Transients: Disaster Averted by the Grace of God
Copyright © 1996 Francis J. Martino
A fault condition occurred in a University's incoming 4160 Volt power line. The University had no
system protection for surge. Several electric motors and other equipment, all operating on low
voltage branch circuits, failed at the moment the fault occurred.
The only circumstance that prevented a major disaster was that the fault occurred on a Saturday
night when the facility was in minimal use. Had the fault occurred during normal business hours, all
the equipment that would have been operating at that time would have been subjected to the
transients. The exposure would have been in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Suppressors at all
distribution levels may have been required to prevent damage.
The University is owned and operated by a large theological organization. After visiting the
building in which the 4160 V line entered, my professional opinion, upon which I will stake my
entire engineering career, was that the timing of the inevitable fault to occur on a Saturday night
was divinely inspired and, consequently, the damage was limited only by the grace of God.
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