Autonomous Sensor Network for Monitoring of Power Lines

The condition monitoring of power lines aims at the optimization of the capacity utilization of energy transport while guarantee hazard free operation. The sensor network of autonomously working sensor nodes developed in the project ASTROSE allows a decentralized monitoring of high-voltage transmission networks (110 kV, 220 kV and 380 kV). They measure the key parameters determining a cable’s maximum throughput – the inclination of the power lines, the temperature, the current flow and the wind movement. 

An ultra-low power micro controller collects the data from the sensors and controls the radio transceiver for the wireless communication in the 2.4 GHz ISM frequency band. Every 15 minutes, all data are wirelessly transmitted along the power line to the transformer station. There the data are fed in an internet-based remote maintenance system. Each sensor node is geographically localized and identified by its unique ID. The housing of the sensor node is made of PUR (Polyurethan). It contains the electronics, sensors, antennas and the antenna filter. All components are powered by the current of the electrical fringing field that surrounds the conductor wires. A capacitive MEMS inclination sensor detects both, the sag of the power line and its oscillation caused by wind motion. In order to avoid partial discharges slot antennas are used that distribute the 50 Hz electric field. The antenna filter avoids the influence of interfering signals cause by partial discharge.