Monthly Archives: February 2018

CT Testing with FAME

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Test disconnect terminal block might not be an alien term to you, especially if you are in the power industry and dealing with switchgears. This is the most common component you will see in a control relay panel, which allows you to do testing and short circuiting of current transformers. At Phoenix Contact, we incorporate different connection technology into our test disconnect terminal block series, namely the screw connection, spring cage connection and push-in connection. Of course, the changes to our test disconnect product series do not end there.

Figure 1: (From left to right) Screw connection, spring-cage connection and push-in connection

While test disconnect terminal blocks offer flexibility to the user, as well as the benefit of saving space because of its modular design, it still has a slight disadvantage when it comes to testing. During function testing of current transformers and voltage transducers, performing combine switching operations across several points is often a requirement, and thus there will be limitations when it comes to such situations when modular terminal blocks are used. With all the constraints and limitations that comes with using a modular test disconnect terminal block, it opens up greater possibilities for the product development team to explore creative designs to solve the problem while maintaining the benefits of the modular terminal block. With that, ladies and gentlemen, I introduce to you FAMEFast And Modular Energy System, a solution specifically designed to cater to the need for performing complex switching operations, all at once.

Figure 2: FAME Plug and terminal strip

Figure 2: FAME Plug and terminal strip

If you find any of the above foreign to you, no worries! I have got you covered with quality posts by our product specialist. In this post, you will learn the fundamentals behind the make-before-break principle of a CT testing, as well as the reason for using test disconnect terminal blocks in such applications. Next, we look at FAME in detail from its basic operation to the difference between FAME 1, 2 and 3. These few posts will lay down the foundation for your understanding of the field of test disconnect systems.

While FAME is created for CT testing, and several versions of FAME have been developed for the different requirements of relay testing in different countries, we came to realize that there is room for other applications that FAME is able to offer. One specific example that best illustrates this is our recent product approval in Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB), Malaysia’s national grid operator. It all started with a product presentation of FAME 1 to the product approval committee members of the Protection Department of Transmission Division, with the purpose of having Phoenix Contact to be specified in as the test plug. However, things started to side track from our original plan when FAME 1 was proposed to be adopted as a secondary safety check in their Control Relay Panel. This is part of the initiative of TNB in the implementation of live maintenance. In this new add-on design, our FAME 1 will be sitting in between the first isolation (terminal block) and the trip coil.

Figure 3: Diagram of group isolation link in protection panel

This secondary isolation, also known as the group isolation link is used to isolate trip contact in a group.

  • It consists of two components, the power plug and the terminal strip.
  • During normal operation, the power plug is inserted into the terminal strip, forming a closed contact between the terminal block and the trip coil
  • When live maintenance is carried out, the power plug will be disconnected from the terminal strip, leaving an open contact.

 

Figure 4: (From left to right) Power Plug and Terminal Strip

This application in Malaysia is a good example and reference of how FAME can be adapted to serve different applications from its original design purpose. If you have a bright idea of how you can use FAME while reading this post, we welcome you to contact us using the form below. Who knows, your idea could be the next new application of our FAME!

What product(s) would you like more information on? (required)

Back to Basics – basicline Series

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Phoenix Contact is well known for its terminal blocks and connectors. Phoenix Contact’s success was also partially attributed to its Back to Basics campaign, which aimed to drive the business to meet all market requirements.

One particular Back to Basics product series worth mentioning is the basicline series – great quality connectors and terminal blocks that are also cost competitive.

The basicline series had helped many Phoenix Contact customers to have reliable and robust connectors at affordable pricing. This enabled customers to produce devices that are both cost competitive and reliable.

Many customers that have faced challenges in producing cost competitive devices for building automation, door access, security etc. are satisfied with what basicline has to offer.

In addition, basicline has helped to solve problems arising from using Asian-branded connectors with lower quality and reliablity issues.

Below is an example of a basicline series product.

Advantages

  • Tin plated surface contact prevents rust overtime and provides consistent current rating
  • Non-frisky plastic housing and strong PA 66 provide robust and reliable usage
  • Strong price to performance ratio
  • Available in 3.50mm, 3.81mm, 5.00mm and 5.08mm pitch
  • Pluggable connectors and terminal block
  • Comes in green, black and grey. For other colours, kindly contact our salesperson
  • Optional marking and profiling
  • Available in 2 – 16 poles
  • Pluggable header available in horizontal and vertical positions

Interested to find out more? Contact me via the form below!

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Solar String Combiner Box Selection Criteria

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“I would like to have a quotation for a solar string combiner box. Please give me the quote ASAP.”

Two of the many possible options

This is the request that we always receive from customers when they want our proposal on solar string combiner boxes (SCB). Unfortunately, we will not be able to offer anything with such a brief statement like this. With that being said, we would like to take this chance to explain to the customers what information is required in order to help us to propose the right SCB for you.

  1. Maximum open-circuit voltage (Voc)
    First, we need to know the maximum open-circuit voltage (Voc) of your solar system design, whether it is 600 / 1000 / 1500V DC. The most common Voc in the market now is 1000V DC and we are also moving towards 1500V DC in Malaysia. This Voc is totally dependent on the system design.
  2. Maximum short-circuit current per string
    So where can we find this info? We are able to know what is our maximum short-circuit current by identifying the short-circuit current of the individual solar module that you have selected, and then multiplying it with the maximum short-circuit current multiplier. Every country has their own specific requirement for the maximum short-circuit multiplier; it can be 1.25 or 1.5 and etc.
  3. Input and Output
    Input here is referring to the number of solar strings going into the SCB and output is referring to the number of MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracker) involved. You will be able to find the info on the number of MPPT from the inverter that you are using in your system. Once this is confirmed, we will know the configuration you need for your SCB.
  4. Fuse holder Polarity
    We need to also find out from the customer whether they would like to have fuse holder at positive polarity only or at both positive and negative polarity. From protection point of view, we encourage our customers to have fuse holder at both positive and negative polarity because this will give higher protection to the SCB on the incoming side. However, it is still fine to have fuse holder at only positive polarity to fulfil the local standard requirement.
  5. String termination at SCB
    Sunclix Connector

    Sunclix Connector

    Phoenix Contact SCB always comes with Sunclix plug-in connectors instead of normal cable glands. This is because our Sunclix connectors make string cable installations fast and efficient. No additional tools are required to connect our Sunclix connectors. Our SCB are customizable, if the customers are more comfortable with cable glands, we can always revert back to using them.

  6. Monitoring features
    Our SCB is able to monitor both voltage and string current if these are required using our Solarcheck modules, which uses Hall’s effect.

Other than the above, our SCB comes with many other great features that will help you in your solar PV system. If you are interested in our solar string combiner boxes, please feel free to contact us by filling up the form below.

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