A surge generator is a transient immunity test system that produces short, high-voltage surges. Surge generators can be classified as impulse voltage generators or impulse current generators. High impulse currents are needed to conduct tests on equipment including lightning arresters, plasma devices, and equipment used in thermonuclear fusion.
Surge Generators And Combination Wave Generators
Surge generators send out surge waves, also known as combination waves - powerful spikes in voltage or current. Surge pulses cause electrical devices to short-circuit or malfunction. A combination wave generator creates a composite from two waves that form together. The combination wave must account for direction, amplitude, and phase. Test engineers rent surge generators to determine the immunity of a component or system during EMC testing.
Eliminating sources of EMI in product design and achieving EMC compliance is essential to ensuring electrical substations will continue to provide power, even in extreme cases like lightning strikes. Combination wave generators have different output voltage ranges that comply with test requirements. Surge voltages can reach several thousands of volts and surge currents can reach several thousands of amps.
Also known as transients, the dangers from a surge can depend on the source of a voltage spike. When testing with a surge or combination wave generator, it's key to simulate the correct surge transients for your electrical component.
Switching and Lightning Transients
Common causes of surge pulse or combo wave transients include both lightning strikes and electrical switching. A lightning strike, whether it hits an electrical system directly or travels indirectly via wiring, can result in a surge transient. Electrical switching generates transients when connected loads are altered, due to insulation failure, or other miscellaneous faults, and occurs when one load is switched on and the fault causes a surge of energy to travel to other devices.
Inductive and Magnetic Coupling
The electricity flowing through an electrical component creates a magnetic field. That magnetic field can reach and affect the wiring within a component, causing a surge. Equipment such as air conditioning units and computers are most susceptible to inductive or magnetic coupling surges.
Electrostatic Discharge (ESD)
A surge risk that can come from human contact, an electrostatic discharge can still greatly affect the component and person. Even when unaware of their discharge, a person can induce a low voltage ESD event that causes permanent damage to a device.
Lighting Surge Generators
As opposed to low-voltage testing, surge generator testing pushes both coils and turns to their performance limits. A direct or even indirect lightning strike can create high voltage transients that spread across all conductive elements.
While modern electrical components are often built to protect from lightning strikes, a surge generator can ensure every component is adequately protected. A lightning surge generator simulates the effects of indirect lightning strikes when a power line or source in the area is struck. Although less harmful than direct lightning, the indirect strike can destroy insulation and wiring.
This surge generator conducts lightning simulation testing to expose any insulation failures and the resulting dangers. The surge testing ensures component safety for use in various industries like automotive, telecommunications, military, and aviation. A lightning surge generator is also needed to meet these key test standards
Surge Wave Test Standards
Evaluation of the ability of test equipment to handle a variety of surges that can be anticipated to occur in low-voltage AC power systems or the way that the surge protective device deals with pulses, can be facilitated by industry test standards:
ATEC offers affordable surge generator rental rates for products from leading manufacturers like Haefely
, EMC Partner
, and EM Test