Jul 3, 2016

The Sniff-Test | Test Plug-Systems!


elcome dear friends of protection- and control engineering!

All those who spend weeks in cool or warm but always sun-drenched switchgear buildings, running their test equipment carefully to test protection relays, often know the advantages of test plug systems. Thanks to their help, protective tests and the associated wiring tests can be implemented quickly and reliably.

Fixed connector assignments for every application, whether distance protection, differential protection or simple overcurrent protection, for everything is the appropriate connector available. The VDE (Association for electrical, electronic and information technologies) has distributed a total of 52 applications to 12 different plug configurations.

In the last few years, more manufacturers have come to the topic and have developed new test plug systems and integrated them into their product range. In addition, the manufacturers sometimes offer several solutions.

For this reasons, our present contribution will deal with a small comparison of some of these test plug systems. We are going to compare the following systems:

The classics of SecuControl, represented by the legacy IPS system and the current systems ITS, SAX and LTB. The WIPRO and POCON systems of Weidmüller and the new FAME series of Phoenix Contacts will be introduced. First, we briefly present all subjects, let's go:

With its interface test system (IPS), SecuControl provides an interface for the safe and fast connection of secondary protection systems. The first IPS system was manufactured in 1958. Today, the interface test system is in use worldwide and has been introduced as standard by many electric power companys.

The interface test system consists of two components, the test plug and the test block. The possibilities for using the system are manifold due to the high number of circuit possibilities (see figure).

Another SecuControl plug-in system is the ITS (Interface Test System). This is the successor model of the IPS system. In conjunction with the codable test plug STP, the ITS is added as safe disconnection point during protection tests. ITS is intended for installation in switch cabinets, 19 "racks and other openings (the figure below shows the ITS with STP plug).

We also want to see the SAX system (Secu Access) also from SecuControl. This is a combination of a transformer terminal block, a disconnect terminal block, a terminal block and a test block, which can also be used with the STP plug. The system can be mounted on a 35mm DIN rail or directly on the control panel (see figure below)

Both the ITS and the SAX system are combined with the so-called STP plug, which is specifically coded according to the application. During the insertion of the test plug, the test device disconnects the device to be tested from the system side of the network. Subsequently test currents and test voltages can be injected into the device to be tested via the test plug (see the following figure).

As the fourth test system from SecuControl we are sending the LTB into the race. This is a test strip with cable connections offset far to the rear. The LTB works in conjunction with the LTP test plug equipped with a lever mechanism to significantly facilitate insertion into the LTB. The well-engineered mechanical operation of the LTP contributes to an easy-to-plug insertion of the test plug. In this way, a large number of poles can be opened very quickly with a few simple handgrips (see illustration).

We'll continue with Weidmüller and the WIPRO system. The basic unit as well as the test plug are available in three variants in the versions 7-, 14- and 19-pole (see next picture).

The test disconnect interface supports a wide range of measurement situations during current and voltage conversion in a single compact system. Basic functions such as automatic short-circuiting or longitudinal separation are obligatory. A special feature of this test plug are the two different contact pin lengths, which can also be seen in the plugged-in state. With these different contact gradations, current, voltage and signal circuits can be contacted or interrupted in a time-delayed manner. In addition, tampering with the test plug can be prevented by means of a seal.

Another Weidmüller test separation interface system is the POCON. Depending on the technical requirements, the manufacturer offers the PROCON 4, 8 or 9. The picture shows the POCON 4 with the corresponding test plug.

As a third manufacturer we want to look more closely at PHOENIX Contacts. Here the three systems FAME 1, FAME 2 and FAME 3 are available. The FAME 1 is supplied with a power plug. The FAME 2 comes without a plug-in connector in the test plug. The FAME 3 also operates without a power plug, the transformer short circuit is located in the test plug.

In the novel "Hector and the Search for Happiness" by Francois Lelord, the fictitious psychiatrist Hector tries to track down the secret of happiness on a journey around the world. The first and most important realization he makes is that:

"To make comparisons is a good way to lessen your happiness"

To take this cognition into account, we want to make clear the most important point of this issue of our "Sniff-Test":

All systems compared here are professional solutions that have their own individual advantages and disadvantages. It would not make sense at this point to name our personal preferences and favorites by name, and it goes without saying that we do not have a test winner here.

In order to make the test as neutral as possible, we have brought together all the tangible features and characteristics in the table below. The results table is available in PDF format and can be downloaded free of charge.

Click on the image below to download.

We hope that you will benefit from our table as much as possible and find the best system for you. Further details, such as the practical possibilities for coding the individual plug-in systems, can be requested further via the providers.

HEARTfelt Greetings Alexander Muth

Note: Despite careful research, we can not guarantee that all information is accurate and / or complete. Please contact the supplier. For further suggestions we are grateful: info@electrical-engineering.academy