Exploding Transformers (hurricane damage)

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They were showing on the news that transformers on poles were exploding. Why do they explode? I know that shorting causes this, but generally they are protected by fuses on the poles.
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On Sat, 24 Sep 2005 07:05:09 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@UNLISTED.com wrote:

A lot of time it is just the fuse that "explodes".
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Fuses make nice fire balls. If the fault comes faster than the fuse can blow then the transformer grenades. Which is generally REALLY spectacular.
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They just happened to be interviewing a woman stranded in her car in the middle of the hurricane, when a transformer blew right in view of the camera. It was VERY spectacular. Looked like fireworks. Everything went dark, except for the tv crew lights, and the reporter got rather excited, but immediately said it was a transformer. The AC hum was something else !!! I wish I could see that news clip again. Immediately after they showed a huge piece of roof steel entangled in the wires behind them. so that was most likely the cause. Those reporters are often pretty wreckless. What started out as a pretty mundane interview turned out quite spectacular. Of course those reporters love stuff like that....
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snipped-for-privacy@UNLISTED.com wrote:

I say clueless...
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Like all major storms, power is out to 1,000,000 people. Well, since they know that is going to happen, why don't they shut power off to the affected areas before hand, so they don't have to replace all the blown up transformers?
Is it a liability issue; they would be sued if they cut power, so they let nature do it?
We had a major ice storm here 14 years ago that took 2 weeks to recover from. Someone I knew went to a hill overlooking the town and watched the transformers blow up all over town; said it was spectacular.
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They have to be careful who they turn off. Some people are on life support equipment. Turning power off could kill them. When the power does go off, they are the first ones restored.
Stretch
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just because there are a lot of sparks etc, what makes you think that a __transformer__ blew up?
every see what a high voltage (not a 120 Volt line) line does when it touches the ground?
pretty spectacular
Mark
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Or they lied to the newspapers about what they were doing; I can't say which.
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restored by simply replacing fuses. The real problem is when the lines and poles are destroyed., That really takes time, money and labor.
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Or they just gave a 'simple answer' to the media. Better to just say something people can grasp instead of something they'll misinterpret. Telling them it's just a matter of manually resetting a breaker or replacing a fuse might encourage some jackass to start climbing up poles to do it himself and present a whole other rats nest of hassles.
In an ice storm you're screwed more by the weight on the wires pulling them down or loose from their connections. That sort of problem wouldn't be saved, really, by turning off the power. Think of it another way, if the power was off and the lines failed, when power was turned back on they'd still end up tripping or blowing something up. Better to have the dead spots already detected by letting them blow out rather than have to hunt them down one-by-one as you return power.
Fundamentally, unless the communities work to bury the lines properly there's not much worth doing. The balancing act of long-term reliability vs short-term trenching costs and disruptions always seems the end up the latter. People are too stupid to recognize the long-term benefits. As long as power doesn't go out 'too often' they only whine about it but do nothing to get it solved.
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On Sun, 25 Sep 2005 14:38:42 -0400, "wkearney99"

Burying wires is not a panacea, particularly if flooding is an issue. Undergrouind services are also a lot harder to troublershoot and fix when they do fail.
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Well, actually it does eliminate a sizable fraction of the weather-related outage causes pretty effectively. It isn't practical for really large lines nor for some areas for other reasons such as too much stuff already buried or too much infrastructure in the way that requires excessive initial cost, though...
Transmission cables can be traced pretty well w/ TDR, etc., for break location and so on and it's not that much worse to dig than it is to work up on a pole in freezing rain or high wind. Overall, I'd estimate it's about a wash...
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On Sun, 25 Sep 2005 21:20:24 -0500, Duane Bozarth

If your worst fear is trees or ice I agree, when it is 6 feet of salt water you really want those wires up on a pole.
It is also a lot easier to work in a bucket truck than to dig in a crowded right of way. You don't accomplish much if you fix the power line and take out a phone fiber.
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

But the six foot of salt water w/ storm surge takes the poles down anyway...
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On Sun, 25 Sep 2005 22:42:39 -0500, Duane Bozarth

Only if you are on the beach. Inland water comes up and goes down faitrly slow. The concrete poles will usually even hold up on the beach. In large parts of Florida (and other Gulf coast states) you also have a water table that is a few feet below ground, hence no basements. A manhole is a small swimming pool.
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No, not too stupid, just to cheap to pay for it.
Down he road from me there is a community of about 40 houses with underground wires. Problem is, they are fed with overhead wires that go down in a breeze so they are often without power. No one is willing to change it yet though. Not just reliability, just stop and look at the overhead mess in some areas of the city.
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Transformers can "blow up" if they have too much load put on them,there can be weak spots or stresses in the windings that fail under extreme loads. With those power levels,that is why they "blow up".
--
Jim Yanik
jyanik
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Could be from the pictures on the news showing transformers blowing up????
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

Could be the pictures actually show fuses blowing rather than transformers themselves???
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