Cadick Corporation - Condition Based Maintenance - Technical Bulletin 018 Predicting the Remaining Life of Vacuum Interrupters in the Field - Technical Bulletin 018
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Predicting the Remaining Life of Vacuum Interrupters in the Field

Vacuum interrupters have widely replaced older air-magnetic and oil interrupters for circuit breakers rated at 1 kV or higher and offer up to 10 times the expected lifetime than newer SF-6 gas interrupters. During manufacture, vacuum interrupters undergo contact-resistance, highpotential, and leak-rate tests. However, only the leak-rate test offers insight into the remaining lifetime of the vacuum interrupter. Leak-rate testing requires the use of a magnetron, which has prevented this test from being widely used in the field. New portable magnetron and vacuumpump equipment now makes it possible to perform leak-rate tests in the field. This paper details a new predictive vacuum field test based on the leak-rate test that uses portable magnetrons and vacuum pumps, condition based maintenance algorithms, and both device-specific and generic vacuum interrupter current-vacuum curves that are based on vacuum pressures and device geometries.

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