Title: How Vacuum Interrupters Work and How They Fail

9:30AM - 10:15AM
Presenter: Finley Ledbetter, Group CBS, Inc.

Abstract - Since their introduction into the power interruption market in the 1970’s, vacuum interrupters have become smaller while the range of current and voltage ratings they cover has expanded as materials and designs have improved. Despite all of the design changes, the same basic designs and principles govern the functioning of these devices.

Vacuum interrupters have long been recognized for their reliability; a quality designed and manufactured vacuum interrupter will usually last decades if operated and maintained within the parameters designated by the manufacturer. However, vacuum interrupters sometimes fail by: loss of vacuum, envelope insulation failure, or premature contact wear out. This paper will describe the basic designs and principles of how vacuum interrupters work, improvements that have been made over time, as well as conditions which can bring about failures.


Title: Commissioning of Plant Electrical System Using Distributed Testing

10:30AM - 11:15AM
Presenter: Randall Sagan, MBUSI Mose Ramieh III, PGTI, a CE Power Company & Will Knapek, OMICRON electronics Corp. USA

Abstract - This paper discusses in detail the commissioning of a communication-assisted protection and control scheme for a plant expansion project. The project included new systems utilizing functionality that could not be tested with conventional element testing techniques. Component function and application testing is the most widely accepted method for testing traditional protection schemes. This ensures that the protection system and each of its components will operate as designed under all system conditions. However, the complex protection schemes utilizing multifunctional devices and communication networks used in this project required “distributed testing” techniques for commissioning. The communication-assisted protection and control schemes tested during this process were:

- Line differential protection
- Arc-flash detection and tripping
- Fast-bus tripping protection
- Breaker failure backup protection
- IED failure backup protection

This paper defines the concepts of the communication-assisted protection and control scheme and the testing techniques used during the commissioning process. System configuration and test equipment requirements along with the monitoring and reporting of the tests performed are discussed. Solutions for testing the individual devices as well as for the distributed applications are described in detail.


Title: Primary Current Injection Testing: Then and Now

11:30AM - 12:15PM
Presenter: Robert Probst, Megger

Abstract - Primary Current Injection is a routine test performed on Circuit Breakers in low voltage installations. It is the only test technique able to verify with certainty both the condition and the proper functionality of a low voltage circuit breaker and its components. Depending on the type of trip unit, a typical primary test sequence can consist of up to four individual high current tests to check various points of the circuit breaker’s time-current-curve; a) a long-time test, b) an instantaneous test, c) a short-time delay test, and d) a ground fault test.

Performing a primary current injection test is often very time intensive, and because most primary test instruments still follow a traditional design, testing usually requires skilled personnel who understand the tests to be carried out, the object under test, as well as know how to operate the test instrument. Common problems in the field include: selecting appropriate trip settings, availability of time-current-curves, identifying the correct curve, test objects being heated up due to frequent output current adjustments, waiting periods before proceeding to the next circuit breaker pole, and interpreting the test results. Comparing measurements to actual pass/fail limits, and creating a test report afterwards are the most time-consuming tasks.

This paper demonstrates how low voltage circuit breaker testing can be carried out as a fast and automated process using sophisticated solid state technology and a user-interactive interface to address the above listed issues. The paper then provides recommendations to other challenges such as the availability of input power and its effect on desired output current, size and weight of the test instrument when working in confined spaces, and how to test high impedance test objects. Additionally, it will highlight the value of computer-aided comparisons between actual measurements and digitized curves to analyze and evaluate the test results.


Title: How to Choose the Right Power Monitoring Tools

2:15PM - 3:00PM
Presenter: Ross Ignall, Dranetz Technologies

Abstract - So, you need to measure the power - all you have to do is find a power monitor, hook it up and you’re done, right? Wrong - that’s a common mistake that could cost you a lot of time and money! Power monitoring can range from simple V & I measurements, to power & energy consumption, to complex power quality surveys and anything in between. The actual application will dictate the appropriate monitoring tools required, transducers, duration and techniques used. A little bit of guidance will go a long way towards getting it done right the first time!

This interactive session will compare and contrast the various types of power monitoring applications, what they have in common, and more importantly, the differences between them that make their requirements unique. We’ll discuss the appropriate monitoring tools for each major application, standards, and some tips to get you started on the right path. We’ll also touch on the latest technologies available in the power monitoring industry.


Title: Making Reliability Lean & Mean

3:15PM - 4:00PM
Presenter: David McGuire

Abstract - If times get tough…the tough get going. If the recent decade has not presented you or your company with some tough economic times, then you are blessed and highly favored. For the rest of us faced with maintaining a high reliability standard to ensure a competitive bottom line for our company the following information should be helpful in getting the most out of your electric maintenance budget.


  • Electric motor fundamentals
  • The trifecta of electric motor maintenance
  • Fault Zone Analysis of electric motors
  • Reliability after the retirement boom
  • Monitor motors, focus on faults

Title: Grounding Fundamentals That Help Avoid Electrical Disasters

4:15PM - 5:00PM
Presenter: David Brender, Copper Development Association

Abstract - Data centers, 9-1-1 and broadcast facilities and other sensitive facilities have both unique and universal powering, grounding and bonding requirements, often overlooked, and not understood by most designers and contactors. The primary focus of this presentation is to recommend wiring and grounding techniques and practices that should be part of the design of new or renovated structures, and to examine in particular several case studies of actual data center some of the topics we will discuss include: the cause of power quality problems and cost-effective solutions; the limitations of the National Electrical Code grounding; what’s required and what’s desired; ground resistance, ground loops; general wiring practice, separating sensitive loads; surge suppression; grounding systems; and other topics.

Here is Ron Widup, Conference Chair,
with PowerTest 2017 details!