You are on page 1of 5


Insulation problems on motors and drives usually are caused by improper installation, environmental contamination, mechanical stress, or age. To calculate and display insulation resistance, testers can apply a direct-current (DC) voltage across an insulation system and measure the resulting current. Typically, the test verifies high insulation resistance between a conductor and ground. Insulation-resistance testing can check coil or winding resistances, heatingelement resistances, thermistor resistance values, and so on. All of these measurements can occur through circuits within the insulators, except when checking for a short to ground. Once a short to ground is detected, a catastrophic failure of the device has occurred, and it is too late for preventive maintenance or proactive remedies. A catastrophic motor failure within a hermetic or semihermetic compressor containing oil and refrigerant at best involves extensive cleanup and at worst requires equipment, rather than component, replacement and results in lost production time and revenues. It is better to check insulation values regularly and record them for comparison during the next visit so that changes are readily apparent


The Insulation Resistance Test consists in measuring the Insulation resistance of a device under test, while phase and neutral are short circuited together. The measured resistance has to be higher than the indicated limit from the international standards. A megohmmeter (also called insulation resistance tester, teraohmmeter) is then used to measure the ohmic value of an insulator under a direct voltage of great stability. To measure a high value resistance, techniques for measuring a low value current are used. A constant voltage source is applied to the resistance to be measured and the resulting current is read on a highly sensitive ammeter circuit that can display the resistance value. Two types of ammeter circuits are used on our range of insulation resistance tester, each circuit being chosen depending on the resistance values to be

measured. INSULATION TEST Its objective is to measure the ohmmic value of the insulation under a direct voltage of great stability, generally 50, 100, 250, 500, or 1000 VDC. The ohmmic value of the insulation resistance is expressed in megohms (M). To conform to specific standards, the insulation resistance test can be performed under voltages up to 1500VDC. Due to the stability of the voltage source, it is possible to adjust the test voltage by steps of 1 volt. The stability of the voltage is critical; a non regulated voltage will drop sharply in presence of a bad insulation which will cause an erroneous measurement. SHUNT AMMETER CIRCUIT The voltmeter input, associated to a resistance, forms the shunt ammeter circuit. This setting allows measuring any value of I, many combinations of sensitivity and values of RI. This circuit is used for current measurement of high values which correspond to resistance measurement of low values (l x l04 to 2.106 ).

FEEDBACK AMMETER CIRCUIT This circuit is the one mostly used on our instruments. It covers the resistance measurement of high values higher than 2.106 . The principle is indicated in the hereunder diagram. The input current flows through the feedback Rc. The low level of offset current of the amplifier negligeably affects the current l.

HIGH VALUE RESISTANCE MEASUREMENT Using a constant voltage source offers the advantage of defining with accuracy the value of voltage used for the measurement.The choice of this voltage is an important parameter Indeed the value of a high resistance depends of the voltage applied to it. Other factors intervene in the high value resistance measurement. Temperature and relative humidity are two important parameters which influence the resistance value of an insulator. We offer on the latest Sefelec model the measurement of these two physical parameters (M1501P). 0n the following table one can find the approximative resistance value of insulating materials.

GUARD CIRCUIT In order to minimize leakage currents, guard connection is given. The guard circuit allows to reduce interferences on the test sample. A terminal accessible on the front panel of our instruments allows the measurement of one of the resistance of a Delta configuration (i.e. a cable with two conductors and its external shielding), so that the result is not affected by the presence of the other two shunt resistances.

* To this effect the guard terminal is close to the potential of the measuring input of the instrument. * The value of Rx, will be defined with great accuracy if the current lx, measured by the megohmmeter's input, is really the current flowing through Rx. * Rp1 : symbolizes the leakage between the high voltage (HV) connections

and ground. * Rp3 - Rp4 : represent the parallel leakage of Rx. If the middle point Rp2Rp4 is connected to the guard, these leakages will not influence the measurement of Rx. * Rp2 : has not influence if the guard is connected to earth.

Electrical and insulation resistance tests on motors 1. Visual inspection First, look for a reason NOT to energize. Remove power from the motor and starter (or drive), following lockout/tagout procedures, and disengage the motor from the load. 2. Control contacts check Next, check the control contacts for quality of contact: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Lockout and tagout the disconnect to the starter. Manually engage the starter, so the contacts close. Set the insulation tester to the low ohms range. Measure the resistance across each set of contacts. The reading should be nearly zero.

3. Resistance of line and load circuits to ground Then, measure the insulation resistance of the line and load circuits to ground. However, before doing ANY insulation resistance testing, you MUST isolate any electronic controls and other devices from the circuit under test. Then: 1. Lockout and tagout the disconnect to the starter. 2. Set the insulation tester to the appropriate test voltage (250, 500 or 1000 V). 3. Identify the resistance between these points: o Line side of starter to ground o Load side of starter to ground

4. Winding resistance phase to phase and phase to ground Take insulation resistance measurements phase to phase and phase to ground. Good results:

Balanced comparative low resistance values on all three stator phases High resistance values on the phase to ground insulation test.


Gross resistance deficiencies, such as a phase on phase short. Any winding to winding resistance...