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2212 F. P. Mohamed et al.

: Partial Discharge Location in Power Cables using a Double Ended Method Based on Time Triggering

1070-9878/13/$25.00 2013 IEEE
Partial Discharge Location in Power Cables using a Double
Ended Method Based on Time Triggering with GPS

F. P. Mohamed, W. H. Siew, J. J. Soraghan, S. M. Strachan
University of Strathclyde
Dept of EEE, Institute for Energy and Environment
Glasgow, United Kingdom

and J. McWilliam
SP Energy Networks,
United Kingdom

Partial discharge (PD) diagnostics is the most widely used tool to assess the
insulation condition of insulated power cables which facilitates informed
maintenance planning leading to extended service life of ageing assets. Time
domain reflectometry (TDR) using a single ended or double ended approach is the
most widely used method for locating PD sources. The success of the single ended
method is dependent upon cable network design. However, by monitoring PDs at
both ends of the cable, i.e. double-ended PD monitoring, higher accuracy of PD
location can be achieved with a higher success rate. The double ended method is
not widely used due to its complex system design, time synchronization and
communication requirement between measurement units. This paper proposes a
double ended PD location system which triggers on the predefined one pulse per
second (1PPS) signal obtained from a global positioning systems (GPS) using
novel time based triggering logic (TBTL) implemented in field programmable
gate arrays (FPGA). This system ignores non-useable (not synchronized) data
caused by flywheel 1PPS from GPS receiver due to any short-term loss of satellite
signals which eventually reduces the PD location accuracy. Furthermore TBTL
also ignores spurious triggering pulses radiated from noise sources within the
substation. With the use of a communication link between two ends of the cable
provided via mobile broadband together with TBTL, eliminated the acquisition of
non-useable(not synchronized) data. Based on laboratory tests and on-site
measurements PD location accuracy of less than 10 m can be achieved. The
system design, laboratory tests and on-site measurements are discussed.
Index Terms Partial discharges, time domain reflectometry, time synchronization.

POWER transmission and distribution is achieved using
a network of overhead lines and underground cables.
Underground cable circuit designs vary in age, voltage and
capacity. Much of the existing medium voltage (11 to 33
kV) underground cable network comprises paper insulated,
mass impregnated, lead sheathed cables which have been in
operation since the latter part of the 19
century. At this
stage, informed condition-based maintenance planning
through on-line condition monitoring offers an effective
method of avoiding forced outages, thus extends the service
life of this ageing asset base and avoiding the need for
unaffordable and wholesale cable replacement. The purpose
of on-line condition monitoring of cables or any electrical
equipment is to predict possible failures before they actually
occur. Those assets which are on the verge of failure can
then be replaced or repaired, thereby reducing the forced
outages. The main business driver in the development of
condition based maintenance technologies is the UK
regulatory incentive, which requires all electricity utility
companies to continuously improve network performance to
operate the network more effectively and to reduce
operational costs. This necessitates the need for informed
condition-based maintenance planning through on-line
condition monitoring [1, 2]. Partial discharge (PD)
monitoring is the most widely used on-line condition
monitoring for insulation integrity assessment of cables. PD
induces fast rising pulses appearing as short bursts in the
cable core and shield and can be captured using PD Manuscript received on 17 September 2012, in final form 11 July 2013.
IEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation Vol. 20, No. 6; December 2013 2213
detection sensors. The integrated value of these current
pulses measured using high frequency current transformer
(HFCT) with the associated measurement setup calibrated
based on IEC60270 gives the apparent PD magnitude. This
apparent PD magnitude is a fraction of the actual PD
magnitude and is also affected by the propagation
characteristics of the cable. Hence knowledge rules for PD
diagnosis have been established which are based on practical
experiences gained from PD studies in laboratory and on-
site. This diagnosis of PD activity can lead to some level of
fault prognosis providing an indication and early warning of
potential failures to the cable insulation [3, 4]. PD occurs in
regular power cycles with varying intensity which depends
on circuit loading and thermal conditions, weather
conditions, and cable design. PD diagnostics may be divided
into three phases namely detection, location and decision
making. Decision making phase in PD diagnostics is based
on the knowledge rules relating PD magnitude which may
eventually end up with cable repair.
This paper is focused on PD source location which
determines the cost of cable repair and outage time.
Accuracy in PD source location reduces repair and outage
times and subsequently customer minutes lost cost and
customer interruption cost. In addition, accurate PD location
can mean that only the damaged or degraded section of
cable is replaced rather than an entire circuit or suspected
circuit area, reducing cable replacement costs [5]. In this
paper, the problems associated with PD location using single
and double ended techniques are addressed. A double ended
PD location system using novel time based triggering logic
(TBTL) with a Global Positioning System (GPS) is
proposed. The method of TBTL is verified through the
design and use of field programmable gate arrays (FPGA)
based PD detection node (PDDN). Laboratory measurements
and on-site test results are also included to validate the
The remainder of the paper is organized as follows.
Section 2 provides background into high frequency signal
propagation in cables. In Section 3, various PD location
methods are discussed. In Section 4, time synchronization
method using GPS is discussed. In section 5, the double
ended PD location system design with TBTL is described
including validation of this approach by laboratory tests, on-
site measurement results. In Section 6, comparison between
the effectiveness of the proposed system and that of the
conventional system is discussed. Section 7 concludes the
Understanding the high frequency signal propagation
characteristics of insulated power cables is important for cable
diagnostic techniques such as Time Domain Reflectometry
(TDR), PD location, cable fault location, etc. Parameters that
must be considered are characteristic impedance, frequency
dependent attenuation, frequency dependent dispersion and
propagation velocity. Due to PD, fast rising pulses resulting
from a PD source propagates towards both ends of the cable.
Since PD can be monitored at the ends of the cable, measured
PD pulses are attenuated and distorted by the characteristics
of the propagation channel of the cable. Attenuation leads to
a reduction in signal power whereas dispersion leads to a
change in signature of the signal. Attenuation is the result of
two phenomena: dielectric loss (tan) and propagation of the
radial displacement current through the resistance of the
semi conducting layers. Dispersion is due to the variation in
velocity of propagation of signal with signal frequency. It
causes temporal wave spreading at a given wavelength.
Absorption of moisture or water ingress changes the
dielectric and semiconductor properties of the cable thereby
attenuation and dispersion properties of the cable [6]. The
semi conducting layer between the conductor and dielectric
to obtain uniform electrical field distribution increases the
conductor impedance which in turn increases the attenuation
constant [7]. Furthermore the frequency dependant skin
effect in cable conductor also attenuates high frequency
A PD travelling current wave in a cable gets reflected at a
termination of a cable. These reflections are governed by the
impedance of the cable and termination. The reflection
coefficient for current wave is given by [8]

L c
L c

I =

Where, : Reflection coefficient for travelleing current wave
: Impedance of termination
: Characteristic impedance of the cable

Characteristic impedance or surge impedance is an
expression relating electric and magnetic field intensities in
electromagnetic wave propagation through the respective
medium. Z
is a function of frequency. However in the PD
frequency band, Z
of insulated power cables maintains a
relatively constant value for each type of cable but the value
for different types of cable falls in between 10 and 60 ohms
approximately [9]. The magnitude of Z
also depends upon
propagation modes in cables such as shield to phase or phase
to phase [10]. For open circuit terminations, incident and
reflected current pulses will be out of phase with each other
whereas for short circuited terminations, incident and
reflected current pulse will be in phase with each other. The
signal power of the reflected wave is determined by the
reflection coefficient.
Various PD location techniques based on time delay
estimators can be found in [11-13]. These techniques include
level crossing, signal subspace methods, non-linear maximum
likelihood techniques and generalized cross correlators. Most
of these techniques require prior knowledge of the PD
signature. On-line PD measurements in cables are done at the
cable terminations either at the switchgear end or transformer
end. TDR has been widely used to locate the discharge source
by means of a single ended measurement or double ended
measurement [14]. In the single-ended method, the PD
location is obtained using the data acquired from one end of
the cable using the incident wave from the PD source and the
2214 F. P. Mohamed et al.: Partial Discharge Location in Power Cables using a Double Ended Method Based on Time Triggering
reflected wave from the far-end. In substations, cables are
connected to the ring main unit (RMU). RMU distorts the PD
signals which will also cause PD location error [15].
The difference between the impedance of the RMU and the
characteristic impedance of the cable is small and this reduces
the amplitude of reflected pulses and in most cases reflected
pulses are not detectable. Also the digitizer used in the single
ended measurement setup will need to have a better dynamic
range to detect such low amplitude reflected pulses. Due to
these reasons, the single ended method is more suited to off-
line PD location [16, 17]. As outlined in [9] The optimum
PD detection bandwidth and maximum cable length over
which PD is detectable are determined by the frequency
dependent propagation characteristics of the cable.Technical
details of single ended method of PD location can be found in
[18]. In this paper PD location using double ended method is
Various problems affecting the accuracy of PD location
using the single ended method may be overcome by measuring
PD at both ends of the cable with accurate time base alignment
between the measurement systems. The measurement setup for
double-ended PD location and the associated formulae is
illustrated using a PSPICE simulation. In this simulation study,
high frequency (10Hz - 50MHz) transmission line parameters
of cross linked poly ethylene (XLPE) cable (Zc:23.43,
R:0.001/m, L:162nH/m, G: 0.001mS/m, C:300pF/m,
length:1500m, v:1.4310
m/s) were used in a lossy
transmission line model in PSPICE as shown in Figure 1 [19].
Figure 2 shows the TDR simulation results obtained from
PSPICE using transient analysis for a PD source (double
exponential pulse with rise time 10 ns) at a distance of 500
metres from the cable end A is shown in Figure 1. The reflected
pulses in the plot can be ignored since the first incident pulse is
of interest in a double-ended method.

Figure 1. PSPICE model of double ended PD location.

In this method, the difference in time of arrival between the
first incident pulse at both ends together with propagation
velocity and cable length are used to calculate the PD source
location, given by:
( )
L T v

where, PD
: PD location
L : Length of the cable section
: Time offset between incident pulses
v : Velocity of propagation in the cable

Figure 2. TDR pulses from double ended PD location.

The arrival time is determined by the instant of departure
from zero of the pulse. However, in a practical scenario, a
threshold value would probably be used.
Time offset between incident pulses and the distance to
location (and location error) may be computed using the
numerical values from Figure 2 as:

( )
6 8
= 3.49 10 seconds
1500- 3.49 10 1.4344 10

499.6972 meters
500 meters from cable end A
500 499.6972
PD location error = 100 %



| |

\ .
= 0.061 %

Based on the time step used in the simulation (1 ns), the
maximum error expected is 2 ns and the calculated error is
within this maximum. This low value of maximum error is
due to the ideal conditions of time synchronization used in the
simulation. In non-ideal conditions, time synchronization
error due to the hardware jitter and the uncertainty in
denoising filters reduce the PD location accuracy.
In double ended method of PD location, the effect of
attenuation and dispersion in determining location accuracy is
reduced to a greater extent as the pulses result from the PD
source need to travel a shorter distance compared to the
distance travelled in the single ended method. Furthermore
the effect of the substation or RMU impedance on PD
location is reduced. With the use of the double ended method,
there is a higher possibility of identifying the PD source
residing in the insulation of the cable under measurement. The
practical implementation of this method is difficult due to
complexity involved in the time synchronization and the
communication link between the measurement units at both
ends of cable.
In order to locate PD with reasonable accuracy of 10
meters in power cables, it is necessary to have a time base
alignment accuracy of approximately 100 ns [17]. Shim et al
IEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation Vol. 20, No. 6; December 2013 2215
[20] proposed a pulse injection technique for synchronization
of PD measurement units at both ends of the cable.This
technique needs two data acquisition cards, one at each end of
the cable and a pulse injection unit at one end. Timing pulses
are injected at one end of the cable using an inductive coupler.
The data acquisition system used at both ends of the cable is
triggered by PD pulses from the cable. Acquired data contains
both PD pulses and timing pulses. By aligning the data sets
and making use of the time delay between the PD pulse and
timing pulse, the PD location can be obtained. This method of
time synchronization uses the power cable as a transmission
medium for timing pulses which mitigates the draw back of
satellite invisibility and atmospheric condition problems
associated with GPS. Technical details of this method can be
found in [10, 20].
The pulse injection technique is an intrusive method that
injects pulses into the cable depending on the substation
layout. In a closed RMU as used in the UK, switchgear is
fully bonded with a metal screen on the cable making it
difficult to get access to the earth strap [21]. In addition, the
accuracy of this method is inversely proportional with the
length of the cable due to attenuation and dispersion of timing
pulses. Most of the substations in the UK have GPS antennae
for digital fault recorders, phasor measurement unit (PMU)
and power quality monitors (PQM) [22]. These antennas can
deliver sufficient power for the GPS receiver to enable time
synchronization. Hence GPS based time synchronization is a
feasible and desirable approach due to its flexibility and cost
GPS is a widely used space-based radio navigation system
managed for the government of the United States by the
U.S. Air Force (USAF), the system operator [23]. GPS
provides accurate, precise, continuous, world-wide, three-
dimensional position and velocity information to users
through GPS receiver. It disseminates a form of coordinated
universal time (UTC). The satellite constellation nominally
consists of 24 satellites arranged in 6 orbital planes with 4
satellites per plane [24]. GPS III is the next generation
navigation system using 32 constellation satellies, which has
higher accurcay in timing and navigation and is expected to
launch in 2015 [25].
GPS receiver outputs one pulse per second (1PPS) which is
aligned to top of second in universal coordinated time
(UTC) followed with time stamp information based National
Marine Electronics Association (NMEA) protocol which is a
data protocol for communications between marine
instrumentation [26]. Time synchronization between the
measurement units at both ends of the cable can be done
using 1PPS with NMEA.
When GPS isused for establising time synchronization
between two PD monitoring systems it is necessary to
measure the quality of timing signals in particular drift in
timing signal between two GPS receivers. This drift will
cause uncertanity in PD location. Maximum Relative Time
Interval Error (MRTIE) and Maximum Time Interval Error
(MTIE) are the two important international standards to
characterise the quality of timing signals used in
telecommunications. MTIE is the maximum peak-to-peak
time error variation of a given timing signal with respect to an
ideal timing signal within a particular time period for an
observation interval [27, 28]. MRTIE is the characteristic of
the time difference between two timing signals usually having
similar quality. In this paper, MRTIE between two same GPS
receivers from same manufacturer is measured for a time
period of 1s having observation interval of two hours with
clear vision of sky in the city of Glasgow using the
measurement setup shown in Figure 3. The measurement
setup includes two GPS receivers and a digital storage
oscilloscope (DSO, Tektronix, TDS 3054B, Sampling rate 5
Gs/s) in infinite persistence mode [29]. The eye diagram
shown in Figure 4 gives the measured drift in timing signals
between two GPS receivers.
In Figure 4, each horizontal division is 100 ns. Top trace
is the referrence. Reference point is where the pulse
amplitude starts to increase from zero which is 100 ns from
the DSOs trigger point. The bottom trace wanders on both
sides of the reference point due to drift caused by GPS
receiver. From Figure 4, it is observed that MRTIE follows
patterns with a maximum drift of approximately 300 ns for a
duration of 2 hrs.

Figure 3. Measurement setup for 1 PPS rising edge alignment error.

Figure 4. MRTIE between two GPS receivers at same location.

As a result, this error window can alter the PD location
accurcay from 1 m to 30 m which is based on the velocity of
propagation of PDs in paper insulated lead covered cables
(PILC) [30]. It will be shown in this paper that this error can
be reduced using a novel time based triggering logic scheme
described in Section 5. The performance of GPS time
synchronisation is generally sufficient for most navigation
2216 F. P. Mohamed et al.: Partial Discharge Location in Power Cables using a Double Ended Method Based on Time Triggering
applications in rural and suburban environments. In contrast,
urban environments with a high density of tall buildings
present a challenging environment for most GPS receivers. In
urban areas satellite signals undergo multi path reflections
which will degrade the MTIE performance [31].
Steennis et al [32] proposed a GPS based double ended PD
location system using master-slave technology. Once the
master detects a pulse having a PD signature, it will inform
the slave through one of the non-energized phases of the cable
so that slave will store the data in the memory. In [32], the PD
measurement system identifies the PD pulse from the raw
data. There should be a filtering/denoising module at some
point followed by data interpretation. All of these processes
need to have a sufficient time margin for completion. This
delay together with the communication delay between the PD
measurement units could have an effect on time
synchronization error, which obviously has an effect on PD
source location. However, this time delay between master and
slave in the system is not reported in [32]. GPS based time
synchronization are widely used in phasor and power quality
measurements [33].
On-site PD measurements are hampered by noise
interferences which make it difficult to use the PD signal as
a trigger source in the PD measurement system. Therefore,
event-based edge triggering cannot be applied since the level
of PD is unknown from the raw data. Conventional double-
ended PD location methods using GPS synchronization
utilize free running 1PPS for synchronizing the
measurement systems clock. This type of synchronization
generates large volume of datasets, where some of the
dataset may not be valid due to GPS locking time variation
between the measurement systems at each end of the cable.
This also increases the usage of hardware resources which in
turn lead to increased cost. The system proposed in this
paper acquires the raw data from the cable at both ends for a
particular 1PPS pulse using a novel TBTL and is discussed
in section 5.2. Network diagram of proposed system is
shown in Figure 5.
In order to implement TBTL (described in section 5.2)
low level access to hardware is required. As this was not
readily available in commercial systems, a PDDN was
designed. A block diagram of the PDDN is shown in Figure 6.
The basic building blocks include FPGA, analogue to digital
Converter (ADC), external memory, GPS receiver and on-
board PC with mobile broadband. The hardware prototype of
the system is shown in Figure 7.
The time synchronization method termed as TBTL is
implemented in the PDDN design. The method proposed here
aims to trigger both PDDNs for a predefined 1PPS using
TBTL implemented on an FPGA; thereby the effect of long
term drift in GPS on accuracy of PD location is reduced. The
flowchart of TBTL is shown in Figure 8. Once PDDNs are
installed at both ends of the cable, the control room PC sends
PDDN # 1
PC at control room
PDDN # 2
GPS signals
PD sensor # 1
PD sensor # 2

Figure 5. Double ended PD location - Network diagram.

Figure 6. PDDN block diagram

Figure 7. PD detection node proto type.

a start command to both PDDNs. Upon receiving the start
command, the internal clock of both PDDNs gets locked with
1PPS from the GPS receiver. This is referred as the starting
time of PDDN. Starting times of both PDDNS are sent back
to control room PC. Then control room PC calculates trigger
enable time and send back to PDDNs. Both PDDNs get
triggered based on trigger enable time. In this way PD data is
IEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation Vol. 20, No. 6; December 2013 2217
acquired by both PDDNs for a predefined 1PPS pulse. The
trigger enable time is given by
e a
= A +

1 2
T Ts Ts A =

where, T: Time delay between two PDDNs,
: GPS locking time of PDDN # 1
: GPS locking time of PDDN # 2
: Data acquisition interval in seconds
: Trigger enable time in seconds

Figure 8. Time based triggering logic.

T between PDDNs is due to variation in the GPS locking
time at both ends of the cable. T
is set by control room PC.
By default, T
is set to 10 minutes and can be varied. The
purpose of introducing T
in TBTL is for compensating for
the inherent delays caused by Wi-Fi with internet and GPS
locking time mismatch between both PDDNs. To implement
TBTL, timing uncertainties such as frequency stability, phase
noise and clock skew were taken into account during the
PDDN design process.
The double ended PD time synchronisation error using
TBTL was determined in the laboratory using the test setup
shown in Figure 9. It includes both PDDNs, DSO, signal
generator and a PC. Two types of tests are required to validate
the TBTL approach; these are a time based trigger test and a
data acqusition test. The former will be discussed first in the
following paragraphs. However, it should be noted that all
tests were carried out with both the PDDNs connected at the
same end to verify the capability of the hardware. This
capability is not expected to vary when the PDDNs are
connected at different ends of a cable.

Figure 9. Laboratory test setup.

In the time based trigger test, the time offset error between the
triggering instants of both PDDNs is measured based on T
as discussed in 5.2. This is achieved by sending a pulse of width
1 s, having a rise time of approx 40 ns, from both PDDNs to the
DSO when T
is reached. These tests were repeated at 10 minute
intervals for a measurement duration of 3 hours by making use of
infinite persistence mode in the DSO. The eye diagram of the
measurement results is shown in Figure 10.
In Figure 10, the top trace shows the pulse from PDDN #1
which is the trigger source for the DSO. The lower trace is
from the PDDN #2. In an ideal case, rising edges of both
traces should be aligned. The bottom trace in Figure 10 is
seen to vary from the trigger point of the DSO due to the
relative drift between the PDDNs. The maximum time offset
error of 160 ns was recorded in the measurements. Compared
to Figure 4 (triggering using free running 1PPS), the drift
introduced by TBTL is seen to be significantly reduced.

Figure 10. Trigger enable time mismatch between PDDNs
2218 F. P. Mohamed et al.: Partial Discharge Location in Power Cables using a Double Ended Method Based on Time Triggering
When PDDNs is triggered based on TBTL, digital data
from the ADC output is captured and saved to the memory of
the PDDNs. During this period, termed the data acquisition
period (100 ms), the crystal oscillator used for clocking the
FPGA will introduce a drift in measurements unless the
frequency stability of the oscillator for the acquisition period
is sufficient. Figure 11 shows the typical data acquired from
the signal generator used in the measurement setup in Figure
9. Drift during the acquisition period of 100 ms is calculated
usingthe relative time difference between the zero crossings
of the data from both measurements. The measured drift of
12.5 ns which includes GPS drift and clocking uncertanity of
oscillator used in FPGA. This drift can be ignored.

Figure 11. Synchronized measurements (f= 5 MHz).
Preliminary site trials were conducted in 33/11 kV
substation, Edinburgh. In this test, both PDDNs were
connected to the common earth bar at the same end of the 11
kV PILC cable using a HFCT having frequency response 50
kHz -20 MHz with terminated output impedance of 50 , as
shown in Figure 12. This test setup can only predetermine the
drift introduced by both PDDNs in the harsh environment of a
substation (it is not a double-ended test). In this way PD
location accuracy of PDDNs using TBTL can be obtained.
Raw data acquired by the PDDNs for a duration of 105 ms are
shown in Figure 13. The MRTIE between the two PDDNs
was determined by aligning fast rising pulses depicted in
Figure 13. Looking at a zoomed version of one set of such
pulses, as shown in Figure 14, the MRTIE may be determined
to be 60 ns, which is the time difference between the zero
crossings of the two pulses immediately after the first
negative excursion. It is also possible to determine this value
by considering the time difference between the two negative
peaks or the two positive peaks. From a set of five
measurements, the largest MRTIE values are calculated for
each pulse occurrence and the results are plotted as a bar-chart
in Figure 15. From Figure 15, the MRTIE for the PDDNs is
approximately 60 ns and is due to GPS signal fading,
multipath reflections, uncertainty from the crystal oscillator
and logic design. This drift is equivalent to 6 meters in PD
location accuracy.

Figure 12. HFCT connection at the earth bar.

Figure 13. On-site trial test synchronized using TBTL, UTC: 15:20:15 Hrs.

Figure 14. Fast rising pulses from on-site data.
IEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation Vol. 20, No. 6; December 2013 2219

Figure 15. MRTIE performance of PDDN using on-site data.
Twenty measurements were made in the laboratory using
both TBTL and conventional flywheel 1PPS triggering. From
these eye diagrams (Figure 4 and Figure 10) MRTIE in both
categories of measurements were extracted followed by the
computation of the PD location error by multiplying each
with the propagation velocity (1.7 10
m/s) of PILC cable,
as shown in Figure 16. The abscissa (measurement number) in
Figure 16 represents the numerical sequence of measurements
made and the ordinate represents the PD location error in
meters. In Figure 16, maximum PD location error in PDDNs
using TBTL is approximately 25 meters. This error span is
caused by the GPS locking time variation at both ends of the
cable. However, the locking time variation is generally lower
in PDDN using TBTL compared to the conventional system
using 1PPS free running logic. Based on the asumption that
the location of the PD site has not changed over the time
duration of measurements, then the error due to the hardware
in predicting the location of the PD site should be based on
the result corresponding to the lowest error.
The conventional method of PD location using free running
1PPS node does not employ communication bewteen the
measurement nodes. This leads to a lack of syncronization
between the measurements. This is due to the fact that the
probability of the GPS receivers at both ends of the cable
obtaining 3D position fix at same time is much smaller. This
will generate large volume of data sets which cannot be used
for PD location thereby consuming hardware resources. The
low broadcast power of the GPS satellites approximately -160
dBw which makes these signals particularly susceptible to
loss of satellite signals [34]. Once the satellite signal is get
interrupted after getting a position fix in 3D space, the
flywheel 1PPS from GPS recever is not valid any more and
can not be used for locating PD source. This uncertanity can
not be tracked by conventional system unlike the proposed
system using TBTL. Generallygood PD location accuracy can
be achieved using the proposed system.

Figure 16. PD location error comparison
The success rate of PD diagnostics relies on accuracy in
identifying the origin of the PD source. This will reduce
customer minutes lost cost and regulatory penalties. The
single ended method of PD location requires both an incident
and reflected pulse to locate the PD source. Since the
accuracy of this method relies on the propagation channel
effects, cable network structure, length of cable network and
the dynamic range of measurement systems, it is mostly
applicable to off-line PD location. In the double ended
method, incident PD pulses from both sides are measured.
Hence uncertainties introduced by the propagation channel
effects, cable network structure and cable length are reduced.
However, the double ended PD detection methods are less
common due to their complexity in system design, time
synchronization and the communication link required between
measurement systems.
A novel double ended PD location system using TBTL
with a GPS receiver has been proposed. This system acquires
the data from both ends of the cable for a specific 1PPS from
a GPS receiver using TBTL. Furthermore tracking of invalid
data caused by flywheel 1PPS due to short-term loss satellite
signal can reduce PD location accuracies which cannot be
tracked using the conventional method of PD location using
the flywheel 1 PPS. With the use of communication link
between two PDDNs, invalid data acquisition is eliminated.
Based on the measurements from the laboratory and on-site,
the proposed system with TBTL shows good PD location
accuracy compared to the conventional double ended PD
location methods. This system can be used to locate PDs with
an error margin of less than 10 meters from the discharge
source. Further advantages of this system include low cost
and portability compared with existing approaches to PD
location. Having evaluated the accuracy of PDDN using
TBTL, further work will include more site trials on PD
location by installing PDDNs at both ends of the cable.

2220 F. P. Mohamed et al.: Partial Discharge Location in Power Cables using a Double Ended Method Based on Time Triggering
The authors wish to acknowledge the funding and technical
support provided by the Scottish Power Energy Networks
(SPEN) through the University of Strathclyde and the Scottish
Power Advanced Research Center (SPARC) during this
research. Special thanks to Mr. Bob Elkind and Mr. Yuxian
Tao for their comments on the hardware design.

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Faisal P. Mohamed received the B.Eng.
degree in electrical engineering with First

class from NI College of engineering, Tamil
Nadu, India, the M.Sc. degree with distinction
and the Ph.D. degree from the University of
Strathclyde, Glasgow, United Kingdom. He is
currently a research associate within the
Institute of Energy and Environment. His
research interests include, plant monitoring,
cable diagnostics, signal processing, logic
circuit design and smart grids.
IEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation Vol. 20, No. 6; December 2013 2221
Wah H. Siew is a Reader in the Department of
Electronic & Electrical Engineering, University of
Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland. He is a triple alumnus
of the University of Strathclyde with degrees in B.Sc.
(Hons) in electronic and electrical engineering; Ph.D.
in electronic and electrical engineering; and Master of
Business Administration. His areas of research interest
include large systems electromagnetic compatibility;
cable diagnostics; lightning protection; and wireless
sensing systems. He is Convener of the CIGRE WG
C4.208 and a member of the Technical Advisory Panel for the IET Professional.

John J. Soraghan (S83M84SM96) received the
B.Eng. (Hons.) and M.Eng.Sc. degrees in electronic
engineering from the University College Dublin,
Dublin, Ireland, in 1978 and 1983, respectively, and
the Ph.D. degree in electronic engineering from the
University of Southampton, Southampton, UK, in
1989. His doctoral research focused on synthetic
aperture radar processing on the distributed array
processor. After graduating, he worked with the
Electricity Supply Board in Ireland and with
Westinghouse Electric Corporation in the U.S. In 1986, he joined the
Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, University of Strathclyde,
Glasgow, UK, as a Lecturer and became a Senior Lecturer in 1990, a Reader in
2000, and a Professor in signal processing in 2003. He was a Manager of the
Scottish Transputer Centre from 1988 to 1991, Manager with the DTI Parallel
Signal Processing Centre from 1991 to 1995 and Head of the ICSP during 2005-
2007. He currently holds the Texas Instruments Chair in signal processing
within the Centre for excellence in Signal and Image Processing (CeSIP),
University of Strathclyde. His main research interests are signal processing
theories, algorithms, and architectures with applications to high resolution
methods for radar and acoustics, biomedical data processing, video analytics for
surveillance, 3D video and condition monitoring. Professor Soraghan is a
member of the IEEE Signal Processing in Education Technical Committee and
a Member of the IET and a Senior Member of the IEEE.

Scott M. Strachan received the B.Eng. (Hons) and
Ph.D. degrees from the University of Strathclyde. He
currently holds the post of Research Fellow within the
Institute of Energy and Environment. His research
interests include, Plant Monitoring, Asset
Management, Data Mining, Knowledge Management
& Engineering and intelligent systems applications in
power engineering.

Jamie McWilliam received the B.Eng. (Hons)
degree in electronic and electrical engineering from
Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland in
2003. Since then, he has been with the Scottish
Power, Energy Networks, Glasgow, Scotland, where
he is currently the Technology Manager for the
three Scottish Power network licenses, SP
Distribution, SP MANWEB and SP Transmission.
Since joining Scottish Power in 2003 as a graduate
engineer, Jamie has worked in various roles across Scottish Power's
network license areas, gaining a broad range of operational, design and
management experience. In his position as Technology Manager he has
personally managed such projects as the Superconducting Fault Current
Limiter and the UK's first Smart Grid in Glasgow. He also helps deliver
and promote a wide range of innovative technologies and projects into
the Scottish Power business, including the dynamic thermal rating
project which looks to facilitate wind farm development and connection
in North Wales.