Testing of varistors using thermography was carried out in order to assess their protective properties against possible overvoltage phenomena in the form of high-level voltage surges. An advantage of the thermography technique is non-contact temperature measurement. It was proposed to assess the properties of varistors working in electronic devices as protective elements, on the basis of estimating temperature increments on varistor surfaces, registered by an infrared camera during surge resistance tests with standard voltage levels. To determine acceptable temperature increments on a tested varistor, preliminary testing was performed of P22Z1 (Littelfuse) and S07K14 (EPCOS) type varistors, working first at a constant load and presently during surge tests,. The thermographic test results were compared with measured varistor capacity values before and after tests. It was found that recording with thermography temperature increments greater than 6°C for both P22Z1 and S07K14 varistor types detects total or partial loss of varistor protective properties. The test results were confirmed by assessment of protective properties of varistors working in output circuits of low nominal voltage devices.
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