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Rotor-cage fault detection in inverter-fed induction machines is still difficult nowadays as the dynamics introduced by the control or load influence the fault-indicator signals commonly applied. In addition, detection is usually possible only when the machine is operated above a specific load level to generate a significant rotor-current magnitude. This paper proposes a new method of detecting rotor-bar defects at zero load and almost at standstill. The method uses the standard current sensors already present in modern industrial inverters and, hence, is noninvasive. It is thus well suited as a start-up test for drives. By applying an excitation with voltage pulses using the switching of the inverter and then measuring the resulting current slope, a new fault indicator is obtained. As a result, it is possible to clearly identify the fault-induced asymmetry in the machine's transient reactances. Although the transient-flux linkage cannot penetrate the rotor because of the cage, the faulty bar locally influences the zigzag flux, leading to a significant change in the transient reactances. Measurement results show the applicability and sensitivity of the proposed method.