These Switchgear testing tips will allow you to extend the lifespan of the switchgear and improve its reliability. Electrical contractors provide switchgear testing and commissioning.

The state of switchgear in a building can influence the safety of the building’s environment. Circuit breakers can experience problems that can cause unresolved arc flashes and arc faults that can cause damage to assets and cause injury to workers if they are not maintained and checked regularly.

How To Extend The Life Of Your Switchgear?

Switchgear Testing Tips - How To Extend The Life Of Your Switchgear?
  1. Test of Contact Timing

It’s used to evaluate the performance of contact of the circuit breaker against the specifications set by the manufacturer.

The contact actions that the circuit breaker performs are recorded in milliseconds or cycles, and then the results are compared with the specifications of the manufacturer to evaluate the breaker’s performance.

  1. Equipment Reconditioning

Reconditioning usually involves replacing damaged parts and upgrading components to increase the unit’s performance.

When the on-site maintenance cannot bring the circuit breaker to the tolerances specified by current guidelines, this method should be followed.

  1. Circuit breakers should be Exercised at least once per year.

Manually running circuit breakers at least once each year is an easy but effective practice. This allows the working mechanisms to function smoothly, as long as you keep the contact surfaces clean.

  1. Maintain accurate records and track performance trends.

Monitoring test results can give you a better understanding of the equipment’s lifespan and helps you concentrate your maintenance efforts on areas that require it most.

The components in the switchgear might be out of tolerance for design. However, they still operate for a considerable time. Monitoring test results provide you with more insight into the equipment’s expected lifespan and help you concentrate your maintenance efforts on areas that require it most.

  1. Utilize Predictive Maintenance Software

Online Monitoring systems are always in operation and can be beneficial in detecting problems that might not be noticed during a single inspection.

There are monitoring tools online that alert you to imminent failures.

  1. Analyze a short circuit and examine current timing coordination.

Circuit breaker Setting to be coordinated could stop switching equipment from interrupting faults that a downstream device could have prevented. The short circuit analysis is conducted if the switchgear has been properly tested. Also, the study on coordination may likely need to be revised.

Preventive maintenance will be contracted to ensure that care isn’t neglected and that a consistent job description is applied throughout the contract.

While working on switchgear testing, it’s also important to test for a circuit breaker. By following the tests mentioned below, you can easily test for a live main circuit breaker and confirm it is not tripped.

Various Tests For Circuit Breaker

We conduct a variety of routine tests of circuit breakers to ensure their efficiency and quality of the circuit breakers. 

Various Tests For Circuit Breaker - Promag Engg

We will review the most common tests for circuit breakers in the sections below.

  1. Test of Power Frequency and Voltage. 

It is similar to the dry withstand test for insulation.

The procedure is the same as those of dry and wet flashover tests.

The voltage applied to the insulation corresponds to what is specified in the power-frequency wet withstand voltage that is adjusted to the temperature of the room at the moment of the test.

As per L.S. 2071, the test voltage must remain at this level for a minute.

Two positive polarity flashovers and one flashover with negative polarity are permitted.

2) Test for Tightness

On the market, the market has Gas-insulated circuit breakers. The test of tightness is performed to assess the strength of gas-insulated breakers.

It is important to note that the gas utilized in the breakers is SF6, for your information.

3) Leakage Test

Leakage current indicates that the insulation around conductors isn’t working effectively. With the aid of a low current leakage clamp, and the capacity to analyze ordered measurements, you can identify the cause of the leakage current. If required, this allows the user to shift the load in an impartial method throughout the entire installation.

  4) Resistance measurement

If a circuit breaker is shut when a D.C. current is injected into its main contacts system, the voltage drop is recorded to determine the resistance. The condition of the conductors is evident through the resistance.

5) Visual inspections

Visual inspections are utilized to look for visible damage, corrosion, leakages of gas, air, hydraulics, or thermographic cameras that examine if the connections or the contact unit itself have any signs of abnormal heat, which may indicate that the contacts or links are damaged or worn out. Each year, inspections are conducted.

Check the data and language of the documents, the equipment’s identification mark, quality and color, and metal surfaces’ corrosion in addition to other aspects.

6) Test of mechanical operation 

It’s a test for mechanical abilities where the breaker is constantly closed and opened. A circuit breaker has to shut and open at the right speed and fulfill its job and function with no lapse.

In the case of rapid auto-closing features, it is necessary to use a circuit breaker. The purpose of the circuit breaker for this kind of application differs from its normal function. It is essential to test at least five open-close cycles to ensure circuit breakers auto-close. This is the process to determine the breaker’s closing and opening times:

  • Note down the amount of time each cycle is opened and closed.
  • Calculate the difference between the times you have measured and the ones you have rated.
  • To obtain the rated open-close period, you must modify the breaker mechanism.

Conclusion – Switchgear Testing Tips

The electrical equipment and distribution systems were never designed to run indefinitely on power without the owner’s intervention.

Good maintenance and care are vital to extending the life of your switchgear. These Switchgear testing tips will help you extend your lifespan and improve the dependability of your switchgear.