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Identifying & Correcting Electrical Faults by Root Cause

Jun 10, 2020 7:38:03 AM / by Tejas K Jhaveri

Electricity is a great servant but a bad master 

Electrical safety is not to be compromised with. If used incorrectly it has the potential to cause significant damage. It is an absolute necessary that every user ensures adequate safety by using devices that automatically interrupts supply in case of high risk events. Such high risk events can lead to fires, electric shock or even damage critical equipment. These are classified as electrical faults. 


Limitation of traditional approaches towards safety

Traditional fault protection relies on using devices such as MCBs and RCCBs that protect for three types of electrical faults - short circuit, overload and earth leakage. This technique assume that critical events will manifest itself into one of these three electrical conditions before the supply is interrupted. The limitation is that many critical events do not always manifest into these three faults before they lead to catastrophic events like fires. Electrical faults such as arcing and neutral loss can lead to fires much before they lead to a short circuit. Similarly, overvoltage and undervoltage conditions can cause severe equipment damage but are not identified by traditional protection devices. Worse, in most cases if the MCB/RCCB trips the electrician finds it very difficult to identify the root cause that lead to the tripping event. Most often the tripped device is restarted a few times and if the fault is not identified the device is bypassed. 


Challenges faced by the electrician

Electricians face a daunting task of identifying and fixing electrical faults. They are called to site after a fault event and by the time they reach the site the fault event may have passed. They are unable to make any observations or measurements and rely on deductive reasoning to guess what the problem was. It must be also highlighted that electricians do not have adequate tools to identify issues such as neutral loss, arcing. phase reversal or surges. To add to this, there is always pressure from the user to quickly switch on the electrical supply. It should not be a surprise that electricians often do not find the true root cause of the problem but rather focus on making sure electricity is available. This approach only ensures that the risk associated with electrical faults is pushed out to another time in the future. A completely novel approach to identifying and fixing electrical faults is desired. 


Automated root cause analysis

POWEReasy automates the task of identifying and isolating electrical faults. Not only does it identify all 12 high risk electrical faults but it also isolates the supply to prevent these events from leading to any unwanted faults. Most importantly it communicates to the user and electrician the root cause of the electrical fault in a manner that enables a resolution of the electrical fault with minimum loss of productivity. By automating the root cause analysis it enables the electrician to improve quality and productivity. A better understanding of these 12 electrical risks can be found by clicking the individual faults in the table below.


List of critical electrical faults

Electrical Fault Key Risks Associated
Fire Electrical shock Equipment failure
Shortcircuit / overload X   X
Overvoltage X   X
Undervoltage X   X
Phase loss X   X
Phase reversal X   X
Neutral loss X   X
Earth voltage X X X
Earth leakage current X X X
Arcing X   X
Voltage harmonics     X
Surge X   X



Tags: Identifying & Correcting Electrical Faults

Tejas K Jhaveri

Written by Tejas K Jhaveri

Inventor of POWEReasy | Building products for 7 Billion globally | Safe and efficient electricity at the last mile

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