The article considers questions of increase in reliability of devices of protection during the operation of electric locomotives in the conditions of low temperatures. The object of research is the main protection device of electric equipment of electric locomotive – the main switch which serviceability depends, to a greater degree, on the reliable functioning of the pneumatic actuator. The arrangement of the main switch on the electric locomotive defines its service conditions, under which condensate is inevitably formed in the device, especially during the winter period. One of key parameters determining technical condition of the pneumatic actuator is air, namely its temperature and humidity. The analysis of the causes of damages of the main switch design elements shows that the most common cause is the untimely drain of condensate which gets into the valve block, freezes and clogs the air ducts and the pneumatic actuator of the disconnector shaft. Therefore, when the switch activates, its operation is delayed and, as a result, there is a swing of an electric arc through the contacts of the disconnector knives. In case of a large amount of condensate in the pneumatic actuator, it is completely jammed and sent to an unscheduled repair.
In the course of researches, dependences of relative humidity on the air temperature in the pneumatic system of the main switch are obtained, i.e. temperature and humidity of air are determined, at which condensate occurs during the operation of electric locomotives. To eliminate moisture from the pneumatic system of the main switch, the authors offer an automatic condensate drain system. The proposed system will ensure reliable functioning of the main switch in the conditions of low temperatures and will reduce a probability of failures of the electric equipment of electric locomotives. The article is of interest to experts in the field of repair and maintenance of traction electric equipment of the electric rolling stock.
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