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HVD47/2B Dead Break Tester

Innovations in High Voltage Detection: The Capacitive Type HVD

Ensuring safety when working with high voltage systems is paramount. Verifying that a system is “dead” and safe to touch is a critical aspect of electrical safety. In this article, we explore the importance of high voltage detection and introduce an innovative solution: the Capacitive Type HVD (High Voltage Detector).

Two Methods of High Voltage Detection

There are two primary methods for checking if a high voltage system is live. The first method involves using a resistive device, which is connected to the system under test, with the other end attached to an earth point. These devices limit current by passing it through a string of resistors to lower the voltage. They can either indicate live status or display the numerical value of the kilovolts present within the system. This method is limited to systems up to 33kV due to safety concerns at higher voltages.

The second method employs capacitive-type devices. These detectors do not need to be earthed and work through electrostatic induction. When the detector tip is in proximity to the high voltage source, capacitance is established between the source and the detector. Capacitive HVDs are battery-powered, and their primary function is to confirm whether a system is live or dead. These detectors are available in various models tuned to different voltage ranges, from 3kV to 275kV. Setting the threshold voltage correctly is crucial, as a too-low threshold can lead to false live indications, while a too-high threshold might fail to indicate live status, posing serious risks.

Innovating using Capacitive Type HVD

Traditionally, testing for dead on transformers involved exposing the conductor at the cable termination box, which presented its own set of risks. However, advancements in technology have led to the development of capacitive test point variants of HVDs, offering safer testing methods. Two versions, the HVD 35/2A for 11kV systems and the HVD 47/2B for 33kV systems, have been designed to indicate the status of transformers safely before maintenance work, without exposing live conductors.

These testers operate similarly to conventional HVDs but are specifically tuned for this application. They come as kits with handles and the correct tips for testing at transformer test points without exposing live conductors. As a result, these innovative testers enhance safety when testing transformers and are the preferred choice for many high voltage organizations when ensuring that a transformer is dead before commencing work.


In the world of high voltage electrical engineering, safety is paramount. High Voltage Detectors, particularly the Capacitive Type HVD, have revolutionized the way professionals confirm the status of electrical systems. Innovations like the capacitive test point variants have made the process even safer, minimizing risks associated with live conductor exposure. As technology continues to advance, so too will the tools and methods used to ensure the safety of those working with high voltage systems.

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