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Failure Reduction Techniques
Project work

Thanubuddi.Gopinadh Reddy
Tirupathi.Hemanth kumar
Valluru Udai sai


Andhra Pradesh
Power Generation Corporation Limited
Training Institute, Dr. NTTPS

Sir CRR college of Engineering


Department Of Electrical and Electronics

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We wish to express our profound sense of gratitude to

Smt. M. Padmasujata, Chief Engineer, Dr. NTTPS, Training Institute
And Sri Ch. Sri Prakash, Superintending Engineer, training Institute,
Dr. NTTPS for giving this wonderful opportunity.

We grateful acknowledge the help and encouragement

Received from Sri. M. Narahari Babu, Divisional Engineer, Dr. NTTPS,
Training Institute, Sri.Ch. Ranga Rao, Assistant Divisional Engineer,
Dr. NTTPS, Training Institute for their valuable suggestions and
Co-operation in completing this work.

Our heartiest thanks to all faculty members especially

Sri.Ch. Ranga Rao, Assistant Divisional Engineer, Dr. NTTPS, Training
Institute, who had guided to complete Project work

T.Gopinadh Raddy
T.Hemanth Kumar
V.Udai Sai

Sir CRR college of Engineering


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This is to certify that the Mini Project Report entitled Transformer Failure Reduction Technique
at Dr.NTTPS being Submitted by Tirupathi Hemanth Kumar (312177114145), Valluru Udai Sai
(312177114148), Thanubuddi Gopinadh Reddy (312177114144) in, partial fulfilment of the
award of the Degree of Bachelor of Technology in Electrical and Electronics Engineering to the
Sir C R Reddy college of Engineering is a record of Bonafide work carried out by them under
my Guidance and Supervision.

Head of the Department, EEE


Sir CRR college of Engineering


Department Of Electrical and Electronics

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Te c h n i q u e s

Sir CRR college of Engineering


Tr a n s f o r m e r F a i l u r e R e d u c t i o n

Department Of Electrical and Electronics

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I. Introduction
II. Construction and Parts of Power transformers

(a)Constmction of Power Transformer

(b).Parts of power transformer
2.l. Transformer tank
2.2. Core Assembly
2.3. Winding Construction
2.4. Bushings
2.5. Transformer Oil
2.6. Radiators and Cooler Fans
2.7. Consevator Tank.
2.8. Silica gel Breather.
2.9. On Load Tap Changer (OLTC)

III. Protection of a transformer

(a)Gas operated relays

3. l . Buchholz relays
3.2. Oil surge relays / OLTC Buchholz relay
3.3. Pressure Relief Valve
(b)Oi| & Winding Temperature Indicator
(c)Differentia| protection (against internal faults)
(d) Over current and earth fault protection (against through faults)

IV. Various tests on a power transformer

4.1. Insulation Resistance test

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4.2. Transformer Ratio test

4.3 Magnetizing current test
4.4 .Magnetic balance test
4.5 .Short circuit test
4.6. Vector Group test
4.7. Winding Resistance test
4.8. Tan delta test

V. Causes for transformer failures and its reduction techniques

5.1 Reasons for Failure

5.2 Failure Reduction Technique

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Transformers are exclusively used in electric power systems to transfer power by
electromagnetic induction between circuits at the same frequency, usually with changed values
of voltage and current. There are numerous types of transformers used in various applications
including audio, radio, instrument, and power. Now we deal exclusively with fault reduction
techniques of power transformer along with the protection and the pre commissioning tests
conducted on power transformers.
An electrical installation work is complete only when the prescribed pre-commission
tests are conducted on different components and the test results are found satisfactory. By
carrying out the pre-commission tests, it is ensured that different components of the system have
their declared specifications/characteristics and also the system is fit for safe and reliable
operation. The pre-commission tests are broadly classified into pre-commission checks meant for
initial inspection covering visual inspection for damages, quality of workmanship, mechanical
operation etc. and the pre-commission tests meant for measurement or testing of various safety
parameters like insulation resistance, earth resistance, breakdown voltage of insulation, relay
characteristics etc. In addition to describing the procedure for checks and tests, attempt is also
made to give essential information about the specifications and characteristics of different parts
and components. For measurement of insulation resistance and earth resistance, detailed
description of the measuring instruments, test procedures and interpretation of the test results are
given on Transformers. While carrying out the measurement of insulation resistance and earth
resistance of other parts and components, we must have better understanding of the instruments,
test procedures and interpretation of the test results. Before carrying out the pre-commission tests
it is always advisable to refer to the manufacturers' instructions. Products of different
manufactures may have special features and characteristics and it is necessary to have a good
knowledge of these special features before carrying out the tests.

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Transformers transfers electrical energy between circuits completely insulated from each
other. During this transfer of energy voltage level may be stepped up/down (depending on the
tums) with consequent decrease/increase currents from primary to secondary windings, thus
maintaining the power transferred constant. Therefore when voltage is stepped up the current is
stepped down. This makes it possible to use very high voltages for transmission lines resulting in
a lower current. Higher voltage and lower current reduce the conductor size, transmission line
losses and improves the voltage regulation as well. Transformers have made possible economic
delivery of electric power over long distances.

In our country the electrical energy is usually generated at 11 or 15.75 or 2l kv, stepped
upto l32;220;400 or 765 kV with the help of step up transformers for transmission and then
stepped down the voltage to ll kV for feeding distributing transformers stepping down the
voltage further to 400/230 volts for the consumer uses.


The physical basis of the transformer involves the Faradays laws of electro magnetism in
which an alternating flux induces voltage in the coil and Lenz Law which states that the effect
produced will oppose the cause. It consists of two inductive coils which are electrically separated
but magnetically linked through a path of low reluctance by mutual induction. If one coil is
connected to the source of alternating voltage an alternating flux is set up in the laminated core
most of which is linked with the other coil produces mutually induced emf. If the second coil
circuit is closed, a current flows in it and so electric energy is transferred from the primary to
secondary coil.

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2(a) Transformer construction:

The transformer is simple in construction and consists of magnetic circuit linking with
two windings known as primary and secondary windings. Besides magnetic circuit and windings
it consists of a suitable container for the assembled core and windings such as a tank, a suitable
medium for insulating the core and the windings from its container such as transformer oil,
suitable bushings (either of porcelain , oil filled or condenser type) for insulating and bringing
out terminals of the windings from the transformer tank, temperature gauge for measurement of
temperature of hot oil or hottest spot temperature and oil gauge to indicate the oil level inside the
tank. Transformers are also provided with the conservator tank in order to slow down
deterioration of oil and
keep the main tank full of

Fig.2.1: Cut View of a Power Transformer

2(b) Parts of a transformer:

2.1. Transformer tank:
Small capacity tanks are fabricated from welded sheet steel, while larger ones are assembled
from plain boiler plates or cast aluminum parts, usually mounted on a shallow fabricated steel
base. The lids of these transformer tanks can be of cast iron, a water proof gasket being used at
the joints. For cooling purpose, cooling tubes are welded with the tank, but in case of radiators.
Separate radiators are individually welded and then bolted-on to the transformer. A tank must
withstand the stresses developed by jacking and lifting and shall be not longer than necessary to
accommodate the core, windings and internal connections with appropriate electrical clearance.

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2.2. Core Assembly:

Core Assembly forms the magnetic circuit linking the two windings of the transformer.
Those parts of the, magnetic circuit which carry the transformer windings, are called the limbs or
legs, and those parts which connect the legs and serve for closing the magnetic circuit are termed
The core material used in its construction should satisfy:

Maximum flux is created with minimum magnetizing current

Minimum core loss.

The use of steel in magnetic circuit introduces iron or core loss but ensures a high
permeability of the magnetic circuit. Because of the high permeability the magnitude of exciting
current necessary to create the required flux in the core is small. The presence of steel core
causes 100% of the magnetic flux created by the primary o be linked with secondary. The
magnetic frame of the transformer is built up of laminated hot rolled or cold rolled oriented steel
consisting of 3.5% silicon. The higher content of silicon increases the resistivity of the core,
thereby reducing the eddy
current core loss.

As the flux in the core is pulsating one ,it becomes necessary that the transformer cores
are laminated and the laminations should be insulated and made as thin as possible in order to
minimize the eddy current loss.
2.3. Winding Assembly:
The most important features that the windings of a transformer should possess are:

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a) The winding should be economical both as regards initial cost, with a view to the market
availability of copper
b) The efficiency of the transformer in Service
c) The heating conditions of the windings should meet standard requirements
d) The winding should be mechanically stable in respect to the forces appearing when sudden
short circuit of the transformer occurs
e) The winding should have the necessary electrical strength in respect to the over voltages.

Transformer windings are made of solid or stranded copper or aluminum strip

conductors. Heavy current capacity needs conductors of large cross section to reduce eddy
current losses in the conductors, several small wires or parallel straps are preferred to one large
strap. This gives rise to unequal reactance components the conductor which can be eliminated by
transposition of conductors.

2.4 Bushings:
Bushings are incorporated to bring the Extra High voltage winding terminations through
the cover of the transformer tank. Variety of bushings used for various voltage classes were
mentioned below:

Type of bushing


Porcelain bushing


Oil filled bushings


Oil impregnated
Paper (OlP) Condenser

The oil filled bushing consists of hollow porcelain cylinder with a conductor through its
center. The space between the conductor and the porcelain is filled with oil, the dielectric
strength of which is greater than that of air

The OIP Condenser bushing is constructed of thick layers of bakelized paper alternating
with thin graded layer of tin foil. The result is a series of capacitors formed by the conductor and
the first tin-foil layer, the first and second tin foil layers ...and so on. The bakelized paper and the
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tin foil are arranged in such a way that the capacitances of the capacitors and hence dielectric
stress across each capacitor are uniform throughout the radial depth of the insulator.
The last tin foil of the insulating medium of bushing is terminated to Voltage tap called as
Tan () tap of bushing used to measure the Capacitance and dissipation factor of the bushing.
l. Oil impregnated core
2. Center metal tube
3. Fixing flange
4. Porcelain upper
5. Porcelain lower
6. Gaskets
7. Springs
8. Expansion bowl
9. Cable bolt
10. Air releasing screw
11. Test tap
12. Top terminal
13. Oil filling plug
l4. Oil sight glass
15. Base plate/stress shield
16. Upper arcing horn
17. Lower arcing horn
18. Nitrogen filling plug

NOTE: The Tan () tap must always be earthed by the screwed on cap and should never be
removed during operation

2.5. Transformer oil:

Oil in the transformer construction serves the double purpose of cooling and insulatmg.
The heat is produced from the metal of the transformer passes through the insulation and raises
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the temperature of oil and is then conducted either through the radiators of the tank to the
surrounding air by means of cooler fans.
Transformer oil has to fulfill certain specifications:

1. High dielectric strength:

As per IS Standard, the breakdown strength of new transformer oil when treated must be
at least 50kV rms when measured with the help of 2 spherical electrodes of l2.5mm dia.
and with a gap spacing of 2.5 mm.
2. Low viscosity:
It is to provide the good heat transfer. A high viscosity is an obvious disadvantage
because of the sluggish flow through the many small orifices in the windings.
3. Purity:
The oil must not contain impurities such as acid, alkali and sulphur or its compounds to
prevent the corrosion of the metal parts and insulation.
4. High flash point:
The temperature at which oil vapor ignites spontaneously is called the flash point. The
flash point of transformer oil should not be less than 135 degrees.
5. Free from sludging under normal operating conditions:
Sludging means slow formation of semi-solid hydrocarbon owing to heating and
oxidation. The sludge deposits itself on the windings, tank walls and in cooling ducts. Sludge
being bad conductor of heat greatly reduces the heat transfer from the windings to the oil and so
increases the temperature of windings Sometimes for preventing sludging certain chemicals
called the inhibitors are added to the transformer oil.

2.6 Radiators and cooler fans:

Radiators are incorporated to cool the low density hot oil at top of the transformer to
lower temperatures on its way to the bottom of the tank by means of Natural air
cooling(AN)/Forced Air cooling(AF) through cooler fans.
Depending on the quantity of oil used in the transformer tank, the number of radiators
required and the type of cooling required were decided by the manufacturer
The various types of cooling techniques used in a transformer were mentioned below:

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Type of



Natural on cooling


Natural Air Cooling


Oil Natural with Natural air cooling


Oil Natural with Forced air cooling

By Cooling Fans/Blowers.


Forced Oil cooling by Oil pump

Accompanied by cooler fans.

Figure: radiators and cooler fans

2.7 Conservator:
The oil level of a transformer changes with the changes in the temperature of the oil
which in turn depends upon the load on the transformer. The oil expands with the increase in
load and contracts when the load decreases. Large transformers are also liable to overloads which
may overheat the oil and consequently there is a sludge formation if air is present. This causes
the vaporization of a part of the oil. The oil vapours forms explosive mixture with air that ignites
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and may cause a considerable damage. For these reasons it is necessary to prevent the oil from
having contact with air as well as the moisture. For this purpose conservators are employed
Conservator is a small auxiliary oil tank that may be mounted above the transformer and
connected to the main tank by a pipe. Its function is to keep the main tank of the transformer
completely filled with oil in all circumstances despite expansion or contraction of oil with the
changes in the temperature. Conservator is partly filled with oil and absorbs the expansion and
contraction of oil and keeps the main tank full of oil. It also reduces the rate of oxidation of oil,
partly because less oil surface is exposed to air and partly because of the reduced temperature of
the oil exposed to air. Thus the sludge formation is considerably reduced.

Normally the capacity of conservator should be approximately 10-l2% of the oil volume
of the main tank. The conservator tank is usually insulated on the low voltage side of the
transformer tank above the level of the transformer cover on supporting frame. A small pipe
connection between the gas space in the expansion tank and the cover of the transformer tank
permits the gas above the oil in the transformer to pass into the expansion tank so that the
transformer main tank will be completely filled with the oil

2.8 Silica gel breather:

Whenever there is change in the ambient temperature or in the load on oil immersed
transformers there is a change in the volume of oil in tank and conservator. This change forces
the air above the oil level in the conservator to be either pushed out or breathe in from outside
atmosphere. Whenever the air is breathed in there is a possibility of moisture and dust from the
atmosphere to be sucked in. This is dangerous to the insulating properties of oil Silica gel
breathers are provided to prevent this and to ensure that dry and clean air is breathed in and out
through the breather.

Construction & Operation:

Conventional silica gel breather consists of easing, silica gel crystals, and an oil seal
arrangement at the lower end of the casing.
Dry silica gel crystals which are dark blue in color have a very good capacity to absorb
moisture. When the air from outside is breathed in conservator it passes through the crystals and
moisture in the air is absorbed. Thus we air that reaches the conservator is dry. Dust particles are
partly trapped in the oil seal and partly tapped by the crystals of the silica gel. Silica gel crystals
change their color from dark blue to pink depending upon absorption of certain quantity of
moisture. On turning pink, the efficiency of absorption of moisture becomes Very low. The
crystals can be reactivated by heating them. The moisture absorbed then gets evaporated and the
crystals again turn dark blue and are ready for re-use.
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Figure: construction of power transformer

Figure: silica gel breather

2.9 ON LOAD Tap Changer (OLTC):

This arrangement is employed for changing the turn ratio of the transformer to regulate the
system voltage while the transformer is delivering load. It is invariable practice to provide the
tapping at the neutral end of the HV windings of a transformer.

The On load Tap changer consists of a high speed resistor transition diverter switch, Tap
selector switch, driving mechanism and external driving shaft.

Diverter Switch:
The driver switch consists of contact compartment, transition resistors, and spring acting
mechanism. A perfect oil tight structure is employed between diverter switch and the transformer
tank, to prevent mixing of oil outside the driver switch chamber with the oil inside, which will be
contaminated due to switching operations.
The tips of arcing contacts are made of copper-tungsten alloy which has got excellent are
resisting characteristics. Current limiting resistors consist of nickel chromium wire wound on
heat resisting bobbins held at both ends by the insulating plates.
Oil in the diverter switch is maintained under a seperate conservator head. The pipe
leading to the conservator from the diverter switch chamber is filled with a gas and oil operated
relay, the normally open velocity actuated contact of which is connected to trip circuit of the
Selector switch:
The tap selector operates under no load condition and therefore, there need not be any
fear of arc generation, damage of contacts or deterioration of main transformer oil.

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The tap lead Wires rom the winding of the transformer are brought and terminated at the
fixed contacts of the tap selector. Tap change operation requires two rotary switches per phase.
The odd numbered tappings are connected to one switch and even numbered tappings to the
other in such away that the two switches come into use alternately.
The selected odd and even numbered contacts are fitted on either insulating bars mounted
vertically to diverter switch chamber.
Principle of Operation:
The odd moving contact is on tap 7 and even side contact on tap 8 of the tap selector. The
odd and even collector contacts are connected to the diverter switch contacts O&E respectively.
Since Diverter switch is making contacts at O (Odd) flow of current will be through tap 7.When
a signal is given to the driving mechanism for changing the tap from 07 to 06, it will first operate
the even contact of tap selector from tap O8 to 06 without changing the position of odd contact.
Simultaneously with the operation of the tap selector, the spring mechanism, which is the energy
accumulator mounted on the top of the diverter switch will be charged.

On completion of tap selector operation ,energy accumulated in the spring will be

released for instantaneous transfer of the diverter switch moving contacts from tap O to E
through the resistor contacts Or and ER thus changing the flow current from tap 07 to 06.
For reverse operation i.e. for changing tap 06 to 07, the tap selector shaft will not operate
as its contacts is already on tap 07. But the transfer of the diverter switch moving contacts from
E to O via ER-OR-O will take place completing the tap changing operation.



A power transformer is subjected to various faults through-out its life time. The
protection of power transformer should be effective enough to isolate the power transformer
from internal and external faults of the transformer minimizing the fault clearing time as well as
increasing the life time of transformer. The protection incorporated for an oil immersed type
power transformer is as follows
Buchholz relay:
The gas actuated Buchholz relay is a protective device designed to give indication faults
occurring in oil field conservator type transformers, on load rap changers. All types of faults
occurring within an oil field transformers are accompanied by gas generation. This phenomenon
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has been effectively utilized by buchholz relays to provide the best known protection
arrangement for transformers.
The high sensitivity and capability of the relay has been successfully proved to detect
faults stated below:

Defective core laminations.

Breakdown of core insulations.
Local overheating of windings.
Phase to phase, phase to earth or internal short circuits.
Insulation breakdown of major nature.

The relay
housing detachable
box, toughened glass
tripping device with
setting. The alarm
device consist of 2
aluminum buckets
the tilting of these
mercury switches.

comprises of flanged
front cover, terminal,
windows, alarm and
venting and relay
and the tripping
which are hinged and
buckets operates the

Air release
the top of the
the trapped air and
samples. One more
introducing air inside
the gas volume and surge tests.

valve is provided at
housing for releasing
for taking out the gas
valve is provided for
the relay to carry out

The front inspection glass is provided with scale to allow reading the accumulated
volume of the gas and observe color of the gas for fault analysis.IN Service/Test lock can be
selected in the form of movement of red indicator on the reading scale.

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When any fault occurs the bas formation takes place in the transformer and accumulates
in the Bucholz relay on its way to conservator in consequence, oil level in the relay drops and the
upper counter balanced and hinged bucket moves down tilting the mercury switch to activate
alarm circuit. If the oil level drops further lower bucket also operates and closes the contact for
tip circuit.

While mounting the relay care should be taken to see that the arrow on the relay is
pointing towards the conservator and the air vent valve at top. Ensure that pipe ascends to
conservator at angle between 1 -9 as per specification of manufacturer & the relay is kept in
service position.
After installation of the relay and when the transformer has been filled with oil up to the
oil conservator the air trapped in the gas chamber must be allowed to escape through the air vent
valve at top.
Gas Analysis:
Depending on the nature of fault i.e. with winding, paper insulation, oil flashover in the
transformer the nature of gases formed will vary. The type of fault formed in the transformer can
be detected by diagnosing the gases collected in the Bucholz relay.
Gases collected in the Bucholz relay is allowed to pass through a test tube filled with
Silver Nitrate (AgNO3) solution by releasing the Air release plug .The precipitate formed on the
walls of the test tube is observed for diagnosing the fault in the transformer as stated below.
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Nature of gas

Probable fault

Colorless and odorless

Air trapped in oil or insulation.

Grayish white with pungent smell, non

over heating of insulation, press board

of wood insulation


oil or due to excessive

Flash over in

of oil caused by a fault in the




Oil surge relay:

This relay is sensitive to both low oil level and oil surge conditions. It is usually installed
for Protection against faults in the one Load Tap Changer.
The housing is provided with two flanges for connecting pipes leading to the tap changer
head and to the oil conservator. The flap Valve position can be checked through the inspection
glass on front of the housing.
For checking the tripping function of the relays well as subsequently resting the flap
valve, two push buttons are installed in the terminal box. One pushbutton for actually the trip
manually and the other pushbutton for resetting the trip contact.

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The protective relay is energized by an oil surges from the tap changer to the oil
conservator only. The oil flow operates the flap valve being trapped in to the OFF position. At
that moment the contact is actuated, the circuit breakers are operated and the transformer is
switched OFF the line. It is not energized by the tap changer being subject to nominal load or
permissible overload.
The protective relay has to be mounted in the pipe leading from the tap changer head to
the oil conservator. The relay must be located as near as possible to the tap changer head. Pipe
work rising to the conservator should be arranged at an angle of 5 above the horizontal to ensure
the effective operation of the protective relay with the test push buttons in the top of the housing.
The arrow on the terminal box cover must point towards the oil conservator.
Pressure relief valve:
The pressure relief valve is protective device for oil filled transformer. It is designed to
relieve the excessive pressure which may build up by fault or an arcing inside the transformer
S. No

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O Ring








Rod retaining spring


Lock nut


Switch operating rod


Visual indicator




Visual indicator

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When the pressure

preset limit, acts on the
turn causes the diaphragm to
movable rod attached to this
This lifting is instantaneous
excess pressures inside the

inside the tank exceeds a

diaphragm inside which in
lift up 4m from its seat. A
diaphragm operates a micro
transformer to switch OFF.
and allows venting off the

It also gives a visual indication

raising a flag.

of the valve operation by

The diaphragm resets to its original position as soon as the pressure inside the tank drops
below the set limit.
Oil and Winding Temperature Indicators:
The temperature indicator is used as an Oil temperature Indicator (OTI) or as a Winding
Temperature Indicator (WTI) for the protection of liquid immersed power transformers.

A Sensing bulb (20) a measuring bellow (2) and a small bore capillary tube (19)
connecting the two form the measuring system. A second bellow called as compensating bellows
connected with a second capillary (19) running parallel to the first capillary and terminated at the
head of the bulb form the temperature compensation system. The bellows are linked to a
compensating lever (17) in such a manner that the effect of ambient temperature changes on the
capillary line and measuring bellows is compensated. The movement of measuring bellows is
related only to temperature being measured by sensing bulb. This movement is amplified by the
link and lever mechanism (4) which directly drives the rotating disc (l3) carrying the control
switches and pointer indicating the temperature.
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A heater coil (3-Bellows heater) is fitted around the measuring bellows (2) and supplied
from a current transformer mounted in the busing of the transformer. The heater coil indicates the
hot spot temperature of the windings over top oil temperature for a given load. The measuring
bellows reacts to this simulated temperature rise in addition to the top oil temperature measured
by the sensing bulb and the instrument functions as WTI indicating the temperature of the
An adjustable shunt resistor is provided for shunting a portion of current through the
heater coil to obtain precise thermal image. All internal electril contact of mercury switches are
wired to terminal blocks.
Switches are identified by marking 5 S1, S2, S3, S4 on them. Terminal no's wired to each circuit
are detailed below:
Terminal No's

Switch No's

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1, 2



3, 4



5, 6


Cooler Control-l

7, 8


Cooler Control-2

9, 10, 11

Bellows heater & adjustable


Magnetic oil Gauge:

A float is used as sensor of liquid level inside the conservator tank. Swing of hinged
oat due to change in liquid level is utilized to indicate level in a calibrated dial and to operate
the switches for external alarm units.
Use of magnetic coupling in the indicator achieves complete sealing off the liquid inside
the conservator from surroundings atmosphere. This result in avoiding any leakage of costly oil
and avoiding contamination of insulating oil due to the seepage of surrounding air in the
The details of the subassembly parts are as below:
(l)Gear Assembly
(2) Magnetic Couple
(3) Float with arm
(4) Cam assembly with Mercury Switch
(5) Dial with pointer

The float is hinged and swings up or down when oil level raises or falls. This rise or fall
rotates the bevel gear and thus the pinion of the gear assembly. The pinion in turn rotates the
driving magnet inside the conservator. The follower magnet positioned outside carries a pointer
and a cam. The pointer reads oil level and the cam set 0 operate the mercury switch at a
predetermined low level.

Differential Protection:
Differential protection also called as unit protection, is the Main Protection of Power
Transformer as it faults on the unit it is protecting, which is situated between the CTS. The relay
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therefore can be instantaneous in operation, as it does not have to coordinate with any other relay
on the network. This differential protection, as its name implies, compares currents entering and
leaving the protected zone and operates when the differential current between these currents
exceed a predetermined level.
The type of differential scheme normally applied to a transformer is called the current
balance or circulating current scheme as shown in Figure *** below:


in the case of through

The CTs and relay were connected in such a way that the relay is operated by circulating
current between secondary of CT. Differential current does not arise and hence the relay does not
operate for external faults as shown in the fig.***
Under internal fault conditions (i.e. faults between the CTs) the relay operates
Since both the CT secondary currents add up and pass through the relay as seen in Fig: *** 111)

Fig: Circulating

current scheme in the case of

internal faults

Unfortunately the circulating current protection mentioned above may operate even for
through faults due to the following factors which need careful consideration:
(a) Transformer vector group (i.e. phase shift between HV and LV)
(b) The possibility of zero sequence current entering the relay may destabilize the
differential for an External earth fault.
(c) Magnetizing in-rush currents (from one side only)
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(d) Mismatch of HV and LV CTs

(e) Varying currents due to on-load tap changer (OLTC).
Factor (a) can be overcome by connecting the HV and LV CTs in star/delta respectively
(Or vice versa) opposite to the vector group connections of the primary windings, so
counteracting the effect of the phase shift through the transformer.
The delta connection of CTs provides a path for circulating zero sequence current,
thereby stabilizing the protection for an external earth fault as required by factor (b).
NOTE: To counter. factors (a) & (b), the Thumb rule for differential protection is that the CTs
are to be connected in star for delta connected winding, and vice versa.
As the magnetizing current in-rush is predominantly 2nd, harmonic filters are utilized to
stabilize the protection for this condition (c).
And Finally, It is necessary to bias the differential relay to overcome the current
unbalances caused by factor (d) & (e) i.e. mismatch of CTs and taps of OLTC respectively. And
Hence a Percentage Biased Differential relay is preferred instead of a circulating current
Under-load or through-fault conditions, the CT secondary currents circulate, passing
through the bias windings to stabilize the relay, whilst only small. Out of balance spill currents
will flow through the operate coil, not enough to cause operation. In fact the higher the
circulating current the higher will be the spill current required to trip the relay as shown in the
relay characteristics (fig).

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Most transformer differential relays have a bias slope setting of 20%, 30% and 40% as
shown in fig ***. The desired setting is dictated by the operating range of the OLTC, which is
responsible for the biggest current unbalance under healthy conditions;
Over Current and Earth Fault Protection:
Over current and Earth Fault protection is the Back Up protection for power
transformer. Unlike Differential Protection which operates for internal faults (between CTs),
Over current protection will operate even for through faults, above the pickup current setting,
thus isolating the transformer from feeding the fault.
Over current and earth fault protection is provided on both HV and LV Side of the
winding and hence proper time gradation is to be provided for relay operation starting from the
feeders connected to LV side of transformer to the Over Current protection on HV Side, to avoid
complete black out for an fault on feeder connected to LV Side of transformer.
To achieve selectivity and coordination by time grading two philosophies are
available, namely:
1. Definite time lag (DTL), or
2. Inverse definite minimum time (1DMT).
(1).Definite Time Characteristic:
The relays are graded using a definite time interval of approximately 0.5 s. The relay R3
at the extremity of the network is set to operate in the fastest possible time, whilst its upstream
relay R2 is set 0.5 s higher. Relay operating times increase sequentially at 0.5 s intervals on each
section moving back towards the source as shown in Fig.***

Draw Back:
The problem with this philosophy is, the closer the fault to the source the higher the
Fault current, the slower the clearing time exactly the opposite to what we should be trying to

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(2)Inverse Time Characteristic:

A relay having IDMT Characteristic will incorporate lower operating time for higher fault
currents. Various inverse characteristic curves can be selected among Normal Inverse, Very
Normal Inverse, and Extreme inverse curves. For a radial feeder, time grading by means of
relays having IDMT characteristics is shown in fig: below.

Fig: relay protection

IEC Standard Normal Inverse 3.0 sec curve is used for the Over current and Earth Fault
protection of power transformer and the characteristic curve can be expressed as:
Relay Operating time (in sees) = (0.14*TL) / (PSM0.02 -1)
Where TL=Time Setting Multiplier adopted.
PSM=Plug Setting Multiplier =

Fault current on CT Primary


(CT Ratio Adopted) *(Current Setting Adopted on relay)

Example: For a feeder having CT Ratio adopted=400/I, and Relay settings adopted for a relay
having nominal current of 1A as Pick up=100% and Time Lever=0.I; the relay operating time for
a fault current of 800Amps on feeder can be obtained as below:
Plug Setting Multiplier=800/(400*100% of 1 A)=2 & TL=0.1
Then, relay operating time (in secs) = (0.14*0.1)/ (20.02-1) =1sec.
Thus, for a fault current of 800Amps, the relay will operate in 1 sec.
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For protection of power transformer proper time gradation is to be provided for I-1V and
LV side IDMT relays.
For an HV winding fault the UV breaker is tripped but the fault can continue to be fed via the
Low voltage side, the back-feed coming from the, adjacent transformer(s) as shown in Fig
****where the LV
Protection is set high to 'coordinate with downstream requirements. Thus, the Transformer
Protection should always trip both HV and LV circuit breakers for operation of HV Side IDMT
Relay as shown in Fig: ****

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Various tests are performed on power transformer at various stages starting from the first
stage of i.e. transformer construction to the commissioning stage at the site. The tests conducted
can be classified as Type Tests, Routine Tests, etc. The test results obtained for various tests at
the time of commissioning were used as reference values for diagnosing the transformer during
any faults in the life time of transformer. Among various tests, Routine tests performed on power
transformer were mentioned in detail.
Routine Test performed on Power Transformer at site at the time of commissioning

Insulation Resistance Test (Megger)

Ratio Test
Magnetizing Current test.
Magnetic Balance test.
Short Circuit test.
Winding Resistance.
Tan delta test of windings & bushings.

(1).Insulation Resistance Test (Megger):

Purpose of IR test is to check over all insulation of transformer .Insulation resistance is a
relative measure of the insulation structure. The test equipment used is a DC Insulation tester
(Megger).The IR test results are correlated with transformer insulation quality by parameters like
Absorption Ratio, Polarization Index.
Test Arrangement
Ensure that the neutral of the power transformer is disconnected from earth and the Oil
temperature of the transformer under test is to be noted as the temperature is also one of the
deciding factors of IR values obtained by this test.
Insulation resistance Value
Voltage Applied: -Sl.NO

Temperature (in C):





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IR value in mega ohms

15 sec

60 sec

P.1=60 sec/15 sec

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(3).Magnetizing current test:

The exciting current test at low voltage is very useful in location of problem such as
defects in magnetic core balance in magnetic core structure, shining of winding, failures in turn
to turn insulation, or i problem in tap changers. The acceptance criteria for the results of exciting
current measurement should be based on the comparison with the previous site test results or
factory results .The general pattern of Magnetizing current test would have two similar higher
reading of magnetizing current on outer phases and lower reading of magnetizing current on the
center phase in case of YNyno three phase transformers.
Test Arrangement:
Apply 3 Phase, 4 wire 415 volts AC from UV side & keep LV, neutral isolated. Measure
magnetizing current in U, V&W phases of HV winding.
Voltage applied

Current measured (mA)

IU-IV Phase


IU phase


IV-IW phase

415 Volts

IV phase


IW-IU phase

415 Volts

IW phase


Similarly apply 3 Phase, 4 wire 415 volts AC from LV side & keep HV, neutral isolated.
Measure magnetizing current in u, v &w phases of LV winding.
Voltage applied

Current measured (mA)

2u-2v Phase 415Volts 2u Phase

2v-2w phase 415 Volts 2v phase

2w-2u phase 415 Volts 2w Phase


(4).Magnetic Balance Test:

Magnetic Balance Test is conducted to check healthiness of windings, core assembly
condition and flux distribution in the transformer. When the supply is fed to outer phase of a
transformer, the voltage induced in the center phase shall be 50 to 90% of the applied voltage.
However when the center phase is excited then the voltage induced in the either of the outer
phases will be nearly 50% of the applied voltage.
Test Arrangement:
Ensure that primary and secondary windings are kept open. Apply 230Volt AC, on
primary/secondary winding in one phase and measure the voltages in remaining phases. Sum of
the measured voltages in two phases should be equal to the applied voltage

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Measured voltage

Measured voltage

Measured voltage
Measured voltage

Measured voltage

Measured voltage

(5).Short Circuit Test:

Short Circuit test is performed to check the measured Percentage impedance of the
transformer in agreement with name plate details on the power transformer. During internal fault,
any damage to the winding of the transformer may result change in the per unit impedance of
transformer and hence can be reflected in the test results of short circuit test.

Test Arrangement:
Short circuit test is conducted by shorting the LV windings and applying the 3Ph supply
to HV winding. Ensure that the LV Winding phase terminals are shorted to its corresponding
neutral and apply 3ph, 4 wire 440V AC supplies to the HV winding and measure the HV & LV
winding line currents.
Short Circuit Test
HV Winding cut-rents (Amps)

LV Winding Currents (Amps)









The measured currents in HV and LV windings should be in agreement with calculated values for
a particular applied voltage. )
HV Current at Applied voltage= (Rated HV Current/Impedance in volts)* Applied Voltage
Where Impedance volts= (% Impedance* HV Volts)/100.
NOTE: (1) Conducting the short circuit test by shorting the HV winding and applying the 3ph
supply to LV winding may result in heavy currents on LV side which cannot be supplied by the
LT 3ph Source.
(2)Measurement of currents during short circuit test should be done quickly as the magnitude of
currents produced would be of large value.
(6).Vector Group Test:
Vector group test is conducted to check the HV and LV windings arrangement was in agreement
with the vector group specified by the manufacturer. Various test patterns are to be followed for
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various vector groups. The following test arrangement is to be followed for testing a power
transformer having YNynO vector group.
Test Arrangement:
Connect the primary and secondary of one phase together and then apply 3Ph,
4wire 440Volts AC supply to the HV winding of power transformer and measure thd voltages as
specified below. ,
Supply applied on HV Side:
IV1 W:

Verifying conditions


1 W2w= I V2v

1 W2w<1W2v

measured values

(7).Winding Resistance Test:

Transformer winding resistance is to be measured at site in order the check for
abnormalities due to loose connection broken strands of conductor, high contact resistance in tap
changers, high voltage leads and bushings.
Test Arrangement:
Ensure that I-IV and LV windings are kept open and neutrals disconnected. This test is
to be conducted at all taps of the transformer. DC current of approximately. I Amps is injected
and the voltage developed across I the test terminals is used to measure the resistance of the
winding which will be of order of ml.
Winding Resistance



1 to 25


Phase U

Phase V

Phase W

The test results obtained from this test should be in agreement with the factory test
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NOTE: Winding resistance test is to be conducted after conducting all the above mentioned tests
failing which the test results occurred would be erratic due to core magnetization in a particular
direction with the injected DC Current during this test.
Transformer Failures
To devise or strategy in order to control the transformer failures, it is very
essential to understand the complete product fundamentally by knowing its internal construction
details, the mechanism of manufacturing each internal component, material composition and
parameters of process required to be controlled while manufacturing alone with quality aspects
during material procurement, manufacturing assembly and testing. The above process is to be
followed by important aspect of transportation, site storage, care during erection and
commissioning and finally the critical requirements during operation and maintenance phase of
the equipment Since large number of transformer failures was taking place it became important
to study and analyze every individual failure through feedback mechanism and take the
necessary corrective action. In the above process the failure data was generated and described in
the subsequent paragraphs
Reasons for Failure
Insulation failure due to aging
Failure due to short circuit forces
Failure due to Design deficiencies
Failure due to manufacturing defects
Failure due to Maintenance problems
Failure due to Quality Problems

1. Insulation failure due to aging

Transformer insulation life is considered to be 30years and all the failures have place
much before the total expected life. So, the failure of transformers due to this cause is none.
2. Failure due to short circuit forces
A large number of transformers have failed in this category. The main reason of failure
due to this category is mechanical inadequacy in the transformer to withstand the force
experienced during the short a circuits
2. A) Mechanical forces in transformers
Any current coil placed in a magnetic field experiences forces governed by the laws of
electromagnetic Induction /interaction in the case of transformers, a common flux is linking all
the windings and this windings are subjected to radial and axial forces whenever there is
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variation in current. These changes can be due to normal changes in load current or due to faults
in the system externally to the transformer or switching operation of the transformer itself.
In transformers the axial flux in limbs interacts with the current in the windings to produce radial
forces in the windings. Whether these forces create hoop stress or compressive stress in windings
depend upon the polarity of the respective windings chosen. This is, by convention, in such a
way to generate hoop stress in the outer winding and compressive stress in the inner windings
In addition to above forces, axial forces are generated in the windings due to two factors

Leakage flux
Difference in the heights of the windings

All efforts are made in the design itself to keep the leakage flux as low as possible. Symmetry in
the windings is due to the difference in no of turns, insulation and cross section of the conductors
this asymmetry is made up by using permali wood blocks, insulation packing etc. and symmetry
is achieved during assembly stage in the shop floor. However, since the insulation paper is used
in the transformer shrinks in course of the time while transformer is in service, it can give rise to
asymmetry also any deficiency ignored during manufacturing makes the possibility of axial
forces in the transformer windings. the disturbance caused due to axial forces cause further
asymmetry in the windings resulting into increase in the intensity of subsequent axial forces
every time I thus any slackness in the windings has a compounding effect on the axial forces To
prevent the movement of the windings explained as above and thus to ensure the trouble free
operation of the transformers during the entire expected life, coil clamping arrangement is
provided the clamping is such as not to allow even minor movements of the windings which
otherwise may cause so damage to the windings insulation at a vulnerable points the clamping
arrangements in general consist of circular wooden blocks placed on top of the windings force
applied over this blocks using screws supported from yoke structure the arrangement ensures that
clamping of the windings is uniform all above the periphery.
For checking mechanical strength of a transformer to withstand short circuit forces, presently
adequate facilities are not available in the country. A transformer designer takes care of this
aspect based on certain guidelines as per NEMA/IEEE standards. However the short circuit
testing has been incorporated in the transformer specifications as type test for which the large
capacity transformers are being sent abroad where such facilities are available.
Failure due to Design deficiencies
While designing a transformer mainly two aspects need to be tackled very carefully.
These are dielectric length of the transformer and mechanical strength of the support structure so
that various parts and windings tlo not get dislodge or deformed due to axial and radial forces
produced during service. For ensuring the dielectric strength the transformer is subjected to
various voltage stress tests in shop floor these test are
f) Induced Over Voltage withstand test
g) Lightning impulse test
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h) Switching impulse test

Once these tests are done on a transformer in the shop floor and there is no failure, it is presumed
that the transformer has been designed electrically as per the specifications. However during
service the transformer internal conditions deteriorate and dielectric strength as tested during
shop floor may not remain same and failure may occur.
The present day transformer design is being done by computer aided software available with the
designers. With the help of this software the total geometry of the transformer can be plotted and
the flux mapping and voltage stress in each area can reassessed. The total assessment can be
done in 3-d plots and the 'necessary corrective actions can be taken in the design itself. Use of
shunts and provision of little extra insulation at the places of high leakage flux or voltage stress
are few such techniques used by the designers now a day. Due to competition in the market, the
designers keep very little safety margin to make the product more, competitive. It is however,
essential that the sufficient safety margins in the internal electrical clearances are kept so that no
failure due to weakness in the dielectric- strength takes place this aspect is taken care of by
specifying the increased BIL (Basic Insulation Level) of I425K V in place of 1300KV.This
necessitates the manufacturer to keep additional electrical clearance and automatically the safety
margins are increased.

4. Failure due to manufacturing defects

Among the broad categories of causes the transformer failures have been
attributed to the defects inherent in the equipment due to flaws occurring due to manufacturing
account for a large number of total failures. The transformer manufacturing is mainly done by
skilled technicians. The reliability of the transformer 0 is dependent on workers skill to a large
extent. A small mistake during the manufacturing cycle can result in the failure of the
transformer. Although a lot of mechanization of the manufacturing process has been done in 111)
advanced countries to overcome this problem in India we still rely on the work force and manual
manufacturing processes,
Other factors responsible for transformer failures due to manufacturing
deficiencies are lack of required skill for the critical jobs. Lack of proper facilities at works like
controlled and dust proof atmosphere for EHV transformer shortage of time required to meet the
yearly committed targets, unhealthy working environment like 4D strikes and labor trouble, on
availability of required material in tisme because of which substitute material is r used etc. Every
care is required to be taken to avoid such failures due to manufacturing deficiencies Fortunately .
0 due to various diagnostics techniques the transformer deficiencies could be detected and
advance action could op be taken to avoid major failures. However the outage of the equipment
during the course of inspection and rectification of the problem has resulted into loss of
5. Maintenance Problem
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If a transformer is to give a long trouble free service, it should receive a reasonable

amount of attention L and maintenance during service period. Maintenance consists of regular
inspection, testing and reconditioning IPIP of the transformer wherever necessary. The
manufacturers specify the complete inspection of the transformer core-coil assembly at a
frequency of 8 to 10 years in case of large transformers. During this inspection the 6 windings
are to be cleaned with hot oil jet to remove sludge deposited on these in order to improve the
cooling efficiency. Apart from this the core-coil assembly is required to be tightened up to the
original torque values because during services these become loose. Although the inspection it is
very cumbersome, it will certainly improve the reliability of the equipment in the long run.
The transformer failures can occur in two ways
a) Slow developing faults if adequate care is not taken in time
b) Sudden faults
Transformer is subjected to various electrical and thermal stresses while in operation resulting
into liberation of various fault gasses from the decomposition of the hydrocarbon mineral oil
used as an insulating media and coolant. This solid insulating materials like paper, press boards,
wooden--supports etc. also decomposed and liberate various gases which eventually get
dissolved into the oil. The most significant gases which are liberated under fault conditions are
hydrogen (h2), methane (ch4), ethane (c2h6), ethylene (c2h4), acetylene (c2h2), propane (c3h8),
propylene (c3h6), carbon monoxide (co), carbon dioxide (cot) .These gases are regularly
monitored in the oil samples by carrying out dissolve gas analyses (DGA) and the trend of gas
analysis is further analysed to interpret the nature of fault inside the transformer. Based on the
interpretation and severity of expected internal fault, the action is required to be taken and either
internal inspection is to be carried out to locate the fault or the oil needs to be filtered to improve
the parameters like break down voltage (BDV) and moisture etc. For slow developing or
incipient faults dissolve gas analysis is being regularly done as it a diagnostic technique.
Reliability of this technique has been proven on most of the occasions and most of the occasions
and most of the failures have been averted by site inspection and rectification of the defect
To avoid sudden failures in transformers, some of the maintenance aspects need greater attention.
One such aspect is the air ingress in case of transformers with oil forced air forced (OFAF)
cooling arrangement. The oil pumps develop high discharge pressure which is sufficient to
circulate oil to keep the transformer I temperature low so that hot spot temperature limit does not
exceed under any operating regime. All the valves pipes, pumps and expansion joints connecting
coolers to the transformers tank have gasket joints at connecting flanges. Any leakage in gasket
joints on the suction side of the pump will lead to ingress of air into the cooling circuit. This
ingress air can take a path along with the directed oil flow path and also can get locked in some
critical winding area. This localized air can cause localized hot spot in the absence of oil in that
area. The entrapped air might further get ionized due large electrical field resulting into
insulation failure.
Apart from such catastrophic failures of the transformers, the ingress air will cause
oxidation of insulating oil and cellulosic insulating material. Oxidation of oil will result into
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sludge formation thereby causing the oil properties to deteriorate very fast. The dissolved oxygen
also plays major part in accelerating the insulation aging. Thus, any air ingress is to be avoided
and should be attended at the earliest.
Another crucial aspect to avoid sudden transformer failures is to take proper care of bushings.
The high voltage condenser bushings are built up around a center pipe which is called the core.
The insulating paper is wound around the core under heat and pressure. During winding of paper
insulation on the core, the grading layers of aluminum are integrated to achieve uniform voltage
distribution. The core is then dried under heat, vacuum and oil impregnation is done. The
impregnated core is assembled in outer shell consisting of lower and upper hollow porcelain,
mounting flange and top conservator. The entire bushing assembly is then sealed and. filled with
All condenser bushings are provided with a test tap, which is used for measurement of
capacitance and tan delta. When the cap of this test tap is screwed on, the tapping from the outer
layer of condenser is earthed. This earth connection is very critical and in case it is broken, the
entire voltage distribution across the condenser bushing, will get disturbed and lead to bushing
The tan delta and capacitance values of the bushings are to be monitored annually and the limit is
0.7% maximum for tan delta value for oil impregnated paper (01P) bushings and maximum
allowable capacitance is 110% of shop test results.

Quality Problems
Certain components used in the transformer, if not of the desired quality, can
result in serious damage to the transformer. Terminal bushings, copper conductor and OLTC are
main components which have resulted into failures during the past. Special care is mechanism
for the bought out items used in transformer manufacturing pan from this, process control for
stabilization of the coils during manufacturing to achieve uniform height of each coil is very
important. As explained previously, any discrepancy in the heights of different coils in a
transformer will result into large axial forces and eventual failure during service.
To reduce transformer failures, various steps were taken at different stages
covering the aspects of deficiencies during manufacturing quality control, finalization of design,
operation and maintenance etc. The details of such steps taken in past by NTPC are as follows:
For 400 KV class transformers, the earlier specified B1L was 1300 KV which
was increased 1425 KV. long with this the switching impulse of 1050 KV has been increased to
1180 KV and induced over voltage with partial discharge measurement has been changed from
420/364 KV for 5 seconds/30 minutes to 460/510 KV for 5 seconds/1 hour. With this DEL, the
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manufacturer shall be forced to keep larger internal clearances and eventually the safety margins
shall increase.


Earlier oil temperature rise of 50 Degree C above an ambient of 50 Degree C was being
specified which has now been reduced to oil temperature rise of 35 degree C above an ambient
of 50 Degree C.
In place of earlier specified winding temperature rise of 55 Degree C above 50 Degree C
ambient, the new limits for winding temperature rise are 40 Degree C over and above 50 Degree
C ambient temperature. *This new specification has forced the transformer manufacturers to
improvise the cooling efficiency and since p the overall operating temperatures are reduced, the
expected insulation life thereby gets enhanced.
To avoid the transformer failures due to on load tap changer problems, the generator
transformers are being specified with off circuit tap changer only. The provision of OLTC is
being kept in standby and unit -7 transformers.
In place of earlier specified impedance of 12 to 5% over the entire tap range for generator /3
transformers, the same is now been specified as 1.3.5% principal tap with variation of in order
to facilitate interchangeability of transformers.
For 400 KV class transformers and generator transformers temperature rise test at I tO
% of rated current has been specified as routine test along with DGA before and after the
temperature rise test. This test certifies `at that the thermal design including the manufacturing
are perfect and the temperature rise during service period of the transformer shall remain within
the specified regime only.
For ENV grade transformers, the design calculations are being asked from the
manufacturers and specific in checks are being carried out for transfer surge calculations and
withstand calculations against short circuits so that voltage withstand limits and forces are not
exceeded than the design values.
Following additional test have been incorporated sc as to improve the reliability of transformers:
a) Short circuit tests to be included as type test
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b) HV busing snap test

c) Chopped Wage test as routine test
d) RSO measurements as routine test on generator transformers.
In order to ensure the complete dryness of the transformer, dew point
measurement technique has been introduced at works at the time of dispatch and at site during
erection and internal inspections. The permissible AO limit for dew points is 30Degree C. If
the required dew point is not achieved, the transformer is required to be further dried up with the
help of dry nitrogen of dew point better than -50 Degree C and heating.
This test has been introduced as routine test for generator transformers and
before and after short circuit tests for all ENV transformers so as to ensure that no winding/core
movement has taken place during the testing, by monitoring the FRA signatures.
Earlier the magnetic circuit was being specified for insulation level of 2 KV
for one minute but multiple core earthing phenomenon was very common. To avoid this problem
the magnetic circuit is now being specified to withstand 10 KV for one minute.
Non-destructive testing used as diagnostic tool will be of a great importance in future in
order to predict any failure by trend analysis. Advance remedial actions can help in avoiding
major catastrophic failures and improve the equipment availability. Tests like dissolve gas
analysis, tan delta capacitance measurement. FRA, partial discharge measurement and vibration
analysis along with low voltage tests have helped in diagnosing the problems and are of immense
future benefit.
The analysis, categorization and critical examination of the circumstances leading to
failure give very -useful information regarding the mechanism of failure. With proper analysis
there is a possibility of preventing majority of the failures.

Sir CRR college of Engineering


Department Of Electrical and Electronics