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# Mesurement Of High

Voltages
& High Currents
Unit 4

Techniques

Sphere Gaps
Applicatios:

## Voltage Measurement (Peak) - Peak values of voltages may be measured from 2 kV up to

about 2500 kV by means of spheres.

Arrangements:

1.

## Vertically with lower sphere grounded (For Higher Voltages)

2.

Horizontally with both spheres connected to the source voltage or one sphere grounded (For
Lower Voltages).

Sphere Gaps

The arrangement is selected based on the relation between the peak voltage,
determined by sparkover between the spheres, and the reading of a voltmeter on the
primary or input side of the high-voltage source. This relation should be within 3%
(IEC, 1973).

Standard values of sphere diameter are 6.25, 12.5, 25, 50, 75, 100, 150, and 200 cm.

sphere gaps

Sphere Gaps

3%.

voltage.

## Breakdown Voltage under normal atmospheric conditions is, Vs=kVn where k is a

factor related to the relative air density (RAD) .

## The relation between the RAD() and the correction factor k:

Under impulse voltages, the voltage at which there is a 50% breakdown probability
is recognized as the breakdown level.

Sphere Gaps
Factors Influencing the Sparkover Voltage of Sphere Gaps

i.

ii.

iii.

iv.

## Polarity and rise time of voltage waveforms.

The limits of accuracy are dependant on the ratio of the spacing d to the sphere
diameter D, as follows:

d < 0.5 D

Accuracy = 3 %

## 0.75 D > d > 0.5 D

Accuracy = 5 %

For accurate measurement purposes, gap distances in excess of 0.75D are not used

Microammeter

Resistance (R) :

## Constructed with large wire wound

Value: Few hundreds of Mega ohms Selected to give (1-10A) for FSD.
Voltage drop in each element is chosen to avoid surface flashovers and discharges
(5kV/cm in air, 20kV/cm in oil is allowed)
Provided with corona free terminals.
Material: Carbon alloy with temperature coefficient of 10 -4/oC .
Resistance chain located in air tight oil filled PVC tube for 100kV operation with good
temp stability.

Mircoammeter MC type

## Voltage of source, V=IR

Impedance of the meter is few ohms. i.e, very less compared to R so the drop
across the meter is negligible.

Protection: Paper gap, Neon Glow tube, a zener diode with series resistance
Gives protection when R fails.
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Microammeter

Limitations:

## Measurement Of High Dc Voltage

Series resistance micrometer
Resistance potential divider
Generating voltmeter
Sphere and other gaps

## Current through R is measured using micrometer.

Voltage of source, V = IR

## The resistance is constructed from a large no. of wire

wound resistors in series.

## Can be operated upto 500kV (D.C)

Accuracy =0.2%

Selection of R value:

## Current allowed: 1 to 10A

Corona free termination

## Placed in airtight, oil filled PVC tube to maintain temp.

stability

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RESISTANCE POTENTIAL
DIVIDER

## Can be placed near the test object which might not

always be confined to one location

## Let, V2-Voltage across R2

V2 V1X

R2
(R1 R2 )

Highvoltagemagnitude,
V1 V2X

(R1 R2 )
R2

## Sudden voltage changes during transients due to:

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Switching operation
Flashover of test objects
Damage due to stray capacitance across the elements & ground
capacitance

GENERATING VOLTMETER

direct connection is to be avoided.

## Generating voltmeter: A variable

electrostatic voltage generator.

measurement

## This arrangement provides loss free measurement of

DC and AC voltages

## It is driven by synch. motor, so doesnt observe

power from the voltage measuring source

## The high voltage electrode and the grounded

electrode in fact constitute a capacitance system.

## The capacitance is a function of time as the area A

varies with time and, therefore, the charge q(t) is
given as,
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capacitor

GENERATING VOLTMETER
and,
For d.c. Voltages,
Hence
If the capacitance varies linearly with time and reaches its peak value C m is time Tc /2 and
again reduces to zero linearly in time Tc /2, the capacitance is given as
If the capacitance C varies sinusoidally between the limits C 0 and (C0 + Cm) then
C = C0 + Cm sin t
and the current i' is then given as, i(t) = im cos t , where im = VCm
Here is the angular frequency of variation of the capacitance.
Generally the current is rectified and measured by a moving coil meter
Generating voltmeters can be used for a.c. voltage measurement also provided the
angular frequency is the same or equal to half that of the voltage being measured.
Above fig. shows the variations of C as a function of time together with a.c. voltage, the
frequency of which is twice the frequency of C (t).
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Generating Voltmeter

## Since fv = 2fc and fc = 60/n we obtain,

I(t) = n/30 CmV(t)

## Fig. shows a schematic diagram of a generating voltmeter

which employs rotating vanes for variation of capacitance

## High voltage electrode is connected to a disc electrode D3

which is kept at a fixed distance on the axis of the other
low voltage electrodes D2, D1, and D0.

## The rotor D0 is driven at a suitable constant speed by a synchronous motor.

Rotor vanes of D0 cause periodic change in capacitance between the insulated disc D 2 and the
high voltage electrode D3.

Number and shape of vanes are so designed that a suitable variation of capacitance (sinusodial
or linear) is achieved.
The a.c. current is rectified and is measured using moving coil meters. If the current is small an
amplifier may be used before the current is measured.

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Generating Voltmeter

Generating voltmeters are linear scale instruments and applicable over a wide range of
voltages.

The sensitivity can be increased by increasing the area of the pick up electrode and by using
amplifier circuits

i.

ii.

iii.

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## no direct connection to the high voltage electrode.

Measurement Of High Ac
Voltage

Electrostatic voltmeter
Series impedance voltmeter
Potential dividers : Resistance or Capacitance type
Potential transformers : Electromagnetic or CVT
Sphere gaps

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Electrostatic Voltmeter

## One of the direct methods of measuring high

voltages is by means of electro-static voltmeters.

## For voltages above 10 kV, generally the attracted

disc type of electrostatic voltmeter is used.

## When two parallel conducting plates (cross

section area A and spacing s) are charged q and
have a potential difference V, then the energy
stored in the is given by

1
1
W CV 2 dW V 2 dC F ds
2
2
1
dC
Force, F V 2
Newton
2
ds
For uniform field capacitance, C

A
dC
A

2
s
ds
s

1 V2
F A 2 Newton
2 s

It is thus seen that the force of attraction is proportional to the square of the potential difference
applied, so that the meter reads the square value (or can be marked to read the rms value).
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Electrostatic Voltmeter

Electrostatic voltmeters of the attracted disc type may be connected across the high
voltage circuit directly to measure up to about 200 kV, without the use of any
potential divider or other reduction method. [The force in these electrostatic
instruments can be used to measure both a.c. and d.c. voltages].

## The right hand electrode forms the high voltage plate.

The centre portion of the left hand disc is cut away and encloses a small disc which
is movable and is geared to the pointer of the instrument.

The range of the instrument can be altered by setting the right hand disc at premarked distances.

The force of attraction F(t) created by the applied voltage causes the movable partto which a mirror is attached-to assume a position at which a balance of forces takes
place.

An incident light beam will therefore be reflected toward a scale calibrated to read
the applied voltage magnitude.

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Electrostatic Voltmeter

i.

ii.

iii.

## Voltage source loading is limited to the reactive power needed to

charge the system capacitance.(i.e., For 1V VoltmeterCapacitance is few Pico farad)

iv.

i.

## For constant distance s, F V2, the sensitivity is small. This can

be overcome by varying the gap distance d in appropriate steps.

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## Series Impedance Voltmeter

For power frequency a.c. measurements the series impedance may be a pure
resistance or a reactance.

## But use of resistances yields the followings,

Power losses

Temperature problem

resistance.

## resistance gives rise to an impedance different from its ohmic

High resistance units for high voltages have stray capacitances and hence a unit
resistance will have an equivalent circuit as shown in Fig.

At any frequency of the a.c. voltage, R+jXL is connected in parallel with jXC.
R jL 1
R jL
jC
Z

2
1
1

LC jCR
R jL
jC
Since, 2 LC jCR,
Z
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R jL
1 jCR

## Series Impedance Voltmeter

Z

jL 1 jCR

1 jCR 1 jCR

R jL jCR 2 2 LCR
Z
1 2C 2 R 2

L

Z R jL jCR 2 R 1 j
CR
R

CR
R

## Extended Series Resistance neglecting inductance is shown in figures.

Resistor unit then has to be taken as a transmission line equivalent, for calculating
the effective resistance.

Ground or stray capacitance of each element influences the current flowing in the
unit, and the indication of the meter results in an error.

## Stray ground capacitance effects can be removed by shielding the resistor R by a

second surrounding spiral RS which shunts the actual resistor but does not
contribute to the current through the instrument.

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## Series Impedance Voltmeter

By tuning the resistors Ra the shielding resistor end potentials may be adjusted with
respect to the actual measuring resistor so that the resulting compensation currents
between the shield and the measuring resistors provide a minimum phase angle.

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## To avoid the drawbacks pointed out Series impedance voltmeter, a series

capacitor is used instead of a resistor for a.c. high voltage measurements.

## Vrms V12 V22 Vn2

where V1,V2 ,... ,Vn represent the rms value of the fundamental, second... and n th
harmonics.

## The currents due to these harmonics are

I1=CV1 , I2=2CV2 , In=nCVn

## I rms C V12 2V2 nVn

2

With a 10% fifth harmonic only, the current is 11.2% higher, and hence the
error is 11.2% in the voltage measurement

Not recommended when a.c. voltages are not pure sinusoidal waves but contain
considerable harmonics.

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## Series Capacitance Voltmeter

A rectifier ammeter was used as an indicating instrument and was directly calibrated
in high voltage rms value.

The meter was usually a (0-100)A moving coil meter and the over all error was

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Types:

## Series Capacitance Peak Voltmeter (Chubb-Frotscue Method)

Digital Peak Voltmeter

## Peak Voltmeter with potential divider

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Chubb Frotscue Method:

## Chubb and Fortescue suggested a simple and accurate

method of measuring peak value of a.c. voltages.

## The basic circuit consists of a standard capacitor, two diodes

and a current integrating ammeter (MC ammeter) as shown
in Fig. 4.11 (a).

## The displacement current i c(t), Fig. 4.12 is given by the rate

of change of the charge and hence the voltage V(t) to be
measured flows through the high voltage capacitor C and is
subdivided into positive and negative components by the
back to back connected diodes

The voltage drop across these diodes can be neglected (1 V for Si diodes) as compared with
the voltage to be measured
The measuring instrument (M.C. ammeter) is included in one of the branches. The ammeter
reads the mean value of the current,

An increased current would be obtained if the current reaches zero more than once during
one half cycle
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(Chubb Frotscue Method Continued)

This means the wave shapes of the voltage would contain more than one maxima per half cycle.

The standard a.c. voltages for testing should not contain any harmonics and, therefore, there could
be very short and rapid voltages caused by the heavy predischarges, within the test circuit which
could introduce errors in measurements.

To eliminate this problem filtering of a.c. voltage is carried out by introducing a damping resistor
in between the capacitor and the diode circuit, Fig. 4.11 (b).

The measurement of symmetrical a.c. voltages using Chubb and Fortescue method is quite
accurate and it can be used for calibration of other peak voltage measuring devices.

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Digital Peak Voltmeter:

In contrast to the method discussed just now, the rectified current is not
measured directly, instead a proportional analog voltage signal is derived
which is then converted into a proportional medium frequency for using a
voltage to frequency convertor (Block A in Fig. 4.13).

The frequency ratio fm/f is measured with a gate circuit controlled by the a.c.
power frequency (supply frequency f) and a counter that opens for an
adjustable number of period t = p/f. The number of cycles n counted during
this interval is

## where p is a constant of the instrument.

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Digital Peak Voltmeter continued.
Voltageto frequency

fm
fm
A

convertion
factor
Rim R 2Vm f C

im RectifiedCurrentthroughR

fm
1

f 2RVm C

f
i.e., m 2Vm CR A
f
Therefore,
n 2Vm CR AP
im

Vm
Vm2 f C
XC

i.e.,im proportio
nalto 2Vm f C

## By proper selection of R and P, Voltage can be measured

immediately.
Accuracy is less than 0.35%

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Peak voltmeter with Potential divider:

V2 is reduced

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## Measurement of High Currents

Type of Current

Method used

D.C Current

1. Resistant shunt
2. Hall Generator

technique

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

## Cathode Ray Oscilloscope

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Resistive shunts
Magnetic potentiometers or probes
Hall generators

Hall Generators

## Hall effect is used to measure very

high direct current.
Whenever electric current flows
through a metal plate placed in a
magnetic field perpendicular to it,
Lorenz force will deflect the electrons
in the metal structure in a direction
perpendicular to the direction of both
the magnetic field and the flow of
current.
The change in displacement generates
an e.m.f called Hall Voltage
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Hall Generators

Hall Voltage,VH

BI
d

BI
VH R
d
where, B-Magnetic Flux density
I-Current
d-Thickness of the metal plate
R-Hall Coefficient (depends on Material of
the plate & temperature)
R is small for metals and High for
semiconductors
When large d.c. currents are to be measured the current

circuit
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Hall Generators

## The magnetic field intensity produced by the conductor in the

air gap at a depth d is given by,
1
H
2d

The Hall element is placed in the air gap and a small constant
d.c. current is passed through the element.
The voltage developed across the Hall element is measured and
by using the expression for Hall voltage the flux density B is
calculated and hence the value of current I is obtained.

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Method

## These methods of current measurement use the rotation of the plane

of polarisation in materials by the magnetic field which is
proportional to the current (Faraday effect).
When a linearly polarised light beam passes through a transparent
crystal in the presence of a magnetic field, the plane of polarisation
of the light beam undergoes rotation. The angle of rotation is given
by,
= Bl
where,
= A constant of the cyrstal which is a function of the wave length of the
light.
B = Magnetic flux density due to the current to be measured in this case.
l = Length of the crystal.
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Method

## Fig. shows a schematic diagram of Magneto-optic method.

Crystal C is placed parallel to the magnetic field produced by the current to
be measured.
A beam of light from a stabilised light source is made incident on the
crystal C after it is passed through the polariser P1.
The light beam undergoes rotation of its plane of polarisation.
After the beam passes through the analyser P2, the beamis focussed on a
photomultiplier, the output of which is fed to a CRO.
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## Faraday Generator or Magneto Optic

Method

The filter F allows only the monochromatic light to pass through it.
Photoluminescent diodes too, the momentary light emission of which is
proportional to the current flowing through them, can be used for
current measurement.
1.
2.
3.

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It provides isolation of the measuring set up from the main current circuit.
As the signal transmission is through an optical system no insulation problem
is faced. However, this device does not operate for D.C current.

## If the current to be measured is flowing through a conductor which is

surrounded by a coil as shown in Fig.

and M is the mutual inductance between the coil and the conductor, the
voltage across the coil terminals will be:
di
dt
Usually the coil is wound on a non-magnetic former in the form of a
toroid and has a large number of turns, to have sufficient voltage
induced which could be recorded.
v(t) M

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## The coil is wound cross-cross to reduce the leakage inductance.

If N is the number of turns of the coil, A the coil area and lm its mean
length, the mutual inductance is given by
NA
M 0
lm
Usually an integrating circuit RC is employed as shown in Fig to obtain
the output voltage proportional to the current to be measured. The
output voltage is given by
t

1
1
di
M
M
v0 (t)
v(t)dt

dt

di

i(t)

RC 0
RC
dt
RC
RC

The frequency response of the Rogowski coil is flat upto 100 MHz but
beyond that it is affected by the stray electric and magnetic fields and
also by the skin effect.
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Resistive Shunt

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Extended series
impedance with
inductance
neglected

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## SERIES CAPACITOR PEAK

VOLTMETER
C capacitor
D1,D2 Diodes
OP Protective devices
I indicating meter
V(t) voltage waveform
Ic(t) capacitor current
waveform
T period
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Ub = kd Ub0

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SPHERE GAPS

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measurement

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## MEASUREMENT OF HIGH DIRECT CURRENTS

HALL GENERATORS FOR D.C CURRENT MEASUREMENTS

## Hall effect principle is used.If an electric current flows through a metal

plate located in a magnetic field perpendicular to it,Lorenz forces will
deflect the electrons in the metal structure in a direction normal to the
direction of both the current and magnetic field.

voltage).

VH=RBi/d

H=I/

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## MEASUREMENT OF HIGH POWER FREQUENCY

ALTERNATING CURRENTS

## A voltage signal proportional to the measuring current is generated and it is

transmitted to the ground side through electro optical device.

## Light pulses proportional to the voltage signal are transmitted by a glass

optical fibre bundle to a photo detector and converted back into an analog
voltage signal.

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SPHERE GAP

The sphere gap method of measuring high voltage is the most reliable and is used as the
standard for calibration purposes.

breakdown strength of a gas depends on the ionisation of the gas molecules, and on the density
of the gas.

As such, the breakdown voltage varies with the gap spacing; and for a uniform field gap, a high
consistency could be obtained, so that the sphere gap is very useful as a measuring device.

In the measuring device, two metal spheres are used, separated by a gas-gap. The potential
difference between the spheres is raised until a spark passes between them.

The breakdown strength of a gas depends on the size of the spheres, their distance apart and a
number of other factors.

A spark gap may be used for the determination of the peak value of a voltage wave, and for the
checking and calibrating of voltmeters and other voltage measuring devices.

The density of the gas (generally air) affects the spark-over voltage for a given gap setting.

Thus the correction for any air density change must be made. The air density correction factor
must be used.

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SPHERE GAP

The spark over voltage for a given gap setting under the standard conditions (760
torr pressure and at 20oC) must be multiplied by the correction factor to obtain the
actual spark-over voltage.

## The breakdown voltage of the sphere gap (Figure:a) is almost independent of

humidity of the atmosphere, but the presence of dew on the surface lowers the
breakdown voltage and hence invalidates the calibrations.

## Figure. a:- Measuring spheres

The breakdown voltage characteristic (figure 6.3) has been determined for similar
pairs of spheres (diameters 62.5 mm, 125 mm, 250 mm, 500 mm, 1 m and 2 m)

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SPHERE GAP

## In sphere gaps used in measurement, to obtain high accuracy, the

minimum clearance to be maintained between the spheres and the
neighbouring bodies and the diameter of shafts are also specified, since
these also affect the accuracy (Figure:d).

spheres.

## Peak values of voltages may be measured from 2 kV up to about 2500

kV by means of spheres.

One sphere may be earthed with the other being the high voltage
electrode, or both may be supplied with equal positive and negative
voltages with respect to earth (symmetrical gap).

## Needle gaps may also be used in the measurement of voltages up to

about 50 kV, but errors are caused by the variation of the sharpness of
the needle gaps, and by the corona forming at the points before the gap
actually sparks over.

## Also the effect of the variation of the humidity of the atmosphere on

such gaps is much greater.

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## Figure. d: Sphere gap

When the gap distance is increased, the uniform field between the spheres becomes
distorted, and accuracy falls.

The limits of accuracy are dependant on the ratio of the spacing d to the sphere
diameter D, as follows:

d < 0.5 D

Accuracy = 3 %

## 0.75 D > d > 0.5 D

Accuracy = 5 %

For accurate measurement purposes, gap distances in excess of 0.75D are not used

## Breakdown voltage characteristic is also dependant on the polarity of the high

voltage sphere in the case of asymmetrical gaps, in a symmetrical gap, then the
polarity has no effect.

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