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500kV Switch Opening

February 15, 2006


phil (guest)  -  March 14, 2006, 23:22
so dont play with electricity, kids!! isnt it amazing?! i love it!!
ddd (guest)  -  March 26, 2006, 03:02
1 Thing though... (guest)  -  April 5, 2006, 07:28
Will it cook a Pogo evenly all around. That can be hell to do.
naruto (guest)  -  April 9, 2006, 04:35
can you use it to charge an ipod? mine is dead:(
Didde (sweden) (guest)  -  April 11, 2006, 18:25
fake fake fake :D
ruthlessjack  -  April 12, 2006, 14:52
omn (guest)  -  April 12, 2006, 16:34
its not fake just a little overload
pre (guest)  -  April 15, 2006, 08:16
its not what they say it is
kru (guest)  -  April 22, 2006, 04:45
It's not a fake, but an effect called a jacob's ladder. Wiki "spark gap" if you want to read about it (and scroll down a little).
Matzi Da Overlord (swe) (guest)  -  April 24, 2006, 14:58
Didde... Why is it fake? Svensk och trög.
DAVID (guest)  -  May 7, 2006, 10:48
Gorthax (guest)  -  May 9, 2006, 21:47
Not fake, This sort of thing happens all the time at the relay station nearby, although it is never at this intensity
Schumpen (guest)  -  May 16, 2006, 18:56
well you get a litte sting from liking on a 9 volt batteri, you get a burt of head from liking on that kind o things. SO KIDS PLEASE DON'T TRY THIS ATT HOME!
someone (guest)  -  May 24, 2006, 01:40
suicidal (guest)  -  May 24, 2006, 01:41
looks like electro-flames
Mathy (guest)  -  May 31, 2006, 20:18
tuch that and ur dust in 2 sec..
Roby (guest)  -  June 13, 2006, 11:46
Tuch that and you are dead in ½ sec
hehe (guest)  -  June 14, 2006, 09:00
all i can say is HOLY SHIT. that must ahve been a big power station. i saw that sort of happen to a transformer afer a lighning strike, cept it was more of a ball of lighning than a jacob's ladder.
hehe (guest)  -  June 14, 2006, 09:01
i like the "WHOA!" at the end. i bet that scared the workes there shitless.
me (guest)  -  July 6, 2006, 13:51
i don't think it scared them, it looks damn controlled to me. why was the dude filming exactly in that place anyway? but still, really cool. do you know this is exact the same thing as what happens in a thunder storm? only in a thunder storm it is a larger distance.
Nate (guest)  -  July 19, 2006, 00:28
This was the full explination I was given by a friend who sadly is no longer with us: This video was taken at Eldorado Substation in Boulder City, NV. The file is called Lugo because this switch and shunt reactor are on the line that goes to Lugo. This one is clearly a 500KV (I can tell by the size) three-phase switch, probably rated at about 2000 amps of normal current carrying capability. 500 KV refers to the phase- to-phase voltage. Divide by 1.732 to get the phase-to-ground voltage (289 KV). This type of switch typically is used at one end of a transmission line, in some cases in conjunction with or instead of a circuit breaker for a variety of different configuration reasons that vary greatly from one utility to the other. Or, it may be used to connect a large transformer to the system. In this case, the switch is being used to connect a special kind of transformer. The 3 single-phase transformers can be seen behind the truck. I say transformer, but as you can see, they have leads going in, but not coming out. These are actually single winding inductors connected from phase to ground and are commonly called "shunt reactors." These inductors are installed to offset the capacitive effects of un-loaded transmission lines, When a long 500 KV or 765 KV line is energized from one end, its inherent capacitance causes an unacceptable voltage rise on the open end of the line. The "shunt reactor" is installed to control that open-circuit voltage. Where current into the capacitor component of the line impedance leads voltage by 90 degrees, current into the shunt reactor lags voltage by 90 degrees. I have since learned that these shunt reactors are rated at 33.3 MVAR each to make up a 100 MVAR bank. The switch being opened is called a "circuit switcher." It consists of two series SF6 gas puffer interrupters (similar to a circuit breaker) and an integrated center-break disconnect. The interrupters are to the right of the switch blades. They just look like gray porcelain insulators. At 345 and 500 KV these types of switches typically have two interrupters per phase in series in order to withstand the open circuit voltage encountered when de-energizing a line or transformer. They rely on synchronized opening of the two interrupters and voltage even distributed across the two interrupters by "grading" devices (typically lots of series capacitors or resistors). The way they are supposed to work is the interrupters both trip, grading capacitors or resistors cause the open circuit voltage to split evenly across the two interrupters, the switch blades open with no current flow, and the interrupters close as the switch reaches the full open position. I originally titled this very BIG capacitor because that is what unloaded transmission line looks like. The parallel wires have a huge capacitive effect between ground and each other. On a 500KV line like this the current (leading the voltage by 90 degrees) required to energize this capacitor is approximately 1.8 amps per-mile of line per phase. That's 1.8 amps per phase at 289KV, or about 1.56 Mega Vars (million volt amps reactive) per mile. However, we are actually looking at the shunt reactor current which is inductive and lags the voltage by 90 degrees. So, I should have said "very big inductor." The switch operation you see in this video in my opinion is a failed attempt to interrupt that inductive current. The failure appears to be that the far right interrupter does not open or the grading device has failed. The voltage across the remaining open interrupter exceeds the rating and it flashes over (you can see the first arc develop across one interrupter). Therefore, the switch blades are left to interrupt the current (not designed to do that) as they open. As the interrupter closes you can see the arc across it go out. However, the arc across the switch gets as tall as a 3 story building. The arc is extinguished only when the circuit breaker energizing the line, circuit switcher, and reactor is opened by the operator. Because some trouble was expected on the switch, arrangements had been made ahead of time to trip open the circuit breaker if necessary. This is the only failure I have ever seen where the arc lasted so long and grew so large without first going phase-to-phase or phase-to-ground taking the circuit out of service. It just keeps growing straight up where it contacts nothing. Since I have seen many people speculate as to the amount of current in the arc, I will offer the actual calculations that are based on the assumption that the switch is only interrupting the current into the shunt reactor and the second hand report I received that this is a 100 MVAR reactor bank. Let’s look at only one phase: 33,300 KVAR divided by 289 K Volt = 115.2 amps. I was told by the person who took the video that the current was "about 100 amps."
Jo (guest)  -  August 16, 2006, 02:26
You what?
Brodholm  -  August 27, 2006, 00:18
emm ok :D
Rrrrriiiiggght (guest)  -  August 31, 2006, 00:01
whatever you say... =_=
Deleted0001  -  September 2, 2006, 00:47
Thank you, Nate!
Onwlyix (guest)  -  September 7, 2006, 19:13
Whatever you said, a pagelong post on something will always make people believe you even without reading it.
kyle (guest)  -  September 15, 2006, 18:54
thats mad
CRAP (guest)  -  September 23, 2006, 19:00
michael (guest)  -  October 31, 2006, 18:54
That stuff is so boring that people will just have to belive it ;D Anyways, great clip, the effect is awsome.
branrt (guest)  -  November 24, 2006, 21:59
that looked fishy or fake
test (guest)  -  December 12, 2006, 23:01
test (guest)  -  December 12, 2006, 23:02
EE (guest)  -  January 25, 2007, 23:48
I think the scary part is that i damn near understood all of that, Nate. Makes me believe that all this university education hasn't been a waste. lol
Scorpio  -  February 9, 2007, 04:30
LMAO.... i read all of nate's comment, wondering why someone would put so much effort into an explaination, especially to such a small audience. K thanks Mr. MIB, we get it, it was swamp gas reflecting off of venus! damn i wish i knew how to make the ufo icon :/
blue_and_cold (guest)  -  April 16, 2007, 23:21
I think it's worth the explanation, even if only two or three people appreciate it. If you can help one person better understand the technical side of something, screw the rest who don't get it.
[m]axime  -  June 23, 2007, 11:01
Yep , Realy impresive :D ,, And totaly not fake.!
dave (guest)  -  June 30, 2007, 20:31
tht was fukin daddy it is great how it just travels allong the air great video
Scott (guest)  -  August 23, 2007, 20:35
Not boring at all. Thanks for the explanation.
navair1  -  March 19, 2008, 09:24
Thanks for the explanation,Nate! I am an electrician that works mainly around distribution voltages (34.5 KV)so getting an explanation of EHV switching Rocks! In Northern California, I have seen these substations at Vaca-Dixon next to I-80 and Midway Sub near Livermore, both on the Pacific Intertie (Path 65?). I was wondering why only one phase was arcing, so I am grateful for the explanation of probable interrupter failure. WOW!
Draugovininkas  -  May 28, 2008, 16:36
lol... ever seen a spark? this is the same thing, only more powerfull thus constant and clearly visible.
power man (guest)  -  February 27, 2010, 02:21
This video clip was captured by Neil Brady, the maintenance foreman of the 500 kV Eldorado Substation near Boulder City, Nevada at the time of the event. It shows a three-phase motorized air disconnect switcher attempting to open high voltage being supplied to a large three phase shunt line reactor. The line reactor is the huge gray transformer-like object behind the truck at the far right at the end of the clip. Line reactors are large iron core coils (inductors) which are used to counteract the effects of line capacitance on long Extra High Voltage (EHV) transmission lines. Internally, this line reactor has three coils, one for each phase in the three-phase system. Each coil within the reactor can provide 33.3 Million Volt Amperes of compensating inductive reactance (MVAR) at 290 kV between each phase to ground . The power company had previously encountered difficulty interrupting one of the three phases when trying to disconnect the line reactor. The substation maintenance crew set up a special test so that they could videotape the switching event, and they also made arrangements to "kill" the experiment, if necessary, by manually tripping upstream circuit breakers. This particular switcher uses gas filled switching elements, called "gas puffer" interrupters (circuit breakers). These are located just to the right of the rotary air break switches. The actual switching elements of these interrupters are hidden inside the gray horizontal insulators (bushings). The switching elements are housed within sealed "bottles" filled with a special insulating gas (sulfur hexafluoride, or SF6) under high pressure. SF6 is essential for rapidly extinguishing ("quench") the arc that's created when the high voltage circuit is broken. During normal operation, the switcher will first open the SF6 interrupters which disconnects the HV circuit so that the air break switches can open with no current flowing. Once the air break switches completely rotate to the "open" position, the SF6 interrupters then reclose. Normally, this sequence insures that the air break switches operate de-energized and arc free.

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