Electrical Cables and Accessories Testing 2

DC Overpotential Testing
 
In the past, this test has been extensively used for acceptance and
maintenance of cables. Recent studies of cable failures indicate that the DC overpotential test may be causing more damage to some cable insulation, such as cross-link polyethylene, than the benefit obtained from such testing. It can indicate the relative condition of the insulation at voltages above or near operating levels. This test can be used for identifi cation of weakness in the cable insulation and can also be used to break down an incipient fault. A typical DC test set is shown in Figure 1.1. Generally, it is not recommended that this test be used for breakdown of incipient faults even though some test engineers use it for this purpose. Therefore, the incipient fault breakdown probability should be anticipated before and during the hi-pot test. The impending cable failure will usually be indicated by sudden changes in the leakage current, and before insulation is damaged, the test can be stopped. The test voltage values for DC hi-pot tests are based upon fi nal factory test voltage, which is determined by the type and thickness of insulation, the size of conductors, the construction of cable, and applicable industry standards. The DC test values corresponding to AC factory proof test voltages specified by the industry standards are usually expressed in terms of the ratio of DC to AC voltage for each insulation system. This ratio is designated as K, which when multiplied by the acceptance test factor of 80% and maintenance factor of 60% yields the conversion factors to obtain the DC test voltages for hi-pot tests. These recommended test voltage conversion factors are shown in Table 1.1. Also, the IEEE standard 400.1–2007 lists the voltage values for conducting hi-pot acceptance and maintenance tests in the field for laminated shielded power cables, which are shown in Table 1.2.


Many factors should be considered in selecting the right voltage for existing cables that are in service. As a general rule, for existing cables, the highest values for maintenance should not exceed 60% of final factory test voltage,


 

Figure 1.1 
DC hi-pot test set, 70 kV. (Courtesy of Megger, Inc., Valley Forge, PA.) 

and the minimum test value should be not less than the DC equivalent of the AC operating voltage. If the cable cannot be disconnected from all the connected equipment, the test voltage should be reduced to the voltage level of the lowest rated equipment connected. The hi-pot test can be conducted as a step-voltage test as discussed next.

Table 1.1 Conversion Factors for DC Hi-Pot Tests


   
     
 Table 1.2
Field Test Voltages for Laminated Shielded Cables up to 69 kV System Voltage

  
Note: Voltages higher those listed, up to 80% of system BIL for installation and maintenance testing may be considered in consultation with the suppliers of cable and the accessories.
When equipment, such as transformers, motors, etc., is connected to the cable circuit undergoing a test, voltages lower than recommended values may be used to comply with the limitations imposed by the connected equipment. a Maintained for a duration of 15 min. 
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