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Transformer sweep frequency response analysis (SFRA)

by G M Kennedy, A J McGrail and J A Lapworth, Doble Engineering, Sweep frequency response analysis (SFRA) is one of the most powerful diagnostic tools for assessing mechanical damage to a transformer winding. Analysis of the results, which are in the form of frequency response traces can, however, be daunting to new users. One approach is to attempt automated analysis, and this paper presents an approach using crosscorrelation coefficients. This is a power signal processing tool that can simplify result interpretation in some cases and allow limits to be created. A common failure mode for power transformers is consequent to mechanical deformation of the core or windings. Core damage is more likely as a result of transportation, while winding damage is more likely to be caused by short circuit type forces. Consequently, the requirements are for transformer to be checked before and after a new delivery or re-location, and also after any major fault. The latter might be after faults on a cable connected to the low voltage winding, or on a measurement transformer on the high voltage, or a tap changer or bushing failure. These close-up faults may be so severe as to initiate protection and then the need is to assess the damage to the transformer. Alternatively, there could be lesser damage in the form of deformation. This would reduce the capability of the winding to withstand any further faults i.e. the winding is bent but not broken. Knowledge of such damage is, therefore, part of a risk assessment process to be applied for critical units. Within IEC and IEEE standards, various diagnostic techniques are described, and these are to be used after routine or type testing. Two relevant to this discussion include turns ratio to detect if the winding has faulted, and leakage reactance to identify deformation. Over the years the measurement of leakage reactance (or short-circuit impedance) has proven valuable, particularly when used during withstand evaluation in high power laboratories. The impedance change allowed post fault can be defined as being less than a 2% change (see IEC60076-5). Provided the test is done correctly this provides a clear definition for acceptability. However, for in-service assessment it is considered by some that this method is insensitive. In the 1990s a group from the major utilities in northern Europe evaluated an alternative method involving the injection of a low voltage swept frequency sine wave into each winding in turn. They met as a working group of EuroDoble and at the end of the 1990s documented their experience in a Doble test guide and several papers at the annual Doble conferences [1], [2]. Today, groups within IEEE and Cigr are working to introduce the method into IEEE and IEC standards, and several companies now produce instruments to replace the laborator y equipment used earlier. Over these recent years the technique has gained acceptability with a much larger and rapidly expanding group (and including the recent-entr y suppliers of equipment). But this has created some problems for these new users and suppliers relating to the interpretation of the results. The experience is that this is a transitional phase and new users can acquire the skill within a short time. But for that first phase there is an interest in having an analytical method, ideally producing a number, ideally as simple as that from leakage reactance. The nature of SFRA results The sweep frequency response analysis (SFRA) test involves injecting a signal at one end of a winding and measuring the response at the other end. Responses with large variations in attenuation over the measured frequency range are obtained as a result of variations in the impedance of the complex L-C-R distributions of the windings. Since capacitances and inductances depend on detailed winding geometry, any movement results in changes in the frequencies at which resonances occur. It is the identification of changes in frequency response that is the essence of analysis and diagnosis of mechanical integrity. This is currently achieved with the expert eye - but the aim is to use some processing to yield numerical evaluation of changes. But differences in response also occur for reasons other than deformation. These include differences between individual phases, tap changer position and configurations of internal leads between the bushings and windings- as well as whether the oil was present or absent. Unsuitable test equipment, lead connections and layout can produce repeatability issues. These issues present considerable challenges when contemplating any automation of the analysis. Fig. 1 shows a typical response for a high voltage star connected winding. The frequency range of interest is between 20 Hz and 2 MHz. Experience has shown that different sub-bands are dominated

Fig. 1: Frequency analysis bands.

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Region 1 Frequency sub-band < 2 kHz Component Main core bulk winding inductance Bulk component shunt impedances Main windings Main windings, tap windings and internal leads Failure sensitivity Core deformation, open circuits, shorted turns and residual magnetism Bulk winding movement between windings and clamping structure Deformation within the main or tap windings Movement of the main and tap windings, ground impedances variations

dependent on transformer designs and manufacturers, there is a risk that there will be false positives in the analysis. The subtle nature of some failures, which mean that the SFRA traces are almost acceptable, leading to a possible false negative in the analysis. The traditional view of the Doble team, some of whom have been reviewing data for almost 20 years, is that where unusual results are obtained, any decision must always be made by the expert to evaluate the existence of interferences from issues listed above. Where automated systems can help is as a short term crutch for the new user. Most applications will be for fingerprinting sound transformers where there should be good overlay between other phases, sister units, etc. Here some comfort factor will be a help to the new user since it will be able to identify the normal low level differences between traces being compared. The method can act as a filter so that the engineer can use their limited resource of time looking at the most important traces. The output should not be pass/fail but pass/investigate. The goals are to express results as pass where variations are within normal bounds for the configuration and a means to communicate results to end-customers who are not so familiar with SFRA.

2 kHz to 20 kHz 20 kHz to 400 kHz 400 kHz to ~1 MHz

Table 1: Frequency sub-band sensitivity.

by different internal components of the transformer and are subsequently more sensitive to different types of failures, as summarized in Table 1. Measurements above 2 MHz tend to be dominated by variations in grounding practices for test leads. Normal practice is to separate the response into frequency bands and relate the analysis to features in each band, as indicated in Table 1. The first resonance, here at around 600 Hz, is where the change from inductive to capacitive impedance occurs. The resonances at higher frequencies relate to the winding configuration. The above regions are a general rule of thumb dependent on transformer design and test conditions. Sub-bands should be modified and adjusted by the user based on the observed waveform. For instance, the low frequency Region 1 could be changed to include all frequencies between the lowest and the first dominant pole, to completely encapsulate the core effect, or a sub band within Region 3 could be chosen that includes a series of dominant resonances. In the analysis a response may be compared with one of the following: An earlier result for the same phase tested with the same tap changer position. If no earlier result is available then another phase of the same transformer, tested at the same occasion. The same phase, same tap changer position but on a unit believed to be of the same design group and made at the same factory. The preference for selection of options is in the order as given. Cross correlation analysis Several attempts have been made over the years at creating automated or semiautomated SFRA analysis tools. Nearly all have been unsuccessful. The reasons for this

lie not in the capability of the calculation or the application, but in three main areas: Large generic differences between responses of different winding types. This means that setting cross-correlation bands universally is difficult, if not impossible; hence the recommendation in this paper to make sure the user is able to set the band limits to match the transformer and winding under test. The fact that some differences between responses are inevitable and must be allowed e.g. due to measurement limitations or manufacturing tolerances. Unless appropriate allowances are made,

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CCF Good match Close match Poor match No or very poor match 0,95 1,0 0,90 0,94 < 0,89 < 0,0

Table 2: Example CCFs explained. CCF Good Marginal Investigate Fig. 2: Cross correlation analysis of the H2-H0 winding to benchmark results. 0,95 1,0 0,90 0,94 <0,90

Table 3: Phase A/C or sister unit (same phase) limits. CCF Good Marginal Investigate 0,98 1,0 0,96 0,97 <0,96

Cross correlation coefficients (CCFs) are already used in a variety of industries, primarily telecom, where knowing the quality of signals is important. They are already well understood and provide the type of analysis needed without blurring the analysis with go/no-go type outputs. In simplest terms, cross-correlation takes two sets of numbers and looks at how similar they are. If two series of numbers such as an SFRA trace perfectly or nearly match, they would have a CCF very close to 1,0. If two traces have absolutely no correlation, in other words are completely random, they would have a CCF of 0,0. If the two traces are related by are diametrical, they would have a negative CCF. In SFRA analysis negative CCF are not common, but they do occur on occasion. Regardless, negative correlation coefficients are not considered acceptable when trying to look for deviations between traces. The CCF is defined [2] as:

researched in a variety of mathematical texts on the subject of signal processing [3]. Normalizing the results to the individual power spectrums is what allows this resulting waveform to be expressed in a simple single coefficient. Table 2 helps provide a rough estimate of what the CCF means in simple language. Calculating cross-correlation coefficients: Using CCFs to analyze SFRA data first requires an understanding of what frequency subbands tell us about the physical health of a transformer. Once the appropriate bands are selected the CCFs can be evaluated in the context of the individual parts of a transformer. The end results will be a series of CCFs, evaluating different components of the transformer. The following traces were obtained using the Doble SFRA software for M5200/M5300. By adjusting cursor positions to frequency subbands, new auto-correlation constants can be calculated. Fig. 2 shows the comparis on of two phases of a transformer where the cursors were set to the positions shown in Table 1. Note that the first five cursor positions correlate to the regions. The correlation coefficients are shown below the cursor positions to indicate the correlation between the two above frequency regions. By observing the above two phases of the same unit, we can see that there are possible problems noted with the lower correlation coefficients of 0,9177 and 0,1906. The variations can be seen in the overlay of the two phases. Additional analysis and perhaps narrowing the sub-band could help tell us more. The Region 4 correlation coefficient of 0,1906 is most likely due to the mismatch of resonance in the 600 kHz to 900 kHz region. It is important to note that this does not necessarily indicate that the unit is bad as this highest frequency region is known to be much more sensitive to tap winding and energize - October 2007 - Page 30

Table 4: Benchmark limits.

internal leads. This type of variation could be normal between phases of the same unit. Phase to phase comparison can often be misleading and must be done with care. There are expected variations between phase and correlation coefficients limits should be selected that draw attention to the analysis, and not necessarily call for failure of the unit. Based on experience, phase to phase analysis would need to have the most forgiving limits. Phase to phase analysis of the outside core legs will also be the most credible as these two win dings display the most geometry symmetry. Comparison to the middle phase will be difficult with correlation coefficients and should be analyzed using traditional SFRA methods. Sister units can also be used to conduct correlation coefficient analysis. In this case, we would expect some variation between genuine sister units, but the analysis must be done on the exact same phases of both units (A to A, B to B, etc.) The following correlation coefficients limits are recommended for phase to phase and sister unit comparison. The most reliable method of conducting correlation analysis is using a benchmark results. Similar to sister unit analysis , the same phases of the same windings should always be compared. In addition, the analysis should be done with the transformer in the same tap changer positions. The following table provides recommend correlation coefficients limits for benchmark comparisons. These limits should be used as an aid to analysis and reporting results but should not


where Xi and are Yi are the two series (or traces in the case of SFRA) being compared at each individual frequency i and X-bar and Y-bar are the means. Equation 1 assumes two real series. In the case of signal processing the math becomes a little more involved, but the end results is still a coefficient between 1 and -1. In simplest terms cross-correlation of two traces f and g is:

(f*g)(x) = f*(t)g(x+t)dt


This results in a new correlation trace that is then power density normalized to the input and output signals. The large * indicates convolution. The mathematics of Equation 2 and subsequent CCF calculation are beyond the scope of this paper and can be

be used in isolation to judge the mechanical condition of a transformer. A SFRA technician should still analyze the results and use these limits as an aid for additional investigation. Case studies The following case studies show various scenarios that a SFRA tester may encounter in the field and demonstrates how to use correlation coefficients in the analysis. Case 1: Benchmark comparison In this case we have factory and initial field results available for a 675 MVA generator stepup transformer built in 2002. The transformer suffered from a fire in the connected isophase bus and was further tested using SFRA and other electrical diagnostic tests. This case was presented as a paper at the 2005 Doble Client Conference. Variations at low frequencies relate to the magnetic state of the core of the transformer; the variation is commonly seen, is well understood and is acceptable. Minor variations at the highest frequencies are due to minor differences in test lead grounding due to bushings which had been damaged during the fire. The main responses overlay very well. This is strong evidence that nothing has moved within the transformer. SFRA was used in conjunction with leakage reactance to propose that the transformer was mechanically sound and was worthy of an internal inspection rather than scrapping. The inspection confirmed the SFRA diagnosis and the transformer was successfully returned to service. Using the cross correlation coefficient analysis on the H2 - H0 winding and default regions, we find that the unit was acceptable with the following cross correlation coefficients. As mentioned above, the slight dip in the Region 1 CCF is due to the core magnetization and there were some minor variations in the Region 3 but the CCF was still very good at 0,9882. This helps draw the technicians attention to these two sub-bands. The
Frequency sub band 1 2 3 4 0 - 2 kHz 2 kHz 20 kHz 20 kHz 400 kHz 400 kHz 1 MHz CCF 0,9879 0,9964 0,9882 0,9988 Fig. 3: Cross correlation analysis of benchmark results H2 - H0 winding.

Fig. 4: Cross correlation analysis of case 2 (phase to phase) scan from 20 Hz - 2 MHz.

Fig. 5: Close-up view of LV winding frequency shifts in 100 kHz 1 MHz.

magnetization could be easily recognized and the minor variation in Region 3 ruled out as an issue. The end result is four figures that can be used to quantity and report SFRA findings in an easy to interpret format. All findings are above the recommended limit of 0,98 CCF for benchmark comparison. Case 2: Bent transformer The results here are from a 1960s vintage 50 MVA distribution transformer. The transformer had tripped out of service on protection and was investigated; no reference results were available for this unit. The HV results phaseto-phase had typical variation for a HV delta winding. An overall look at the LV windings shows a few obvious variations, and a trained eye can see that this is particularly at the resonances between 200 kHz and 2 MHz where there are some shifts which are unexpected, Fig 4. If energize - October 2007 - Page 32

we look closer, Fig 5, we can see that it is the X3 - X0 phase which is consistently shifted to higher frequencies. This is an indication of a problem which may relate to axial winding movement. Note that we are also using the similarity of the X1 - X0 and X2 - X0 phases to act as reference traces; if the center and one outer phase are similar then, generally, the other phase should also be similar! This transformer was removed from service and scrapped. Using CCF analysis methods, again the regions were set to the default sub-bands. The phase A and phase B CCFs were then calculated. We can see in Table 6 that there is a large dip the Region 3 CCF down to 0,8262. Using the recommended limits for analyzing phase to phase (Table 3), we can see that Regions 1 and 2 are all within the good limit and do not warrant continued investigation. Region 4 is below 0,98 but above 0,9 and therefore is

Table 5: Case 1 CCF results. Frequency sub band 1 2 3 4 0 - 2 kHz 2 kHz 20 kHz 20 kHz 400 kHz 400 kHz 1 MHz Table 6: Case 2 CCF results. CCF 0,9831 0,9868 0,8262 0,9567

Frequency sub band 0 - 2 kHz 2 kHz 20 kHz 20 kHz 400 kHz 400 kHz 1 MHz CCF 0,9898 0,9994 0,9913 0,9923

Table 7: Case 3 CCF results HV phase A sister units.

marginal and deserves a closer look. Region 3 has dropped into the investigate region (less than 0,9 CCF). Clearly the region did not correlate as was discussed earlier. Case 3: Two large sister transformers The following case involves the routine test of two large transformers of 370 MVA 345/14 kV rating. SFRA tests were used to ascertain the physical health of the units individually then sister unit comparison was used to ascertain the consistency of construction between the two units. By using both of these techniques it wa s determined by both phase to phase and by sister unit comparison that both units were in good physical condition without indications of either winding or core deformation. Comparing sister units must be done with care to ensure that the units are really sisters by design. Experience has shown that it is not unusual for functionally identical units to have significant design differences, particularly if some time has elapsed between constructions. Manufacturers may take the liberty to tweak the design of a transformer thus creating physical deviations in the structures. In this case, they are not sister units. Looking for successive serial numbers may not guarantee two or more units are genuine sisters; more attention should be paid to the date of manufacture. As a rule of thumb, if more than six months has elapsed between constructions, there may be some differences. Table 7 and Fig. 7 show an example analysis of two sister units. As can be seen from the CCFs, the results show very good correlation. Using the recommended limits for sister unit analysis (Table 3), we can see that all correlation coefficients are well above the recommended limits and in fact these two units are extremely close sister units in design. The slight dip in the Region 1 CCF is most likely due to a very slight amount of reluctance variation in the core and is normal. Conclusion CCFs can be a useful tool to conduct specification based analysis of SFRA traces under a variety of scenarios to include benchmark results, phase to phase analysis and sister unit comparison. Care must be taken to understand the context of the trace and know that some variation is expected based on tap changer position, test conditions and the transformer design. energize - October 2007 - Page 33
Fig. 7: Cross correlation analysis of Case 3 (phase to phase comparison of HV phase A sister units)

CCFs should be used with an understanding of traditional SFRA analysis techniques. There is no replacing the trained eye of an SFRA technician as they can recognize the features and patterns associated with various faulted conditions. CCF will not tell us the exact nature of the failure, only draw our attention to regions of interest for continued analysis and consideration. Users of this method should also be aware that it is possible for the CCF to not indicate a problem when there could be. Inappropriately assigned region boundaries, or single resonance shifts for example, could cause only a minor change to the CCF and in truth indicate a substantial problem. The suggested CCF limits should be used as general rules of thumb and can be adjusted to fit the scenario in question. For instance, comparing closely design sister units may necessitate raising the CCF limits proposed in Table 3. These figures of merit can help communicate SFRA findings to end customers. Again, these should serve as

starting points for analysis and may change as more research is done and CCFs are applied to more transformers. Acknowledgement This paper was presented at the IEEE Power Africa 2007 conference at Wits University, Johannesburg, in August 2007, and is republished with permission References
[1] J A Lapworth and T J Noonan, Mechanical condition assessment of power transformers using frequency response analysis Proceedings of the 1995 International client conference, Boston, MA, USA [2] G M Kennedy, C L Sweetser and A J McGrail, Field Experiences with Sweep Frequency Response Analysis, Proceedings of the 2006 International Conference of Doble Clients. Sec T-6 [3] A V Oppenheim and R Schafer, DiscreteTime Signal Processing, Prentice-Hall Signal Processing Series, 1989

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