Testing Your Product’s Full Limits with HypotMAX®

In our last two e-newsletters, we explored the ease of conducting the Hipot test and optimizing the multi-point Hipot test. However, how can you push your product to its maximum strength? Another question arises: what are the limits of your product? It's worth noting that Hipot testing can go beyond standard compliance; it can also help identify potential insulation issues by assessing the breaking point. While the standard typically sets a Hipot test voltage of up to 5kVac or 6kVdc, certain insulation issues require the use of ultra-high voltages for comprehensive detection. Additionally, testing time plays a key role. All these tests share the common goal of understanding and ensuring the highest levels of safety and quality in products. In this article, we will showcase some examples of ultra-high Hipot tests using Ikonix's high-voltage Hipot test solution.

The Surging Demand for Ultra-High Voltage in Battery Energy Storage Systems

The market for Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) is experiencing rapid growth. These systems efficiently store energy for later use, ensuring a balance between electricity supply and demand. Typically, battery packs used in energy storage systems undergo Hipot testing with voltages ranging from 1kVac to 4kVac. This procedure applies voltage between the battery pack's terminals and enclosures. However, as battery applications and capacities continue to advance, there is a growing demand for elevated safety and quality requirements. Recently, we have seen an increasing number of BESS customers come to us in search of ultra-high voltage solutions, with Hipot test voltages raised up to 20kVac. This enables a comprehensive assessment of the insulation integrity of battery packs. We witnessed a customer testing their product to the utmost requirement, conducting tests with type test parameters, which means applying 20kVac for 60 seconds. Typically, we hypothesize that if there is no sign of breakdown in the initial 20 seconds, the product should pass when testing is completed. Interestingly, we observed a battery pack failure occurring between 30 and 40 seconds into the test. This emphasizes that testing durations are crucial to ensuring the utmost safety and quality.

Rigorous Test for the Semiconductor Device

Semiconductor devices find widespread use across industries like electric vehicles (EVs) and computers. Among these devices, Insulated-Gate Bipolar Transistors (IGBTs) gate drivers hold immense importance. They are responsible for isolating high voltage, safeguarding against short circuits, and maintaining precise switching speeds while minimizing damage risks. Therefore, meticulous attention is necessary when designing and specifying IGBT gate drivers, taking into account critical factors such as isolation capabilities and Clearance and Creepage Distances. Typically, a hipot test subjects the IGBT gate driver to its rated isolation voltage to verify its ability to withstand high-voltage conditions. Additionally, adherence to the UL 1577 standard necessitates applying a 20 kV DC voltage for discharge tests on double-protection devices. However, manufacturers also employ 60 seconds ultra-high voltage testing to pinpoint the exact voltage at which breakdown occurs. This rigorous testing regimen aids in identifying design flaws and other potential issues, ensuring that the quality of their products surpasses specified standards.

Ensuring Quality of Thermal Conductive Pads and Sheets

It is not widely recognized, the thermal conductive pads and the insulator sheets play a crucial role in various electronics such as MOSFETs, ICs, LEDs, laptops, and more. These sheets and pads are incredibly thin, making it challenging to inspect their insulation quality or visually identify defects. The most efficient method involves placing them on a metallic surface and utilizing high-voltage breakdown techniques to detect pinholes or variations in thickness. Therefore, our customers apply a 20kV high voltage to the DUTs to ensure delivery the highest quality for their customers.

Ensuring Insulated Hand Tool Safety

Hand tools come in a wide range of types and are commonly used in various trades and DIY projects. The majority of these tools do not require insulation. However, in work environments where live parts with voltage ratings of up to 1000Vac and 1500Vdc present, specialized insulated tools are designed to ensure worker safety. These insulated tools employ various insulation methods, including components made of conductive materials partially covered by insulating material or entirely conductive material with no exposed conductive points. To meet the international standard IEC EN 60900, these tools need to be able to withstand 1kVac or 1.5kVdc. However, to ensure the ultimate safety, the industry commonly applies a 10kVac test voltage. The most commonly observed testing setup involves immersing the tools into an electric pool to assess their insulation and identify any faulty ones.

As a leading company in the field of electrical safety testing, Ikonix provides an extensive array of Hipot testing solutions. Among them, the HypotMAX® Series High Voltage Hipot Testers stand out as unique products known for their exceptional high-voltage performance in the market. Our HypotMAX® Series High Voltage Hipot Tester has been designed with multiple configurations to perform both ACW and DCW tests. It offers voltage options ranging from 10kV to 20kV, meeting industry standards and accommodating the requirements of various hipot tests. Additionally, we offer application consulting services to ensure that your operators have a comprehensive understanding of electrical safety testing and safety precautions when conducting these ultra-high voltage tests. If you would like to learn more about ultra-high voltage testing solutions, please contact us immediately.