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2016 IEEE International Autumn Meeting on Power, Electronics and Computing (ROPEC 2016).

Ixtapa, Mexico

Detection of interturn faults during transformer

energization using wavelet transform

Juan C. Olivares-Galvan, R. Escarela-Perez Daniel Guillén

Departamento de Energia Facultad de Ingeniería, División de Ingeniería Eléctrica
Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana-Azcapotzalco Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)
Ciudad de Mexico, Mexico Mexico City, Mexico

J. Alberto Ávalos González, Jaime Cerda Jacobo Fermin P. Espino-Cortés

Div. de Est. de Posgrado de la Facultad de Ing. Eléctrica SEPI-ESIME-Zacatenco
Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo Instituto Politécnico Nacional U.P. Adolfo López Mateos
Morelia, Michoacan Ciudad de Mexico, Mexico,

Abstract—Interturn faults are a critical problem in power failures are attributed to three principal causes: a weak
transformers that can eventually escalate into catastrophic faults construction, due to, for example, material defects and
and probably result in an overall network failure. Also, failures underestimation of operational stresses; high operation stress,
in transformer windings are still a major cause of transformer due to unusual events or incorrect operation; and inadequate
outages, and failure rates vary widely between different countries maintenance and low quality repairing. Also, Fig. 3 shows
and systems, depending on many factors. Therefore, in this work, failure modes for transmission transformers in ZTZ-Service
interturn faults with various levels of severity were imposed on 2000 – 2005 [2].
the winding of a 120 VA, 24/125 V dry type transformer to
diagnose it. The obtained signals during the experiments are
processed using the Wavelet Transform and correlation modes.
This technique only takes into account the high frequency
information produced during the energization of a winding with
interturn faults.

Keywords—interturn faults; transformer energization; wavelet

transform; wavelet correlation modes.

Shorted turns faults in windings are one of the main causes
of transformer failures. If the transformer user does not quickly
detect this failure, it will become a more serious fault, which
would result in catastrophic damage to the transformer. The
aim of this research is to provide the transformer user a Fig. 1. Substation transformer failures categorized by failed component.
diagnose method to detect the presence and magnitude of turn
to turn failures before these become catastrophic. This method
is based on the analysis of the energization current of the
Different fault classifications can be found in the literature.
In a CIGRE survey, shown in Figs. 1 and 2, the failures were
classified by failed component, origin and presumed cause.
When the failures were organized by components, the
classification was: windings, magnetic circuit, terminals, tank
and dielectric fluid, other accessories and tap-changer [1].
Sokolov et. al. 2005 have studied failure statistics from the
ZTZ-Service database, which includes over 5000 large
transformers, i.e. transformers rated 100 MVA and above. The
Fig. 2. Substation transformer failures categorized by failure origin.

978-1-5090-3794-0/16/$31.00 ©2016 IEEE

2016 IEEE International Autumn Meeting on Power, Electronics and Computing (ROPEC 2016). Ixtapa, Mexico

Such outages have different origins (e.g. electrical

disturbances, lightning strokes, moisture, overload, low quality
manufacture and design), and failure rates vary widely between
different countries and systems, depending on many factors.
Sometimes the percentage of failures in transformer windings
reaches 50%. Without doubt, this issue deserves be
investigated in detail.
For instance, Behjat and Vahedi [5] obtained a better
understanding of the physical behavior of the power
transformers in the presence of shorted turns using a time
stepping transformer finite element model and Diaz González
et al. [6] coupled the geometrical model to an electrical circuit,
thus, faults were introduced at different locations using
resistances between turns.
Abed and Mohammed [7] investigates the behaviour of
three phase transformers with internal faults. Also, Oliveira
Fig. 3. Failure modes for transmission transformers in ZTZ-Service in 2000- and Cardoso [8] analyses the behaviour of power transformers
2005. under the occurrence of winding insulation faults using a
permeance-based electromagnetic transformer model.
Minhas et. al. present a failure analysis of power
After reviewing the literature related to shorted transformer
transformers in South Africa, in the range of 88 kV to 765 kV
turns, no articles were found related to the transformer
and 20 MVA to 800 MVA. In Fig. 4, six failure modes have
diagnosis of shorted turns using the analysis of the inrush
been identified in the analysis [3].
current. The contribution of this research is to present a new
diagnostic technique for shorted turns on transformer windings
based in the analysis of energization current based on the
Wavelet Transform (WT). In this way, inrush current signals
are scaled up to a defined decomposition level and all the
information is stored in a wavelet matrix which will be used to
identify shorted turns on transformer windings.
WT has been used for processing continuous or discrete
signal. The wavelet analysis is done similar to the Short-Time
Fourier Transform (STFT) analysis. The wavelet analysis is
based on a correlation between a signal and a mother wavelet
function in order to detect changes in time-frequency.
Moreover, WT is able to produce good time resolution and
Fig. 4. Failure modes for power transformers. poor frequency resolution at high frequencies, while for low
frequencies produces good frequency resolution [9]. For this
In Mexico, the statistics of failures in power transformers reason, WT is used for feature extraction based on the
(See Fig. 5) indicates that 53% of the failures are due to frequency spectrum of the studied signals and the principal
problems in transformer windings [4]. characteristics are extracted using the wavelet correlation
Explosion modes.
Core or fire
2% 2% A signal x(t) can be scaled in frequency using the Wavelet
Tap Changer
11% Transform, so that all frequency information can be stored in a
wavelet matrix W . In this sense, the wavelet correlation matrix
is computed as follows:
Windings M ×MT
53% WC = (1)

Bushings where n is the total sample numbers. Hence, the wavelet

19% correlation matrix is used to compute the wavelet correlation
modes, which are obtained from the eigenvalues of the wavelet
Fig. 5 Statistics of failures in power transformer installed in Mexico. correlation matrix [10]. Each scale in frequency is represented
by a wavelet correlation mode. Therefore, if the signal is scaled
Thus, from failures in transformer windings, interturn faults
in many cases are still a major cause of transformer outages.
2016 IEEE International Autumn Meeting on Power, Electronics and Computing (ROPEC 2016). Ixtapa, Mexico

up to N decomposition levels, this means that it has N tests were conducted in presence of interturn faults (shorted
wavelet correlation modes. turns).

III. TEST TRANSFORMER CHARACTERISTICS The obtained signals are shown in Fig. 7 for the analysed
cases. The first case is the inrush current signal under normal
The transformer under study was tested in the electrical conditions (red solid line). Also, three interturn faults are
engineering laboratory of Instituto Politécnico Nacional SEPI- presented, which are identified by the dashed lines (blue color
ESIME-Zacatenco, Mexico City, Mexico [11]. The main for 5 shorted turns, green color for 25 shorted turns and
technical characteristics of transformer are shown in Table I. magenta for 40 shorted turns).
The transformer under study is an EI core type special
transformer. In this research stage, considering the safety of
personnel, the damage that will occur in the transformer, and 25
related cost, manufacturing small transformers is the most 5sc
economical and convenient way for experimentation. It is 20 25sc
important to note that all the tests reported here correspond to 40sc
the transformer open circuit test. During the tests, the high
voltage side (125 V) is energized, leaving in open circuit the 15

transformer low voltage side (24 V) (see Fig. 6). In the

Amplitude (A)
transformer secondary winding, there are twelve additional tap 10
terminals, thus it is possible to produce shorted turns at several
locations in the winding.


Transformer rating 120 VA 0

Phases 1
Core type EI shell type -5
-0.01 0 0.01 0.02 0.03 0.04 0.05 0.06 0.07 0.08 0.09
core (3 legs) Time (s)

High Voltage (HV) 125 V Fig. 7. Waveforms during energization for normal conditions and interturn
Low Voltage (LV) 24 V faults.
Core lamination thickness 0.029”
Number of laminations per core 39 Inrush current signals obtained during the tests are
Number of turns of layer of primary 59 processed using a diagnostic method based on wavelet
winding correlation modes, due to the fact that each wavelet correlation
mode is associated with the high frequencies produced during
Number of turns of layer of secondary 65
the energization of the transformer (under normal conditions
winding and with interturn faults).
Number of layer of primary winding 7.9
Number of layer of secondary winding 1.4 V. APPLICATION OF WAVELET CORRELATION MODES
This technique uses all transient current information
produced during the energization of the transformer and it is
analyzed using the wavelet transform. The proposed technique
analyses current signals which are scaled using the wavelet
transform in order to form or fill a wavelet matrix and then the
wavelet correlation matrix is computed to obtain the wavelet
correlation modes.
The obtained test signals are processed using the Wavelet
Transform and their results are shown in Figs. 8 and 9.

Fig. 6. Test transformer (120 VA).


The signals were obtained using a four channels
oscilloscope Tektronix TDS 2024B, 200 MHz, 2 GS/s. First, it
is carried out a test of energization under normal conditions
(shorted turns are not considered). Then, sets of energization
2016 IEEE International Autumn Meeting on Power, Electronics and Computing (ROPEC 2016). Ixtapa, Mexico

2.5 12000
Normal Normal
5sc 5sc
2 10000
25sc 25sc

40sc 40sc






1 1.5 2 2.5 3 3.5 4 4.5 5 5.5 6
-1 Modes (n)
-0.05 0 0.05 0.1 0.15 0.2 0.25 0.3 0.35 0.4 0.45
Time (s)
Fig. 10. Wavelet correlation modes for each presented case.
Fig. 8. Aproximation coeficients for interturn faults.
A new technique for detecting interturn faults during
transformer energization tests is presented. This method is
a) based on wavelet correlation modes and it has shown that it is
Normal able to detect transformer interturn failures during inrush
5sc current. Authors propose as a future work, a) analyze the
0 25sc wavelet correlation with the aim to quantify the damage level
40sc and localization of the failure, b) analyze interturn failures in
distribution transformers, which are generally rated less than
-0.05 0 0.05 0.1 0.15 0.2 0.25 0.3 0.35 0.4 0.45 2000 kVA, applying the ideas developed in this research, c)
show results of the experiment reported here using other
20 techniques in order to demonstrate the advantages of the
Normal wavelet technique.

10 5sc
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0 25sc Transients, Moscow Russia, 20-23 June 2005.
40sc [3] M. S. A. Minhas, J. P. Reynders, and P. J. De Klerk, “Failures in power
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-0.05 0 0.05 0.1 0.15 0.2 0.25 0.3 0.35 0.4 0.45
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2016 IEEE International Autumn Meeting on Power, Electronics and Computing (ROPEC 2016). Ixtapa, Mexico

[8] L. Oliveira and A.Cardoso, “A permeance-based transformer model and correlation modes,” IET Gener. Transm. Distrib., vol. 10, Issue 12, pp.
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