High fidelity 'replay' arc fault detection testbed

Hezi Zhu, Zhan Wang, Stephen McConnell, Phillip C. Hatton, Robert Balog, Jay Johnson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Arc faults in photovoltaic power systems pose safety concerns ranging from localized damage to the equipment, electric shock hazard for humans, and fire that spreads to buildings and beyond the PV systems. Thus, robust and effective detection of initial arcs before they become sustained arc faults is imperative. However, high frequency noise caused by the switching of DC/DC power optimizers or DC/AC inverters can mask the signals produced by an arc, making it difficult or impossible to reliably identify if an arc is occurring. This paper discusses a testbed that was developed for the purpose of testing arc fault detectors in a laboratory environment using precise-reproduction, or replay, of pre-recorded arc signals. The testbed is capable of replaying both the arc signature and the noise from the power electronic circuits at proper amplitude to represent real-world conditions. The testbed is characterized and validated by frequency analysis across the range of frequencies typically associated with an arc fault. Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) analysis of reproduced arc signals further justifies the effectiveness of the testbed and a certified arc fault detector (AFD) is tested using reproduced arc signal. Utilization of such a testbed will facilitate the study of reliable detection algorithms.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2016 IEEE 43rd Photovoltaic Specialists Conference, PVSC 2016
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781509027248
Publication statusPublished - 18 Nov 2016
Externally publishedYes
Event43rd IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference, PVSC 2016 - Portland, United States
Duration: 5 Jun 201610 Jun 2016


Other43rd IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference, PVSC 2016
CountryUnited States



  • arc fault detection
  • reproduction
  • testbed

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Cite this

Zhu, H., Wang, Z., McConnell, S., Hatton, P. C., Balog, R., & Johnson, J. (2016). High fidelity 'replay' arc fault detection testbed. In 2016 IEEE 43rd Photovoltaic Specialists Conference, PVSC 2016 (Vol. 2016-November, pp. 1767-1772). [7749927] Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.. https://doi.org/10.1109/PVSC.2016.7749927