Wind energy: Safe signal transmission due to surge protection module
Due to their altitude and often exposed location on hills, ridges, etc., wind turbines are frequent targets of lightning strikes. The strike passes through the entire system and affects the components and electrical systems. However, not only direct lightning strikes, but also strikes in the immediate vicinity of the turbine and the connected supply networks can lead to malfunctions or failures of sensitive electronic components. By contrast, a consistent lightning and surge protection concept avoids expensive downtime and repairs. Thus, it contributes to a performance that allows the turbines to pay for themselves in the intended time.
For transient protection of common signals in the field of control and regulation technology HARTING has developed the Han-Modular® Surge Protection Module in cooperation with the company Dehn + Söhne, who are specialists in the field of lightning and surge protection. In a wind turbine’s lightning protection concept, the module can be considered as the last small element in an extended arrestor system, ranging from the large arrestors on the blade and the transition points over the tower as Faraday cage to the protective devices for frequency converters, control cabinets, measuring and control equipment.
The insert is part of an entire modular connector and protects the adjacent systems or circuits from transient surges. If the transient – caused by a lightning strike or electromagnetic charges – enters the electronical system, it will already be dissipated in the connector by the Surge Protection Module within the housing. The further spread of the transient is prevented, downstream systems are protected against interference or damage.
The surge protection module uses several protection elements such as gas arrestors, suppressor diodes and resistors. If a transient surge occurs, the protective elements ensure a coordinated derivation of the disturbance variable.
The upstream surge protection opens up further possibilities of cost and space savings in the connected systems. In a control cabinet, for example, the applied voltage peak is derived via the connector and the switch cabinet housing. No further elements are needed to protect the control cabinet. The Surge Protection Module thus saves space and additional costs.
In wind turbine areas protected from transient surges, signals can be transmitted interference-free. Properly used, the module reduces the amount of downtime disturbances of signal communication, it prolongs the machine’s service life by improving uptime and protecting sensitive electronic devices.