Comparison of Low and High Frequency Partial Discharge Measurements on Stator Windings


  • Greg C Stone Qualitrol – Iris Power
  • Howard Sedding Qualitrol – Iris Power



Partial discharge (PD) testing has been used for over 60 years primarily as a method to assess condition of the stator winding insulation in motors and generators rated 6 kV and above. More recently it has also been used by some machine manufacturers as a means of assuring the quality of the insulation on single winding elements (coils and bars). Although both on-line and off-line tests mainly use a high voltage capacitor to detect the PD, the PD measuring systems in use work either in the low frequency (LF) regime (less than about 1 MHz) or in the very high frequency (VHF) (30-300 MHz) range. By reference to several international standards, published work as well as some experiments described in this contribution, the advantages and disadvantages of the two approaches are compared. Based on this work, it is now clear that off-line PD tests should be done in the LF range. For on-line tests, either method may be used, but use of the VHF method has become more widespread with machine end users, since the owners themselves can perform and interpret the results with a relatively low risk of false indications.


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