Transformers will sometimes experience a lot of stresses related to the transformer being moved from one location to another, or when they experience the excessively high currents related to through fault conditions.
Physical changes to the inner workings of a transformer result in altered electrical characteristics. When abnormal conditions such as these occur, it is important to check for signs of physical change or deformation of transformer components. You can use a Sweep Frequency Response Analyzer to verify that Physical changes have not occurred inside the transformer without having to remove it from its enclosure.
The Doble M5200 Sweep Frequency Response Analyzer is a Sweep Frequency Analyzer that lets you find internal problems in transformers without detanking. How is this possible? It sends out a wide band of frequency test signals. Then the RLC components of the transformer act as an electrical filter that have a specific response over a range of frequencies. These transformer output responses are then compared to the corresponding input source signals and plotted into a characteristic baseline signature for that transformer. Subsequent measurements on that transformer can then be laid on top of the original signature to confirm if responses remain the same or if changes have occurred. Changes in mechanical and electrical characteristics of the transformer will cause a deviation from baseline data. The range of frequency in which changes occur can then potentially be used to relate changes to specific components of the transformer (core, winding, connections etc…).
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published April, 2012 and has been updated freshness, accuracy and comprehensiveness.