Skip to Main Content
Turn insulation degradation is one of the major root causes of stator insulation failure leading to motor breakdown. The surge test is the only test available for testing the integrity of turn insulation; however, it is a high voltage pass/fail test that provides an indication only if an arc is instigated between the turns of weakened turn insulation, and therefore does not provide information regarding remaining lifetime. The surge PD test measures the partial discharge (PD) activity under surge excitation, and is used to date for assuring that voltage source PWM inverter-fed motors (IEC 60034-18-41 type I) are PDfree. In this paper, the potential of using the surge PD test as a predictive maintenance tool for turn insulation quality assessment is evaluated. Under the expectation that increasing PD activity in the voids formed by insulation degradation may be detectable before turn insulation failure, the test is performed periodically under accelerated thermal degradation on 6 windings. It is shown that change in the PD inception voltage under the surge PD test can be clearly observed before any other insulation test indicator. The results suggest that the surge PD test can be used for monitoring the condition of turn insulation for providing an early indication of stator insulation problems without the risk of puncturing turn insulation.