Plungers on Poles

CPI Switches Detect circuit break trips on utility towers

Plungers On Poles.

California is an amazing state in many ways. It is the 3rd largest state geographically, but number one by far in terms of population with over 40 million residents or about 12% of the US population. It is home to the world’s largest tree (“General Sherman”) and the hottest national park in the country, Death Valley. California was also the birthplace of the internet! In 1969, the first ARPANET message was sent from a site at UCLA. That first message? “Lo”. (The sender meant to say “Login” but then the system crashed.)

Another area where California leads the nation is in its focus on green energy usage. Despite the size of the state, its per capita energy consumption is the 4th lowest in the country, due to both its mild climate, but also it’s many energy efficiency programs.

Recently CPI was contacted by PG&E, a major California utility company for using our switches in a fairly unique application. We’ve dubbed this application “Plungers on Poles”.

Safe, Reliable Breaker Detection

Once Again, CPI switches garnered the attention of engineers at PG&E owing to the rugged, environmentally hardened nature of our sealed mechanical design. In this case, our J4311 ball switch was used in an application designed to detect the state of circuit breakers on electric towers. This is the same design used in our Plunger Switches, just the actuator is different. Deployed properly, the switch acts as detection on high power circuit breakers, helping utility companies isolate power failures or other electrical grid events, to a single pole or single feed within that pole. The potential benefit in terms of time to isolate faults and restore power during an outage, could be significant.

Use of our J4311 provides a number of benefits in this application:

  1. Hardened solution for long term exposure to elements in a place not easy to reach (Tower)
  2. Impervious to wide swings in temperature, over all the area’s covered by PG&E in both the cold north and burning south of the state.
  3. Our switch is a passive device so no power required, ideal for an application where loss of power is the whole problem we’re trying to assist with.
  4. Patented ball carrier design with double seal prevents contact contamination and icing in very cold temperatures.

In the Desert, in the Rain, or where its Snowing, the J4 Ball Switch Keeps on Going

Bad poetry aside, this really is a switch that’s hard to kill. When you need to put your switch somewhere that’s hard to service, or in a critical safety application, or both, CPI electromechanical endurance ratings of up to 1 million cycles should put you at ease that you won’t need to be climbing any poles on our account.

For more information Contact a CPI product engineer today.