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Preventing Utility Power Cable Outages by Early Detection and Diagnosis of RF Signatures

Ashley Harkness

A real scenario: A high voltage 15,000 Volt electrical cable suddenly faults interrupting power: a factory halts production; a city is darkened; or the failure starts a wildfire's storm of destruction. Sudden utility cable failures can be massively destructive events. Yet, an impending failure is typically internal to the cable, often hidden within metal enclosures, and unseen. However, there is one significant precursor that signals an impending failure: Radio frequency emissions. The detection and analysis of RF emissions from energized power cables can be used to diagnose and locate potential cable failures before an outage occurs. This allows for planning to make necessary repairs during a scheduled maintenance period. How this detection and analysis can be done is the subject of this presentation by Mr. Ashley Harkness, Jr. Mr. Harkness was the technical and field expert for partial discharge testing for over 25 years at electrical testing companies. His experience in the use of RF signatures for detecting, analyzing, and presentation of field data has saved many electrical systems from unscheduled outages. In this presentation, Mr. Harkness will show techniques to safety pinpoint potential failures sites using both simple spectrum analysis and other specialized software. The attendee will see a different application of EMC techniques that are not often discussed but have significant societal impact.

Speaker: Ashley Harkness, Electrical Reliability Services

Tuesday, 01/14/20


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775 Montague Expy
Milpitas, CA 95035