How to Perform a Pickup Test


How to Perform a Pickup Test

This video will introduce you to just a few of the many options you have for pickup testing that do NOT require settings changes inside the relay.

Click “Mark Complete” below after watching the video so you can keep track of your progress.

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Matthew Connellan May 4, 2017 at 11:11 am

Once again, this depends on customer requirements. You must be living on the west coast I presume, because all east coast utilities require Doble test plans submitted and these test plans require passing marks in the test plan, which is impossible without making a pickup a controlled output. Saying “the light was more on than off” is not acceptable.

Chris Werstiuk (Administrator) May 4, 2017 at 5:56 pm

Thanks again for your comment, but I completely disagree with just about every part of it. I have read A LOT of relay testing specifications and trained relay testing personnel from all over the world. Most commissioning test specifications:

• State that the relay must be tested
• A smaller subset specify that the enabled elements must be tested
• An even smaller subset specifies that the relay contacts, inputs, and analog I/O must be tested
• An even smaller subset specifies the logic must be tested
• An even smaller subset specifies that you must perform a pickup test and a timing test with more than one timing test on inverse elements.

I have yet to read a single testing specification that gave specific testing instructions beyond this.

In fact, this comment is related to other complaints that other relay testers have about NERC testing like:
• Test reports have to be generated by test-sets and computers
• You have to re-test all your CTs within a certain time frame
• Relay testers have to be certified

None of these statements are true from NERC. I usually ask the person who tells me that something is required (like “I have to test this relay a certain way”) to show me the document where the requirement comes from. I’ve yet to see a single document. Feel free to send me yours. I truly would like to see one of these unicorns if anyone else reading this has a relay testing specification that goes to this level of detail.

Now let’s look at each of your statements in order:

“all east coast utilities require Doble test plans”
I worked for a Doble competitor and we sold, and lost orders to competing test-sets that weren’t Doble, to several east coast utilities. Not everyone uses Doble. In fact, Enoserv/RTS opened the door for competing test sets in many large utilities across North America. If you go even further afield to Europe, they are building universal testing standards in organizations similar to IEEE that only specify dynamic testing.

“and these test plans require passing marks in the test plan, which is impossible without making a pickup a controlled output”
The videos in this seminar show you several ways to perform pickup tests that do not require re-programming outputs, such as:

• Dynamic testing (Con Edison, a NY utility, actually pioneered this style of testing in North America. Their papers around 2007 on the topic allowed me to confidently start applying dynamic testing to everything I did. Before I had justification in these papers, I was afraid of the customer questions (That never occurred) you mentioned in your earlier comment.
• Replacing the contact with your eyes, ears, and hands.
• Manually saving the values (Doble has a great series of macros called creep I, V, F that allow you to do this. We demonstrate how to do it with Manta and Omicron in these videos. Enoserv/RTS has the functionality to add it to any test when the simulate button doesn’t appear automatically)

“Saying “the light was more on than off” is not acceptable”
As I stated before, your test procedure requirements probably don’t have that level of detail. If there are no specifications for things like sense delay, sense duration, debounce, ramp rate, contact programming, relay programming, etc., I can make my test result be anything I want them to be with no-one being the wiser. Don’t like the result you get with the first pulse your automated test set records, add some debounce. Anyone can pencil whip any test regardless of how the test is performed. Adding debounce is probably more accurate because the relay actually doesn’t start timing until the light is more on than off. A manual determination is definitely more accurate.

“utilities require Doble test plans”
In fact, I had a customer who had a requirement similar to your initial complaint. They wanted me to use a Doble test-set to do the maintenance testing on their relays because they would know that “the relay was tested correctly and they’d get a report of the tests” Normally I would have just refused the job, but I was doing a favor for a friend and didn’t want to make waves for him. So I borrowed a Doble test-set and started performing dynamic tests on their generator relays. It turns out I found a whole bunch of problems with the relays they had no idea they had. After several conference calls with the design engineers from the utility and the generator manufacturer, we got all the problems resolved. They asked me why the previous relay testers didn’t find the problems before, and I explained why standard testing doesn’t work. Another maintenance interval came around three years later and they asked me to come back and do the testing. I told them I didn’t want to because of the Doble requirement, and suddenly Doble test-sets were no longer required. I went back there several more times and they would call me before scheduling multi-million dollar maintenance periods to make sure they fit my schedule, as several of my customers did. Why didn’t they require Doble testing after that job? Why didn’t they just hire a local Doble tester who would jump to their schedule instead of jumping through my hoops?

In the end, this seminar is to help relay testers become craftsmen instead of button pushers.

Feel free to contact [email protected] to request a full refund if you don’t think this seminar is right for you.

Matthew Connellan May 5, 2017 at 7:44 am

I am not saying this isn’t a valuable course. Quite the opposite actually. I agree with all of the philosophies you espouse and have for a long time. I WISH I could test this way, as this is the way I used to test when I was in Washington and Arizona.

I am glad that you are the LeBron James of relay testing and can get multi-million dollar utilities to change their requirements for you, but that’s not a practical approach. I do dynamic relay testing and find all the problems you would (well maybe not all since I have not been doing this as long as you have, clearly since you’re giving the training and I’m taking it) but in the end I’m going to do it the way the customer wants, spec or no spec.

Maybe next job I will use this method to record pickup and see if anyone makes a fuss. Maybe they won’t. It certainly is smarter and faster.

Chris Werstiuk (Administrator) May 6, 2017 at 8:28 am

Glad to hear you’re sticking around.

I encourage you to try performing smarter tests. Like I mentioned in my comment, I was afraid of what the customers would say as I transitioned to newer test techniques. It turned out to be a non-issue.

I’ve started my first relay commissioning right after I finished this seminar and it was Siemens relay 7sj62 really the seminar was so useful for me and also the handbook for relay testing thank you so much Chriss for this great opportunity that you gave to me cause i was tired looking for online training luckily I find theses courses of yours thanks again

Chris Werstiuk (Administrator) August 23, 2017 at 3:35 pm

That’s great news! Congratulations. Thanks for letting me know!

I’ve never used a Manta only Doble and Megger, but are you able to have formal PDF test results showing the test’s you ran and showing that the relay passed the test? Or are your results only hand written as completed and passed? Just curious cause the Utilities Ive worked for (AEP and Duke) require the formal results showing passed test.

Chris Werstiuk (Administrator) April 11, 2018 at 9:01 am

All test sets have some form of reporting feature. Some, like Protection Suite, require that you use a Macro or automated test procedure. Manta allows you to record any test that you run from any window and then export the tests into a windows program to organize and print. I’m not sure what the limits of Megger are. I used spreadsheets because they’re typically better looking and more flexible.

Hi Chris, I like your practical approach to doing things. After reading your comments on the pick up test. I started to wonder about testing simple relays that has no whatsoever pickup indicator/output at all accept a trip signal. They do allow IDMT/DT setting by dial. How would you suggest testing these relays? I remember coming across some circuit breakers with such built-in features & hey Chris…would be nice if the comment section could allow inserting pictures.

Chris Werstiuk (Administrator) July 27, 2021 at 7:59 am

I don’t see a point in testing a pickup setting that can’t be adjusted and doesn’t have a obvious pickup display, especially if it is a digital relay where the pickup and time delay are interlinked.

I’ll add an attachment feature to the comments section this weekend.

Thanks for the suggestion.

Chris Werstiuk (Administrator) August 2, 2021 at 7:31 pm

You should be able to add attachments now.

Wonderful, thanks Chris.

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