Energy monitor can find electrical failures before they happen

March 28, 2019 //By Wisse Hettinga
Energy monitor can find electrical failures before they happen
Sensor can monitor wiring in a building or ship, and signal when repairs are needed.

A new system devised by researchers at MIT can monitor the behaviour of all electric devices within a building, ship, or factory, determining which ones are in use at any given time and whether any are showing signs of an imminent failure. 

The system uses a sensor that simply is attached to the outside of an electrical wire at a single point, without requiring any cutting or splicing of wires. From that single point, it can sense the flow of current in the adjacent wire, and detect the distinctive “signatures” of each motor, pump, or piece of equipment in the circuit by analyzing tiny, unique fluctuations in the voltage and current whenever a device switches on or off. The system can also be used to monitor energy usage, to identify possible efficiency improvements and determine when and where devices are in use or sitting idle.

The technology is especially well-suited for relatively small, contained electrical systems such as those serving a small ship, building, or factory with a limited number of devices to monitor.  The system is designed to be easy to use with little training. The computer dashboard features dials for each device being monitored, with needles that will stay in the green zone when things are normal, but swing into the yellow or red zone when a problem is spotted.

More information on this new development can be found at https://news.mit.edu/2019/energy-monitor-find-electrical-failures-0322


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