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Hager Earth Leakage Relay panel help on a biodiesel reactor

Hager Earth Leakage Relay panel help on a biodiesel reactor

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  #1  
Old 03-22-15, 10:04 PM
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Question Hager Earth Leakage Relay panel help on a biodiesel reactor

Hi all,

First post here from a total electrical newbie. Need you guys' professional opinion on something if possible.

I am currently in possession of a small batch biodiesel reactor (500 litres per batch) and we are running tests on it to convert used cooking oil into biodiesel. The reactor has been running fine for a while and to summarise the main electrical components on the reactor are basically consisted of pumps, chiller and heaters (the ones with big long heating elements).

Last week however whenever we turn on the reactor to do processing, it shut down by itself approximately 5 seconds after the heater are on. If we manually turn off the heaters, the reactor will continue running (pumps and chiller) but we couldn't do any process without the heaters.
So then I asked one of the field guys to look into it and late last week he managed to get the reactor running again with the heaters on. I asked him what did he do, and he said he just turned a knob in a small panel and it worked. Upon asking him for the specifics, he said he turned the left-hand side knob on the a panel like the one in this link : Earth leakage relays and toroids Hager
from its original position clockwise all the way to the right. So according to his information, he turned the left hand knob from 0.03 to 10.

Now I'm happy that the reactor is running again, however me being fairly unknowledgeable about the whole electrical field, what I want to ask is what is it exactly did he do and what consequences of doing it will have on the operation of the reactor? Should he not do what he did and turn the knob back to 0.03? If then the reactor shuts down again, what should we do?

Thank you very much for your patience to read my post and will be waiting for any opinion on this.

Cheers
Rizky from Indonesia
 
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  #2  
Old 03-22-15, 10:14 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

A highly technical question best answered by the engineers that designed that equipment but here's my take on your problem.

I could not download the PDF's from that site you linked to but it looks like that leakage relay has two settings on it. One is amount of allowed leakage and the other is time. It monitors an inbalance in the power line feeding the heating element and if it senses a leak above a certain setting it starts a timer running. If that leak stays there for xx time then the relay disconnects power.

This is telling me that one of your heating elements has a leak to ground. That is a very likely problem and does happen.

You would need to disconnect the heating elements and using an ohmmeter set on a high scale, Rx100k or Rx1meg, you should not see any continuity from either heating element connection terminal to ground. If the meter moves at all you have a leaky and technically defective element.

Your dealing with a very sophisticated GFI (ground fault interrupting) setup.

Here's what makes this type of monitoring critical to your operation. As a heating element develops an internal leak to ground ... the leak could get worse to the point where the element shorts to ground completely and actually explodes. Obviously with what you're doing that would be a major issue.
 
  #3  
Old 03-23-15, 01:50 AM
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Thanks PJMax for the quick and informative reply.

I tried posting some pics of the reactor and panel but the board prohibited me to do that. Maybe there's a minimum post count before I can post pics up?

Can you elaborate what might be causing the leakage? Is it prudent if I revert the settings back to what it was before (left knob at 0.03)? And if there is a leakage what steps we should take to rectify it?

Again many thanks for the reply.
 
  #4  
Old 03-24-15, 12:08 AM
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You should be able to post a pic or two or three. The DIY board limit is 50Kb a picture. It will resize slightly larger pictures down but won't resize gigantic pictures.

I can only give you generic info as I have no idea what type of heaters that unit uses.
The heating element is usually nichrome wire and is held in the center of the metal casing with an insulator. If the insulator shifts or if the tube develops a pinhole leak..... the nichrome wire will show continuity to the tubing.

I explained in the post above above how you need to test the elements.
 
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