How to Detect and Solve the Underground Cable Faults?

Cables are the core of any type of power distribution and transmission system. The function and the performance of the system highly depend on the cables used. The biggest threat to these cables usually comes as the faults, which produces hazardous results. The risk achieves more height in the case of underground systems.

When it comes to maintaining the high performance of these power systems, the process includes the detection and solution of faults.




Detection process of faults in underground cable system

There are several ways to detect the faults in this scenario.

1. The process of Thumping

Thumping asks to introduce a high voltage current on one side of the cable. This high voltage current reaches the faulty area and creates a high current arc. The arc is responsible for creating a strong thump sound which can be heard above the ground easily. Though very effective, the process has some negative points. Accessing the high voltage for this type of low-medium priority testing is really difficult. Plus, when it comes to long cables, the process doesn’t really work well.

2. The process of sectionalizing

This method calls for a lot of effort and requires a good amount of man labor. The cables need to be dug up from the ground. Then, small sections are cut of these cables, which are tested one by one to find out the faulty piece. This method is considered very destructive and impractical in front of the other available methods.

3. The process of transmitting and receiving

An AC generator is used to send signal currents to the underground system. This current creates and electromagnetic field in different sections of the cable, which can be detected by the receiver above the ground. The method is really easy and practical. It is also very famous due to its resistance reading capacity of the cable circuit.

4. The process of pulse echoes

The pulse-echo method is the most accurate method of fault detection in underground cables. It includes a pulse of radio frequency that is sent through one end of the cable. The frequency travels along the cable unrestricted until there is a fault in the line. The faulty area sends the frequency back to the receiver, which detects the distance of the fault through the traveled time of the frequency.

By pairing the time with the material of the cable, the tester can easily detect the exact location of the fault.


The best method of solving these faults is by using high-quality cable protection materials and products.

Protection of cables in the underground power system

To protect the system from faults, it is very important to use underground distribution switches, fuses, cable jointing kits, and other protection products. There are also some methods of the underground cable assembly, like pad-mounted vacuum fault interrupters, pad-mounted fused switches, and pad-mounted remote controlled breakers that protect the cables from faults.

Hence, by using the right product and methods, the underground faults can be detected and resolved easily.
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