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New device identifies faults quicker

The ALVIN (Automatic Low Voltage Intelligent Network) has been developed by EA Technology (EATL) and is supporting customers and saving time and money through speedy fault and location detection.  

One of the teams using the devices is the Stoke Plant team, which has been working closely with EATL for twelve months. Stoke Plant Team Manager Steve Weddell said: “We use the ALVINs on intermittent faults where existing equipment has failed to locate the issue or where visibility of the underlying problem is required. It provides visibility to power quality information which helps to locate the fault or power quality issue.” 

The team has achieved a 100 percent success rate in detecting issues where we have deployed the ALVIN on known faults and problem circuits. Stoke Engineering Specialist David Phillips gave a real case example of where the ALVIN has helped customers. “In early 2018 we received reports of flickering lights in Alrewas in the Stoke distribution patch. Power quality devices were fitted but no meaningful cause for the disturbance was found. The issue continued for several months. During a visit to EA Technology my colleague and I discussed the matter and we decided to use the ALVIN as an experiment to investigate the cause. On installation, the problem was immediately found and the fault rectified within two days.” 

The device records the voltage and current waveforms associated with a collection of brief faults, which disappear (self-heal) before a fuse operates. The ALVIN fits in a standard low voltage holder and which, on detection of a fault, will break the circuit and disconnect supplies, wait for approximately thirty seconds, then reclose and reconnect the circuit.  In 2017 EA Technology launched a new LV (low voltage) Cloud data service which enabled the voltage and current waveform visualisation and fault location service to be provided.   

We have had several sets of ALVINs since 2016.  Approximately 12 months ago, we bought the communication equipment which enabled the it to communicate to the LV Cloud.  These sets have been distributed between Nottingham and Stoke depots where the ALVIN systems have been deployed to manage and locate problematic LV faults. David explained: “The waveform data is captured by the device and the status of customer supplies is confirmed by text or email.  The severity and frequency of pre-fault activity can be used to indicate supply interference as well as implying the likelihood of an impending fault or probability of getting a good thermal reading or ‘sniff’ of fault gases to confirm the suspected location fault.  

David concluded: “We have found the units to be extremely versatile and currently work in close partnership with EA technology in exploring the possibilities of these devices and future development.” 

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