Canadian Electrical Industry News Week

Jan 10, 2021

FlukeBy Justin Sheard

Infrared thermal cameras are a great additional to a preventive maintenance program. They’re easy to use and can help you find where issues are within your electrical system. Thermal cameras often have a point-and-shoot design with the IR image displayed on a screen on the back of the camera. Other cameras offer a more camera-style design that often has an articulating camera lens so you can point it exactly where you need to scan.

Choosing a camera with the right features for your needs can help make sure your preventive maintenance program works smoothly. Some cameras, like the Fluke Ti401 PRO thermal camera, offer a combination view where you can increase or decrease the intensity of the thermal image overlaid on the visible image.

Diagnosing issues

Infrared cameras can capture thermal information without touching the target, making them a good choice for inspecting the integrity of electrical systems from a safe distance to diagnose

• unbalanced loads
• possible harmonics issues
• overloaded systems with excessive current
• loose or corroded connections that cause increased resistance in the circuit
• winding insulation failure in electric motors
• component failure
• wiring mistakes
• underspecified components

When performing thermal scans, it’s important to keep a few things in mind: what you’re scanning, what a thermal camera can see, and load requirements. An electrical system can have hundreds of different pieces of equipment. Starting with the utility electricity production, high voltage distribution, switchyards, and substations flowing through the end with service transformers, breakers, meters, switchgear, and appliance panels. Using a thermal infrared camera to help with maintenance can help pinpoint where an issue is within an electrical system.

Inside electrical cabinets

Infrared cameras cannot see through electrical cabinets, or around solid metal. Whenever possible either open enclosures or install IR windows throughout your facility. IR windows are permanently installed into panels or cabinet doors to allow for a thermal camera to screen inside without needing to open the door.

If you are unable to open the cabinets or panels during a preventive maintenance walkthrough, make sure to note any doors with abnormally high temperatures on the outside surface of the enclosure. When that temperature is raised, it’s usually higher, much higher, on the inside of that encloser. Circle back with proper personal protective equipment (PPE) and investigate further in those cases.

Load requirements

When walking through your facility making thermal scans, it’s important that the systems you’re checking are under load. Complete your inspections at peak loads, worst case scenarios, or when the load is at least at 40%, as NFPA 70B suggests.

The heat generated by loose connections or overloaded circuits rises as the load does; the higher the load, the easier it will be to spot the problems. And don’t forget to take into account any cooling effects of wind, air conditioning, or other air movement.

Fluke

Take thermal scans of the inside of cabinets or panels with IR windows.

 

Common issues thermal cameras can spot

Additional heat can be the first sign of an issue in an electrical system. Thermal cameras allow you to catch those temperature spikes before they wreak havoc, as long as you know what you’re looking for in a thermal scan.

When current flows through a circuit, part of the energy is converted into heat; this is normal. But when there is abnormally high resistance or current flow, the amount of heat generated is above and beyond the normal amount. Not only is this wasteful, but it’s also potentially damaging to assets.

Thermal cameras enable you to see the heat signatures that come along with high electrical resistance long before the circuit heats up enough to cause an outage or explosion. There are two basic thermal patterns related to electrical failure. Look for a high resistance caused by poor surface contact, or an overloaded circuit or multi-phase imbalance problem.

Poor surface contact

A switch or connector contact that isn’t secure may be producing additional heat to get enough current flowing through. Thermal imaging can catch when those connections are heating beyond the normal so you can make sure they’re fixed before damage is caused. Be aware that the point of heading may be very small in these kinds of situations, sometimes less than 1/16" when the problem first begins.

Conducting regular preventive maintenance routes and scanning the connections throughout a facility is important to catch a heating issue early. Some of those problems may show up quickly and need immediate attention. If left with additional heat for too long, the plug or switch can sustain damage, or the asset itself may be damaged.


Overloaded circuit

Overloaded circuits are another common problem to watch out for, whether it’s a total panel overloading and requiring immediate attention, or even circuit breakers overheating showing that the entire electrical system needs to be redone. Using a thermal camera, you can pinpoint the different temperatures above ambient across a panel. Even if the wires appear blue in an infrared scan, they may still be above room temperature, which shows a problem that should be investigated.

As with contact issues, an overloaded circuit can be a smaller piece of a scan. If you’re looking at one line of a controller that is hotter than the others, you’ll know there’s something wrong that needs further investigation. Doing regular thermal scans, not only to look for hot spots, but to compare the thermal images over time, can help you catch these kinds of issues before they seriously impact the asset or utility bills.

Justin Sheard is a Senior Engineer and Application Specialist with the Fluke Industrial Imaging Group. He has more than 20 years of experience designing handheld electronic products; www.fluke.com.

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www.liteline.com

 

 

 

 


 

Canadian Electrical Contractor Discussion Group: Can You Count the Deficiencies?

EIN CECD 400Have you ever been called to fix the work of a 'handyman'?

"Was supposedly done by a"certified ' electrician....told the homeowner that he got a $266 permit....no record at TSBC. Can you count the deficiencies?"

"There is a second panel change in the triplex also.......even more deficiencies. Think the guy was a glorified handyman. Ones not obvious: 240 BB heat hooked up 120....drier on 2p20....range on 2p50....water heater fed with 2c14 Bx on 2p15."

Go HERE to join the discussion

 


 

Surgelogic RecallProduct: Surgelogic™ NQ SurgeLoc™ Surge Protection Device.

Issue: The Surgeloc Surge Protection Device can experience an arc event, which can result in a fire hazard.

What to do: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled surge protection devices and contact Schneider Electric for instructions on receiving a free equivalent replacement surge protector.

 

 

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Terry BeckerBy Terry Becker, P.Eng., CESCP, IEEE Senior Member

The electric shock hazard has been neglected.  Journeyman Electricians have accepted been shocked as part of the job, a “right” of passage, a badge of honour. 

This has not been acceptable and Journeyman Electricians may not be aware of the long term sequela health effects of receiving multiple low voltage electrical shocks and how it may have impacted them.  With respect to treatment there is only a single formal recognized treatment centre in Canada, the St Johns Rehab Centre. Electrical Injury Program.

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EIN Code Quiz 2Take this opportunity to test your knowledge of the Canadian Electrical Code - Part 1. Here are two questions on essential electrical systems: health care. 

You'll find the answers in EIN articles written by our code experts — mainly Bill Burr and Terry Becker — and of course in your own best practices. Answers will be posted on our website in a few days and published in our next issue. Good luck and share your results with our Facebook group: Canadian Electrical Contractor Discussions.

 

 

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Extech Non-Contact High Voltage DetectorFLIR Systems has announced the availability of the Extech DV690 its first non-contact high voltage detector with a detection range of up to 69,000 volts (69 kV). The industrial-grade DV690 provides early warning alerts of energized electrical components for utility lineworkers, telecommunications installers, first responders, search and rescue teams, and tree removal services.

The DV690 features five flexible mounting options: handheld, around the neck, clipped to a belt, strapped to an arm, or attached to a universal spline hot stick. The three handsfree possibilities allow the most optimal operation to efficiently and carefully complete a job. Using a hot stick creates a safer distance to target, extending operator reach.

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Its compact size allows you to take this site light on and off the jobsite effortlessly and its 4-1/4" metal hanging hook allows you to easily hang the light overhead. The durable light is equipped with a high impact polycarbonate lens to withstand harsh jobsite abuse. The LEDs never need to be replaced and are backed by a limited lifetime warranty. 

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Panel PC1200With the Panel PC 1200, B&R introduces a compact and cost-effective all-in-one PC. Equipped with the latest Intel Atom processors and up to 256 GB of mass storage, the Panel PC 1200 is ideal for running HMI applications under Windows or Linux operating systems.

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EIN Green 100 400

By Blake Marchand

This past December Jennifer Green was honoured with Canada’s Most Powerful Women Top 100 Award for the Skilled Trades category by WXN (Women’s Executive Network).

“It is truly an honour to be recognized by WXN and to be among this group of amazing women,” said Green of earning the distinction. “Throughout my career, I’ve worked with many great mentors and team members – to them, I say thank you for always inspiring me. I am absolutely thrilled.” Green is an industrial mechanic millwright by trade and works with Skills Ontario as Director of Competitions and Young Women’s Initiatives. 

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Jo Istanbul Four Seasons ABy Owen Hurst

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EIN sat down with Osawe to learn more about WiRE and the substantial benefits it provides. Joanna is very personable and open regarding her career and her ambition, as well as the opportunities she is developing for women nationally and globally. 

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Stephanie SmithBy Blake Marchand

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