MAINTENANCE OF SUBSTATION EQUIPMENTS

INTRODUCTION : Substation equipments are supposed to work round the clock uninterruptedly. To perform in this way requires some maintenance without which a failure is likely to take place. NO PLANTS OR EQUIPMENTS FAIL WITHOUT GIVING ANY DISTRESS SIGNAL. The duty of a maintenance engineer is to identify a signals well before any damage is going to take place and thus to prevent breakdown, i.e. that is what is a preventive maintenance. We know that maintenance requirement of static equipments (like transformers, Capacitors etc. are much less compared to other dynamic equipments (like circuit breakers, motors etc.). we will concentrate here on maintenance of the following components : Various circuit breakers, Transformers, Earthing and lightning arrestors, and Relays. The maintenance schedule is usually in the form of log sheets on which weeks, months of the year are tabulated. Each equipment in the substation or the plant is provided with a column. The maintenance period is indicated against each equipment. Further each major equipment is provided with a history card. The details about inspection, operation and remarks are written in these cards. INSPECTION, SERVICING & OVERHAUL : Maintenance covers a wide range of activities aimed at keeping that equipment in perfect working condition for performing its function as per assigned duties. 1. INSPECTION: the equipment without dismantling it. It (i) (ii) (iii) (iv)

It comprises careful observation/scrutiny of usually includes visual and operational checks. 2.

SERVICING: This refers to cleaning, adjustment, lubrication and other maintenance functions without dismantling equipment. 3. EXAMINATION: This refers to inspection with necessary dismantling, measurements and nondestructive tests to obtain data regarding the condition of components/sub-assemblies.

4. OVERHAUL: This refers to the work done with the objective of repairing/replacing worn-out parts and defective parts. The equipment, sub-assemblies are dismantled partly or completely. The condition of components is inspected. Dimensions of worn-out components are measured. The components worn-out beyond acceptable limit are replaced. The assembly is followed by functional checks and measurements to ensure satisfactory operation.

B.R.B. ** Technical endurance test should be performed with specified number of operations on no load to confirm suitability of mechanism. repeated operations. ! K is the cumulative sum of the product of the number of breaking operation and square of the breaking current in KA and is taken as a guide to the inspection of contacts internal insulation and the quenching medium. damp and corrosion etc. ambient temperature etc. rated current etc. The fixed parts need regular inspection and servicing for removing dust. Sharma (BSNL Electrical Zone Patna) 2 MAINTENANCE OF SWITCHGEARS: The requirement of inspection. Bulk oil C. servicing. Thus maintenance schedule has to meet all the above requirements. TABLE-2 MAINTENANCE OF CONTACTS . The moving parts need regular inspection and periodic replacement of worn-out parts. Maintenance of Quenching Medium Load * Fault Operation operation Replacement of contacts Load ** Operation 3000 2000 1000 6 3 2000 1000 Fault Operaion 10 to 15 6 6 2000 1000 K=ΣI2n ! Type of C. deterioration of quenching medium and mechanism components. * Shelf life 20 Years.g. switching duty severity: e. operating duty: frequency of operation. Air C. MOCB Life of contacts becomes supposedly bad after certain operations on load and /or after clearing faults on rated short circuit current an indication of which is shown in Table -2. chemical fumes. Table -1 below gives recommendation regarding the period of maintenance of contacts and quenching medium in terms of number of load operations and number of short circuit operations on rated short circuit breaking current.B. moisture/humidity. The maintenance of switching devices is related mainly with the wearing out of contacts. TABLE-1 MAINTENANCE OF QUENCHING MEDIUM AND CONTACTS. The functional readiness of switching devices should also be ensured. examination and overhaul vary with :environmental aspects : such as dust.

4. gives the periodicity of important checks on C.C. 11. Half yearly inspection.3 Important checks on C. type of switching devices. 9. Weakly inspection. 3. Activity Quarterly Half yearly Annual X X X X X X X X X X X X X Check insulation resistance of each pole of phase of ground across terminals Check the dielectric strength Check mechanical Operations Check tightness of bolts Check oil level Clean porcelain insulators Check contact length and simultaneous contact touch. 12.B. 8. Quarterly inspection. No. and environment.C. Sharma (BSNL Electrical Zone Patna) 3 Type of C. Table 3.O. Annual maintenance.B A. 10.B.B. below. 1. Monthly inspection.B. Measure contact speeds Measure break time and make time. The following abbreviations have been used: DI= WI= MI= QI= HI= AI= N= Daily inspection. during routine maintenance Sl. The periodicity of activities vary with: maintenance. 5. M. 7. Normal duty.000 3-6 MAINTENANCE SCHEDULE CHECK LIST The check list of maintenance of switchgear gives the list of activities and there periodicity. recondition contacts and fill oils. .000 50-100 1. Life of contacts Number of load operations on Number of fault operations on rated load current rated short circuit current 10. frequency of operating duty and breaking current. 2. 6. Level of oil/gas pressure X The check list and maintenance schedule for various types of circuits breakers are indicated below in table 4. Measure contact resistance clean cross jet pots.R. during routine TABLE .

000 QI QI HI HI QI HI AI HI Vacuum C. Sharma (BSNL Electrical Zone Patna) 5 R = Repeated operations on rated load current. visually. of years No. R. contact resist. Structure etc.R. 8.R. Quenching medium in C. Contacts. measurement 11. Operating checks & I. levels of quenching medium (in case of oil C. and topping up 5. R.B. earth connections. N. after no. Main mechanism Operating Checks.) etc. Control wiring 10. Cleaning of internal insulation of C.B. Note the cleanliness of terminals. 3. N. of fault operations. arc control devices. Overhaul after no. Servicing 9.B. Post fault maintenance. Terminal connections.B. 7. General Inspection 2. inter-pole Linkages. 6. 4. AI QI QI QI AI AI AI 5Y AI AI 50 10 10.B. (B) CLEANING AND DRYING : . of load operation HI HI QI QI AI AI Minimum oil C. QI MI QI HI HI AI AI HI AI AI AI 6 1 1. Cabinets Cable. Cleaning of external insulation. measurement. reading of counters. TABLE -4 Check list and maintenance schedule for circuit Breakers Indoor Metal clad Maintenance Activity switchgear 1. 12. contact position external (VCB) contact resistance.B.000 AI AI AI AI AI AI 25 STEPS IN MAINTENANCE OF CIRCUIT BREAKERS : (A) GENERAL INSPECTION : Observe the C. earthing connections. of fault operation No.

R. conducting dust particles etc. insulation resistance measurement gives indication about the health of the insulation. tracking or any other defects. An indication to this is given below in Table 5.) megger is preferred. switchgear 1000 V or 5000 V (d.c.) upto 1 KV Above 1 KV to 3. iron particles. Test voltages which could be applied to primary insulation when making resistance test varies according to the voltage rating of the switchgear. During overhaul of the electrical equipment the insulation surface should be cleaned with trichloroethylene. Avoid water. INSULATION RESISTANCE MEASUREMENT : Insulation resistance tests are strictly comparative in that for each item tested a rejection value can only be fixed on the basis of experience by comparison with earlier results. Use air pressure jet (3 kg/cm2) for cleaning. It should be free from electrical or mechanical damages. resistance test (to earth and between phases) KV (d. moisture or dampness during the cleaning. After cleaning and drying insulation resistance is measured by the help of Megger between the terminal and earth. clean cloth and compressed air. lint free cloth and air jet. shall be removed before reassembly. Table . For this reason the test equipment and method used should be the same on each occasion. The internal insulation should be cleaned thoroughly by trichlorethylene. inside the breaker. Any deposition of sludge and carbon particles. Ohm). The test values obtained should be logged on a standard form designed for the purpose. and in general a steady fall of insulation resistance over a period of time is a more reliable indication of deterioration than is a relatively low value which remains reasonably constant.6 KV 1 2 . Use clean cloth which does not leave fibers or particles on the surface. v. Sharma (BSNL Electrical Zone Patna) 6 Use CTCL or trichloroethylene or other cleaning agent as recommended by the manufacturer. Care should be taken to avoid falling of dust. C. washers etc. is very high (above 10000 Mega. For h.B. together with the humidity and temperature at the time of the test.V. carefully for signs of cracks. Finally. oxide coating if any by emery paper without iron particles. Terminals should be cleaned of dust.5 Test Voltages 3-phase system rating of primary insulation of Test voltage recommended to insulation switchgear.c. The insulation resistance of H. nut-bolts. (C) INSULATION SURFACES : Inspect visually.

oil dashpot (if any for current level and its operation.B. found if any. inter-pole linkages dashpots etc. Clean. inspect and replace worn-out parts during overhauls. should be checked. can be revealed by the time/travel record of 3 poles which shall be described in the subsequent discussion. circlips.R. (E) INTER-POLE LINKAGES : Inter-pole linkages should be checked to ensure simultaneous operation of 3 poles (within pole discrepancy of 5 ms) and deteriorations. . nut-bolts etc. of springs and other components should be checked and set right.. Sharma (BSNL Electrical Zone Patna) 7 Above 3. The moving contacts of each phase should meet the fixed contact practically simultaneously which can be easily checked with a simple practical arrangement as shown below: Battery Supply LR LY LB R Y B Fig. Values of pneumatic mechanism or hydraulic mechanism should not be disturbed unless the diagnostic tests indicate the need for their readjustment. Linkage pins. Mal-operation of mechanism.6 KV to 12 KV Above 12 KV (D) MECHANICAL ASSEMBLY: 5 5 Check that all the nuts and bolts are in their position and check their tightness. Check circlips. : Method of checking simultaneous contact meeting during slow closing C. In case of spring operated mechanism check the ratchet wheels and prawls for broken or chipped teeth. Also air dashpots should be checked for current operation. split pins.

A defective or worn device may result in a dangerous condition. Safety shutters (check for proper operation after de-energisation of bus) Bus bars and bus chambers. Indicating devices and interlocks. No load characteristics give sufficient indication about the health of mechanism linkages. Earth connections . The drum rotates at known speed. The moving contact touches the paper on the drum.R. During the opening stroke and closing strokes. Particular attention must be paid to interlocks and locking devices especially those associated with earthing and testing facilities . The graph sheet fixed on the drum has definite circumferential speed. the pencil gives the time/travel characteristic marking on the graph sheet on the curvo-roller. Isolating contacts. tightness of joints. (F) CHECK AND MAINTENANCE OF OTHER IMPORTANT ACCESSORIES : Wherever required check for cleanliness. during middle of stroke and during final part of the stroke indicate excessive friction between sliding parts. loose connection. Heater. very high dynamic loading during arc quenching and excessive damping respectively. Instrument transformers and instruments. Auxiliary switches. Contactors. proper contact matching and sequential operation of auxiliary switches and interlocks etc. Sharma (BSNL Electrical Zone Patna) 8 METHOD OF OBTAINING TIME-TRAVEL CHARACTERISTIC ON NO-LOAD : This is extremely important because the breaking capacity is related with the time/travel characteristics of moving contacts. For satisfactory arc interruption the moving contact should open and travel with optimum characteristic. A straight rod is connected to the moving contact or movable part. The motor is driven electrically. The following accessories must be properly attended : Main connections. Any incorrect operation must be rectified. Secondary wiring and fuses. Overload devices and protective relays. This rod is in turn connected to the curvo-roller which is a specially designed motor driven drum mounted on the top hood of the MOCB. dirt and moistures. . Slow movement of contact initially.

O. Simultaneous touching of the contacts of three phases is verified.Examine at 5 years interval .Inspect as often as possible with maximum interval of 12 months .R. OF A. . (H) TYPICAL MAINTENANCE RECORD DATA : History card for each is kept. FUSE GEAR FOR LOW & MEDIUM VOLTAGES : Maintenance schedule depends upon frequency of load operations.. Sharma (BSNL Electrical Zone Patna) 9 Auxiliary contacts controlling the trip circuit shall also receive particular attention for its operation within the required timing. and . for indoor.B. dust free installation with infrequent load operations the following schedule may be recommended : . However. Insulation resistance is measured between the terminals and between the lower terminal and earth. It may be recorded in the following from : Circuit breaker serial number Name of manufacturer Year of purchase Cost of purchase Current and voltage rating Making capacity (Symmetrical) Breaking Capacity (Symmetrical) Short time rating Inspection date : : : : : : : : : Component Observation Action taken Initials Mechanism Linkages Insulation Quenching medium Main contacts Arcing contacts Terminals Final verification MAINTENANCE OF A. is subjected to operational checks by performing C.B.CO.C. & SWITCHGEAR .B. (G) FINAL VERIFICATION : After overhaul the C.C.Overhaul when examination and diagnostic tests indicate need. TABLE 6 : MAINTENANCE. Operations from local control cabinet and from the control room (if remote control is also there). Maximum interval of 15 years. Insulation resistance of auxiliary winding is also measured. fault operations and environment of operation and as such no uniform guide lines can be prescribed.

B. Maintenance Operation Operational checks Visual Inspection Cleaning Insulation resistance Circuit breaker enclosure Main/arcing contacts Arc control devices and inter-phase barriers Mechanisms Auxiliary switches. 8.R. 2. . No. 6. Overhaul : Once in 5 years for normal and once in 3 years for repeated/frequenct fault duty. 22. indicating devices and interlocks Isolating contacts Overload devices and protective relays Instruments and instrument transformers Contactors Main connections Secondary wiring and fuses Earth connections Shutters Switchgear spouts Heaters Buses and bus bar chambers Maintenance of auxiliary equipment Diagnostic testing Final verification Routine Maintenance Inspection X X X Post fault Examination Maintenance and Overhaul X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X MAINTENANCE OF OIL CIRCUIT BREAKERS (B. 16. 13. 10.. once in 6 months with maximum period of 9 months. 20. 3. Sharma (BSNL Electrical Zone Patna) 10 S. 9. 23.C.B. 7. MOCB) : The following schedule may be followed for the purpose (O. Following checks should be done during periodic check up : (a) Level and condition of oil (b) Condition of insulators. 17. 14.O. Otherwise after fault opening operations. 1. 19. 11. 15. 4. 18. 5. inspect as early as possible. if required cleaning may be resorted to. installed outdoor and in damp/rainy areas) : (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) Under normal conditions for frequency operations. 21.C. 12. After fault clearance : If fault level is high.

(g) Check the Dielectric property of oil. Limiting value for various properties of Dielectric oil is tabulated below : TABLE 7 : PROPERTIES OF DIELECTRIC OIL Characteristic Sludge (maximum) Flash point (closed minimum) Viscosity at 700F Electric Strength. 1 minute minimum Saponification value Copper discolouration Crackle Limiting value 1.00 mg KOH/gm Negative Shall pass test. the oil is heated to about 700C by means of electric heater.C. POST FAULT-MAINTENANCE OF OIL CIRCUIT-BREAKERS : Depending upon the design and duty of the circuit breaker. (b) Check arcing contacts and take remedial measures. (h) Silica-jel breather should also be maintained properly it the O. if badly deteriorated. r. (e) Check the tripping circuit and operating mechanism. While using centrifugal separators for removing free water and fine solid impurities.V. When the colour of silica-jel changes from the blue to pink.m. Hot oil should not be used to fill switchgear.s. Sharma (BSNL Electrical Zone Patna) 11 (c) (d) (e) (f) (g) (v) Contacts Operating mechanism Auxiliary switches Tighten nuts & bolts. (d) Check the arc control devices and do the needful. the internal and external inspection should be carried out as soon as the operating schedule permits.B. 1. (f) Be sure that no tools are left in the tank. inspection may be required after about six fault operations or the number specified by the manufacturers and based on local fault level. change it. This is done by baking it at a temperature of about 2000C until the whole mass has restored its original blue colour. it requires reactivating. Insulation resistance by megger (use 500 V megger for control circuits). (a) Examine the oil.R.200 % 1460C 37 CS 40 K. (c) Inspect the insulation. There should be as little aeration of the oil as possible during filling of the tank. When the breaker operates on faults. When such an inspection is necessary special attention shall be given to the points tabulated below under table 8 : . A standing time should be allowed after the tank is filled before commissioning the equipment. or transformer contains it.

21. 8. C-O-CO General Inspection Cleaning Insulation. 5. 11. 20. 4. No. Indicating devices and interlocks Overload devices and protective relays Instruments and Instrument Transformers Control relay or contactor Insulating oil Tank and tank lining Tank lifting mechanism Main connections Secondary wiring and fuses Earth connections Heaters Shutters Routine maintenance Inspection Examination and overhaul X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X Post fault maintenance X X X X X X . Maintenance operation Operational check . 17. Sharma (BSNL Electrical Zone Patna) 12 TABLE 8 : MAINTENANCE FOR OIL-CIRCUIT BREAKER IN METAL ENCLOSED SWITCHGEAR Sl. 22. 6. 16. 3. 13. 10. 19. insulating oil Circuit breaker enclosure Main arcing contacts Arc control devices Isolating contacts Venting and gas seals Mechanism Auxiliary switches. 15. 9.R. 18. 7. 2. 1. 14. 12.

MAINTENANCE SCHEDULE OF TRANSFORMERS ATTENDED SUB-STATIONS : .0 mg KOH/gm Acidity above 1. Yearly Five yearly The following measures may be taken to keep observation on the transformer oil so far as its acidity is concerned : (i) (ii) (iii) Acidity below 0. Maintenance operation Switchgear spouts Busbars and busbar chambers Weather shields Final verification Joints and seals General Mechanical Inspection Maintenance of oil.0 mg KOH/gm permissible. switches etc. The acidity of oil should be checked every two years for transformers upto 1000 KVA capacity and annually for transformers above this size.5 mg KOH/gm Acidity between 0. High voltage fuse connection and associated linkages Maintenance. See that the air passages in the dehydrator are free.) : Period Quarterly TABLE 9 Items to be checked (i) Clean bushes of all dirt and oil (ii) Examine condition of switches and tighten connections.5 & 1. 27. 24. (vi) Look for broken bushes. Open tank for cleaning and reassembly. No. if necessary. 29. 31. 32. of auxiliary equipment Routine maintenance Inspection Examination and overhaul X X X X X Post fault maintenance X X X X X X X X MAINTENANCE SCHEDULE OF OUTDOOR UNATTENDED SUBSTATIONS : The maintenance schedule (for transformer) as listed in Table 9 below may be followed for outdoor unattended substations (though very less in our deptt. 30. (iii) Look for any leaks (iv) Check condition of silica-gel. 28. if oil is satisfactory otherwise Keep oil under observation Discard oil. (i) Check dielectric strength of oil (ii) Check earth resistance (iii) Check lightning arrestors. (v) Check oil level and top up. 23. 26. of air break isolating devices associated with oil switchgear Maintenance. Sharma (BSNL Electrical Zone Patna) 13 Sl.R. 25.

Do not allow battery to remain in semi-discharged condition for long otherwise the life of the battery will be reduced. Following care and maintenance of batteries are required to be taken : (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) (v) (vi) Electrolyte level must be maintained 10 to 15 mm above the plates for the proper reaction of the constituents. Such a maintenance schedule is given below in table 10. Though this schedule shall be only indicative in nature and tests may be conducted at more frequent intervals depending upon the severity of service. Check oil for dielectric strength and presence of moisture Check bushes. . Sharma (BSNL Electrical Zone Patna) 14 Transformers will run practically trouble-free if proper maintenance is done. Terminal voltage of the cell must not be allowed to fall below 1. load and voltage Oil level Relief diaphragm Dehydrating breathers (check for free air passages. Check relays. if possibly. of cooler fans. Battery should be charged to its rated capacity to increase its efficiency. change oil as Check lighting arrestors Over-all inspection including lifting Wash by hosing down with of core and coils clean dry oil. Check earth resistance (vi) Five yearly Remarks Adjust load if temperature is high. winding temperature. Check colour of silica-gel Lubricate bearings etc. If low top up with dry oil Look for any sign of leakages Replace if broken Change if colour is pink Filter or replace if necessary (iii) (iv) Quarterly Half yearly (v) Yearly Filter or necessary. Check oil for acidity. contacts etc. if any. sludge and flash point. insulators etc. Use distilled water for topping the level of electrolyte. Methods of lowering resistance may be followed if required. For this purpose a maintenance schedule can be drawn.8V.. Inspecting Frequency (I) Hourly (ii) Daily TABLE 10 Items to be inspected Ambient temperature. alarms. oil temperature. circulating pumps etc. Check cable boxes etc. Commercial sulphuric acid should not be used otherwise the active components will be damaged soon. MAINTENANCE OF TRIP CIRCUIT & BATTERY SUPPLY : Maintenance of the trip circuit and battery supply is essential for the satisfactory operation of all protective relays (for shunt trip type).R.

(xi) Terminal posts and connectors should be clean and free from corrosion to increase the life of the battery. neutral of the transformer. between the cubicle and the draw-out truck Discharged battery. Sharma (BSNL Electrical Zone Patna) 15 (vii) Avoid excessive charging since it reduces life of the battery. Wrong relay settings for the load conditions. (vi) Check the earth connections and tighten them properly. copper or G. (vii) Pass the earth continuity conductor through the galvanised pipe from being damaged.I. and Stiffness of circuit breaker operating mechanism due to dust. Every relay should be tested once in six months. the earthing system should also be expanded by using additional earth electrodes and earth wire separately. (viii) Inspect the broken or rusted earth continuity conductors and replace them with proper size. with suitable testing set and the records of such tests should be logged in a maintenance register. (iv) Electrodes should be placed in the earth in the up[right vertical position. (i) . (ix) The earth resistance of the following equipments must be measured during the driest part of the year : (a) (b) (c) transformer body and other metal parts. (xii) Nuts and bolts of cell connectors should be kept tightened and smeared with Vaseline to avoid rusting. (viii) Bare and insulated lead should be painted with recommended paint to avoid accidental short circuit. (ix) Battery should be kept clean and dry and battery room should be well ventilated to avoid suffocation. (x) If acid falls out of battery. wipe over with wet rag and dry thoroughly to save the components from being damaged. and (xiii) it should not be left in discharged condition for long otherwise the defects of sulphation will occur. During tests a check should be made if any of the overload or time setting on the relay require change due to the increase or decrease in the load condition since the date of last test. rust or lack of lubrication.R. Following defects are possible : (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) Improper contact or misalignment of the contact prongs of the trip battery circuits. and lightning arrestors. (v) The electrodes and the earth continuity conductor used in the circuit should be of same material i. (iii) When the system is expanded. Wrong current transformer connections. CARE AND MAINTENANCE OF EARTHING : Check the earth resistivity during dry season half yearly and maintain and compare the record with previous reading.e. (ii) Water should be poured at regular intervals during dry season at the small substations. dirt.

In the corrosive earth. the steel electrode should be replaced by copper coated steel electrode. Sharma (BSNL Electrical Zone Patna) 16 The value of earth resistance should not be allowed more than 2 ohms. (xiii) Avoid any jointings from earthing conductor. (xii) The earth continuity conductor should be properly welded with the earth electrode.R. (x) (xi) . Mixture of salt and water may be added to improve the earth resistance.

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