Ship Electrical Maintenance

With all types of electrical equipment cleanliness is essential for good operation. Electrical connections must be sound and any signs of sparking should be investigated. Parts subject to wear must be examined and replaced when necessary. The danger from a.c. equipment in terms of electric shocks is far greater than for similar d.c. voltages. Also a.c, equipment often operates at very high voltages. Care must therefore be taken to ensure isolation of equipment before any inspections or maintenance is undertaken.

The accumulation of dirt on electrical equipment will result in insulation breakdown and leakage currents, possibly even an earth fault. Moisture or oil deposits will likewise affect insulation resistance. Regular insulation resistance measurement and the compiling of records will indicate the equipment requiring attention. Ventilation passages or ducts may become blocked, with resultant lack of cooling and overheating. Oil deposits from a direct-coupled diesel engine driving an open generator (usually d.c.) can damage windings and should therefore be removed if found. Totally enclosed machines should be periodically opened for inspection and cleaning since carbon dust will remain inside the machine and deposit on the surfaces.

Brushgear should be inspected to ensure adequate brush pressure and the springs adjusted if necessary. New brushes should be ‘bedded in’ to the commutator or slipring shape with fine glass paper. Sparking at the commutator will indicate poor commutation. This may require polishing of a roughened commutator surface. The mica insulation between commutator segments may require undercutting if it protrudes, or simply cleaning if deposits have built up.