I've been told by an experienced electrical engineering colleague that it is preferred to use an ACB rather than a contactor for making and breaking the connection to a synchronous generator, but he can't explain why.

So, for any power or generation engineers out there: What are the pro's and con's of an ACB vs contactor for synchronous generator applications and WHY?

  • \$\begingroup\$ what is an ACB? \$\endgroup\$ – Marko Buršič Apr 26 '16 at 13:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ Air Circuit Breaker \$\endgroup\$ – PeterTecks Apr 26 '16 at 13:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ Because the air is used to estingish arcing, no pros when closing contact. Probably this isn't a choice to choose one or another, but rather there is no simple alternative, you can go further and use oil bath disconnector. \$\endgroup\$ – Marko Buršič Apr 26 '16 at 13:33

When contacts open an Arc is created. This arc arises due to the sudden change, and it tries to maintain the link. This deteriorates the equipment. Using an ACB the arc can be extinguished quicker.

On the other hand ACBs are more expensive when compared to common contractors.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Can you quantify the difference in terms of arc suppression? Is that something you would expect to see in a manufacturer spec sheet or just a different number of operations for component life? \$\endgroup\$ – PeterTecks Apr 26 '16 at 13:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ I have personally never seen such datasheet, but i would assume so. Some of these things can be very high end and so i believe that they would have a large number of parameters and criteria. \$\endgroup\$ – Adam Z Apr 26 '16 at 14:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ Can you substantiate your answer please. If you've never seen a datasheet with than information where did you get the knowledge from? \$\endgroup\$ – PeterTecks Apr 26 '16 at 14:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ I know the general theory from my degree course work. If you look into some online sources you can confirm this: link1 link2. With regards to cost these are more expensive due to the more elaborate design. \$\endgroup\$ – Adam Z Apr 26 '16 at 14:11

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