Impurities in dielectric oils causes them to lose their reliability to insulate the conductors in electrical components. This can cause partial shorts and eventual breakdown if not addressed immediately. It is a good idea to regularly test dielectric oils so you can replace them and extend the operating life of your equipment.
Dielectric oils are used in transformers, circuit breakers and capacitors because of their high breakdown voltage and their ability to dissipate heat. When the oil ages, acids, moisture, rust and other contaminants mix with the oil. This increases the conductivity and can make it unreliable. When testing insulating oils, you just need to take a small sample to test its reliability. A test cell is used to hold the sample during a high voltage test. This allows you to conduct capacitance, dielectric constant and breakdown voltage voltage tests. A test cell you might be interested in is the Doble OTC. This can be used in conjunction with a Doble M4100 power factor test set for comprehensive dielectric oil diagnostics.
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