How to Quickly Locate Partial Discharge (PD) Using an Acoustic Camera


For many years utility companies have been performing partial discharge (PD) measurements on high-voltage electric equipment. PD is an indicator of insulation deterioration that can lead to equipment failures or, even worse, a catastrophic incident. With traditional ultrasonic solutions, the systems can be large and cumbersome and the inspection reports usually need to be analyzed by an acoustic engineer. Given this, inspections can become less frequent, leaving equipment like motors, generators, switchgear and transformers vulnerable to PD related issues.





The Si124 helps speed up inspections by scanning large areas from a safe distance


Acoustic imaging, or the ability to see ultrasonic sound, has emerged as an effective method utility organizations use to locate the existence of partial discharge (PD). It enables professionals to conduct more frequent predictive maintenance routines, helping provide a crucial first warning of impending electrical failure that could lead to downtime of critical systems. The FLIR Si124 industrial acoustic imaging camera senses, displays, and records sound waves producing a precise acoustic image. The acoustic image is overlaid, in real time, onto a digital camera image all with an easy-to-use, ergonomic, one-handed camera solution that reduces inspection time by as much as 90%.


Quickly and safely locate partial discharge within a high-voltage electrical system


With the FLIR Si124, professionals can safely detect problems from up to 130 meters away and analyze discharge patterns. The camera classifies three partial discharge types: surface discharge, floating discharge, and corona. Software enables quick severity assessment of the issue and provides guidance on repair.

Image captures are quickly uploaded over Wi-Fi to the FLIR Acoustic Camera Viewer cloud service for the user to perform further in-depth analysis of the system generated PD patterns. Users can then create reports and easily share them with colleagues. FLIR Thermal Studio Pro—when paired with the Si124 plugin—can also provide complete analysis and reporting functionality thanks to advanced features such as the ability to combine thermal and acoustic analysis in the same report.


System quickly provides PD type classification and PD pattern for further analysis

The Si124 enables customers to perform more frequent inspections, helping utilities keep the power flowing.

For more information about the FLIR Si124 or to schedule a product demonstration visit:

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