Alternative Test Methods for Monitoring the Condition of Brushless Exciters in Synchronous Machines

Hanju Kim, Muhammad Faizan Shaikh, Sang Bin Lee, Carlos Antonio Platero, Taehyung Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although brushless excitation systems in synchronous machines have reduced the maintenance requirements and brush-related failures, they have increased the operating stresses on the excitation system components. Since the rotating excitation system is not accessible, it is difficult to detect excitation system failures such as open circuit diodes or open armature windings to prevent degradation in machine performance and reliability. Detection of such failures currently relies on monitoring the magnitude and harmonic content of the exciter field current. However, it is desirable to improve the reliability of fault detection with multiple test methods, considering the high cost of brushless exciter testing and repair due to the requirement of machine outage/disassembly. In this work, alternative off-line testing and on-line monitoring options are proposed for detection of excitation system failures. An off-line test based on ac excitation of the exciter field and on-line monitoring based on stator current and airgap flux analysis, are investigated, and fault indicators sensitive to excitation system failures are proposed for reliable fault monitoring. An experimental study on 3.8, 5.5, and 30 kW synchronous machines is given to validate the claims on the sensitivity and reliability of the proposed test methods.

Original languageEnglish
JournalIEEE Transactions on Energy Conversion
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022


  • Airgap Flux
  • Armature Winding
  • Brushless Excitation
  • Circuit faults
  • Diode Rectifier
  • Fault Diagnostics
  • Monitoring
  • Open Circuit
  • Rectifiers
  • Spectral Analysis
  • Stator Current
  • Synchronous Machines
  • Synchronous machines
  • Voltage
  • Voltage control
  • Windings

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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