T&D World Magazine

Field Test Demonstrates Ability to Connect Wireless Sensors Throughout Distribution Grid

Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc. and On-Ramp Wireless have announced communication of SEL wireless sensors with an On-Ramp wireless communication system during a western United States utility field test. The field test demonstrated how wireless sensors, coupled with wireless communications, significantly reduce the time needed to isolate, repair, and restore service to a utility’s electric power customers.

For the field test, SEL’s Wireless Sensors for Overhead Lines (SEL-WSO) were installed on a fully integrated On-Ramp Ultra-Link Processing (ULP) wireless communication system. The SEL wireless sensors, located three to eight miles from the wireless system’s access points, successfully communicated 100% of the status and event reports that the wireless sensors generated. The reports provide a comprehensive view of the utility’s distribution grid performance, including real-time fault indication and condition data, average hourly load, and momentary event counters at varying intervals. The resulting data can be used for rapid and precise fault location as well as for predictive maintenance, grid automation, long-term grid efficiency, and capital planning.

“The WSO is a distribution automation sensor that stores load and temperature data as it monitors the distribution line for loss of voltage, loss of current, and faults,” according to Daniel F. Clifford, general manager of the SEL Fault Indicator and Sensor Division. “This sensor transmits reports, in this case in conjunction with On-Ramp’s ULP system, helping utility personnel locate faults more quickly and easily.”

The test was conducted over a four-week period and spanned approximately 200 square miles that included mountainous terrain. “The completion of this field test, with a leading utility in the Smart Grid area, and in a challenging terrain with mountains and valleys and high interference environment, showcases our coverage and networking system costs advantages and reliability,” said Joaquin Silva, president and CEO of On-Ramp.

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