Why talk about it now?

Cap Bank – Rogowski Coil

Posted by aonomus on January 29, 2009

So before I really get started with my capacitor bank, I decided I would design on paper all the instrumentation so I could characterize the capacitor bank discharges. In order to measure current over time, either current shunts (DC), current transformers (AC), or rogowski coils (AC, pulse) can be used. The advantage of a rogowski coil is that it is equivalent to a air-core current transformer allowing for much faster response to changes in current flow. Also, due to construction, a rogowski coil can be opened and closed for placement in temporary positions.

Yesterday I finished my constructing my rogowski coil, however it still requires an active integrator to make voltage proportional to current. I used RG6 coax cable, stripped the outer sheet, braid, and foil, then wound 30AWG magnet wire evenly around the dielectric. The magnet wire was attached to braid and core at either end, heat-shrinked, and luer-lock syringe fittings were placed on the ends to allow for the coil to be placed around an object.

A major key to being able to construct a accurate rogowski coil is that the windings must be absolutely even, and remain even as the coil is bent and closed. It is easier to wind a coil on a straight segment of dielectric, heatshrink, then bend, instead of attempting to precision-wind around a torroidal coilform.

The luer-lock fittings prior to attachment.

The completed rogowski coil, note the heatshrink around the coil and BNC connector on the end.

Closeup of the joint where the coil closes. I didn’t have small enough heat-shrink so I had to wedge some tiny pieces of balsa wood in to keep everything snug and secure.

Once I had the coil built I gave it a test, first using a small motor, and a second test using my old coilgun.

I used a induction motor fan wired up to 120VAC for the first test, it didn’t seem to be affected by an un-centered conductor, however I may still build a plexiglass support so that under higher-voltages there is no risk of arcing into the coil (the heatshrink + enamel can only stand so much).

The test setup and waveform (sine = 120VAC, other = current).

The second test was performed using my old 430J coilgun, I looped the coil around the heavy cable from the stud-SCR and tested a few voltages. I captured the waveforms using a soundcard oscilloscope program and got some data, however the higher powers generated voltages exceeding the max rating of the soundcard, causing clipping.

The 3 test waveforms captured at increasing capacitor voltages, note the last test at 430V caused significant clipping of the current waveform.

And also, 2 videos (the last 2 tests)


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