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A moving-film system for recording high rate-of-rise signals

In the process of performing many staged-system tests, some involving short-circuit currents as high as 45,000 amperes and voltages of 230 kv, the Bonneville Power Administration has developed techniques for recording fast-rise voltages and currents associated with such tests. Various recording systems are described. Of particular interest is a high-speed 35-mm moving-film type of camera capable of recording frequencies above 50 kc

The oldest and most versatile recording device is the light-beam magnetic oscillograph. This device forms the "backbone" of any staged test-recording system. Even with frequency limitations of 3 to 5 kc, this device provides a record which is indispensable for timing and as a rough magnitude check for highfrequency recording devices such as a cathode-ray oscilloscope ( C R O ) . Records obtained from magnetic-type oscillo graphs with bifilar galvanometers, however, may show an overshoot of as much as 20 per cent when fast-rise quantities such as a square wave are re corded. Figure 1 shows the response of D'Arsonval and conventional bifilar-type galvanometers driven by a Tektronix square-wave generator. Note the 19 per cent overshoot for the bifilar type. Recent de velopments in methods of damping and improved galvanometer design indicate that* overshoot can be reduced to ten per cent or less.

of a circuit breaker undergoing a short line or "kilometric" fault test. The problem here is to record a damped sine wave having a frequency of 40 kc or higher which starts at the instant the breaker inter rupts. The time for this interruption may extend over a period of 20 to 30 milliseconds. B P A has used three methods of recording traces appearing on a C R O . The first uses the C R O in its most common mode using a still camera usually of the Polaroid L a n d type with a triggered-sweep and a single-sweep lockout. The C R O sweep may be trig gered by the signal itself (internal) or by an external signal such as the fault current. The second and third methods do not normally use the sweep but instead provide a time base by a moving photographic film either attached to a drum or as a continuously moving film strip.

The basic tool of fast-rise or high-frequency record ing is the C R O . The frequency capabilities of this device extend well above the requirements imposed by most power system tests. The basic problem is to obtain a record with highfrequency definition that covers a period measured in tenths of a second. Let us consider, for example, the problems associated with recording line side voltages
E s s e n t i a l l y f u l l t e x t of c o n f e r e n c e p a p e r C P 6 3 - 1 2 1 9 , r e c o m m e n d e d b y t h e I E E E R e l a y s C o m m i t t e e for p r e s e n t a t i o n at t h e IEEE P a c i f i c A n n u a l M e e t i n g , S p o k a n e . W a s h . , A u g . 2 6 - 2 9 , 1963. R. E. D i e t r i c h , M e m b e r I E E E , a n d S. B o r t n i a k a r e w i t h t h e U. S. D e p a r t m e n t of t h e I n t e r i o r , B o n n e v i l l e P o w e r A d m i n i s t r a t i o n , P o r t l a n d , Ore. T h e a u t h o r s w i s h to a c k n o w l e d g e t h e a s s i s t a n c e of M e r l e L. Solland and W e s l e y Havlik for their precision m a c h i n e w o r k and technical assistance in c o n s t r u c t i n g t h e h i g h - s p e e d c a m e r a s . A c k n o w l e d g e m e n t is a l s o m a d e t o t h e m a n y B F A e n g i n e e r s a n d t e c h n i c i a n s w h o a s s i s t e d i n s o l v i n g m a n y of t h e d e s i g n p r o b l e m s associated w i t h the h i g h - s p e e d camera system.

Fig. 1. A 100-cps square-wave response of D'Arsonval-type galvanometer (lower) and bifilar galvanometer (upper)



Fig. 2. Record of a short line fault. Line voltage with a triggered sweep and Polaroid Land-type Sweep: 20 sec per cm; vertical calibration: 34

obtained camera. kv per cm, rms

Fig. 4. Record obtained from 35-mm moving film showing kilometric fault oscillation (upper trace) and bus recovery voltage (lower trace). Timing for record requires intensity modulation technique. "Bursts' in trace line occur at 1,000 sec rate

Still-Camera Triggered-Sweep Method This meth od, because of its simplicity, is widely used by B P A for laboratory and routine field tests. A record of a kilometric fault obtained by this method using an external trigger derived from fault current is shown in Fig. 2. Although this record is entirely satisfactory, it calls for precise triggering with a consequent risk of loss. In the laboratory the loss of a record is usually of minor concern as the test can usually be duplicated. Field tests, on the other hand, are usually limited and are very difficult to repeat. Loss of a record can seriously limit the interpretation of test results. It would be desirable to have a C R O record which would cover a much longer period of time but still maintain the same sweep speed. Systems using a raster sweep have been satisfactorily used." Such systems require a large C R (cathode ray) tube to get good definition and at best extend the time base by only five or ten times. This would extend the record duration in this case to one or two milliseconds. Rotating Drum Method This method involves a drum covered with photographic film and rotating at high speed, as shown in Fig. 3. The peripheral veloc ity of the drum in this case provides the time base with the circumference of the drum determining the record length. Such a system, if used with a large drum turning at a moderate speed, can provide ac-

ceptable records. The usual mode of operation is to hold the C R tube blanked either electronically or mechanically until the record is started. The drum can be allowed to rotate for one, or two, or as many revolutions as desired before the tube is reblanked. This extends the total recording time but makes read ing records difficult since one or more traces may fall upon one another. B P A has a device capable of re cording six traces (six C R tubes) using six-inch-wide film on a drum whose circumference is about 16 inches. Although satisfactory records have been ob tained with the device, its complexities have limited its use and it is now replaced by the present movingfilm system. Another company uses a special C R O having a three-gun C R tube and a drum camera capable of producing a 56-inch record."^ Film velocities over 3,000 inches per second are obtainable with excellent records. The Moving-Film Method The elements compris ing this system are ( 1 ) a C R O , and ( 2 ) a movingfilm camera. The image on the face of the C R T is focused on a continuously moving strip of film. The normal recording method requires the C R O sweep circuit to be disengaged with the electron beam being deflected only along the vertical axis by the applied voltage. As the film moves continuously behind a shutterless lens, the image of the spot forms a con tinuous line on the film. The record is similar to a normal oscillogram as shown in Fig. 4. This system embraces the desirable features af forded by the C R O (frequency response) and the magnetic oscillograph (long duration e v e n t s ) . It avoids the limitations of the rotating d r u m and the still-camera-triggered sweep systems by supplying a record in which the observed voltage appears as distinct separate measurements during a "long" dura tion event. Less care is required to synchronize the event with the recording device. However, it does not realize all the advantages. Film speeds only permit resolution of frequencies up to 100 kc (well below C R O capacity). The number of quantities to be re1963


Fig. 3. Schematic

of drum








Fig. 6. Schematic of high-speed moving-film camera

Fig. 5. Set-up of tte iiigh-speed

camera showing camera, mounting base, and CRO

corded is limited to one when a single-gun C R O is used, and to two with dual-gun C R O . F o r phenom ena below 100 kc, the use of "chopped" input per mits a maximum of four traces. Nevertheless, this technique provides another record of useful informa tion not available by the other methods. MAGNETIC TAPE RECORDERS The moving-film system, at its inception, was de signed as interim equipment until suitable magnetic tape equipment was available. However, although great strides have been made in tape systems, in the opinion of the authors equipment currently available does not offer sufficient improvements to justify the high first cost. Present stock equipment has a frequency response of 20 cps to 500 kc on direct record and zero ( d - c ) to 20 kc on an F M mode. Since most records require response to d-c, F M must be used, making the cost per channel very high. B P A plans to evaluate the systems now available for determination of the requirements necessary to adapt a stock machine for field use. The following are some suggested improvements: 1. Frequency response on F M should be extended to 50 kc or higher. 2. Signal-to-noise ratio, comparable to C R O . 3. Improvement in loss of record due to tape imperfections or dropouts. 4. Better techniques for obtaining isolation b e tween channels such as differential input with high common mode rejection or chopping techniques. The BPA's Moving-Film Method Measurements in the field have been successfully made by B P A per sonnel using a Tektronix type-551 dual-beam C R O and a camera designed and constructed by B P A . A typical setup of the camera and C R O is shown in

Fig. 5. The camera is basically a simple device in which the film is moved from one precision spool to another past the lens as shown schematically in Fig. 6. A curved shoe and roller assembly between the spools holds the film in alignment with respect to the lens. The C R O and camera share a rigid mounting base which prevents physical disturbances (such as vibration) from influencing the record. The lens has a 3-inch focal length with a speed of / - 2 , with the assembly adjustable for various optical ratios. The film used is 35-mm E a s t m a n Kodak Tri-X negative film ( A S A 3 5 0 ) supplied on standard 100-foot camera spools. Development and processing follows normal recommended procedures. Intensity settings on the C R T are moderate, producing dense and ac ceptable traces. T h e optical ratio is 0.4, reducing 6 cm on the C R O screen to 2.5 cm on the film. It must be noted that C R O traces recorded on

() Fig. 7. Comparison of records obtained with (A) conven tional P-IJ CR tube; and (B) short persistence P-15 CR tube. Recording frequency 15 kc with a S-yisec timing pulse. Film speed 95 fps




Fig. 8. curves for

Acceleration moving-film camera



90 80



70 60



50 40



30 20 10



200 240

Fig. 9. Film velocity vs. driving-motor open-cir cuit voltage for movingfilm camera







tory spool onto the precision supply spool within the camera. Threading through the guide assembly and fastening the film to the precision take-up spool com pletes the loading operation. T h e motor switch is armed and the event is initiated. When the shot is complete, the film is rewound on the original stock spool and submitted for processing. Because of the hazards of the moving parts at the high speeds, an interlock switch on the cover is p r o vided which prevents operation of the camera during loading and unloading. A n "end-of-film" switch stops the motor when the end of the film has passed through the guide shoe. Guards are placed on ex posed rotating parts and a disengagement feature on the manual rewind gear is used. A welded aluminum case provides a strong housing to confine possible broken parts. A film velocity of 3,000 ips appears to approach an optimum for this kind of recording. A n increase in speed will increase frequency resolution beyond 100 kc but will also shorten the duration of the event that can be recorded on 100 feet of film. Introduced at the higher speeds are mechanical problems that are not readily resolved. Motor horsepower require ments appear to vary with the square of the film

moving film in this fashion are subject to an u n desirable effect. Film sensitivity combined with per sistence of the phosphor produces a "smear" which blurs the record. C R T persistence is normally an asset in still-film methods, but this is not the case when the film is moving. It is surprising to note the increase in sharpness of trace that results when a P-15 phosphor C R T , (1.5-sec persistence) replaces a P-11 (50-sec persistence). F o r comparison, see Fig. 7, where the loss of contrast of the P-11 tube is very evident. A t high film speeds, even the persist ence of the P-15 C R T becomes a limiting factor. The film is accelerated to its recording velocity by a 1-hp series-type motor directly connected to the take-up spool. The desired velocity is obtained by varying the applied voltage to the motor. Film veloci ties of 3,000 inches per second (ips) are obtained with 2 0 0 per cent rated voltage on the motor. As shown in Fig. 9 the film reaches 95 per cent final velocity in the first 60 feet, leaving 4 0 feet of film for recording the event. Laboratory checks have shown the ac celeration characteristics are independent of motor voltage. At 3,000 ips, approximately ten cycles of a 60 cps quantity may be recorded on the remaining 40 feet. Naturally, slower speeds permit a longer record. It is also possible to introduce the event earlier on the film length as 5 0 per cent of final velocity is reached in the first ten feet. Curves show ing camera characteristics are shown in Figs. 8 and 9. Most of B P A transient studies have required max imum speeds.^ Since the film speed is not constant, a time base must be established by the use of timing pulses on one of the traces or by intensity modulation of the C R T . Intensity modulation permits all traces to be available for signal measurement; its circuit is shown in Fig. 10. Operation of the camera is as simple as the design indicates in Fig. 6. T h e film is wound from the fac 736

S Q U A R E W A V E j B E N E R A T O R

100 V, 4 MICROSECOND PULSES nru, 680 M M f ^

I IN 303


Q H Il/ 0.1

C R Y S T A L C O N T T O L L E D O S a L L A T O R

Vig. 10. Intensity

circuit used with high-speed moving-film system


velocity. The records to date provide adequate in formation, and no basic design improvements are contemplated. Several interesting applications of the system have been studied with the use of the C R O sweep in com bination with the film motion: 1. An external trigger can be used to start the sweep at predetermined intervals during the test such as at each fault current zero. With the film motion opposite to the sweep, the apparent film velocity will be the sum of the sweep velocity and the film veloc ity. This mode of operation is limited in application but lends itself nicely to the short line fault applica tion described earlier. Though tested in the labora tory, it has not yet been used in the field. The C R O sweep can be used with film motion normal ( 9 0 degrees) to the horizontal axis of the C R O . With the sweep "free running," i.e., not trig gered, and the film direction normal to the sweep, the resultant velocity of the record will be the vector sum of the two velocities. The record will then be distorted since the two axestime and the recorded quantityare not normal to one another. Scaling is very difficult and requires a zero line since the edge of the film cannot be used as a reference. Also a short portion (about 3 sec) of the record is lost each time the sweep retraces. An example of this technique is shown in Fig. 11. The record was taken with another camera with a P-11 C R tube, and prior to the development of the present equipment. Because of the characteristic skew of the record, it was dubbed the "barber pole" technique. At present, B P A has described two of the high speed cameras used to obtain approximately 200 records of switching surge voltages and short line fault voltages. Except for minor improvements to facilitate removal of broken film chips, the cameras are as designed with the original motors still in use. The records obtained are satisfactory but have their limitations, particularly in the scaling of records. An automatic switching circuit which would insert a calibrating voltage at the start and end of the record would be an asset. The motors, running at 200 per cent voltage, draw high currents making low-impedance sourpes neces-




Fig. //. "Barher pole" oscillogram combing CRT sweep with moving film. Traces 1 and 2 formed with 100-kc rate chopped inputs. Trace I provides the reference for traces 2 and 3. Trace 3 is a 50-kc sine wave for timing. Resultant sweep velocity is approximately 200 fps. Film velocity is approximately 80 fps

sary. The C R O power source must be isolated from the motor source to prevent the voltage dips during motor starting from affecting C R O operation.

Of the various recording devices available, the mag netic oscillograph, even with its frequency response limitations, is the basic recording device for field testing. The C R O , with frequency response, requires the use of a rotating drum or moving-film camera to cover the entire lapsed time of a field test. The moving-film camera developed by B P A pro vides a means of recording two to four quantities with a frequency resolution up to 100 kc. Using special techniques combining C R O sweep on film velocity, the maximum capabilities of the C R O can be approached.

1. F i e l d S w i t c h i n g S u r g e I n s t r u m e n t a t i o n a n d R e s u l t s of T w o S t e p S w i t c h i n g T e s t s C o n d u c t e d b y B P A , D . A . G i l l i e s , H. C. R a m b e r g , R. E . D i e t r i c h , F . G. S c h a u f e l h e r g e r . I E E E Transactions on Power Apparatus and Systems, v o l . 82, 1963, p a p e r 63-942. 2. A n o s c i l l o g r a p h f o r R e c o r d i n g W. G. H o o v e r . A I E E Transactions, Transient Recovery Voltages, v o l . 65, 1946, p p . 1086-91.

3. E f f e c t of P r e c e d i n g B i a s o n S w i t c h i n g S u r g e O p e r a t i o n of S p i l l G a p s a n d L i g h t n i n g A r r e s t e r s , A . K l o p f e n s t e i n , . York, J. W . K a l b . A I E E Transactions, pt. I l l (Power Apparatus and Systems), v o l . 81, A u g . 1962, p p . 3 2 0 - 2 7 .