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Do Not Energize Oil-Filled Transformer

Without Performing These 15 Tests and

P osted FE B 23 2 015 by EDV ARD in TES TI NG AN D C OMM ISS IO NI NG , TR AN SF ORM ERS w it h 1 1 C OMM EN TS

Do Not Energize Oil-Filled Transformer Without Performing These 15 Tests and Checks! (on photo
3-core type oil-immersed rectifier transformer 380kV; via electric-power-transformers.com)

Obligatory Checklist
The following tests and checks should be performed at a minimum to ensure
that the transformer is ready to be energized. Do not energize the transformer
without performing these tests and checks.

If any of below explained tests fail and transformer is energized anyway, it

may LEAD to the serious hazard, and that’s not good That’s not what we
Let’s see these 15 tests…

1. Insulating Fluid Test

Draw a fluid sample and test its dielectric strength. Dielectric strength of new
fluid should be 26 kv or greater.

The breakdown voltage indicates how well insulating oil can withstand an electrical load and is
therefore decisive for the operational efficiency of a transformer. The breakdown voltage is
measured according to VDE 0370 part 5 (IEC 60156); photo credit: SIEMENS

2. Pressure Test
Check the transformer tank for leaks by pressurizing the tank with dry air or
dry nitrogen through the pressure test fitting to a pressure of 3 to 4 PSIG. let
the tank stand under pressure for one to two hours, then examine the tank and
fittings for leaks. leaks above the fluid level can be detected by applying soap
solution to all welds, joints, pipe fittings, and cable connections.

Upon completion of this test, reduce the internal pressure to 1 or 2 PSIG.

Repairing transformer oil-tank for leakage (photo credit: khia.belzona.com)

3. Insulation Megger Test

Perform a 1000-volt Megger test and a power factor test to ensure that none of
the windings is grounded. See the complete procedure here.

Regular insulation testing is one of the most cost effective methods of identifying aging of

4. Ratio Test
Perform a ratio test at each tap position to ensure that transformer coil ratios
and tap changer connections are correct. Read the complete procedure
of transformer turns ratio test step by step .

5. Continuity Test and Resistance Test

Perform a continuity check on each winding. Measure the winding resistance of
each winding and compare results to factory test values.

An increase of more than 10% could indicate a loose internal connection.

6. Line Connections
In preparation for making line connections, check to make sure that all mating
connector surfaces are clean and smooth. Connections must be tightened
appropriately to prevent overheating and possible subsequent failure of the

Connections to should be made with care to avoid placing undue stress on the

Oil-filled transformer bushings (photo credit: khia.belzona.com)

7. Tap Changer Setting
Check the tap changer setting to ensure it is set to the proper position for the
required voltage. See an example of transformer tap-changer correct

On-Line Oil Filtration for Load Tap Changer Compartment (photo credit: velcon.com)

8. Delta/Wye and Series/Multiple Switch Settings

Check delta/wye and series/multiple switch settings to make sure they are set

If these connections are made using an internal terminal board, check to

ensure that these connections are made properly according to the chart on
the transformer nameplate .
GE distribution transformer nameplate (photo credit: tucsontransformer.com)

9. Grounding
Check to ensure that the transformer tank is permanently and effectively
grounded. The transformer tank ground pad is located near the bottom of the

10. Wiring
Check wiring of control and alarm circuits (if provided) to make sure there are
no loose connections and no damage to insulation.
Oil-filled transformer terminal box

11. Fluid level

Figure 1 – Liquid Level Gauge

Check to make sure the fluid level as indicated by the fluid level gauge is as

The fluid level gauge indicates the fluid level inside the tank. The transformer
tank is filled with fluid at the factory to the normal level at a reference
temperature of 25°C.
12. Tank Finish
Check all painted surfaces to make sure that there is no damage or corrosion.

13. Bolted Connections

Check all bolted connections for tightness.

Oil transformer bolted connections (photo credit: polywater.com)

14. Tools
Check to make sure that all tools and equipment are accounted for and have
been removed from the transformer.

15. Fluid Temperature

Read the fluid temperature gauge and make sure the temperature is no lower
than minus 20°C before the unit is energized.
Figure 2 – Liquid Temperature gauge

Reference: Installation, Operation, and Maintenance of Medium Power

Substation Transformers – Howard Industries
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