Electrical earthing testing. We are asked frequently – How do you test an Earth arrangement in London?
What is Electrical Earthing Testing?
Electrical earthing, or grounding, refers to the practice of intentionally connecting a conductor to the ground for safety and functional purposes. Electrical earthing testing is the process of testing the effectiveness of the electrical earthing system in a building or other structure to ensure that it is adequately protecting people and equipment from the risks associated with electrical fault currents. This can include testing the resistance of the earthing system to ensure that it can safely conduct fault currents, as well as testing the continuity and integrity of the earthing conductor. Electrical earthing testing is typically carried out by electricians or other qualified professionals using specialized test equipment.
Here’s the scenario...
You are faced with Electrical earthing testing a substation. And that is located right in the middle of a densely built-up area. Also, with hard surfaces everywhere together with congested buried infrastructure in every direction.
So, any lead deployment invariably obstructed by something, e.g. roads, cars, walls, buildings, etc. And, assuming the leads can be accommodated. An electrical earth test is likely to suffer in-ground noise and interference from the city’s / town’s infrastructure. Also, not to mention the curious passers-by. Whom would like nothing more than to see you struggle for a laugh by stealing your test leads. When you turn your back.
Electrical Earth Test to EN 50522 2010, pg 30, states:
Measurements shall be carried out after construction, where necessary, to verify the adequacy of the design.
Design and installation of the earthing system shall allow measurements to be carried out periodically. Or following major changes affecting fundamental requirements, or even for continuity tests.
We’ve posted many blogs on the importance of following best practice. When doing Electrical earth Fall of Potential testing. And also, some of the pitfalls with the technique. But, sometimes it’s simply not possible to deploy leads to the distance required. And, escape the area of influence of the Earth system while avoiding physical obstructions. This problem is quite common in densely-populated cities like London.
Electrical earthing testing steps:
- Identify the electrical earthing system: This may include identifying the location of the earthing electrode (such as a ground rod) and the earthing conductor (such as a copper wire).
- Prepare for testing: This may include gathering the necessary test equipment and obtaining any required permits or approvals. It may also involve setting up any necessary safety measures, such as barriers or warning signs.
- Test the resistance of the earthing system: This can be done using a device called an earth tester, which measures the resistance of the earthing system to the flow of an electrical current. The resistance should be within acceptable limits, as specified by local codes and regulations.
- Test the continuity and integrity of the earthing conductor: This can be done using a device called a continuity tester, which sends a small electrical current through the conductor and measures its flow. The continuity of the conductor should be uninterrupted, and there should be no breaks or damage.
- Document the results of the testing: It is important to document the results of the testing, including any problems or issues that were identified. This documentation can be used to inform any necessary repairs or upgrades to the earthing system.
- Make any necessary repairs or upgrades: If any problems or issues were identified during the testing process, they should be addressed as soon as possible to ensure the effectiveness of the earthing system. This may involve repairing or replacing damaged components or upgrading the earthing system to meet current standards.
In situations like this, and for an accurate electrical earth test it’s imperative to have an accurate soil model. Also, by using the Wenner method. And to use a bit of ingenuity. Perhaps you can’t deploy leads to escape the area of influence of the Earth system entirely. But, you can avoid the sphere of influence of 1 rod. Or maybe you can use a clamp meter. The principal aim of these tests is to validate the soil model against what you encounter on site.
If you can get good agreement between the resistances, you CAN measure on-site and in the model. Then use the modelled Earth resistance as your “real world” earth resistance. Therefore, you have expertly calibrated your model against the real world.
This electrical earth test situation is another of these situations where the CDEGS version becomes essential. But, only HIFREQ can accurately model the interactions between the test leads and the earth system. Also, to give you full confidence that the model indeed agrees with the measured results.
So, these earth testing techniques, in combination with CDEGS, trained and accredited engineer. Allow us to deliver right-sized electrical earthing designs in the most complicated of environments.
Earth Testing – How to avoid the common mistakes
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