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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-01-2006, 10:24 PM Thread Starter
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Huge Electrical Arc Vid

Here's the link :

http://205.243.100.155/frames/mpg/500kV_Switch.mpg

And some info on the video:

This is a 3 phase 500KV motor operated disconnect that is NOT intended to be opened under load. There is a switcher that is designed to open under load in the circuit and then the disconnect opens. In this case, one phase of the switcher failed to open, resulting in one phase of the disconnect opening under load. The resulting arc was truly spectacular. The reason that this event was caught on camera is because this particular switcher had failed to open in the past so every time the switcher was opened, a camera has been set up. This time they got the failure on tape.
Bert Hickman at www.teslamania.com supplied the following description of the events: This is NEW the record holder for the world's biggest Jacob's Ladder!

This video clip was captured at the 500 kV Eldorado substation near Boulder City, Nevada by power company engineers and maintenance staff. It shows a three-phase air disconnect switcher attempting to open the high voltage being supplied from a 94 mile long section of transmission line to a large three phase shunt line reactor. The line reactor is the huge transformer-like object behind the truck at the far right at the end of the clip. Line reactors are large iron core coils which are used to compensate for the effects of line capacitance on long extra high voltage (EHV) transmission lines. Internally, each phase of the reactor is connected through a large coil to ground. Each coil within the reactor can provide 33.3 Million Volt Amperes of compensating inductive reactance (MVAR) at 290 kV between each phase to ground . The power company had previously encountered difficulty interrupting one of the three phases when trying to disconnect the line reactor. Their power engineers set up a special test so that they could videotape a switching event, and they made arrangements to "kill" the experiment, if necessary, by manually tripping upstream circuit breakers.

This particular switcher uses gas filled switching elements, called "gas puffer" interrupters. These are located just to the right of the rotary air break switches. The actual switching elements of these interrupters are hidden inside the gray horizontal insulators (bushings). The switching elements are housed within sealed "bottles" filled with a special insulating gas (sulfur hexafluoride, SF6) under high pressure. SF6 helps to rapidly extinguish the arc that's created when the high voltage circuit is broken. During normal operation, the switcher will first open the SF6 interrupters which disconnects the HV circuit so that the air break switches can open with no current flowing. Once the air break switches completely rotate to the "open" position, the SF6 interrupters then reclose. Normally, this sequence insures that the air break switches operate de-energized and arc free.

These gas puffer interrupters use two SF6 bottles that are connected in series, since it takes two switches to withstand the high voltage stress. In this video, one of the pairs of SF6 interrupters is defective and it fails to open. This places the entire voltage stress across the remaining good interrupter. As the good one valiantly tries to open the inductive load, it creates a high voltage surge that causes the bushing of the good interrupter to flash over. The initial flashover can be seen arcing across the horizontal interrupter bushing at the very beginning of the video clip. Since the affected phase remains energized (through the flashover arc), the air break switch begins to open "hot" (still energized). It continues arcing as the switch rotates 90 degrees to the fully "open" position. Once the air break switch reaches the fully open position, the SF6 interrupters then reclose. Although this extinguishes the horizontal arc across the good interrupter's bushing, the arc across the air break switch persists, continuing to grow and creating a potentially dangerous situation.

The arc stretches upward, driven by rising hot gases and writhing from small air currents, until it easily exceeds 100 feet in length. Switching arcs usually terminate long before reaching this size since they normally flash over to an adjacent phase or to ground. Once this happens, the phase-to-phase fault current will cause an upstream circuit breaker to trip, disconnecting the circuits. A phase-to-phase arc can be seen at the very end of the previous 230 kV air break switch video, just before the resulting short circuit trips an upstream Oil Circuit Breaker (OCB). Since this 500 kV arc was in open air and was sufficiently removed from adjacent phases, it could have persisted for quite some time. To avoid risking further damage to their equipment, the utility manually commanded an upstream circuit breaker to open, abruptly extinguishing the arc. After this event, it was determined that both SF6 switch bottles in the affected phase had sustained permanent damage. The bottles were sent back to the manufacturer for analysis to determine the root cause of the problem. Loss of pressurized insulating SF6 gas inside one of the interrupter bottles is suspected as the root cause of the switching failure.

As impressive as this huge arc may be, the air break switch was really NOT disconnecting a real load. This arc was "only" carrying the relatively low (about 100 amps) magnetizing current associated with the line reactor. The transmission line associated with the above circuit normally carries over 1,000 megawatts (MW) of power between Boulder City, Nevada (from the generators at Hoover Dam) to the Lugo substation near Los Angeles, California. A break under load conditions (~2,000 amps) would have created a MUCH hotter and extremely destructive arc. Imagine a fat, blindingly blue-white, 100 foot long welding arc that vaporizes the contacts on the air break switch and then works its way back along the feeders, vaporizing them along the way. Still, you've got to admit that this "little" 33 MVAR arc is certainly an awesome sight!
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-02-2006, 08:10 AM
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Wow.....LOL. Did you hear te guy at the end of the vid ???????
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-02-2006, 08:41 AM
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I bet that will supply adequate power to your 4x1000 rms amp :
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-02-2006, 12:16 PM
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re-post, but still freakin cool.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-03-2006, 10:20 AM
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oooooo ahhhhhhh. wait so thats why my power went out......
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-03-2006, 03:00 PM
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EEs have all the fun!

Electrical engineers have all the fun!

That's why it's my major!

Seriously, that was really dangerous, like the guy said, heaven forbid if it had a real load connected.

High voltage circuits are NEVER opened under load. Let's say you wanted to cut power to a substation, you would first have to disconnect the load from the lower voltage secondary side of the transformer, then and only then can you disconnect the high voltage primary side. (and, as you saw, we still need arc snuffing equipment!)

The higher the voltage, the more likely an arc is to form. The higher the current, the "fatter" the arc is, and the more destructive! Arcs in normal air form at about 1000V per centimeter, but once the arc is struck, the now ionized air actually CONDUCTS electricity instead of insulates and that allows arc length to go crazy as seen in the video.

The ionization is how lighting hits the ground, if the air didn't ionize, a bolt would never hit the ground.

If the circuit had had a load, the arc would have still been 500KV, but it would have been at a LOT more than 100A! The guy's calculations are right, arc current would have been around 2000A.

The equation P=IV: 2000A * 500000V = 1 GIGAWATT!

I think I'll stick to smaller, less dangerous circuits to design! My developing specialty is analog circuits, particuarly audio amps. I just love designing and bulding these things! I love to repair them too, but there's no money in that. Analog circuit designers aren't too common now, but they are still very much needed and WELL paid.

Perhaps the all the freakin calculus homework I'm doing is worth it!
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-03-2006, 03:42 PM
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yikes
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-03-2006, 07:53 PM
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Damn! That happened in the backyard of our old house in Ohio. There was a storm and a heavy tree limb fell on the line near the transformer and I can only explain it as large electrical explosions. Nothing nearly as big as that but enough to light up the yard real bright at around midnight lol. Sure was a scary moment. I believe we ended up with 3 power company trucks there and a police car or 2 there. Scary as hell, especially since our metal fence was directly below it! Anyways, good thing we moved to NY. LOL...

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-03-2006, 08:27 PM
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shit i saw a transformer blow up... wow look at all those preety colors.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-03-2006, 11:03 PM
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Mmmm, maybe they've found the answer to ozone depletion ...

Last edited by D76G12; 04-04-2006 at 12:21 AM.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-03-2006, 11:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D76G12
Mmmm, maybe they've found the answer to ozone depletion ...

Actually, striking an arc in an atmosphere of oxygen (O2) creates Ozone, or O3.

The problem is, that the Ozone that is created never makes it up into the upper atmosphere and is quickly degraded back into normal O2.

And those Ozone machines, they can actually be bad for you, search google.
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-04-2006, 12:16 AM
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I know all that - hence the smiley. ;) *changes smiley to biggrin*
And even if it didn't work that way that puny little arc is nothing compared to ONE lightning strike.




I still can't get over the room air purifier guys who try to make us think ozone is a good thing ... :mad:

Last edited by D76G12; 04-04-2006 at 12:22 AM.
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-04-2006, 07:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D76G12
I know all that - hence the smiley. ;) *changes smiley to biggrin*
And even if it didn't work that way that puny little arc is nothing compared to ONE lightning strike.




I still can't get over the room air purifier guys who try to make us think ozone is a good thing ... :mad:

Sorry for the hijack, but this is too good!


I have a funny story about a VERY computer illiterate person who swore by Ozone and other new age crap:

I hate those Ozone machines, there was one in a customer's house, it made my nose burn and actually made my allergy symptoms worse. Ozone irritates the nasal passages and any other airways and as a nice bonus, it accelerates rusting of metals. Humans don't rust per say, but free radicals do result from oxidization!

She spends all this cash on antioxidants and other vitamins while at the same time, by ozinating her house to the point the ozone is unpleasant, she is actually encouraging oxidization. Smart huh?

OK, back to the story: I was over at this lady's house fixing a really bad case of spyware. She also asked me to check out the CDROM drive on her new Dell, she said sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. The problem turned out to be that sometime she put the CD in upside down! She tried to put a ZIP disk in her CDROM drive, and when that didn't work, she tried a floppy!

I showed her where the floppy went and that CDs and ONLY CDs went in the CD drive and I showed her how to put them in. She then asked where the zip disks went. My reply was simple: NOWHERE! Your new PC doesn't have a zip drive!

After 3 hours of removing spyware and 30 minutes explaining over and over where disks went and how to inset and eject them, my fee was a mere $75, she about flipped her lid when I told her the cost!

My mom knows her from church, and she told me to give the old lady a break, I did, 75 bucks for 3.5 hours of in home service is CHEAP!

OK, so this lady spends $1000 on a stupid "Living Air" Ozone generator, but she bitches about 75 bucks for 3.5 HOURS of in home service! WTF?!?!


After she paid, she tried to sell me some new "miracle vitamins" for, you guessed it, $75 a bottle!

She still calls though, she found out $75 for 3.5 hours was lot better than the average cost for other guys, $75 per hour. Oh yeah, I dread every time she calls.... Every time I go there she asks me how I am feeling. I NEVER tell the truth, because if I do, she's got the "miracle cure"!


Side note: Thank god she got a Dell, I refuse to sell her a PC, she is tech support's WORST NIGHTMARE!

BTW: The scheduled updates, spyware & virus scans and the scheduled norton speed disk I set up seem to be doing their job, no calls from her in 6 months!
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-16-2006, 02:00 AM
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you must realy hate her, you allowed norton anything to be on there
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