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New Tools Do Double Duty

Rural Electrification, May 2000

by John Lowrey

To raise productivity, linemen need to take advantage of new line-testing tools. Many also increase the margin of safety needed in a profession that doesn't give many second chances.

New demands are also placed on electric cooperatives to increase power quality and reduce outages. Linemen are often asked to investigate stray-voltage complaints, blinking light problems or other service problems that require power quality detective tools.

Non-visible insulator failures may cause some of the most frustrating problems for linemen trying to investigate blinking light complaints. In addition to blinking lights, non-visible insulator failures cause radio/TV interference, OCR operations and blown fuses. They also pose a threat to line crews doing maintenance work. Stanton uses Hi-Test's Insulator Tester to find suspect insulators.

He says, "A lot of the insulator problems you can't see from the ground, or even up close. The Insulator Tester is more of a specialized tool that we send out when we have circuits that are having nuisance blinking problems."

Hi-Test also makes a Surge Arrester Tester for arresters ranging from three to 18 kV. Hot-line ropes from 3/8 to 1-1/2 inches test for dielectric integrity easily at the time and place where they are used with the Hi-Test Rope Tester. HD Electric recently bought Hi-Test, but still markets these and other Hi-Test tools under the Hi-Test name.

Under HD Electric's own brand name are several relatively inexpensive testing tools, including a transformer and capacitor tester and a voltage detector.

The HD Electric TILT II Transformer Tester performs a quick and easy check for short circuits in transformers and the connections made to them, testing the primary and secondary sides of both single and three-phase transformer installations. In the shop, the TILT II can be used to screen incoming and outgoing transformers. Capacitors and capacitor banks can be checked out with the Quick-Check Transformer and Capacitor Tester.

"It's almost pocket-size and very easy to use," says Jim Lindell, HD Electric's corporate marketer. "Prior to energizing a transformer, hook two leads up and it will test all of the combinations from the primary to secondary. It has an audible beeper and LED indicators that will flash green if it's okay. Or it will flash red for a short." It saves money in blown fuses and accurately diagnoses transformer problems in the field. It also tests all wiring down to the meter.

HD Electric also makes the TAG-200MR Multi-Range Voltage Detector. It is a direct-contact voltage detector for distribution voltages from two to 69kV. It gives both audible and visual alarms.

Copyright © 2000 HD Electric Company

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