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Title:
METHOD FOR MONITORING OF TAP CHANGERS BY ACOUSTIC ANALYSIS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/1997/034161
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A method for monitoring an on-load tap changer wherein the recording of sound and its conversion into a sound signal are initiated at the beginning of a connection operation of the tap changer and the sound signal is rectified, converted into a signal envelope, sampled digitally and continuously evaluated with respect to the condition of the tap changer by comparing the envelope with at least one fixed or one continuously updated reference envelope. The comparison is carried out selectively by calculating a dimensionless comparison figure Ti which is based on a quantity measure and a variation measure.

Inventors:
Bengtsson
Tord, Kols
H�kan, Martinsson
Lars
Application Number:
PCT/SE1997/000402
Publication Date:
September 18, 1997
Filing Date:
March 10, 1997
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
ABB RESEARCH LTD
Bengtsson, Tord Kols H�kan Martinsson Lars
International Classes:
H01F29/04; G01R31/327; G05F1/14; (IPC1-7): G01R31/327
Domestic Patent References:
WO1993024845A1
Foreign References:
US4159446A
Other References:
PATENT ABSTRACTS OF JAPAN, Vol. 18, No. 210, E-1537; & JP,A,06 013 248 (HITACHI LTD), 21 January 1994.
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Claims:
CLAIMS
1. A method for monitoring an onload tap changer wherein the recording of sound and its conversion into a sound signal are initiated at the beginning of a connection operation of the tap changer and the sound signal is rectified, converted into a signal envelope, sampled digitally and continuously evalua¬ ted with respect to the condition of the tap changer by comparing the envelope with at least one fixed or one con tinuously updated reference envelope, characterized in that the comparison is carried out selectively by calculating, at each sample point with index i, a dimensionless comparison figure Ti which is based on a quantity measure and a variation measure, where the quantity measure and the variation measure relate to a statistical distribution, and that an alarm or a warning is released when the comparison figure Ti for one or more sample points exceeds a predetermined value.
2. A method according to claim 1, characterized in that the dimensionless comparison figure Ti is calculated according to Ti = I (SiMi) /si I , where Si is the current sample with index i, Mi is the arithmetic mean value with index i and si is the standard deviation with index i for the last No recorded sample values.
3. A method according to claim 1, characterized in that the dimensionless comparison figure Ti is calculated according to Ti = I (SliMli) /sli I , where Sli is the natural logarithm of the current sample with index i, Mli is the arithmetic mean value with index i and sli is the standard deviation with index i for the logarithms of the last No sample values.
4. A method according to any of claims 1 to 3 , characterized in that the dimensionless comparison figure Ti is limited by an upper limit value Tx according to T min (Ti, Tx) .
5. A method according to any of claims 1 to 4 , characterized in that a running mean value Tmi is formed from the last number N of dimensional comparison figures Ti and that this running mean value Tmi s used as a dimensionless comparison figure.
6. A method according to claim 5, characterized in that the number N is chosen so as to correspond to a time between 3 and 20 milliseconds.
7. A method according to any of claims 1 to 6, characterized in that the number of NQ lies between 3 and 30.
8. A method according to any of claims 1 to 7, characterized in that the sampling frequency of the signal envelope lies between 0.1 and 100 kHz.
Description:
Method for monitoring of tap chanσers by acoustic analysis

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to a method for monitoring of an on-load tap changer of a power transformer or a reactor by- evaluating the sound generated by the tap changer during the connection operation.

BACKGROUND ART, THE PROBLEM

Voltage control of power transformers and inductance control of reactors used during electric power transmission are normally carried out with the aid of an on-load tap changer which makes it possible to change between different terminals of a winding. This is to be done under loading, and for that reason the tap changer must be capable of handling both the voltage difference between the terminals and the current through the winding. To reduce the intensity of the unavoid- able arcs which arise during the connection operation, usually also resistors are connected during the connection operation. Depending on the location of the power transformer or the reactor in the electric network, the number of connection operations of a tap changer during the technical life of the transformer or the reactor may amount to several hundred thousand. A tap changer has a complicated mechanical structure which, in combination with the great number of use cycles under mechanical loading, makes the tap changer one of the most exposed components of a power transformer or a reactor.

The tap changer is exposed to wear by mechanical abrasion and arcs. This can manifest itself in a slow and gradual change of the performance of the tap changer; for example, the connec¬ tion time may change because of changes in the dimensions and mutual distances of components included, such as contacts and other movable parts. The change process may at a certain stage

accelerate and lead to the tap changer being incapable of functioning. This may, among other things, cause costly power failures.

To prevent functional incapability of a tap changer, the tap changer is checked. One way of doing this is an inspection of the tap changer, which requires opening of the transformer/reactor. This causes a lengthy service interrupt¬ ion. This is therefore carried out as seldom as possible, with an ensuing risk that a significant deterioration may occur before the next inspection.

It is. known to continuously monitor the temperature of com¬ ponents of the tap changer, where the wear leads to an in- creased temperature, for example in contacts which will have increased contact resistance because of carbon deposits originating from arcs in the transformer oil. An increased temperature is then a warning and alarm signal which gives cause to inspection of the tap changer. However, significant heating only occurs in some of the change processes of a tap changer, and then only after an advanced ageing process.

Another known method is to continuously monitor the power consumption of the electric motor which drives the mechanics of the tap changer. Wear processes which manifest themselves in increased friction lead to an increased power consumption during the connection operation which can then be used as a warning or alarm signal. As in the case of temperature monitoring, this monitoring is limited to only some of the possible wear processes.

The connection operation generates sound which may be analyzed with respect to changes in the tap changer. Changed distances, changed friction etc., as a consequence of wear, influence the sound from the connection operation. In JP A 6-13248 a technique is described whereby the sound from a connection

operation, which is divided into a number of sound pulses related to part-processes, is analyzed with respect to time differences between the beginning of these pulses. If one or more of these time differences deviate too much from values determined in advanced, a warning or alarm signal is released. US 4159446 describes a system for detecting, by analog signal processing of a signal envelope from a connection operation, incorrectly adjusted contacts by analysis of the signal envelope, preferably by a skilled person, with respect to time differences between signal peaks in the signal envelope. With the methods described in JP A 6-13248 and in US 4159446, there is a risk that not all changes in the tap changer manifest themselves in changed time differences between the sound pulses and that only heavy wear results in significant changes of these time differences.

A complete analysis of all sound from a tap changer at the time of each connection requires such calculating and memory resources that it is not practically feasible.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A method according to the invention solves the problem of using the sound generated by a tap changer during the connection operation for a continuous monitoring which detects gradual slow changes and rapid changes in the sound picture, which are related to the status of the tap changer without requiring the resources which would be needed for a complete sound analysis.

When initiating a connection operation of the tap changer, a trigger signal is given which starts the recording of the sound as an electrical signal, referred to in the following as a sound signal. The sound signal is rectified, converted into a signal envelope and sampled with a relatively low sampling frequency, typically 0.1 - 100 kHz. The signal envelope con-

tains the information necessary for monitoring the status of the tap changer within a data set which can be handled. The signal envelope is permanently updated and is compared both with an envelope which is continuously adapted to the sound 5 signal and with a fixed reference envelope, which may be the envelope for the sound signal upon delivery or after an in¬ spection of the tap changer. The comparison is made selecti¬ vely at each sample point by forming a dimensionless compari¬ son figure, which is based on quantity measure and variation i-■ measure which are related to some suitable statistical dis¬ tribution. If the comparison figure, for one or more sample points, exceeds a predetermined value, this leads to alarm or warning.

15 The conversion of the sampled and rectified sound signal into a signal envelope preferably takes place in an analog circuit and thus requires no additional calculating capacity. The envelope generation may be mathematically simply described as adding an exponentially decreasing "tail" to each sampled and

20 rectified mean value and then replacing the measured value by the maximum of the measured value and all the preceding "tails". The advantage of this exponential envelope compared with other weight functions, for example a running mean over a number of measured values, is that it retains the flank of

25 steep signal changes, which is important for the characteri¬ zation of the signal.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

30 Figure 1 shows a typical sound signal from a connection operation of an on-load tap changer.

Figure 2 shows the sound signal from Figure 1 after rectifi¬ cation and envelope formation. 35

Figure 3 shows a flow diagram for a method according to the inventio .

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Figure 1 shows a typical sound signal from a connection opera¬ tion of a tap changer. It is a very unstable signal where a few major amplitude peaks can be distinguished. Figure 2 shows the same signal after rectification and envelope formation with a 10 ms time constant of the exponentially decreasing

"tail". It is seen that sudden amplitude changes in the ori¬ ginal signal appear very clearly as upwardly moving steps of the envelope.

A flow diagram for a method according to the invention is shown in Figure 3. The first steps in the signal processing are rectification, the envelope formation already described above, and the removal of a possible offset in the signal.

For each sample number, i, of the envelope, counting from the start of the signal recording which is triggered during each connection operation, an arithmetic mean value i and a standard deviation si are calculated for the last No recorded sample points with index i, where i means sample number counting from the start of the signal collection during a connection operation. o is selected according to experience, a typical number being 10. If there are less than o signal envelopes, statistics is built up until No connection opera¬ tions have occurred; then the calculation is advanced one step after each connection operation, and the last envelope is included and the envelope which is No+1 steps back in time is excluded. In this way, Mi and si are constantly updated and as running arithmetic mean value and standard deviation they characterize the typical appearance of the signal envelopes at the relevant time. The updating preferably occurs with a re¬ cursive algorithm which entails few calculation operations for

each step. Then there is formed, for each sample point with index i, a dimensionless comparison figure Ti = | (Si-M ) /si | which is the deviation of the current sample value Si with index i from the mean value Mi with index i, normalized with the standard deviation si with index i.

Instead of a standard deviation and an arithmetic mean value, which are related to the normal distribution, corresponding statistical parameters related to other distributions may be calculated to obtain a comparison figure, for example the mean value Mli and the standard deviation sli of the natural loga¬ rithms of the sample values, which logarithms are related to the logarithmic normal distribution. In that case, also the current sample value Si is replaced by its natural logarithm Sli = ln(Si) .

It is suitable to redefine Ti as Ti = min (T x ,Ti), where T x is an experience value, to reduce the influence of individual extreme sample values which may relate to temporary distur- bances during the measurement. Typical values for T x when using an arithmetic mean value are T x = 5 ... 10. An addi¬ tional measure for reducing the influence of occasional very deviating sample values is to not choose Ti directly as a comparison figure; instead the running mean value T i of the Nt last Ti is used, where N is chosen so as to correspond to 5 - 10 ms.

If at least one Tmi f° the current connection operation ex¬ ceeds a predetermined value, for example within the range 4 - 5 starting from the arithmetic mean value when calculating Ti, an alarm signal is supplied. The signal envelope has then changed significantly during this connection operation, which is a sign that a da_nage may have arisen in the tap changer.

An alarm is released, as described above, at a sudden change of the sound signal envelope from a connection operation. In

addition to sudden changes, for example when some structural part loosens, which results in an alarm, a gradual change of the sound signal envelope also occurs. It may be related to a corresponding gradual change of the tap changer, for example mutual distance changes through wear. Such gradual changes are detected by continuously comparing the updated mean signal envelope with a reference signal envelope, which may, for example, be taken up when putting the tap changer into service or after an inspection and any repair thereof. This is done, for example, by using the same calculations as during an alarm by replacing the sample Si of the signal envelope by a reference mean value Mri for each index i. If at least one corresponding Tmi exceeds a predetermined value, for example the same as during an alarm, a warning signal is given, which is a sign that a significant gradual change of the status of the tap changer may have occurred.

Instead of distinguishing between alarm and not alarm and warning and not warning, respectively, both alarm and warning may be graded, depending on the magnitude of Ti. For example, an alarm or a warning at a highest level may provide a reason for putting the tap changer immediately out of service and immediately opening the power transformer/reactor, whereas an alarm or a warning at a lowest level becomes one indication among others for judging a suitable time for planned mainte¬ nance of the tap changer.