As electricity flows along power lines, a number of unforeseen occurrences—from fallen tree branches to lightning strikes—can interrupt the delivery. To protect overhead power distribution systems from such disruptions, utility companies rely on recloser controllers placed at different points along the network.

Many short-circuits that occur on overhead lines are able to resolve themselves. However, recloser controllers improve service continuity by automatically restoring power after a momentary fault, such as the fallen tree branch and lighting strike examples I’ve mentioned. They basically detect and interrupt momentary faults in smart grid environments.The intent is for the grid to heal itself instead of conceding to a fault, which would require a technician to diagnose and resolve the problem.

Recloser controllers can help keep the lights on when a lightning strike hits a power line.

There are several important features to consider when designing recloser controllers:

  • High accuracy in sensing the powerline
  • Isolation for reliable system operation
  • Support for multiple power supplies
  • Robust communications

Analog building blocks play critical roles in recloser controller design. A typical design usually consists of a variety of system power, voltage monitoring, supervisory, and communication circuits.In addition to the features noted previously, other design considerations include wide voltage protection range, low power dissipation, and small form factor. How do you ensure that you’ve chosen the right parts? Read my blog post, “Recloser Controllers Maintain Smart Grid Uptime,” to learn more about selecting the right analog components for your next design.

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