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8RecommendedPeriodicInspectionsofaSubstation

Transformer

8 Recommended Periodic Inspections of a Substation Transformer (photo credit: gridsense.com)

Mediumpowertransformerroutinemaintenance
Thefollowingperiodictestsandinspectionsarerecommendedforroutinemaintenanceofthe
mediumpowersubstationtransformer.
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.

Gaugereadings
Coolingfans
Controlwiring
Paintfinish
Fluiddielectrictest
Bushingandsurgearresterinsulators
Bushingterminals
Gaskets

1.Gaugereadings
Onemonthafterinitialenergizationandannuallythereafter
Gaugereadings,ambienttemperature,andkvAloadshouldbemeasuredandrecorded.Any
abnormalreadingsuggeststhatfurtherdiagnostictestingorinspectionshouldbedone.If
pressure/vacuumgaugeand/orfluidlevelgaugereadingssuggestapossibletankleak,performa
pressuretestaccordingtoinstructions(15PreenergizationTestsandChecklist).
Tankleaksmustberepairedimmediatelytopreventseriousdamagetothetransformerand
dangertolife.
Transformer winding and liquid temperature measuring (photo credit: acontact.com)

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2.Coolingfans(annual)
Checkthecoolingfans(ifany)bysettingthefanauto/manualcontrolswitchtothemanual

position.Thefansshouldrotateatfullspeedwithinapproximatelyfiveseconds.Thefans
shouldrotatesmoothlywithminimalvibration.
Transformer cooling fans (photo credit: vostermansusa.com)

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3.Controlwiring(annual)
Controlwiringshouldbecheckedtoinsurethatwireinsulationisingoodcondition.The
controlcabinetandassociatedconduitshouldbeinspectedtoensurethatweathersealsare
intact.
Controlpowersupplyvoltageshouldbecheckedandcomparedtothevoltagestatedonthe
wiringdiagram.
Transformer control wiring box to check (photo credit: canammachinery.com)

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4.Paintfinish(annual)
Inspectthepaintfinishfordamageorweatheringthatexposestheprimercoatorbaremetal.
Repairanypaintdamagethatmightbefound.
Transformer paint damage to check (photo credit: railgallery.wongm.com)

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5.Fluiddielectrictest(annual)
Sampletheinsulatingfluidasdescribedbelow.Thedielectricstrengthoftheinsulatingfluid
shouldmeasureatleast26kV.

SamplingofInsulatingFluid//
Transformersarefilledwithinsulatingfluid,whichprovideselectricalinsulationwithinthe
transformertankandtransfersheatgeneratedinthecoilstothetankwallandradiators.
Thefluidiseither:
Conventionaltransformeroil(mineraloil),
EnvirotempFR3fluid,or
Siliconefluid.

Periodicallycheckthetransformerforproperfluidlevelbyreadingthefluidlevel
gauge.Addfluidifnecessary.Whenaddingfluid,addonlythesametypefluidthatisin
thetransformer.

Itisalsorecommendedthatafluidsamplebedrawnannuallyandtestedfordielectricstrength.
Samplesshouldbedrawnfromthebottomofthetank.Usepropersamplingproceduresto
preventerroneoustestresults.Dielectricstrengthshouldmeasure26kvminimum.
Dielectric strengther / transformer oil tester (photo credit: oilfiltrationengineering.com)

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6.Bushingandsurgearresterinsulators(annual)
Bushingandsurgearresterinsulatorsshouldbeclean.Ifthesurfacesareexcessivelydirty,
theyshouldbecleanedwhilethetransformerisnotenergized.
Arcing horns on transformer bushings for lightning protection (photo
credit: Wikipedia)

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7.Bushingterminals
Onemonthafterinitialenergizationandannuallythereafter
Ifthetransformerisenergizedandunderload, measurebushingterminaltemperaturesusingan
infraredscanner.Excessivebushingterminaltemperatureindicatesalooseordirtyconnection.
Ifthetransformerisnotenergized,useatorquemeasuringdevicetomakesureterminal
connectionsaretight.
Infrared (IR) scan of a transformer bushings (photo credit: npm
services.com)

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8.Checkthegaskets

8.Checkthegaskets
Visuallycheckallgasketsforcrackingorothersignsofdeterioration.Replaceasnecessary.

Whenreplacingagasketcarefullycleanmatingsurfacestoremoveanyrust,dirt,
transformerfluid,oldgasketmaterial,orothercontaminationthatmightpreventagood
seal.Useanappropriategasketcementwheninstallingnewgaskets.

Donotreuseoldgaskets.Sixmonthsafterreplacingagasket,checkandretightenifnecessary.
Transformer seal gaskets to check for for cracking or other signs of deterioration
(photo credit: powermag.com)

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Reference//InstructionsInstallation,Operation,andMaintenanceofMediumPowerSubstation
TransformersHowardIndustries//SubstationTransformerDivision