Multiple Partial Discharge Source Localization in Power Cables Through Power Spectral Separation and Time-Domain Reflectometry

G. Robles, M. Shafiq and J. M. Martínez-Tarifa, “Multiple Partial Discharge Source Localization in Power Cables Through Power Spectral Separation and Time-Domain Reflectometry,” in IEEE Transactions on Instrumentation and Measurement. doi: 10.1109/TIM.2019.2896553

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Abstract— Insulated power cables are becoming increasingly popular in today’s developing distribution and transportion networks. However, due to aging, deterioration, and various operational and environmental stresses, insulation defects may appear and so the cable needs to be monitored in a timely manner to avoid unexpected failures. Many of these defects are responsible for partial discharge (PD) activity. The localization of the sources of these discharges is a highly decisive facet in the condition-based monitoring of power cables. The techniques for the localization of single-PD defects in insulated power cables are well presented in the current bibliography. However, when several simultaneous PD sources are active, the localization of the sources becomes quite complex. This paper develops an efficient technique for the separation and localization of multiple PD sources in a medium voltage cable. The experimental results are obtained with single-end-based measurements using a high-frequency current transformer in a laboratory environment. The data processing based on the spectral characteristics of the signals is carried out by using the power ratios technique in order to determine the presence of different types of PD. Once the signals are separated, the PD sources can be localized with an individualized analysis of each source through time-domain reflectometry. The proposed methodology can be very valuable to improve the location diagnostic capability of the condition-based monitoring solutions, especially for underground cables.

Keywords— Condition monitoring; partial discharges (PDs); particle swarm optimization (PSO); power cables; signal characterization; signal propagation; spectral power ratios (PRs); time-domain reflectometry (TDR).

Online condition monitoring of MV cable feeders using Rogowski coil sensors for PD measurements

M. Shafiq, K. Kauhaniemi, G. Robles, M. Isa, L. Kumpulainen, “Online condition monitoring of MV cable feeders using Rogowski coil sensors for PD measurements”, Electric Power Systems Research, Volume 167, February 2019, Pages 150-162, ISSN 0378-7796,

Abstract— Condition monitoring is a highly effective prognostic tool for incipient insulation degradation to avoid sudden failures of electrical components and to keep the power network in operation. Improved operational performance of the sensors and effective measurement techniques could enable the development of a robust monitoring system. This paper addresses two main aspects of condition monitoring: an enhanced design of an induction sensor that has the capability of measuring partial discharge (PD) signals emerging simultaneously from medium voltage cables and transformers, and an integrated monitoring system that enables the monitoring of a wider part of the cable feeder. Having described the conventional practices along with the authors’ own experiences and research on non-intrusive solutions, this paper proposes an optimum design of a Rogowski coil that can measure the PD signals from medium voltage cables, its accessories, and the distribution transformers. The proposed PD monitoring scheme is implemented using the directional sensitivity capability of Rogowski coils and a suitable sensor installation scheme that leads to the development of an integrated monitoring model for the components of a MV cable feeder. Furthermore, the paper presents forethought regarding huge amount of PD data from various sensors using a simplified and practical approach. In the perspective of today’s changing grid, the presented idea of integrated monitoring practices provide a concept towards automated condition monitoring.

Keywords—Condition monitoring; Rogowski coil; Dielectric insulation; Partial discharge; Medium voltage cable; Transformer.

Partial Discharge Signal Propagation in Medium Voltage Branched Cable Feeder

M. Shafiq, K. Kauhaniemi, G. Robles, G. A. Hussain and L. Kumpulainen, “Partial discharge signal propagation in medium voltage branched cable feeder,” in IEEE Electrical Insulation Magazine, vol. 34, no. 6, pp. 18-29, November-December 2018.

doi: 10.1109/MEI.2018.8507714

Abstract— Rising global and regional electricity use is accelerating the need to upgrade networks. The adoption of sustainable ways of energy generation (renewables energy resources) is the top priority of today’s grid, and these resources are predominantly embedded within the distribution networks that are mostly connected by medium voltage (MV) cables. Driven by urbanization trends, negative land value impacts, public safety, environmental aesthetics, and network reliability, the resistance to overhead lines in distribution networks is gradually increasing in many countries. Either choosing the proactive path considering the operational superiority of underground cables compared with overhead lines or following the ongoing legislative policies, the use of cables has been increasing rapidly over the past 30 years. This trend is likely to accelerate.

Keywords— Power cables; Partial discharges; Power cable insulation; Cable shielding; Current measurement; Voltage measurement; Medium voltage; Condition monitoring; Cables; Branch; Joint; Diagnostic; Sensor},


Special Issue “UHF and RF Sensor Technology for Partial Discharge Detection”

Special Issue Information


Dear Colleagues,

Condition monitoring (CM) of high-voltage (HV) insulation systems is essential for establishing a correct diagnosis regarding the health of these costly and safety-critical industrial assets, as well as for implementing practical condition-based-maintenance (CBM) regimes. The assets being monitored may include rotating machines, power transformers, HV cables and accessories, air-insulated-substations (AIS), gas-insulated-switchgear (GIS) and overhead lines. Recent advances have seen widespread development of non-contact electromagnetic wave sensors for detecting and locating partial discharges and electrical arcs. These sensors play an important role in periodic testing, continuous monitoring or ‘fingerprinting’ of RF emissions from HV equipment. Practical applications of UHF and other RF techniques are leading to the development of new sensors and associated solutions for signal acquisition, processing, analysis and interpretation, which in turn require new approaches to decision making about the condition of assets being monitored.

The aim of this Special Issue is to report on recent advances relating to the following themes: (1) non-contact electromagnetic sensors (RF, UHF, near field, electric, magnetic, etc.) used for detecting signals emitted by insulation defects either internally, or external to the equipment in question; (2) practical methods for integrating these sensors into real equipment for use in condition monitoring; (3) case studies and examples of implementation of the techniques in an industrial or laboratory setting; (4) sensor models to support the design process or for predicting their response (using data-driven modeling approaches, for example); and (5) bridging the gap between condition monitoring research and subsequent decision making using these technologies, possibly in combination with other monitoring parameters.

Prof. Dr. Ricardo Albarracín
Prof. Dr. Martin D. Judd
Prof. Dr. Guillermo Robles
Prof. Dr. Pavlos Lazaridis
Guest Editors

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Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sensors is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs).

A combined algorithm approach for PD location estimation using RF antennas

J. M. Fresno, G. Robles, J. M. Martínez-Tarifa and B. G. Stewart, “A combined algorithm approach for PD location estimation using RF antennas,” 2017 IEEE Electrical Insulation Conference (EIC), Baltimore, MD, USA, 2017, pp. 384-387.
doi: 10.1109/EIC.2017.8004695

Abstract— To locate the positions of partial discharge sources in free space at least four RF antennas are arranged in a suitable
spatial geometry to detect the radiated electromagnet energy from the discharge. The time-difference-of-arrival (TDOA) between the signals from each antenna are then used within multi-lateration equations to determine the position of the source. The iterative Hyperbolic Least Squares (HLS) method and the non-iterative Maximum Likelihood Estimator (MLE) method are two common techniques used in the literature to solve the multi-lateration equations. This paper investigates the ability of combining MLE and HLS to improve location accuracy and maintain fast location computation time. To this end HLS, MLE and the combined MLEHLS method are evaluated in terms of location accuracy and computation performance for three spatial antenna configurations, namely Square, Pyramidal and Trapezoidal arrangements. The location accuracies for each method are evaluated for theoretical TDOA values and also for the case when a finite sampling rate of 10G samples-per-second is considered; the latter is implemented through appropriate rounding up of TDOA values by one sample time. It is shown that MLE-HLS produces improved location accuracy compared with HLS and MLE for both theoretical and finite sampled TDOA values. In addition, it is shown that MLE-HLS improves significantly the computation time over the iterative HLS method.

Keywords— Antenna theory; Mathematical model; Maximum likelihood estimation; Partial discharges; Position measurement; location algorithms; partial discharges; radio-frequency localization

Localización de Fuentes de Descargas Parciales en Instalaciones Eléctricas


UNIVERSIDAD DE CANTABRIA – 27 de abril de 2017

José Manuel Fresno, Guillermo Robles, y Juan Manuel Martínez-Tarifa.  E-Mails:, y

Departamento de Ingeniería Eléctrica. Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Avda. Universidad, 30, 28911, Leganés, Madrid, España

Enlace al póster.


  • La medida de descargas parciales (DP) permite llevar a cabo un mantenimiento predictivo en instalaciones eléctricas.
  • Las DP emiten una radiación electromagnética que puede ser medida con antenas para la localización de la fuente sin interrumpir el servicio de la instalación.


  • Actualmente, se usan al menos cuatro antenas situadas en distintos puntos para la localización de la fuente de DP.
  • Calculando la diferencia de los tiempos de llegada \tau_{ij} de la emisión a las antenas, y minimizando la función objetivo F se puede estimar la posición \hat{P}_s de la fuente de DP.


  • Se puede localizar fuentes de DP con sólo dos antenas siguiendo el procedimiento propuesto en este póster:
  • Para calcular la dirección (azimut y elevación) de la fuente de DP se deben orientar las antenas maximizando \tau_{12} y tomar datos en varias posiciones.Imagen4.pngImagen3
  • La distancia entre antenas se mantiene contante e igual a 2 m. Como la velocidad de propagación es c=3\times10^8 m/s, el máximo \tau_{12} es TDoA=2/c =6,67 µs.
  • La posición de la fuente de DP se define como la intersección de las direcciones calculadas en las posiciones donde se realizan las medidas.





  • Sistema de adquisición de señales de dos canales basado en una FPGA con un ADC de bajo coste.
  • Antenas monopolo omnidireccionales adaptadas para medir en la banda de frecuencias de las DP.


  • La nueva metodología permite localizar fuentes de DP con un sistema de adquisición de dos canales en lugar de cuatro.
  • La reducción de canales de adquisición reduce el precio y el peso del sistema de adquisición.


  • Es posible localizar fuentes de DP con un sistema de adquisición de dos canales.
  • Ubicando este equipo y las dos antenas en un vehículo aéreo no tripulado, se podría mejorar la exactitud de las medidas y por tanto de la localización.