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The last resort

Standby battery installations provide electricity to key elements of power generation, transmission and distribution systems, such as circuit breakers and protective relays, computers, control panels and telecommunication equipment, when other power sources have failed. The batteries can provide power instantly, either directly as DC or via an inverter as AC, thereby ensuring that critical systems continue to operate until emergency generators are ready to take over, or the main electricity supply is restored.

Electrical safety when using test equipment


Man SUNSETA great deal of attention is devoted to safe working practices relating to electrical construction, maintenance and repair work. Industry electrical publications regularly report on safety issues, including the use of the proper tools and equipment for energised and de-energised work, as well as using the correct personal protective equipment (PPE) for each workplace situation. However, electrical test instruments are given very little, if any, discussion in safety articles. Even the dangers of using the wrong test instrument or using an instrument improperly, which can have catastrophic results, are rarely mentioned. 

Some of the most frequently used test instruments include non-contact voltage testers, multimeters, insulation testers and ground-resistance testers. A big issue with using non-contact or proximity devices, for example, is that to prove a circuit is de-energised it is necessary for that circuit to be tested phase-to-phase and phase-to-ground, which cannot be done using this type of tester.

When electrical safety is discussed, the subjects of shock, arc flash, and arc blast predominate in the discussions. The question is often asked: How do I identify when these hazards are present, or likely to be present, when I am using electrical test instruments on electrical circuits and equipment? This article discusses electrical hazards, along with requirements for assessing the workplace to identify electrical hazards, and also discusses personal protective equipment (PPE) associated with using test instruments.

Transformer screening: Is it time for a rethink?

Winding resistance testing is a very revealing electrical diagnostic test for the routine screening of power transformers to determine their “state of health”. In fact, it’s an essential test when dissolved gas analysis indicates overheating in the oil or of the paper, and no condition assessment is complete without it.

Moreover, if you were to ask experienced substation maintenance engineers for their thoughts about which electrical tests should be done on a routine basis (which is not necessarily the same, of course, as the tests they are actually doing!), the winding resistance test would be likely to take second place only to the transformer turns ratio (TTR) test.

P1000645 transformerThe TTR test typically takes top honours, not necessarily because of its diagnostic capabilities, but because it provides validation and reassurance that the transformer is actually doing what it’s supposed to do - transforming voltage. Nevertheless, the DC winding resistance test would be a very strong contender for the top spot if the list of important transformer tests were ever re-ordered purely on the basis of diagnostic value and screening prowess.

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AVO NZ - Apprentice Pricing Now Available

For over 80 years Megger instruments have been sold in New Zealand and led the industry for all it’s testing and application needs. AVO New Zealand is proud to continue this tradition and is supporting the next generation of electrical apprentices.


*Discount from trade price. Full name and EW number of apprentice to be supplied at time of order placement


Tesla and the pigeon of death

Tesla2 1

Nikola Tesla’s name is synonymous with pioneering electrical developments, and he is accepted as the originator of many devices – not the least of which is the AC induction motor – which we now take for granted. His inventions form the basis of much of the technology we currently use and although controversial, his life is now celebrated by engineers and history pundits alike.

Electrical Safety – assessing for electrical hazards



Wherever electrical equipment and systems are installed, electrical hazards exist. The most common of these hazards are shock, arc flash, and arc blast, and they must be identified and assessed to determine if and where each of them exist. In addition, businesses must assess the potential for exposure of personnel who work on, near, or interact with the electrical equipment. Electrical standards and regulations worldwide include requirements for assessing the workplace to identify hazards where employees would be required to wear personal protective equipment (PPE).

Frequency response of stray losses in transformers

This article is intended to familiarise readers with frequency response of stray losses (FRSL) testing for transformers - an invaluable test technique that is rapidly gaining recognition in the industry because of its ability to reveal problems that would be missed by other electrical test methods.

FRSL as a test tool for transformers was first discussed and investigated by Hydro Quebec in the 1970’s because of its ability to detect winding deformation. Hydro Quebec concurrently examined the use of the sweep frequency response analysis (SFRA) method and leakage reactance testing for the same purpose, and ultimately SFRA, together with leakage reactance testing, became the accepted tools for confirming winding deformation.

For some time, FRSL went largely unused. That is, until its seemingly latent diagnostic strengths were exposed. Of particular note was the discovery that FRSL was very useful for revealing short-circuits between individual strands within a conductor bundle. This is a failure mode that, until the advent of FRSL, had been undetectable with electrical test methods.

A conductor bundle may be comprised of any number of individually insulated conductor strands. When two or more of these strands are shorted together, this is not a turn-to-turn fault or even a partial turn-to-turn short-circuit . The latter is a situation when one or more strands within a conductor bundle become short-circuited to one or more strands within an adjacent turn of the conductor bundle. The exciting current test, for example, can reveal a partial turn-to-turn short circuit but is not sensitive to a strand-to-strand short circuit.