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35TH ANNUAL HERSHEY CONFERENCE

Insulation Resistance
Calculations of Airfield Lighting
Joseph Vigilante, PE
Circuits

Presentation Objective
To develop a formula to calculate insulation resistance
for an airfield lighting circuit and provide theoretical
and real-life examples.

Presentation Agenda

Cable insulation resistance (IR) background


FAA IR guideline recommendations
Formula development
Airfield lighting circuit calculations
Summary
Open Q&A

Anatomy of insulation current flow


Capacitance charging currents, C
Absorption current, RA
Conduction current, RL
Circuit model
S

DC VOLTAGE
SOURCE

C
RL
RA

Anatomy of insulation current flow


10
0
90
80
70
60
50
40
30
25
20
15
10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2.5
2
1.5
1
0.1
CUR

REN
TMIC
ROA
MPE
RES

0.15 0.2 0.2 0.3


5

2.5 3

8 9 10

CAPACITANCE

CHARGING

CURRENT

0.4 0. 0. 0. 0. 0. 1. 1.5
5 6 7 8 9 0

SECONDS

Anatomy of insulation current flow


10
0
90
80
70
60
50
40
30
25
20
15
10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2.5
2
1.5
1
0.1
CUR

REN
TMIC
ROA
MPE
RES

0.15 0.2 0.2 0.3


5

2.5 3

8 9 10

CAPACITANCE

CHARGING

CURRENT

0.4 0. 0. 0. 0. 0. 1. 1.5
5 6 7 8 9 0

ABSORPTION
CURRENT

SECONDS

Anatomy of insulation current flow


10
0
90
80
70
60
50
40
30
25
20
15
10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2.5
2
1.5
1
0.1
CUR

REN
TMIC
ROA
MPE
RES

0.15 0.2 0.2 0.3


5

2.5 3

8 9 10

CAPACITANCE

CHARGING

CURRENT

0.4 0. 0. 0. 0. 0. 1. 1.5
5 6 7 8 9 0

ABSORPTION
CURRENT
CONDUCTION
CURRENT
SECONDS

Anatomy of insulation current flow


10
0
90
80
70
60
50
40
30
25
20
15
10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2.5
2
1.5
1
0.1
CUR

REN
TMIC
ROA
MPE
RES

0.15 0.2 0.2 0.3


5

2.5 3

TOTAL

CURRENT

8 9 10

CAPACITANCE

CHARGING

CURRENT

0.4 0. 0. 0. 0. 0. 1. 1.5
5 6 7 8 9 0

ABSORPTION
CURRENT
CONDUCTION
CURRENT
SECONDS

Types of insulation resistance testing


Short-time/spot reading

MEGOHMS

VALUE READ AND


RECORDED

MEGOHMS

VALUES CHARTED

TIME

60 sec

TIME (MONTHS)

Types of insulation resistance testing


Time-resistance method

MEGOHMS

INSULATION
PROBABLY OK

INSULATION
SUSPECT

TIME

10 Min

Testing airfield lighting circuits


AC 150/5340-30F, Design & Installation Details for
Airport Visual Aids - Chapter 12, Equipment &
Material, Section 13, Testing
50M Non-grounded series circuits
FAA-C-1391, Installation & Splicing of Underground
Cable

Resistance values for maintenance


AC 150/5340-26B, Maintenance of Airport Visual Aid
Facilities
Suggested minimum values
10,000 ft. or less - 50M
10,000 ft. 20,000 ft. - 40M
20,000+ ft. - 30M

FAA-C-1391 Installation & Splicing of


Underground Cables
Spot Test
Take readings no less than 1 minute after readings
stabilized

Cable IR values = 50M, 40M & 30M


Loop IR reduced due to parallel summation
Cable IR never less than above values

Insulation resistance formula


Constant current series lighting circuit
Provides for parallel summation of circuit components

3 components
L-824 cable
L-823 cable connectors
L-830 isolation transformers
I

RTT

RNN

RCC

FAA minimum IR values


L-824 cable
AC 150/5345-7E, Specification
for L-824 Underground Electrical
Cable for Airport Lighting Circuits
Table 1, Test #9 > ICEA S-96659, Section 7.11.2
Corresponding to IR Constant
50,000 M - k-ft. at 15.6C

FAA minimum IR values


L-823 cable connectors
AC 150/5345-26D, FAA
Specification for L-823
Plug and Receptacle, Cable
Connectors
Section 5.1 Type I Connectors
75,000 M

FAA minimum IR values


L-830 isolation transformers
AC 150/5345-47C, Specification for
Series to Series Isolation Transformers
for Airport Lighting Systems
Table 3 Insulation Resistance 7,500 M

Base formula
1/IR = 1/RC + 1/RN + 1/RT
I

IR

RTT

RNN

RCC

Cable equation
The insulation resistance of cable for a certain length can
be calculated by the following formula:

Where:
RC = Insulation resistance in Megohms of cable
K = Specific IR in Megohms - k ft at 60 F of insulation
D = Outer diameter of insulation
d = Outer diameter of bare copper wire
L = Length of airfield cable in feet
Value of K for EPR insulation = 50,000 Megohms

Cable equation

CONDUCTOR
JACKET
INSULATION

D= 9.18 mm
d= 4.58 mm
OD

Cable equation

RC = 50,000 M-k ft * Log ( 9.18/4.58) * (1,000/L)


RC = 15,098,860 M / L

Connector equation
The insulation resistance of L-823 connector splices
can be calculated by the following formula:
RN = Rc/Nc
Where:
RN = Insulation resistance in Megohms of all connectors
Rc = Insulation resistance of L-823 connector splice
Nc = Quantity of L-823 connector splices

RN = 75,000M/Nc

Isolation transformer equation


The insulation resistance of L-830 isolation
transformers can be calculated by the following
formula:
RT = Rt/Nt
Where:
RT = Insulation resistance in Megohms of all transformers
Rt = Insulation resistance of L-830 isolation transformers
Nt = Quantity of L-830 isolation transformers

RT = 7,500M/Nt

Base formula
1/IR = 1/RC + 1/RN + 1/RT

IR

RTT

RNN

RCC

Developing IR calculation formula


Section 1

L-823 Connector

Supply

Return

Section 3

L-824 Series Lighting Cable

L-830 Isolation
Transformer

Section 2

Developing IR calculation formula


Section 1

L-830 Isolation
Transformer

L-823 Connector

Insulation
Resistance to
Earth

Earth Ground

Section 3

L-824 Series Lighting Cable

Section 2

Developing IR calculation formula


L-823 Connector
Supply

L-824 Series Lighting Cable


Insulation
Resistance to
Earth

Earth Ground

Developing IR calculation formula

M
L-830 Isolation
Transformer

Insulation
Resistance to
Earth

Earth Ground

L-824 Series Lighting Cable

L-823 Connector

Developing IR calculation formula

Insulation
Resistance to
Earth

Earth Ground

L-823 Connector

Return
L-824 Series Lighting Cable

Developing IR calculation formula

IR total

IRsection 1

IRsection 2

IRsection 3

Calculation example
SECTION 1
SECTION 2
SECTION 3

Vault
CC
R
Handhole

Handhole

Calculation example
Section 1:
Cable = 5,000 feet
Connectors = 2
Isolation XFMRs = 0

Section 2:
Cable = 20,500 feet
Connectors = 224
Isolation XFMRs = 112

Section 3:
Cable = 5,000 feet
Connectors = 2
Isolation XFMRs = 0

Calculation Example
Section 1:
Cable = 5,000 feet
Connectors = 2
Isolation XFMRs = 0

Vault
CC
R
Handhole

Handhole

Calculation Example
Section 2:
Cable = 20,500 feet
Connectors = 224
Isolation XFMRs = 112

Calculation Example
Section 3:
Cable = 5,000 feet
Connectors = 2
Isolation XFMRs = 0

Vault
CC
R
Handhole

Handhole

Calculation Example

IR total = 50 M
Circuit length is 30,500 ft, so the circuit IR is well over the
recommended minimum value.

Modifying a circuit
SECTION 1
SECTION 2
SECTION 3

Vault
CC
R
Handhole

Handhole

Modifying a circuit
Each circuit modification warrants a reevaluation of the IR for that circuit
Assume:
Segment 1:
Cable = 5,000 feet
Connectors = 2
Isolation XFMRs = 0
Segment 2:
Cable = 20,500 feet
Connectors = 430
Isolation XFMRs = 215
Segment 3:
Cable = 5,000 feet
Connectors = 2
Isolation XFMRs = 0

Total circuit:
IRsection1 = 2,795 M
IRsection3 = 2,795 M
IRsection2:
RC = 50,000 * Log ( 9.18/4.58) * (1,000/L) =
15,098,860/20,500 = 755 M
RN = 75,000/Nc = 75,000/430 = 174 M
RT = 7,500/Nt = 7,500/215 = 35 M
IRsection2 = 1/(1/755 + 1/35 + 1/174)
IRsection2 = 28 M
IR = 1/ ( 1/2,795 + 1/28 + 1/2,795 )
IR = 27.4 M

Modifying a circuit
Total circuit IR = 27.4 M
Circuit Length = 30,500 feet
Recommended value for +20k feet circuit = 30 M
If you remove the transformer component,
the circuit IR = 128 M

Case study example: Measuring IR of a TDZ


Circuit
Section 1:
Cable = 1,615 feet
Connectors = 5
Isolation XFMRs = 0

Section 2:
Cable = 13,200 feet
Connectors = 365
Isolation XFMRs = 180

Section 3:
Cable = 1,615 feet
Connectors = 5
Isolation XFMRs = 0

Total circuit IR = 33.2 M


Circuit Length = 16,430 feet
10k-ft 20k-ft = 40 M
W/O Transformers; IR = 164.3
Measured value = 58.10 M

Case study example: Measuring IR of a REL


Circuit
Section 1:
Cable = 1,540 feet
Connectors = 5
Isolation XFMRs = 0

Section 2:
Cable = 27,777 feet
Connectors = 180
Isolation XFMRs = 90

Section 3:
Cable = 1,540 feet
Connectors = 5
Isolation XFMRs = 0

Total circuit IR = 61.6 M


Circuit Length = 30,857 feet
+ 20k-ft = 30 M
Measured value = 998 M

Summary
Good engineering practice to perform circuit load and
insulation resistance calculations
Best practice establish field test baseline and track
results
Standards provide recommended values - reductions are
allowed
Check & verify transformers, connectors and cable types
and sizes
Minimum allowable component values higher factory test
values
High initial field value does not necessarily indicate a good
circuit

Questions