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Inspection and Maintenance Guidelines for Circuit Breakers

1010618

Effective December 6, 2006, this report has been made publicly available in accordance with Section 734.3(b)(3) and published in accordance with Section 734.7 of the U.S. Export Administration Regulations. As a result of this publication, this report is subject to only copyright protection and does not require any license agreement from EPRI. This notice supersedes the export control restrictions and any proprietary licensed material notices embedded in the document prior to publication.

Inspection and Maintenance Guidelines for Circuit Breakers


1010618 Technical Update, December 2005

EPRI Project Manager L. van der Zel

ELECTRIC POWER RESEARCH INSTITUTE 3420 Hillview Avenue, Palo Alto, California 94304-1395 PO Box 10412, Palo Alto, California 94303-0813 USA 800.313.3774 650.855.2121 askepri@epri.com www.epri.com

DISCLAIMER OF WARRANTIES AND LIMITATION OF LIABILITIES


THIS DOCUMENT WAS PREPARED BY THE ORGANIZATION(S) NAMED BELOW AS AN ACCOUNT OF WORK SPONSORED OR COSPONSORED BY THE ELECTRIC POWER RESEARCH INSTITUTE, INC. (EPRI). NEITHER EPRI, ANY MEMBER OF EPRI, ANY COSPONSOR, THE ORGANIZATION(S) BELOW, NOR ANY PERSON ACTING ON BEHALF OF ANY OF THEM: (A) MAKES ANY WARRANTY OR REPRESENTATION WHATSOEVER, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, (I) WITH RESPECT TO THE USE OF ANY INFORMATION, APPARATUS, METHOD, PROCESS, OR SIMILAR ITEM DISCLOSED IN THIS DOCUMENT, INCLUDING MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, OR (II) THAT SUCH USE DOES NOT INFRINGE ON OR INTERFERE WITH PRIVATELY OWNED RIGHTS, INCLUDING ANY PARTY'S INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY, OR (III) THAT THIS DOCUMENT IS SUITABLE TO ANY PARTICULAR USER'S CIRCUMSTANCE; OR (B) ASSUMES RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANY DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY WHATSOEVER (INCLUDING ANY CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES, EVEN IF EPRI OR ANY EPRI REPRESENTATIVE HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES) RESULTING FROM YOUR SELECTION OR USE OF THIS DOCUMENT OR ANY INFORMATION, APPARATUS, METHOD, PROCESS, OR SIMILAR ITEM DISCLOSED IN THIS DOCUMENT. ORGANIZATION(S) THAT PREPARED THIS DOCUMENT International Switchgear Consulting Ltd

This is an EPRI Technical Update report. A Technical Update report is intended as an informal report of continuing research, a meeting, or a topical study. It is not a final EPRI technical report.

NOTE
For further information about EPRI, call the EPRI Customer Assistance Center at 800.313.3774 or e-mail askepri@epri.com. Electric Power Research Institute and EPRI are registered service marks of the Electric Power Research Institute, Inc. Copyright 2005 Electric Power Research Institute, Inc. All rights reserved.

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CITATIONS
This document was prepared by International Switchgear Consulting Ltd 14728 Upper Roper Ave White Rock, BC, Canada, V4B-2C9 Principal Investigator B. Holm Major Contributors EPRI Life Extension Guidelines (Transmission Circuit Breaker Chapter) This document describes research sponsored by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) This publication is a corporate document that should be cited in the literature in the following manner: Inspection and Maintenance Guidelines for Circuit Breakers, 1010618, EPRI, Palo Alto, CA.

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ABSTRACT
This document includes descriptions of the various types of circuit breakers, insulation media, and operating mechanisms, as well as techniques for monitoring, testing and maintenance of circuit breakers. Because of the high importance and cost of transmission substations, a significant amount of work has been done to address the condition assessments and maintenance practices for transmission type circuit breakers. This information is contained in the EPRI Life Extension Guidelines (LEG). Parts of this information have been included in this document. Distribution substations have their own set of problems and issues that have not been addressed in the same level of detail as the higher voltage class of equipment. This document includes additional information about distribution as well as transmission type circuit breakers, with emphasis on monitoring, testing and condition assessment techniques that can be used to diagnose incipient problems, as well as to avoid unnecessary dismantling work. The purpose of these guidelines is to assist utilities in reviewing, altering or developing state of the art circuit breaker maintenance practices while maintaining or increasing system reliability. There is a very large variety of circuit breakers in service. Maintenance programs must be tailored to individual makes and models of breakers. This document is intended to provide guidance that, together with information from manufacturers and individual utility experience, can be used to develop specific techniques, criteria and programs for circuit breaker inspections, testing and maintenance.

Keywords: Circuit Breaker, Transmission, Distribution, Monitoring, Maintenance, testing, replacement .

CONTENTS
1 DESCRIPTION OF CIRCUIT BREAKERS ______________________________________1 1.1 1.2 Introduction __________________________________________________________1 Basics of Arc Interruption ______________________________________________1

1.3 Operating Mechanisms ________________________________________________2 1.3.1 Solenoid Mechanisms _______________________________________________3 1.3.2 Motor Mechanisms __________________________________________________3 1.3.3 Spring Mechanisms _________________________________________________3 1.3.4 Pneumatic Mechanisms ______________________________________________4 1.3.5 Hydraulic Mechanisms _______________________________________________6 1.4 Insulating Media ______________________________________________________7 1.4.1 Oil _______________________________________________________________8 1.4.2 Air _______________________________________________________________9 1.4.3 Sulfur Hexafluoride (SF6)_____________________________________________9 1.4.3.1 SF6 characteristics ________________________________________________9 1.4.3.2 EPRI SF6 Handling Guide _________________________________________10 1.4.3.3 SF6 leak detection _______________________________________________10 1.4.3.4 Contamination ___________________________________________________10 1.4.3.5 Moisture in SF6 __________________________________________________11 1.4.3.6 Particles _______________________________________________________11 1.4.3.7 SF6 decomposition products________________________________________11 1.4.3.8 SF6 gas systems _________________________________________________12 1.4.4 Vacuum _________________________________________________________12 1.5 Bulk Oil Circuit Breakers ______________________________________________12 1.5.1 Introduction_______________________________________________________12 1.5.2 Interrupter Functions _______________________________________________13 1.5.3 Internal Tank Insulation _____________________________________________14 1.6 Minimum Oil Circuit Breakers __________________________________________15 1.6.1 Introduction_______________________________________________________15 1.6.2 Interrupter functions ________________________________________________16 1.7 Air Magnetic Circuit Breakers __________________________________________17 1.7.1 Introduction_______________________________________________________17 1.7.2 Interrupter functions ________________________________________________17 1.8 Air Blast Circuit Breakers _____________________________________________17 1.8.1 Introduction_______________________________________________________17 1.8.2 Interruption _______________________________________________________18 1.8.3 Interrupter Types __________________________________________________20 1.8.4 Auxiliary Interrupter Components______________________________________23 1.8.5 Air Compressor systems ____________________________________________25 1.8.6 Trouble and Failure Modes __________________________________________26 1.9 SF6 Two Pressure Circuit Breakers _____________________________________28 1.9.1 Introduction_______________________________________________________28 1.9.2 Interruption Process and Mechanisms __________________________________28

1.9.3

Auxiliary Interrupter Components______________________________________32

1.10 SF6 Single Pressure Circuit Breakers __________________________________32 1.10.1 Introduction_______________________________________________________32 1.10.2 Puffer Interrupters _________________________________________________36 1.10.3 Self-blast (also termed Auto-puffer) design-types. _________________________38 1.10.4 Auxiliary Interrupter Components______________________________________40 1.11 Vacuum Circuit Breakers ____________________________________________40 1.11.1 Outdoor applications _______________________________________________40 1.11.2 Indoor applications _________________________________________________41 1.11.3 Mechanisms ______________________________________________________42 2 METHODS FOR MONITORING AND TESTING CIRCUIT BREAKERS ______________43 2.1 Causes of Circuit Breaker Failures ______________________________________43

2.2 Methods for Monitoring circuit breakers _________________________________43 2.2.1 Pressure monitoring ________________________________________________43 2.2.2 Temperature monitoring _____________________________________________44 2.2.3 New monitoring applications _________________________________________44 2.3 Methods for testing circuit breakers_____________________________________44 2.3.1 General visual inspections ___________________________________________44 2.3.2 Insulation ________________________________________________________45 2.3.2.1 Visual inspection of oil_____________________________________________45 2.3.2.2 Oil test on site ___________________________________________________47 2.3.2.3 Laboratory analysis of oil __________________________________________47 2.3.2.4 Power factor tests ________________________________________________47 2.3.2.5 High voltage withstand ____________________________________________47 2.3.2.6 Acoustic emissions _______________________________________________48 2.3.2.7 UHF emissions __________________________________________________48 2.3.2.8 SF6 analysis_____________________________________________________48 2.3.3 Mechanical _______________________________________________________48 2.3.3.1 Contact timing ___________________________________________________48 2.3.3.2 Circuit breaker speed _____________________________________________49 2.3.3.3 Vibration analysis ________________________________________________51 2.3.4 Current contacts ___________________________________________________51 2.3.4.1 Resistance across contacts ________________________________________51 2.3.4.2 Thermo graphic testing ____________________________________________52 2.3.5 Controls _________________________________________________________52 3 INSTRUMENTATION _____________________________________________________53 3.1 Monitoring Systems __________________________________________________53 3.1.1 Mechanical _______________________________________________________53 3.1.2 Insulation ________________________________________________________54 3.2 Test Instruments _____________________________________________________55 3.2.1 Mechanical _______________________________________________________55 3.2.2 Insulation ________________________________________________________57 4 MAINTENANCE _________________________________________________________59 4.1 Instruction Books for Circuit Breakers______________Error! Bookmark not defined.

4.2 4.3

External Inspections and Diagnostic Tests _______________________________59 Internal Inspections and Diagnostic Tests________________________________60

4.4 Bulk Oil Circuit Breaker Maintenance____________________________________62 4.4.1 Mechanical _______________________________________________________62 4.4.2 Dielectric_________________________________________________________63 4.4.3 Current contacts ___________________________________________________63 4.4.4 Controls _________________________________________________________63 4.4.5 Test details _______________________________________________________64 4.5 Minimum Oil Circuit Breaker Maintenance________________________________65 4.5.1 Mechanical _______________________________________________________65 4.5.2 Dielectric_________________________________________________________66 4.5.3 Current contacts ___________________________________________________66 4.5.4 Controls _________________________________________________________66 4.5.5 Test Details ______________________________________________________66 4.6 Air Magnetic Circuit Breaker Maintenance________________________________68 4.6.1 Mechanical _______________________________________________________68 4.6.2 Dielectric_________________________________________________________69 4.6.3 Current contacts ___________________________________________________69 4.6.4 Controls _________________________________________________________69 4.6.5 Test Details ______________________________________________________69 4.7 Air Blast Circuit Breaker Maintenance ___________________________________70 4.7.1 Mechanical _______________________________________________________70 4.7.2 Dielectric_________________________________________________________71 4.7.3 Current contacts ___________________________________________________71 4.7.4 Controls _________________________________________________________72 4.7.5 Test Details ______________________________________________________72 4.8 SF6 Two Pressure Circuit Breaker Maintenance ___________________________73 4.8.1 Mechanical _______________________________________________________73 4.8.2 Dielectric_________________________________________________________74 4.8.3 Current contacts ___________________________________________________74 4.8.4 Controls _________________________________________________________74 4.8.5 Test Details ______________________________________________________74 4.9 SF6 Single Pressure Circuit Breaker Maintenance__________________________76 4.9.1 Mechanical _______________________________________________________76 4.9.2 Dielectric_________________________________________________________77 4.9.3 Current contacts ___________________________________________________77 4.9.4 Controls _________________________________________________________77 4.9.5 Test Details ______________________________________________________78 4.10 Vacuum Circuit Breaker Maintenance __________________________________79 4.10.1 Mechanical _______________________________________________________79 4.10.2 Dielectric_________________________________________________________79 4.10.3 Current contacts ___________________________________________________79 4.10.4 Controls _________________________________________________________80 4.10.5 Test Details ______________________________________________________80 4.11 Air Compressor Systems ____________________________________________81 4.11.1 Air system types ___________________________________________________81
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4.11.2 Compressor system ________________________________________________82 4.11.3 In service inspections _______________________________________________82 4.11.4 Out of service inspections ___________________________________________83 4.12 Lubrication ________________________________________________________85 4.12.1 Introduction_______________________________________________________85 4.12.2 Petroleum lubricants________________________________________________86 4.12.3 Synthetic lubricants ________________________________________________86 4.12.4 Solid lubricants ____________________________________________________88 4.12.5 Lubricant types ____________________________________________________88 4.12.6 Applications ______________________________________________________89 4.12.7 Present day practices_______________________________________________90 4.12.8 Recommendations _________________________________________________91 5 CONDITION ASSESSMENT________________________________________________92 5.1 5.2 6 Information Needed for Condition Assessment ___________________________92 Use of Condition Assessment Data _____________________________________93

REPLACEMENT/REFURBISHMENT _________________________________________95 6.1 6.2 6.3 Life limiting factors___________________________________________________96 Analysis of Accumulated Factors _______________________________________96 Review of the Available Options ________________________________________98

TABLE OF FIGURES
Figure 1 Diagram of a pneumatic system ...................................................................................5 Figure 2 Diagram of a hydraulic system .................................................................................7 Figure 3 Relative dielectric strengths of oil, air, and SF6 for a 1-cm gap with optimum electrodes at 0C ..........................................................................................................................8 Figure 4 Typical bulk oil breakers .............................................................................................13 Figure 5 Bulk oil circuit Breaker components and interrupter illustration ..............................14 Figure 6 Typical live tank minimum oil breaker and interrupter arrangement .......................16 Figure 7 Typical air blast breaker for distribution voltages....................................................19 Figure 8 Typical air last breakers for transmission voltages, live, pressurized tanks............20 Figure 9 Air blast interrupters, (A) mono blast (B) duo or partial duo blast ...........................21 Figure 10 Typical SF6 two pressure dead tank breaker and SF6 blast valve arrangement .....29 Figure 11 Illustration of SF6 two pressure interrupter ..............................................................30 Figure 12 Typical SF6 single pressure dead tank and live tank configurations .......................34 Figure 13 Typical SF6 single pressure outdoor distribution type configurations......................35 Figure 14 Illustration of puffer type interrupter principle..........................................................37 Figure 15 Self blast self generated pressure (type 1) and self blast auto puffer (type 2)........39 Figure 16 Typical outdoor vacuum breaker and vacuum interrupter illustration .....................41 Figure 17 Typical indoor vacuum breaker and typical spring mechanism ..............................42 Figure 18 Various stages of carbon contamination in minimum oil circuit breaker .................46 Figure 19 Circuit breaker replacement versus refurbishing ....................................................95

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DESCRIPTION OF CIRCUIT BREAKERS
1.1 Introduction A power circuit breaker is a device for making, maintaining, and breaking (interrupting) an electrical circuit between separable contacts under both load and fault conditions. Interruption of electrical circuits has been a necessary part of electric utility systems since the first use of electricity. Initially, this interruption was achieved simply by separating the contacts in air. As current levels became higher, arcing between the opening contacts presented greater problems, which required the development of methods to deal with plasma arcs that occur during the opening process. This problem is more severe during faults or short-circuits, at which times rapid, practically instantaneous, interruption of current is necessary as a protective measure for the connected apparatus and system security. By the late 1920s, all principal methods of arc interruption had been developed with the exception of the SF6 types, which came into being in the late 1950s. Oil, air-magnetic, air-blast, and vacuum methods were all in use by 1930. Many of the principles of these first modern breakers are still used in todays more highly developed breaker designs. 1.2 Basics of Arc Interruption

When a switching-device conducting alternating current is in the act of opening, an arc is formed. The arc commences as the last metal-to-metal electrical contacts separate. An arc is a conductor. A number of factors must work together to extinguish an arc and interrupt a circuit. These factors include velocity, distance, cooling, current zero, and dielectric strength. Velocity. The speed at which the circuit breaker contacts separate is an important part of circuit interruption. The faster the contacts separate, the less time the arc has to heat the space and other materials between the parting contacts, thereby reducing the conducting ability of the space. The slower the movement of the moving contact, the greater the ability of the arc to maintain itself. Distance. As the distance increases between the contacts as they open the arc is stretched. As the arc stretches, the voltage, termed the arc-voltage, attempts to maintain current flow, but with the increasing distance of the parting contacts, the arc becomes more vulnerable to the other factors mentioned. Cooling. Interrupter cooling is a physical effect that removes heat created by an arc within a circuit breaker interrupter. Increasing the temperature of gases causes them to become more conductive. Therefore, cooling methods such as introducing forced air, gas, or insulating oil into the area of the arc is important to arc extinction. Current zero. Alternating current changes polarity, from positive to negative or negative to positive, 120 times a second in a 60-Hz (cycle) sine wave (100 at 50 Hz). At the time the polarity

changes, there is no flow of current. The instant an arc ceases is termed current zero. This provides the opportunity for interrupting the arc. Dielectric strength. Dielectric strength is the ability of an insulating medium to withstand a given voltage over a given distance without conducting. As previously mentioned, circuit breakers utilize different interrupting media of varying dielectric strengths. The dielectric strength of insulating oil is many times greater than that of air at atmospheric pressure; however, the dielectric strength of air (as well as other gases) increases when pressurized. The dielectric strength of a hard vacuum also exceeds the dielectric strength of air at atmospheric pressure. When, at a current zero, a circuit breaker attempts to interrupt either load or fault current, a voltage is generated across the open contacts of the circuit breaker to oppose this change in current. This voltage, the transient recovery voltage (TRV), is equal to the difference in the voltages on the load side and source side of the circuit breaker after the breaker contacts have parted and the current interrupted. The wave shape and magnitudes of these voltages depend on the system configuration both before and immediately after the contacts open and the current ceased. The arc is stretched as the contacts continue to open. The stretching and cooling enables the arc to be quenched at current zero. As the contacts continue to move (open), the arc extinguishes at each current zero crossing. The arc will remain extinguished if the improving dielectric strength of the medium between the contacts is greater than the rising voltage across the open contacts. If the dielectric strength across the contacts is not sufficient to withstand this voltage, a re-ignition will occur and the arc will be re-established. At the next zero crossing, the arc will again extinguish and, dependant on the type of circuit breaker, this process will continue until the dielectric strength necessary to withstand the voltage across the distance between the parted contacts is re-established. Modern designs interrupt within two, sometimes three, zero crossings following the contacts parting and they have no capability beyond this. The heart of the circuit breaker is the interrupter. When the circuit breaker contacts open, the interrupter interrupts the path of the resulting arc and directs the interrupting medium (oil/air/gas) to cool and replace the arc column. In this way it extinguishes the arc at a current zero after contact separation. 1.3 Operating Mechanisms

Operating mechanisms provide the energy to enable the interrupter to perform the mechanical closing and opening, and hence the electrical making and breaking, function of circuit breakers. On some designs, energy from the closing operation is stored in the mechanism for the next opening operation, such as charging opening springs during the closing operation. Other designs make use of stored energy from a single source for opening as well as closing, such as compressed air vessels, nitrogen accumulators or spring devices. Method used for providing the stored energy to close or open circuit breakers includes electric motors, solenoids, springs, pneumatic drives and hydraulics. A combination of these methods is commonly used, with one method used for closing and another used for opening. The most commonly used opening method is spring.
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Some mechanisms are characterized as being trip-free. The trip-free characteristic requires the circuit breaker to open at any instant that a trip command is issued to the unit, even if the circuit breaker is in the process of closing. To achieve this, the mechanism, interrupters and drive system must be able to withstand the forces of the sudden change of direction. In other cases a circuit breaker must close before it opens. Circuit breaker control circuitry contains a feature termed antipumping. This antipumping characteristic signifies that the circuit breaker will not repeatedly open and close if the electrical open and close commands are applied and maintained to the circuit breaker simultaneously. This prevention is usually achieved within the control circuitry by requiring that the electrical close command be removed before the unit can be closed a second time. 1.3.1 Solenoid Mechanisms

In the solenoid type mechanism, a solenoid supplies the energy to close the circuit breaker. A spring, which is charged during the closing operation, is used to open the unit. The closing solenoid potential is supplied from either the station battery or by station ac rectified voltage. The closing and opening times of circuit breakers with this type of mechanism are quite slow, with closing times as long as 40 cycles. This type of mechanism is the oldest and simplest, but due to its relatively slow closing times it has been largely replaced with one of the other types. It is a typical mechanism type for the earlier designs of bulk oil and air magnetic circuit breakers, especially at lower system voltages.

1.3.2

Motor Mechanisms

Some bulk oil breaker types had motor closing mechanisms. These mechanisms used systems with weights and clutches to control the closing action. Such mechanisms have not been produced during the last few decades. Improvements in electronics and electric motor controls, however, have now made motor mechanisms attractive again. The newest motor mechanisms use motor drive for closing as well as opening, with energy for the motor supplied by capacitors.

1.3.3

Spring Mechanisms

In the spring type of mechanism, the energy to close the circuit breaker is stored in a large spring, which is usually compressed, but on some designs may be extended, by an electric motor immediately following each close operation. A smaller spring, which is charged during the closing operation, is used to open (trip) the breaker. This type of mechanism provides faster operating times than solenoid mechanisms, but has duty cycle limitations (one open-close-open cycle) due to the lack of energy storage. The motor that provides the force to charge the closing spring is usually a low power, single phase, ac motor, although dc motors are available. This type of mechanism is typical of the earlier designs of bulk oil circuit breakers as well as in minimum
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oil, air magnetic, SF6 single pressure and vacuum circuit breakers. Spring mechanisms are now widely used.

1.3.4

Pneumatic Mechanisms

A pneumatic mechanism uses compressed air for the energy source to close, and dependant on the type, to open the circuit breaker as well. The mechanism is supplied with air from an air storage tank. This tank is the energy storage reservoir and is charged by the compressed air supplied from either a local air compressor or from a substation (switchyard) centrally located compressed air system. The reservoir normally contains enough stored air to complete several successful close open cycle operations. In one common design, to close the circuit breaker, pressurized air is directed under the mechanisms main piston by means of a close control valve (which is solenoid operated). Dependant on the design, the circuit breaker may be opened pneumatically (air-blast and some SF6 types) or by a spring that is charged during the closing operation (bulk oil types). Circuit breakers equipped with a pneumatic mechanism have the ability to open and close rapidly, resulting in interrupting times of 3 to 5 cycles for bulk oil types (depending on the circuit breaker type). Air blast and SF6 types are faster. Typical air system operating pressures range from those for mechanisms for bulk oil and two-pressure SF6 circuit breakers that are at 1.03 to 2.76 MPa (150 to 400 psig), up to 3 MPa to 9 MPa (450 to 1200 psig) range for air-blast circuit breakers. Where used for the early designs of single-pressure SF6, the operating pressure is typically from 2.0 to 3.0 MPa (300 to 450 psig). See Figure 1 for a simplified flow diagram. Air blast breaker operating mechanisms are an integral part of the breaker. Each manufacturer uses a design unique to the specific circuit breaker type. There are two basic air blast concepts, and the mechanism arrangement is different for both. The early designs are used up to 300 kV and were installed into the early 1960s, mainly from European manufacturers. These designs have series interrupters mounted on insulating supports. These interrupters are forced open by a blast of high-pressure air from the air receiver via a blast valve. The blast-valve is housed between the air-receiver tank and the base of each support insulator. A pilot valve, itself operated by the opening coil, initiates the blast valve operation. When these interrupters are open, a separate air motor is operated to open a switch arm that, when fully open, provides electrical isolation (although, because it cannot be locked open it is not usually used as a disconnector {disconnect switch}). When this is complete the blast valve is shut off and the interrupters are returned to the closed position by small springs incorporated into each set of contacts. The circuit breaker is closed by operation of the switch arm air motor only. This drives the switch-arm closed and as the interrupters are already closed, this action makes the electrical circuit. It is a rapid operation and the arm and contacts are capable of making the rated short circuit current.

Figure 1

Diagram of a pneumatic system

Later designs, those developed and installed from the early to mid 1960s until the late 1970s when the single pressure SF6 designs became available, had a variety of interrupting techniques. Generally these operated by a mechanism moving a control rod system to operate a control valve mounted at each interrupter. On the larger 420 kV designs this could involve a single mechanism and 36 interrupters. The later designs of air-blast circuit breaker operation are initiated by the energization of the appropriate open/trip or close coil. Energizing the trip coil pushes the pilot valve, which allows high-pressure air to activate the control valve. The control valve then lets the pressurized air move the actuating piston. In turn, the piston pulls or pushes the insulated operating rod (via a series of linkages, rods, and cranks) to operate the closing or opening valves in the interrupters. A number of variations exist dependent on whether the air is used in the mechanism to move the control rods to close and open, or just close with the opening action being derived from a spring following de-latching of the control rods by a trip coil and pilot valve system. Multiple operations are usually possible without recharging the local air system receiver (tank). As can be seen, the ways in which the interrupters are operated and mechanism are used to close and/or open them, are as varied as the circuit breakers themselves. It is interesting to note that not all air-blast circuit breakers used pneumatic mechanisms. One US manufacturer produced a limited number of air blast breakers with a mechanism that utilized energy in a charged spring for the closing operation.

1.3.5

Hydraulic Mechanisms

Hydraulic mechanisms act in a manner that is similar to the later air-blast and other pneumatic designs. The circuit breaker is closed by the hydraulic system. On bulk oil and double-pressure SF6 circuit breaker types the interrupters are usually opened by a spring. Where used on single pressure SF6, both closing and opening is by the hydraulic system. In all types, the hydraulic system utilizes an energy store within an accumulator. Here the pressure on the hydraulic oil is maintained by compressing nitrogen to 20.7 to 34.5 MPa (3000 to 5000 psig) or by compressing a spring mounted behind a piston. On some designs the nitrogen is contained within a bag held within the accumulator (as illustrated in Figure 2), in others, the accumulator is divided by a freepiston that separates the oil from the nitrogen. This piston is free to move with the changing pressure conditions within the accumulator. These mechanisms are capable of providing the circuit breaker with very short interrupting times. As with pneumatic mechanisms, sufficient energy can be stored to allow multiple open-close cycles without the pump running. See Figure 2 for a sample flow diagram.

Figure 2

Diagram of a hydraulic system

1.4

Insulating Media

The insulating medium in a circuit breaker may be oil, air, SF6 gas or vacuum. All media types may perform the functions of insulation and arc interruption. Figure 3 shows the relative dielectric strengths of oil, air, and SF6.

Figure 3 Relative dielectric strengths of oil, air, and SF6 for a 1-cm gap with optimum electrodes at 0C

1.4.1

Oil

Oil in circuit breakers may serve two purposes. It may be used as insulation between phases and between the phases and ground. It may also be used for arc extinguishing. The principle behind oil circuit breakers relies on the fact that an electric arc developed across contacts immersed in oil causes the oil to decompose and release hydrogen gas. Hydrogen is known to be an excellent arc-extinguishing medium and has excellent dielectric properties. In addition, hydrogen rises rapidly, drawing in fresh, cool, oil from the main tank into the arcing zone. The main disadvantage of oil is its flammability, and the maintenance necessary to keep oil in good condition.
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1.4.2

Air

Dry, compressed air is used for operation, insulation and interruption in air-blast circuit breakers. The required degree of dryness, or relative humidity, is dependent on the design requirements of the circuit breaker, and a number of measures are taken to achieve it. If compressed air is used for mechanical operation only, such as for operating mechanisms on bulk oil and SF6 breakers, the humidity requirements are much less stringent and only simple measures are taken to achieve acceptable levels in these designs. Distribution voltage air blast circuit breakers do not require that the air is specially dried. In these designs, the natural drying achieved by compression is considered sufficient and the storage and usage pressures are chosen by the manufacturer to ensure the level is adequate. Typically a ratio of approximately 2:1 between storage and usage is adequate to prevent condensation at low ambient temperature as the compressed air is not used for insulation, only interruption.

1.4.3

Sulfur Hexafluoride (SF6) 1.4.3.1 SF6 characteristics

Sulfur Hexafluoride (SF6) is an excellent gaseous dielectric for high-voltage power application. In its normal state SF6 is odorless, tasteless, nontoxic, non-corrosive, nonflammable, and chemically inert. The vapor pressure characteristics of SF6 are such that at a temperature of below 10C at a pressure of about 1.5 MPa (220 psig) the gas becomes a liquid. On the lower end of the vapor pressure curve the gas becomes a liquid at -29 C at 414 kPa (60 psig). This characteristic becomes an important consideration as the dielectric strength of the gas and its arc extinguishing density will be reduced as the gas liquefies. Circuit breakers operating at the higher pressure, and the early two-pressure types, have heaters to maintain SF6 in a gaseous state. Typically circuit breakers without heaters have an SF6 gas pressure of 0.7 MPa for a normal ambient temperature range of -25C to +40C (-13F to +104F). SF6 serves as an insulating and arc-extinguishing media. The dielectric strength of SF6 is 23 times that of air and SF6 has high thermal stability. These properties make it useful in gas-insulated buses and compartments that contain substation electrical components. In circuit breakers, its self-healing properties enable SF6 to regenerate itself from the plasma present following arc interruption. Unfortunately, SF6 also has properties that have an impact on the environment. Reflecting its stable chemistry and efficient absorption of infrared energy at certain wavelengths, it is very long-lived in the upper atmosphere (estimated to be about 3200 years). SF6 is considered the most potent of all known greenhouse gases, having a global warming potential 23,900 times greater, per molecule, than that of carbon dioxide. SF6 was among six types of greenhouse gases targeted for emission reductions at the 1997 Kyoto Summit. In October 1998, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency began promoting voluntary emission prevention agreements with industries that are the largest emitters of these gases. The electrical supply industry in the US, like those in the international community, have recognized the problem and have continued to aim at containing SF6 and reducing losses. To this end EPRI have been active in supporting users by study, sponsorship and development work in this area.

The electric industry is the major user of SF6. Over 50 electric utilities have signed Memoranda of Understanding with the US EPA under which they will: Voluntarily reduce their SF6 emissions, Make a benchmark estimation of their SF6 emissions, Complete an emission inventory each year, Come up with strategies for replacing old equipment that is at risk of leaking SF6, Develop plans to recycle SF6, Train their employees in the proper handling of SF6-containing equipment, and Submit annual progress reports to the US EPA.

CIGRE Task Force 23.10.01 has developed the standards for reuse of SF6 gas. 1.4.3.2 EPRI SF6 Handling Guide EPRI has developed a Practical Guide to SF6 Handling Practices that is intended for use as a reference in formulating utility-specific policies that will improve SF6 handling practices. Information in the guide can be adopted as-is or modified according to the circumstances of an individual utility. The contents are suggestions that should be used in conjunction with manufacturers recommendations, and where applicable, with national, state or provincial, and local regulations. 1.4.3.3 SF6 leak detection Leak detection of SF6 gas in electrical apparatus can be quite simple and straightforward. A refrigerator-type Freon detector can be used. A typical unit will detect leak rates less than 1 pound (0.45 kilograms) per year. Many utilities, however, require a higher degree of detection and a variety of methods exist with the relevant degree of precision, ranging from laboratory style detectors to more robust purpose-made units designed for field use. EPRIs technology transfer efforts in the area of SF6 safety and handling also include the laser camera technology for locating the source of gas leaks. EPRI worked with the manufacturer to enhance a prototype design and make it more suitable for substation use. The camera is based on CO2 laser back-scattering technology. It employs an infrared detector to identify leaks of SF6 around equipment seals, joints, and bushings. Because SF6 absorbs infrared light, the laser can bounce precisely tuned infrared energy off equipment behind an SF6 leak for detection by the camera. The leak appears as an inky black plume against a lighter background on a black-andwhite video display. EPRI is continuing research into SF6 detection techniques and investigations are presently focused on a camera system that is built onto an existing infrared camera. 1.4.3.4 Contamination An SF6 system has a high degree of reliability if the purity of the gas is maintained during installation, operation, and maintenance. SF6 as received from the supplier is in a pure state and
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is practically free from contamination. However, in the factory some contamination may be introduced to the circuit breaker enclosure during the preparation of gas-filled components for shipment. To minimize contamination, SF6 handling procedures, usually prepared by the manufacturer, must be followed, not only in the factory but also on site whenever access is necessary for installation and maintenance purposes. There are five principal contaminants that must be identified and reduced or eliminated: Particles, moisture, oil contamination, gaseous contamination, and arc-decomposition products. 1.4.3.5 Moisture in SF6 Commercially available SF6 gas has a very low moisture content, less than 40 parts per million by volume (ppmv). But unless the circuit breaker is thoroughly evacuated before filling with SF6 gas, water molecules adhering to the solid surfaces inside the system will diffuse into the gas. A low level of moisture does not degrade the dielectric strength of the gas. However, at about 50% relative humidity, enough moisture is absorbed on the surface of the spacer insulators to decrease flashover voltage slightly. At over 90% relative humidity, a flashover across the surface of the insulators is almost certain to occur at operating voltage. Normally, gas-insulated systems are evacuated to about 26.7 Pa (0.2 mm Hg) before filling with SF6, and then checked for moisture content a few days thereafter. The likelihood of excessive moisture in SF6 systems is very low. It should be recognized that the relative humidity will change with variations in temperature and pressure. The moisture content of the gas is higher in summer when ambient temperature is high, and lower in winter when more moisture adheres to solid surfaces. The acceptable moisture level is normally such that this moisture will become a frost rather than a liquid at the condensation temperature (frost-point). 1.4.3.6 Particles Particles are a particular problem in metal-enclosed designs where the gas forms the insulating medium to earth in a highly stressed arrangement. Obviously any metallic and other clearly conducting particles are likely to cause problems where they contaminate solid insulation. Where such particles are in the form of light, long (25mm or 1 inch) slivers of materials such as aluminum then they can be lifted into the highly stressed gas gap by the electric field and cause a flash-over. This can also happen, more vigorously in fact, with similar sized plastic shavings, especially where they themselves have attracted some conducting dust. 1.4.3.7 SF6 decomposition products SF6 is chemically inert up to 150C and will not attack metals, plastics, and other substances commonly used in the construction of high-voltage circuit breaker components. However, at the high temperature caused by power arcs, it decomposes into various components, which are principally SF4 and SF2, together with small amounts of S2, F2, S, F, etc., which are in part corrosive to both glass and metals in the presence of moisture. The substances formed by the combination of such elements with vaporized metals appear as a whitish powder that has good insulating properties. The breaker contacts are designed with a wiping action to ensure selfcleaning of the contacts current-carrying surfaces.

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1.4.3.8 SF6 gas systems The SF6 gas system has two functions. First, it provides the dielectric strength that is necessary to prevent flashovers between areas of differing voltage potential, whether during normal in-service use, or during any system switching requirements or other system disturbance. Second, it is used to interrupt the arc that occurs during opening operations. The SF6 within the circuit breaker must contain only a minimal amount of moisture, because of the requirement of the breaker to maintain proper dielectric strength. In most breakers the SF6 gas system consists of a filter system that removes moisture, oil, gaseous and solid arc decomposition products. A compressor is used to charge the high-pressure system. Various devices are used for adjusting and maintaining proper gas pressure, pressure alarms and gauges, and heaters. Contamination by air will reduce the dielectric and arc-quenching capabilities of the gas and will also introduce oxygen, which may promote oxidization degradation.

1.4.4

Vacuum

Vacuum was seen as ideal for arc extinguishing as far back as the 1920s. Reliable vacuum technology was developed in the 1970s and has become more generally accepted since the 1980s. Vacuum breakers are now used extensively in distribution stations, up to 35 kV applications. Vacuum interrupter contacts are normally housed inside a ceramic container. The moving contact requires only a very small stroke, and thus low energy input for mechanical operation compared with other methods used for current interruption. 1.5 Bulk Oil Circuit Breakers Introduction

1.5.1

The use of oil as an interrupter medium has been common since the first application of circuit breakers. During the early part of this century, oil breaker design was refined and, especially in North America, quickly became the dominant circuit breaker for many years. In Europe and elsewhere it was in competition with air-blast and later minimum oil designs. Bulk oil breakers up to 69 kV have mostly had all three phases housed in a single tank. At higher voltages, each phase has normally had one tank per phase. See Figure 4. Bulk oil circuit breakers have been commonly used at voltages up to 230 kV, and on some systems up to 345 kV.

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Bulk oil circuit breakers, both spring open. One tank per phase on the left. One tank for all three phases on the right.

230 kV, one tank per phase, pneumatic close

25 kV, single tank, solenoid close

Figure 4

Typical bulk oil breakers

This figure includes a silica gel drier on the breaker tank vent. In some more damp and humid locations this drier has been found to help minimize moisture accumulation; however, for most applications this has not been necessary.

1.5.2

Interrupter Functions

Figure 5 is an illustration of typical bulk oil breaker components. As with all circuit breakers, the interrupter is a critical part of the oil circuit breaker. The most common method of interruption used in oil circuit breakers, shown in Figure 5, is called by several names, e.g., cross-blast or oil blast interrupter. In these designs the arc is drawn in front of a series of lateral vents often called the grid assembly. The heat of the arc vaporizes the oil in the assembly and the gases (mainly hydrogen) form a bubble that increases the pressure against the arc, finally forcing it to be blown into the grid vents. When the pressure inside the interrupter becomes sufficiently high and the length of the arc is adequately extended at current zero, the arc is extinguished. The arc is always confined inside a bubble of gas formed from the oil, and this bubble extends and expands through the grid vents and the surrounding shell vents to the outside of the two or more interrupter assemblies in each pole (phase). The hot gases emerging from the vents are initially still ionized. It is essential to ensure, by correct grid design that dielectric breakdowns do
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not occur between the outer vents of the shell system external to the interrupter assemblies. Preventing dielectric breakdowns is particularly important for higher voltage interrupters where multiple series grid arrangements are used. It is equally important that the shell vents in the same pole (phase) tank face away from each other. At the time the arc is being extinguished, fresh oil is drawn into the interrupter grid assembly to replace the arc-affected oil and thus cooling the arc zone and restoring the dielectric integrity of the system.

One phase of typical bulk oil breaker (dead tank, outdoor)

Typical bulk oil breaker interrupter

Figure 5 1.5.3

Bulk oil circuit Breaker components and interrupter illustration Internal Tank Insulation

Internal insulation consists of the oil, lift rod, lift rod guides, support members, tank liner, and inter-phase barriers. Some breaker types do not have tank liners. Contamination and/or deterioration of these components reduce the circuit breakers reliability by reducing its overall dielectric and mechanical strength. With the circuit breaker in the closed position, the lift rod provides insulation between the energized crosshead (conductor) and the grounded mechanism. The oil and the tank liner provide insulation between the energized conductors and the grounded tank. Inter-phase barriers provide phase-to-phase insulation in some single-tank breakers.
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1.6

Minimum Oil Circuit Breakers Introduction

1.6.1

In bulk oil breakers, the oil serves as the main insulating medium as well as to extinguish the arc. The minimum oil breakers were developed to reduce the oil volume primarily to the amount needed to extinguish the arc. Arc extinction takes place inside a tube made of insulating material. Minimum oil (also termed small oil volume) circuit breakers have been used at voltages up to 230 kV. They were extensively developed during the 1960s as an alternative to the bulk oil type, with its large oil volume, and the air-blast, with its need for expensive compressed air plant. They also competed with the then new technology of the two-pressure SF6 types. Although widely used at distribution as well as transmission voltages, some were found to be unreliable in service, particularly when switching capacitive currents. Those designs in service that are sound have given good service and refurbishment programs exist. Minimum oil breakers at distribution voltages have been used for indoor as well as outdoor applications, usually with spring mechanisms. For higher voltage applications, hydraulic as well as spring mechanisms were commonly used. See illustrations of typical transmission type minimum oil breaker in Figure 6.

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230 kV, Y-type configuration, four interrupters per phase, spring mechanism

Typical Y-type interrupter configuration

Figure 6

Typical live tank minimum oil breaker and interrupter arrangement Interrupter functions

1.6.2

The arc control for minimum oil breakers is based on the same principle as for bulk oil breakers. To improve performance, oil may be injected or pumped into the interrupter to quench the arc. The used oil is retained within the interrupter zone limiting the number of the short-circuit clearances possible before oil maintenance/overhaul is required. The arc is quenched in a similar manner to that of the bulk oil design but is cooled by oil is forced into the arcing chamber, usually insulation with slots, by a pumping action derived from the opening movement of the interrupter contact drive shaft. In transmission type live tank breakers, the interrupter is normally housed inside a porcelain enclosure, as a single vertical arrangement per pole (phase) on top of the mechanism, or in a T or V type configuration with multiple interrupters (or breaks). In some cases the supporting insulator column is replaced by a current transformer.

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1.7

Air Magnetic Circuit Breakers Introduction

1.7.1

Air magnetic breakers were used primarily as part of indoor metal clad switchgear, but also in indoor free standing applications. 1.7.2 Interrupter functions

Air magnetic circuit breakers use atmospheric air to extinguish the arc by stretching it until the dielectric strength of the gap is larger than the voltage across the gap. The longer arc has a larger cooling surface, thus cooling increases and deionization of the gap between the contacts improves. The increased length of the arc also increases its resistance and therefore decreases the current flow and the amount of heat that is created. To increase the length of the arc, the arc is stretched by forcing it into an arc chute by either a natural convection of the hot gas, by blowing air from below into the arc, or by using magnetic blowout coil. The magnetic blowout coil creates magnetic force on the arc that pulls the arc into the arc chute. One type of arc chute is made of insulating material. Its function is to stretch the arc. Another type is made of metal. The metal barriers chop the arc into a series of many smaller arcs. The voltages across these smaller arcs are much lower than the total voltage across the breaker contacts. This makes it easier to extinguish the arcs. 1.8 Air Blast Circuit Breakers Introduction

1.8.1

Air-blast breakers were being developed in parallel with oil breakers, mainly in Europe during the 1940s and 1950s when oil was scarce. During the 1950s they were installed in many parts of the world in competition with the oil designs. There are two basic design types and for the purpose of this document they will be termed the early and the later, or pressurized-head, types. It is the later design that formed the basis of many of the international grid systems of the mid 1960s when system voltages of 400 kV and higher and up to 4000A continuous current and 63 kA short circuit were required. Due to these ever-increasing power-system voltages, the physical size limitations of oil breakers, coupled with the large quantities of insulating oil that would be required at the higher voltages, the use of oil circuit breakers became unrealistic. Development of the existing air-blast technology was necessary. Ultimately these pressurized-head later designtypes of air-blast circuit breakers ranged in voltage class from 115 to 800 kV and in interrupting rating from 40,000 to 80,000 amperes. These air-blast circuit breakers have extremely rapid interrupting times, typically opening the main contacts within 2 cycles (40ms at 50 Hz or 33.3 ms at 60 Hz) from trip initiation. During opening operations, the early designs direct a blast of high-pressure air from a groundmounted receiver-tank to an interrupter assembly mounted on support columns. These circuit breakers are of the live tank type. The term live-tank means that, with the breaker energized,
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the chambers containing the interrupting apparatus (the heads) will be at the potential of the systems voltage. With the interrupters open, a separate switching arm is then rapidly opened and the interrupters re-close as the blast is shut off. The interrupters are not permanently pressurized. Even though various designs exist, the later, pressurized-head, air-blast circuit breakers are also of the live-tank type. On these design-types the high-pressure air is used for electrical insulation and arc extinguishing purposes, hence the term pressurized-head type. Transmission type air-blast circuit breakers use compressed air for insulation as well as the interruption and mechanical operation. For these designs a much drier air is required. This is achieved in two stages, with a higher storage than usage pressure, but in addition, the highpressure air is dried before storage.

1.8.2

Interruption 1.8.2.1 Early design-types

As described above, a blast of high-pressure dry air is directed onto the interrupters. This highpressure air is directed up a tube housed within the interrupter unit support column. It forces the interrupters open and quenches the arc at the appropriate current zero, simultaneously an airmotor is used to open a separate switch-arm to provide an open atmospheric air gap and enable the interrupters to be returned to the closed position when the air-blast is shut off. This switcharm provides the open condition. To close the circuit breaker the air-motor is driven back to drive the switch-arm into the closed position and so make the circuit. These distribution type air blast breakers were used primarily in indoor in metal clad enclosures or in free standing applications with open bus work. A variety of ratings were available, usually up to 25 kV. High load current and interrupting ratings were available, making these breakers well suited as generator breakers as well as distribution or industrial breakers. A typical configuration for distribution bus breaker application is shown in Figure 7.

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25 kV bus breaker, indoor

Figure 7

Typical air blast breaker for distribution voltages

1.8.2.2 Later Design Types - pressurized head type These air-blast circuit breakers utilize dry air under pressure to quench the arc that is formed during an opening operation. This air is stored around the contacts within one of the numerous series heads that make up a pole (phase) of the circuit breaker.( See Figure 8) As the contacts separate and the current attempts to maintain its flow, an arc is formed. However, by design, the arc is directed in a designated course. With precision timing, a valve within the interrupting chamber opens, allowing some of the air contained within the breaker to exhaust to atmosphere directly through the path of the arc. At the opening of the blast valve, the interior of the breaker rapidly becomes somewhat depressurized. This depressurization results in a blast of air that cools the arc, forcing it away from the parting contacts and out the arc chutes or arcing tubes. The arc is eliminated by being elongated and cooled beyond its ability to maintain itself. With adequate dielectric strength between the open contacts, the exhaust valve is closed and the head repressurized from the local receiver. On all air-blast circuit breakers, the interrupter heads are modular. Normally a particular interrupting head can be transferred from one position or breaker to another position or breaker if the current-carrying capacity, interrupting capability, and the accessory equipment are the same. The move could be successfully accomplished even if accessories are added, removed, or changed to meet the requirements of the new position, as long as the ratings are the same at both locations. Because of the modular design, all that is required of the manufacturer to increase the
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voltage of a particular type of breaker is to add the modular interrupter heads in series, within a phase, to give the breaker the desired capability. Of course, the insulation level from phase to ground has to be increased as well. Therefore, the height of the interrupter support columns and drive rods must be increased. The added height is required due to the basic insulation level necessitated by the increased voltage. Interrupter support columns are hollow ceramic insulators of high mechanical (as well as electrical) strength. The interrupter operating rods pass through the opening of the center of the support column. In some cases this contains high-pressure air, in others the high-pressure air is within a separate tube itself housed within the support column. The zone between the tube and the column is kept dry by a low pressure conditioning air system. In one manufacturers design, the space is filled with SF6 gas, as electrical insulation. As an example of the difference in stack height, a typical 800-kV breaker reaches 12.5 meters (41 feet) from ground level to the top of the interrupter (and depending upon the version of the breaker, uses either four or five interrupters per phase). In contrast, a 138-kV breaker of the same type is less than 6 meters (20 feet) to the top (and has only one interrupter per phase, but of the same basic type as the 800-kV breaker).

550 kV, T-configuration, internal grading capacitors and closing resistors

230 kV, 63 kA, Y-configuration, external grading capacitors

Figure 8 1.8.3

Typical air last breakers for transmission voltages, live, pressurized tanks Interrupter Types

There are two ways in which a blast of compressed air can be directed onto an arc: transversely (at right angles) to act as a cross-blast, or longitudinally along the arcs length as an axial blast. The cross-blast method has generally been found to be unsuitable for high-power, high-voltage applications. Accordingly, all modern air-blast interrupters employ the axial blast principle by

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forcing the arc to burn on a line parallel with the axis of contacts travel. On some designs the arc is initiated transversely before transferring to become axial prior to extinction. The later designs of the pressurized-head air-blast interrupters became extremely complex in order to achieve the high short-circuit interruption levels and rapid operating times. These are too complex to describe in detail and the principle is adequately explained by consideration of the simplest forms. In these there are two basic axial nozzle systems: A mono-blast or single-flow system in which the air subjects the arc to one single directional blast. Duo-blast or double-flow system in which the air blast is divided equally through two nozzles. The blast flows into the arc chamber from opposite directions, and is exhausted through ports in line with the contact movement.

A variant of this system is the duo-blast system in which one nozzle orifice is made smaller than the other. Figure 9 shows the mono-blast and the partial-duo-blast systems. The mono-blast or partial-duo-blast systems are built into an insulating enclosure, which is supplied with compressed air. The air supply to the nozzles is controlled by a blast valve placed on the upstream side of the contacts, somewhere between the nozzle(s) and the supply source.

Figure 9

Air blast interrupters, (A) mono blast (B) duo or partial duo blast

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The exhaust passage(s) downstream are controlled by exhaust ports or valves. Each of these arrangements must admit compressed air to the nozzles while the exhaust passages are open, and then shut off the air supply to prevent the pressure reservoirs from being exhausted. This minimum requirement can be met in all cases by blast valves placed in the duct leading to the nozzles as shown, or across the electrodes just upstream from the nozzles. In the former case, one blast valve may be arranged to serve a number of interrupters at the same time and the interrupter chambers are pressurized outside the interrupter. In the latter case, one blast valve can serve only one interrupter and the interrupter chambers are permanently pressurized up to the valve. Where the interrupters are pressurized in the open position only, both the blast valves and the exhaust valves are used. The former admit the air to the nozzles, the latter stop the flow and keep the interrupter pressurized. One blast valve may again supply more than one interrupter at a time and one exhaust valve may be arranged to control two adjacent exhaust passages in a twin interrupter unit. Where the interrupter chambers are permanently pressurized (i.e., in closed and open positions), exhaust valves are used. The exhaust valves are used either on their own or in combination with blast valves placed across the electrodes. One exhaust valve may again serve two interrupters, but separate blast valves must, in this case, be provided for each interrupter. In so far as nozzle systems and pressurization are concerned, air-blast interrupters can be divided into nine types, i.e., mono- or partial-duo- or duo-blast, each pressurized in one of the three ways: During interruption only During interruption and in the open position Permanently.

Two other terms, axial flow and radial flow, are sometimes used in descriptions or classification of air-blast interrupters. Axial flow usually refers to interrupter constructions where, due to an arrangement of the upstream passages, the predominant direction of the air flow approaching the nozzles is parallel to the axis of the interrupter as in Figure 9, Detail A. Radial flow usually refers to constructions where most of the air tends to approach the nozzles centripetally as between the duo-blast electrodes in Figure 9, Detail B, or as would be the case if the mono-blast electrodes in Figure 9, Detail A, were placed in the center of an air receiver. Neither of these terms invalidates the axial-blast principle. In circuit breakers that have both high-pressure air and SF6 gas separated by gaskets, there can be a leakage of high-pressure air into the SF6 gas space. The high-pressure air contains far greater amounts of moisture than the SF6 gas spaces are intended to contain. Therefore, leakage of air into these spaces can set up the potential for a catastrophic failure. In some designs such leaks are from seals that are difficult to replace under normal maintenance. In such cases this leaking seal may be considered in the later section on Condition Assessment as a life-limiting-factor

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because it can be expected to involve major dismantling to correct the seal, the disruption and cost may indicate that replacement is more sensible. Further, with any air-blast circuit breaker, moist air entry into dry air chambers will degrade the insulating quality and arc-quenching capability. Wet air can cause flashovers, re-strikes, or a slow deterioration of insulated parts within the circuit breaker. If slow deterioration occurs and plastics are involved, there may be corrosive gases formed that will attack copper, aluminum, or silver-plated surfaces. This corrosion can include contacts, valves, seating surfaces, and all interior parts.

1.8.4

Auxiliary Interrupter Components

Accessories utilized for an interrupter also are dependent upon the voltage at which the breaker is designed to operate, as well as the individual usage of the breaker. Following are descriptions of interrupter accessories that may or may not be part of a breaker, depending upon its application. Grading Capacitors and Resistors Grading capacitors can be used in parallel with the interrupter contacts to provide nearly uniform voltage distribution of all contacts within a phase. This grading effect prevents the contacts nearest the end or outside of a phase from being subjected to the majority of the duty while the innermost contacts see a reduced amount of burden. Each manufacturers capacitor design is different, some are inside the interrupter chamber and some are bolted on externally. Normally, capacitors used internally have relatively low voltage withstand. These internal capacitors should not be exposed to extended periods of energization with the breakers main contacts open and with potential across the capacitor. When open, the circuit breakers associated disconnect switches (disconnector) should be opened to protect the capacitors. Grading capacitors designed for mounting external to the interrupter often have greater electrical strength; opening the disconnects (disconnectors) may not be a requirement for capacitor protection. On a breaker with several interrupters per phase, the capacitor values may differ between breaks, dependant on the design. It is important that proper interrupter assembly includes an ordered placement of capacitors. Normally, higher capacitance values are placed on the outside ends of the interrupter breaks of a phase, decreasing in value toward the center of the phase. Improper capacitor association may cause trouble and ultimately could cause failure of the circuit breaker. Grading resistors are usually only found on the earlier designs of air-blast circuit breaker. They have very high resistance and act in the same way as grading capacitors by sharing the voltage across the series interrupters of the circuit breaker to make it as near equal across each gap as possible. These resistors also cause a phase shift, easing the opening duty for the arc contacts. These resistors should not be confused with the opening (tripping) resistors used on the later designs of air-blast (pressurized-head) circuit breakers.

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Opening Resistors Opening resistors, or tripping resistors, are used to distribute the voltage during interruptions of high short-circuit current and to dampen oscillations created by a breaking operation under the specific short line fault condition. The resistor-switches that insert and remove the resistors are timed to open their contacts a few milliseconds after the main contacts have parted. They are usually re-closed with, or just before, the main contacts during a closing operation, although a few designs close them early during the opening (tripping) operation. The value of these opening resistors is chosen to match the surge impedance of the line construction. Closing Resistors Closing resistors are normally utilized on breakers associated with long transmission lines. The resistors are used to dampen the over voltage transients that occur when energizing long, unloaded transmission lines. The closing resistors are inserted just prior to main contact closure and the value is chosen to match the line length and construction. They may also be rated to withstand auto re-close operation. Mufflers (Silencers) During the 1970s it became necessary for manufacturers to develop sound mufflers (silencers) to lessen the audible impact of the air blast. Depending upon the circuit breaker configuration, one or more mufflers (silencers) are added to an interrupter in order to reduce the operational noise to a reasonable level. Current Transformers Current transformers (CTs) associated with air-blast circuit breakers are, like the breakers themselves, quite varied in design. CTs are used for relaying purposes and some contain a winding with metering accuracy. Many CTs are free standing and are not integral to the circuit breaker. Current transformers are located at the end of an interrupter head or string of interrupter heads, and normally one is required for each phase. There are also circuit breakers that have multiple current transformers per phase. The early air-blast designs integrated the CT into the design as the outgoing post-support for the switch-arm of the design-type. Freestanding current transformers can be utilized at any air-blast breaker location. Current transformers of different manufacturers or types can be mixed on different phases of the same breaker if properly applied. Many freestanding current transformers are filled with insulating oil. Porcelain is normally used as chambers to contain the oil and to pass the primary leads through. However, some are filled with SF6 gas and may utilize a composite application of plastics and silicone for the material to house the SF6 gas insulation. Where these devices were integral with the circuit breaker they used the porcelain SF6 chamber as an interrupter support column, as well as the chamber through which the primary leads passed. Because these CTs are part of the circuit breaker, they do not lend themselves well to relocation and they complicate the refurbish/replace debate.

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1.8.5

Air Compressor systems

For these circuit breakers the air is used for operation, interruption and insulation purposes. The air used for interruption and insulation within the circuit breaker must contain only a relatively small amount of moisture, because of the requirement of the breaker to maintain proper dielectric strength. The dielectric strength of the air is necessary to prevent flashover between areas of differing voltage potential, whether during normal in-service use, or during any system switching requirements. Compression of air from atmospheric pressure is a natural method of moisture removal, as air under compression freely gives up its water molecules. The greater the amount of compression, the more moisture removed. The typical operating pressures of the early, non-pressurized designs were of the order of 2.5 MPa (360psig) whilst the later pressurized-head designs operate at up to 8.0 MPa (1200 psig). The air for all air-blast circuit breakers is compressed to a pressure higher than the operating pressure and stored either locally at the circuit breaker or in a central location for the whole substation. The air storage pressure for both basic air-blast types ranges from 4 MPa (600 psig) to 21 MPa (3000 psig) and higher. Most of the earlier air-blast breakers depended solely upon compression for moisture removal, but even under these compression pressures, moisture remained and requiring draining from the storage where it condensed on cooling. This air is suitable for the early designs where the air is used for interruption from a blast valve mounted in the base receiver/tank. Air for insulation is at a much reduced pressure of the order of 0.1 MPa (15 psig) and hence much dryer. Moist air could not be permitted to enter the interrupting portions of the later pressurized-head circuit breakers, as in this case the compressed air is the insulating medium to earth (ground) and between the open contacts. In order for more complete moisture removal, dryers were developed. Earlier dryers passed the compressed air through a drying agent of silica gel that, after accepting the allotted amount of moisture, could be regenerated by heating the dryer and back flowing previously dried air at a very low flow rate. Later dryers utilized a molecular sieve as a drying agent, which did not require heat; only the backflow of dry air was required to complete the regeneration process. These dryers were normally installed between the compressors and the airstorage tanks (receivers). The storage air is then required to be reduced to the pressure at which the breaker operates. Each design has its particular requirements. Some operate at pressures in excess of 3.5 MPa (500 psig), some as low as 2.5 MPa (360 psig). The pressure reduction takes place in one or two stages, again depending on the manufacturers design. For operating mechanisms the quality of the air is less important and need only be dry enough to prevent internal corrosion of the various valve components and more importantly to prevent frost damage during winter operations. In the basic arrangement these air systems are often no more than a compressor mounted at or on the individual circuit breakers with a local air receiver (tank) to store sufficient air for the number of multiple operations specified and for the size and consumption of the circuit breaker mechanism. Other systems employ air compressors at a central substation location, usually two or three with a greater delivery capability (depending upon the needs of the user), situated in a location
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accessible enough to supply all the breakers in a particular substation yard. These central systems are normally contained within a house, either an existing house modified for that purpose or within a house specifically designed for the purpose. There is also the hybrid system, which has one or more banks of two compressors, each of which supplies a small number of circuit breakers. These compressors are not normally contained within a house but are often in weatherproof cabinets. The decision to use one system over the others is governed by the philosophy of the power systems management. Air compressor systems for air-blast circuit breakers offer an array of differing types and styles. As stated above, some breakers were sold with an air compressor as part of the circuit breaker package, that is, one compressor for each circuit breaker. For these the maintenance activity is closely linked to that of the circuit breaker. For the centrally located large compressors a pattern of maintenance is linked to the needs of the individual machine and is generally not linked to the restrictions of power-system access. For the many types of circuit breaker using pneumatic mechanisms, and the air-blast types, the compressor is one of the most important components to be considered for circuit breaker maintenance, but also for consideration during life estimation and the refurbish/replace debate linked to life extension. Most compressors require a dedicated maintenance regime in order to ensure a reliable air system and hence reliable circuit breaker operation. Generally, as with other plant, compressors should be maintained as recommended by the compressor manufacturer, keeping in mind that the duty requirements and the ambient environment will have an effect on the frequency of that maintenance and system access may be a restriction. Air leaks in the associated valves, piping, pressure switches, and gauges are an occasional problem and should be corrected as soon as possible after detection. If not repaired, the leaks could cause excessive compressor run time, and hence additional maintenance, but more importantly, an excessive leak on an air system on a circuit breaker could possibly lead to the failure of the breaker to close or open correctly when required. At the very least leaks on these local systems may force the need for an additional maintenance power-system access to repair it, depending on its location. 1.8.6 Trouble and Failure Modes

The main cause for concern in air-blast breakers is leakage of high-pressure air to atmosphere. Problems caused by unrepaired leakage of air are as follows: Moisture entry into the breaker. Moisture laden, atmospheric air is drawn in as the pressurized air leaks out. The leakage creates a venturi effect. Wire drawing of metallic seating and sealing surfaces. Wire drawing is created by continuous passage of high-pressure air over a very small area, which cuts a groove into the metal that can never be effectively sealed. Excessive compressor run time. If large leaks, or a multitude of small leaks, are left unrepaired then not only can they become larger and cause damage to the seal mating surfaces but, just to keep pace with the leaks, a compressor can run enough hours to

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drastically reduce the time between maintenance periods and prematurely shorten the expected life of the machine. In addition, compressor parts and accessories will wear out sooner than desired, potentially causing additional down time. Even the pressure reduction fill valve will be adversely affected when called upon to operate excessively. System integrity. Continued air leakage from an air-blast breaker will eventually affect the availability of the breaker, requiring unplanned maintenance to be performed sometimes at the worst possible times, and often at great cost. These costs could include loss of revenue at a time when the circuit is most needed. Specific leakage problem. Some design variants of air-blast circuit breaker use SF6 gas in the support insulation whilst others use a very low-pressure air system (0.02 MPa or 30psig). This air is very dry as it is obtained from a further reduction of pressure from the main circuit breaker air system. The purpose of this air and the SF6 is to ensure that the internal volumes of those zones of the circuit breaker not subject to high-pressure air are dry and able to provide an adequate dielectric capability. Leakage of the high-pressure air into these zones can occur, causing disruption of their sealing arrangements with a degrading of the dielectric capability. General leakage problems. There are many causes of air leaks, but topping the list is the deterioration of seals, seats, and gaskets of all types, including O-rings. Many seals are made of synthetic (nitrile) rubber compound. Depending on the cross-sectional size of the seal and the operating pressure of the air, this material will take on a permanent set and become hard sooner than some other compounds. This process is termed oxygen embrittlement as the oxygen in the air modifies the molecular structure of the seal compound. The deterioration is progressive as the oxygen permeates the material, hence the size and pressure relationship. This natural aging process, coupled with a less than perfect environment, causes the elastic seals to become less flexible and, in the worst case, completely brittle, thereby losing the ability to effectively seal the intended surface and allowing the pressurized air to escape to atmosphere. Original O-rings and seals, in some breakers, have a life expectancy of approximately 15 years at best. In the compressed air systems with the highest pressures, such as those on the central substation air storage systems and the compressor supply and regulation valves, this may become less than five years for some small section O-rings. Some manufacturers and users have used, or changed to, materials of superior quality, extending the required replacement time considerably but care is needed in choosing such materials. Leaks are also likely to be found at threaded joints, at fitting ferrules, around valves of all types, gauges, and pressure switches. Even porous castings have been known to cause leakage problems. Wherever a leak is found to exist, prompt attention should be taken as the deterioration gets worse and consequential damage is often caused to mating surfaces of seals and the seats of valves.

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1.9

SF6 Two Pressure Circuit Breakers Introduction

1.9.1

The first two pressure SF6 circuit breakers were developed in the United States and use the structural concepts of bulk oil breakers. Two-pressure SF6 circuit breakers generally have two compressors, one for the SF6 system and one for the operating mechanisms compressed air system. The SF6 compressor works in a closed loop. It is designed to take its input from the low pressure SF6 of the circuit breaker main tank, re-compress it after filtration and deliver it to the high-pressure storage tank of the circuit breaker. 1.9.2 Interruption Process and Mechanisms

The following describes dead-tank and live-tank breakers and auxiliary interrupter components. 1.9.2.1 Dead-Tank Breakers In this type of breaker the extinguishing chambers and the contacts of each phase are housed in an earthed (grounded) steel, or later aluminum, tank. These circuit breakers are called deadtank breakers because the tank is at earth (ground) potential. Figure 10 illustrates a typical SF6 two pressure dead tank breaker as well as one type of SF6 blast valve configuration.

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SF6 two pressure, 230 kV, four interrupters per phase, pneumatic mechanism

One of various SF6 blast valve configurations

Figure 10

Typical SF6 two pressure dead tank breaker and SF6 blast valve arrangement

Completely sealed and self-contained unit construction has been adopted for all SF6 circuit breakers. The seal between the different sections uses ethylene-propylene-rubber (EPR) gaskets and PTFE (Teflon) (the arc-resistant synthetic insulating material poly tetra fluor-ethylene) rings. Arcing does not significantly reduce the dielectric and arc-quenching properties of SF6. Contact designs have been developed that can be subjected to repeated arc interruptions equivalent to many years of service. Over 30 years of service experience has shown that hermetically sealed SF6 circuit-breakers need not be opened for inspection and maintenance except at long intervals, in the order of 10 to 15 years for these two-pressure designs. The contacts are immersed for insulation purposes in an atmosphere of SF6 at a pressure of approximately 0.2 MPa (30 psig). The bushing internal conductors are insulated from the steel tank enclosure by the same insulating atmosphere. Contacts are constructed to minimize erosion due to arcing on the portions of the contacts that conduct current in the closed position of the breaker. The current is directed through the sidewalls of the fixed contact and into a set of fingers, which are part of the moving contact. An arcing horn, located within the finger cluster, projects a short distance beyond the end of the fingers and into a cavity in the end of the moving contact. On opening, the arc quickly transfers from the end of the finger cluster to the centrally located arcing horns and to the end of the moving contact. Both contacts have surfaces that are faced with arc-resistant material. The interrupting function is performed by a high-velocity flow of SF6 through a PTFE (Teflon) ring in an orifice or nozzle located inside the arc-extinguishing chamber. (See Figure 11) The
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gas is maintained at approximately 1.5 MPa (220 psig) within a high-pressure reservoir during normal operation. At the start of contact movement in an opening operation, the blast valve opens under control of a pilot valve and allows high-pressure gas to flow through an insulating tube to the interrupting orifice, thereby extinguishing the arc as the moving contact moves to the open position. As the contact linkage reaches the open position, the pilot valve closes the main blast valve and conserves gas pressure for the next operation. After each interruption, a compressor system pumps the low-pressure gas from the circuit breaker tanks to the high-pressure reservoir via a filter containing activated alumina. Because the gas liquefies at approximately 10C at 1.6 MPa (235 psig), a heating arrangement is provided around the high-pressure reservoir to keep its temperature above this point.

Figure 11

Illustration of SF6 two pressure interrupter

Capacitor assemblies provide uniform distribution of voltage across each of the breaks. Electrostatic shields around the metal portions of the assembly maintain control of the electric field between the interrupter and the tank. In these breakers, the contacts are actuated mechanically by a pneumatic operating mechanism that drives a mechanical linkage and bell crank drives mounted one each pole (phase) tank. These bell crank drives are the mechanical link with the contact mechanism, and they also operate the SF6 gas blast valves. Compression-type accelerating springs, mounted close to the contacts, drive the breaker to the open position and are latched by a roller trip system in the operating mechanism.
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1.9.2.2 Live-Tank Breakers A live-tank breaker is one in which the tank or interruption chamber is at line potential. The same principle of interruption applies to live-tank circuit breakers. In these breakers, contacts are actuated mechanically by a pneumatic operating mechanism, fitted on each pole. This drives a mechanical linkage and bell crank drives mounted at the top of the columns. These bell crank drives are the mechanical link with the contact mechanism, and they also operate the gas blast valves. Compression-type accelerating springs, mounted close to the contacts, drive the breaker to the open position and are latched by a roller trip system in the operating mechanism. The interrupting units and the hollow porcelain columns are filled with SF6 at a pressure of approximately 200 kPa (30 psig), constituting the low-pressure system. A high-pressure reservoir operating at approximately 1.5 MPa (220 psig) is accommodated in the breaker chassis at ground potential and is connected via high-pressure pipe run through the hollow column to a receiver tank located in the distribution head. The blast valves, which are mounted in the upper receiver tanks, are opened when the breaker is tripped. The high-pressure SF6 then flows at a high velocity through short pipes to the interrupter nozzles and into the low-pressure chambers. A compressor located in the breaker chassis pumps the gas back to the high-pressure reservoir through filters containing activated alumina. The reservoir is heated to keep the gas temperature above 10C in ambient temperatures as low as 35C. The modular construction facilitates the use of the same interrupting unit with higher voltage breakers. A good example of this principle is represented by the circuit breakers built in the United States for 3- and 2-cycle interruption for 335 GVA at 500 kV with three double-break units supported by three porcelain columns. The tank forming the central section of the modular unit is part of the low-pressure system. It is pressurized at approximately 0.3 MPa (45 psig), and provides gas storage in close proximity to the interrupters. The cross-arm is hollow, forming the gas passage to the two interrupting gaps, and surrounds a section of the blast valve containing high-pressure gas. When the blast valve is opened, it discharges SF6 radially outward directly through the hollow cross arm to the contacts and interrupting chambers so that the pressure drop is smaller overall. A switching system is used to damp current surges. The system closes a contact during closing and inserts a resistor during the final part of the closing stroke. During the opening movement, the resistor circuit is opened throughout the cycle. The blast valve opens rapidly and remains open until the contacts approach the fully open position. The blast valve does not operate during a closing operation. Gas released by the blast valve flows into an insulating chamber in which the arc is drawn. The gas blasts sweep the arc away from the fingers where they are initiated and into the interior of the vent passages. The gas is then discharged into the surrounding chamber, which is the principal container for the low-pressure gas. The fine dust particles formed from the materials vaporized by the arc are also deposited in this chamber. A fine metallic filter at the top of the vertical porcelain column confines the dust to the modular unit. Filled with low-pressure gas, the support column acts as a part of the low-pressure reservoir in addition to the tube through which the SF6 gas, at low pressure, returns to ground potential. The column also contains and protects the vertical operating rod and an insulating tube, which
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conducts high-pressure gas from the large reservoir at ground potential to the smaller reservoir in the modular unit. The high-pressure reservoir is equipped with heaters and with thermal insulation. Thermostats on the bottom of each tank control the heaters of the three reservoirs. As the thermostats respond to temperatures of both the tank and of any condensate existing in it, they are set to turn on the heaters at a temperature somewhat higher than that at which condensate is formed. An interrupting time of 2 to 3 cycles can be obtained with a pneumatic operating mechanism using a high-speed latching device, arranged to reduce the inertia of the parts that must be moved during the tripping operation and equipped with flux diverting trip gear. The arcing time ranges from 510 ms at full breaking current, with arc lengths of 1550 mm.

1.9.3

Auxiliary Interrupter Components Closing resistors. A pre-insertion resistor is sometimes provided (depending on manufacturer and type) across each break for reducing switching surge voltage and is driven by the blast valve simultaneously with the moving contacts. The mechanism is provided to insert the closing resistor prior to breaker contact closing. The mechanism disengages the resistor when the breaker is in the closed position so that the resistor is not in the circuit during the breaker opening. Voltage grading capacitors. Shunt capacitors are sometimes provided across each break for proper voltage division purposes, but also for line side transient recovery voltage (TRV) control for the short-line fault condition. Line-to-ground capacitors. Line-to-ground capacitors are connected between line side terminals and earth (ground) to control the transient or recovery voltage. On feeder breakers both these capacitors are usually needed on the line side only. The source side may have no capacitors. On tie-breakers both sides may have line-to-ground capacitors.

1.10 SF6 Single Pressure Circuit Breakers 1.10.1 Introduction The SF6 serves as both an interrupter and insulating medium in this class of circuit breaker which is generally referred to as single-pressure breakers because the SF6 in the breaker remains at a constant pressure, usually in the 0.4- to 0.7-MPa (60- to 100-psig) range. During the opening operation, the gas contained in the interrupter chamber is compressed by a moving cylinder or piston, forcing the SF6 through the interrupting nozzle to quench the arc. This impulse or sudden gas flow across the arc space is the reason for the names impulse and puffer. These names were originally used in the United States for forced-blast oil circuit breakers and for early SF6 breakers of low- or moderate-interrupting capacity at low-voltage levels. Single-pressure SF6 circuit breakers are designed for a much higher range of voltage and current service than the two-pressure designs, as high as 800 kV and 4000 amperes. Puffer circuitbreakers have an interrupting rating up to 63 kA, although some SF6 puffer circuit- breakers have
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been supplied for 80 kA. It can be expected that higher ratings will soon be required for some systems and further developments in this and linked SF6 technology are likely to provide the solutions. The puffer circuit breakers are manufactured in both dead tank and live tank design. Figure 12 shows an example of dead tank and live tank configuration. At voltages up to 300 kV, both the dead-tank and live tank circuit breakers have just one interrupter contained within a tank on each phase, while those produced for 300 kV in the late 1970s had two interrupters per phase. For the higher voltages and currents the number of interrupters per pole (phase) has been reduced dramatically during the twenty years from 1980 to 2000 with a typical 400 kV 63 kA circuit breaker reducing from six to four to two and now a single gap. At up to 170 kV interrupters may also be clustered; so that all three poles (phases) are contained within one single tank, the interrupters being separated by insulation. The live-tank breakers have been designed in a T or Y module configuration, similar to the live-tank dual-pressure breaker, or in a candlestick configuration, with the interrupters mounted within a vertical, insulated interrupter chamber on a single support column. In all cases, as with the metal-enclosed dead-tank designs, the number of interrupters per pole (phase) has been reduced from four to two for the highest voltages and currents. The single gap live tank is limited in rating because of the size requirements, particularly external creepage length of the porcelain or composite enclosure for one gap.

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Dead tank, 550kV, hydraulic drive

Live tank, 230 kV, Y-type configuration, spring mechanism

Figure 12

Typical SF6 single pressure dead tank and live tank configurations

SF6 single pressure breakers are often used outdoors at distribution voltages in similar configurations as transmission type breakers. The most common configurations make use of outdoor type interrupters with bushings and CTs installed on top of an enclosure which contains the operating mechanism, usually spring or pneumatic type. Figure 13 illustrates two versions of outdoor configurations. It has also been common to install indoor type breakers, as well as CTs, heaters and controls inside an enclosure, and to install bushing on the enclosure. Indoor SF6 single pressure circuit breaker applications, as part of air insulated metal clad switchgear, as well as metal enclosed SF6 gas insulated bus, have been common.

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Pneumatic close, spring trip

Spring close, spring trip

Figure 13

Typical SF6 single pressure outdoor distribution type configurations

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1.10.2 Puffer Interrupters A simplified diagram of a commonly used design concept of a puffer interrupter is shown in Figure 14. This puffer interrupter is designed with a stationary piston within a moveable cylinder that is attached to, and moves with, the moveable contacts. As the moveable contacts are driven at high speed toward the open position, the gas within the compressible portion of the piston/cylinder arrangement is pressurized. The main current-carrying contacts separate first, while the arcing contacts are still engaged. Then, as the mechanism drives the breaker further toward the open position, the arcing contacts part, forming an arc. This arc is contained within a specially designed arcing nozzle (which is non-metallic and relatively heat resistant), typically PTFE (Teflon). The gas is compressed as the contacts move toward the open position because the volume between the piston and cylinder is diminished. When the arcing contacts begin to separate, the gas is released and forced across the parting contacts at high velocity. The arc, still confined within the nozzle, is cooled by the gas flow. As the current in the circuit reaches current zero, and when the contacts have traveled a sufficient distance to provide the post interruption dielectric strength to withstand the transient recovery voltage (TRV), arc extinction takes place.

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Figure 14

Illustration of puffer type interrupter principle

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1.10.3 Self-blast (also termed Auto-puffer) design-types. A relatively new development in puffer circuit breaker interrupter design is the self-blast, autopuffer or self-generated pressure interrupter. These types of interrupters were, at first, primarily used on lower voltages; however, design changes have resulted in their being used at 69 kV and higher. In the early versions the arc initially generated forms an envelope that expands and thereby extinguishes the arc between the main contacts. In the latest designs the puffer cylinder is in two parts with a one-way valve system set in the dividing plate between them. With a large short-circuit current arc the pressure rise within the first section is sufficient to close the valves. This and the rising pressure as the energy in the current cycle rises to a peak increases the pressure further, providing a higher pressure gas flow as the arc column then reduces towards zero. When the short-circuit current is small or a load is being switched, the valve system stays open by spring pressure and the interrupter operates as a normal puffer type using the full volume of the cylinder at a lower pressure. See Figure 15.

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Self blast self generated pressure (type 1) Self blast auto puffer (type 2)

Figure 15

Self blast self generated pressure (type 1) and self blast auto puffer (type 2)

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1.10.4 Auxiliary Interrupter Components 1.10.4.1 Grading capacitors Grading capacitors are normally used on multi-gap circuit breakers in parallel with the interrupter contacts to provide nearly uniform voltage distribution across all contacts within a pole (phase). This grading prevents the contacts nearest the end, or outside, of a phase from being subjected to the majority of the duty while the innermost contacts see a reduced amount of burden. Grading capacitors are used on both dead- and live-tank designs. Each manufacturers capacitor design is unique, some being used internally to the interrupter, and some designed to be connected externally. Historically capacitors used internally had a rather low voltage withstand although present designs are equally as highly stressed as externally mounted ones. For all grading capacitors it is now considered sensible to limit the exposure to extended periods of energization with the circuit breakers main contacts open and with system or near system voltage across the capacitor. In this condition, the circuit breakers disconnects (disconnectors) should be opened to protect the capacitors. As capacitor failures have occurred this is a safety issue governed by judgment. Grading capacitors are also used to assist the circuit breaker to interrupter higher levels of shortcircuit current, especially by controlling the transient recovery voltage (TRV) during the shortline fault condition. 1.10.4.2 Closing Resistors Closing resistors are normally utilized on breakers associated with long transmission lines. The resistors are used to dampen the voltage surges, or spikes, that occur when energizing long, unloaded transmission lines. The closing resistors are pre-inserted just prior to main contact closure. Again, the timing of the resistor switches, although short in duration, is very important to the proper functioning of the interrupter and, therefore, to the circuit breaker. The value of the resistors is dependant on the line length and construction and will also be influenced by any requirement for auto re-closure of the line. In this a second duty is inflicted on the resistor before the heating effects of the first have fully dissipated. 1.11 Vacuum Circuit Breakers 1.11.1 Outdoor applications Vacuum circuit breakers are primarily used in distribution stations up to 35 kV. In outdoor applications, vacuum breakers are normally built into a free standing metal enclosure, together with associated bushings, CTs, heaters and controls. A typical outdoor arrangement, as well as an illustration of a typical vacuum interrupter, is shown in Figure 16. Vacuum interrupters are also used for switching devices at higher voltages, where additional interrupters may be used in series arrangements. These higher voltage switching devices are not normally rated for fault interruption.
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12 kV outdoor vacuum breaker, spring open and close

Illustration of 12 kV vacuum interrupter

Figure 16

Typical outdoor vacuum breaker and vacuum interrupter illustration

1.11.2 Indoor applications The compact nature of vacuum interrupters make vacuum breakers well suited for indoor applications in metal clad switchgear, for new applications, as well as, for replacement of older breakers, such as air magnetic and minimum oil. Breakers used as part of indoor type metal clad switchgear are normally mounted on draw out units, or trucks. These draw out units usually have rollers for inserting units into individual cells in the metal structure for the air insulated bus work. Terminals at the units are usually connected to bus work by the action of inserting the unit into its cell. The draw out feature normally includes various interlocks for safety purposes. Figure 17 shows a typical indoor vacuum breaker application, as well as a typical spring mechanism. Instruction books for individual breaker models are required in order to understand and maintain each breaker model.

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Typical draw out type vacuum breaker for metal clad switchgear

Typical spring mechanism for vacuum breaker

Figure 17

Typical indoor vacuum breaker and typical spring mechanism

1.11.3 Mechanisms Vacuum circuit breakers have one interrupter per phase. The interrupters are very compact. The contact stroke is very short, and the energy required for operation is small compared with requirements for other types of breakers. Spring type mechanisms have been commonly used for vacuum breakers. The mechanisms are small, but have a large number of moving components. Lubrication and maintenance issues, similar to those of other breakers, have appeared as lubricants have aged. Vacuum breakers are now also offered with magnetic drives, with a large reduction in the number of moving parts. These drives are also offered with various self monitoring systems. These new mechanism features should deliver improvements in reliability as well as reduced maintenance.

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2
METHODS FOR MONITORING AND TESTING CIRCUIT BREAKERS
2.1 Causes of Circuit Breaker Failures

According to CIGRE, about 80 percent of major and minor circuit breaker failures are of a mechanical nature. About 50 percent of these mechanical problems are in the mechanisms. Lubrication issues have been identified as a major contributor to mechanism problems. Circuit breaker failure causes due to loss of gas or liquid pressure is of high importance. Therefore, elevated pressures are normally monitored with pressure switches or density monitors. Springs are most commonly used for stored energy in new breakers. The spring charging status is commonly monitored. Failure to trip or reduced tripping speed is an important circuit breaker failure mode. Time based testing and maintenance has normally been used to prevent such failures. New diagnostic methods and maintenance are becoming increasingly cost effective for older circuit breakers. Manufacturers now commonly offer transducers that can be used to monitor breaker operating speeds on new circuit breakers. 2.2 Methods for Monitoring circuit breakers Pressure monitoring

2.2.1

Pressurized air and SF6 are used for electrical insulation, and pressurized air, nitrogen and oil are used to store energy for operating mechanisms. Many oil, air blast and SF6 type circuit breakers have pneumatic or hydraulic mechanisms where the outputs from pressure switches and density monitors are applied to alarms and/or blocking of operation when insulation integrity or interrupting capability becomes compromised. Pressure monitoring with alarms and/or lockouts are also normally applied on gases and fluids used to operate circuit breaker mechanisms and drives. Pressures switches are normally used to operate alarms and/or to block circuit breaker operation when there is insufficient energy available for rated interrupting capability. Air blast breakers may depend on air pressure for insulation as well as operation. Many models of oil and SF6 breakers have pneumatic or hydraulic mechanisms where pressures are monitored for alarm and lockout purposes.

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2.2.2

Temperature monitoring

Temperatures are monitored on some types of circuit breakers and in many circuit breaker cabinets. Temperature monitoring is necessary in order to ensure interrupting capability of some types of SF6 gas circuit breakers where liquefaction of the SF6 gas may take place. Temperatures are monitored in cabinets to ensure functionality of heaters and thus mechanisms. Low temperature alarms and/or blocking of operation are normally used where temperatures are monitored. 2.2.3 New monitoring applications

New monitoring applications have often been limited by high cost and complexity of data transfer and data handling. Utility Communications Architecture (UCA) may offer some uniformity, and hence a means to reduce costs of data handling for circuit breaker monitoring applications. Most monitoring is at present performed with electromechanical pressure switches in the case of air pressures and with electromechanical temperature compensated pressure switches (density monitors) for SF6. Pressure and temperature values can also be measured with transducers for monitoring purposes, in order to provide earlier warnings and trends than is possible with only activation of alarm switches. This can be particularly valuable for compressor operations and SF6 leak detection. Some new circuit breakers are now offered with monitoring systems, such as time travel, including analysis of performance. 2.3 Methods for testing circuit breakers General visual inspections

2.3.1

A careful visual inspection can detect small things that could eventually lead to serious problems. Weekly to bi-monthly inspections are key elements in any preventive maintenance program. These inspections are performed with the equipment in service. The condition of the bushings and general insulation should be observed, and look and listen for air or oil leaks, loose mechanism parts and sounds of unexplained electrical discharge such as from within the bushing. The use of binoculars, particularly for larger circuit breakers, can be very helpful in examining especially tall breaker structures and bushings. A record should be made of what is checked and noted during the visual inspections. Most users have an inspection check list form to work from so that nothing is overlooked. Below is an example of items to include. Check all porcelain for chips, cracks, leaks, and discoloration from flash burn marks.

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Check terminals for corrosion and for signs of overheating, looseness, broken bolts or washers, etc. Any questionable areas noted by a thermo graphic survey should be evaluated and, where indicated, corrected in a timely fashion. Examine bushings and tanks for signs of oil leaks. Visually check bushings and breaker tank sight glasses and gauges when available for proper oil levels. Check foundation for deterioration of the base concrete and for any settling, loose anchor bolts, or leveling shims. While a minor amount of settling can be tolerated, in no case should this settlement cause tension on any bushing, bus support, or cable connection. Visually and physically check earth (ground) connection for looseness and corrosion. Make sure that the breaker vents are open and the screens are clear of dirt and debris. Examine any external grading capacitors, resistors, and current transformers for signs of oil leaks. Listen for air leaks or any unusual sounds being emitted by the breaker, current transformer, or compressor. Check the current transformers oil level or SF6 pressure and temperature, and the circuit breakers air pressures (high and low pressure systems). Record operations-counter reading Check main and optional backup tank heaters. Insulation 2.3.2.1 Visual inspection of oil

2.3.2

Excessive water or carbon content reduces the dielectric strength of oil. This degrades its interrupting ability, the general dielectric strength of the whole circuit breaker and causes corrosion of metallic components. Visual inspection of a sample of the oil can be used to assess excessive water or carbon content. When moisture and/or carbon contamination is identified, it must be recognized that this can cause problems by contaminating the internal insulating components such as lift rod, lift rod guide, interrupters, tank liners, and phase barriers. Excessive moisture in the oil alone tends to make samples look cloudy. Carbon darkens oil to the point where the oil actually turns black. The photograph in Figure 18 shows oil in various stages of carbon contamination. Test tube A is oil that has been filtered for both moisture and carbon. Tubes B and C show successive degrees of carbonization, with Tube D showing oil from a breaker that has interrupted one or two fault currents. For the most highly stressed designs an oil quality test may be more appropriate than a visual inspection. Filtration. If a breaker operates a few times a year for switching (no faults or heavy load conditions), the oil should not contain enough carbon to warrant filtering. If, however, one or more faults are interrupted, the oil could become dark immediately (see Tube D) and filtering should be planned for an early date. Abnormal visible moisture indicates a problem. Even if the
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dielectric breakdown test is acceptable, free moisture indicates a failure of the weatherproofing of the circuit breaker. Where seal leaks exist they must be corrected. There are filter materials for removal of water and carbon. These materials must be used separately to effectively remove both carbon and water from circuit breaker oil. Entry Bushing Oil. Of particular concern are the bushings of bulk oil circuit breakers, especially the free breathing barrier-board type. Poor maintenance of the breathing air-way and inadequate monitoring of the oil condition, may have enabled moist air, or in the extreme, water ingress. This moisture reduces the dielectric strength of the barrier board insulation to the extent that electrical tracking can occur which can rapidly develop into complete failure of the insulation and hence the bushing. The early signs of such failure mechanisms can be detected by dissolved gas analysis (DGA) of the oil. Oil sampling of bushings is not straightforward as a sample is required from the bottom to ensure the possible presence of water is detected. An acceptable method is to use a long tube and a syringe, although extreme care is needed to ensure that other contamination is not introduced.

Figure 18

Various stages of carbon contamination in minimum oil circuit breaker

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2.3.2.2 Oil test on site Perform visual check and ac dielectric breakdown tests on samples of the oil from each tank if this has not been done recently to assess the electrical integrity of the oil using ASTM D 877 (or ASTM D 1816). The purpose of visual inspection is to assess the need for filtration due to excessive water and carbon content. Make sure enough oil is drained from the drainpipe so that the sample is representative of the tank oil. Dielectric breakdown by ASTM Method D 877 has the ability to discern free water and water in combination with carbon particles. New or filtered circuit breaker oils should yield 30 kV as minimum breakdown strength. Oils that have been in service should yield 26 kV as a minimum. On low-voltage switchgear, some utilities use a lower minimum. However, as a general rule, all in-service oils should meet a test minimum of 26 kV. If a breaker operates a few times a year for switching (no faults or heavy load conditions), the oil should not contain enough carbon to warrant filtering. If, however, one or more faults have occurred, the oil could become dark immediately (see Tube D of Figure 18) and filtering should be planned for an early date. Abnormal visible moisture indicates a problem. Even if the dielectric breakdown test is acceptable, free moisture indicates leaks exist that must be corrected. Excessive amounts of contamination should be removed. Performing tests for power factor and interfacial tension (IFT) can help in the investigation of any questionable oil tests or visual inspections. With the oil in place, disconnect all bushing terminals and perform external insulation tests, such as AC dielectric loss and power factor diagnostic tests. 2.3.2.3 Laboratory analysis of oil Oil in circuit breakers becomes contaminated with carbon and sludge due to normal circuit breaker operation. Moisture ingress into the circuit breaker oil contaminates the oil and accelerates oil deterioration. Periodic measurements of the voltage withstand of the oil is necessary. Most utilities perform the measurements in the field only, but it is becoming more common to use laboratory methods and include moisture and gas-in-oil analysis. 2.3.2.4 Power factor tests Insulation power factor testing is a commonly used test to measure insulation degradation. This method has been the most useful for oil, wood, ceramic and paper insulation. Grading capacitor and epoxy degradation has also been diagnosed. The ability to measure and quantify degradation by comparison has been a major strength for this method. Test instrument suppliers offer extensive expertise, databases, training and support. 2.3.2.5 High voltage withstand All circuit breakers are tested for high voltage withstand during commissioning. High voltage withstand testing is not normally repeated except on vacuum circuit breakers, where this may be used to ensure vacuum integrity at regular intervals.

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2.3.2.6 Acoustic emissions Acoustic emissions measurements have been used to diagnose partial discharge activity in circuit breakers, primarily when problems have been expected. This was has been used primarily for diagnosing SF6 gas insulated bus, during commissioning as well as for maintenance purposes. 2.3.2.7 UHF emissions UHF measurements have been used extensively, and successfully to diagnose partial discharge activity in SF6 gas insulated bus, for monitoring as well as periodic testing. This can also be used on circuit breakers with suitable access. 2.3.2.8 SF6 analysis The quality of SF6 gas insulation depends on the absence of contamination. The most common contaminants are moisture, air, SF6 decomposition products and particles. Moisture and SF6 purity measurements are normally performed when the gas is handled. In addition, moisture measurements are recommended at periodic intervals for many types of SF6 circuit breakers. 2.3.3 Mechanical 2.3.3.1 Contact timing Main contact timing and resistor timing is normally performed on all circuit breakers during commissioning and subsequently repeated at regularly scheduled intervals. It is normally defined as the time between energizing the trip, or close coil, until the main contacts open or touch. Some breakers have closing or opening resistors, which also must be timed. This traditional method of contact timing requires that a circuit breaker be opened first and then removed from service. Methods of indirect contact timing have shown that breakers can be slower during the first operation compared with subsequent operations. Thus, the traditional direct method of contact timing may not reveal the speed of the breaker when it is called upon to operate. The cause of such problems has often been connected with lubrication, particularly after a long period of inactivity. Contact timing can be measured indirectly via information provided by the protection current transformers associated with a circuit breaker. If the breaker is operated with a digital protection relay, contact timing information is normally recorded in the protection relay. This information can be used for diagnostic purposes. Other devices can also be used to measure the current produced by the current transformers and linking these measurements to the application of operating coil voltage. Such devices can be used for permanent monitoring or periodic live tests, and are available commercially. Timing of auxiliary switches can be used as a measure of contact timing or breaker speed. Some auxiliary switches are driven separately from the main contacts.

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Small variations in contact timing can reveal serious problems. In general, a slow down in trip speed of 2 to 5ms is a warning of potential problems. Problems are often easier to detect during a close operation or during a trip free operation. The reason for this is that a larger number of parts are called upon to move. 2.3.3.2 Circuit breaker speed The operating speed is critical for all circuit breakers. Contact travel distance versus time is therefore measured on many circuit breakers at the time of installation and subsequently repeated at regularly scheduled intervals. Traditionally, time travel measurements are performed after the breaker has been removed from service. This analysis has some of the same limitations as contact timing because the breaker is normally operated before measurements are made. Newer breakers may have optional time travel analyzers built in as part of their condition monitoring. On most air blast breakers, as well as on some others, there is no provision for recording time travel curves. Contact timing alone is then often relied upon. Timing of multiple operations therefore becomes more important, because additional travel is included in the timing measurement. This also serves to verify speed and functionality of control systems. Circuit breaker speed may also be obtained indirectly from other sources, such as by analyzing the current signature from operating coils. Auxiliary switches interrupt the operating coil currents, thus the timing of interruption is a measure of speed. By comparing signatures, changes or differences in speed can be found. Such analysis can also reveal additional information related to the functionality of the breaker, such as the condition of tripping mechanisms. This method can be used for permanent monitoring or periodic live tests. Motion analysis, and in particular the travel characteristic, should be performed with instrumentation that is adequate to provide test data that accurately confirms proper operation of the breaker contacts and/or mechanism, and that can identify the existence of a problem. Most manufacturers instruction books contain limits and recommendations on this important data and may recommend a supplier for such instrumentation. In addition, this data is often supplemented with user experience that is especially helpful for older units, where acceptable test limits may have been exceeded and consideration may be necessary to review what constitutes acceptable performances as it changes due to age. When the timing or travel analysis is found to be outside of the manufacturers limits, there will usually be a need for adjustments to the mechanism. Whenever any maintenance, adjustment, or disassembly is required, the timing tests should be repeated prior to re-energization. Timing tests should be performed at normal mechanism conditions e.g. pressure, and normal control voltage. On some breaker types, timing tests should also be performed at minimum mechanism conditions and normal control voltage. Consult with the manufacturers instruction manual to determine if such tests at reduced conditions should be performed. Operational characteristics, such as those listed below, can be analyzed from timing information and time travel charts:
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Opening time - the time from trip command initiation until all three phases are electrically and physically open circuited Closing time - the time from initiation of the close command until all three phases initially close. Trip free time - the time that all three phases are electrically closed during a close-open operation Re-close time - the time from initial trip command to the time that all three phases reclose after the tripping sequence Breaker dead time - the time from the trip command until the initial movement of the operating rod Contact synchronism - all contacts should make and break contact at approximately the same instant. Manufacturers specify the maximum allowable timing differences between the contact operations among phases and contacts in different modules on the same phase Resistor contacts - timing of the opening and/or closing of resistor contacts, where fitted Control currents - magnitude and wave shape of the trip and closing coil currents Operating rod total travel - the distance traveled by the operating mechanism measured from the initial resting position to the final resting position Operating rod instantaneous velocity - the operating rod velocity at a single point of interest Operating rod average velocity - the straight-line average of the operating rod velocity between two points of interest Breaker mechanism over travel - the distance between the final resting position of the mechanism and the peak distance traveled by the mechanism beyond that point Breaker mechanism rebound - the distance between the final resting position and the peak distance traveled back towards the travel origin Contact insertion or wipe - by inference from monitoring the mechanism travel the physical distance between the position of the mechanism where main contact electrical closure is initially detected (direct measurement or by inference) and the closed resting position of the mechanism Switch bounce - a low voltage phenomenon observed when monitoring the contacts directly that occurs when pre-insertion contacts close and possibly when they are opened. Switch bounce is often caused by microscopic irregularities on the contact surfaces but design features may also produce this Contact bounce - bouncing which may occur as the main contacts come together at high velocity during a close operation forcing them to momentarily part and recluse

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2.3.3.3 Vibration analysis Analysis of vibration measurements can provide information about circuit breaker motions and abnormalities. The ease with which vibration analysis can be applied depends on the model of circuit breaker involved. The information obtained depends primarily on the instrumentation involved, such as signal sampling rates and analysis software. Motion can be measured indirectly from vibration signatures by timing of vibration events that take place during breaker operation. Mechanical problems may be found by comparing magnitudes of events. Vibration testing systems are available commercially for periodic testing. Monitoring systems are in experimental stages. Vibration testing requires only external mounting of accelerometers, typically magnetic attachment on lower frequency ones, and threaded or fastened attachment for higher frequency requirements. Vibration tests have advantages where access for timing purposes is difficult, such as on many breakers in SF6 insulated stations, as well as other breakers where access may not be available for timing purposes or for travel transducer mounting. On many types of breakers, vibration tests are easy to perform live, and has the potential to reveal problems that would normally have been found only by internal inspection. 2.3.4 Current contacts 2.3.4.1 Resistance across contacts Contact resistance is normally measured on all circuit breakers during installation and subsequently repeated at regularly scheduled intervals. A refinement of resistance measurements can be achieved with dynamic contact resistance signatures, where the resistance is measured during a close operation and plotted against contact travel measurements or time. These curves can reveal problems such as contact erosion and contact misalignments. There have been many reports of failure to close of one or more circuit breaker contacts, and for this condition to remain undetected due to parallel current paths. Such conditions can be detected by comparing current transformer currents. Check the as found contact resistance of the contacts for each phase with a micro ohmmeter. This test should include CTs and terminal connections as well as the breaker contacts. If resistance is high, then test each interrupter contact to locate the problem. These test values should conform to acceptable limits for the particular circuit breaker, in accordance with experience. There may be limits for contact resistance available from the manufacturer. A more important criterion for evaluation is a change in contact resistance from an initial test. Limits for acceptable change vary between breaker types; for some breakers an increase of more then 15 micro-ohms would warrant an internal inspection. The manufacturers usually recommend that a 100- or 200-ampere test instrument be used; however, utility experience indicates that comparable results can be obtained using a 10- or 3051

ampere device. Use of a 100-ampere test set may cause relay operation or current transformer saturation. 2.3.4.2 Thermo graphic testing Periodic measurements and comparisons of equipment temperatures have proven to be valuable in diagnosing problems in most types of current electrical equipment. This has also been useful for diagnosing circuit breaker problems. More electrical resistance changes, and thus problems, develop outdoor, due materials and connections being subjected to temperature variations and moisture. Access for thermography is also easiest outdoor than indoor. Indoor applications can be valuable where access permits. Abnormally hot or abnormally cold temperatures of items must be investigated. Thermo graphic surveys are most effective during high equipment loading, such as summer or winter peak loads or when loads are higher due to some equipment being out of service. Thermal variation limits depend on equipment loads and the type of equipment. Thermography depends on skilled operators. Use of thermography to note any overheating of a tank or bushing can help show high contact resistance or other loose parts in or next to the interrupter. During thermographic inspections, the operator should be aware of the approximate load on the breaker/bushings. A good technique is to compare the readings between bushings and between phases. Usually, any difference of more than 5C between phases or bushings should be questioned, especially if the circuit breaker is operating below its rating. However, thermographic inspection is generally not done more frequently than on an annual basis.

2.3.5

Controls

Inspections and tests performed as part of scheduled circuit breaker maintenance include detecting problems with circuit breaker controls and auxiliary components.

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3
INSTRUMENTATION
3.1 Monitoring Systems Mechanical 3.1.1

Samples of instruments offered and diagnostic approaches used for monitoring mechanical operation of circuit breakers are listed below. Additional features and comments Note 1 Note 2 Note 3 Yes Yes Note 4
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Trip and close coil currents current

Auxiliary contacts

Company and instrument model

Travel transducer

Resistor contacts

CT information

Main contacts

Vibration transducer

ELCON and ABB OLM 2 Cannon Technologies (esub) INCON Optimizer+ Schneider CBA

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes Yes

Yes Yes

Notes about monitoring systems for mechanical operation: 1. Spring charging and status monitored. SF6 density, temperatures and heaters monitored 2. Customized monitoring and data handling for customer supplied sensors, including remote video 3. On line monitor 4. On line monitor

Voltage

3.1.2

Insulation

Samples of instruments offered and diagnostic approaches used for monitoring circuit breaker insulation are listed below. Additional features and comments Note 1 Note 2 Note 3 Note 4 Note 5 Company and instrument model Vacuum integrity Paper, wood and phenolic

SF6 condition

Arc detection

Moisture in insulating air

ABB REA System Doble IDD for bushings DMS UHF monitoring VA TECH UHF monitoring Hitachi UHF PDM System Yes Yes

Yes

Notes about monitoring systems for insulation integrity: 1. Designed for detecting arcs due to a fault in metal clad switchgear 2. Designed for detecting and characterizing change in power/dissipation factor in oil filled bushings and current transformers, primarily for transformers 3. Designed for SF6 insulated stations 4. Designed for SF6 insulated stations 5. Designed for SF6 insulated stations

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Composite insulation

Oil quality

Arc Chute

Porcelain

3.2

Test Instruments Mechanical

3.2.1

Samples of instruments offered and diagnostic approaches used for testing mechanical operation of circuit breakers are listed below. Resistor contacts

CT information

Trip and close coil currents

Main contacts

Company and instrument model

Kelman Profile P2 Doble TDR9000 GE Egil GE TM1800 ELCON SA10 ADWEL CRD-100X2 GE MOM690 Zensol CBA Vanguard CT-7500

Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Yes Yes Yes

Yes Yes Yes

Option

Yes Yes

Note 1 Note 2 Note 3

Yes Yes

Note 4 Note 5 Note 6 Note 7

Yes Yes

Yes Yes

Yes Yes

Yes Yes

Yes Yes

Yes Yes

Yes Yes

Note 8 Note 9

Notes about test instruments for mechanical operation: 1. Designed for live tests. Optional vibration test interface, barcode reader and interface to inject current for out of service protection test tripping 2. Expandable configuration with modules for extra high voltage breakers with multiple breaks and pre-insertion resistors, motion analysis and event recording. Can be used for live or out of service tests 3. Designed for out of service tests. Built in printer 4. Predecessor, Programma TM1600 offered vibration option. This is also planned for TM1800. This instrument can perform dynamic resistance measurements
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Additional features and comments

Travel transducer

Vibration transducer

Auxiliary contacts

Voltage

5. 6. 7. 8.

Static and dynamic contact resistance measurements Contact resistance measurements Contact resistance measurements Circuit breaker analyzer systems designed primarily for off line tests, including dynamic contact resistance. First trip on line test available 9. Can be used for live testing. Built in printer

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3.2.2

Insulation

Samples of instruments offered and diagnostic approaches used for testing circuit breaker insulation Paper, wood and phenolic

Moisture in air

Company and instrument model

SF6 condition

Arc detection

GE Vidar Doble M4000 ADWEL HVA 40/10 LIS GasVue GE IDA 200 Vanguard VBT-80 DMS UHF portable VA Tech UHF portable Dissolved gas in oil analysis

Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Yes

Yes

Notes about test instruments for insulation integrity: 1. Simple red and green light for vacuum integrity 2. Designed primarily for power loss and insulation power factor measurements in oil filled equipment 3. Vacuum tester 4. SF6 leak detection camera
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Additional features and comments Note 1 Note 2 Note 3 Note 4 Note 5 Note 6 Note 7 Note 8 Note 9

Composite insulation

Oil quality

Arc chute

Porcelain

Vacuum integrity

5. Designed primarily for measuring dielectric losses at various frequencies in oil filled equipment 6. Vacuum tester 7. Designed for SF6 insulated stations 8. Designed for SF6 insulated stations 9. Local laboratory

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4
4.1

MAINTENANCE
External Inspections and Diagnostic Tests The most common in service maintenance activity is a routine visual inspection. The value of routine inspection is its ability to detect small problems that could eventually lead to serious failure hazards. The inspection period ranges from weekly to bi monthly. Manufacturers normally recommend that circuit breakers be operated at regular intervals. Many utilities have reported problems due to ageing of lubricants and circuit breaker inactivity. Live testing of circuit breakers after a period of inactivity has often detected performance problems at an early stage. Live testing of circuit breakers at regular intervals should therefore be considered. Common intervals vary from about 6 months to two years, depending on the type and criticality of the breaker involved. Live testing programs have been easier to implement for distribution breakers than for transmission breakers. When tests, inspections or schedules, dictate that a circuit breaker be removed from service for closer inspection, complete external diagnostic inspection, including electrical and mechanical tests, should be performed. These inspections and tests should be performed on an as found basis prior to any maintenance work, in order to minimize the extent of any maintenance and disassembly while at the same time providing the information needed to accurately assess the breakers ability to provide continued reliable service. For all circuit breakers, a general visual inspection includes checking, as appropriate, the following: Surfaces for rust or corrosion, particularly at junctions Moisture ingress and cleanliness in mechanism and control compartments Heaters and thermostats Operating counters (Record present number.) Mechanical indicator for correct position Sleeve, needle, and roller bearings for rust, discoloration, or hardening of grease Nuts, bolts, pins, retainers and wires in place Latches and rollers for wear and cleanliness Operating coils, controls, fuses and alarms

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Besides these general visual inspections, there are other visual observations that are more specific to certain mechanism types, such as: Spring Mechanism Check opening and closing springs Solenoid Mechanism Closing solenoid coils for signs of heating Closing contactor for heating or burning of contacts and cleanliness Pneumatic Mechanism Listen for air leaks from the mechanism and local air tank (receiver) and their valves and pipes Hydraulic Mechanism Visually check for any hydraulic fluid leaks. If weeping oil is cleaned up, record this, as it is important for assessing the condition of the system for maintenance and life assessment purposes Check for proper level of hydraulic fluid in sight glass or gauge on hydraulic reservoir If appropriate to the design, open pressure bleed valve very slowly until hydraulic pump starts. Close bleed valve. Observe, listen, and record the following items, before, during, and after pumping cycle: 1. Operation of motor starter for positive seal in, or any chattering and arcing of contacts. 2. Motor and pump for unusual noise. 4.2 Internal Inspections and Diagnostic Tests

Internal inspections are usually carried out when predetermined limits have been exceeded, such as number and magnitude of fault operations, number of switching operations, elapsed time, or if diagnostic tests (visual, mechanical, electrical) indicate a problem that warrants investigation or repair. Any damaged or worn parts should be either replaced or repaired at this time. If any disassembly or adjustments are made, diagnostic testing should be performed following this work. This testing ensures that maintenance and repairs have been accomplished correctly before returning apparatus to service, as well as to provide base data with which to compare future diagnostic tests. For all circuit breakers, internal inspections and diagnostic tests include general items as appropriate for specific makes and models, such as: Lubricate according to manufacturers instruction book or as indicated by experience Check dashpots for smooth operation and proper oil level. Check and verify all clearance dimensions (such as stops, latches, rollers, switches, and links) according to manufacturers instruction book.

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Besides these general out of service inspections, there are others that are more specific to certain mechanism types, such as: Spring mechanism Check spring is charged and discharged correctly and the indications are operating correctly. Inspect for signs of incorrect or excessive wear of gears and cams etc Solenoid mechanism Check and record solenoid resistance value Check solenoid plunger for smooth operation Pneumatic mechanisms and drives Check closing control valve and pilots for leaks; adjust according to manufacturers instruction book Check operation of all pressure switches. If outside factory setting, correct settings using manufacturers instruction book Check for air leaks and air dryness Perform required compressor and air drier maintenance Internal inspection of live tank air blast breaker interrupter assemblies and drives are generally performed at intervals dictated by user experience, often based on pilot inspections. All component parts of the breaker are normally disassembled and checked for deterioration. All seals and gaskets are replaced at this time. Typical itemized work is as follows: Remove interrupters from the circuit breaker and take inside, place on a stand designed for this purpose, and completely disassemble. Remove the porcelain, including capacitors and resistor porcelain (if so equipped). Remove and disassemble trip valves, blast valves, and resistor switches. Remove the main stationary and moveable contacts and check for wear, burning, or other deterioration. Replace all O-ring, seals and all parts containing molded sealing surfaces. Evaluate all contacts for deterioration. Inspect all insulated operating rods for burning and/or tracking, or any other deterioration. Similarly inspect air line tubes (if applicable). Check the interior of the porcelain insulators for cracking. Check breaker types incorporating interruption within porcelain chambers for thermal damage created by extreme temperatures caused by arcing. Breakers that have interruptions taking place within a central housing or chamber are equipped with entrance bushings that require rebuilding. Therefore, disassemble these breakers, replace all gaskets, accurately align components, and evacuate the breakers.

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On breakers equipped with a rapid pressure replenishment feature, replace the operating valves and main valve seats and align the components properly. After reassembly, pay very careful attention to air and/or SF6 gas leakage to determine if all gaskets have been properly installed. The timing test on the breaker is another very important quality control check. This check will verify proper operation to determine if reassembly was correct. Perform air consumption tests according to manufacturers recommendations to determine if the blast valves are utilizing the proper amount of air to adequately extinguish an arc. Where appropriate, perform blast-valve tests using transducers fitted at the exhaust ports or mufflers/silencers.

Hydraulic mechanism The manufacturers instruction book should be consulted before performing out of service work, such as: Check hydraulic pump for proper operation 4.3 Check for internal and external hydraulic fluid leaks Check that the hand pump is in good operating condition Check accumulators for proper pressure Check pressure switches for proper operating pressures Change hydraulic fluid and replace hydraulic filter if necessary Check hydraulic pump up time from zero pressure to shut off pressure Bulk Oil Circuit Breaker Maintenance Mechanical

4.3.1

Bulk oil circuit breaker mechanisms usually require frequent lubrication. The lubrication frequency can be reduced by replacing existing lubricants with newer types of longer lasting lubricants, such as dry type lubricants. Bulk oil breakers have been particularly susceptible to slow operation due to lubrication issues, particularly after a long period of inactivity. Slow tripping can be detected by collecting information during the first trip operation. Many utilities have started to assess circuit breaker condition periodically with instruments capable of on line testing during the first trip operation. Such instruments usually collect critical information about circuit breaker speed based on indirect sensing devices, such as trip coil current, CT currents and vibration. Data collected has usually been found to provide sufficiently accurate information about circuit breaker speed in order to detect incipient problems. Periodic on line testing also serves to provide periodic exercise for circuit breakers. Many utilities have found this to be a valuable part of on line testing.
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Most bulk oil breakers were designed with access for connecting a motion transducer for recording a curve of mechanism or contact travel versus time. Out of service tests normally include motion transducer recording and analysis. 4.3.2 Dielectric

Oil in circuit breakers becomes contaminated with carbon and sludge due to normal circuit breaker operation. Any moisture ingress into the circuit breaker oil accelerates oil and insulation deterioration. Periodic measurements of the voltage withstand of the oil is commonly performed. Most utilities perform the measurements in the field. Some use laboratory methods that may include moisture and gas-in-oil analysis. Insulation resistance testing (power loss and power factor) has been a commonly used technique to measure insulation degradation in bulk oil breakers and bushings. This method has been commonly used to diagnose the condition of oil, as well as other insulation materials inside bulk oil breakers, such as wood, resin and paper. The ability to measure, compare and quantify degradation has been a major strength for this method. Such tests require that the breaker be removed from service and that bus be disconnected. Acoustic emission measurements have at times been used to diagnose partial discharge activity in bulk oil circuit breakers, primarily when specific problems have been expected. 4.3.3 Current contacts

Periodic thermo graphic comparisons of equipment temperatures have proven to be valuable in diagnosing problems in most types of electrical equipment. This has also been useful for diagnosing bulk oil circuit breaker problems, particularly at current carrying connections and at bushings. Contact resistance is normally measured when a circuit breaker is removed from service for testing or maintenance. Contact resistances may also be measured during a close operation and plotted against contact travel measurements or time. Some measurement of contact wear can usually be made externally with the breaker out of service. 4.3.4 Controls

Important characteristics of critical control components are usually revealed as part of a live test, such as functionality of trip and close coils, auxiliary switches, secondary CT wiring, and control system voltage. Many control system component failures will not be revealed until another failure occurs. Examples of such hidden failure modes for a typical bulk oil breaker include air pressure alarms, heaters, and anti pump relays.
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Most control components and control schemes are normally checked as part of periodic testing and maintenance. 4.3.5 Test details

Techniques for assessing condition of bulk oil circuit breakers based on external inspections and tests Current contacts Resistance of main contacts and resistors Graph of contact resistances versus position Thermograph of temperature differences Mechanism and mechanical components Measure contact wear Timing of main contacts open and close Timing of resistors open and close Current in protection current transformer (CT) Timing of auxiliary switches Currents in trip and close coils Motion transducer (velocity, stroke, over travel, rebound, damping, contact penetration) Vibration transducer (timing of events, deviation) Timing and current of stored energy device motor Insulation Visual inspection of oil Resistance in oil and solid insulation (power loss, power factor) Voltage withstand of insulating oil Laboratory analysis of oil sample for moisture content and condition Controls and cabinet Inspect condition of components, fluid leaks, ingress of moisture and contamination Check oil levels, pressure switches, alarms, phase disagreement, blocking switches, circuit supervision, contactors, thermostats, heaters, relays, auxiliary contacts, solenoids, wiring, motors, air compressors, hydraulic systems, fasteners Many of the above techniques are complimentary in detecting problems. The techniques that are best suited for each application vary considerably, based primarily on the make and model of circuit breaker. It also depends on factors such as criticality of a breaker, as well as the number, condition and age of the breakers involved. A maintenance program must be developed for each circuit breaker make and model. This requires selection of appropriate condition assessment techniques for the breaker involved. Detailed information from the manufacturer as well as available operating history must be taken into account.
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Typical maintenance program for bulk oil breakers Time based inspections and tests Visual inspection Thermo graphic inspection Operate breaker. Measure speed. Inspect breaker, including mechanism and cabinet. External out of service tests of current contacts, mechanical operation and insulation integrity Internal inspection Schedule 2 weeks to 2 months Annual 6 months to 2 years As required based on inspections and tests, or after 2 to 6 years As required based on external measurements, tests and inspections, after 5 to 20 fault operations, or after 500 normal operations, or after 6 to 12 years

4.4

Minimum Oil Circuit Breaker Maintenance

4.4.1

Mechanical

Spring operated minimum oil circuit breaker mechanisms are often older versions of those used in SF6 breakers, at distribution as well as transmission voltages. Hydraulic mechanisms with nitrogen accumulators have been costly to refurbish, and replacement has often resulted instead. Minimum oil breakers for distribution voltages often have spring type mechanisms and configurations similar to SF6 distribution breakers. Minimum oil breakers for transmission voltages are all live tank mounted on insulated columns, multi break, external grading capacitors and one or three mechanisms. Slow tripping problems can be detected by collecting information during the first trip operation after a period of inactivity. Many utilities have started to assess circuit breaker condition periodically with instruments capable of on line testing. Such instruments usually collect critical information about circuit breaker speed based on indirect sensing devices. Periodic on line testing also serves to provide exercise for circuit breakers. Many have found this to be a valuable part of on line testing. On line testing has usually been found to provide sufficiently accurate information about circuit breaker speed. This is a valuable technique for making decisions about when a breaker requires being taken out of service for further testing and repairs.

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4.4.2

Dielectric

The oil volume is sealed to prevent moisture ingress. Periodic measurements of the voltage withstand of the oil is commonly used. Most utilities perform the measurements in the field. Some use laboratory methods that may include moisture and gas-in-oil analysis. Insulation resistance testing (power loss and power factor) has been a commonly used technique to measure insulation degradation in minimum oil breakers. This method has been commonly used for insulation found in bulk oil breakers, such as oil, wood and paper. The ability to measure, compare and quantify degradation has been a major strength for this method. The oil volume is sealed to prevent moisture ingress. A low oil volume makes oil handling less onerous compared with bulk oil breakers. Oil is usually replaced rather than treated.

4.4.3

Current contacts

Periodic thermo graphic comparisons of equipment temperatures have proven to be valuable in diagnosing problems in most types of electrical equipment. This has also been useful for diagnosing bulk oil circuit breaker problems, particularly at connections. Contact resistance is normally measured when a circuit breaker is removed from service for testing or maintenance. Contact resistances may also be measured during a close operation and plotted against contact travel measurements or time. Some measurement of contact wear can usually be made externally with the breaker out of service. 4.4.4 Controls

Important characteristics of critical control components may be revealed as part of a live test, such as functionality of trip and close coils, auxiliary switches, secondary CT wiring, and control system voltage. Many control system component failures will not be revealed until another failure occurs. Examples of such hidden failure modes for a typical minimum oil breaker include air pressure alarms, heaters, phase disagreement schemes, and anti pump relays. Most control components and control schemes are normally checked as part of periodic testing and maintenance. 4.4.5 Test Details

Techniques for assessing condition of minimum oil circuit breakers based on external inspections and tests Current contacts Resistance of main contacts and resistors
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Graph of contact resistances versus position Thermograph of temperature differences

Mechanism and mechanical components Measure contact wear Timing of main contacts open and close Timing of resistors open and close Current in protection current transformer (CT) Timing of auxiliary switches Currents in trip and close coils Motion transducer (velocity, stroke, over travel, rebound, damping, contact penetration) Vibration transducer (timing of events, deviation) Timing and current of stored energy device motor Insulation Visual inspection of oil Resistance in oil and solid insulation (power loss, power factor) Voltage withstand of insulating oil Laboratory analysis of oil sample for moisture content and condition Controls and cabinet Inspect condition of components, fluid leaks, ingress of moisture and contamination Check oil levels, pressure switches, alarms, phase disagreement, blocking switches, circuit supervision, contactors, thermostats, heaters, relays, auxiliary contacts, solenoids, wiring, motors, air compressors, hydraulic systems, fasteners Many of the above techniques are complimentary in detecting problems. The techniques that are best suited for each application vary considerably, based primarily on the make and model of circuit breaker. It also depends on factors such as criticality of a breaker, as well as the number, condition and age of the breakers involved. A maintenance program must be developed for each circuit breaker make and model. This requires selection of appropriate condition assessment techniques for the breaker involved. Detailed information from the manufacturer as well as available operating history must be taken into account.

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Typical maintenance program for minimum oil breakers Time based inspections and tests Visual inspection Thermo graphic inspection Operate breaker. Measure speed. Inspect breaker, including mechanism and cabinet. External out of service tests of current contacts, mechanical operation and insulation integrity Internal inspection Schedule 2 weeks to 2 months Annual 6 months to 2 years As required based on inspections and tests, or after 2 to 6 years As required based on external measurements, tests and inspections, after 5 to 20 fault operations, or after 500 normal operations, or after 10 to 20 years

4.5

Air Magnetic Circuit Breaker Maintenance Mechanical

4.5.1

Air magnetic breakers were made for distribution, up to 25 kV. Most interrupters are similar, with arc chutes and air puffers. Opening energy is normally supplied with springs. Closing energy is normally supplied with springs or solenoids. Air magnetic circuit breaker mechanisms usually require frequent lubrication. The lubrication frequency can be reduced by replacing existing lubricants with newer, longer lasting lubricants, such as dry type lubricants. Slow tripping can be detected by collecting information during the first trip operation. Many utilities have started to assess circuit breaker condition periodically with instruments capable of on line testing during the first trip operation. Such instruments usually collect critical information about circuit breaker speed based on indirect sensing devices, such as trip coil current, CT currents and vibration. Data collected has been found to provide sufficiently accurate information about circuit breaker speed. Periodic on line testing also serves to provide periodic exercise for circuit breakers. Many utilities have found this to be a valuable part of on line testing. Information from the first trip operation can be used to determine lubrication requirements for the mechanism and drive portion of the breaker. This has usually been a valuable technique for making decisions about when a breaker needs to be taken out of service for maintenance.

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4.5.2

Dielectric

Arc chutes in air magnetic circuit breakers become contaminated and burnt due to normal circuit breaker operation. Any moisture ingress into the arc chutes accelerates deterioration. Insulation resistance testing (power loss and power factor) has been a commonly used technique to measure insulation degradation in arc chutes. The ability to measure, compare and quantify degradation has been a major strength for this method. Such tests require that the breaker be removed from service. A large portion of air magnetic breakers are installed in metal clad switchgear. There have been issues about arc resistance of the metal cladding, as well as asbestos in arc chutes. Arc detection techniques can be used to limit energy input into a fault. Air magnetic breakers are often being replaced with vacuum and SF6 breaker types. 4.5.3 Current contacts

Contact resistance is normally measured when a circuit breakers is removed from service for testing or maintenance. Contact wear can be measured and observed with the breaker out of service. 4.5.4 Controls

Important characteristics of critical control components are usually revealed as part of a live test, such as functionality of trip and close coils, auxiliary switches, secondary CT wiring, and control system voltage. Most control components and control schemes are normally checked as part of periodic testing and maintenance. 4.5.5 Test Details

Techniques for assessing condition of air magnetic circuit breakers based on external inspections and tests Current contacts Resistance of main contacts Mechanism and mechanical components Measure contact wear Timing of main contacts open and close Timing of resistors open and close Current in protection current transformer (CT) Timing of auxiliary switches Currents in trip and close coils Motion transducer (velocity, stroke, over travel, rebound, damping, contact penetration) Vibration transducer (timing of events, deviation)
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Timing and current of stored energy device motor

Insulation Visual inspection of arc chute Resistance in arc chute and solid insulation (power loss, power factor) Controls and cabinet Inspect condition of components, ingress of moisture and contamination Check alarms, blocking switches, circuit supervision, contactors, thermostats, heaters, relays, auxiliary contacts, solenoids, wiring, motors, fasteners Many of the above techniques are complimentary in detecting problems. The techniques that are best suited for each application vary considerably, based primarily on the make and model of circuit breaker. It also depends on factors such as criticality of a breaker, as well as the number, condition and age of the breakers involved. A maintenance program must be developed for each circuit breaker make and model. This requires selection of appropriate condition assessment techniques for the breaker involved. Detailed information from the manufacturer as well as available operating history must be taken into account. Typical maintenance program for air magnetic breakers Time based inspections and tests Visual inspection Thermo graphic inspection Operate breaker. Measure speed. Inspect breaker, including mechanism and cabinet. External out of service tests of current contacts, mechanical operation and insulation integrity 4.6 Air Blast Circuit Breaker Maintenance Mechanical Schedule 2 weeks to 2 months Annual (if accessible) 6 months to 2 years As required based on inspections and tests, after 2 to 6 years, after 5 fault operations, or after 500 normal operations

4.6.1

Most air blast transmission breakers are live tank design. Interrupter contacts are air driven, with one drive operating one or two interrupters. Blast valve arrangements are used to release compressed air for arc extinction. Grading capacitors, closing resistors or opening resistors are then external.

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Most interrupter contacts are housed inside porcelain enclosures, one interrupter in each enclosure. It is also common to house interrupter contacts inside steel enclosures with entrance bushings. Grading capacitors, closing resistors or opening resistors are then internal. Higher voltage capability is achieved by using standard modules in series. Increased numbers of drives complicates control and drive systems, and makes timing of the individual main and resistor contacts critical. The contact drives and blast valves are at live potential, activated by long insulated pull rods attached to and driven by control blocks at ground potential. On some designs it is possible to monitor the individual blast valves using pressure transducers mounted at the exhaust valve ports or mufflers/silencers. Dead tank designs have been used, similar to bulk oil breakers, but these are not common. Distribution type air blast breakers, up to 25 kV, usually have spring loaded contact nozzles that are driven from a fixed contact with compressed air. Control blocks operate the compressed air blast valves. Higher capacity breakers may have numerous interrupters per phase in series or parallel. The spring loaded nozzles settle onto the contacts as soon as air pressure is removed. Therefore, the design includes separately operated isolating contacts (blades) to retain open position and to close the breaker. Air blast breakers do not have a mechanical connection to the contacts. This makes it more challenging to test these breakers without removal from service. Timing test have been most commonly used. Some information can be obtained about current interruptions (and thus timing) from digital protection relays. Vibration tests may also provide useful information. Air blast breakers have similar requirements for monitoring air pressures and moisture content. Air consumption tests can be used to determine if the blast valves are utilizing the proper amount of air to adequately extinguish an arc. 4.6.2 Dielectric

Air blast circuit breaker interrupters become burnt and contaminated due to arc interruption. Moisture can enter the circuit breaker through the air supply system and cause insulation deterioration or failure. Air pressure monitoring and control of moisture in the air supply are important parts of air blast breaker maintenance. 4.6.3 Current contacts

Periodic thermo graphic comparisons of equipment temperatures have proven to be valuable in diagnosing problems in most types of electrical equipment. This has also been particularly useful for diagnosing current carrying connection problems on transmission type air blast circuit breakers, due to a high number of connections and good accessibility. Thermo graphs have also been used successfully on distribution type air blast breakers, but access is usually more difficult.

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Contact resistance is normally measured when a circuit breaker is removed from service for testing or maintenance. 4.6.4 Controls

Many control system component failures will not be revealed until another failure occurs. Examples of such hidden failure modes for a typical air blast breaker include air pressure alarms, blocking of operation, phase discrepancy, heaters, and anti pump relays. Most control components and control schemes are normally checked as part of periodic testing and maintenance. 4.6.5 Test Details

Techniques for assessing condition of air blast circuit breakers based on external inspections and tests Current contacts Resistance of main contacts and resistors Graph of contact resistances versus position Thermograph of temperature differences Mechanism and mechanical components Measure contact wear Timing of main contacts open and close Timing of resistors open and close Current in protection current transformer (CT) Timing of auxiliary switches Currents in trip and close coils Motion transducer (velocity, stroke, over travel, rebound, damping, contact penetration) Vibration transducer (timing of events, deviation) Measure air consumption Insulation Measure moisture in air supply Resistance in solid insulation and grading capacitors (power loss, power factor) Controls and cabinet Inspect condition of components, ingress of moisture and contamination Check pressure switches, alarms, phase disagreement, blocking switches, circuit supervision, contactors, thermostats, heaters, relays, auxiliary contacts, solenoids, wiring, motors, air compressors, fasteners Many of the above techniques are complimentary in detecting problems. The techniques that are best suited for each application vary considerably, based primarily on the make and model of

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circuit breaker. It also depends on factors such as criticality of a breaker, as well as the number, condition and age of the breakers involved. A maintenance program must be developed for each circuit breaker make and model. This requires selection of appropriate condition assessment techniques for the breaker involved. Detailed information from the manufacturer as well as available operating history must be taken into account. Typical maintenance program for air blast breakers Time based inspections and tests Visual inspection Thermo graphic inspection Operate breaker. Measure speed. Inspect breaker, including mechanism and cabinet. External out of service tests of current contacts, mechanical operation and insulation integrity Internal inspection Schedule 2 weeks to 2 months Annual (if accessible) 6 months to 2 years As required based on inspections and tests, or after 4 to 6 years As required based on external measurements, tests and inspections, pilot overhauls, after 5 to 10 fault operations, or after 500 to 1000 normal operations, or after 15 to 25 years

4.7

SF6 Two Pressure Circuit Breaker Maintenance Mechanical

4.7.1

SF6 two pressure breakers are no longer made, due to the complexity of compressor and blast valve systems, compared with single pressure breakers. This type of breaker was only made for transmission voltages. They were made primarily as dead tank breakers, but also as live tank. All have SF6 gas compressors to maintain a high-pressure reservoir of SF6 for arc extinction. All have internal grading capacitors. All have SF6 blast valves. Most have spring open and pneumatic close mechanisms. The detail designs of two-pressure breakers differ substantially, but diagnosing electrical and mechanical condition is similar for all two-pressure SF6 breakers. Two pressure breakers usually have pneumatic closing mechanisms and air system monitoring. Most two pressure breakers were designed with access for connecting a motion transducer for recording a curve of mechanism or contact travel versus time. Out of service tests normally include motion transducer recording and analysis.

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4.7.2

Dielectric

SF6 type two pressure breakers have SF6 pressure and temperature (or density) monitoring for the SF6 high pressure reservoir and for the SF6 low pressure tank. Critical items for SF6 insulation and interruption performance in two pressure breakers include SF6 pressures, temperatures, moisture content and purity. Since pressures and temperatures are monitored, the monitoring devices are tested to verify readings, alarms and lockouts. Because of a large volume of SF6, as well as frequent handling requirements, it is normal to test the SF6 for moisture and purity. Insulation resistance testing (power loss and power factor) has been used primarily to measure degradation of grading capacitors. UHF and acoustic testing has the ability to detect partial discharge in an SF6 breaker. 4.7.3 Current contacts

Periodic thermo graphic comparisons of equipment temperatures have proven to be valuable in diagnosing problems in most types of electrical equipment. This has also been useful for diagnosing SF6 circuit breaker problems, particularly at current carrying connections and at bushings. Contact resistance is normally measured when a circuit breaker is removed from service for testing or maintenance. Contact resistances may also be measured during a close operation and plotted against contact travel measurements or time. Some measurement of contact wear can usually be made externally with the breaker out of service. 4.7.4 Controls

Important characteristics of critical control components are usually revealed as part of a live test, such as functionality of trip and close coils, auxiliary switches, secondary CT wiring, and control system voltage. Many control system component failures will not be revealed until another failure occurs. Examples of such hidden failure modes for a typical SF6 breaker include pressure alarms, temperature alarms, heaters, and anti pump relays. Most control components and control schemes are normally checked as part of periodic testing and maintenance. 4.7.5 Test Details

Techniques for assessing condition of SF6 two pressure circuit breakers based on external inspections and tests

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Current contacts Measure contact wear Resistance of main contacts and resistors Graph of contact resistances versus position Thermograph of temperature differences Mechanism and mechanical components Timing of main contacts open and close Timing of resistors open and close Current in protection current transformer (CT) Timing of auxiliary switches Currents in trip and close coils Motion transducer (velocity, stroke, over travel, rebound, damping, contact penetration) Vibration transducer (timing of events, deviation) Timing and current of stored energy device motor Insulation SF6 condition on site tests (SF6 leaks, SF6 purity, moisture content) Laboratory analysis of SF6 for purity and decomposition Resistance in solid insulation and grading capacitors (power loss, power factor) Controls and cabinet Inspect condition of components, fluid leaks, ingress of moisture and contamination Check oil levels, pressure switches, alarms, phase disagreement, blocking switches, circuit supervision, contactors, thermostats, heaters, relays, auxiliary contacts, solenoids, wiring, motors, air compressors, fasteners Many of the above techniques are complimentary in detecting problems. The techniques that are best suited for each application vary considerably, based primarily on the make and model of circuit breaker. It also depends on factors such as criticality of a breaker, as well as the number, condition and age of the breakers involved. A maintenance program must be developed for each circuit breaker make and model. This requires selection of appropriate condition assessment techniques for the breaker involved. Detailed information from the manufacturer as well as available operating history must be taken into account.

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Typical maintenance program for SF6 two pressure breakers Time based inspections and tests Visual inspection Thermo graphic inspection Operate breaker. Measure speed. Inspect breaker, including mechanism and cabinet. External out of service tests of current contacts, mechanical operation and insulation integrity Internal inspection or interrupter replacement Schedule 2 weeks to 2 months Annual 6 months to 2 years As required based on inspections and tests, or after 4 to 6 years As required based on external measurements, tests and inspections, after 20 to 30 fault operations, or after 200 to 500 normal operations, or after 6 to 12 years

4.8

SF6 Single Pressure Circuit Breaker Maintenance

4.8.1

Mechanical

SF6 single pressure breakers are made with live tank as well as dead tank design. SF6 single pressure is the only type of breaker that is now made for distribution as well as transmission voltages. In dead tank design, all interrupters of each phase are usually contained in one tank or enclosure, including any grading capacitors and closing resistors. Live tank designs offer an alternative for transmission breakers. Each break is normally contained in an insulated interrupter enclosure and any grading capacitors are mounted externally. The moving contacts and SF6 puffers are driven with insulated operating rods and linkages. Drive mechanisms are normally spring, pneumatic or hydraulic. Some are combinations of these. SF6 single pressure breakers are now normally offered with various condition monitoring devices as options. This includes motion analyzers with built in intelligence. The higher the voltage, the more energy is involved during operation, making motion control increasingly critical. Access often exists for motion transducers on higher voltage breakers, allowing analysis of critical performance items, such as speeds and damping. A large portion of distribution class SF6 breakers have complex but reliable spring type mechanisms. Issues about lubrication are often similar to those for other types of breakers, since
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mechanisms are often similar or have similar issues. Periodic breaker operation as well as assessment of speed during first trip operation can help detect problems early, as well as reducing unnecessary maintenance. Motion analysis is commonly performed on transmission breakers, but is not common on distribution type breakers. 4.8.2 Dielectric

Dielectric tests for SF6 breakers usually focus on SF6 pressures and moisture content and SF6 purity. Since most pressures are monitored, the monitoring devices are tested to verify readings, alarms and lockouts. The larger the SF6 volume involved, the more common it is to test the SF6 for moisture and purity. Insulation resistance testing (power loss and power factor) has been used primarily to measure degradation of grading capacitors in SF6 breakers. UHF and acoustic testing has the ability to detect partial discharge in an SF6 breaker. 4.8.3 Current contacts

Periodic thermo graphic comparisons of equipment temperatures have proven to be valuable in diagnosing problems in most types of electrical equipment. This has also been useful for diagnosing SF6 circuit breaker problems, particularly at current carrying connections and at bushings. Contact resistance is normally measured when a circuit breaker is removed from service for testing or maintenance. Contact resistances may also be measured during a close operation and plotted against contact travel measurements or time. Some measurement of contact wear can usually be made externally with the breaker out of service. 4.8.4 Controls

Important characteristics of critical control components are usually revealed as part of a live test, such as functionality of trip and close coils, auxiliary switches, secondary CT wiring, and control system voltage. Many control system component failures will not be revealed until another failure occurs. Examples of such hidden failure modes for a typical SF6 breaker include pressure alarms, heaters, and anti pump relays. Most control components and control schemes are normally checked as part of periodic testing and maintenance.

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4.8.5

Test Details

Techniques for assessing condition of SF6 single pressure circuit breakers based on external inspections and tests Current contacts Measure contact wear Resistance of main contacts and resistors Radiograph to measure acing contact wear Graph of contact resistances versus position Thermograph of temperature differences Mechanism and mechanical components Timing of main contacts open and close Timing of resistors open and close Current in protection current transformer (CT) Timing of auxiliary switches Currents in trip and close coils Motion transducer (velocity, stroke, over travel, rebound, damping, contact penetration) Vibration transducer (timing of events, deviation) Timing and current of stored energy device motor Insulation SF6 condition on site tests (SF6 leaks, SF6 purity, moisture content) Laboratory analysis of SF6 for purity and decomposition Resistance in solid insulation and grading capacitors (power loss, power factor) Controls and cabinet Inspect condition of components, fluid leaks, ingress of moisture and contamination Check oil levels, pressure switches, alarms, phase disagreement, blocking switches, circuit supervision, contactors, thermostats, heaters, relays, auxiliary contacts, solenoids, wiring, motors, air compressors, hydraulic systems, fasteners Many of the above techniques are complimentary in detecting problems. The techniques that are best suited for each application vary considerably, based primarily on the make and model of circuit breaker. It also depends on factors such as criticality of a breaker, as well as the number, condition and age of the breakers involved. A maintenance program must be developed for each circuit breaker make and model. This requires selection of appropriate condition assessment techniques for the breaker involved. Detailed information from the manufacturer as well as available operating history must be taken into account.

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Typical maintenance program for SF6 single pressure breakers Time based inspections and tests Visual inspection Thermo graphic inspection Operate breaker. Measure speed. Inspect breaker, including mechanism and cabinet. External out of service tests of current contacts, mechanical operation and insulation integrity Internal inspection or interrupter replacement Schedule 2 weeks to 2 months Annual (if accessible) 6 months to 2 years As required based on inspections and tests, or after 4 to 6 years As required based on external measurements, tests and inspections, after 20 to 60 fault operations, or after 1000 to 2000 normal operations, or after 12 to 20 years

4.9

Vacuum Circuit Breaker Maintenance Mechanical

4.9.1

Vacuum breakers are normally used at voltages up to 35kV. One interrupter is used per phase. Complex, but reliable, spring mechanisms are normally used to drive interrupters with insulated operating rods. The operating energy required is small, and the contact movement is short. Early versions suffered from a number of issues, including lubrication. Periodic breaker operation, as well as assessment of speed during first trip operation, can help detect problems early as well as reducing unnecessary maintenance. Motion analysis is not commonly performed on vacuum breakers. The short mechanism travel makes it important to detect any loss of travel due to interrupter support insulators, bearings or fasteners. 4.9.2 Dielectric

Vacuum integrity cannot be monitored, but high inherent reliability has been proven. Vacuum integrity is usually checked periodically with high voltage. 4.9.3 Current contacts

Periodic thermo graphic comparisons of equipment temperatures have proven to be valuable in diagnosing problems in most types of electrical equipment. This has also been useful for diagnosing vacuum circuit breaker problems, particularly at current carrying connections and at bushings. A large portion of vacuum breakers are installed indoors in metal clad switchgear. Since indoor breakers are not exposed to the weather, corrosion related problems are reduced, thus also reducing the need for thermo graphic surveys. The metal cladding makes access much more difficult compared with outdoor units.

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Contact resistance is normally measured when a circuit breaker is removed from service for testing or maintenance. Some measurement of contact wear can usually be made externally at the vacuum interrupter with the breaker out of service. 4.9.4 Controls

Important characteristics of critical control components are usually revealed as part of a live test, such as functionality of trip and close coils, auxiliary switches, secondary CT wiring, and control system voltage. Most control components and control schemes are normally checked as part of periodic testing and maintenance. 4.9.5 Test Details

Techniques for assessing condition of vacuum circuit breakers based on external inspections and tests Current contacts Measure contact wear Resistance of main contacts Graph of contact resistances versus position Thermograph of temperature differences Mechanism and mechanical components Timing of main contacts open and close Timing of resistors open and close Current in protection current transformer (CT) Timing of auxiliary switches Currents in trip and close coils Motion transducer (velocity, stroke, over travel, rebound, damping, contact penetration) Vibration transducer (timing of events, deviation) Timing and current of stored energy device motor Insulation Voltage withstand of vacuum interrupters Controls and cabinet Inspect condition of components, ingress of moisture and contamination Check contactors, thermostats, heaters, relays, auxiliary contacts, solenoids, wiring, motors, fasteners Many of the above techniques are complimentary in detecting problems. The techniques that are best suited for each application vary considerably, based primarily on the make and model of
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circuit breaker. It also depends on factors such as criticality of a breaker, as well as the number, condition and age of the breakers involved. A maintenance program must be developed for each circuit breaker make and model. This requires selection of appropriate condition assessment techniques for the breaker involved. Detailed information from the manufacturer as well as available operating history must be taken into account. Typical maintenance program for vacuum breakers Time based inspections and tests Visual inspection Thermo graphic inspection Operate breaker. Measure speed. Inspect breaker, including mechanism and cabinet. External out of service tests of current contacts, mechanical operation and insulation integrity Vacuum interrupter replacement or breaker replacement 4.10 Air Compressor Systems 4.10.1 Air system types Air blast, and all pneumatically operated circuit breakers whether air blast, oil or SF6, obtain their air either from a whole substation air ring main supply system fed from centrally located compressor plant, or from a dedicated compressor mounted at, or adjacent to, the individual circuit breaker. Both systems have air compressors. These air compressors, being rotating machinery and cyclic in this application, require periodic inspection and occasional maintenance. The associated air system is also either a substation wide system or one local to the circuit breaker. In both cases they are fundamentally the same. The major difference concerning maintenance activity is that the ability to perform maintenance/overhaul for the latter is usually restricted to the time when the associated circuit breaker is out of service. The other obvious difference is that a central system usually operates at a far higher pressure. The primary problems with such air systems are air leaks in the associated valves, piping, pressure switches, and gauges. Although these are generally an occasional problem they should be corrected as soon as possible after detection. Left un-repaired, the leaks could cause excessive compressor run time, forcing early overhaul/ maintenance and possibly the failure of the breaker to close when required if the leak is large. Schedule 2 weeks to 2 months Annual (if accessible) 6 months to 2 years As required based on inspections and tests, or after 4 to 6 years, after 5 to 50 fault operations, or after 500 to 1000 normal operations As required based on contact wear measurements, external tests, or inspections

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Long term leaks do not get better. As the air escapes, during such leaking it can erode the valve seat or sealing face at the point of the leak to an extent that not just a seal but major component replacement or repair may be needed. This erosion process is often termed wire-drawing. As stated previously many sizes and design variants exist but they should be maintained as recommended by the manufacturer, keeping in mind that the duty requirements and the ambient environment will have an effect on the frequency of maintenance. 4.10.2 Compressor system Whether compressed air is supplied from a local compressor, or a central air system, a maintenance program is required and this subsection details such programs. Second to the problems in the air system, but probably the most troublesome, are problems with air compressors. As breakers age, so do the compressors and their components, some of which were not initially well designed, and therefore, inherent problems existed early on. For instance, some manufacturers produced poorly designed unloader valves that malfunctioned often. This type of valve allows the compressor to start without pressure on the cylinder heads and expels the moisture collected after each stage of compression. The valves failure prevents the compressor from delivering air to the breaker. Operating temperature plays an important part in compressor performance. An excessive amount of heat creates problems, which in turn produces more heat, thereby compounding the adverse condition. Intake and, especially, exhaust valves are adversely affected by excess heat, which inhibits their ability to seat properly; improper seating allows restricted high-pressure airflow and produces more heat. Aging safety valves and shutoff valves, motor starter contact deterioration, wintertime heater failure, and compressor piston ring wear-out, also contribute to the problems associated with compressors, keeping them high on the problem list. Excessive compressor run time

In order to keep pace with the leaks, a compressor may run enough hours to prematurely shorten the expected life of the machine and hence the life of the circuit breaker. In addition, compressor parts and accessories will wear out sooner than desired, potentially causing down time. Even the pressure reduction fill valve will be adversely affected when called upon to operate excessively.

4.10.3 In service inspections The most common in-service maintenance activity is a routine visual inspection. The value of routine inspection lies in its probability of exposing small problems that could eventually lead to serious failure hazards. The accepted inspection periods range from weekly to semiannually.
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Listen for air leaks Check oil level in compressor. On some compressors, it must be running to properly check the level Check compressor belts for wear, tension, and alignment

Open drain valve on air reservoir until compressor starts. Close drain valve, continue running until compressor stops. Observe, listen, and record the following items, which should be checked before, during, and after pumping cycle o Operation of motor starter for positive seal-in or any chattering and arcing of contacts o Compressor belts for squealing, galloping, or slipping o Motor and compressor for unusual noises o Operation of pressure gauge on descending and rising pressure o Record the pressures at which the low and high pressure alarm switches, lockout switches, and governor switches operate (Check and record.) o Operation of running time meter o Elapsed running time of compressor checks proper operation of compressor o Governor control switch for proper compressor start and stop pressures o Proper operation of unloader valve o Motor running current. Any increase in current from previous checks is an indication of a potential problem

Check thermal indicator strips, which indicate highest compressor temperature Check proper operation of unloader valve and look for excessive oil/water emulsion at discharge outlet

4.10.4 Out of service inspections


Annual Inspection

An annual compressor inspection, including minor maintenance, is performed to replace dated items, inspect the compressor, and in general, to assess the condition of the machine. The tests performed are dependent on the type of compressor being inspected. The minimum amount of testing would be as prescribed by the manufacturer. The following listing of tests are performed on earlier compressors, with one asterisk (*) indicating an earlier model with a dryer, and two asterisks (**) indicating the checks performed on later compressors, as well as the earlier compressors. Change mineral oil, disassemble and clean oil filter ** Change air intake filter ** Change spin on oil filter ** Remove and replace unloader valve piston Disassemble third-stage unloader separator and replace filter pads Disassemble fourth-stage unloader separator and replace filter
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** Remove and rebuild all check valves and back pressure valves ** Check all Calrod type heaters and replace if required. (**Check heater and lubricate blower motor.) ** Check inlet and outlet shutter operation, lubricate mechanism and replace actuator if necessary Survey compressor; check for interstage pressure discrepancies With a flow meter attached to the crankcase, check for excessive blow by of air past the piston rings ** Check setting of pressure governor switch; adjust if necessary * Check airflow through capillary tube (back feed line to dryer) * Check dryer control circuit, including timer * Check operation of dryer heater * Dryer desiccant should be checked for ability to accept moisture; change if necessary. * Pressure holding/priority valve should be disassembled and rebuilt. 5 Year maintenance intervals or 1500 to 3000 hour check list All intake and exhaust valves (replace if necessary) Valve seats for wear Third- and fourth-stage separators (rebuild if necessary) Dryer and replace desiccant (rebuild if necessary) Unloader solenoid and unloader valve (rebuild if necessary) Reactivation valve (rebuild if necessary), and unloader check and backpressure valves (rebuild if necessary)

Out of service compressor inspections also include the following: Record compressor running time Drain oil from crankcase and replace with manufacturer-recommended oil o Draining oil when hot removes maximum impurities in oil o Condition of oil can govern length of time between oil changes Clean or replace air filter pads Lubricate electric motor For belt driven units check o Loose pulley mounting o Belts for cracks or breaks

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o o

Check belt tension Belt alignment

Check alignment of flexible coupling Check that intercooler fins are free from oil, dirt, and grease Drain air from receiver tank Start compressor and record running current. An increase in current reading can indicate o o o o o Problem with line voltage Excessive belt tension Defective unloader or check valve Internal problem in motor or compressor High oil viscosity

Check automatic start and stop controls Check for air leaks and make necessary repairs Check low-pressure alarm switch Check low-pressure cut-off switch

4.11 Lubrication 4.11.1 Introduction A survey conducted among many utilities in 1992 revealed that circuit breaker failures were rising and were a major concern. Many failures were traced to lubrication problems, which were further traced to the use of inadequate lubricants and, in some cases, harmful lubrication practices. This rising concern continues today. Upon close examination we find many circuit breakers are relubricated during overhaul with lubricants that were specified 30, 40 or even 50 years ago, when circuit breakers were overhauled more often. Todays increased service demands simply require more up to date lubricant technology. Many years ago literally all lubricants were petroleum based. The well-formulated ones were adequate for the shorter circuit breaker service requirements. They were simply overhauled and relubricated more often. Today, these lubricants are expected to function in mostly a static state for up to 20 or more years. An unfortunate fact of life is that very few, if any, petroleum lubricants are serviceable in normal circuit breaker conditions for that length of time. Therefore, an examination of the various types of base lubricants available today is appropriate.

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4.11.2 Petroleum lubricants Well-made petroleum lubricants are more than adequate for most industrial lubrication needs today. Petroleum oils can be refined to handle many load and speed conditions. They accept many additives and are compatible with many grease thickener systems. Also, they are generally inexpensive. However, a primary weakness of petroleum lubricants is their inability to handle temperature extremes. Petroleum oils begin to rapidly break down at around 250F (136C). Some grease thickener systems may extend that capability to around 300F (168C). On the low end, petroleum oils and greases become thick or hard at temperatures even around 0F (-20C). Higher viscosity petroleum oils will become sluggish at higher temperatures. Another weakness of petroleum lubricants is their tendency to change with age. As they get old, they can become hard and deposit varnish-like residues on bearing surfaces. This weakness is important with regard to lubricating circuit breakers because of the long periods of time between overhauls or re-lubrication. In summary, petroleum oil lubricants: Are good lubricants within their temperature range Can change and deposit varnish residue with age Have poor low temperature performance 4.11.3 Synthetic lubricants Synthetic lubricants tend to be more inert than petroleum and often can be formulated to handle wider temperature ranges, speeds and loads. Polyglycols can be made to be water-soluble or water-insoluble fluids. At high temperatures, uninhibited glycols break down into volatile compounds and leave no burnt residues. However, they can attack finishes and some will attract moisture. Phosphate Esters were also early synthetics that were non-flammable and had good lubricity. They were limited in their viscosity index and thermal stability and they were volatile. They are used today primarily as fire resistant hydraulic fluids and as lubricant additives. Organic Esters or dibasic acid esters are used widely as turbine engine lubricants and in low temperature greases. They are also used in instrument oils and hydraulic fluids. They usually have high film strength but can be affected by water, can damage finishes and cause seal swelling. Synthetic Hydrocarbons are polyalphaolefins or alkylated aromatics. They resist water washout, have a wider temperature range than petroleum oils, are less volatile and can use a variety of thickeners. Often referred to as SHCs or PAOs, the synthetic hydrocarbons have a good compatibility with many plastics, resist creep and can have good metal-to-metal lubricity. Synthetic hydrocarbons are compatible with most finishes. Polyol Esters may have the widest temperature range of the non-silicone synthetics. They can lubricate at low temperatures, high speeds and moderately high temperatures. They

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can take heavy metal-to-metal loads but may not be compatible with fluoro elastomers, butadiene acrylonitrile copolymers and other plastics and elastomers. Fluorocarbon lubricants are made from low molecular weight fully fluorinated polymers with unusual oxidation stability. As lubricants, they can handle heavy loads, wide temperature ranges and can function in the presence of strong oxidizers like liquid oxygen, high pressure air and liquid chlorine. They can be extremely expensive depending on purity level. Silicones are probably the best known of the synthetic lubricants. Since their development during World War II for military applications, many variations have been produced. All the silicone lubricants share some common attributes. They are very inert and have wider operating temperature ranges than petroleum and non-silicone synthetics with the exception of PFPEs. They resist oxidation and are very stable. They are waterproofing agents and tend to preserve and sometimes rejuvenate rubber. Silicone polymer is formulated into a number of variations among which the following are commonly used as lubricants. o Dimethyl - Usually formulated with an amorphous silica thickener system into what are generally referred to as silicone compounds. They are used to lubricate O rings and valves, protect high voltage insulators and act as release agents and electrical insulating pastes. They often will handle temperatures of -40 to +400F (-45 to +230C). o Phenylmethyl - Silicones are formulated into greases to be used in bearings at extreme temperatures. They have better metal-to-metal compatibility than the dimethyl silicones but have limited load-carrying capability. The temperature ranges of these greases are from as low as -100F (-83C) to as high as +550F (+324C). o Fluorosilicones - have all the advantages of the dimethyl and phenylmethyl silicones plus the added capabilities of resistance to harsh chemicals and the ability to carry heavy bearing loads. They tend to change the least in physical form with age. Fluorosilicones provide rare combinations of heavy loads, high and low temperatures, harsh environments and low to moderately high bearing speeds. Even though they are fluorinated, they should not be used with strong oxidizers like liquid oxygen or liquid chlorine. Temperature range can be as low as -40F (-45C) to as high as +450F (+261C). In summary, synthetic lubricants: Have wider temperature capability than petroleum based ones Have high speed capability Are more expensive Are longer lasting

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4.11.4 Solid lubricants Solid lubricants can be used alone but are usually employed as additives in greases or dispersions, or as primary constituents in lubricating pastes or dry bonded coatings. They are used because of their ability to handle great bearing loads and, in the case of dry bonded coatings, to lubricate in a dry state without attracting dirt, dust or other contamination. Lubricating solids also tend to provide longer-term lubrication than other unfortified materials. The most popular solids are graphite, molybdenum disulfide and polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE, also known by the TEFLON trademark). Graphite is available in natural and synthetic forms in thousand of particle sizes, purity levels and combinations thereof. Natural graphite is a mineral form of elemental carbon, which is desirable as a lubricant because it provides low friction, low chemical reactivity, low abrasiveness, high thermal conductivity, high thermal stability, high electrical conductivity and an ability to form films on metal surfaces. Graphite handles higher temperatures than molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) up to approximately 1000F (605C), depending on grade. Molybdenum Disulfide (MoS2) is an unusual mineral, which in purified powdered form is unsurpassed in its ability to handle extreme bearing loads measured up to 5 E+05 psi (3.4 E+06 kPa). When put under load, its crystalline structure collapses to form lubricating plates, which readily burnish to metal surfaces. It has a wide temperature range of -375 to +750F (-254 to +449C) in air and to +2000F (+ 1230C) in the absence of oxygen. It is most effective in extreme environments like liquid oxygen, vacuum to 10 E-09 torr (1.3 E-07 pascal), radiation exposure (gamma level of 5 E+09 roentgen [1.3 E+06 coulomb per kilogram]) and dirty or abrasive atmospheres. MoS2 is formulated into greases, pastes, dispersions and dry bonded coatings. It is occasionally used alone in its powdered form. Polytetrafluoroethylene or PTFE is a fluorinated plastic resin that is a good lubricant for loads of less than 5 E+03 psi (3.4 E+04 kPa). It disperses well in many mediums and can be molded. It seems to lubricate best on soft metals like zinc and die-cast metals. It can be used as a lubricating additive and as a thickener in some grease. PTFE does not stain and is useful where the staining action of graphite of MoS2 cannot be tolerated.

4.11.5 Lubricant types Grease is probably the most popular lubricant form because it is easy to use. Greases are made primarily of lubricating oils in a thickener. The function of the thickener is to hold the oil and release it gradually for long-term lubrication. The gradual release of oil from the thickener is known as bleed and is necessary for most greases to lubricate. The oil can be a petroleum or synthetic of wide ranging viscosity. Low viscosity oils allow faster bearing speeds while high viscosity oils handle heavier loads. It is also desirable to have oil viscosity low at low temperatures and high at high temperatures. Normal tendencies for oil are to be the opposite at these temperatures. The viscosity index represents the relative increases and decreases in viscosity as temperature falls and rises.

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These greases and other forms of lubricants often employ various additives to enhance their stability, load or anti-corrosion abilities. The additives can be oxidation inhibitors, antifoams, corrosion inhibitors, pour point depressants or extreme pressure additives. In circuit breakers, greases are used to lubricate rolling element and plain bearings and are installed during manufacture or overhaul. Very few circuit breakers in use today are equipped with grease ports for re-greasing between overhauls. It is therefore very important to select inert long-lasting greases that are not prone to physical change with age. In addition to oils and greases, the following lubricant forms are in common use today. Lubricating Pastes are composed of a high percentage of lubricating solids mixed in an oil to give it paste consistency. There is usually little or no soap type thickener in the system, so they tend to separate easily but are remixed before using. They are commonly used as anti-seize lubricants on threaded connections and for the assembly of run-in applications. Dry Film Bonded Lubricants contain a high percentage of lubricating solids and a curing resin in a carrier solvent. They are similar to paints but have solid lubricants in place of pigments. Dry film bonded lubricants can be sprayed, dipped or brush applied. They are used for long-term lubrication and where wet lubricants might collect dirt or airborne contamination.

Lubrication dispersions include essentially all aerosol lubricants and lubricants used as additives, penetrating oils, and corrosion coatings, etc. 4.11.6 Applications After one has become familiar with the various forms and components of lubricants, the task of selecting the appropriate lubricant depends on the element being lubricated. Key factors for proper lubricant specification are: Load (bearing, not electrical) Environment (dirt, dust, chemical attack) Temperature (running and extremes) Speed (shaft size of bearing X RPM) Conductivity (desired electrical conductivity of the lubricant) Load refers to bearing not electrical. Bearing loads can be light, moderate, heavy or extreme. When vibration or shock loading are present, the bearing should be treated as heavily loaded. Environment refers to conditions other than temperature that may be present. These could include attack by various aggressive chemicals like fuel, acids or bases. They also include particulate contamination like dust of various kinds from ash, wood, minerals, etc.

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Temperature at the part being lubricated is very important because temperature extremes can make most common lubricants fail. One needs to know the highest and lowest temperatures of any applications as well as its typical operating temperature. Speed generally refers to the RPM speed of a bearing. However, we must relate the RPM speed to the bearing size so we also need to know the shaft size of the bearing in millimeters. This size can then be multiplied by the RPM to obtain a Dn factor. For instance, if we have a 2-inch (2 in = 25.4 mm/in X 2 in = 50.8-millimeter) internal diameter bearing running at 5,000 RPM: 50.8 mm X 5,000 RPM = 254,000 Dn A good grease rated at 250,000 Dn could probably handle a 254,000 Dn application, but one rated at 75,000 Dn probably would not. In circuit breakers, most bearings experience only a fractional rotation; however, unrestricted speed is very important so low Dn greases should not be used. Conductivity refers to the desired conductivity of the lubricant. There are different preferences in the industry regarding lubricant conductivity. On circuit breakers, the industry favors nonconductive greases because, if applied sloppily, they will not become a safety hazard if they inadvertently track across an insulating surface into a current source. Both conductive and nonconductive greases are used on switch contacts depending on personal preference. The relevance of all this to circuit breakers and switch lubrication can be confusing. However, by examining the load, environment, temperature, speed and conductivity conditions for circuit breakers, appropriate choices can be made. However, we must also examine present day lubrication practices that have been found to cause problems. 4.11.7 Present day practices The most wide spread lubrication problem involves overuse of various penetrating oils for interim lubrication of circuit breakers. All penetrating oils tested to date have been shown to have the potential to cause the following problems: Literally all known penetrating oils are formulated with a high percentage of solvents, some up to 80%. When sprayed on a circuit breaker, these solvents can penetrate into bearings and break down greases installed at the factory. This is probably why often no grease is found in these bearings when the breakers are disassembled for overhaul. These same penetrating oils tend to change in form rapidly becoming thick and gummy to the point where they can slow breaker action or contribute to total failure. Many utilities have reported these experiences with so many brands of penetrating oils that the only safe recommended practice now is to not use any of them on circuit breakers except to aid in disassembly. They should not be used for interim lubrication. Instead, oils without a solvent are a better choice and are more likely to be compatible with the grease in the bearings. Oils with a dispersion of MoS2 are currently being tested and hold promise. Synthetic oils are also being tested in units having the same synthetic grease.

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4.11.8 Recommendations Load, environment, temperature, speed and conductivity, resistance to solvents (penetrating oils) and longevity are key factors in selecting the right grease for circuit breakers. Fluorosilicone greases fit these criteria and are therefore recommended for circuit breaker bearings. Penetrating oils will not easily break down fluorosilicone greases. Also, since they are very inert and resist change, they will last a very long time in service. Avoid mixing greases, as some are incompatible and can cause thinning or hardening. Also, if you mix greases and then experience a failure, you will not know which grease caused the failure. Consider using Dry Film Bonded Lubricants on open gears, cams, guides, and sliding surfaces. These lubricants are normally applied once during overhaul and are not applied again until the next overhaul. Dry Film Bonded Lubricants do not penetrate, but stick to the first surface they contact. Repeated applications can result in gummy build-up and cause problems. Do not use as a penetrating oil. Care must be taken to ensure that the grease, or other lubricating compound applied to seals and O-rings, are compatible with the material of the seal. In general nitrile rubber seals and O-rings should be lubricated with the appropriate silicone compound. Some silicone compounds are designed to swell the material of some O-rings while others are not. They are not all the same and the wrong application has caused circuit breaker failure. O rings and seals in pilot control valves probably should be lubricated with silicone compounds that do not swell the rubber. These same silicone compounds can be used to protect and condition rubber gaskets and seals for longer life as they delay the onset of oxygen embrittlement.

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5
CONDITION ASSESSMENT
5.1 Information Needed for Condition Assessment Condition assessment is necessary in order to determine circuit breaker maintenance requirements. This requires knowledge about performance criteria as well as tools to measure the performance. Visual inspections as well as simple or complex instruments may be used. Electrical insulation condition, contact resistance, contact speed, and interrupter condition are examples of important items to check. Circuit breaker maintenance, and hence condition assessments, are important for management of circuit breakers. Determination of residual service life for a circuit breaker depends on the cost of maintenance as well as several additional factors, such as age and obsolescence. Methods for assessment of circuit breaker condition depend on the type, make and model involved. The circuit breaker condition assessment process may be improved by on line sensors to monitor some characteristics and properties of a circuit breaker. The emphasis on reduced maintenance costs and life extension makes it desirable to have on line monitoring systems that will provide information for determining when maintenance should be performed. While the present condition of a circuit breaker can be evaluated on the basis of on line monitoring, out of service inspections or tests are needed for items that are not monitored. Below are additional condition assessment considerations: 5.1.1 Individual failure/trouble data, service advisories, and modification kits Failure and trouble data from industry experience includes information about the specific circuit breaker manufacturer, by type, voltage, current, and interrupting rating. Manufacturers also provide service advisories and modification kits to cover particular concerns with specific breakers. All of this information should be reviewed for an accurate long-term assessment. 5.1.2 Inspection, diagnostic test, and maintenance records The historical record of the individual circuit breaker should be reviewed in complete detail and compared with records for other breakers of the same manufacturer, type, and voltage/current ratings. This comparison can be especially helpful in highlighting conditions that are common to any particular breaker family. Additional data available from other utilities and from the
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manufacturer can be used to corroborate the conclusion. This data can also emphasize inherent areas of concern and help to determine whether these are economically correctable 5.1.3 Does the circuit breakers design and rating fit its application? As substations become older, and as system short-circuit currents increase with larger loads to the point where the older breaker design and capability is being surpassed, the possibility of inservice failure of the circuit breaker increases. Accordingly, an important part of assessing the condition of a circuit breaker is to make sure that its rating is capable of handling any anticipated future system circumstances at that location. If not, are there modification kits to update this breaker? New knowledge based changes to the technical specification may also effect the decision e.g. revised transient recovery voltage values or capacitive current switching test requirements 5.1.4 Does the circuit breaker pose an environmental problem? Corrective action should be considered if the circuit breaker or its bushings were initially filled with, or were subsequently contaminated with, an environmentally hazardous material (such as PCBs). In many countries this is a legal requirement with clear regulations concerning continued usage and safe disposal of such items. 5.2 Use of Condition Assessment Data

To make an accurate judgment on the present condition of individual circuit breakers for continued service, present inspection, maintenance and test data, along with service history, inspection, maintenance and test results should be available for review. If the information available is insufficient to support a valid judgment as to its condition for future service, other industry experience should be obtained to assist in the analysis. Larger utilities often have data that will be helpful in this regard. Basic information should include complete inspection, test, and maintenance data. Available history, inspection, maintenance, and diagnostic data should be carefully reviewed for any indication of negative trends that would cause the reliability of the breaker to be questioned. All test data should remain within acceptable limits for each particular circuit breaker. If the inspection history demonstrates the presence of any problems that require attention at every inspection /maintenance/test cycle, then this may be an indication that the maintenance is inadequate. The cause should be identified and maintenance corrected since, if left uncorrected, they can add significantly to future maintenance costs. In stating this, it is recognized that occasionally, dependent on the design, there are corrective actions needed at regular intervals and it may be that this activity is the reason for the maintenance activity frequency. Such regular activity is the replacement of a seal or adjustment of a component before age or wear failure occurs. Such frequent needs can be, or have been, designed out by modifications or the judicious use of other materials such as seals or lubricants. It would be extremely unusual to have a frequent need for attention on a modern circuit breaker.

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The records of knowledge gained from these condition assessment activities is used for the assessment of the existing condition and to review existing maintenance plans in order that the circuit breaker retains an acceptable condition. As appropriate, this knowledge should be added to the knowledge of life-limiting factors collected for the circuit breaker type. As the records of inspection, maintenance and tests are reviewed, minor variations can be made in some insulation test requirements. However, most checks and adjustments in this area must be made to certain tolerances provided by the manufacturer. Such changes that are considered are based on the actual user experience on the specific type of circuit breakers. It is important to note any changes of value such as an increase in contact resistance data and power factor/capacitance data. These data will also meet certain tolerances for specific circuit breakers. Both reaching the limit and a change from the previous reading are, or may be, significant and the cause of each must be understood. The following comments and suggestions should be considered: Overall in-service inspection and tests. The record of past in-service visual inspections and tests should be reviewed to note the extent and frequency of corrective work. Inspections and diagnostic tests for interrupters. While there are certain tests that can be applied to the breaker externally to reveal interrupter problems, when required for condition assessment it is better to perform an internal inspection so that checks can be performed directly on each interrupter assembly. Auxiliary interrupter components. It is also important that the auxiliary interrupter components, e.g. resistors and grading capacitors, be checked as part of a complete inspection/cleaning process. Maintenance of mechanisms. There are certain in-service and out-of-service inspections and tests that must be performed on some schedule that includes the number of switching and fault operations, elapsed time, or absence of any operations over an extended time period. Maintenance of compressor. There are particular items to be checked, both in-service and out-of-service, to ensure that the compressor is functioning properly. Maintenance of the insulating fluids systems. There are specific items to be checked to ensure that the gas system is functioning properly and its quality is correct.

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6
REPLACEMENT/REFURBISHMENT
This section aids in assembling the necessary information and records to determine whether refurbishment is possible or replacement is indicated. The factors for such a determination are described in Figure 19.

Figure 19

Circuit breaker replacement versus refurbishing

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6.1

Life limiting factors

Trouble and failure modes can be dealt with by normal inspection and maintenance activity or by some limited enhancements. In this way a circuit breaker can be kept in service. These modes do not necessarily cause the end of life of the circuit breaker however, and in general the program of maintenance/overhaul activity is only sufficient to ensure that the circuit breaker achieves the commercial book life required by the user. Where a strict book-life replacement policy is not to be followed and life extension is sought, the criteria for the end of life have to be established. To do this a definition is required. For some transmission assets the end of life is relatively easily determined, and hence predictable, as there are no, or few, sub-components to consider, e.g. busbars and conductors, or they are essentially static items, e.g. cables and capacitors. For the dynamic, multi-component switching-devices, a more complex definition of end-of-life is required. The most complex air-blast circuit breakers with 36 interrupters have in excess of 20,000 component parts, of which 1500 are moving (dynamic) and 2500 items are seals in various forms. In general it is a combination of individual failure modes occurring at an increasing rate or unexpectedly on such a combination of sub-components that renders the circuit breaker, or other switching-device, increasingly unreliable. This eventually becomes an unacceptable level of unreliability rather than total failure and is taken as the end of life for such complex items. The reason is clear in that for an item of transmission plant a replace on failure strategy cannot be supported. As the device approaches this period these events cause increasing disruption to the system and a high resource cost for the repair and maintenance commitment to keep it in service. It is recognized that this end of life is not therefore a clear, single point in time. It is more a range of ages existing for all similar assets dependant on the historic and present usage, the exposure to the natural and industrial atmospheric conditions, the strengths and weaknesses of the original design and the level and quality of the present and historic maintenance activity. This range can be characterized for the family of the generic design-type from the earliest to the latest onset of significant unreliability. To be able to estimate when these ages are likely to occur requires some knowledge and understanding of the weaknesses and the condition of the assets. The Condition Assessment process gathers such information from inspections and maintenance, condition monitoring but also from basic generic knowledge of the design types and this latter consideration is developed in this guideline as the factors that limit the further use, the life-limiting-factors. 6.2 Analysis of Accumulated Factors

The information on the assessment of the circuit breakers condition (see Condition Assessment) is used to indicate the need or otherwise of extensive enhanced maintenance. Such maintenance should be targeted to enable the circuit breaker to achieve its present anticipated life (which could include an existing life extension). The next step is to review any further requirements and options for refurbishment, up rating, or repair to reinforce this life expectancy or when seeking life extension. The major factors are: Inspection, maintenance, and diagnostic test history Service history As covered under Condition Assessment. The service history of the breaker should be compared with other breakers of the same type and rating on the system. Any change of usage with time should be noted, as a life consisting of; a
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light loading but frequent operation in early life, followed by heavy load infrequent operation and high short-circuit fault levels in the middle, and reducing load and short-circuit fault levels at present and into a predicted lightly loaded future, cannot be expected to be the pattern for all installations. Review of industry troubles and failures as reported by industry technical groups. Does this information show weaknesses that could potentially lead to a shortened service life in spite of its present seemingly optimal condition? E.g. CIGRE surveys on circuit breaker reliability. Manufacturers recommendations Review the manufacturers recommendations, such as service advisories and availability of modification and up-rating kits. When a manufacturer has modification and up-rating kits available for an older circuit breaker, it is a good sign that he believes that the particular circuit breaker type can be capable of providing service for some time yet to come. Availability of reliable spare parts at reasonable cost Many breaker manufacturers are rather straightforward with parts replacement instructions, as written in their manuals. Occasionally, the manufacturers do not provide enough in-depth instructions to enable users to make repairs adequately or to refurbish the breaker without extensive research into methods, techniques, tools, and parts/materials. For example, one manufacturer intended to replace its clients components in a modular way as wear-out occurred, i.e., a complete blast valve or closing valve. The manufacturer did not intend the user to replace individual pieces. The parts were locked together in ways that discouraged attempts at disassembly, because many times the attempt would cause irreparable damage to the parts, requiring replacement of the entire component anyway. The biggest problem with this type of manufacturers approach to the maintenance solution was the cessation of active spare parts manufacturing as the manufacturer moved into production of newer model circuit breakers. They turned to vendors outside the manufacturing organization to make the parts and assemble them into modular components. The vendors made them in small batches as orders materialized or were anticipated, in the short term, thereby raising the manufacturing costs to prohibitive levels and creating delivery delays that were completely unrealistic. Some utility companies, working together with outside service organizations, recognized the problem and, realizing the potential for savings, developed means to moderate the high spare parts costs and to receive the necessary replacement material within a reasonable time frame. In many cases, special tools were designed to disassemble (without destroying) the locked together parts. Methods and procedures were created that enabled the rebuilding to be accomplished in a manner that would be cost effective. Quality vendors were selected, sometimes for parts manufacturing, and sometimes for labor to actually perform rebuild work under direction of the utility organizations supervision. Research and testing was done to find the best materials available, which were used for reproducing parts in timely, cost-effective, and yet quality fashion. As the existing type test evidence may be compromised without such research and testing, it is important that this aspect is strictly controlled by the technical staff of the user, or by
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equivalent competent people from the service organization. There are likely to be Regulatory or legal implications in the event of a serious failure if this activity is left to a third party without such informed-user control. This method allowed refurbishment and salvage of breakers that would otherwise have to have been replaced because the cost to rebuild, utilizing the manufacturers parts, would be greater than the cost of new replacement breakers. Otherwise, this type of rebuild has a good track record. Many times the breaker is far more trouble-free after rebuild, given the same time lapse, than after the breaker was new, because sometimes better materials are available than when the breaker was manufactured. Non OEM supplier.

As noted above, if a non-OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) part supplier is employed, great care must be taken to ensure that the replacement parts meet or exceed the quality and capability of the original parts. This is particularly important in the area of the interrupter where semi-complex materials and critical shapes are used. This is especially so in the modern singlepressure SF6 designs where it is strongly advised that this route should not be pursued without a full understanding. As with all industries and technologies, errors have been experienced involving so-called look-alike locking nuts, bolts, O-ring and other seals often with excessive molding flashing, and incompatible materials such as some greases and rubbers. Where such cases occurred on transmission systems the resultant system cost consequences where extremely high, and, as they are consequential losses such costs could not be re-claimed. o Safety to system and personnel The above identifies risks to the economics of the transmission systems but another important aspect of the points raised is safety. The question is will repair, refurbishment, or up rating provide a circuit breaker that may become less secure or underrated for the application in the near future? If the answer is yes, the circuit breaker should be replaced. This may not be the correct approach for other wider economic reasons. It may be required that refurbishment is needed to delay capital expenditure, even for a short period. The risks will need to be identified and balanced. o Availability of skilled personnel to perform the refurbishment If the decision leads to using outside sources, organizations with proven histories in the work desired should be employed. Very carefully check the organizations knowledge of the equipment for which work is to be done, and check for work satisfaction with other utilities for which they have also performed similar work. Otherwise, the rebuild could be unsatisfactory, extremely costly, and a poor decision. If outside service organizations are not chosen well, resulting in poor service from less-than-qualified vendors, it might have been less costly to replace the breaker. In the event of serious failures there may be also Regulatory or legal implications for the clearly un-informed user. 6.3 Review of the Available Options

Circuit breaker technology has advanced considerably to the point where newer SF6 puffer or self-blast circuit breakers can often provide improved service at reduced maintenance cost. This technology should also be considered in the analysis of all the factors in a judgment decision on repair, refurbishment, or replacement.
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It is possible to refurbish and up-rate older breakers with acceptable service histories. As systems continue to expand, it is also possible for older circuit breakers to be used at less critical locations where their service duty would be less severe. In such cases, safety to personnel and to the system must be carefully considered. Can the older, refurbished, or up-rated breaker be made reliable for the foreseeable future? The following illustrates how the major factors might be used in the analysis of whether to repair, refurbish, or replace a specific circuit breaker. The condition assessment has been performed and there is satisfaction that the circuit breaker could remain in service. However, there is a question as to whether the breakers rating would be adequate a few years from now. Repair o Modification kits to improve the circuit breakers operation o Up-rating kits to improve the circuit breakers rating to more closely match that of a new breaker, or at least the projected rating requirement of the system location. Refurbish

To repair the breaker the following may be available:

This often takes the form of a mid-life reconditioning where the declared, or anticipated, life is greater than 25 years and in some cases as long as 60 years. The condition assessment provides an idea of the cost to repair, refurbish, and as appropriate up-rate the circuit breaker. Refurbishment could reduce continuing maintenance cost initially, but it must be assumed that maintenance costs would rise again in the future at a faster rate than if dealing with the original breaker when new. It would certainly be faster than a modern, new circuit breaker. For this reason the extent to which any refurbishment is performed is important. It is especially the case if all of the life-limiting factors have not been addressed by the refurbishment, as they will develop in the later years of the life of the now old circuit breaker. This continuing commitment is balanced against the fact that the new replacement circuit breaker is likely to be one of the latest SF6 circuit breakers, which have reduced maintenance requirements and in some designs none for at least 25 years or 10,000 operations, and which have a proven electrical and mechanical endurance capability. The economics of the true capital-to-operational cost balance has to be considered. Replace When replacing the circuit breaker with a new unit, it should be of the newer designs of SF6 single-pressure (puffer) or the even newer self-blast circuit breaker. Increasingly these are powered by spring mechanisms for rated voltages up to 420 kV although the majority of the spring mechanism types are still for less than 170 kV. Other mechanisms are usually hydraulic, decreasingly pneumatic, and recently (Dec 2001), but as yet still under 170 kV, even motor driven. Besides the cost of the new circuit breaker itself, the following possible costs need to be considered: o Cost of built-in condition monitoring or life management system.
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o Removal of the old circuit breaker. However, if the user has other circuit breakers of the same type and rating, this breaker is a valuable asset as a source of spare parts. o Foundation. Will the present foundation be adequate or must it be replaced or altered? o Associated disconnectors (disconnect switches) and bus arrangement. Must these be altered or replaced to accommodate the new breaker? These considerations should be examined carefully and full costs compared for the various options. Circuit breakers maintenance costs have traditionally been high compared with other apparatus; so potential savings (or costs) should not be overlooked. When decisions are made to purchase new circuit breakers, the purchasing specifications should be carefully reviewed to be current with todays technology and the relevant national and international standards. The prime international standards for circuit breakers are IEC 62271100: High-voltage alternating-current circuit breakers, and IEC62271-001: Common specification for high-voltage switchgear and control gear. Some harmonization has taken place (and will continue to take place) between these documents and the IEEE/ANSI C37 circuit breaker requirements, which are also covered by the major international manufacturers. New Technology

The rapidly changing technology must be considered fully during the review process. It is not only the interrupting requirements of the circuit breakers but also the requirements of the complete substation that must be considered. In recent years it has been progress in substation control and monitoring that has begun to influence decisions. However, the most recent developments in switchgear involve the combination of individual switching-devices into a single device and the development of the integrated substation that has caused users to ponder the direction they should take with the refurbish/replace debate. Although circuit breaker/current-transformer combinations, switch-disconnectors and circuit-switchers have been available historically, the more modern devices include all these above functions. For example; a circuit breaker, which has the function of the associated disconnector(s), the latter being achieved by rotating, or racking-out, from the service position the circuit breaker. This is what is termed a circuit-breaker-disconnector, combination switching-device. Increasingly such devices are combining the functions into a truly single device. In this way by using the same contact assembly for both the circuit-breaking and disconnecting functions within the same housing, be that metal-enclosed (GIS), or a porcelain or composite material in atmospheric air (AIS) type. Such combined-function switching-devices are termed a combined circuit breaker-disconnector. In addition to these combinations the use of optical fiber current transformers and capacitive divider type voltage transformers enable the whole substation configuration to be reviewed. These devices are of particular interest for the standard breaker-and-a-half substation layouts.

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