Switchgear Testing: Why Should It Be Performed On a System?

Every component in your emergency or backup unit serves a very specific purpose in regards to electrical generation. Switchgear is any electrical disconnect used to isolate parts, de-energize gear, and clear current faults. A combination of fuses and breakers are used for this process in a home; however, larger power sources rely on breakers along with transfer switches. Testing of these components is very important to the reliable operation of your unit. Switchgear may be insulated by gas, air, or oil depending on various factors. Low voltage devices are able to reside in your building while those with higher voltages must be located directly outside or at a power substation. Breaker contacts are opened to break the arc facilitating flow to an electrical circuit. Oil devices use vaporization to send oil into the arc whereas gas forms make use of a magnetic field to cause stretching between the contacts. Compressed air swings contacts into a sealed chamber to in essence "blow out the arc" when air models are used. These components can eliminate a current fault fairly fast as long as switchgear testing and proper maintenance have been applied.

Breaker Testing: Common Devices Used During This Process

Breaker testing is one single portion of the switchgear evaluation process which can include various other types of evaluations. Tests are applied to either find an existing issue or to accomplish required maintenance on the unit. Your generator is more likely to kick on in the time of need if these procedures are completed on a set schedule by professionals. Switchgear may also include the transfer switch, interrupter circuits, controllers, and relay panels. Each should be evaluated to determine overall condition as well as current performance of a system. Specific testing devices are used to verify the unique functionality associated with each of these components.

A fault in any portion of generator switchgear directly affects the dependability of your secondary power system. These parts act as a mediator between incoming electricity and internal circuits. They are present for main power generation as well as when electricity is supplied by a backup generator. Breaker testing can involve many tools including a clamping ammeter, electromagnetic circuit finder, electrostatic wand, multimeter, and voltmeters. An ammeter helps technicians check for any type of current overload that might be causing your system to trip many consecutive times. These devices also help in determining if a short is present and can acquire a measurement of the electricity being sent to each circuit. An electromagnetic finder assists a technician in locating the associated circuit while volt sticks help technicians find hot wires. Multimeters measure voltage levels, continuity, and resistance levels regarding each circuit. Additional tests may be conducted to verify cable connections, relay calibration, wire performance, or polarity.

Prime Power professionals use multiple advanced switchgear testing practices to detect potential system problems. We can help in setting up a preventative maintenance schedule designed around the manufacturer specifications of your system. A well planned schedule ensures your power source will be ready for action any time it is needed.