SWER Lines

In rural distribution of electricity, Single Wire Earth Return (SWER) is used to reduce the cost of wiring by running a single wire for the active and using the Ground (Earth) as the return path. Because these lines run for long distances through sparsely populated regions it isn’t as likely that a fault will be detected or that obvious preventative maintenance issues will be easily seen.

Which is one reason event like the Black Saturday fires can get out of control. No-one knows a fault has occurred until the fire is well established.

And example of a failing insulator leading to a pole top fire.

SWER Line Monitoring

This is why the Victorian Government is keen to find new ways to prevent bush fire events and a new technology developed in Melbourne is leading the way in making this happen. We can share some of this with you because we were engaged to do the primary development work for the product and it is now publicly available information.

IND Technology are a start-up out of RMIT University commercialising a PhD project. It uses very high speed sampling of electrostatic signals on the power lines (250Msps) and using mathematics and atomic clock synchronisation, courtesy of the GPS satellite network, can then determine the location of a fault. Recent detection of the sort of event that could have lead to a bush fire has shown the potential of the product.

EVFD Mid Span Conductor Snap Detected

EVFD Mid Span Conductor Snap Detected

Above shows a single strand of an overhead SWER power line has snapped mid span. Because of the elevated voltages, the sharp end points generate corona discharges and the cable slowly deteriorates until it severs and falls to the ground where it can start a fire.

This is detected by the IND Technology EVFD devices which, in this instance, were solar powered and pole mounted approximately 5km apart.

EVFD Wood pole installation

EVFD Wood pole installation

The detection of a fault like this is a world first and an example of the potential of the technology which can also detect failing insulators, partial discharge and even tree branches rubbing against overhead wires on windy days.

#9News

A world-first trial of technology that detects electrical faults before they cause bushfires has had a breakthrough south of Ballarat.#9News | http://9News.com.au

Posted by 9 News Western Victoria on Wednesday, July 11, 2018

High Technology IoT

And this is a great example of a product that is a very high technology IoT device using the Internet as the communications medium for delivering the data back to the central web services that do the correlations. And it is Designed in Australia, and Made in Australia.

The development of this version of the product was awarded the IoT Innovation Award 2018 for Australia at the recent IoT Impact event at UTS in Sydney.

IoT Innovation Award 2018

IoT Innovation Award 2018

News Resources

potentially disastrous fire prevented by new power line technology

EVFD Pictures

IND Technology SWER Unit

IND Technology SWER Unit

SWER line fraying

SWER line fraying

 

Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development, focusing on products that are intended to be Made In AustraliaRay Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for more than 30 years. This post is Copyright © 2018 Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd.