The Field Test Monitoring Program (FTM) was developed and administrated during the first six months of 1996 in order to evaluate the performance of Zlanís new technology. Several prototype models known as the DE Breaker were assembled. In addition, computer monitoring equipment and software were designed to test and evaluate the validity and reliability of the many key features of the DE Circuit Breaker.
FTM Test Sites
Field test sites were selected that would provide typical residential or professional office building electrical circuits, offering a high level of activity and a variety of applications such as garbage disposals,
microwave ovens, treadmills, washing machines, copy machines, etc. Owners of prospective test sites were sought that would lend strong credibility and objectivity to the FTM Program. Insurance executives, city officials, fire marshals, owners of professional buildings, etc. were all recruited to participate in the program.
The DE Breaker was installed in series with the test sites' existing circuit breaker so that the present level of circuit overload protection was not diminished. Once installed, the DE Breaker was connected to an on-site computer for data storage. By way of a modem connection, data from the selected circuit could be periodically downloaded throughout the 30 to 60 day field test period.
Test Data Parameters
More than a dozen different parameters were designed to be data logged with an update rate of 500 milliseconds. Data were also logged whenever 'events' occurred, where an event is defined as a parameter shift greater than a specified threshold. The raw data were saved on the hard drives of both the monitoring computer at the site location and through periodic modem transfers to Zlan's Laboratory. The main parameters were filtered and displayed in graphical form for analysis.
Test sites were operational for 24 hours a day for a six to eight week period. Refinements were made throughout the test period and a representative cross section of the activity was collected on each circuit. The data collected were both continuous and comprehensive providing a significant population of data for interpretation.
Analysis of the database shows that:
- Data collected on circuits in older model homes, where old appliances were in use, produced some high arcing conditions. This data provided information enabling improvements in the Arc Detection Feature.
- The overall database provided useful information concerning the margin of safety for various electrical appliances and the program trip curve.
- The data logging features designed into the circuit
breaker proved to be very useful in collecting data at the various site locations.
- Transferring data to our office via modem was much more convenient than visiting each site periodically.
In conclusion, the Field Test Monitoring Program served as a valuable data input, and to validate Zlanís DE Circuit Breaker's overall design objectives.