There are at least four different types of transformers in a substation, which operate at different temperatures, depending on their functions and load requirements.
These devices switch from one contact point to another several times in a day. This is the most likely piece of equipment to explode in a substation when personnel are in the station, switching loads. Because the contact point is inside of the tank of the regulator, it is very important to carefully inspect this piece of equipment and record the readings. The heat could be coming from several inches inside the tank and since it is surrounded by gallons of oil, a slight rise in temperature could be a serious problem. An accurate record must been kept of the findings during maintenance of regulators, especially ones that have been found to have high temperatures. Some manufacturers of regulators have placed copper and aluminum wire in the same connector. These regulators have a high rate of failure and have caused millions of dollars in damage. When sub-stations are inspected, this equipment should be compared to the model of equipment known to have this condition and reported.
Switching devices allow the operator to control the functions of the substation. They protect some of the components, i.e., the ACI is present to protect the power transformer. Bypass and transfer switches are mechanically operated types of switches that need adjustment for several reasons. The temperature pattern and measurements on these switches will indicate what kind of adjustments are needed and when. Many times simply operating the switch will remove the problem by realigning itself and or cleaning surface corrosion. This type of maintenance is very effective on hook stick switches.
Because they are smaller, lower to the ground, and often run through populated areas, than high voltage transmission lines and are much more difficult to see against all the thermal clutter on the ground such as trees, street lights, people, animals, etc., than transmission lines. Detecting electrical faults on high voltage electrical distribution lines can be accomplished rapidly from ground-based driving scanning vehicles.
ElectricIR thermographers can help your utility by scanning the lines and substations quickly from one of our fully-equipped scanning vehicles. Therefore, they are best scanned from ground-based vehicles.
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