Powertech Labs has installed and commissioned a new resonant test set (RTS), with capabilities for producing AC voltage to conduct withstand tests on power system equipment up to 1600 kV.

The RTS will be used to perform dielectric withstand tests on transmission line insulators and hardware, instrument transformers, reclosers, circuit breakers, and other equipment before they enter service, as well as for troubleshooting equipment failures and for research.

Before going into service, power equipment is energized and subjected to withstand tests to make sure the equipment is safe for using in the power system. The tests involve application of an overvoltage as a safety factor. For example, instrument transformers operating at 285 kV are tested at 960 kV for a short time to ensure they can operate safely and reliably over their design lifetime.

The new RTS meets a key need as the industry moves to equipment that must be tested at higher voltages. Increasingly, standards require that power system equipment be tested at 960 kV. Powertech’s former RTS, which is 35 years old and capable of only 800 kV, could not be used for the full range of tests that are now necessary.

Significantly, in addition to higher voltages, the latest test set also offers higher current capacity and greater flexibility than its predecessor. With four reactors, it can be configured as 1600 kV, 5 amps; or 800 kV, 10 amps; or 400 kV, 20 amps. The lab’s former RTS could be run at only 800 kV, 3.2 amps or 400 kV, 6.4 amps.

Other advantages are that the new RTS is smaller in diameter and 30% lighter than the old RTS, so that it can be easily disassembled and transported for field testing.

Powertech’s High Voltage Lab is the largest test lab on the west coast of North America. It offers qualification and certification tests in accordance with all relevant industry standards as well as condition assessment, forensic analysis, expert witness, and research on all types of high-voltage power equipment.