An Analysis of Transformer Failures, Part 1 – 1988 through 1997

William H. Bartley, P.E., Hartford Steam Boiler

Transformer failures are common and costly. In this article, the first of two parts, the author discusses the types of transformers most likely to break down, frequency and severity, and the issue of transformer age. The findings are based on a 10-year study of Hartford Steam Boiler transformer claims, one of a series of studies conducted over several decades. An endless supply of electricity is taken for granted in today’s world of commerce and business. Our dependence on a continuous supply of power is often overlooked until the lights suddenly go out, or the air conditioning or heating is lost, or production equipment comes to a halt. It is then that we become acutely aware of the importance of such things as circuit breakers, wiring, and transformers.This awakening may come with a brilliant flash of light and an acrid burning odor, following a fault or short circuit in electrical equipment. Or the lights may just dim, and then go out. Sometimes, a serious fire follows, causing even more damage. »more

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