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Basic electrical

installation testing
Application Note
Growing concern for public safety and the
increasing complexity of todays fixed electrical
installations in domestic, commercial and
industrial premises places extra responsibility
on electrical test engineers who are charged
with verifying conformity to todays stringent
international standards.
It is therefore important to have suitable
test tools for carrying out the stringent tests
imposed by the International Electrotechnical
Commission (IEC) and the European Committee
for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC).

IEC 60364, and its various associated national equivalent


standards that are published throughout Europe (see table
1), specifies the requirements for fixed electrical installations
in buildings. Section 6.61 of this standard describes the
requirements for the verification of the compliance of the
installation with IEC 60364.
Table 1
European equivalents of IEC 60364 (6.61)
Austria
Belgium
Denmark
Finland
France
Germany
Italy CEI
Netherlands
Norway
Portugal
Spain
Sweden
Switzerland
UK

VE/NORM E8001
A.R.E.I. / R.G.I.E.
Strkstrmbekendtgrelsen 6
SFS 6000
NF C 15-100
DIN VDE 0100
64-8
NEN 1010
NEK 400
HD 384
UNE 20460
SS 4364661 / ELSK-FS 1999:5
NIN / SN SEV 1000
BS 7671 / 16th Edition IEE Wiring Regulations

The basic requirements of IEC 60364.6.61


Many electrical contractors may already be familiar with
IEC 60364.6.61 or its national equivalents. It states that
verification of the installation shall be carried out in the
following sequence:
1. Visual inspection
2. Testing of the following:
continuity of protective conductors;
insulation resistance;
protection by separation of circuits;
floor and wall resistance;
automatic disconnection of supply;
polarity;
functional performance;
In addition to this the following tests are under
consideration:
electric strength test;
voltage drop.
To test the protective measures as described above, IEC
60364.6.61 refers to the IEC / EN 61557.

The basic requirements ofIEC/EN 61557


The European Norm EN 61557addresses the requirements
for testequipment used in installationtesting. It consists of
generalrequirements for test equipment (part1), specific
requirements forcombined measuring equipment(part 10) and
covers the specificrequirements for measuring/testing:
1. Insulation resistance (part 2)
2. Loop impedance (part 3)
3. Resistance of the earthconnection (part 4)
4. Resistance to earth (part 5)
5. RCD performance in TT and TNsystems (part 6)
6. Phase sequence (part 7)
7. Insulation monitoring devices forIT systems (part 8)

resistance of thetest leads must be compensated for.The 1650


has a time-savingauto-null feature that, by simplytouching the
test leads together andpressing the zero button, measuresand
stores the test lead resistance,even after the instrument has
beenswitched off.
Insulation resistance ofelectrical installation
Insulation integrity is critical toprevent electric shock. It is
generallymeasured between live conductors;and between each
live conductorand earth. To measure the insulationresistance
between live conductorsand earth, the complete
installationmust be switched off, all lampsremoved and all
equipmentdisconnected. All fuses must be leftin, circuit breakers
closed and finalcircuit switches closed.

The Fluke 1650 Series multifunctioninstallation testers are


measuringequipment as described in part 10 ofEN 61557 and
the three differentmodels in the series comply withspecific
parts of this norm. They arespecifically designed to carry out
thetests specified in IEC 60364.6.61,and all local standards/
regulationsderived from it, in the safest andmost efficient way.
They arelightweight, and feature a uniqueergonomic curved
form that, whencarried by the neck strap, makesoperation in the
field morecomfortable.

Measurements are carried out withdirect current using an


instrumentcapable of supplying a test voltage of1000, 500
or 250 V depending onthe nominal circuit voltage. Onsingle
phase supply systems,insulation testing is normallyundertaken
using a test voltage of500 V. Before testing, it is necessaryto
disconnect equipment and takemeasures to prevent the test
voltagedamaging voltage-sensitive devicessuch as dimmer
switches, delaytimers, and electronic starters forfluorescent
lighting.

Testing an electricalinstallation
The visual inspection is first carriedout to confirm that
permanentlywired electrical equipment is incompliance with
the safetyrequirements and not visiblydamaged, and that fire
barriers,protective-, monitoring-, isolating andswitching devices,
and allrelevant documentation are present.After this inspection,
electricaltesting may commence. Note that thetest methods
described are given asreference methods in IEC60364.6.61.
Other methods are notprecluded provided they give equallyvalid
results. Only with theappropriate experience and training,safe
clothing, and the right test toolsis a person considered competent
totest installations to IEC 60364.6.61.When testing is undertaken
it shouldbe ensured that adequateprecautions are taken to
avoiddamage or injury to people,equipment or property, and
ensuredthat unauthorized persons are keptaway from danger.

The 1650 Series generates therequired test voltages


(selectable)and, uniquely for an installationtester of this type, the
models 1653and 1654 also have 50 and 100 V test voltagesas
required for testingtelecommunications installations. Toenhance
safety, 1650 Seriesinstallation testers have a livevoltage
indicator to warn users if alive voltage is still present. Testing
isinhibited if a voltage is detected.When taking a measurement,
thedual display indicates both theinsulation resistance and the
appliedtest voltage.

Continuity
Testing the continuity of protectiveconductors is normally carried
outwith an instrument being able togenerate a no-load voltage
in therange 4 to 24 V (DC or AC) with aminimum current of 0.2
A. The mostcommon continuity test is measuringthe resistance
of protectiveconductors, which involves firstconfirming the
continuity of allprotective conductors in theinstallation, and
then testing themain and supplementary equipotentialbonding
conductors. Allcircuit conductors in the final circuitare also
tested.As continuity testing measures verylow resistances, the

According to IEC 60364.6.61 theresistance values should be


greaterthan 1 megohm for 1000 V testvoltage, 0.5 megohms for
500 V, and0.25 megohms for 250 V.
Protection by separation ofcircuits
The separation of the live parts fromthose of other circuits and
from earthshould be verified by a measurementof the insulation
resistance. Theresistance values obtained should beidentical
with the values mentionedpreviously with all appliances, as
faras possible, connected.

Floor and wall resistance


If applicable, at least three floor andwall resistance measurements
needto be made per location, one beingapproximately 1 metre
from anyaccessible extraneous-conductivepartin the location, with
theremaining two measurements takenat greater distances.
The series ofmeasurements is repeated for eachrelevant surface
of the location.
The 1650 Series insulation testfunction with a no-load voltage
of500 V (or 1000 V if the rated voltageof the installation exceeds
500 V) isused as a DC source. The resistanceis measured between
a testelectrode (such as a 250 mm squaremetallic plate with a
270 mm squareof damped water-absorbent paperfrom which
surplus water has beenremoved) and a protective conductorof the
installation.
Verifying protection byautomatic supplydisconnection
Verification of the effectiveness ofthe measures for protection
againstindirect contact by automaticdisconnection of supply depends
onthe type of system. In summary, it isas follows:
For TN systems: measurement ofthe fault loop impedance;
andverification of the characteristics ofthe associated protective
device(i.e. visual inspection of thenominal current setting for
circuitbreakers,the current ratings forfuses and testing RCDs).
For TT systems: measurement ofthe earth electrode resistance
forexposed-conductive-parts of theinstallation; and verification
of thecharacteristics of the associatedprotective device (i.e. RCDs
byvisual inspection and by test).
For IT systems: Calculation ormeasurement of the fault current.
Measurement of the earthelectrode resistance
Measurement of the resistance of anearth electrode is made
by anappropriate method, for example,using two auxiliary
earth electrodesor spikes. These electrodes areavailable
as an accessory kit for usewith the 1653 and 1654 model.
Before testing,the earthing rod must bedisconnected from the
installationsmain earthing terminal. In doing this,the installation
will consequentlyhave no earth protection andtherefore must be
completely deenergisedprior to testing. Earthresistance testing must
not becarried out on a live system.
One auxiliary electrode is placed at aset distance from the earth
electrode,and the other at 62 percent of thedistance between the
two in astraight line. The test measures theearth resistance and
also detects thevoltage between the auxiliaryelectrodes, and if this
exceeds 10 V,the test is inhibited.

Measurement of fault loopimpedance


Measurement of the fault loopimpedance is carried out using
thesame frequency as the nominalfrequency of the circuit
(50 Hz). Theearth-loop impedance test measuresthe resistance of
the path that a faultcurrent would take between line andprotective
earth, which must be lowenough to allow sufficient current toflow
to trip a circuit protectiondevice such as a MCB (MiniatureCircuit
Breaker). In addition, the 1654 has a m resolution for measuring
short earth loop paths when close to a supply transformer. The 1650
Seriesinstruments carry out this test usingthree separate test leads
or the leadfitted with a mains plug. It calculatesthe Prospective Fault
Current (PFC),and this appears in the lower part ofthe dual display.
Determining thePFC is important to ensure that thecapability of fuses
and over-currentcircuit breakers is not exceeded. The1650 Series
instruments can alsomeasure the earth resistancecomponent of the
total loopresistance, and line impedance(source impedance between
line andneutral, or the line-to-lineimpedance in three-phase
systems)as well as calculate the ProspectiveShort Circuit current
(PSC) whichcould flow when there is a shortcircuit between line and
neutral.
Measuring loop impedance canactually trip RCDs in the circuit
beingtested, preventing furthermeasurement. To prevent this
theFluke 1650 uses innovative andpatented technology.
This meansmore consistent and highlyrepeatable results.
Testing RCDs
Residual Current Operated Devices(RCDs) are often fitted for
additionalprotection, where they detectcurrents flowing to earth
that are toosmall to trigger over-currentoperated protective devices
or toblow fuses, but would still besufficient to cause a dangerous
shockor generate enough heat to start afire. Basic testing of RCDs
involvesdetermining the tripping time (inmilliseconds) by introducing
a faultcurrent in the circuit.
The 1650 Series multifunction testers also perform a pre-test to
determine if the actual test will cause a fault voltage exceeding a 50 V
or 25 V safety limit. To manually measure the tripping time, the RCDs
tripping current rating, a test current multiplier, the RCD type and
the test current phase setting are selected using the menu buttons.
Because some RCDs are more sensitive in one half cycle than the
other, the test is carried out for both 0 and 180phase settings. The
longest time is recorded.

To simplify testing, the 1652, 1653 & 1654 models have an auto
mode formeasuring RCD tripping time inwhich six tests are
automaticallycarried out in sequence. This meansthe test engineer
does not need tokeep returning to the installationtester after
resetting a tripped RCD.The instrument senses when theRCD has
been reset and initiates thenext test in the sequence. Results areheld
in temporary memory, andviewed by stepping through withthe arrow
buttons.The 1653 and 1654 also have internal memoryfor storing
results for later recall. The 1652, 1653 & 1654 can also measureRCD
tripping current (commonlyreferred to as a ramp test) bygradually
increasing an appliedcurrent until the RCD trips.
Polarity test
Where local regulations forbid theinstallation of single-pole
switchingdevices in the neutral conductor, atest of polarity must
be made toverify that all such devices areconnected in the phase
only.Incorrect polarity results in parts ofan installation remaining
connectedto a live phase conductor even whena single-pole switch
is off, or anover-current protection device hastripped. The 1650
Seriesmultifunction testers test for correctpolarity using the continuity
mode.
Functional test
All assemblies, such as switchgearand control gear assemblies,
drives,controls and interlocks, should befunctionally tested to show
that theyare properly mounted, adjusted andinstalled in accordance
with therelevant requirements of thestandard. Protective devices
must befunctionally tested to check whetherthey are properly
installed andadjusted.

andthe 1653 also offers low voltageinsulation resistance and


earthresistance measurements and aphase sequence indication
for threephase systems. Next to this the 1653features an internal
memory forstoring up to 444 measurements. Both the 1653 and
1654 have a PC interface for extra convenience in documentation
and reporting. This simplifies generating reports (in combination
with the optional FlukeView Forms software or DMS software) to
comply with legal requirements for documented results. The 1654 has
the addition of a m resolution earth-loop impedance test, can test
smooth dc sensitive RCDs (Type B) and has a 1500 record memory.All
models feature a special probedesign with an integral test buttonthat
simplifies one-handedmeasurements on hard-to-reachtest-points,
thereby enhancing safetyby reducing the risk of accidentallytouching
a live conductor. In additionto the smart probe, a full set of testleads
plus crocodile clips, heavydutycarrying case, neck strap, andan
appropriate standard mainsconnection lead, are supplied. Aquick
reference guide and anoperating manual on CD-ROM areincluded.
The 1653 & 1654 also have an IRadaptor for PC connection.
Caution!
This Application Note is notintended to replace orsupercede the
recognizedstandards in IEC 60364 (or itsnational equivalents),
but toprovide a summary of thegeneral requirements.
Note thatnot all tests are mentioned. Ifin any doubt, always
consultthe appropriate standardspublication.

The 1650 Seriesmultifunction testers


The 1650 Series multifunction testersmeasure up to 500 V AC, and
theinstruments simultaneously displayline voltage level (primary
display)and frequency (secondary display).They are easy to set up
for makingmeasurements, with a clearlymarkedrotary control for
setting therange, and a straightforward userinterface with simple
menus forsetting test conditions. The displayswide viewing angle
also contributesto user convenience. The controlpanel markings
are available in fivelanguages (English, French, German,Italian and
Spanish), and withuniversally recognized graphicalsymbols.
There are four models to choosefrom: the 1651 performs all
basicinstallation tests; the 1652 hasadditional RCD test functions;

Fluke (UK) Ltd.

Fluke. K
 eeping your World up and Running.
Copyright 2014, Fluke Corporation. All rights reserved.
Data subject to alteration without notice. Pub_ID: 10641-eng.

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52 Hurricane Way
Norwich, Norfolk
NR6 6JB
United Kingdom

Tel. +44 (0)20 7942 0700


Fax +44 (0)20 7942 0701
E-mail: industrial@uk.fluke.nl

www.fluke.co.uk