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Transformer Failure prevented by Gas-in-Oil On-Line Monitoring The impact of accuracy in evaluating the evolution of a fault

Oil filled power transformers are one of the most important components of electricity generation, transmission and distribution network. The analysis of gases from petroleum products has been performed for decades using gas chromatography. However, this technique was not applied specifically to transformer mineral oil until the late 1960s/early 1970s and is now commonly called dissolved gas-in-oil analysis (DGA). Some of the early developers of the technique were Dr. James Morgan of Morgan Schaffer Systems, Canada, and researchers J.E. Dind, R. Daust and J. Regis from the Canadian utility Hydro-Quebec. The analysis of dissolved gases, ASTM D3612 - Analysis of Gases Dissolved in Electrical Insulating Oil by Gas Chromatography, has been shown to be one of the most sensitive, as well as easiest to obtain, measures of potential trouble in electrical equipment. Certain gases may be formed due to natural aging but also as a result of faults which may damage the equipment. Some are of immediate concern (such as arcing) while others can have a long term effect (overheating). Periodic analyses of the oil provide a means monitoring the health of this equipment. The DGA technique involves extracting or stripping the gases from the oil and injecting them into a gas chromatograph (GC). Detection of gas concentrations usually involves the use of a flame ionization detector (FID) and a thermal conductivity detector (TCD). Removing the gas from the oil is one of the most difficult and critical portions of the procedure. The original method, now ASTM D3612A, required that the oil be subjected to a high vacuum in an elaborate glasssealed system to remove most of the gas from the oil. The detection of certain gases generated in an oil-filled transformer in service is frequently the first available indication of a possible malfunction that may eventually lead to failure if not corrected. Arcing, corona discharge, severe overloading, and over-heating in the insulation system are some of the mechanisms that can result in chemical decomposition of the insulating materials and the formation of various combustible and noncombustible gases. Normal operation may also result in the formation of some gases. In a transformer, generated gases will be found dissolved in the insulating oil. They may also be found in the gas blanket above the oil or in gascollecting devices. The detection of an incipient fault, if present, involves an evaluation of the amount of generated gas present and the continuing rate of generation. An indication of the source of the gases and the kind of insulation involved can sometimes be gained by determining the composition of the generated gases.


Fault gases are produced by t p y: Thermal & electrical stresses; l Exposure to air; e Cellulosic insulation starts c n degrading g; nant induce chemical ed Contamin reactions. This will cause the chain to break and t trigge molecula rearrangem er ar ment.

Met thod A is by far t s the longes ststan nding techn nique and is still widel s ly used today and offers accu d d urate, reliabl le sam mple preparation if followe f ed rigo orously. As required by ASTM (D3612 M 2), labo oratories mu use prep ust pared Gas i in Oil Standards o known c of concentratio on regu ularly to va alidate thei extractio ir on effic ciency and establish a traceabl d le perf formance of their proce f ess. The use of cont charts a part of a e trol as qual assuran program gives any lity nce m labo oratory the a ability to sh how that an anal lysis is in statistical con ntrol. Some of th advantag that can come from he ges brin nging a testin process i ng into control are: Ensurin the identification of ng ns; analytical variation Analysis and exami s ination of the proc cess statistics improves process control during normal operatio as well a during ons as process modificatio thus ons allowing for improv method g ved d perform mance; Using di s issolved gas in oil standard as part of the ds f producti flow ben ion nchmarks the anal lytical proce and ess allows fo greater co for onfidence in n the resul lt; A test th shows go hat ood statistica control is predictable al s e and can be relied on n; The cha of a test i statistical art in l control c enables us to can s determin the exper ne rimental error.

Hydr rocarbons & Hydrogen:

Carb oxides: bon Atmo ospheric gas (non fau gases) ses ult

Hydr rogen is the key fault gas as it is e s alway present in every type of fault. ys n e Three extract tion methods are e appro oved: Method A (Vacuum M m Extra action), Method B (Stripping M g meth hod) and Method C (H M Head Space e meth hod). Th hey each have their r advantages and disadvan d ntages but t


DGA Oil Stand A dards are co ommercially y available (Morga Schaffer True North an h DGA Oil Standar A rds). asurement is made, , When a mea whet ther using an ohm g mmeter, a micro ometer, or another laboratory r y instru ument, the ere is a te endency to o accep readings without thin pt w nking about t their accuracy. Even with the most h t expen nsive equip pment and under ideal u l cond ditions, eve ery measu urement is s subje to errors and inaccuracies. ect l The precision of an analytical edure is a measure of its s proce repro oducibility, i.e., the dis stribution of f results about th mean or how close he r e sured value are to each other. es e . meas Mon nitoring the precision of analyses s on a day to day basis can be difficult. y . The precision of a method is often a o d funct tion of the smallest measurable e e incre ement, thus the prec s cision may y vary. Also, anal . lytical result can often ts n be at or near the detec a ction limits s maki it difficu or impos ing ult ssible to set t contr rol limits. Accuracy is a quali itative term and refe m fers to the e agree ement of a measured value to the v e true, accepted, or know (correct) wn ) value One appr e. roach used to estimate e the accuracy of a meth o hod is the e analy of know materials ysis wn s. Refer to Figure 1 r The objective of a qualit assuranc e ty ce prog gram for la aboratory t testing is t to redu uce errors in measu urements t to allow wable leve and to provide a els o mea ans of c confirming that th he mea asurements made ha ave a hig gh prob bability of being as ac ccurate as is nece essary. Q Quality as ssurance is com mprised of tw separate but relate wo e ed activ vities: Quality control, w which is th he applicat tion of proc cedures in a repetitiv ve and consisten nt fashion for controll ling the mea asuremen process a nt and its qua ality so it satisfies th recipients t he needs, a and Quality assessment the proces t, ss that con nfirms the te esting system m is opera ating within acceptabl n le limits an that the task of qua nd ality con ntrol is bein performe ng ed effective This ne ely. eeds to be a an on-going operation. g Not only does quality assu t urance cove er all laboratory operation but als ns so sam mple collect tion and id dentification n, train ning and oth areas as well. her s Rem member, D DGA is a three ste ep proc cess and each step has to b be perf formed in complian nce with a

rigorous procedure to ensure reliable results. 1- Oil sampling 2- Gas extraction (ASTM D3612) 3- Gas Measurement (GC) Oil sample identification is essential in order to take full advantage of this process to update the database and enable further analysis. Required information: Date & Time Temperature Pressure Serial Number Equipment ID Apparatus type Location Description Manufacturer Rated kV MVA Year manufactured Fluid volume Fluid type Owner DGA is an integral part of Condition Based Maintenance programs. To be successful, it must be adapted to your needs and common mistakes avoided: Analysis intervals are too infrequent Poor sampling techniques Delay in getting samples to the laboratory Delays in getting the results back Poor information submitted to the lab (incomplete) Lack of correct tests Poor interpretation of the tests Failure to integrate with other condition based technologies.

Transformers are all different and every unit has a distinct signature. When a unit is first energized, its important to take an oil sample and perform a DGA to establish a baseline for this unit. Thereafter, DGAs are performed annually or more frequently depending on the criticality and/or the detection of an incipient fault. Historical DGA results should be accessible to calculate trends. Various DGA results interpretation methods are used for condition assessment. The most popular ones are: IEC 60599 Ratios IEEE C57.104, Limits, rates and TDCG Rogers Ratios Key Gas Method Duval Triangle Trend Analysis NEW GUIDELINES FOR INTERPRETATION OF DGA CIGRE Task force 15.01.01,Octr 1999 Companies guidelines More Diagnostic reliability is affected by the accuracy of the DGA measurement results as demonstrated by a study conducted by CIGRE and covered in an article published by Dr. Michel Duval and Dr. Jim Dukarm.. (IEEE August 2005, M. Duval, J. Dukarm, Improving the reliability of transformer in gas-in-oil diagnosis)


lab results can be comp n pared to th he mon nitor readin at least a ngs, annually. Date & Time Monitor model no. r Serial nu umber Transfor rmer ID Location n Recorde readings (all) ed Date Downlo oad data abase fil le (recorde readings and even ed s nt log) Review alarm settin ngs Not When th on-line m te: he monitor has a sam mpling valve the oil sa e, ample shoul ld alwa be take from th valve fo ays en hat or com mparison. Con nclusion DG is the mo importan oil test fo GA ost nt or insu ulating fluid in electric apparatu d cal us as i provides a wealth o diagnosti it of ic info ormation to detect inci ipient faults. As s such, it has become a standard i s in the utility ind dustry thro oughout th he wor rld. Wh hether DGA results a obtaine A are ed m ratory, por rtable DGA A from a labor anal lyzer or o on-line mo onitor, ther re mus be no room for misleadin st ng conc clusions. Lab boratories must be able t e to dem monstrate at all-t time their effec ctiveness in providing precise an n g nd accu urate resu ults. Vari iances an nd inco onsistencies in the resu will lea ults ad to a wrong d diagnostic, corrupt th he DG database and invalid GA e date trendin ng calc culations. A DGA c As can also b be

Rega ardless of the method used, precise u e and accurate DGA results are crucial l to yo decision making pro our ocess. Preci ision and accuracy is also y o impe erative to o enable trending g calcu ulation for early warn ning of all l types of develo s oping faults. Wrong g DGA results will lead to wrong A g diagn nostic and ultimately to wrong g decis sion. Coun nting only on periodi DGA is ic s often not su n ufficient to prevent o t catas strophic failures and the fault t cond dition can ch hange very quickly. q unately, the evol lution of f Fortu techn nology has enabled utilities to s o instal on-line monitors (Ke fault gas ll m ey s or multigas) for all crit m f tical transformers. Furth hermore, ut tilities now w have the possib bility to per rform a lab b preci ision DGA in the field when the d e situat tion is critic cal. When on-line monitoring is used, the m i e samp pling proced dure must be adapted d to en nable valid dation of th readings he s perio odically. In addition to the sample o e information sen to the laboratory, nt , take note of the readings so that the e e

perfo ormed in th field usin portable he ng e gas chromatographs, it is also highly c y impo ortant to o calibra ate these e instru uments reg gularly to ensure their e r preci ision and accuracy, and thus s main ntain results trustworth hiness. In bo cases, th regular use of DGA oth he u A Oil Standards is imperativ as it will S s ve l valid date the in ntegrity of the DGA A proce and dete any dev ess ect viation from m the precision and accuracy objectives. p d o How wever, perio odic oil sam mpling and d DGA performed by a labo A d oratory or a porta able fault ga analyzer will rarely as r y enable early fau detection On-line ult n. e moni itoring is the only method that t m t will provide con p ntinuous info ormation to o detec and moni incipien faults. ct itor nt As with labor ratories an portable nd e analy yzers, data from on-lin monitors ne s must be valida t ated regula arly. It is s there efore highl ly recomm mended to o inclu ude the on n-line moni itor current t readi ing every time an oil sample is t l s collected from the transfor rmer. The e s ould always be taken s n oil sample sho from the instrum ment sampl ling port as s this is the best point for ha i p aving access s to oil representa l ative of the transformer r cond dition. When an alarm is triggere by a key m ed y gas on-line mo onitor, an oil sample e t lected to enable a must be coll diagn nosis, as th values of all fault he o t gases are req s quired to draw any y concl lusion and make the proper d t r decis sion.

Wit on-line m th multi-gas an nalyzers (On nLine DGA M e Monitors), the curren nt prac ctice is also to take an o sample t oil to valid date the ins strument re eadings usin ng a po ortable or la aboratory D DGA. This is som mewhat puzz zling as the purpose of a DG GA monitor is to provide DGA r A resu ults that ca be used to diagnos an se and monitor th evolution of a fault. he One must th e herefore co onclude tha at conf fidence in o on-line DGA results wi A ill only be possi y ible if strin ngent DGA A accu uracy verif fication pr rocesses ar re imp plemented. Only if laboratories, port table GCs and on-lin monitor ne rs cont tinuously m maintain their precisio on and accuracy, will utilitie be able t es to take full advan e ntage of D DGA results, inde ependently o their sour of rce.


1Technical bu ulletin MS-25 Dr James E. Morgan. A guide to the interpretation of f transformer fa data; ault Improving the assessment of transformer t r condition by enhancing labo y oratory accuracy y using dissolved gas in oil standards. Peter r Lazarski, Nat tional Grid Marc Cyr, Morgan n Schaffer (200 Doble Enginee 08 ering Company 75th Annua International Doble Client al t Conference ANSI/I EEE C57.104-1978 - American A National Stan ndard guide) for th detection and he determination of generated gas in oiln ses immersed tran nsformers and the relation to the eir serviceability of the equipment t; Using Dissolv Gas Analysis to Detect Active ved Faults in Oil-I Insulated Electric Equipment cal Lance R. Lew wand Doble Eng gineering IEEE August 2005, M. Du uval, J. Dukarm, Improving the reliability of tra ansformer in gasin-oil diagnos sis.




This technical pap was presented during the T per d NE ETA PowerTest Electrical Mainten E nance & Safety Conference in Washington, DC e on Feb bruary 21st 2011

_____ ___________ ____________ __________

Sale Director Eastern USA and Mexico es E a

Claud Hermann de n

Morgan Schaffer In n nc.

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