The performance of a passive autoranging method for a photonic current transducer

Fusiek, Grzegorz and Mir, Burhan and Niewczas, Pawel (2024) The performance of a passive autoranging method for a photonic current transducer. Sensors, 24 (10). 3183. ISSN 1424-8220 (

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This paper reports on the testing and evaluation of a passive autoranging (AR) method designed to dynamically extend the measurement range of a photonic current transducer (PCT) to pave the way toward a realization of a combined metering- and protection-class current sensor. The PCT utilizes a current transformer (CT), a piezoelectric transducer (PZT), and a fiber Bragg grating (FBG) to enable current measurement at multiple points in an electrical power network whereby multiple sensors are deployed and interrogated serially using a single optical fiber. The autoranging technique relies on incorporating static MOSFET switches to instantaneously short individual serially connected CT burdens in response to a measured current magnitude exceeding pre-set thresholds. The AR circuit switching events produce distinctive signal features that are used by the proposed switching algorithm to apply appropriate scaling factors to reconstruct the measured current from the optical signal. It is shown through laboratory experiments that the AR circuit correctly reacts to pre-set burden current thresholds of 130% of the nominal value and 22 times the nominal value, signifying its “metering” and “protection” range boundaries. The circuit reaction time is below 4 ms, rendering it suitable for standard power system protection purposes. Moreover, the operation of the AR circuit is demonstrated for burden currents of up to 100 A for over 1 s, satisfying a test procedure for the secondary CT circuit, as required by some power system operators. It is demonstrated that the proposed switching algorithm allows for a correct reconstruction of the burden currents from the optical signal acquired by the FBG interrogator, offering the potential to realize a dual-class optical current sensor.