GridSense has developed a maintenance-free and batteryless underground vault and switch monitor for a U.S. Department of Energy-sponsored project. This self-powered system will allow utilities to cost-effectively monitor dead-front transformers, underground feeders and any other areas of the grid where alternating-current power supply is not available.

A major California utility sought a cost-effective method for collecting actionable intelligence from hard-to-reach dead front or underground assets. To meet the need, GridSense engineered its new current transformer (CT) power supply for the TransformerIQ transformer monitoring solution. The new power supply draws parasitically from insulated cables, thus allowing TransformerIQ to monitor hard-to-reach distribution circuits without an additional potential transformer or a maintenance-dependent battery.

This solution can increase network reliability with always-on monitoring for previously unmonitored assets. Unlike battery-powered monitors that power-up only to signal a fault, the new power supply provides continuous data. Previously, customers wouldn't know if a battery-powered monitor had failed until a fault had occurred that monitor didn't recognize. However, the GridSense CT power supply provides a steady stream of information from TransformerIQ; customers always know there is a monitoring solution at work.

The batteryless power supply is designed for easy retrofit on assets from padmount switches to submerged applications. It can also power demanding mesh radios as well as other communications devices to wirelessly transmit TransformerIQ data to the control center.

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