Distribution Automation Communications

Project 3.3
Distribution Automation: Sensors and
Condition Monitoring
Prof Julian Meng,Prof Eduardo Castillo Guerra,
U. New Brunswick
Introduction: Project 3.3
• Development of smart wireless sensor networks for substation monitoring.
• Test the sensor prototype modules under realistic
operating conditions.
• Deployment of low-cost re-configurable wireless sensors
for monitoring overall microgrid health.
Wireless Sensor Platform
• IEEE 802.15.4 ZigBee based sensors (ISM frequency
2.4 GHz) are initially being considered.
• Impulsive noise from partial discharge and sferic
radiation (e.g. high current transients) makes a substation particularly challenging.
• Previous research has shown that ZigBee sensors
“can” work in this environment.
Wireless Sensor Platform
• Other protocols: DigiMesh, WirelessHART, 6LoWPAN, etc.
“open vs proprietary”, “flexibility”, “security”, “energy
• System Access: IEEE P1451 (re: Project 3.1, Dr. Michelson)
• Generic re-configurable sensors to monitor:
– Channel interference hot spots
– Environmental conditions
– Vibration, Shock
– Faults
– Circuit breaker status
Wireless Sensor Platform Examples
Embed’s sensor prototype development platform
and Libelium’s Waspmote
Way Forward
• Test/measurement system for evaluating sensor
network performance.
• ZigBee simulation analysis -> noise limiting situation.
• RF radiation measurements in a sub-station
environment: NB Power and Saint John Energy.
• Sensor packaging for outdoor environments –>
simplicity in deployment (what is commercially available
Way Forward
• Smart sensor configuration:
= microcontroller + sensor module + transducers
• Connections with other projects: Project 1.3 (Dr. Xu),
Project 3.1 (Dr. Michelson), Project 3.4 (Dr. Farhangi)
Thank you
UNB Team: Dr. Julian Meng, Dr. Eduardo Castillo
Guerra, Tristan Losier, AB Kar, Yandy Perez Ramos

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