Novel Methods for Arcing Fault Detection and Location in Power Distribution Systems

Frank Zoko Ble

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


Conventional power system protection functions mainly deal with currents and voltages associated with faults and most protection devices monitor current, voltage, or impedance against critical setting values. However, in many arc fault conditions of earlier stage, the arc associated current amount is under the setting of relays, and subsequently the arc continues to burn undetected. Power arc generates electromagnetic signals. Radiation producing power arcs can originate from different sources and causes, like due to tree leaning on energized conductors, downed conductor or broken insulators. This thesis first investigates the characteristics of these electromagnetic signals and then examines algorithms for arc fault location using laboratory produced arcs. Using strategically placed antennas the electric arc electromagnetic (EM) radiation can be detected at remote distance and, to some extent, the arc source location can also be determined. This work investigates feasibility of detecting and locating the actual arc source point in 3D Cartesian plane through the multiple radiation detection and location methods. In this study the following six different arcing fault detection and location methods are compared in pinpointing electric arc electromagnetic (EM) sources in power systems: cross-correlation method (XCORR), first peak of arrival method (FPA), leading edge of first arrival peak method (LEFAP), energy attenuation method (ENERGY) or inverse square method, angle of arrival method (AoA), and wavelet analysis (WAVELET). It is evident that the interpretation of the results based on these six methods depends to some extent on statistical methods; therefore, the methods undergo statistical analysis evaluation in order to determine a suitable power arc location algorithm which can be used in real field measurements. Specifically, analysis of variance (ANOVA) and multiple linear regressions (MLR) are applied for statistical estimation and for comparison of the results with the actual source point. The results show that it is feasible for the six methods, using the radiated signals from arcing fault, to detect and locate the arcing source with a reasonable accuracy. The cross-correlation among these proposed methods shows a better potential in clarifying the electric arc source position when compared with other algorithms.
Translated title of the contributionNovel Methods for Arcing Fault Detection and Location in Power Distribution Systems
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
  • Lehtonen, Matti, Supervising Professor
  • Lehtonen, Matti, Thesis Advisor
Print ISBNs978-952-60-7689-8
Electronic ISBNs978-952-60-3743-1
Publication statusPublished - 2017
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


  • arcing fault
  • earth fault
  • fault location
  • power distribution


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