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Feed Me A StrayCat

Registered: 08/31/02
Posts: 202
Last seen: 10 years, 10 months
Transformer Overflow
    #4489356 - 08/03/05 01:08 PM (12 years, 8 months ago)

I had a few people over last night and as we were chatting it up we started seeing really bright flashes outside. Power was surging for some reason and electric arcs were shooting out a part of it. So damn cool. It happened about 15 times and then caught on fire. We called the fire department and then continued to enjoy the show. Fire started dripping down onto the ground and eventually lit the base of the pole on fire. The fire dept ended up letting it burn out and then used a fire extinguisher. Then pepco came and turned off our power for the rest of the night. Damn them.

So why science and technology? Because I was wondering if anyone knew more about electricity than I do. I was an electricians apprentice for a while and a fairly good physics student but I cant figure out why the current arced the way it did. You know those rubber stoppers just outside of the transformer? It arced between those. This is a pretty bad post but I really want to know. If yall dont find this interesting, lets talk about EMPs.

Gaia, as you awaken, I heal myself. As I awaken, you are healed.

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User of semicolons.
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Registered: 07/18/04
Posts: 23,015
Loc: Suburbia
Re: Transformer Overflow [Re: LittleBen]
    #4503321 - 08/06/05 10:22 AM (12 years, 8 months ago)

That's definitely one of the coolest things to watch. That happened at my house too! The sound of a transformer exploding across from your house is a sound you can't forget....sounds something like, "BBBBVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVTTTTTZZZZZZZRRRRRRRVVFT" lol. Showers of sparks and smell of burning metal not uncommon.

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Registered: 09/07/02
Posts: 4,347
Last seen: 6 years, 9 months
Re: Transformer Overflow [Re: Newbie]
    #4517903 - 08/10/05 01:21 PM (12 years, 8 months ago)

Mabey do a search on Jacob's Ladder and science projects. Same funkin thing I would guess, except its under controle.

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The Duk Abides

Registered: 05/17/03
Posts: 94,392
Loc: Earthfarm 1 Flag
Re: Transformer Overflow [Re: LittleBen]
    #4517964 - 08/10/05 01:39 PM (12 years, 8 months ago)

I would say it's just a simple matter of the insulator breaking down over time. Those transformers have about 13,000 volts running to them and I don't know how many amperes, but I'm sure there's a great potential there.....

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tangential derivation
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Registered: 04/17/01
Posts: 20,633
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Re: Transformer Overflow [Re: LittleBen]
    #4518086 - 08/10/05 02:17 PM (12 years, 8 months ago)

I think it may have something to do with what is called "core saturation" of the transformer.

Core saturation (if I'm correct) is when the power levels inside the transformer (specifically, the magnetic flux levels) reach the maximum level that the transformer's inductor can carry. This can happen if more power (amperage) is used on the secondary than the transformer is designed to provide.

I know if you do this on a small transformer (like the kind you find in most electronics) it can result in an immediate destruction of the transformer with smoke and maybe even some sparking. I suspect something along the same lines is responsible for a lot of transformer (pole-pigs) failures in the power system (ie: too many people running those ACs!).

On the other hand, I think there are some special types of transformers that are supposed to have core saturation occur - without failing - so I could be completely wrong about all this :smirk:

Once, men turned their thinking over to machines in the hope that this would set them free.
But that only permitted other men with machines to enslave them.

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General Interest >> Science and Technology

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