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GE Oil & Gas

Bently Nevada Asset Condition Monitoring

Electric Motor Condition Monitoring and
Protection Application Guide
4.3.1 MSIM Components..................................................................................14
4.3.2 High Sensitivity Current Transformer (HSCT)............................15
4.4 Multilin* Motor Protection Relay......................................................................16
4.4.1 Multilin Relay to System 1 Interface...............................................16
5 Selecting the Proper Condition Monitoring Solution...................... 17
5.1 Condition Based Maintenance Objectives................................................. 17
5.2 Condition Monitoring Challenges Specific to Electric Motors......... 17
5.3 Product Application............................................................................................... 17
5.3.1 Product Capabilities................................................................................18
5.3.2 Product Discussions................................................................................18
6 Complementary Predictive Maintenance
Tests and Technologies ........................................................................ 19
Table of Contents 6.1 Offline Testing..........................................................................................................19
1 Introduction..............................................................................................2 6.1.1 Motor Insulation Condition Testing – Offline.............................19
1.1 Purpose...........................................................................................................................2 6.1.2 Offline DC Tests.........................................................................................20
1.2 Acronyms.......................................................................................................................2 6.1.3 Insulation Resistance (IR) to Ground Testing..............................20
1.3 Glossary of Terms......................................................................................................3 6.1.4 Polarization Index, Dielectric Absorption Ratio and
2 Electric Motor Overview.........................................................................4 Polarization Index Profile Testing.....................................................20
2.1 Mechanical and Electrical Motor Components..........................................4 6.1.5 Step Voltage Test......................................................................................20
2.2 Induction Motors........................................................................................................4 6.1.6 DC High-potential Testing and Electrical Surge........................20
2.3 DC Motors......................................................................................................................4 6.2 Offline AC Tests.......................................................................................................21
2.4 Synchronous Motors................................................................................................5 6.2.1 Capacitance to Ground..........................................................................21
2.5 Multiple-speed Motors ...........................................................................................5 6.2.2 Capacitance and Dissipation Factor ) – Tan Delta
2.6 Motor Name Plate Information...........................................................................6 Measurements or “Tip-Up” Tests.....................................................21
2.7 Three-phase Motor Winding Types..................................................................6 6.3 Other Motor Condition Testing beyond Insulation –
2.8 Variable Frequency Drives....................................................................................7 Offline Testing..........................................................................................................22
2.9 Motor Control Center ..............................................................................................8 6.3.1 Phase-to-Phase Resistance (DC Test)............................................22
3 Motor Failure Categories...................................................................... 10 6.3.2 Phase-to-Phase Inductance (AC Test)............................................22
3.1 “Fault Zone” Methodology..................................................................................10 6.3.3 Rotor Influence Check ...........................................................................22
4 Condition Monitoring Solutions......................................................... 12 6.4 Motor Insulation Condition Testing – Online............................................23
4.1 Vibration Monitoring Systems.........................................................................12 6.4.1 Partial Discharge ......................................................................................23
4.1.1 Journal Bearing Motors.........................................................................12 6.4.2 Motor Current Signature Analysis and
4.1.2 Rolling Element Bearing Motors........................................................12 Electrical Signature Analysis............................................................... 24
4.2 Bently Nevada AnomAlert – Anomaly Detection System.................12 6.4.3 Infrared Thermography......................................................................... 24
4.2.1 AnomAlert Components......................................................................13 6.4.4 Lubrication Analysis................................................................................25
4.3 Motor Stator Insulation Monitor Overview...............................................14

application note
application note
1 Introduction 1.2 Acronyms
The following common acronyms are associated with electric
1.1 Purpose
This guide is intended to help Bently Nevada asset condition AC Alternating Current
monitoring sales managers and field application engineers AA AnomAlert – GE Bently Nevada anomaly
better understand: detection system
• Electric motors and related equipment CBM Condition Based Maintenance
• Methods, technologies and products used for CT Current Transformer
condition based maintenance of motors DAR Dielectric Absorption Ratio
• Appropriate selection criteria for protection and/or DC Direct Current
condition monitoring solutions for specified electric
motor types C & DF Capacitance and Dissipation Factor
ESA Electrical Signature Analysis
Hi-Pot High Potential
HSCT High Sensitivity Current Transformer
IR Insulation Resistance or Infrared
KVA Kilovolt-Ampere
KVAR Kilovolt-Ampere Reactive
KW Kilowatt
MCSA Motor Current Signature Analysis
Megger® Megohm Meter
MSIM Motor Stator Insulation Monitor
NEMA National Electrical Manufacturers Association
PD Partial Discharge
PdM Predictive Maintenance
PF Power Factor
PSD Power Spectral Density
PT Potential Transformer
RTD Resistance Thermal Detector
SF Service Factor
TEFC Totally-Enclosed, Fan-Cooled
THD Total Harmonic Distortion
VFD Variable Frequency Drive

application note
1.3 Glossary of Terms
Table 1 –Electric Motor Terminology
Air Gap The radial gap between the outer circumference of the rotor and the inner circumference of
the stator
Apparent Power The total amount of electrical power drawn by the motor to produce the electric flux and drive the
load – usually expressed in kilovolt-amperes (KVA); the product of the RMS values of the voltage and
current drawn by the motor
Core The metal structure of the rotor or stator, typically consisting of sheet metal laminations or plates, stacked
and fastened together, which define the shape of the rotor or stator, and hold the electrical current-carrying
bars or windings
Dissipation Factor The phase angle relationship of capacitive and resistive components of the current passing through stator
insulation; as the insulation system degrades, the resistive component of the current increases, resulting
in a corresponding increase in dissipation factor
Flux The magnetic field surrounding a current-carrying conductor or magnet, used when referring to the magnetic
field between the rotor and the stator; Flux lines are used to depict and describe the magnetic field, with the
density of the flux lines corresponding to the strength of the magnetic field
Frame Size A number corresponding to the numbering system of standard motor size and dimensions established by
the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA)
Full-load Current The current drawn by the motor when operating at full-load torque and speed and at the motor’s rated
line voltage and frequency
Full-load Torque The torque of the motor when it is producing its rated horsepower and running at full-load speed
(also known as “running torque”)
Insulation Class A series of letters, from A through H, representing temperature increments from 105° C to 195° C,
corresponding to the temperature that the motor insulation is designed to withstand under continuous
operating conditions
Poles The electromagnet “poles” created in an AC motor by the windings; the number of poles determines the
running speed of the motor; in AC motors it is always an even number (2, 4, 6, and so on) and is inversely
proportional to the speed of the motor
Power Factor A dimensionless number corresponding to the ratio of real and apparent power drawn by an AC motor, and
indicative of the electrical characteristics of the motor; in other words, real power divided by apparent power
Reactive Power The portion of the electrical power required for the magnetization of a motor to establish and sustain the
magnetic flux – usually expressed in kilovolt-amperes Reactive (KVAR)
Real Power The portion of the electrical power drawn by the motor that is converted into mechanical power that drives
the load (driven machine) – usually expressed in kilowatts (KW)
Service Factor A multiplier, usually listed on the motor nameplate, that when applied to the motor’s rated horsepower,
corresponds to the maximum horsepower loading the motor can be run at without risk of damage
Slip The rotational speed difference in an induction motor between synchronous speed and the actual rotating
speed of the motor – can be expressed as a speed value, or as a percent of the synchronous speed
Squirrel-cage The rotating part (rotor) used in the most common form of AC induction motor; consists of a cylinder of steel
with aluminum or copper conductors embedded in its surface1
Starting Current The current drawn by the motor when it is initially started; typically much higher than running current and
equal to the locked rotor current (sometimes referred to as “inrush current”)
Synchronous Speed The motor speed corresponding to the rotating magnetic field created at the frequency (f) of the applied
alternating current divided by the number of stator pole windings
A synchronous motor rotates at synchronous speed (RPMsync = (2 x f x 60)/p where p in the number of poles –
for example: f = 60 Hz and p = 2 RPMsync = 3600)
An induction motor rotates at less than synchronous speed (see slip above)

The rotating part (rotor) used in the most common form of AC induction motor; consists of a cylinder of steel with aluminum or copper
conductors embedded in its surface1

application note
2 Electric Motor Overview Three-phase squirrel-cage induction motors are widely used
in industrial drives because they are rugged, reliable, and
economical. Single-phase induction motors are used extensively
for smaller loads, such as household appliances like fans.2
2.1 Mechanical and Electrical Motor
The induction motor does not have any direct electric supply
Components onto the rotor; instead a secondary current is induced in the
Motors are made up of a number of stationary and rotating parts, rotor. To achieve this, stator windings are arranged around the
typically classified as either mechanical or electrical components. rotor so that when energized with a poly-phase supply they
The vast majority of motors in industrial applications are induction create a rotating magnetic field pattern that sweeps past the
motors. Figure 1 below provides an example cut-away view of an rotor. This changing magnetic field pattern induces current in
induction motor that illustrates the many motor components, the rotor conductors. These currents interact with the rotating
each with its own failure modes. magnetic field created by the stator and in effect cause a
rotational motion on the rotor.
However, for these currents to be induced, the speed of the
physical rotor must be less than the speed of the rotating
magnetic field in the stator, or the magnetic field will not move
relative to the rotor conductors and no currents will be induced.
If by some chance this happens, the rotor typically slows slightly
until a current is re-induced and then the rotor continues as
before. This difference between the speed of the rotor and
speed of the rotating magnetic field in the stator is called slip.
Due to this, an induction motor is sometimes referred to as an
asynchronous machine.

2.3 DC Motors
A DC motor (shown in Figure 3) is a mechanically commutated
electric motor powered from direct current (DC). The stator is
Figure 1 – Cut-away view of a 2000HP induction motor stationary in space by definition and therefore the current in the
rotor is switched by the commutator to also remain stationary in
space. This maintains the relative angle between the stator and
2.2 Induction Motors rotor magnetic flux near 90 degrees, which generates the
The induction or asynchronous motor (shown in Figure 2) is an AC maximum torque.
electric motor in which the electric current in the rotor needed to
produce torque is induced by electromagnetic induction from the
magnetic field of the stator winding. An induction motor therefore
does not require mechanical commutation, separate-excitation, or
self-excitation for all or part of the energy transferred from stator
to rotor, as is required in universal, DC, and large synchronous
motors. An induction motor’s rotor can be either wound type or
squirrel-cage type.

Figure 3 – Typical DC Motor

Brush DC motor Construction

DC motors have a rotating armature winding (winding in which

a voltage is induced) but a non-rotating armature magnetic
field and a static field winding (winding that produces the main
magnetic flux) or permanent magnet. Different connections
of the field and armature winding provide different inherent
speed/torque regulation characteristics. The speed of a DC
Figure 2 – Typical induction motor
GE Multilin: Motor Protection Principles

application note
motor can be controlled by changing the voltage applied to the
armature or by changing the field current. The introduction of
2.5 Multiple-speed Motors
variable resistance in the armature circuit or field circuit allows Multispeed motors (as shown in Figure 5) are applied when
speed control. Modern DC motors are often controlled by power operation at two, three or four definite speeds is desired. The
electronics systems called DC drives. motors are classified based on the relationship of full-load torques
at rated speeds (constant torque, variable torque and constant
The introduction of DC motors to run machinery eliminated horsepower). Different speeds are obtained by switching electrical
the need for local steam or internal combustion engines, and connections. The speed of each connection has the constant
line shaft drive systems. DC motors can operate directly from speed characteristic typical of single-speed induction motors.
rechargeable batteries (this system provided the motive power Multispeed motors may have a single reconnectible winding or two
for the first electric vehicles). Today DC motors are still found in independent windings. It is possible to arrange a single winding
applications as small as toys and disk drives, or in large sizes to so that it can be reconnected for a different number of poles (and
operate steel rolling mills and paper machines. speed) by suitable reconnection of the leads. However, such an
arrangement permits only two speeds and the speeds must be in
the ratio of two-to-one. An alternative way of securing two speeds
2.4 Synchronous Motors is to have two separate windings, each wound for a different
A synchronous electric motor is an AC motor in which, at steady number of poles and speed.
state, the rotation of the shaft is synchronized with the frequency
of the supply current; the rotation period is exactly equal to an
integral number of AC cycles.3 In other words, it has zero slip
under usual operating conditions. Contrast this with an induction
motor, which must slip in order to produce torque. A synchronous
motor is like an induction motor except the rotor is excited by a
DC field. Slip rings and brushes are used to conduct current to
the rotor. The rotor poles connect to each other and move at the
same speed – hence the name: synchronous motor. The speed at
which synchronous motors rotate depends on the frequency of the
AC power line and the number of poles (p) – RPMsync = 2 x f x 60/p.
Synchronous motors contain electromagnets on the stator of the
motor that create a magnetic field which rotates in time with the
oscillations of the line current. The rotor turns in step with this
Figure 5 – Multiple-speed motor
field, at the same rate. GE Motor Brochure
Synchronous motors (as shown in Figure 4) can be applied
to driving compressors, grinding mills, metal rolling, mine hoists, Such an arrangement means that one winding is not in use
refiners, fans, generators, and many other applications. Small when the other is connected to the line; motor frame sizes usually
synchronous motors are also used in timing applications such as are larger in order to accommodate the idle winding. But the use
in synchronous clocks, timers in appliances, tape recorders and of two windings permits two speeds that are not in the ratio of
precision servomechanisms in which the motor must operate two-to-one. Speeds with a two-to-one ratio can be delivered by
at a precise speed. two-winding motors as well as by single-winding motors.

Figure 4 – Typical synchronous motor

GE Motor Brochure


application note
2.6 Motor Name Plate Information 2.7 Three-phase Motor Winding Types
Motor rating and identification data are furnished on labels There are several different AC motor types, each one with
and nameplates. Packing nameplates provide a permanent different operating and mechanical characteristics. The most
record of motor characteristics, plant identification, and date common type is the squirrel-cage rotor. It is called squirrel-cage,
of manufacture. Figure 6 shows an example of a label that is because its rotor looks like the exercising wheel found in squirrel
attached to the motor. or hamster cages.
A typical three-phase squirrel-cage motor (single voltage) has
six connection leads in the electrical connection box for the
three stator windings. It is important to know how to connect
AC three-phase motors in Star and Delta connection, as
illustrated in Figures 7, 8 and 9.
In a star or Y connection, each one of the three phases (R-S-T)
is connected at one end of each coil. The other ends of the coils
are connected together in a common point. A star connection
can be easily accomplished simply by bridging one of the two
horizontal rows in the connection box of the motor. The phases
Figure 6 – Typical motor nameplate are then connected on the leads of the other horizontal row.
of-ac-induction-motor.html In a Delta connection, the end of each coil is connected with
the start of another coil. The three coils are then connected
Terminology used in typical motor nameplate (see Figure 6) in a circle, thus creating three nodes. The three phases are
then applied on these nodes. A Delta connection is easily
Volts: Rated terminal supply voltage accomplished by vertically bridging the three columns in the
Amps: Rated full-load supply current connection box.
H.P.: Rated motor output
(Note: In North American, motors are
typically rated in output horsepower (HP),
while internationally the input power is
commonly given in kilowatts (KW)
R.P.M.: Rated full-load speed of the motor
Hertz: Rated supply frequency
Frame: External physical dimension of the motor
based on the NEMA standards
Duty: Motor load condition, whether it is
continuous load, short time, periodic,
and so on
Date: Date of manufacturing
Class Insulation: Insulation class used for the motor
construction; specifies the maximum limit
of the motor winding temperature
NEMA Design: To which NEMA design class the
motor belongs
Service Factor: Factor by which the motor can be overloaded
Figure 7 – Connection diagram of Delta and Star (WYE)
beyond full load
NEMA Nom. Eff.: Motor operating efficiency at full load of_a_3phase_ac_motor/

PH: Number of stator phases of the motor

Pole: Number of poles of the motor
Y: Whether the AC motor windings are
star (Y) connected or delta (Δ) connected

application note

Figure 8 – Delta terminal connection Figure 9 – Star (WYE) Terminal Connection

2.8 Variable Frequency Drives

A variable-frequency drive (VFD) system (as shown in Figure 10) The standard method used to achieve variable motor voltage
is used to control the rotational speed of an induction (AC) is pulse-width modulation (PWM). With PWM voltage control,
electric motor by controlling the frequency of the electrical inverter switches are used to construct a quasi-sinusoidal
power supplied to the motor. The typical design first converts output waveform by a series of narrow voltage pulses with
AC input power to DC intermediate power using a rectifier sinusoidal varying pulse durations.
bridge. The DC intermediate power is then converted to
quasi-sinusoidal AC power using an inverter switching circuit.

Figure 10 – VFD circuit and PWM

GE Presentation Monitoring Electric Motor by Petri Nohynek

application note
2.9 Motor Control Center
Wherever motors are used, they must be controlled. The
sections above explained how various control products are
used to control motor operation. For example, the most basic
type of AC motor control involves turning the motor on and off.
This is often accomplished using a motor starter made up of a
contactor and an overload relay (see Figure 11).

Figure 12 – Soft starters

Siemens Basic Motor Control Center

Some soft starters also allow the phase control process to be

applied in reverse when the motor is being stopped. This controlled
starting and stopping significantly reduces stress on connected
devices and minimizes line voltage fluctuations.
Typically one motor starter controls one motor. When only a few
geographically dispersed AC motors are used, the circuit protection
and control components may be in an enclosure mounted close to
the motor (as shown in Figure 13).

Figure 11 – Circuit breaker and motor starter circuit

Siemens Basic Motor Control Center

The contactor’s contacts are closed to start the motor and

opened to stop the motor. This is done electromechanically
and often requires using start and stop push buttons and other
devices wired to control the contactor.
The overload relay protects the motor by disconnecting power
to the motor when an overload condition exists. Although the
overload relay provides protection from overloads, it does not
provide short-circuit protection for the wiring that supplies
power to the motor. For this reason, a circuit breaker or fuses
are also used.
Often called soft starters, solid-state reduced-voltage starters Figure 13 – Typical motor starter cabinet
(as shown in Figure 12) limit motor starting current and torque Siemens Basic Motor Control Center
by ramping up the voltage applied to the motor during the
selectable starting time. They accomplish this by gradually In many commercial and industrial applications, quite a few
increasing the portion of the power supply cycle applied to electric motors are required, and it is often desirable to control
the motor windings, a process sometimes referred to as phase some or all of the motors from a central location. The apparatus
control. Once the startup is completed, soft starters use integrated designed for this function is the motor control center (MCC) (see
bypass contacts to bypass power switching devices (thyristors). Figure 14).
This improves efficiency, minimizes heat, and reduces switching MCCs are simply physical groupings of combination starters
device stress. in one assembly. A combination starter is a single enclosure
containing the motor starter, fuses or circuit breaker, and a
device for disconnecting power. Other devices associated with
the motor, such as push buttons and indicator lights, may also
be included.
A motor control center is an assembly of one or more enclosed
sections having a common power bus and principally containing
motor control units. In modern practice, an MCC is a factory

application note
assembly of several motor starters. An MCC can include variable protect the motor, fuses or a circuit breaker to provide short-circuit
frequency drives, programmable controllers, and metering protection, and a disconnecting switch to isolate the motor circuit.
and may also be the electrical service entrance for the building. Three-phase power enters each controller through separable
Motor control centers are usually used for low voltage three-phase connectors. The motor is wired to terminals in the controller.
alternating current motors from 208 V to 600 V. Medium-voltage Motor control centers provide wire ways for field control and
MCCs are made for large motors running at 2300 V to around power cables.
15000 V, using vacuum contactors for switching and with A Multilin motor relay from GE is frequently provided for monitoring
separate compartments for power switching and control. and protecting each motor in an MCC. GE also provides a variety
Motor control centers have been used since 1950 by the of bus protection products for the bus voltages feeding the MCC.
automobile manufacturing industry, which used large numbers Knowledge of the Multilin relay and bus protection configuration
of electric motors. Today they are used in many industrial and installed may be helpful in interfacing with AnomAlert and other
commercial applications. Where very dusty or corrosive processes Bently Nevada products from GE.
are used, the MCC may be installed in a separate air-conditioned Each motor controller in an MCC can be specified with a range
room, but often they are used on the factory floor adjacent to of options such as separate control transformers, pilot lamps,
the machinery controlled. control switches, extra control terminal blocks, various types of
An MCC consists of one or more vertical metal cabinet sections thermal or solid-state overload protection relays, or various classes
with power bus and provision for plug-in mounting of individual of power fuses or types of circuit breakers. A motor control center
motor controllers. Very large controllers may be bolted in place, can either be supplied ready for the customer to connect all field
but smaller controllers can be unplugged from the cabinet for wiring, or can be an engineered assembly with internal control and
testing or maintenance. Each motor controller contains a interlocking wiring to a central control terminal panel board
contactor or a solid-state motor controller, overload relays to or programmable controller.

Figure 14 – Motor Control Center overview

Siemens Basic Motor Control Center

application note
3 Motor Failure Categories 3.1 “Fault Zone” Methodology
Data from an Allianz 2001 survey identified the proportions Before discussing the testing and technologies used for
of failure modes of general purpose motors constructed with condition monitoring, it is helpful to review the failure modes
rolling element bearings (as shown in Figure 15). for electric motors. Figure 17 illustrates damaged motors
from several different causes.
PdMA*, a leading motor predictive maintenance company
(PdM), has developed a methodology called the “Six Electrical
Fault Zone” approach in categorizing motor failure modes. Its
training includes a table that lists the fault zones (or faulty
components) and cross-references tests that its equipment is
capable of making to detect those failures. Unfortunately, its
information is not complete since it only lists the fault zones
and tests that fall under the scope of its equipment’s capabilities.
For example it does not include any mechanical faults and is
somewhat limited in its online testing capabilities.
Therefore, the following table utilizes some PdMA methodology
but modifies and adds information to include other industry
knowledge, terminology, and technologies; plus it includes a
brief explanation of the failure modes. This is done in an effort
Figure 15 – Failure modes for typical AC motors to categorize the possible motor fault-components, list the
up to 4 kV (REB) possible specific failure modes, and provide testing options
GE Presentation AnomAlert to detect and confirm the failures. More detail on the offline
tests (also termed “static tests”, conducted during motor
This study indicated a large number of bearing-related problems,
stoppage) and online tests (also termed “dynamic tests”,
followed by stator and rotor-related faults. The “Other” category
taken during motor operation) is provided in the following
includes failures such as insulation, air gap, and other non-bearing
sections of this application guide.
mechanical problems.
Note: The terminology of static and dynamic motor testing
can easily be confused with Bently Nevada terminology that
has differing definitions of “static” and “dynamic” data.

Figure 16 – Failure modes for typical large AC motors

more than 4 kV
GE Presentation AnomAlert

The 2001 Allianz survey also revealed that large AC motors

(defined as operating at 4 kV and higher and typically rated
from 1,000 to 50,000 HP) with fluid-film journal bearings show Figure 17 – Motor failure photos
a much larger proportion of stator-related failures, particularly PdMA Presentation Introducing MCEmax
insulation faults (as shown in Figure 16). This is probably due to
the relative reliability of journal bearings as well as the high
supply voltage levels used in this class of large motors.

application note
Table 2 – Motor Failure Categories
Faulty Component Failure Modes Offline (Static) Test Online (Dynamic) Test
Power Quality Voltage supply that does not match nameplate N/A ESA*, MCSA*
ratings (over/under voltage or fluctuating supply) Phase-to-Phase Voltages, THD,
Voltage supply imbalance Harmonic Voltage Factor
High supply harmonics
VFD faulty operation (improper filtering or
smoothing parameters, open/shorted diodes)
Power Circuit Loose, broken connections Phase-to-Phase Voltage Imbalance, Current
(i.e., phasing Bad contactor coils Resistance*, Imbalance
problems) Resistive Imbalance Thermography*
Faulty capacitors
Cabling problems ESA*, MCSA*
Insulation Partial short faults in phase-to-phase or phase- Resistance to Gnd Bently Nevada MSIM* system
to-ground Insulation: Capacitance to Gnd (using HSCT*)
• Thermal breakdown (overload or age) PI*, DAR*, PIP* Partial Discharge*
• Cracks/fissures Step Voltage* Stator Temperature
• End-winding contamination Hi-Pot*, Surge* RF Detection
• Moisture absorption
C&DF (Tan Delta, Tip-Up)* Acoustic Measurement
• Uncured resin
• Voids
Stator Winding faults Inductive Imbalance* ESA*, MCSA*
• Turn-to-turn Resistive Imbalance* Voltage Imbalance, Current
• Phase-to-phase Rotor Influence Check* Imbalance
• Faulty motor connection Vibration*
• Core loss Thermography*
Temperature sensors
Rotor Cracked/broken rotor bars or shorting ring or Inductive Imbalance* ESA*, MCSA*
interconnections Rotor Influence Check* In-Rush/start-up measurements
Magnetic Flux Monitoring
Air Gap High eccentricity Inductive Imbalance* ESA*, MCSA*
Rotor Influence Check* Vibration*
Bearings Fluting, electrical discharge machining (EDM) Vibration*
Rolling element bearings: spalling, cracked races, Temperature
increased clearances Thermography*
Fluid film journal bearings: fluid-induced Lube/Tribology*
Other Misalignment, coupling fault Laser or dial-indicator Vibration*
Mechanical Mechanical imbalance, rotor bow measurements MCSA*
Faults Modal analysis
Structural looseness (soft foot/bad foundation) Operating Deflection Shape
(ODS) Analysis

* More details follow for several of the techniques listed in this table.

application note
4 Condition Monitoring Solutions • 3500/42M Monitor – This monitor provides continuous
monitoring and machine protection when used with a relay
card output, but has some diagnostic limitations. Vibration
4.1 Vibration Monitoring Systems channels can be configured for acceleration or velocity
sensors, but separate channels are required to provide
There are a number of GE’s Bently Nevada monitoring and both measurement units. Also, as previously mentioned,
transducers systems that can be appropriate for monitoring the 3500 monitor is limited to 800 line spectrums. The most
motors. The ideal hardware suite depends on bearing types and severe limitation is not having acceleration enveloping (AE)
motor criticality. capability for early bearing fault detection.

4.1.1 Journal Bearing Motors • 1900/65A or 2300 Monitor – These monitors can also
be used for a lower criticality motor with roller element
Orthogonal proximity probe (X-Y pair) sensors are highly
bearings. These units are designed to continuously monitor
recommended for monitoring motor journal bearings. The proximity
and protect equipment that is used in a variety of applications
measurements can directly assess the motion of the rotor within
and industries. Their low cost makes them an ideal solution
the journal bearing clearances. Seismic or case-mounted sensors
for a general purpose machine and a process that can benefit
are sometimes used on motor journal bearings, but they are less
from continuous monitoring and protection.
effective. The vibration energy is dampened by the oil film in the
journal bearing and the seismic sensor may not sense the vibration • Trendmaster Dynamic Sampler Module (DSM) – This
until the shaft comes in contact with the bearing journal. rack-based data acquisition system is fully integrated with
GE’s System 1 software. It is an online scanning system and
GE’s Bently Nevada 3500 monitoring system is highly recommended
does not provide shutdown capability.
for monitoring large, critical assets with fluid-film journal bearings
(typically for motors rated over 500 HP). The 3500 system provides • Essential Insight.mesh – This wireless data acquisition
continuous, online monitoring suitable for machinery protection system is fully integrated with System 1 software. A typical
applications, and is designed to fully meet the requirements of the system requires a manager gateway, wSIM devices – wireless
American Petroleum Institute’s API 670 standard for such systems. sensor interface module, and repeaters that create a robust,
auto-forming mesh network. Each wSIM device has four
The 1900/65A monitors can also be used for motors with lower
channels that can be individually configured to support
criticality. They are designed to continuously monitor and protect
vibration and temperature measurements.
equipment that is used in a variety of applications and industries.
The monitors’ low cost makes them an ideal solution for general • Scout Portable Data Collector – This portable analyzer
purpose machines and processes that can benefit from continuous offers the power and convenience of two- or four-channel
monitoring and protection. measurement and dual plane balancing. If a portable
data collector is used without permanently mounted
4.1.2 Rolling Element Bearing Motors accelerometers, special care must be taken in the data
Smaller motors with rolling element bearings (REB) are very collection routine in order to avoid significant variability in
common. These smaller motors may still be critical components trending the data.
of plant operations and justify condition monitoring equipment.
Accelerometer or velocity sensors are recommended for motors 4.2 Bently Nevada AnomAlert –
with roller element bearings for several reasons:
Anomaly Detection System
• Tight bearing clearances effectively transmit vibration The AnomAlert motor anomaly detector is a system of software
out to the motor casing and networked hardware (see Figure 18) that continuously identifies
• Lower installation and sensor cost faults on electric motors and their driven equipment. The AnomAlert
• Acceleration enveloping provides good early detection system applies an intelligent, model-based approach to provide
of REB bearing faults anomaly detection by measuring the current and voltage signals
• Casing measurements allow easy axial measurements from the electrical supply to the motor. It is permanently mounted,
generally in the motor control center, and is applicable to three-phase
Within GE’s Bently Nevada product line, there are several options AC, induction or synchronous, fixed or variable speed motors. The
for making acceleration and velocity measurements, appropriate AnomAlert diagnostic solution can be used with a complementary
for monitoring motors with rolling element bearings. The vibration monitoring system for detecting electrical faults.
customer’s preferred option is a function of hardware costs, Alternatively, it can be used where dedicated vibration monitoring
cost of installation, the frequency of data collection samples, is not practical, economical, or comprehensive enough. It can detect
permanently installed versus route-based portable data collection, changes in the load the motor is experiencing due to anomalies in
the ability to collect velocity and acceleration information on the the driven equipment or process such as cavitation or plugged filters
same channel, the ability for acceleration enveloping, and the and screens. Because it doesn’t require any sensor installation on
criticality of the motor asset and process. The following list the motor itself or associated load, the AnomAlert detection system
provides a comparison of applicable Bently Nevada products is especially attractive for inaccessible driven equipment and is
along with the associated capabilities and benefits listed in applicable to most types of pumps, compressors, and similar loads.
approximate order of higher to lower hardware costs: It is also well suited to the monitoring of canned pumps.

application note
The AnomAlert system uses a combination of voltage and characteristics and learned characteristics and relates these
current dynamic waveforms, together with learned models, differences to faults.
to detect motor or driven equipment faults. Active learning is Motor fault detection is based on a learned, physics-based
backed up by an additional fleet model in case the system has motor model, in which constants in the model are calculated
been installed on an already defective motor. The AnomAlert from real-time data and compared to previously learned values.
system detects differences between observed current

Figure 18 – AnomAlert - front view (left) and rear terminals (right)

GE Presentation AnomAlert

4.2.1 AnomAlert Components installation errors. Upon a successful first sample, the system
enters a learning period of approximately 10 days. This length of
• One AnomAlert specific to voltage, current, and motor speed
time is long enough to allow for the AnomAlert system to encounter
(fixed or VFD)
all normal conditions typically experienced during a weekly cycle.
• Three current transformers (fixed speed) or sensors (VFD), During the learning period, the AnomAlert system learns and builds
rated for the motor nameplate rating a separate internal motor model for each operating mode that is
• Two or three potential transformers if the motor supply encountered. Afterwards, by comparing the motor’s operation with
voltage is greater than 480 Vac the learned model within the same operating mode, the system
can easily detect small changes in motor condition. Note that in
AnomAlert Modeling, Analysis order to detect existing motor faults during the learning phase, the
AnomAlert unit also features a comparison between the learned
The AnomAlert detection system samples motor supply conditions
values and an average fleet-based level. A typical AnomAlert
every 90 seconds. When it first begins collecting data for a motor,
installation diagram is shown in Figure 19.
it checks the input connections to determine if there are any

Figure 19 – AnomAlert typical sensor connections

GE Presentation AnomAlert

application note
The AnomAlert data (the equivalent of “static” data in Bently AnomAlert Diagnostics and Validation
Nevada terminology) that can be viewed, trended, and alarmed The strength of the AnomAlert detection system lies in its
upon includes: ability to detect small but critical changes in motor operation
• Directly Measured Values – Current, voltage for that could indicate potential faults in the motor or its driven
each phase load. After alarms are generated, the user should complete the
following steps to verify the alarms and look for supporting
• Calculated Values – Active power, apparent power,
evidence of faults:
power factor, voltage and current balances, THD for
odd harmonic line frequencies 1. Trend the motor data to get an overall picture of how the
motor has been operating.
• Power Spectral Density (PSD) Frequency-based
Bands – Loose foundation, unbalance/misalignment/ 2. Try to cross-correlate the alarming variables:
coupling/bearing, rotor, stator/loose windings/short circuit, – For mechanical-based alarms, view the PSD to correlate
transmission element, bearing the alarming variable with the actual spectrum peaks.
• Model-based Values – Internal and external electrical – For electrical alarms, view the PSD for correlations
fault 1,2,3 and 4 and look for changes in the internal or external electrical
Motor fault detection is based on a number of abnormal fault variables for additional corroboration.
conditions. 3. Perform external testing to examine the validity of the alarms
Unhealthy Voltage supply levels or unbalances will be (see Table 2 for corroborating evidence for motor faults).
flagged with a watch line alarm. The motor operators should
verify the proper motor power quality conditions or look for
faults in the power circuit. 4.3 Motor Stator Insulation Monitor
Motor current changes will cause a watch load alarm Overview
indicating that the user should investigate one of two The motor stator insulation monitor (MSIM) system is designed to
possible scenarios: measure and monitor the motor’s stator insulation condition. It
1. The motor current level has changed due to a faulty uses the advanced technology, high sensitivity current transformer
process in the machine (for example a clogged filter (HSCT) to measure the leakage current of the motor online and
for a fan) process the measured data in real time to determine the condition
of the motor’s stator insulation. Processed data can be displayed
2. The motor current level is due to a normal operating
in the 3500 monitoring system and System 1 software. The HSCT
condition change. The user can initiate an Update
is a specialized variant of a differential current transformer that
command that causes the AnomAlert system to add
incorporates high-sensitivity and noise reduction technology, thus
the present operating condition to its learned model.
providing a very low-amplitude leakage current measurement in the
All the PSD- and Model-based variables listed above are presence of large load currents. This contrasts with conventional
trended based on the amount of change from the initial learned differential protection current transformers that are limited in their
period. If the AnomAlert unit detects a consistent anomaly in ability to detect very small leakage currents. With this development
these values, it will generate an Examine 1 or Examine 2 alarm, it is possible to provide an online capacitance and dissipation factor
depending on the amount of change that corresponds to (Tan Delta) measurement, enabling a series of diagnostics that
the severity. previously were only available with offline testing.
Additional details related to AnomAlert operation can be The MSIM system is applicable to medium and high voltage motors
found in the document: “AnomAlert Under the Hood” published (4 KV or higher), and the motor connection must be externally WYE
in the April 2012 edition of the Orbit magazine. connected. It is not applicable to variable speed motors.

4.3.1 MSIM Components

The MSIM system (as shown in Figure 20), includes:
• Three High Sensitivity Current Transducers (HSCTs)
• Three HSCT interface modules
• Two or three High Voltage Sensors (HVSs)
• Two or three HVS interface modules
• One to three Resistance Thermal Detector (RTD) temperature
sensor interface modules
• One MSIM 3500 I/O module
• One 3500/82 MSIM monitor

application note

Figure 20 – MSIM system layout

4.3.2 High Sensitivity Current Transformer (HSCT)

The line and neutral lead for each motor phase is routed through
the HSCT (Figure 21) as shown schematically below in Figure 22.
The HSCT has been designed to measure the resistive current
losses. Losses through insulation faults cannot be measured
directly, but by routing both the outgoing current and the return
current for each phase through an HSCT, the sensor is able to
measure the difference between the currents. This current
differential is equal to the leakage current through the insulation
faults. The HSCT is designed to detect very low leakage levels,
typically as low as 10 mA.

Figure 22 – HSCT measurement scheme

In an ideal motor, the amount of electrical current that flows in

and out of each motor phase should be exactly the same. As a part
of the motor manufacturing process, the motor stator windings
are coated with insulation. The insulation in its pure state acts
as a capacitor. Even in a brand new motor, there is always some
Figure 21 – High sensitivity current transformer (HSCT) and
leakage current; input does not equal output. The leakage current
high voltage sensor (HVS)

application note
has two components: resistive and capacitive. As the insulation Therefore, the current phase should lead the voltage phase
deteriorates, the resistive component of the leakage current by 90 degrees. As the insulation system degrades, insulation
becomes dominant and the phase angle, delta (δ), between the resistance decreases which increases leakage current and
current and voltage is less than 90 degrees. The capacitance and changes the phase angle between the current and voltage. In
dissipation factor (also termed the “Tan Delta” and “Loss Angle” standard industrial practices, the measurement of the dissipation
test) can be calculated using the phase angle (see Figure 23); factor has always been made during offline motor testing. But, by
these measurements are used to detect deterioration in the measuring the value of current losses related to resistive defects,
motor winding insulation. The Tan Delta test works on the the dissipation can be calculated during motor operation.
principle that any insulation in its pure state acts as a capacitor.

Figure 23 – Circuit equivalent diagram and vector diagram

4.4 Multilin* Motor Protection Relay

GE’s Multilin relay is a digital motor protection system designed to
protect and manage medium- to large-sized AC motors and their
driven equipment. It contains a full range of selectively enabled,
self-contained protection and control elements. There are several
models of the Multilin relay, and it is important to determine either
which one is installed, or what information you want to collect,
to determine which relay to choose. Multilin relays can provide
some or all of the following information: humidity, A, B and C phase
voltages (RMS), number of starts, ambient temperature, ground
current, A, B and C line currents as well as differential currents,
motor speed, motor load, running time, stopped time, cause of last
trip, three-phase real power, three-phase apparent power, three-
phase reactive power, three-phase power factor, three-phase
power demand, average current total harmonic distortion (THD),
and average voltage THD.

4.4.1 Multilin Relay to System 1 Interface

GE’s Multilin relay provides data (see Figure 24) to System 1
software via Modbus over Ethernet. Three-phase motor current and
voltage waveforms are available within System 1. Multiple relays
can be daisy-chained together and one serial
to Ethernet converter is used for a link to
System 1. The following Multilin relay models
are compatible with System 1 software:
269 Plus (communication: RS232, RS485)
369 (communication: RS232, RS485)
469 (communication: RS232, RS485)
Figure 24 – Typical data available through System 1
M60 (communication: Ethernet, RS232, RS485) (Multilin relay model 469 shown)

application note
5 Selecting the Proper Condition 5.2 Condition Monitoring Challenges
Monitoring Solution Specific to Electric Motors
Electric motors are made up of a large number of mechanical
and electrical components with many failure modes. They are
5.1 Condition Based also very dependent on external systems. The following common
Maintenance Objectives considerations relate to monitoring motors:
Operators at industrial facilities typically have a vast array of • The CM solution must cover the wide variation of motor sizes,
motors with differing horsepower ratings, operating at various power ratings, electrical voltages, and monetary value.
voltage levels, and used for a variety of purposes. Depending on • Motor construction and features determine the operation
how critical a motor is to the process, and its failure modes and and diagnostic analysis. The typical variables include:
consequences of a failure, it may be beneficial to have a condition
– Asynchronous, synchronous, and DC motors
monitoring (CM) program for the motor that provides protection
and/or early warning of impending mechanical or electrical failures. – Rolling element or journal bearings
Operators and maintenance personnel may want to identify failing – Varying insulation types and ratings
motor components as well as determine severity, and manage the – Lap wound or concentric wound stators
operations and stress on the motor until it can be shut down for
• The low cost of smaller motors makes it difficult to validate
repairs. This may also provide time for the facility to procure any
the return on investment of condition monitoring.
necessary parts and services.
• For induction and synchronous motors, the CM solution must
An essential benefit of condition based maintenance (CBM)
be able to detect rotor electrical faults even though
or predictive maintenance (PdM) is the ability to detect initial
the rotors are not directly connected in the circuit.
faulty motor components before they result in more costly
subsequent damage. This is harder to justify on smaller, less • The low cost of variable frequency drive (VFD) technology
expensive, and less critical machinery. Therefore, it is generally makes variable speed motor applications much more
easier to justify CM equipment on larger, more critical motors. common, but these applications often complicate the
However, there are many factors besides asset cost and process diagnostic requirements.
criticality that can influence a customer’s CM needs. Many of • Motors are very dependent on external conditions:
these technologies are used in parallel so that the strengths of
– Power quality (voltage values and imbalances)
one system can overcome weaknesses in others. PdM and CM
technologies are also used in series so that, for example, one – Poor conductors, contactors, and so on
technology flags a problem and then another system is used to – Ambient and internal temperatures
isolate and troubleshoot the exact fault.
Another important piece of PdM information for a customer 5.3 Product Application
is not only detecting a failing component, but also identifying
Proper application of GE’s Bently Nevada solution involves an
any faulty operating conditions that may be the root cause for the
understanding of the customer’s CBM objectives, the criticality
failed motor component. For example, a spalled bearing race may
of the machine, the type and characteristics of the motor,
be the result of a misaligned or unbalanced drive train. Similarly,
and the motor’s typical or anticipated failure modes and their
insulation degradation is a detectable failure mode, but it is
consequences. Because these factors are not readily distilled down
often caused by excessive winding temperatures, power quality
to a “cookbook” for product selection, the following two sections
problems, or contamination. Furthermore, it is easy to see the
provide guidance and advice to aid in proper CM solution selection.
advantage of preventing any damage to motors by detecting
any potentially damaging motor conditions. In preparation for using these sections, the sales manager or
field application engineer should discuss the following items
with the customer or CM system specifier.
• Motor voltage levels
• Motor horsepower levels
• Motor bearing types (journal or REB)
• Motor criticality (based on the customer’s
motor-driven processes)
• Availability of spare or backup motors
• The existence or implementation of customer’s other
PdM program(s)
• The customer’s desire for automatic shutdown options
• The customer’s preference for certain technologies
versus others

application note
5.3.1 Product Capabilities
The information represented in this table should be combined with the comments and clarifications in the next section.

Table 3 – Product Capabilities Matrix

Dynamic Rotor Rotor Stator Stator Line Load
Product Protection Plots Bearing Mech Elect Mech Elect Fault Fault Foundation
3500/40 S1 =
3500/42 System 1
1900/65A X (S1) X X X X
(S1) X X X X X
Pro / DSM
Bently Nevada (S1)
2300 Vibration X See Note X X X X
Monitor Series Below
Insight.mesh (S1) X X X X

SCOUT100/140 (S1) X X X X
AnomAlert X X X X X X X X
GE Multilin X (S1) X X X

Note: 2300/20 connects to S1 Evolution while 2300/25 connects to S1 Classic through DSM.

5.3.2 Product Discussions Bently Nevada 1900 Series Machinery

To select the appropriate product for a given motor application, Asset Protection Systems
it is important to consider the following information when The 1900/65A general purpose equipment monitor is often a
interpreting Table 3 in the previous section. more cost-effective choice for critical to low criticality motors.
It includes enveloping for rolling element bearing monitoring, Bently Nevada 3500 Series Machinery
but lacks the Keyphasor (synchronous sampling) capabilities
Monitoring System of the 3500 Series system. It can also be used for stator
GE’s Bently Nevada 3500 Series machinery monitoring system’s temperature measurement.
price point and features make it a good choice for critical and highly
critical motors with journal bearings. Note that the 3500/40M and Bently Nevada 2300 Vibration
3500/42M systems do not have an enveloping capability, which is Monitoring System
useful for rolling-element bearings. Velomitor* transducers can be The recently introduced 2300 Series vibration monitor provides
installed on the stator core or motor frame to detect mechanical many of the features of the 1900/65A monitor and may be a
looseness of electrical components. The 3500/42M monitoring consideration for appropriate motor applications. The 2300 Series
system does not have on-board automated diagnostics capabilities. does not currently support Velomitor, proximity, or temperature
However, use with a Keyphasor transducer enables synchronous sensors; however, these enhancements are planned. Check with
sampling and additional vibration vector parameters that can be your field application engineer or product line manager if you
interpreted by knowledgeable and trained personnel to provide believe you have a motor application for which the 2300 Series
initial fault classification. The 3500/40M and 3500/42M systems may be suitable.
have gap alarms that are especially useful in detecting sleeve Bently Nevada Trendmaster Pro Online
bearing wear that has known to go undetected using bearing
housing or casing vibration measurements. The 3500 Series
Condition Monitoring System
includes temperature monitors that can be used to measure This scanning system is intended for use with large numbers
and alarm on stator temperature sensors. of medium to low criticality machinery. The dynamic scanning
module (DSM) can perform enveloping (see the data sheet for

application note
which cards include the enveloping feature), and can accommodate
Keyphasor transducer inputs for synchronous sampling, as well as
6 Complementary Predictive
dynamically changing filter corners to correspond with machine Maintenance Tests and Technologies
speed (this is especially useful for variable speed motors). System 1 Besides regular maintenance practices and procedures, there
software provides dynamic data plot formats for use in diagnosing are numerous predictive maintenance (PdM) technologies that
problems such as soft foot. operators and diagnosticians can use to verify that motors are Essential Insight.mesh operating as designed. Many of these technologies are used
in parallel to allow the strengths of one system to overcome
Essential Insight.mesh is targeted for applications similar to weaknesses in others. PdM and CM technologies are also used
Trendmaster Pro, although the lower scanning rate and inability in series to allow, for example, one technology to flag a problem
to take in proximity probes, Keyphasor transducers, or temperature and then use another system to isolate and troubleshoot the
sensors positions it for lower-criticality motors or motors with exact fault.
slow failure rates. Enveloping and dynamic plots are available in
System 1 software. Note: Many of the motor monitoring and diagnostic technologies
mentioned below are applicable to generators and can often be Bently Nevada SCOUT 100/140 used interchangeably on motors and generators.
This portable solution is typically used on medium to low criticality
machines, but can be used to supplement other technologies
on large electric motors. The Ascent software package includes 6.1 Offline Testing
configurations for detecting vibrations associated with rotor At this time, GE’s Bently Nevada product technologies and
electrical problems. methodologies provide only online testing capabilities, and this
document does not consider or discuss adding any ability to Bently Nevada AnomAlert
provide offline motor testing capabilities. It only discusses
Although not a protection system, AnomAlert has a very current online monitoring products and possible improvements
comprehensive monitoring capability. Unlike other products, it or enhancements that might be made.
can also provide an automated diagnostic analysis that identifies
Offline testing (static) is used to evaluate the stationary
a category of faults that should be investigated, usually using
components of the insulation system; for example, to detect
other technologies or products. It is limited to use on three-phase
the condition of the rotor bars or windings. Offline testing can
AC motors, and can be used with VFD and soft start if certain
also detect broken conductors, loose connections, and ground
conditions are met.
wall insulation weakness. Windings are the basic indicators of Bently Nevada Motor Stator Insulation Monitor degradation and failure in an electric motor. Bearing failure can be
The motor stator insulation monitor (MSIM) and associated high prevented by keeping the electric motor in a balanced, grounded,
sensitivity current transformer (HSCT) are targeted to motors up properly mounted, and lubricated condition.
to 7.7 kVA. The MSIM has several other requirements that narrow
its applicability (constant speed AC motors, Y-wound with external
6.1.1 Motor Insulation Condition Testing – Offline
neutral connection). Although it focuses on stator insulation Many different types of tests for assessing the health of motors
condition, it is the only product on the market that directly have been developed over the last century. Most of these tests
measures dissipation factor. Customers with large critical or require that the motor be disconnected from the grid to allow
highly critical motors will be interested in it if they are concerned “offline” tests to be performed. These tests are typically performed
about or have had failures with stator insulation. It also has the during initial commissioning to provide baseline information and
advantage of being integrated into the 3500 Series platform. then repeated during regular maintenance outages so that the
results can be trended and compared with the baseline readings. Multilin Relay
Motor insulation is one of the most critical aspects of proper motor
GE’s Multilin motor protection relays are commonly found at
condition. Healthy motor insulation is an important requirement
many of our customer sites. They protect the motor from internal
for properly functioning motors as well as a critical safety concern.
as well as line faults. If the customer already has System 1 software,
Numerous factors can cause insulation failure, including excessive
or is interested in a network to bring not only static values and
heat or cold, moisture, dirt, corrosive vapors, vibration, aging,
statuses, but also dynamic waveforms, into a central location
and oil or other chemicals. There are many tests in use today for
for analysis, then they will be interested in the System 1 Multilin
assessing the health of motor insulation. Unfortunately no single
relay interface.
test is sensitive to all insulation deterioration problems.
The progression of insulation failure often begins in stator
windings shorting to each other at the point of an insulation void
or breakdown. This partial phase-to-phase short causes uneven
current distribution within the stator windings. While the motor
continues to run, the resulting increased current causes localized
overheating and further premature insulation breakdown in the
groundwall insulation until there is ultimately a catastrophic and
dangerous short from high voltage to ground.

application note
6.1.2 Offline DC Tests 6.1.4 Polarization Index, Dielectric Absorption
Direct current offline tests used to quantify insulation health Ratio and Polarization Index Profile Testing
are very common and easy to perform with low-cost equipment. The polarization index (PI) test takes the ratio of IR data measured
These tests are sensitive to contamination, moisture absorption, at 10 minutes and one minute. Similarly, the dielectric absorption
and major flaws such as cracks, cuts, or pinholes in the insulation. ratio (DAR) test is the ratio of IR measured at three minutes and
Unfortunately, they are insensitive to internal problems in the 0.5 minutes.
insulation such as voids.

6.1.3 Insulation Resistance (IR) to Ground Testing IR10 min IR3 min
PI = , DAR =
IR is the most widely used insulation test. It is relatively easy to IR1 min IR0.5 min
perform, requiring the use of a mega-ohmmeter with a timed test
Equation 1A, B – Calculating Polarization Index and
function and a temperature indicator. “Megger” (MEGaohm metER)
Dielectric Absorption Ratio
is a common name for this test because the Megger Company
originated the test equipment and procedure around 1900. Due to the use of ratios of IR values, the PI and DAR values are
The insulation of each phase can be tested separately with a less sensitive to temperature variations because the temperature
high-voltage DC source applied between each conductor and compensation factors cancel when division is performed. This
ground. The resulting mega-ohm readings are time dependent makes trending PI and DAR values easier over time compared to
and measured at the start, then after one minute, and then at 10 just using IR values. Similar to IR measurements, PI and DAR values
minutes. Due to the popularity of the test, the following standards are compared between phases and trended over time to find
have been developed to define the recommended test voltage level indications of insulation failures due to contamination, moisture
and resistance acceptance levels for different voltage motors: absorption, and cracking in the ground wall insulation.
• IEEE Std 43-2000 Another related term is Polarization Index Profile (PIP) testing
which trends the insulation resistance over the full 10 minute
• IEC Std 60364-6 [1] Table 6A
testing time spanned in five second intervals. This test is usually
• ANSI NETA ATS-2009 [2] accomplished using specialized motor testing equipment like the
Determining and documenting the testing temperature is PdMA MCEMAX*. The PIP plot provides a more comprehensive
critical because electrical resistance has an inverse exponential look at the resistive properties compared to just looking at the
relationship with temperature. The resistance approximately halves ratio of two discreet points in time. It starts with a low Mohm
for every 10o C temperature increase. Therefore, readings must be value (near zero Mohms) and smoothly rises to several thousand
corrected to a base temperature (typically 20o C or 40o C). Mohms. Contaminated or moisture-ingressed motor insulation
demonstrates inconsistent and low Mohm values (less than
Surface contamination (as shown in Figure 25) leads to increased 100 Mohms).
leakage current on the surface of the winding and results in low
Insulation resistance readings and a possible low polarization index. 6.1.5 Step Voltage Test
Similar to the above tests, in Step Voltage tests two or more
voltage levels are applied across the motor winding insulation.
Then the resistance levels measured at the different test voltages
are compared. Healthy insulation should have consistent resistance
levels. If the resistance values decrease substantially at higher
test voltages, this can indicate insulation deterioration due to dirt,
moisture, cracking, or aging.

6.1.6 DC High-potential Testing and Electrical Surge

DC high-potential (Hi-pot) test is a pass/fail test that is typically
only performed after IR and PI tests indicate a potential fault.
The DC Hi-pot test involves applying an over-potential DC voltage
to the ground wall dielectric insulation for one minute. For the
duration of the one-minute long Hi-pot test, the applied test
voltage can be as high as twice the motor nameplate voltage.
If current flows during the Hi-Pot test, this is an indication that
the winding has cracks or fissures, endwinding contamination,
moisture absorption, or uncured resin.
Testing determines if the electrical insulation between two
electrically isolated components is adequate to face any overload
Figure 25 – Winding condition; oily, dirty on the inside,
voltage conditions. A high voltage is applied across the two
but looks pretty good from the outside (top), after steam cleaning, components being tested, and current is measured to detect
drying, and varnish retreatment (bottom) the amount of leakage in the insulation.

application note
Hi-pot testing is considered by many to be a critical test because of
the safety aspect of ensuring effective ground wall insulation. But
there is some amount of criticism for utilizing such high voltages,
pointing out that testing with voltage surges beyond the motor
insulation ratings can itself cause overheating and premature
failure of the motor components. So while the IR, PI, and DAR tests
are non-destructive tests, Hi-pot testing is considered destructive.
Step voltage tests are also considered destructive, if the applied
voltages exceed the insulation rated capability.
Electrical surge testing applies only a very brief high voltage
pulse across the winding to momentarily stress the insulation.
This high rise time impulse induces a voltage difference between
adjacent loops of wire within the winding. If the insulation between
the two loops of wire is damaged or somehow weakened, and if
the voltage difference between the wires is high enough, there
will be an arc between the wires. This arc shows up as a change
in the surge waveform. Figure 26 – Tan Delta measurement related to voltage
and current phases
The surge test is performed with an impulse generator and
a display to observe the “surge waveform” in progress. The surge Dissipation factor measurements are taken during initial factory
waveform is the voltage present across the test leads during the motor testing and can be repeated later during maintenance
test. The indication of a turn-to-turn fault is a shift to the left, outages. The measurements setup is fairly elaborate and made
and/or a decrease in amplitude of the waveform when the arc with expensive high-precision measuring equipment (as shown
between loops of wire occurs. The wave pattern observed in Figure 27). The dissipation factor test requires an outage for at
during a surge test is directly related to the coils inductance. least half a day.
The test can be repeated at various voltage levels, and the
voltage at which the surge test failure occurs can be correlated
to the remaining life of the motor. Some testing companies claim
that the brief electrical pulses do not harm the insulation.

6.2 Offline AC Tests

6.2.1 Capacitance to Ground
DC measurements do not give visibility of insulation contamination
or internal voids. Measuring and trending phase-to-ground
capacitance levels can provide an indication of insulation
contamination and internal voids.

6.2.2 Capacitance and Dissipation Factor –

Tan Delta Measurements or “Tip-Up” Tests Figure 27 – Typical DF (Tan Delta) measuring bridge
Capacitance and dissipation factor measurement helps detect Himalayal Tan Delta Bridge
deterioration in the motor winding insulation. Also termed
“Tan Delta” (δ) or “Loss Angle” testing (see Figure 26), this test
works on the principle that any insulation in its pure state acts
as a capacitor. Therefore, the current phase should lead the
voltage phase by 90 degrees. As the insulation system degrades,
it takes on resistive properties that change the phase angle
between the current and voltage.

application note
6.3 Other Motor Condition Testing 6.3.2 Phase-to-Phase Inductance (AC Test)
beyond Insulation – Offline Testing Phase-to-phase inductance measurements detect changes in the
relationship between the motor stator and rotor. The inductance
While insulation is a primary concern for motor operators, other measurements are made between each pair of motor leads, which
testing may be done to provide condition monitoring for the many provides three trendable values: LA-B, LB-C, and LA-C. Inductance
other possible motor failure modes. Traditionally this was done values change as leakage paths develop in the windings. For
with offline testing performed during maintenance intervals. example, a turn-to-turn short in the stator would cause a leakage
path and decrease the inductance. Rotor faults typically increase
6.3.1 Phase-to-Phase Resistance (DC Test) the measured inductance.
Measuring an increase in phase-to-phase resistance values can
indicate a number of faults: 6.3.3 Rotor Influence Check
• Corroded terminals, contactors, or connections The rotor influence check (RIC) provides a graphical representation
of the relationship between the rotor and stator (see Figure 29). The
• Loose cable terminations or bus bar connections
rotor’s residual magnetism affects the phase-to-phase inductance
• Poor crimps or solder joints readings. All three phase-to-phase inductance measurements are
To perform this test, the resistance is measured between each taken at small increments of shaft position (approximately five
motor phase pair, resulting in three values. For example, for a degree increments, depending on the number of motor poles).
motor with phases designated A, B, and C, the three phase-to- The result of the measurements is a graph of inductance versus
phase measurements would be: RA-B, RB-C, and RA-C (See Figure 28). phase angle. The user must interpret the shape of the graph and
This measurement can also be repeated at different locations look for how sinusoidal the curves are, minimum and maximum
(directly at the motor leads or in the motor control center, etc.) values, and repeating distortions in the plot that can be interpreted
to try to isolate the location of the faulty component that is to signify the presence of rotor or stator faults. The data can also
contributing to the added resistance. be used to show air gap (eccentricity) problems if the inductance
values trend up or down through a shaft rotation cycle.

Figure 28 – Example resistive load in motor

power circuit (WYE or “Star” wired motor)

Phase-to-phase resistive measurements can be used to isolate

the location of a faulty terminal causing an additional resistance
“R” (as shown in Figure 28 above). Because RA’-B’ is less than RA’-C’
and RB’-C’ and RB-C, the additional resistive load can be isolated
between the C’ and C measurement points.
Resistive imbalances between the phase-to-phase measurements
can indicate serious motor problems that can result in voltage
imbalances. Voltage imbalances will in turn cause current
imbalances and increased winding temperatures. During motor
operation a 1 percent voltage imbalance can result in a 6 to 7
percent current imbalance. A 3.5 percent voltage imbalance Figure 29 – RIC graph for rotor bar fault (top) and
can raise winding temperatures by 25 percent and lead to eccentric rotor (bottom)
premature insulation failures.

application note
6.4 Motor Insulation Condition Testing can distinguish PD activity from the motor being monitored versus
other “noise” on the supply bus.
– Online
While offline testing was historically the only available method
for motor testing (and is still considered critical for the safety to high
aspects involved), growing in popularity are testing methods voltage Capacitive
that are performed during the operation of the motor. Online coupler and
testing does not require that the normal motor operation be mounting bracket
interrupted or be physically disconnected from its power supply.
Online tests can be performed during normal motor operation
as long as permanent instrumentation is already installed or output
temporary sensors can be installed in compliance with proper
LOTO procedures. Figure 31 – Partial discharge capacitive couplers
For almost all online diagnostic tests described below, it is

recommended that motors operate above 70 percent of full load

to provide consistent, trend-able readings. The following sections The PD monitoring device keeps track of the size, polarity, and
list several hardware systems and tests used for online motor where in the line frequency cycle the discharges occur. There
monitoring and protection. is much proprietary knowledge required in determining the
insulation damage severity based on the data characteristics
6.4.1 Partial Discharge with respect to the type (manufacturer, model, and vintage) of
insulation being monitored. Also, it is common for PD monitors
Partial discharge (PD) monitoring (as shown in Figure 30) can
to use temperature compensation in the assessment. Iris Power
provide a continuous, online assessment of the motor or generator
offers their own software package that trends and displays data
insulation condition. Partial discharges are small electrical sparks
from their PD Trac monitors. The software uses 2-D and 3-D plots
that occur within the high-voltage electrical insulation in stator
for displaying PD data.
windings (as well as dry type transformers and switchgear). PD
occurs whenever there are small air gaps or voids in or on the
surface of the insulation. Normally, well-made windings that are
still in good condition display little PD activity. But, the amount of
activity can increase by a factor of ten or more with deteriorated
insulation. Iris Power states that their PD monitoring can generally
provide two or more years of warning for increased risk of failure.

Figure 30 – Partial, or incomplete, electrical discharge that occurs

between insulation and either insulation or metallic electrode

Partial discharge measurements are applicable for motors

operating at or above 3.3 KV.
To measure PD activity, capacitive couplers (as shown in Figure 31),
are installed at each of the three phases. Due to their capacitive
properties, these couplers pass high-frequency fluctuations
(discharges) through the couplers and out to the signal wires on
the low voltage sides of the capacitive couplers. In general, one
set of three couplers is installed near the generator or motor, but
the monitor may use special filtering techniques to filter out PD
activity from other sources on the power bus. Additional sets of
couplers can be used at a location further from the motor, and, Figure 32 – 2D and 3D plots of partial discharge activity
by viewing the timing difference from the pulses, the PD monitor

application note
In hydro-turbine-generator applications, GE works together with 6.4.3 Infrared Thermography
Iris Power, offering their PD monitors as an option with GE’s Bently
Infrared thermography (shown in Figure 33) uses a thermal
Nevada hydro monitoring products. A special plot option was
imager to detect radiated heat, not only from the motor itself,
created in System 1 software to display partial discharge data
but the complete associated electrical system. Thermography
from an Iris Power PD monitor (see Figure 32). Additionally, the
data can be taken without taking motors offline. Motor-related
System 1 “Hydro-X” rulepak was created, which provides options
faults that can be detected with thermography, include:
to include PD data in its assessments.
• Stator hot spots
The Iris Power hardware can also integrate PD with magnetic flux
measurements (to detect rotor shorted turns) and end-winding • Insulation faults
vibration monitoring. • Faulty electrical connections
6.4.2 Motor Current Signature Analysis and • Bad motor contactors
Electrical Signature Analysis • Wiring problems
A growing trend in motor condition monitoring is evaluating the
motor power lines during operation. Motor current signature
analysis (MCSA) uses current transformers or current sensors
to measure the current flowing through the phases of the motor.
The most common faults detected (not all distinguishable from
each other) by MCSA are:
• Broken or cracked rotor bars
• High resistance joints in rotor bars or wound
rotor conductors
• Broken or cracked end rings in squirrel cage rotors
• Casting porosity affecting current flow in die cast rotors
• Static and dynamic eccentricity conditions between
rotor and stator
• Mechanical defects associated with the rotating element
(e.g., bearing degradation)
Electrical signature analysis (ESA) is a term usually used more
broadly and can also utilize motor voltages in conjunction with
the currents when doing analysis.
Figure 33 – Pump motor infrared thermography image showing
Advantages of this type of motor analysis, include: localized heating (Thermal image was used to confirm AnomAlert’s
electrical fault warning)
– Sensors do not have to be installed on the machine AnomAlert Presentation
train itself. Sensors can be installed anywhere along
the power supply lines, but are typically installed in When implementing an IR monitoring program, it is recommended
motor control cabinets in switchgear rooms. that initial baseline thermal image data be captured. Then a
schedule of regular collection routes should be established for
• Electrical properties of the motor can be detected.
detecting developing problems. Additional data should also be
• Drivetrain mechanical faults cause features in the motor collected after maintenance work is performed, or repeated after
current that can be analyzed with ESA. The motor line repairs have been made to confirm the work was performed
frequency acts as a signal carrier, and torsional mechanical correctly. A significant selling point for using IR monitoring for
disturbances cause amplitude and phase modulation of the motors is the ability to detect motor winding overheating “hot
line frequency and harmonics. spots,” take corrective actions to prevent further damage, and thus
ESA may be performed with permanent or walk-around portable extend the life of the motor insulation.
equipment. Condition monitoring and diagnostics with ESA can It has been common for end users to rely on specialized training
be challenging because data taken at various motor operating and consulting companies (such as Snell Group) to perform
conditions results in wide variations in current readings. data collection routes and provide analysis, but thermography
equipment technology has improved even as prices have decreased,
making it practical for many plants’ predictive maintenance teams
to perform the thermography inspections in-house. A significant
advantage of this technology is that the same thermography

application note
hardware used for motor internals (motor windings, electrical The majority of small, general purpose motors use greased rolling
terminations, and bearings) can also be used in other stationary element bearings (REBs). Since all REBs have finite lifetimes and
electrical equipment like switchgear, transformers, and circuit the mechanical components naturally wear and eventually spall,
breakers. This hardware can also be used for assessing the liberating some of the bearing material, it is obvious that used
condition of a plant’s other rotating or non-rotating equipment grease wear debris analysis could provide important insight on
like belts, rollers, piping, heat exchangers, boilers, steam turbines, the condition of motor bearings. This analysis, though, is not a
and pumps. common practice in the industry.
Challenges associated with thermography, include: REB wear particles generally are much larger than particles
analyzed with typical oil analysis procedures such as atomic
• Need for careful image setup to get images with consistent
emission spectrometry. Particle size from normal bearing wear
internal and external factors (motor load, ambient
ranges from 5 um to 15 um and advanced damage is indicative
temperatures, camera angle, and so on)
with particles greater than 25 um.
• Difficulty in interpreting data plots to assess what is
healthy or not healthy
While GE’s Bently Nevada products do not utilize infrared
thermography, our System 1 DocuView has the ability to link
images and other files to its enterprise assets. System 1 software,
however, does not have any ability to analyze, compare, or trend
thermal images.

6.4.4 Lubrication Analysis

Large motors typically use fluid-film bearings and many motors
have rolling element bearings lubricated with oil spray-mist
systems. In these cases, it is relatively easy for maintenance
teams to use tribology laboratory services that can analyze oil
samples (see Figure 34) for the following features:
• Oil quality (viscosity, acidity, specific gravity)
• Unwanted oil contamination (water, silicon)
• Machine wear particles
Figure 34 – Oil analysis –an exceptionally powerful tool for
monitoring sleeve bearing wear

application note

application note

© 2015 General Electric Company. All rights reserved. Information provided is subject to change
without notice. Best practices and recommendations herein are applicable to most industrial
electrical motors. This guideline is not intended to replace or supersede any manufacturer or OEM
guidelines concerning proper installation and operation of their equipment.

GE Oil & Gas *Denotes a trademark of Bently Nevada, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of General Electric
Company. The GE brand, GE logo, Bently Nevada, System 1, Keyphasor, Proximitor, Velomitor,
1631 Bently Parkway South RulePaks, Bently PERFORMANCE SE, ADRE, SPEEDTRONIC, GE Multilin, Multilin, Mark, SmartSignal
Minden, NV 89423 are trademarks of the General Electric company.

PdMA, MCEMAX, BusTracII, BusTracII, Megger are trademarks of their respective companies
24/7 customer support: +1 281 449 2000 GEA32339 (2/2016)