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 publication2017 IEEE 44th Photovoltaic Specialist Conference, PVSC 2017
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781509056057
Publication statusPublished - 25 May 2018
Event44th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialist Conference, PVSC 2017 - Washington, United States
Duration: 25 Jun 201730 Jun 2017


Other44th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialist Conference, PVSC 2017
CountryUnited States



  • Arc fault detection
  • Reproduction
  • Testbed

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials

Cite this

Zhu, H., Wang, Z., McConnell, S., Hatton, P. C., Balog, R., & Johnson, J. (2018). High fidelity 'replay' arc fault detection testbed. In 2017 IEEE 44th Photovoltaic Specialist Conference, PVSC 2017 (pp. 1-6). Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.. https://doi.org/10.1109/PVSC.2017.8366386