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Chapter 1

Maintenance of Transformer Oil

Maintenance of Transformer Oil in Service
1. Transformer Oil
Transformer oil is mineral insulating oil derived from crude petroleum. It is a
mixture of various hydrocarbons. It consist partly aliphatic compounds (open chain
compounds) with the general formula C n H2n+2 and Cn H2n. Many oils also contain
certain aromatic compounds (closed chain or ring compounds) related to benzene,
naphthalene and derivatives of these with aliphatic chains. Good transformer oil
must insulate and prevent flash over of the exposed parts within the equipment and it
must effectively transform the heat from the core to the radiating surface. The
characteristics of new transformer oil is given in I S 335/1983.
There is no single test to judge all the qualities of the oil. Each test is significant
within its limits and provides only a general information about the conditions of the
oil. If the dielectric strength is low, the oil is unfit for use regardless of any other
2. Tests to determine the qualities of Transformer oil

Dielectric Strength
Water Content
Neutralisation Value
Interfacial Tension
Dielectric Dissipation Factor
Test for Corrosive Sulphur in Oil
Test for Oxidation Stability
Specific Resistance (Resistivity)
Flash Point
Pour Point
Sludge Test
Dissolved Gas Analysis (DGA)

Dielectric Strength
The transformer oil under test is subjected to an AC electric field with continuously
increasing voltage till the oil breaks down. The test cell shall be of glass or plastic
and transparent and non-absorbent (Eg. Methyl Methacrylate vessel) with effective
volume between 300 to 500 ml. The electrodes must be Copper, Brass, Bronze or
Stainless steel and well polished having spherical shape with dia 12.5 mm to 13 mm.
It shall have a spherical front as shown in the figure. The electrodes shall be
mounted horizontally in the cell and the axis shall be immersed at a depth of
approximately 40 mm. The electrode gap shall be 2.5 + 0.1 mm.

Before carrying out the test, the cell shall be cleaned by rinsing with the test
oil. The sampling vessel containing the test oil shall be gently agitated to have
homogeneous distribution of impurities and air bubbles to escape. The oil
temperature at1he time of testing shall be around 27C. (15C to 35C preferable)
An increasing AC voltage of rated frequency is applied to the electrodes,
approximately at the rate of 2 kV / Sec, starting from zero upto the value producing
breakdown. The test kit will have provision for automatic switching off of the
supply voltage within 0.02 second.

Alternative Shape Electrodes

BDV Test Cell
The test shall be repeated six times on the same cell filling and the arithmetic mean
of the six of in results is noted as the electric strength or BDV (Break Down Voltage)
of the oil under test.
The test shall be conducted in a dry place free from dust and voltage applied
every time after disappearance of any air bubbles. The time intervals shall be five
minutes, if the disappearance of air bubble cannot be observed.

2. Sampling of oil
Method of sampling of oil from a transformer may be as specified in I S : 6855/1973.
General precautions: When sampling oil, care shall be taken not to contaminate the
oil. Outdoor sampling shall be done only during fair weather conditions. Before use,
the container shall be rinsed with the oil being sampled. The operator shall not permit
his hands to come into contact with the sample or internal part of the sampling
equipment. The sample shall be protected from light radiation during transportation.
3. Handling of oil
Oil shall be handled with utmost care. Oil drums shall be kept under cover. Drums
shall be clearly marked to show whether the oil contained is clean or dirty.
Clean oil shall be tested and treated before use. Transfer of oil to transformer shall
preferably be through a transformer oil filter plant.
4. Examination of oil in service
The oil in the transformer and tap changer shall be inspected periodically as suggested
in the Table below, unless otherwise specified by the suppliers.
If rapid deterioration of oil is observed, the last value may be confirmed by further
tests frequently and the fact may be referred to manufacturer for advice.





Permissible To be

To be





>170 KV
70 to 170 KV
<70 KV

>50 KV
>40 KV
>30 KV
10 x 1012

If less than
1 x 1012 and
10 x 1012

>170 KV
<170 KV

<20 ppm
<30 ppm

If more


.02 or more 0.015 to 0.02

Below 0.015 6104/1971

140 or

125 to 140

Below 125








-cm at 27C
Water Content

Tan at 90C


value mg. KOH/g
of oil
IFT.N/m at 27C

Flash point C



1 x 1012


0.01 or less Above 0.01 up

to 0.1

Above 0.1


0.5 or less

Above 1.0


Above 0.5

First three characteristics of the above Table shall be tested before energising
the transformer, then after 3 months and after every year. Characteristics 4 to 8 shall
be checked before energising and after every year thereafter. Items 1,2 and 5 can be
checked at site or laboratory, where all other characteristics can be tested only at
All the recommendations are not strictly applicable for transformers of 33 kV class
and below and less than 1 MVA capacity, unless very high reliability is required.
Specific resistance for other temperature shall be referred to the graph.

Characteristics of New Transformer Oil

Sl. No




Clear and transparent, and free

from any suspended matter


Density at 27C, Max.

0.89 g / cc


Kinematic viscosity at 27C, Max.



Interfacial tension at 27C, Min.

O.04 N/m


Flash point, Pensky-Marten (closed), Min.



Pour point, Max. *



Neutralisation value
a. Total acidity, Max

0.03 mg. KOH/gm

b. Inorganic acidity I alkalinity



Corrosive Sulphur



Electric Strength (Breakdown voltage) Min.

a. New unfiltered oil

30 kV (rms)

b. After filtration

50 kV (rms)


Dielectric dissipation factor (tan) at 90C, Max.



Specific resistance (resistivity)



a. At 90C, Min.

30 x 1012 ohm-cm

b. At 27C, Min.

500 x 1012 ohm-cm

Oxidation stability
a. Neutralisation value after oxidation Max.

0.40 mg. KOH/g

b. Total sludge after oxidation, Max.

0.10 percent by weight.

Coefficient of expansion

0.000781C **



2.2 (-0.001) **


Specific Heat

2.06 kJ I Kg C (0.0038) **


Thermal conductivity

0.12 W/mC **

Pour point 9C -Sufficient for tropical countries like India as against -30C by IEC, for
class 1 oil.
The values are relating to 60C. The figures in bracket are approximate temperature
coefficient for Degree Celsius.
5. Transformer Oil Treatment
Centrifugal separators can be used to remove finely divided solid particles and
free water from the oil. But vacuum edge type filters are generally used for
transformer oil treatment. It is a combined process of filtration, dehydration and deaeration in filter units comprising edge type filter elements, oil heaters and vacuum
Direct purification of oil is used in small transformers and switch gear. The
dirty oil is removed, equipment cleaned and purified oil is filled in through the filter
plant. Purification of dirty oil is done outside.
In the case of large transformers, oil is circulated through the purifying plant,
oil being taken from the bottom and redelivered at the top. The circulation shall be
preferably with the electrical equipment dead.
6. Reconditioning and Reclamation of oil
Heavily contaminated oil cannot be brought back to the original condition of
new oil by simple treating in the purifier plant. Reclamation can be done with treating
the oil with Korvi-Fuller's Earth. It is essentially an aluminium silicate clay occurring
in natural state. The Korvi Earth removes the acids and other polar compounds
present in the contaminated oil by absorption.
The activated Korvi-Fuller's Earth should be heated at 70C for 2 or 3 hours to
drive out the absorbed mixture. This drying should be one just before use. The dried
earth, 250 gm/litre of oil to be reclaimed shall be mixed in the oil drum containing
dirty oil, and the drum agitated to ensure complete mixing of earth. It should be
allowed to stand for 10 hours. The earth along the sludges would by then settled
down. Then the oil is separated and filtered in a suitable filter plant.
Activated alumina in sphere form can be used in oil reclamation plants in
place of Korvi Earth. It is expensive but convenient to use, as it does not disintegrate
while in the sphere form, which eliminates added filtration. Activated alumina
requirement is given in the figure given below.

7. Inhibitors
Inhibiting an oil means adding a substance to delay oxidation. Inhibitors are
now commonly used in both new and used transformer oil. Ditertiary Butyl Para
Cresol (DBPC) is a generally used inhibitor, in proportion 2.5 to 3 parts per 1000
parts of oil by weight. Even if the inhibitors are completely exhausted, there would be
no unpleasant consequences. The useful life of transformer oil can be prolonged by
three or four times by inhibiting the oil. The detection of DBPC in oil can be done by
infrared spectroscopy, thin layer chromatography or gas chromatography.
New oils can be mixed with each other if they satisfy the same standard
specifications. Inhibited oils can be mixed with each other, provided they contain the
same inhibitor. Inhibited oils can be mixed with un-inhibited oils.
Some Common inhibitors for transformer oil are,

Trade Name

Ditertiary butyl para cresol

-DBPC, Ional Topanol

8-Hydroxy Quinoline



-lonex 220, AN 2246, AN 6

Azo-bis- Iso-butyronitrate


8. Transformer Oil Filters

The transformer oil filter plant is a self contained unit to upgrade the quality of
oil. The duty cycle begins from pumping the dirty oil from the equipment (or
container) to a heater chamber. After heating the oil to a predetermined temperature, it
is then filtered through edge type filter or filter press to remove all suspended
impurities. It is then sprayed into a vacuum chamber where the dissolved gases and
water are vapourised and separated.

The heaters of the filter plant shall be controlled such that the hot point
temperature of oil shall not exceed 90C, as excessive heating will cause deterioration
of oil. Improved designs of filter plants employ heating just to reduce the viscosity
and to allow it to spread in a thin film, and high vacuum to remove the dissolved gas
and moisture.
Edge type filter elements are made up of special paper discs under end
pressure. Oil passes through the infinitesimal interstices between the discs, leaving
solid impurities at the paper edges. Non-hygroscopic graded filters can be used in
place of edge filters, but they are much costlier.
The vacuum pump shall be capable of producing a vacuum of 2 torr or less,
for reducing the water content to a value of 10 ppm.
For reducing acidity, absorption device using activated alumina should be
incorporated in the operating cycle.

9. Hot Oil Circulation Process

The contaminated oil in a transformer can be treated and the impregnated
paper insulation of the transformer can be upgraded by employing closed circuit
continuous circulation of heated dehumidified and filtered oil in the transformer. The
contaminated oil is extracted from the bottom of the transformer, treated in the filter
plant by heating, de-sludging and degassing in vacuum and the filtered oil is
readmitted into the transformer at the top. Four or five such changes of complete
quantity of oil through the filter plant extracts the moisture from the solid insulation
of the transformer and improves the BDV of the oil.

For filtering power transformers, good quality filter plants are necessary.
Single pass filters, which are capable to upgrade the contaminated oil from BDV 20
kV to 60 kV by one pass, are the desired type. With such plants transformers can be
dried out within a limited time without impairing the quality of oil. The desired
specification of transformer oil filter is as follows.

Type -Single pass to improve BDV from 20 kV to 60kV

Vacuum -1 Torr

Vacuum pump -1000-1500 litres /minute capacity, ultimate vacuum 0.1 Torr,
Rotary type, oil sealed, direct drive.

Feed pump -Vacuum tight gear pump


Heating system -Designed to avoid localised heating, made of material

Nichrome 80/20/Kanthal wire, Temperature controlled thermostatically.


Edge type filter -Specially treated, and with simple cleaning facility.


Discharge pump -High suction, centrifugal


Valves -Vacuum tight, rigorously tested for leak rate.


Instruments -


Temperature indicators for oil


Vacuum gauges


Pressure gauges


Moisture content meters (if necessary)


Gas content meters (if necessary)


Annunciation -Visual and audible alarm for indicating mal-operations.


Oil loss -Less than 2% of initial volume.

Acidity -Mild steel columns, structured Absorption device, Absorbent packing
(if required)

Flow rate 0 - 5000 litre I hour

Dissolved Gas Analysis (DGA) of Transformer

Gases may be formed in oil-filled transformer due to natural ageing, but also to a
much greater extent as a result of internal fault. The principal mechanisms of gas
formation includes oxidation, insulation-decomposition, oil-break- down and
electrolytic action.
In the case of a fault, its type and its severity may often be inferred from the
composition of the gases and the rate at which they are formed. In the case of
incipient fault, the gases formed remain partly dissolved in the liquid insulation, free

gases will be found only in special cases. The dissolved gases divide between the
gaseous and liquid phases by diffusion. Diffusion and achievement of saturation both
take time, during which serious damage to the equipment can occur undetected.
Periodic analysis of oil samples for dissolved gases forms a method of detecting
incipient faults. The study of DGA, therefore may help in taking predictive/preventive
maintenance of the transformers.
Each and every type of electrical faults in an oil filled transformer give rise to
certain types of gases. In the initial stages these gases will be absorbed in the
transformer oil. This process will go on till the saturation level of a particular gas in
oil is attained. Gas operated relays are provided in transformers to check the
generation of gases. But this will be effective only when excessive gases are
released. Excessive gases are released only when incipient faults are developed in to
major faults. Since transformers are vital and costly, we cannot leave it till serious
damages are caused to the insulation structure.
Now techniques are developed to extract the gases dissolved in transformer oil and
analyse them to pin point the nature of incipient faults at a very early stage.
The process of DGA involves sampling of oil, labelling of samples, extraction of
gases by Gas- chromatography and analysis of results
DGA is a powerful diagnostic technique for on-line monitoring of the internal
condition of large transformer. DGA enables us to detect defects in the incipient
stage itself.
Buchholz relay is never meant to be a diagnostic device. Enough gas must be
generated to saturate the oil fully. After saturation only the gas will come out and
operate Buchholz relay. Often, by the time the Buchholz relay detect the gas the
damage has already been done.
But DGA detects gas in parts per million (ppm) of the oil while it is still dissolved
in the oil. The technique of dissolved gas analysis involves the detection and
identification of faults in the incipient stage by the extraction of dissolved gas from
the oil effecting a separation of each gases and quantitative analysis by the Gas
Chromato Graph.
By DGA we can detect incipient defects such as

Arcing or high current break down

Low energy sparking
Partial discharges
Severe local over heating or hot spot
Sustained over loading

In practices these processes take places with varying participation of the

individual insulating materials such as oil, paper, press board, resin-bonded paper,
wood etc. Therefore the gases evolved due to the decomposition of these materials
vary considerably.
Oil sampling and Gas extraction
The procurement of representative sample of oil from a transformer is very
important. The sample should be collected and transported in such a way that the
gases dissolved in the oil are not subjected to any changes.

1. Oil Sampling valve on Transformer

2. Plastic Tube
3. Container
4. Sampling Bottle Steel or Dark Glass
with two high vacuum stop clocks

Oil Sampling

In order to obtain reliable and repeated results it is found that the interval
between sampling and analysis should be minimised. Improper sampling procedures
can give rise to totally erroneous results.

Dissolved gases are extracted from oil samples by expansion of the oil sample
in a pre-evacuated known volume. The vacuum expanded gas is then compressed to
the atmospheric volume. For degasification, vacuum of the order of 1 x 10 -3 torr or
less is applied by double stage vacuum pumps. The degassing flask is heated by
immersing it in hot oil and the oil in the degassing flask is stirred with the help of a
magnetic stirrer. The dissolved gasses are drawn out with the help of a gas tight
syringe and then introduced in to the gas chromatograph.
Principle Of Dissolved Gas Analysis
Gas chromatography is basically a technique for effecting a separation of the
various constituents of the gas mixture. At a particular temperature each gas will have
a particular natural velocity, that means, if we allow it to pass through a narrow tube,
each gas will reach the farther end at different times, called the retention time of that
As usually the gas extracted is very small, an inert carrier gas is used to carry
the gas through the column. As each separated constituents comes out of the column,
it is identified by an appropriate detector; whose output is recorded on a chart in the
form of a trace with series of peaks. Each peak representing a different constituent of
the mixture. Gases are identified by either Thermal conductivity detector or by flame
ionisation detector.
Thermal conductivity detector (TCD)
Thermal conductivity of the gas is measured using wheat stone bridge principle. A
plot of thermal conductivity against time will give different peak of conductivity
corresponding to different retention times. Each of these peaks will thus represent the
presence of a particular gas. Area under the peak will give a measure of the
magnitude of the gas present. Calibration of the equipment is initially done using
known pure gases and from this the gases present in the mixture and its relative
magnitude can be identified. This can be used to identify hydrogen, Oxygen,
Nitrogen Carbon dioxide and Carbon monoxide.

Chromatogram of Hydrogen, Oxygen, Nitrogen by TCD method.


Flame ionisation detector (FID)

For hydro carbons thermal conductivity detector may not give sufficiently
accurate results. In the flame ionisation detector, the gas emerging from the column is
burnt in a hydrogen flame between two electrodes, which measure the conductivity of
the flame. The increase in current caused by the burning of organic vapour is
measured and the charge is fed to a recorder. FID is almost 100 times more sensitive
than TCD.
Since transformer oil in service may contain both the above types of gases,
both TCD and FID are necessary for the Chromatograph.

Chromatogram of Hydro Carbons by FID method.


Chromatogram of Carbon Monoxide and Carbon Dioxide by FID method.

Gases to be analysed ;-The gas samples extracted from the oil sample are analysed
by gas chromatography .The gases to be determined are :

Carbon dioxide
Carbon monoxide


1. Gases to be analysed normally

O2, N2, H2, CO, CO2, CH4, C2H2, C2H4, C2H6

2. Gases to estimate abnormality

H2, CH4, C2H2, C2H4, C2H6,

3. Gases to estimate

CO, CO2, CH4


1. Over heat of oil

CH4, C2H4, H2

2. Arcing in oil
3. Over heat of oil and paper
4. Arcing of oil and paper
5. Over heat of solid insulating

H2, C2H2
CH4, C2H2, H2, CO, CO2
H2, C2H2, CO, CO2,

For effective implementation of DGA technique to a particular transformer, it is

necessary to have the correct characteristic of the original oil filled in the transformer
at the time of commissioning Typical hydro carbon concentration for a good new oil
after vacuum filtration would be within 5 ppm. DGA is repeated at regular intervals
after commissioning say monthly, bimonthly or quarterly; and results compared with
the original. If the level of any particular gas is found increasing on successive
measurements the possible reason can be assessed from the rate of increase of the
constituent gases.
The technique of diagnosing the internal condition of power transformer by
DGA has proved to be an invaluable tool for monitoring of large transformers. It
enables most transformer faults to be detected in the incipient stage and permits
timely remedial action to be taken to avert a failure
The most advantageous aspect of this analysis is that it does not require shut
down or disassembly or the transformer. This can be performed while the transformer
is in service.
Permissible Concentrations of Dissolved Gases in the Oil of a Healthy Transformer



Chapter 2

The risk of accident is a basic characteristic of Electricity Industry. Damages
and injuries caused to public as well as to the workmen due to defective equipment
and unsafe practice of work is very high in the KSE Board. It is essential to guard
against risk of accidents while working on any electrical equipments. The Indian
Electricity Rules 1956 are framed for this purpose.
1. Permit To Work System
Statutory regulations for carrying out work on electrical installation are laid
down in the Indian Electricity Act 1910, Electricity (Supply) Act 1948 and Indian
Electricity Rules 1956.
The Power Utility or the State Electricity Board can frame their own safety
rules and instructions, generally known as standing orders for the guidance of the staff
employed in connection with the execution of the work on electrical equipments and
installations. It shall be the responsibility of the person-in-charge to interpret and
explain correctly the rules and regulations to all the staff concerned and to ensure that
the staff thoroughly understands the same (Quoted from BIS 5216 (Part-I)). So, all
electrical works should be carried out under supervision of competent person, as laid
down in Rule-45 of IER 1956.
A permit to work is issued by the person-in-charge of the operation to the
person-in-charge of the men who are to carry out work of specified categories. Such
permit-to-work is to be returned to the issuer on completing the work.
The permit shall be issued to staff of other departments, contractors,
Engineers, etc. who might be required to work adjacent to live electrical mains and
apparatus (BIS 5216 (Part-I) 1982).
All messages and instructions related to the operation and switching should
invariably be recorded in a register exclusively maintained for the purpose.
2. Handling Of Electric Supply Lines And Apparatus
The relevant statutes as per the rule are given below:1. Before commencing any work the equipment or line should be earthed by suitable
means. (Rule 36, IER 1956)
2. Any person or assistant who carry out work on any installation should be authorised
in that behalf by the Inspector or understanding orders (Rule 36, IER1956)

3. Instructions in English or Hindi and in the local language for the restoration of
persons suffering from electric shock shall be affixed in every generating stations,
enclosed substations, enclosed switch station and in every factory as defined in
Factories Act 1948 in which electricity is used. (IE Rule 44)
4. It should be ensured that all authorised persons are acquainted with and are
competent to apply the instruction in clause (iii) (I.E. Rule 44)
5. In every high voltage and extra high voltage generating stations, sub stations and
switch stations, artificial respirator shall be provided and kept in good working
condition. (I.E.R. 44)
6. If any accident in connection with the Generation, Transmission, Supply or use of
energy, which results in or likely to have resulted in loss of human or animal life or
any injury to human being or animal shall be reported to the Electrical Inspector. If
the accident is of fatal nature, a telegraphic report is to be sent to the Inspector within
24 hours of the knowledge of the occurrence of the accident and written report in the
prescribed form within 48 hours if the accident is non-fatal. (I.E.R. 44A)
Statutory clearance to be maintained for bare conductor and live terminals (I.E.Rule64)
Voltage Class
Ground Clearance
Sectional Clearance
Not exceeding 11 kV
-do33 kV
-do66 kV
-do132 kV
-do220 kV
-do400 kV
Clearance above the ground of the lowest conductor of overhead lines including
service lines erected across road/street.

Low and medium voltage line

5.8 m


High voltage line

6.1 m

Clearance above ground of overhead lines, including service lines erected elsewhere,
other than along or across street.
For low, medium and high voltage up to &
including 11 kV (If bare)
4.6 m

For low, medium and high voltage line up to

and including 11 kV insulated

4.0 m

For high voltage line above 11 kV

5.2 m

For EHV, clearance shall not be less than 5.2 m plus 0.3 m for every33 kV or
part thereof by which the voltage exceeds 33 kV, provided the clearance along or
across a street shall not be less than 6.1 m (IER-77)

3. Clearance from building of low and medium voltage lines and service lines.
i) Where a low or medium voltage overhead line passes above or adjacent to or
terminates on any building the following minimum clearances from any accessible
point, on the basis of maximum sag, shall be observed.
a) For flat roof:

When the line passes above the building a vertical clearance of 2.5 m from
the highest point of the building.


When the line passes adjacent to the building a horizontal clearance of 1.2
m from the nearest point.

b) For pitched roof:


When the line passes above the building, vertical clearance of 2.5 m
immediately below the line.


When the line passes adjacent to the building, the horizontal clearance
should not be less than 1.2 m ( IE Rule 79).

When the clearance is less than as specified above, the conductor shall be insulated.
4. Clearance from buildings for extra-high voltage line.
a) Vertical clearance:

For voltage up to and

including 33 kV

3.7 m

For EHV line

3.7 m Plus 0.30 m for every

additional 33 kV or part thereof

For high voltage lines up to and

including 11 kV

1.2 m

For high voltage line above

11 kV up to 33 kV

2.0 m

For extra high voltage line

b) Horizontal clearance


2.0 m plus 0.30 m for every

33 kV or part thereof ( IE Rule 80)

Minimum Clearance In Meters Between Lines When Crossing Each Other


Low & Medium
11 66 kV
110 132 kV
220 kV
400 kV
800 kV

11-66 kV

110-132 kV

220 kV

400 kV





800 kV
IER 87

5. Switching Operations
For switching operations on electrical apparatus the following conditions shall be
Switches used in isolating apparatus for giving clearance shall have contacts
that are visible or the positions of which can be positively determined by inspection.
All phases of such switches, irrespective of the type, shall be inspected to make sure
that they are all open.
If remote electrically operated or mechanically operated switches are used,
they shall be locked or blocked or a portion of the mechanism shall be removed to
prevent accidental closure.
Switching operations in unattended stations and line sectionalising points for
purpose of clearance shall be done by persons authorised for this purpose.
All switching and other operations, requiring engineering knowledge or skill,
shall be carried out by authorised persons or competent persons acting under the
immediate supervision of authorised persons.
Except for an agreed routine switching, or switching required in cases of
emergency, no high voltage switching shall be carried out without the sanction of the
senior authorised person.
No high voltage earthing switch shall be operated, or circuit main earth
connection attached or removed except under the instructions of the senior authorised
person. Where there are feed back possibilities in sub stations, care should be taken to
see that isolators have been kept open and earthed wherever necessary to avoid feed
back of power.
6. Safety Precautions To Be Observed During Switching Operations
Persons performing switching operations on high voltage apparatus shall do so
using rubber gloves or standing on insulated stools, platforms or rubber mats.
When low or medium voltage fuses, which are not in series with circuit
breakers, are to be operated, the attendants shall use rubber gloves, insulated
platforms or rubber mats. Where there is a possibility of arcing in the switching
operations the operator shall use goggles or eye shields and keep his body as far as
possible away from the switch.


c) When replacing a low voltage fuse which is in series with the switch, the switch
shall first be opened.
d) Where isolators are in use with circuit breakers, the breakers shall always be
opened before opening the isolators, and inversely when the circuit is being closed,
the circuit breakers shall be closed last.
e) Any abnormality in the condition or operation of any switch shall be reported to the
person in charge.
f) Where there is interlock system to guard against irregular sequence of operation in
switching, the failure of interlock shall not be taken as an excuse for incorrect
Following incidents and events shall be recorded promptly and accurately in
the sub station log book or the register maintained for this purpose:
a) All switching operations on high voltage switches and their timings with an
explanation or reasons thereof;
b) All clearance orders (i.e. permit-to-work, sanction-for test) received and issued;
c) Particulars relating to telephonic messages in connection with the operations on
high voltage switches; and
d) Any other event that the undertakings may prescribe.
7. Working In Area Containing Exposed Live HV Conductors
a) A permit to work or sanction for test shall be obtained for all work in areas
containing exposed live high voltage conductors.
b) Adjustments, cleaning and painting of earthed metal enclosures and of structures
may be carried out from ground-level by competent persons provided specified
clearances are maintained. Permit to work shall be obtained for such work when it is
to be done from above the ground level.
c) Isolation of electrical apparatus shall include

Isolation from all points from which it is possible for the apparatus to
become alive (i.e. voltage and auxiliary transformers, common neutral
earthing equipment).
Locking of circuit breakers, isolators, spout shutters, control handles and
safety devices, wherever such arrangements exist, in guaranteed position.
Locking of all enclosures leading in to live sections from the work area to
avoid wrong opening of doors.

d) The section made dead for working shall be only that required for the execution of
the work and it shall be defined by use of barriers, screens and danger boards, etc, so
that the minimum clearance are maintained. The section shall be bounded by red flags
by day and red lights by night.
e) When working on or near exposed live conductors, to the place of work (i.e. ground
level, platform or access way, which may be required to be used) shall be :

Rated Voltage
240 / 440 V
Not exceeding 66 kV
Exceeding 33 kV but not exceeding 66 kV
Exceeding 66 kV but not exceeding 33 kV
Exceeding 66 kV but not exceeding 132 kV
Exceeding 132 kV but not exceeding 275 kV

61.0 cm
2.5 m
2.75 m
2.98 m
3.43 m
4.57 m

f) No material or tools shall be carried on the shoulders and long materials and tools
shall be carried in a horizontal position and in a manner to maintain the clearance as
8. Work On Out Door Structures And Busbars
In isolating the point of work from supply, care shall be taken to disconnect
right points in case of sectionalised, and mesh schemes of bus bars.
Isolators/switches closing on the section of bus bars on which work is to be
carried out shall be locked in open position and the closing mechanism rendered
While working on the outdoor structure at a height more than 3 metres from
the ground level, safety equipment such as safety belts, hand line, etc, should be used.
While changing the parallel groove of tee clamps of the jumpers between the
top and the bottom bus, a cradle formed out of (3/4) 20 mm manila or nylon rope
should be used and the safety belt connected to a tie rope passed over pulley block,
the other end of the rope being held by at least two persons at the ground level.
No persons shall stand directly below the place of work when the work is in
progress in the outdoor structure to avoid any tool or bolts or nuts or clamps etc,
falling on their heads.
PVC helmets should be invariably used while working on the outdoor structures, both
by the men stationed at the ground and those on the structures.


9. Work On Power Transformers:

A permit-to-work or sanction-for test shall be obtained for all work on sub station
When work is to be carried out on a power transformer, for isolation purposes, both
the primary and secondary voltage switches and isolators shall be opened. Similarly
when isolating transformers to which voltage transformers are connected, the voltage
transformers shall be isolated and the low voltage fuses withdrawn to prevent the
possibility of the transformers being made live through the synchronising or voltmeter
Transformers shall be isolated from all common neutral earthing equipment from
which it may become alive. This does not require the disconnection of solidly earthed
neutrals or equipment connected solely to the transformer on which work is to be
Before commencing any work on a transformer, the transformer winding should be
discharged to ground. In case the transformer is isolated from the supply by a single
point of disconnection, eg. Fuse disconnects, the transformer shall be safeguarded by
shorting the phase terminals together and connecting to the ground. The transformers
neutral should never be accepted in place of grounding of phase terminals as required
Transformers without conservators shall be treated as if the space above the oil level
contains highly explosive gas and, therefore, the space shall be suitably ventilated
before entering the tank.
Open flames or inadequately protected portable lamps shall be kept away from the
manhole and smoking shall not be permitted when working on or in the transformers.
Persons working in the transformers shall not carry any loose articles like key
bunches in their pockets and persons working in or on the top of transformers shall
not keep any loose tools with them.
Whenever transformers are replaced, the new transformer shall be checked carefully
for voltage, polarity, and phase rotation.
10. Works On Circuit Breakers:
For isolation purposes it shall be ensured that :
a) Disconnecting switches on both sides, control switches, or control fuses, relay trip
blocking switches and compartment doors are open.
b) Mechanical blocking, when it is necessary to prevent unauthorised movement of
the mechanism, is installed.
c) In cases, where there are no disconnecting switch between the transformer
terminals and the circuit breaker, the transformer should be isolated.

d) In oil circuit breakers trip-free feature should be blocked.

Following additional precautions shall be taken in relation to work on minimum-oil
type circuit breakers:
a) With the exception of control cabinet, all parts of the circuit breaker shall be
considered as alive.
b) As the operating springs are under tension in both the open and close position of
the breaker, extreme care shall be taken when adjusting the operating mechanism to
avoid accidental operation.
c) Where possible, when working on contacts of these breakers, the spring tension
should be completely released and the control circuit opened at the breaker.
d) Where breakers are operated hydraulically, care should be taken to see that motor
circuit is kept open so that the hydraulic pressure does not build up by operation of the
hydraulic pump, coupled to the driving motor. The D.C. supply to the marshalling
boxes shall be cut off so that closing circuit remains inoperative due to absence of
D.C. supply.
In case the circuit breaker is not closing electrically by remote operation due to some
fault in the wiring, manual closing may be resorted to, after making sure that the fault
has been cleared.
11. Works On Instrument Transformers:
The body of all instrument transformers shall be earthed. In handling instrument
circuit the secondary of a current transformer shall not be opened while it is alive.
Before any work is carried out on an instrument or other device in a current
transformer secondary circuit, the device shall be bridged with jumpers so that the
circuit cannot be opened at the device. The circuit shall never be opened at meter
connection until it has been bridged elsewhere. Potential transformers secondaries
shall never be short circuited.
Low voltage windings of the potential transformer shall always have one side
permanently and effectively earthed.
12. Work On Metal Clad Switchgear And Control Panel :
While working on manually-operated, panel-mounted, circuit breakers, when the
operating handle is on the front and the circuit breaker is on the rear of switchgear or
on another panel, a danger notice shall be placed on the handle.
When the work is to be carried out on bus bar-spouts the following operations shall be
carried out;
a) The section of bus bars, on which the work is to be carried out, shall be made dead
and shall be isolated from all points of supply.
b) The isolating arrangements and the shutters of live spouts shall be locked so that
they cannot be operated.
c) Where duplicate switches in one tank or on load bus bar isolators are installed and
it is impossible to isolate them from all points of supply, then all switches and
selectors that could be closed on the bus bars on which work is to be carried out, shall
have their mechanism locked in the open position and the closing mechanism shall be
made inoperative.

d) The bus bar shall be earthed with approved earthing equipment at a panel other
than at which work is to be done on the isolated section of the bus bars
13. Works On Lightning Arresters:
No work shall be done on lightning arresters including the earth wire unless it is
disconnected from the live circuit and earthed at both the line and earth terminals. The
body or shields of oxide film lightning arresters must never be touched while arresters
are energized.
High voltage and extra-high voltage lightning arresters, which are accessible shall be
provided with suitable screens or fences against possible contact while the arresters
are alive. The gate of the screens shall be kept locked and the keys kept under safe
custody with the operator on duty
14. Works On Storage Batteries
While preparing electrolyte, always add acid to water and not water to acid. Smoking,
open flame or the use of tools or any other devices that are liable to cause sparks, shall
be avoided in storage battery rooms.
While handling acid or batteries workmen shall use proper tools and lifters. Workmen
shall always wear gloves and rubber aprons.
Electric storage battery jars and cells, unless composed of glass, hard rubber or other
insulating material shall be mounted on insulating supports.
15. Work On Underground Cables :
For isolation of cables open at least one set of disconnecting switches or fuses in
every source through which the cables can be made alive including leads to the cables
of potential transformers then discharge the cable to earth.
Cable route indicators should be provided and cable route record maintained to assess
correctly the particulars of all underground cables in the vicinity of the faulty cable.
Use of sharp-edged crow bars or pick axes should be avoided while excavating the
earth to locate the faulty cable.
All cables in the vicinity of the fault area shall be exposed and identified to establish
the identity of the faulty cable.
Before a high voltage or extra high voltage cable is cut, the senior authorised person
shall make definite checks to identify the cable to ensure that the cable has been made
dead and earthed. He shall then spike the cable in an approved manner at a point
where the cut is to be made.
Before any high voltage joint or chamber is to be opened in circumstances where it is
not desirable to spike the cables entering the joint or chamber, the senior authorised
person shall satisfy from cable-route-records, and if necessary by approved tests, that
the joint or chamber, associated with the particular cable, has been made dead and on
which it is safe to work.

Employees shall not step on live cables even though they are insulated and enclosed
in a lead sheath. Tools and material shall not be rested against the sheath of the cable.
When work is to be carried out on a cable in proximity to another live circuit or cable
having fully insulated metallic sheath, special precautions should be taken to prevent
danger from induced voltage.
16. Work On High/Medium/Low Voltages Fuses :
No work on high voltage fuses shall be taken up when the circuit is alive. Authorised
persons shall do the replacement of high voltage fuses only.
Before starting work check shall be made with approved apparatus to ensure that the
fuse contacts are dead and the isolators are in fully opened position on all the three
Work shall not be started unless:

All the three phases are shorted and earthed on either side of the fuse.
Proper barriers are erected against adjacent live equipment.

Following precautions should be taken while working on low/medium voltage fuses :

a) Persons checking up the work on fuses shall wear approved gloves while handling
fuses. Eyes shall be protected against possible flash by wearing goggles, or by
shielding eyes and face.
b) In case where the fuse is in series with the disconnecting switch, the switch shall be
opened before replacement of the fuse.
c) Where necessary, the neutral line shall be withdrawn after all phase fuses have been
withdrawn and replaced first. Then all the phase fuses put in.
17. Works On Pole Mounted Substation (Distribution Transformers)
The following precautions shall be observed in case of carrying out work on the pole
mounted sub stations (ie distribution transformers)
a) The work shall be carried out under a permit-to-work.
b) Before changing or replenishing oil, or painting all exposed live parts transformers
shall be disconnected.
c) While working on poles, which have lightning arresters installed on them, the
workmen shall avoid touching lightning arresters and the lightning arresters ground
d) Open flame shall not be brought near an open transformer.

Chapter 3

Maintenance of Sub stations

The areas of maintenance in Sub station are:

Power Transformers
Circuit Breakers
Bus bar and insulators
Current Transformers and Potential Transformers
Lightning arresters
Earthing and Lightning shield protection
Columns, beams and other supporting structures
Relay and protection systems
Station battery
11 kV cables and control cables
Auxiliary power supply to the station
Sub station building
Fire fighting equipment
Security fencing

Maintenance of Power Transformers

Objective of maintenance
The main objective of maintenance of transformers is to maintain the insulation in
good condition. Moisture, dirt and excessive heat in contact with oxygen cause for
deterioration of insulation.
The causes of breakdown of transformers shall be detailed as follows:- ,

Faulty design or construction


Improper insulation


Over loading


Wear and tear, neglect, accidents etc.


Failure of auxiliary equipment

In a power system, the ratio of installed capacity of generators to installed capacity of

transformers is 1: 4. This makes the power transformer the costliest single item in a
sub station. The transformers are really the heart of a Transmission and Distribution
Net work.
According to Electricity (Supply) Act 1948, a life of 35 years is expected for a
Transformer above 100 KVA capacity and 25 years for others (i.e. below 100 KVA
capacity). Premature death of a transformer can definitely be attributed to lack of

Extensive studies have established that 85% of the transformer failures is due to the
failure of the insulating system of the transformers.
Ageing or deterioration of the insulating system in any transformer starts with the
very moment of commissioning of the transformer. By maintenance of transformer we
(i) assessing the rate of ageing/deterioration taking place in the transformer
(ii) identification and elimination of factors contributing to the faster rate of ageing of
insulating systems
(iii) taking measures to compensate for the deterioration.
Analysis of the results of the following tests on transformers will give indication on
the condition of the transformers.

Insulation Resistance of Transformer.


Polarisation Index


Testing oil for the Physical, Electrical and Chemical characteristic of

transformer oil according to standards.

Guide lines to longer life for power transformers:i)

A strict oil maintenance schedule may be followed


Ensure sludge free operation for oil (sludges are formed in oil due to chemical
contamination of oil)


Establish 600 C as the maximum top oil temperature.


Conduct all tests periodically


Conduct analysis of dissolved gases in oil every year.


Excessive moisture, oxygen, heat and acidity will damage the insulating
system-eliminate such conditions


Test and calibrate all protective relays periodically


Keep the gaskets, valve seats etc intact so that they are properly sealed against
infiltration of moisture and gases from the atmosphere.


Clean the insulators and bushing periodically


Inspect and check all connections regularly


The life of the transformers are effected by the following:

(i) Moisture: Transformer oil absorbs f moisture from the air and consequently the
dielectric strength of oil and paper deteriorates.
(ii) Oxygen: The oxygen in the air trapped inside the transformer reacts with the
cellulose of the insulation and the decomposition products cause for formation of
organic acids soluble in oil and sludges which blocks the free circulation of oil.
(iii) Solid Impurities: If the transformer oil contains solid impurities like particles of
insulating materials etc., it may accelerate deterioration.
(iv) Varnishes: Some oxidising varnishes react with transformer oils and precipitate
sludge on the windings. Synthetic varnishes, which have acid-inhibiting properties
generally, delay the natural formation of acid and sludge in the oil.
(v) Slackness of windings: Transformer windings may become slack during
transportation, due to coil displacements under load conditions and due to momentary
short circuits which cause electrical and magnetic unbalance.
Inspection and Maintenance of Transformers
Transformers shall be inspected and maintained under safe conditions. Maintenance
schedules for power transformers are as given.
1. Oil: Oil level should be checked frequently and if any excessive leakage is there, it
should be stopped by suitable repairs. Oil taken from a switchgear shall not be used
for topping up transformer.
Dielectric test of oil shall be conducted regularly. In addition chemical tests shall be
done periodically to determine the deterioration of oil.
If acidity, sludge or corrosion is evident, the oil shall be treated for reclamation.
Simple filtration may not be sufficient.
2. Transformer Body: It shall be ensured that the body of transformer does not get
rusted. Transformer body shall be painted periodically. Leaking joints can be rectified
by tightening the bolts. Rollers shall be greased regularly.
3. Core and winding: At specified intervals core and windings shall be inspected after
opening the tank, taking all precautions.
4. Magnetic oil gauge: The oil level indicator shall be always kept clean. Oil level in
the conservator tank shall be properly maintained.
5. Silica gel breather: The silica gel breather shall always be in blue colour. When
they are saturated with moisture, they turn pink. Such silica gel shall be heated and
reactivated by extracting moisture.
6. Buchholz Relay: Routine inspection and operation tests should be conducted on
Buchholz relays.
8. Explosion vent and Gaskets: The diaphragm at the end of the explosion vent shall
be regularly checked for any crack or damage. Gaskets get shrunk due to ageing. If
leaks cannot be stopped by tightening the nuts, old gaskets shall be replaced with new

9. Pipe works, coolers, fans etc. : Pipe works should be checked for leakages and
joints made leak proof periodically. The outer surface of the radiator type coolers shall
be cleaned. Dust from the fans of the coolers shall be removed and bearings
10. Temperature indicators: Oil level in the pockets holding thermometer shall be
checked and replenished during annual maintenance. Capillary tubings shall be
fastened properly and dial glasses cleaned regularly. Temperature indicators shall be
calibrated periodically.
11. On-load Tap changers: Diverter switch shall be serviced annually by cleaning the
contacts, checking oil level and replacing the contaminated oil. Motor driving
mechanism shall be checked and motor maintained properly.
Loading guide for oil immersed transformers
Table shown below gives the guide lines in loading typical power transformers (IS
Typical permissible overloading calculation 1000 kVA transformer has a load of 500
kVA through out the day except for a period of 2 hours. To find the permissible over
load for a duration of two hours. The weighted average annual ambient temperature
of the cooling medium is 32C.
Guide Lines on loading of Power Transformers

32 C








40 C



32 C

40 C

32 C

40 C

32 C

40 C

Values of K2




































































































Note : In normal cyclic duty, the value of K2 should not be greater than 1.5

Initial load as a fraction of rated KVA


Permissible load as a fraction of rated KVA

Duration of K2 in hours

Temperature of cooling medium (weighed average)

Therefore permissible overload for 2 hours is K2 x Rated kVA

ie. 1.43 x 1000 = 1430 kVA

Effects of Overloading
Paper or press board used as insulation in transformers, when heated beyond certain
limits under oil for long period of time, will loose mechanical strength, but the
dielectric strength is hardly affected until the paper is actually charged to the point,
when the free carbon causes conduction. The lower mechanical strength of paper may
not be able to resist short circuit forces and break down occurs.
When Transformer trips on acting Buchholz Relay
Whenever the Buchholz relay of the transformer acts and the transformer is tripped.
the following procedures may be adopted before energising the transformer again.

Isolate the transformer from the system and examine for any external
visible damage.


Examine the colour of the gas accumulated in the Buchholz relay casing.
The colour gives an indication of the fault. White gases emanate from the
destruction of paper, yellow from the destruction of wooden materials and
black or grey colour from oil decomposition.


The rate of collection of gas is an indication of the severity of fault. The

gas collected may be air, Carbon Monoxide (CO) resulted from the
destruction of paper and wooden materials, or acetylene obtained as a
result of oil decomposition. The gas collected may be analysed using the
following method.

(a). The gas may be bubbled through freshly prepared 3% silver nitrate solution. If no
precipitate is found within 30 minutes, the gas collected is air. If a white precipitate is
found within 30 minute and turns black, the gas collected is carbon monoxide. If the
white precipitate does not change in colour, the gas collected is acetylene. This test is
possible only if there is sufficient bubbling of the gas as seen through the glass
window of the Buzhholz relay.
(b). The gas collected can also be analysed in the following way. Allow the gas to
escape by opening the cock placed above the casing and verify by means of a match,
whether it is inflammable. If the gas is not inflammable, it can be concluded as air. If
the gas burns with a blue flame, the gas collected is CO. If the gas burns with yellow
flame, it is acetylene.
If the gas collected is air and if there is no visible damage, the transformer can be test
charged again.
If the gas collected is CO or acetylene, the transformer should not be test charged
again before checking the core and winding thoroughly.
On no account, the gas collected in the chamber should be let off without carrying out
the aforesaid tests.


Recommended Minimum Insulation Resistance for Transformer Winding

Rated Voltage
( kV)

IR value in meg-ohms (using 2 kV Megger)





66 and above










11 & 6.6





Below 6.6





Note: As a rough guide, the megger values should be 2 meg. Ohms for every rating at
600C for 11 KV and above. The megger values double itself for every 10 0C fall in
Recommended maintenance schedule for Transformers below 1 MVA
Items to be inspected
(a) Load (amperes)
(b) Voltage
(c) Dehydrating

Inspection notes
Check against rated
Check that the air
passage is clear, check
the colour of active agent


Action required


(d) Oil level in transformer

Check transformer oil



(e) Bushings

Examine for cracks and

dirt deposits


If silica gel is pink, change

by spare charge. The old
charge may be reactivated
for use again
If low top up with dry oil.
Examine transformer for
Clean or replace

(f) Conservator

Check for moisture under

Check for dielectric
strength and water
content. Check for
Examine relays and
alarm contacts, their
operation, fuses etc.

Half yearly

Internal inspection above

core. Overall inspection,
lifting of core and


(g) Oil in transformer

(h) Earth resistance, relays,

alarms their circuits etc.

(i) Conservator




Improve ventilation. Check

Take suitable action to
restore quality of oil
(Filtration of oil if
Take suitable action, if
earth resistance is high.
Clean the components and
replace contacts and fuses
if necessary. Change the
settings if necessary. Check
relay accuracy etc.
Filter oil regardless of
condition. Wash by hosing
down with clean dry oil







Circuit Breakers
The circuit breakers in the electrical installations are very important equipments,
which have to operate on no load conditions, load conditions, or on short circuit
conditions. When an electric contact is open, an arc is formed and this arc has to be
quenched at the earliest instant to protect the equipment and the operating personnel.
Depending upon the different medium of arc quenching and various voltage levels
different types of Circuit Breakers are used.
Any maintenance work on the Breaker shall be undertaken only after switching off,
isolating, and earthing the equipment. Also all precautions shall be taken against any
accidental operation of the breaker during the maintenance work. Proper preventive
maintenance will result in the efficient and economical operation of the breaker for a
long period and will avoid costly break downs and outages of the system. The
maintenance works shall be done as per a proper schedule of work. A team of welltrained workers, supervisors and officers is essential for the proper and systematic
maintenance work. Required tools and spares should be available before taking up
the work. Required safety equipments also should be provided. Maintenance work of
different breakers are detailed below:
Types of Circuit Breakers

Oil Circuit Breakers (Bulk and Minimum)

Air Blast Circuit Breakers
SF6 Circuit Breakers
Vacuum Circuit Breakers

The maintenance programme will vary for each type: It is desirable to schedule the
maintenance according to recommendations of the manufacturers.

Maintenance Of Circuit Breakers

Bulk Oil Circuit Breaker ( O C B ) :
The OCB comprises three single pole contact assemblies housed in specially shaped
welded steel tanks and a sheet steel tank housing carrying the operating mechanism.
The whole assembly is supported on angle iron frame work. The breaker shall be of
solenoid or spring closing with arrangement for emergency hand operation.
a) Fixed and Moving Contacts
For normal service operating conditions, the contacts shall be inspected once in an
year. The contact surfaces can be cleaned up with a smooth paper if it is pitted. If the
operation is frequent, the inspection of contacts shall be at shorter intervals. After
opening under abnormal conditions such as short circuits, it is necessary to examine

the contacts as soon as the breaker can be isolated. Particles of fused metal should be
removed by using smooth file and if the burning is severe, the contacts may have to
be replaced.
b) Cross Jet Pot assembly:
To examine the cross jet pot assembly it must be removed from the circuit breaker.
Blackening due to the passage of burnt oil and gases need not be considered as
deterioration, but if the passage is badly charred, the damaged plates should be
c) Contact Lifting Mechanism
The mechanism should be inspected at intervals not exceeding 12 months. The lock
nuts of all adjustments should be checked for tightness, after checking that the
mechanism functions correcting.
d) Operating Mechanism:
The mechanism should be inspected at intervals not exceeding 12 months and bearing
and sliding surfaces lubricated with good quality machine oil. The lock nuts of all
adjustments should be checked for tightness.
e) Closing Contactor:
The contactor for the closing solenoid should be inspected periodically.
Indoor Type Minimum Oil Circuit Breaker ( MOCB)
The MOCB switch gear is of single bus bar system using horizontally isolated
withdraw able minimum oil circuit breakers. Each cubicle is independent and fully
separated from its adjacent cubicle by sheet steel enclosure all round except for the
opening in the bus bar chamber.
a) Maintenance of Cubicle and Bus Bars

Monthly cleaning of switch board


Checking of L.T. circuits


Verify the healthy conditions of indicating lamps, etc


Clean the support insulators of bus bars and jumpers


Replace the support insulators if necessary

Lubricate periodically (once in a year), mechanical joints of shutter operating
levers and cams.

Schedule of Maintenance for Oil Circuit Breakers:


Cleaning bushings, checking oil levels, releasing air etc.




Cleaning mechanism box, lubricating pivots, checking tripping/closing coils,

auxiliary contacts etc.


Testing insulation resistance


Testing dielectric strength of oil


Checking tightness of connections


Half Yearly


Examination of contacts, dressing or replacement of contacts


Check the porcelain of insulators for cracks or damages




Close and trip the breaker by hand to ensure that its mechanism functions


Re-condition/replace the oil. If it is observed that the oil is contaminated,

earlier replacement of oil may be done


Complete overhauling of the breaker once in a year is desirable


Check the contact resistance, closing time and opening time for EHV class

Air Blast Circuit Breaker (ABCB)

ABCBs are designed for outdoor use and are based on the multiple interruption
principal using compressed air as insulation and medium for arc quenching. The
operating mechanism also works on compressed air.
Maintenance is confined to periodical cleaning and lubricating of the moving parts
and renewal of damaged contacts and gaskets.
Schedule Of Maintenance
1. Check the compressed air pressure in the switch cubicle (hourly readings
2. Check for any air leakage (audible sound)
3. Drain condensate from pressure vessels
4. Check operation of compressors


1. External cleaning of insulators, tank, etc
2. Tightening of power connections
3. Lubricate the moving parts in control block, switch cubicle and control


For ABCBs the opening and closing time may be noted once in every year. It
is also to be checked that all phases operate simultaneously
The air compressor plant is part of the ABCB. Constant attention is essential
to maintain the air compressor plant in good condition.
The moving and fixed contacts to be renewed when the tip of contacts to be
renewed when the tip of contacts is cracked or it has been eroded by about
2 mm (relative to new contact)
Inspect and check the operation of Valve cartridge of control block (Control
valves for opening and closing, resetting device and reloading device)


Every five years ( General Overhaul )

Arcing chamber
Clean or replace contacts
Check or replace packing for valve disc


Hollow insulator column

Inspect, clean and dry inside of hollow



Air Receiver

Inspect, clean and dry inside of air

Renewal of gasket of end cover


Ventilation cartridge

Check for air flow replace if required


Back signalling device

Dismantle into main parts

Clean and lubricate piston and cylinder


Control Block

Dismantle in to principal parts

Clean and lubricate
Replace packing rings


Main valves

Dismantle, clean and replace packing

Lubricate piston assembly


Switch Cubicle

Check renewal of packing

Lubricate moving parts
Calibration of pressure switches
Check operation of back control
apparatus (discrepancy trip)
Clean filters


Dos and Donts FOR ABCB:

Dos: 1)

Use only specified lubricants

For sticking gaskets bare minimum solution (hylomer / maxfix) shall be used
All gaskets and O rings are replaced by new ones after a removal for
inspection and assembly
The valve connecting the breaker tank and air supply piping should always be
kept open when the breaker is energised
Heaters provided in the switch cubicle and control blocks should always be
switched on
When control block is overhauled, ensure that the matching of various levers
is as per the instructions, check the engagements and settings
Outside surfaces of insulators to be cleaned periodically
Ensure that the wiring connections are tightly secured
If oil is found leaking through the condensers replace it by new one.
Periodic painting of metal parts shall be done as required
Keep the breaker in closed position after opening the isolators at both sides to
avoid air leakages,

Donts: 1)

Do not interchange ventilation gaskets, particular cartridge with particular

punch mark shall be used in specific places only.
Do not leave the control blocks uncovered any time
Control block settings should not be altered
Do not leave the switch cubicle door open
Pressure settings of pressure switches should not be disturbed
Do not disturb safety valve settings
Do not use spare parts other than supplied by the firm

SF-6 Gas Circuit Breaker (GCB)

General Information On Sf-6 Gas
SF-6 is colourless, odour less non-flammables, non-corrosive non-toxic and
chemically inert gas at normal temperature. It is much heavier than air (5 times).
Dielectric strength is about 3 times that of nitrogen (air). Arc quenching ability and
thermal stability are excellent. It has the property that disassociated molecules
recombine rapidly after the source of arcing is removed. Sf-6 is supplied in steel
cylinders as liquefied gas (40 kg).
During arc interruptions gaseous or powdery secondary products may be formed.
This powdery decompositions can be seen inside the interrupting chambers as while
deposits and chemically affect the human skin and materials.


How To Handle Secondary Products:


Assure adequate ventilation

Avoid direct contact with components exposed to SF-6 gas.
Wear protective gloves, goggles, mask, etc
Do not stir up powdery deposits, but remove them using a vacuum cleaner
After work, wash hands thoroughly
Dispose of secondary products, cleaning materials, as well as absorption
material according to local environmental code and operating instruction of
the firm.
For re-assembly always use new gaskets and seals


In GCB SF-6 gas is used as insulation and as arc quenching medium. The operating
mechanism works on compressed air pressure or charged spring. Single break and
double break units are available depending on voltage level and design. Generally the
breaker is maintenance free. General overhauling is due after 10 years of operation.
Topping up of SF-6 gas is required if low gas pressure alarm is obtained.



Check SF6 gas pressure and temperature


Drain condensate water from air compressor and beaker air tank


Check compressed air pressure reading


Maintain space heaters in the control boxes and control cubicle


Check vibration during operation




Check the local /remote operation of the Breaker

Clean the porcelain, control box, control cubicle and air compressor
Check the indications of the auxiliary switch contacts
Maintain space heaters in the control boxes and control cubicle
Check the automatic starting and stopping of air compressor


Half Yearly


Check the insulation resistance value of GCB with 2kV Megger

Across contact Breaker open condition
Breaker terminal to ground Breaker closed condition
Check the SF6 gas pressure low alarm and lock out by shorting the contacts of
gas density detector.
Check the air pressure alarms






Check the opening and closing timings and compare with commissioning
Check contact resistance of main contacts and compare with test report.
Check the safety valve blow out and reset pressure of air compressor.
Lubricate the operating mechanism as per the directions given in the
manufactures maintenance manual.


Special Maintenance

Satisfactory operation
of the breaker can be ensured only by proper
maintenance. Table given below shows the types of inspection and its schedule
applicable for TELK SF6 Breakers
Type of Inspection

Inspection interval


Patrolling inspection

Every week

Check the breaker

operation for any

Special Inspection

Every 5 years or every 500


Shut down required

Detailed Inspection

Every 10 years or every

2000 operations

Shut down required.

Overhauling of

Table given below shows schedule for contact inspection

Interrupting Current In kA

Number of Operations



15 to 20



Rated current - 2


Items of Inspection

1 Check porcelains for any damage

2 Check Main terminal
3 Check earthing
4 Check breaker position indicator
5 Check foundation bolt tightness
6 Drain water from local air receiver
7 Record no. of breaker operations (Counter Reading)
Gas System
1 Record the gas pressure (If leak observed, fill gas)
2 Gas leak test
3 Check G.D. setting
Air system
1 Record the air pressure
2 Check for any audible sound
3 Retighten all union nuts
4 Calibrate air pressure gauge
5 Check pressure switch settings
1 Stationary contact inspection
2 Moving contact inspection
3 Inspection of nozzle
4 Replace absorbent
Basic Mechanism
1 Conform the stroke
2 Inspect the horizontal links for any undue wear
3 Check oil level in the dash pot
4 Supply new oil to dash pot
5 Apply Hitalube to moving parts like link, pin joint
Control Box
1 Electromagnetic valve:
2 Auxiliary switch:
3 Operating cylinder:
4 Hook assembly:
5 Check resistance of close and trip coils
Control Cubicle

1 Check electrical contactors


Clean hook using turbine oil

Check Contact at terminal block
Apply Hitalube to piston rod
Apply Hitalube to hook roller
Compare with test report

2 Check wiring connections for any looseness

3 Measure IR value
4 Check compressor for any abnormality
1. Open the line isolators of both sides of the breaker and ground both the terminals
of the
breaker .
2. Turn off the control circuit power supply and remove the air from local air
receiver through its drain valve.
3. Outdoor work on a rainy day should be prohibited.
4. Do not dismantle shaft seal assembly .
5. Replace the absorbent when inspection of interrupting unit is carried out. This
should .be done just before evacuation.
6. If a gas joint is repaired, perform leak test.
Materials required for detailed inspection
1. SF6 gas
2. Absorbent
3. Hitalube (grease)
4. Set of O-ring
5. Male contact
6. Female contact
7. .Nozzle set
8. Oil for dashpot
9. Spring for tulip contact

One cylinder with mass 39 kg

2 kg
1 set
3 nos.
3 nos.
3 nos.
5 litre transformer oil
6 nos.

Tools and accessories required for detailed inspection

The following is the list of main items.
1. Mobile crane or derrick to lift max. 6000kg to a height of 9 m.
2. Vacuum pump suitable for evacuating a volume of 200 litres to l mm of mercury.
3. Gas feeding hose.
4. Maintenance Jig. (in case spring is to disassembled)
5. Set of spanners
6. Vernier callipers , depth gauge, feeler gauge
7. Vinyl sheet
8. Nylon wire rope, nylon hose ( l m) approx. dia. l0mm







Vacuum Circuit Breaker ( VCB )

The VCB comprises one or more sealed vacuum interrupter units per pole. The
moving contact in the interrupter is connected to insulated operating rod, linked with
the operating mechanism. The contact travel is of the order of a few millimetres (15
mm) only. The movement of the contacts within the sealed interrupter unit is
permitted by metal-bellows.
a) Vacuum Interrupter:

Verify contact force

Contact resistance
The Vacuum integrity of the interrupter may be tested using a high voltage
testing kit every six months.
The Vacuum Interrupter is a sealed unit and it cannot be repaired or opened at

After the permissible number of fault operation at given level the following items
shall be examined and depending on the results of examination or the manufacturers
recommendation the breaker is overhauled.

Isolating contact
Vacuum interrupter
Isolating and earthing switches

Bus, Connections and Isolators:

Inspection for broken or cut strands of bus, tightness of connections, condition
of string insulators and hardware may be done once in every six months.
Lightning Arresters



Cleaning of insulators.
Checking connections
Measurements of Insulation Resistance.
Check the readings on the surge counter

It is important that the lightning arrester should be effectively connected to earth.

Earth resistance may be measured and remedial measures taken if value is found to be
above permissible levels.


Earthing and Lightning Shield Protection

Earth resistance shall be taken monthly and records should be maintained. If earth
resistance is not found satisfactory, take remedial measures to improve the value.
Check all connections of the lightning shield protection once a year and rectify
defects noticed.
Columns, Beams and Supporting structures
Detailed inspection for fatigue, rusting, deformation of members should be conducted
once a year. Take remedial measures if required.
Paint all non-galvanised iron parts once in two year.
Relay and Protection System.
All relays are to be tested every six months for their operational worthiness.
Replacement or rectification of defects should be done.
Station Battery:

Daily: Inspect battery for general condition, level of electrolyte, measure

voltage and specific gravity of pilot cell, note ambient temperature and keep
record of these observations.


Weekly: Inspect battery, clean all dust and direct from the battery, check for
plate buckling, collections of sediments at the bottom.


Fortnightly : Top up distilled water if required.


Quarterly : Check specific gravity and voltage of all cells, check connection,
apply petroleum jelly to terminals connections, etc.




Paint the racks and battery room with acid resistant paint.


Carry out discharging of battery as per the instructions given in the

maintenance manual.
Boost charge the Battery after discharging.


Procedure for Battery Maintenance

Initial Charging
Filling-in specific gravity: 1.190 + 0.005 at 27C.
Rest Period 12-18 hours.
Charging may be commenced at any rate between the starting and finishing



Once cell voltages reach 2.35V, reduce current to finishing rate and continue
charging, till the cells are fully charged.
If during any time of charging, temperature exceeds 50C, suspend charging.
Allow temperature to come down to 40C and continue charging at finishing
rate. If however, the time taken for the cell to cool down to 40C is
inordinately long, recharging may be started at 45C.
Cells are considered to be fully charged once three successive hourly readings
of cell voltage and electrolyte gravity are found to be constant. All cells should
also gas freely. The voltage of each cell should be around 2.75V on top of
charge condition. However, the minimum total Ah input, as mentioned in the
table must be provided to the cells even if the voltages and specific gravities
are observed to be constant before that. On completion of charge, adjust acid
level to 'Maximum' after correcting specific gravity of electrolyte to 1.200 +
0.005 at 27C.
Technical Specification of Exide Plante Battery

Type of

at 10 hour
rate to
1.85 volt
in Ah

Charging Current
Starting Finishing
rate in
rate in

in Ah

quantity of
acid 1.19 sp.
gr. in
Min. Max.
mA mA
































Float/Trickle Charge
In standby application Exide Plante cells are to be maintained within a Float Voltage
range of 2.18 to 2.25 V per cell.
Trickle charging currents should be so adjusted, anywhere between the maximum and
minimum allowed levels given in the table, such that individual cells remain fully

Quick Recharge
Exide Plante cells after a deep discharge can also be recharged quickly by applying
the Starting Rates mentioned in the table. However, currents will have to be reduced
to the Finishing Rate once individual cells attain a voltage level of 2.35 volts. Care
will also have to be taken that electrolyte temperature does not exceed the maximum
of 50C in which case the charging will be discontinued until the temperature drops
down to 40C, or at least to 45C. Charging may be resumed at the finishing rate from
this point.
Float/Trickle Charge
In standby application Exide Plante cells are to be maintained within a Float Voltage
range of 2.18 to 2.25 V per cell.
Trickle charging currents should be so adjusted, anywhere between the maximum and
minimum allowed levels given in the table, such that individual cells remain fully
Quick Recharge
Exide Plante cells after a deep discharge can also be recharged quickly by applying
the Starting Rates mentioned in the table. However, currents will have to be reduced
to the Finishing Rate once individual cells attain a voltage level of 2.35 volts. Care
will also have to be taken that electrolyte temperature does not exceed the maximum
of 50C in which case the charging will be discontinued until the temperature drops
down to 40C, or at least to 45C. Charging may be resumed at the finishing rate from
this point.
Equalizing charge
Periodical equalizing charge at finishing rate is recommended.
Recharge Instructions
All plante cells should normally be floated at a mean float voltage of 2.23 + 0.02 volts
per cell. A battery system consisting of 55 cells (110V) can be charged with a float
charging voltage of 122 Volts (max).
Maintenance of Cables:

Measure insulation resistance of 11 KV U.G. cable quarterly.


Check tightness of Cable terminations periodically

Inspect cable trenches and ducts periodically and carry out rectification work
of defects noticed.


Auxiliary Power Supply:


Inspect Station Auxiliary Transformer, switch gear, cables etc regularly and
carry out rectification and maintenance work.


Inspect all L.T. Switch gear, L.T. Cables and rectify defects noted


Renew wiring, switch boards etc. as and when found necessary

Station and Yard Lighting:

Station and yard lighting also requires constant attention. Repairs, replacements and
renewals have to be done when found necessary.
Sub station Building:

Carry out annual maintenance


Keep the sub station building clean and neat


Dampness in the Sub station building may badly affect the indoor installations
like 11 kV Breakers, bus-bars, relays etc. Prevent dampness inside the Sub

Station Switchyard:
Clear over growth of grass and vegetation from the yard.
Fire Fighting Equipment:

Maintain register for the fire fighting equipments


Weigh the CO2 cylinders monthly and keep record of weighing.


Refill cylinders, when found necessary


Paint CO2 Cylinders, Fire buckets and other equipments annually.

Security Fencing:

Carry out Annual maintenance to Security fencing.


If the fencing is by Chain Link or barbed wire, check the earthing connections


Paint all non-galvanised metallic parts annually.





Chapter 5

Substation Earthing
Earthing is a general term broadly representing grounding of electrical power system
and touching of non-current carrying metallic bodies of equipments to grounded
electrodes. Earthing is a system feature or parameter that attach and influences,
system stability, voltage balance, voltage rise during abnormal operating conditions,
fault current, harmonics, telecommunication interferences, relaying, installation cost
and safety in general. Earthing associated with current carrying power conductors,
usually the neutral conductor is normally essential to the security of the system and is
generally known as system earthing, while, earthing of non-current carrying metal
works of equipment bodies is essential for the safety of human life, of animals and of
property and is generally known as safety equipment earthing.

Statutory Provisions

Earthing system design, installation, testing and maintenance are based on the basic
requirements as envisaged in the relevant provisions of Indian Electricity Rules 1958.
The applicable IE Rules are Rules 32, 51, 61, 61A, 62, 67, 69, 88 (2) and 90. In
addition to these rules the revised IEEE guidelines, 3.5.3043/87 and National Electric
Code describe the design methods and installation procedure of earthing system for
better safety.

Power System Earthing

There are two ways in which three-phase system can be operated.

They are:
(i )
With isolated or free neutral
(ii )
With earthed neutral
However these days isolated neutral system is being rarely used, as at the time of an
earth fault high transient voltages of several times the normal value will be produced
and this may puncture the insulation of the system at some other location than the
point of fault. This may result in the damage of the associated equipment and
interruption of the supply of the system.
1.2.1. Advantages of Power System Earthing

Reduction in surge voltages and consequent reduction in insulation levels.


Reduced power frequency voltage of the phase conductor to the frame or body
of the equipment less insulation even for power frequency voltage
possibility of graded insulation.
Possibility of easy and effective ground fault relaying less equipment
damage as the first insulation failure itself is detected and cleared.
Early detection of faults reduces period and extent of outages.



Disadvantages of Power System Earthing


Damages to life and property by way of electric shock and fire

High magnitude of destructive earth fault current and the necessity for
interruption within a few cycles.
Third harmonics and its multiples drive currents through grounding
conductors and give rise to unnecessary heating.
Telecommunication interference due to fault and harmonic current
return through ground.
Low earth fault and leakage currents in L.V and M.V. system
necessitate the use of low set sensitive earth fault relays and sensitive
ELCBs for ensuring safety.

Protective Safety Earthing

Protective safety earthing of equipments is to ensure safety of life and
apparatus against the harmful effects of earth faults. The earth connection improves
service continuity and minimizes damage to equipments and danger to human life.
The objective of an earthing system is to provide as nearly as possible a surface under
or around a station which shall be at a uniform potential and as nearly zero or absolute
earth potential as possible. Further, it is to ensure effective operation of the protective
gear in the event of leakage through such metal parts, the potential of which with
respect to neighbouring objects may attain a value, which would cause danger to life
or risk of fire.
Earth Electrodes
Earth electrodes are provided to dissipate fault current in case of earth fault
and to maintain the earth resistance to a reasonable value so as to avoid excessive rise
of potential of the earthing grid. The general practice is to design the earth electrode
system for the appropriate thermal withstand capacity assuming the total fault current
to be passing through the earth electrodes to the mass of the earth. This is true in the
case of an earthing system which is not interconnected with neutral earthing and
safety earthing are interconnected, the fault current will return to the transformer
neutral particularly through the grid and particularly through the mass of the earth
depending upon the value of earth resistivity. Studies in this matter show that this
division is varying from 10 % to 90 %. The earth electrode system need be designed
only for the portion of the prospective fault current returning through the mass of the
earth. The current density permissible at the earth electrodes as per I.S. 3043 is
Where i

7.57 X 103 A/m2

= current density (in A/m)
= resistivity of the soil (in m)
= duration of the earth fault (in s)

Experience indicator that this formula is appropriate for plate electrodes.


Types of earth electrodes


Plate Electrodes
The approximate resistance to earth of a plate can be calculated from


- resistivity of the soil ( in m )
A - area of both sides of the plate ( in m2 )
Where the resistance of a single plate is higher than the required value, two or
more plates may be used in parallel and the total resistance is inversely proportional to
the number employed, provided that each plate is installed outside the resistance area
of any other.
The size of cast iron electrode is 1.2 m X 1.2 m in area and not less than 12
mm in thickness. The area available for dissipation is 2.88 sq.m including both sides.
The earth connections should be joined to the plate at not less than two separate
points. Plate electrode when made of GI or steel, shall be not less than 6.3 mm in
thickness. Plate electrodes of Cu shall be not less than 3.15 mm in thickness. Plate
electrodes shall be of the size of least 60 cm X 60 cm.


The current loading capacity of a 1.2 m X 1.2 m plate is of the order of 1600 A
for 2 s and 1300 A for 3 s. Plate electrodes shall be buried such that its top edge is at a
depth not less than 1.5 m from the surface of the ground.

Rod or Pipe Electrodes

The resistance of a pipe or rod electrode is given by :

R = 100 log c 4 l ohms

Where l = Length of rod or pipe (in cm)
d = diameter of rod or pipe (in cm)
= resistivity of the soil (in .m)
The diameter of the pipe has a relatively minor effect in the resistance and the
resistance diminishes rapidly with the first few foot of driving, but less so at depths
greater than 2 to 3 m in soil of uniform resistivity.


A number of rods or pipes may be connected in parallel and the resistance is

then practically proportional to the reciprocal of the number employed so long as each
is situated outside the resistance area of any other. In practice, this is satisfied by a
mutual separation equal to the driven depth.
Pipes may be of cast iron of not less than 100 mm diameter, 2.5 to 3 m long
and 13 mm thick. Such pipes cannot be driven satisfactorily and may, therefore, be
more expensive to install than plates for the same effective area. Alternatively, mild
steel waterpipes of 38 to 50 mm diameter are sometimes employed. These can be
driven but are less durable than copper rods.

Strip or conductor electrodes

These have special advantages where high resistivity soil underlies shallow
surface layers of low resistivity. The minimum cross-sectioned area of strip
electrodes shall be not less than 25 mm2, or of mechanical protection is not provided.
(Refer section 12.1.1 of IS 3043). If round conductors are used as earth electrodes,
their cross sectioned area shall not be less than the sizes recommended for strip
electrodes. The resistance R is given by
R = 100 loge 2l2
Where = resistivity of the soil (in .m)
l = length of the strip in cm;
w = depth of burial of the electrode in cm; and
t = width ( in the case of strip) or twice the diameter ( fir conductors) in cm.
If several strip electrodes are required for connection in parallel in order to
reduce the resistance, they may be installed in parallel lines or they may radiate from
a point. In the former case, the resistance of two strips at a separate of 2.4 m is less
than 65 percent of the individual resistance of either of them.
Other types of earth electrodes are : 1)

Water Pipes


Cable Sheaths


Structural steel work


Reinforcement of piles


Cathodically Protected structures


Recommended values of earth resistance

System / Installation

Acceptable limit of earth resistance


<10 ohms

Medium voltage installation

< 5 ohms

HT consumers

< 2 ohms

Small EHT S/S and generating stations

< 1 ohms

Large EHT S/S and generating stations

< 0.5 ohms

Measurement of Earth Resistance

The earthing resistance of an electrode is made up of

Resistance of the electrode

Contact resistance between the electrode and the soil
Resistance of the soil

The first two factors are very small fractions of an ohm and can be neglected
for all practical purposes. But the measurement of earth resistivity is done for
designing the earthing system and subsequently for checking its effectiveness.
Soil resistivity is generally measured with Null detector or Megger earth
tester by four electrode method
Four electrodes are driven into the earth as in Fig.1 along a straight line at
equal intervals. A current is passed through the two outer electrodes and the voltage
between the inner electrodes are measured. The resistivity will be proportional to the
ratio of voltage and current.
The resistivity of the soil can be computed as follows :

4 S R_________
_ __2 S___
S + 4d
S 2 + 4d2
Where = resistivity of the soil (in .m)
S - distance between two successive electrodes in metres
R - resistance reading or V/I in ohms
d - depth of burial of electrodes in metres

Usually d will be negligible compared to the spacing S and hence the equation
is simplified as,
=2 SR

o c1

c2 o

o p1

p2 o

The derivation of the above equation is based on the assumption that soil
resistivity is uniform. While actually measuring earth resistivity for a sub station yard,
note the following:
Readings along the periphery and diagonals should be taken.
Readings with inter-electrode spacing of 10m, 15 m and 20m may be
The average value of the above readings may be considered for design of
earthing system

Resistivity measurement should include temperature data, dry or moist

condition of the soil and type of soil etc
Design of Earth Mat

In designing the earth mat following factors are to be considered:


Magnitude of fault current

Duration of fault current or fault clearing time
Soil resistivity of the area
Resistivity of the surface material
Material of the earth electrodes

The area of earth mat conductor is given by

A =

K x I x t
K for various materials

Welded Joint

Bolted Joint

where, A =

A area in mm2

= Fault current in amps.

t = Duration of fault current in seconds (usually taken as short time rating

of the switchgear).
The permissible values of step and touch potentials are given by the formulae:
165 + s
.. (3)
E touch
= 165 + 0.25 s Volts
.. (4)
Where s soil resistivity in ohm metres just beneath the feet of person (usually taken
as 3000 ohm metres for crushed rock)
E Step

T =

Fault clearing time in seconds

The resistance of the earth mat is given by




Where R = Resistance in ohms

r =

Soil resistivity in ohm metres

Equivalent radius of the substation area in metres

L = Total length of buried conductor in metres

Another important point to be examined is whether the design is safe for
sustained ground current which should be below the let go value of the body current
(taken as 9 milli amperes) which gives the value of E touch as follows :
E touch ( Sustained ) = (Rk + 3/2 s) x 9 / 1000 Volts


Where , Rk = Body resistance taken as 1000 ohms

soil resistivity below the surface of the feet.

The mesh potential of the grid should be less than the E touch ( Sustained )
E mesh =

Km Ki




Km - Factor depending upon the size, spacing, depth and number of parallel grid
Ki - Irregularity factor ( 0.65 + 0.172 n)
n being number of parallel conductors.
In all the substations provisions are made for earthing the following preferably by
duplicate earth connections.

Equipment framework and other non-current carrying parts

All the metallic structures and supports
Neutral point of each transformer or separate system
Lightning arresters. These are usually provided with independent earth grid
which in turn is connected to main grounding grid.
Substation fence earthed at regular intervals
Transformer rail track

It is common practice to cover the area of switchyard with about 10 cm (4 in.)

of gravel or crushed rock which helps in making the area safe for operating personnel
against hazard due to shocks.
Installation of Earth Mat
Earth mat is generally designed with the following sizes of MS rods.
400 kV Substations 40 mm dia
220 kV Substations 40 mm /32 mm dia
110 kV Substations 32 mm /25 mm dia
Conductor above ground level for earthing equipment structures, columns and
other auxiliary structures shall be galvanised flats. Rod electrodes shall be of mild
steel of same diameter as earth conductor and of length as required in the design.
The earth conductors should be laid within the substation area and up to 2
metres beyond the fencing, in parallel lines in both directions, at the nominal spacing
as per design. The earthing conductors may be suitably re-routed in case they foul
with column foundations and equipment foundation. It is better to install the mat
immediately after site levelling, but after clearly setting out the locations of columns,
equipment and cable trenches.
Earthing conductor shall be buried at least 600 mm below the finished ground
level. Maximum spacing and minimum spacing requirements as per design shall be
maintained. Wherever earthing conductors cross cable trenches, underground service
ducts, pipes, tunnels, rail tracks etc, they shall be laid at a minimum depth of 300 mm
below the structures.
Earth risers shall be provided near the equipment foundations and for future
Earthing conductor around the building shall be buried in earth at a minimum
distance of l500 mm. from the outer boundary of the building. In case high

temperature is encountered at some locations, the earthing conductor shall be laid

minimum 1500 mm away from such locations.
Earthing conductors embedded in the concrete shall have minimum 50 mm
concrete cover. Earthing conductor crossing the roads shall be laid at greater depth to
avoid mechanical stress.
All ground connections shall be made by direct current electric arc welding.
All welded joints shall be allowed to cool down gradually to atmospheric temperature
before putting any load on them. Artificial cooling shall not be resorted. All arc
welding with large diameter / thick conductor shall be done with low hydrogen
electrodes. Bending of large diameter rod/thick conductor shall be done preferably by
gas heating.
Welding of ground connections demand extreme care, as once laid the mat and
joints cannot be practically inspected.
Earthing Connections
Neutral points of systems of different voltages metallic enclosures, frame
works associated with all current carrying equipment and extraneous metal works
associated with the electric system shall be connected to the single earthing system.
Steel structures columns etc. shall be connected to the nearest earthing grid by two
earthing leads to the ground conductor in two directions.,
Metallic pipes, conduits, cable tray sections metallic stairs, hand rails shall be
bonded to ensure electrical continuity and connected to the earthing conductors at
regular intervals.
Rail tracks within the switchyard area shall be bonded across fishplates and
connected to earthing grid at several locations. At the points where the track leaves
the yard area. the rail ends shall be provided with insulation, to avoid hazards due to
possible transferred potential. Similarly insulated pipe sections may be inserted in the
pipelines leaving the station premises.
Every alternative post of the switch yard fencing shall be connected to the
earthing grid. Flexible earthing connectors shall be provided where flexible conduits
are connected to rigid conduits.
At the connection points of earthmat with equipment earthing leads, the welds
shall be treated with red-lead and afterwards thickly coated with bitumen compound
to prevent corrosion.
Earthmat comprising closely spaced (150 mm x 150 mm x 300 mm deep)
conductors shall be provided below the operating handles of the isolators. Operating
handles shall be directly connected to the earthing mat through flexible copper braids.


Conductors of the lightning protection system shall not be connected with the
conductors of the safety earthing system above ground level. Earthing terminals of
each lightning arrester and capacitor voltage transformers shall be directly connected
to the rod electrodes, which in turn shall be connected to the station earth grid.
Metallic sheaths and armour of all multi core power cables shall be earthed at
both equipment and switch gear ends. Sheaths and armour of single core power cables
shall be earthed at switch gear end only.
Each earth lead from the neutral of the power transformers shall be directly
connected to two rod electrodes in treated earth pits. They shall in turn be connected
to the station earthing grid.
Separate earthing conductor shall be provided for earthing of lightning
fixtures, receptacles, switches, junction boxes, lightning conduits etc. Low voltage
neutrals may be isolated from the station earth grid. This is necessary to avoid hazards
due to transferred potential on low voltage feeders and secondary circuits, which
serve outside the station area. But such neutrals of low voltage system separately
earthed shall be treated as a live conductor. Such earthing should be located so as to
minimise the danger of being contacted by personnel.

Welding Details
Details of Welding to be done during earthing and grid installation are shown above .


Details of Earthing Conductor Crossing The Trench


Chapter 6

Transformer Accessories
1. Buchholz Relay
Gas actuated Buchholz Relay is provided, in the pipe leading oil from the
conservator to the main tank. The relay comprises a cast housing which contains two
pivoted aluminium floats or buckets, each being counter balanced.
When a slight fault occurs in the transformer, small bubbles of a gas will be
generated and these will attempt to escape to the conservator. The gas will be trapped
in the Buchholz relay housing, pushing down the oil level in it. Then top float or
bucket which will be above the oil level will move down due to its extra weight of oil
in it, and make an alarm contact.
If the gas produced in the transformer is more, then the oil will be further
pushed down leaving the second float also out of oil. The second float or bucket will
then make trip contacts close and the transformer tripping circuit will be energised,
isolating the transformer from service.
An inspection window provided in the relays casting will indicate the oil level
in the relay. Separate single float Buchholz relay shall be provided for the tap changer
conservator, for getting alarm indication.
2. Bushings
High voltage connections from
transformer terminals to lines need
bushings. The simplest bushing is the
moulded high quality glazed porcelain
insulator with a conductor through its
centre. These are used only up to 33 kV
Bushings for higher voltages are oil
filled capacitor type. The bushing is
constructed with layers of resin bonded
paper interleaved with layers of metal foil
or with paper, impregnated with
conducting material. This is contained in a
two part porcelain container together with
an oil expansion chamber at the top. High
Voltage condenser hermetically sealed. A
test tap is provided for measuring tan delta
and capcitance.
Where bushing CTs are to be
provided, suitable arrangements are
provided at the lower end. The
arrangement will be such that, the bushing
can be removed without disturbing the
current transformers.
3. Arcing Horns
V Oil filled
horn gap setting shall be as follows.

Transformer Winding BIL (in kVp)

Arcing Horn setting (in mm.)











4. Other accessories
Other accessories of transformer include the following.
a. Marshalling kiosks accommodating cable terminals, W T I and O T I.,
b. Valves for filtering, filling oil, draining Conservators, draining oil from tank,
oil sampling etc.
c. Stop valves for main conservator and diverter switch Tap changer conservator.
d. Jacking pad for transformer lifting and movement during transportation and
e. Bi-directional flanged wheels.
f. Lifting hooks, pulling eyes etc.
g. Butterfly valves for radiator shut off.
h. Manholes with cover for inspection inside during major maintenance works.
i. OLTC control kiosk.
j. Rating plate.
k. Remote Tap Changer Control Cubicle ( RTCC)
5. On-Load Tap Changers (O L T C) :-The On-Load Tap Changer consists of a
high speed resistor transition Diverter Switch, Tap Selector, Driving Mechanism and
external Driving shaft .The tap lead wires from the tap winding of the transformer are
brought and terminated at the fixed contacts of the tap selector. Tap selector do not
break load current. In order to maintain a circuit connection, the diverter switch
introduces an impedance which temporarily bridges the selected adjacent contacts
whilst the Tap Selector connection is transferred from the operating tap to the pre
selected tap. During this operation, circulating current flows, around the bridging
impedance in addition to the load current carried by the winding. Since operation of
the diverter switch, involves arc interruption, the oil in this compartment becomes
contaminated with carbonised particles and must be kept separate from the oil in both
the main tank and the selector compartment
Ref. Figure given below the following electrical sequence of operations
applies in changing taps from Tap 1 to Tap 2.
One selector, S 1, is on Tap 1 and the other, S2, is on Tap 2 with the diverter
switch S3 connecting Tap 1 to the neutral point. Diverter contacts a and b are
closed and load current is carried from Tap 1 through contact b. This is the running
position for Tap 1.
On triggering the driving mechanism, the energy stored in the spring operating


mechanism causes the contact system

to commence its travel from one side of
the diverter to the other and contact b
opens. At this point the load current is
carried from Tap 1, through resistor R 1
and contact a.
As the moving contact system
continues its travel, contact is made
with d at this point resistors R 1 and R
2 are connected in series across taps 1
and 2. There will thus be a circulating
current between taps, in addition to the
load current that will be carried through
the mid-point of the resistors.
The moving contact system continues
on further to cause contact a to open.
At this point the load is transferred to
Tap 2, through resistor R2 and contact
As the moving contact system reaches
the other side of the diverter switch,
contact c closes and resistor R2 is
shorted out. The load current is thus
carried from Tap 2 through contact c
This is the running position for Tap 2.
The tap change from Tap 1 to
Tap 2 as described above involves no
Tap Changer Connections
movement of selectors but, if a further tap change in the same direction from Tap 2 to
Tap 3 is initiated, the selectors must first move from Tap 1 to Tap 3 before the diverter
switch operates. Thus for a tap change in the same direction as the previous
movements, the selectors move first followed by a change over of the diverter switch.
However, for a tap change in the reverse direction to the previous movement,
i.e. from Tap 2 to Tap 1 following the last of above actions, the selectors remain
stationary and the tap change will be completed by the movement of the diverter
The time for a complete tap change operation, i.e., from the instant of
initiation to completion, varies from 6 to 10 seconds, depending on the tap changer
manufacturer and the speed of operation of the drive mechanism.


Ref. Figure in page No. 200 for a TELK, O L T C

(1) Mechanism Case
(3) Explosion Vent.
(5) Shield Ring
(7) Insulation Drain Pipe
(9) Diverter Switch Contacts Compartment.
(11) Diverter Switch Moving Contacts.
Gear Box.
(13) Tap Selector Stationary Contact.
(15) Tap Selector Moving Contacts
(17) External Driving Shaft
(19) Bevel Gear Box.
(21) Gas and Oil Operated Relay
(23) Drain Valve
(25) Gas Vent
(27) Tap Changer Conservator

Diverter Switch

(2) Spring Mechanism

(4) Outer Insulation Cylinder
Insulation Shaft for Tap

Insulation Shaft of Diverter

(10) Transition Resistor
(12) Tap Selector Intermittent
(14) Tap Selector Insulation

(16) Change Over Selector.

(18) External Driving Shaft
(20) Driving Mechanism.
(22) Stop Valve.
(24) Oil Level Gauge.
(26) Air Breather .

Tap Selector Assembly


Sequence Diagram of Tap Changing Operations .


Three Winding Transformers

A transformer may have additional windings apart from the two conventional
main windings depending upon the particular application and type of connection of
the main windings. In a three winding transformer, the third winding is normally
called tertiary winding and it is provided to meet one or more of the fallowing
requirements: a. For an additional load which for some, reason must be kept isolated from that
of secondary,
b. To supply phase compensating devices, such as condensers, operated at some
voltage not equal to primary or secondary with some different connection.
In star/star connected transformers, to allow sufficient earth fault current (zero
sequence component current) to flow for operation of protective gear to suppress