“The tools that electrical contractors choose to detect partial discharges can also lead to misunderstandings about the effectiveness of partial discharge identification. For example, partial discharges emit ultrasonic waves constantly at a frequency of 40 kHz, which is the only frequency range for many acoustic imaging devices, and while these devices may be useful in some cases, in most cases the choice of these devices can significantly impair detection sensitivity. For example, when working over long distances (such as outdoor substations), using a wider frequency range (10 kHz-30 kHz) can yield better results.
The tools that electrical contractors choose to detect partial discharges can also lead to misunderstandings about the effectiveness of partial discharge identification. For example, partial discharges emit ultrasonic waves constantly at a frequency of 40 kHz, which is the only frequency range for many acoustic imaging devices, and while these devices may be useful in some cases, in most cases the choice of these devices can significantly impair detection sensitivity. For example, when working over long distances (such as outdoor substations), using a wider frequency range (10 kHz-30 kHz) can yield better results.
With an acoustic imager like the FLIR Si124, utilities can analyze partial discharge patterns, prioritize repairs, and conduct non-contact inspections safely and quickly with automatic leakage cost estimation and discharge type classification tools.
At present, acoustic imaging has rapidly developed into an indispensable technology for maintaining the normal operation of power supply infrastructure. More and more condition monitoring managers are adding an audiovisual camera like the FLIR Si124 to their toolbox. Such equipment can quickly and easily identify problems, reduce maintenance costs, reduce unplanned downtime, and provide a quick return on investment.
Using the Acoustic Imager, it can be very intelligently de-noised: partial discharges produce a wide-band sound, the frequency range extending from audible to inaudible or ultrasonic. In addition, detection work is rarely carried out in quiet places. Instead, detection equipment must contend with background noise from industrial facilities or outdoor locations such as near highways or airports. A smarter acoustic imager (FLIR Si124) can identify and filter out interference and background noise, ultimately finding the culprit behind partial discharge.
Using artificial intelligence and cloud computing for partial discharge diagnosis
There are several different types of partial discharge, depending on the location and pulse pattern of the discharge.
Surface discharges occur at the boundaries of different insulating materials, and surface discharges can occur in many different locations, including bushings, cable terminations, or overheated generator windings.
Example of Surface Discharge Mode
When there are suspended conductors in high-voltage equipment (such as separated by spacers), floating discharges may occur, and floating discharges are considered to be the most common type of partial discharge.
Example of Suspension Discharge Mode
The air that acts as an insulating material around a conductor (such as a power transmission line) will lose some of its insulating ability in high humidity or polluted environments, and air discharge will occur. This causes current to enter the air, further degrading the air quality in the vicinity and the performance of the wire.
Example of positive and negative corona discharge patterns: positive corona on the left, negative corona on the right
Analyzing acoustic images can require some training and learning, especially when it comes to understanding the different types of partial discharges. Understanding the problem and its severity can lead to better reports, repair recommendations, and more informed follow-up.
The FLIR Si124 Acoustic Imager uses artificial intelligence algorithms to analyze partial discharges to help electrical contractors. Users can upload acoustic images to the FLIR Acoustic Camera Viewer cloud service, which automatically compares these images to thousands of partial discharge images.
Advanced artificial intelligence services help reduce errors and speed up report production, becoming a key advantage for clients’ inspection operations. The ease-of-use feature also helps bring more workers into the acoustic imaging inspection team for condition monitoring or preventive maintenance.
Acoustic imager key detection area
For areas prone to partial discharge, mainly include:
★ Conductors and busbars
★ Transmission and distribution equipment
★ Stator, motor and coil
The ability of acoustic imaging to detect ultrasonic waves has become an effective method used by utility organizations to determine the presence of partial discharges. It enables professionals to perform more routine preventive maintenance, helping to provide critical initial warnings of impending electrical failures that can cause critical system downtime. Therefore, electrical suppliers must keep pace with the times and choose more effective and faster tools to detect partial discharges in electrical equipment.
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