with Buchholz relays is that, if the
fluid level is allowed to become too low in cold weather it may fall below the relay
during a period of light load and thus cause a spurious trip.

Fluid added to top-up a transformer must be clean and tested immediately prior to
use. The top-up is best carried out off-load, with a period of time allowed after filling
for air bubbles to detrain from the oil. On-load topping-up is possible on some
transformers. Care must be taken to entrain a minimum of air and, for a period after
filling, the Buchholz relay will need regular bleeding to remove air and to prevent
spurious operation.

Fluid testing must be carried out at least annually and following a transformer trip, or
gas or temperature alarm. The fluid test check for:
• appearance,
• moisture,
• electric strength,
• acidity,
• resistivity
• dissolved gases.

The results from these tests may indicate that the fluid needs changing or
reconditioning. Some sites purchase their own conditioning unit through which the
fluid is circulated and then returned to the transformer. Other sites use specialist
contractors for this work, who come to the location with all the necessary pumping,
filtration and test equipment to deal with any size of transformer.

Fluid test results may also indicate a possible incipient fault within the transformer,
requiring monitoring by more frequent sampling.

The method adopted to collect the sample must be designed to ensure that the
sample is truly representative of the fluid in the tank and that it is not contaminated in
the collection process.

In circumstances where a fault is suspected or following a Buchholz gas alarm, gas
samples should be collected from the Buchholz relay for analysis. The results can
give a guide to the nature of the fault: in oil-filled transformers, these are as follows:
• Presence of ethane, methane or carbon monoxide indicates a hot spot.


Maintenance of Electrical Plant
28
• Presence of hydrogen and /or acetylene indicates the presence of arcing or
discharge within the oil.

The sample may, of course, just prove to be air.

A comprehensive guide to the maintenance of insulating oil is found in BSI Code of
Practice BS5730.

The tests described above are not very effective in detecting the low-temperature
overheating of paper insulation in oil-filled transformers. Such overheating is known
to have been a major factor in two generator transformer failures. A method has now
been developed, where furfuraldehyde, a product produced exclusively by thermal
degradation of paper at temperatures from as low as 110
O
C, may be detected from
the analysis of an oil sample. It seems likely that, on certain transformers, this test
will be included with those already carried out on routine oil samples.
Breather
The inspection of the breathing equipment should be associated with regular fluid
level checks. Silicagel crystals are renewed if seen to be changing from blue to pink.
At the same time, the breather oil seal is checked and, if necessary, topped-up to the
correct level to prevent diffusion of moisture into the silica-gel when no breathing is
taking place.

The silica-gel may be recharged by drying in and oven at about 130
O
C until the
crystals have regained a dark blue appearance.
Transformer tank and compound
Transformer compounds must be kept free of litter and oil drains, bund walls, cables,
cable ducts and fire fighting equipment examined.

A thorough clean down of the transformer tank and compound should be carried out
as part of the outage work. Where spray-water protection is fitted to oil-filled
transformers, it may be decided to apply solvent to the dirty areas of the tank and
compound and then to test discharge the fire protection, which will in turn wash down
the transformer.

Other work is to inspect the tank, radiator/heat exchangers, conservator, pipe-work
valves, etc., for leaks, and to ensure that all valves and cocks are secure and locked.
Neutral earthing resistors
The electrolyte level should be checked and its resistance measured, using a low
voltage AC supply. Where fitted, heaters should be checked for correct operation.
Bushings and connections
Bushings are cleaned and checked for leaks, chips or cracks. A fluid level check/top-
up is carried out on filled bushings.


Maintenance of Electrical Plant
29
Tightness and resistance checks of all connections, including the transformer earth
connection, must be made.
Off-load tapchanger
The following procedure should be carried out at an outage to clean the contacts and
prevent contact overheating defects due to pyrolytic growth.

Unlock the tap-changer, note its position, operate the tap-change, switch it through
its range several times, return it to its original position, and lock.
On-load tapchanger
The manufacturer's instruction must be followed for the particular design. Outage
maintenance is usually confined to the diverter switch and operating mechanisms.

Basic steps covered will be:
• Thorough cleaning and flushing with insulating fluid.
• DetaiIed inspection of all components, especially moving parts
and diverter resistors.
• Contact overhaul.
• Check of all connections.
• Overhaul of operating mechanisms.
• Complete function check.
• Refill with clean, tested fluid.
Winding temperature indicators
During the off-load examination, the winding temperature indicator should be
checked to ensure that the reading is correct and that the alarm operates at the
specified temperature. This is carried out by removing the indicator bulb from its
pocket, in the top of the transformer and placing it into a temperature test oil-bath.
The test unit is switched on to raise the temperature to 120
O
C and the reading of the
indicator checked against the test unit thermometer. A test meter connected across
the winding temperature alarm contacts will check the operation of the alarm against
the reading of the winding temperature indicator: any necessary adjustments are
made and recorded.

The indicator bulb pocket is then refilled with transformer oil and the bulb replaced.
An injection test is then applied at the test links to the heating coil circuit and the
current adjusted to the required test figure. The temperature rise is noted on the
winding temperature indicator and compared with the calibration data.



Maintenance of Electrical Plant
30
Buchholz relay
The Buchholz relay is important in the transformer protection system and should be
tested annually. This is carried out with a special test set in which a cylinder is
charged with air at 2.1 bar gauge and connected to the test cock on the relay. Air
from the cylinder is then admitted slowly to the relay until the gas-float contacts
'make': the volume of air required to achieve this is recorded. The surge float can
then be tested by admitting air rapidly into the relay until the surge-float contacts
'make'. Contact operation is checked with a test meter, or with the secondary trip or
alarm circuits alive. Care must be taken after the test to ensure that all air is bled off
from the Buchholz chamber.
Pressure relief diaphragm
This is inspected during a maintenance outage for splits or leakage. A split
diaphragm can allow the transformer to breath other than through the breather and
thus cause unwanted moisture ingress.
Pressure relief valve
The valve is removed during an outage checked for correct mechanical and electrical
operation on a purpose built test rig.
Cooling equipment
Off-load maintenance consists of an overhaul of pumps, fans, heat exchangers, etc.,
using normal maintenance techniques. It is particularly important to ensure that
water-cooled heat exchangers have no water-to-oil leakage path and this should be
checked.
Marshalling kiosk
The following outage work should be undertaken:
• Clean and check connections.
• Overhaul control equipment and check operation
• Check heater.
• Ensure that the weather protection is effective.
Dry air-cooled and cast-in-resin air-cooled transformers
The maintenance of these transformers is far simpler than for the fluid-filled type and
consists of outage work where the main activities will be:
• Cleaning of transformer and compound.
• Checking of tightness and resistance of connections.
• Testing of protective devices.



Maintenance of Electrical Plant
31
Ancillary equipment
Much could be written about the maintenance of the ancillary electrical equipment
within a power station. Most of this equipment performs a vital role in the operation of
the main plant. The notes below are limited to the main features, which need to be
incorporated into the maintenance programme for these items.
Battery systems and chargers
Battery systems provide “last resort” power for performing communication, alarm,
control, and protective functions when other sources of power fail. Battery system
maintenance should have highest priority. Computerized, online battery monitoring
systems can greatly reduce maintenance required on battery systems and actually
improve battery reliability and increase battery life.

Battery chargers, important to the health and readiness of battery systems, require
regular maintenance as well.
Lead-acid batteries
The number of battery systems in a modern power station is such that battery cell
maintenance presents a considerable workload to the maintenance department.
The work is by nature very repetitive yet must be carried out conscientiously: it is
probably best confined to a few operatives who are temperamentally suited to tasks
of this nature.

A typical approach to the maintenance of a large 120-cell Plante-type lead-acid
battery would be to carry out the following routines:

Two weeks routine
Check electrolyte levels on all cells and top-up any cells approaching or below the
minimum marks with distilled water.
Note 'pilot cell' voltage, specific gravity and temperature readings. 'Pilot cells' are,
say, 12 out of the 120 cells, selected so as to be evenly distributed over the length of
the battery; they are used as indicators of the general battery condition.

Inspect condition of connections - clean and re-grease with petroleum jelly, as
necessary.

Ensure that the battery room is clean, that the ventilation system is satisfactory and
that the safety equipment is available.

Note the battery charger current and voltage.


Three monthly routine
Similar to above, except that all cell voltage and specific gravity readings are noted.



Maintenance of Electrical Plant
32
A thorough inspection of all cells must be made and defects noted. Particular care to
be taken to look for:
• Terminal and connection corrosion.
• Cells over-gassing.
• Flaking of internal connections
• Plate distortion.
• Leakage of electrolyte.
• Cracking of cell lids.

Annual work
Similar to the three monthly work, but in addition:
• Remove and clean petroleum jelly from connections.
• Check-tighten (using insulated tools), inspect and re-apply petroleum jelly.
• Clean cell casings and support framework.

The check sheet reading and notes from the routine maintenance activities should be
independently inspected in order to identify any problems developing in the battery.

The state-of-charge of a cell may be assessed from the specific gravity reading.
An example is as follows:

If a typical 240 V 1300 Ah battery were fully discharged, the specific gravity would
drop from 1.260 to 1.120. The rate-of-change of specific gravity with charge is, for
practical purposes, linear, and thus the state-of-charge of the above battery may be
determined by the points drop from 1.260 as a proportion of 90; for example, if the
specific gravity is 1.180, the battery is 30/90, or one-third discharged.

For accuracy, the specific gravity readings must be corrected for any temperature
variation from 15
O
C, as follows: +1 point for each 1.5
O
C of electrolyte temperature
above/below 15
O
C. The actual specific gravity values and points drop with charge
will vary with type of cell and must be found from manufacturers' information.

It would normally be expected that, on a standby battery, all cells would indicate a
near-full state of charge.

Those cells, which show readings out-of-step with the rest of the battery, require
investigation.

Low specific gravity, which remains low and constant over a period of charging,
could indicate that the electrolyte has become weakened by some means, the
strength should be checked and adjusted by addition of dilute sulphuric acid of
specific gravity 1.840. But important to note that this problem is very rare. Low
specific gravity may indicate sulphated cells. Usually this is the case, when the
battery set were out-of-work and left uncharged for an extended period.

Low specific gravity and low cell volts, which do not respond to charging, could
indicate an internal cell short. It may be possible to clear a short by disturbing the


Maintenance of Electrical Plant
33
electrolyte by gently blowing air into the solution. (This means temporary solution
only, the cell should be replaced.)

Excessive gassing is most undesirable and can be caused by attempting to charge a
near fully-charged battery at too high a rate. The excessive current charge (over and
above that which the plate material can accept) decomposes the water content in the
electrolyte into hydrogen and oxygen. If this is too violent, it lowers the electrolyte
level, produces undesirable heat and causes active material to be scrubbed from the
surface of the positive plates, which falls to the bottom as a deposit.


Figure 7. Temperature and float charging
voltage effecting battery life-time



Figure 8. Relationship between specific
gravity and charge


Nickel-Cadmium alkaline batteries
These need less maintenance than lead-acid batteries. The cells are kept clean and
dry, connections are kept lightly greased with petroleum jelly and are checked for
tightness periodically.

The electrolyte level should be regularly checked and topped-up with pure distilled
water as necessary.

The specific gravity of the electrolyte in a nickel-cadmium (Ni-Cd) battery does not
vary with state of charge.



Maintenance of Electrical Plant
34
Battery chargers
Solid state battery chargers are usually reliable items of plant which require very little
maintenance. Nevertheless, because they play such a key role in maintaining the
capacity of the vital DC supplies, they must not be neglected in the overhaul
programme.

An annual inspection will include the following activities:
• Clean and inspect all components, checking for signs of overheating,
loose connections, corrosion or mechanical damage.
• Overhaul switches, contactors, control relays, etc.,
using standard techniques.
• Check fuses.
• Check cooling fans, if fitted.
• Check operation of the charger fail and high voltage' relays;
ensure that the remote alarms are initiated.
• Carry out running checks to ensure correct operation in both
'float' and 'boost charge' selections.
Secure instrument supply systems (UPS)
Most modern power stations have a secure instrument supply system fed from
batteries via a DC/AC converter.

The DC/AC conversion is carried out by either a rotary converter or a solid state
inverter.
Rotary converters
A rotating converter is basically a DC motor coupled to an AC generator, the motor
being fed from a secure battery supply. Maintenance for the system thus follows the
principles already laid down for these items.

A typical installation consists of three machines per unit, two running in parallel and
one on standby. Correct and reliable operation of synchronising and load-sharing
circuits often proves difficult to achieve: it is important that expertise is built up within
the station in order to ensure maximum reliability from the particular system installed.
Inverters
Normal maintenance of an inverter system consists of an annual overhaul, which
follows a very similar pattern to that already described for a solid state battery
charger.

Particular features that may require regular checking are:
• Stability and accuracy of frequency and voltage over the load range.
• The automatic changeover switching (be it static or contacter switching)
between running and standby inverters, or between inverters and the raw
supply.


Maintenance of Electrical Plant
35

It is important to ensure that any interruption to the output from the system during
such switching is within the specified limits, so as to have no effect on the equipment
being supplied.
Maintenance Schedule – Flooded, Wet Cell, Lead Acid Batteries

Maintenance or Test Recommended Interval

Visual inspection

Monthly


Battery float voltage
Every shift: (charger meter)
Monthly: overall battery voltage with digital meter
compare with charger meter

Cell float voltage

Monthly: pilot cells with digital meter
Quarterly: all cells

Specific gravity

Monthly, pilot cells
Quarterly, 10 percent (%) of cells
Annually, all cells

Temperature

Monthly (pilot cells)
Quarterly (10% of all cells), (use IR camera)

Connection resistance


Every year, all connections, (use IR camera)


Capacity testing

3 years,
Every year, if capacity less than 90%

Safety equipment inspection

Monthly, test all sensor devices and inspect all
safety equipment

Infrared scan cells and connections


Every year, all connections


Battery monitoring system

According to manufacturer’s recommendations in
"User Manual"


Maintenance Schedule – Battery Chargers
Maintenance or Test Recommended Interval

Preventive maintenance

Dependent on charger type and manufacturer’s
recommendations, details in "User Manual"

Infrared scan cables and connections if visible


Every year, all connections




Maintenance of Electrical Plant
36

Cabling and earthing
There is a great temptation to neglect the maintenance of cabling and earthing
systems totally. Whilst this may have no adverse effect on operation for many years,
such a policy will almost certainly eventually contribute to a major electrical failure.
Inspections should therefore by undertaken to check for the following potential
trouble spots:
Cabling systems

• Debris in cableways, which could present a fire hazard or could damage cable
sheaths.
• Sheath faults. Power cables may carry sufficient potential on their armouring to
initiate a cable fault if the sheath breaks down and an armour-to-earth fault
develops. Inspection of sheaths and, in some cases, periodic sheath insulation
tests may be considered advisable.
• Cable supports. Electrical faults can exert high forces between single core power
cables even though safely cleared by protection. Cable support arrangements and
cleats must be maintained in good order and inspected after faults.
• Glanding. Ensure that gIand fixings are secure and that glands are correctly
earthed, or insulated, according to the cable design.
• lnsulation. A representative number of power cables should be tested periodically
for the integrity of their insulation system to enable a continuous assessment to be
made of the general condition of the cable system.

For 0.4kV and 3.3 kV cables, such testing will normally consist of a DC insulation
resistance test between phases and between phase and earth. For 11 kV extruded
solid insulation cables a periodic partial discharge-voltage test should be carried out.
Details of this test are given in the relevant Standards or Recommended Practices.
Earthing systems
Equipment grounding is an essential part of protecting staff and equipment from high
potential caused by electrical faults. Equipment grounding conductors are subject to
failure due to corrosion, loose connections, and mechanical damage.

Grounding may also be compromised during equipment addition and removal or
other construction-type activities. Periodically verifying grounding system integrity is
an important maintenance activity.

Copper conductor earthing systems have over recent years proved to be particularly
vulnerable to theft of lengths of the earthing strap, particularly from unfrequented
areas of the power station. This dangerous and criminal practice can cause items of
plant to be effectively unearthed.



Maintenance of Electrical Plant
37
Regular checks may be necessary to ensure that the earth circuits are complete.
Where theft proves to be a serious problem, consideration should be given to
replacing missing copper with aluminium of equivaIent resistance. If this policy is
adopted, care must be taken to ensure that correct aluminium-to-copper jointing
techniques are used.

More recent power stations have earthing systems constructed from aluminium
cables. The terminations of both copper and aluminium earthing systems should be
periodically checked to ensure that they remain tight and free from corrosion.

The individual earth electrodes must also be checked on a planned basis to ensure
that they remain an effective earth path. A common way of measuring electrode
resistance in a multiple-electrode earthing system uses a comparison method, which
involves disconnecting the electrode under test from the earthing system and
measuring its resistance to the main earthing system, using a null-balance earth test
megger.

Standards and recommended practices
A detailed description of establishing earth-electrode resistance is given in British
Standard Code of Practice CP1013.1965 'Earthing'.

Other important standards:

IEC 364-5-54 Electrical installations of buildings, Part 5. Selection and erection of
electrical equipment. Chapter 54: Earthing arrangements and protective conductors.

IEC 621-2A Electrical installations for outdoor sites under heavy conditions.
Part 2 General protection requirements.

DIN VDE 0151/6.86 Materials and minimum dimensions of earth electrodes with
regard to corrosion.