Introduction to the History of Selective Protection

Author: Walter Schossig, Germany

The Wife as an Autorecloser

It may come as a surprise to many to know that in the past many substations contained not only switchyards, transformers and control rooms but also the switching engineer's apartment.

One advantage of such an arrangement was that as the switching engineer worked as the substation operator during normal working conditions, his wife was in a position to supervise the substation (although admittedly she did have a limited license for autoreclosing circuit breakers!).

Although Bollinger patented  a "Self Running On-Break-Switch for Automatic Reclosing" in 1913 it seems that the first published papers concerning autoreclose, and the operational problems associated with autoreclose, did not appear until 1925 in both the United States and Germany.

Autoreclose technology has obviously developed over the years however the author of this article still remembers a station where a circuit breaker operated a three stage autoreclose sequence through the use of weights and levers that moved the breaker.

In the past the switching engineer was able to supervise all feeders in a station through a simple visual check of the ammeter readings against predefined values that were marked on the ammeter faces. With the advent of unmanned stations, faults and irregularities were identified by the transmission of the feeders sum indications. However if it was not possible to transmit information like an earth fault or a Buchholz-warning, an alternative possibility of communicating the occurrence of a fault was when the actual tripping of a line caused the customer suffering the outage to contact the utility to complain about the power cut.

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BeijingSifang June 2016