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Antenna array layout for the localization of partial discharges in open-air substations
* 1 , 1 , 2 , 1
1  Department of Electrical Engineering. Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Avda. Universidad, 30. 28911 Leganes. Madrid. Spain
2  Department of Signal Theory and Communications, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Avda. Universidad, 30. 28911 Leganes. Madrid. Spain


Partial discharges are ionization processes inside or on the surface of dielectrics that can unveil insulation problems in electrical equipment. The charge accumulated in the dielectric is released under certain environmental and voltage conditions attacking the insulation both physically and chemically. The final consequence of a continuous occurrence of these events is the breakdown of the dielectric. The electron avalanche provokes a derivative of the electric field close to the damaged insulation creating an electromagnetic impulse that can be detected with antennas. The localization of the source of partial discharges helps in the identification of the piece of equipment that has to be decommissioned. This can be done deploying antennas in open-air substations and calculating the time difference of arrival (TDOA) of the electromagnetic pulses. This parameter is critical in the localization and small errors can lead to a great displacement of the calculated position of the source. Usually, four antennas are used to find the source in space but the array has to be correctly deployed to have minimal errors in the localization. This paper demonstrates theoretically and experimentally that the most common layouts are not the best option and proposes a simple antenna layout to reduce the systematic error in the TDOA calculation due to the positions of the antennas.

Keywords: partial discharges, time difference of arrival, localization, antennas, insulation, maintenance, measurement