Broadway went dark tonight it seems

SteveB

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Mar 20, 2004
Location
Brooklyn, NY
No, nobody famous died.

There was an electrical outage early in the evening, still going on, took out a huge chunk of the Broadway district (pretty much ALL of the district, plus Lincoln Center area. Manhole underground electrical distribution went up in flames.

Besides the fact that Times Square pretty much went dark, subways stopped, elevators got stuck, etc.... I’m guessing that 80-90 percent of B-Dway was dark as well. Lot of ticket income lost.
 

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JohnD

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JD

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Media never gives us the gory details! (following from a closed industry forum) Specifically, a transformer in the >100MVA class used to drop HV to MV shorted one of it's windings and decided to turn all that power into heat. It immediately turned all it's oil into vapor and ignited it. Unfortunately, as the substation was underground, the resulting explosion and fire took out the needed control lines that would have allowed a backup to be brought online. Fire had to be put out and other equipment cleaned before #2 could be brought online.
Sample winding short on similar transformer: (From autopsy. This one did not ignite.)
t1.jpg
 

SteveB

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Mar 20, 2004
Location
Brooklyn, NY
Media never gives us the gory details! (following from a closed industry forum) Specifically, a transformer in the >100MVA class used to drop HV to MV shorted one of it's windings and decided to turn all that power into heat. It immediately turned all it's oil into vapor and ignited it. Unfortunately, as the substation was underground, the resulting explosion and fire took out the needed control lines that would have allowed a backup to be brought online. Fire had to be put out and other equipment cleaned before #2 could be brought online.
Sample winding short on similar transformer: (From autopsy. This one did not ignite.)
View attachment 18199
Hmmm...... seems like a bad location for the control lines that enable you to switch to the backup. But it’s not like Con-Ed has a lot of choice in the vaults and space they have for an ever expanding need for power.
 

JD

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Jan 1, 2005
Location
North Wales PA
Hmmm...... seems like a bad location for the control lines that enable you to switch to the backup. But it’s not like Con-Ed has a lot of choice in the vaults and space they have for an ever expanding need for power.
Each transformer has several CT windings that measure current. The control equipment will not allow you to bring on a second transformer that is in parallel unless it can confirm the first is off line. Sounds like the primary protection would not release based on the press release Con Ed put out. "After the "Fault" (read as exploding transformer) occurred"
I personally love the "dialed back" press releases given out by utilities! They don't want people frightened by all that stuff that's right under there feet, or hanging from a pole above their heads! What was that they said back in 79 about TMI? Oh yea, "a cooling error."

Picture below. Note how many CT monitor windings they use!

hv-ct.jpg
 
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TimMc

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Feb 15, 2017
I will point out that Federal Pacific Electric was sued/regulated out of existence because more than half of their 30 amp 2 pole circuit breakers would not open when presented with a full short. They made a bunch of single pole breakers that didn't open, but you stood a better chance as only 35% of them were defective. Their panel boards (breaker boxes) also had some kind of design or materials flaw IIRC. Homes and businesses burned to the ground because of these so one might say that FPE has a track record of "Joan of Arc" impersonations.

Note the cooling oil capacity of this transformer's tank - over 10,000 gallons. The weight is over 230,000 lbs, 72,000 of which is the cooling. It's probably close to 50 years old, too.
 
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SteveB

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Mar 20, 2004
Location
Brooklyn, NY
FPE as well made breaker panels whose breakers were closed and power energized, when the handle was towards the outside of the panel, completely opposite of about every other manufacturers panel. They deserved to go out of business for that feature alone.
 
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