Inverter-Embedded Partial Discharge Testing for Reliability Enhancement of Stator Winding Insulation in Low Voltage Machines

Hyeonjun Lee, Hanju Kim, Jigyun Jeong, Kibok Lee, Sang Bin Lee, Greg Stone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Partial discharge (PD) due to high dv/dt pulsewidth modulation has been identified as one of the leading causes of insulation failure in low voltage (LV) variable frequency drive (VFD) fed motors with random wound stator windings. With the recent increase in electrical stress with faster risetime wide bandgap power semiconductor devices and higher dc link voltage for higher efficiency and power density of the system, PD-induced insulation failures are expected to increase. Since LV motor insulation is not resistant to PD, an increasing number of VFD motors are being qualified for PD-free operation. However, the PD inception voltage of qualified motors decreases with insulation aging making LV motors susceptible to failure. In this article, an offline standstill test method is proposed for automated inverter-embedded PD testing under impulse excitation. The main concept is to perform the impulse PD test using the VFD at increased voltage levels for providing advanced warning of PD activity for preventing forced outage of VFD motors. Options for application of increased impulse test voltage and automated detection of PD for implementing the proposed concept are presented. Testing on an 800 V VFD driven motor shows that the proposed method can provide automated impulse PD testing whenever the motor is at standstill to warn the end user of impending PD activity that can lead to failure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2088-2096
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Transactions on Industry Applications
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 1972-2012 IEEE.


  • Ac motors
  • antennas
  • fault diagnostics
  • impulse testing
  • insulation testing
  • partial discharge
  • stator winding insulation
  • variable frequency drives

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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