Transformer Operating History
One of the most important transformer diagnostic tools is the operating history, including temperatures, overload history (especially through faults), relay operations, and nearby lightning strikes. Many times, a through fault or nearby lightning strike will generate acetylene or ethylene and other gases, and these will remain in future DGAs.
Through faults (i.e., where fault current passes through the windings) subject a transformer to severe electrical and mechanical stresses which can degrade insulation and mechanical strength. Likewise, close-in lightning strikes subject the transformer to stresses. Excessive heating caused by sustained overloads or loss of cooling will degrade insulation. The damage may not be immediately evident but can show up years later. Through faults, overload history, and temperatures should be in operations records, and a review of these is required when diagnosing a transformer problem.
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