30 Electrical Engineering Problems – Root Cause Analysis


A 1970s built fertilizer plant electrical switchgears, transformer to substation switchgear bus ducts, associated systems flashed often and shutdown the system. Thanks to redundancy, the crew isolated the affected section and transferred the loads to the healthy section.

NH3 plants are difficult to start after a crash shutdown. Fortunately provided steam turbines for the various NH3 plant’s major compressors and their auxiliaries e.g. lube and seal oil pumps, boiler feed water pump feeding 3‑waste heat, and 2 fired boilers the poor electrical reliability did not affect the NH3 plant excessively. However, the urea and 3 NPK streams often shutdown affected the NH3 plant their main raw material provider.

The first maintenance manager (MM – an US cititzen), assigned the electrical reliability-increasing task to Indian Origin US citizen electrical consultant and the US shareholding Co switchgear expert.

His successor an Indian citizen of long experience and reputation assigned reputable high-tech engineering colleges to the task. All attributed plant emitted pollutants reducing the electrical insulation unacceptably low as the Root Cause – well-known fact to the plant personnel!

Hence, they recommended shifting the Electrical Load Centers (LCs) far away from the plants and substitute imported switchgears in place of the poor-quality indigenous switchgears. Unable to implement the longtime taking, nearly impossible and prohibitively expensive tasks, the plant lived with the near life-threatening safety hazards posing system, 10-15% production loss, and high maintenance costs for 3 years

The Plant Electrical Engineer, an electrical engineering graduate of long experience on taking over as the third MM deputized the Mechanical Engineering graduate author to handle the electrical problem in addition, to his duties as Instrument Engineer.

The author pointed out the ‘stalwarts’ failed attempts and his mechanical engineering qualification. However, the MM pointed out, “many including the US instrument engineer gave up many instrument problems; but you, using Root Cause Analysis (RCA) approach and perseverance solved all. 

Go ahead and try! All of us will support you.” Thus, talked into, the author started with a vigorous prayer and succeeded thanks to the vigorous cooperation of all colleagues.

Root Cause Analysis (RCA)

The author attributes his problems solving success to the following:

  1. Every one’s cooperation
  2. Root Cause Analysis supported by input from the problems-sufferers, instruction manual studies, comparing design and actual operating data, gathering knowhow from relevant literature, tech journals articles and advertisements especially on new products
  3. In short ‘avoiding the popular industry joke, “When all else fail read the instruction books”
  4. Consider input from anyone. – no matter his/her qualification and hierarchical rank – thankfully and credit his / her contribution
  5. The author learnt mere experience does not suffice, as mostly many have one-year experience repeated so many years by not solving problems by root cause analysis and living with it; it makes most persons complacent, leads to take the problems as a way of life and live with them, and prevents finding root cause analysis solutions. Experience combined with adequate job knowledge-based root cause analysis only can solve problems; not years and years of experience alone.

Good Luck to all plant problems solving troubleshooters. The free plant personnel from the drudgery of annoying repeat low-tech tasks, midnight, off days, and during vacation calls and the associated ill effects e.g. the inconvenience and family wrath from missed family times and functions.

Electrical Engineering Problems and Solutions

This root cause analysis (RCA) is from real-time scenarios that happened in industries during the tenure of two or three decades ago. These articles will help you to improve your troubleshooting skills and knowledge.

Electrical Engineering Problems - Root Cause Analysis

The below is the list of electrical solved problems.

S.No.Electrical Problems and SolutionsArticle
1.  Recurring Short Circuit Flash Overs Safety Hazards & DamagesClick Here
2.  Frequent Feeder-A Lightning Arrestor (LA) BurstsClick Here
3.  Alternate 110 KV connection to Feeder F-AClick Here
4.  Poorly built Switchgears – Damage of BreakersClick Here
5.  Burst TransformerClick Here
6.  Premature AFB failures – Arc Fault BreakerClick Here
7.  Short AFB lives generally – Arc Fault BreakerClick Here
8.  Replace Failed Motors quickly and easilyClick Here
9.  Pulverizers’ Poor AvailabilitiesClick Here
10.  Aluminum Cable Terminations Repeat FailuresClick Here
11.  Plant Air Compressor Low availabilityClick Here
12.  Critical High KW motor winding burnout threats Click Here
13.  Considered not possible HT motors’ DOR ChangedClick Here
14.  Repaired HT Motors, shop run tested though no shop HT supplyClick Here
15.  Poor Power Factor boostedClick Here
16.  Fasteners & General corrosion of MotorsClick Here
17.  Frequent Totally Enclosed Fan Cooled (TEFC) motors burnouts eliminatedClick Here
18.  Corrosion posed HT motors burnout threatsClick Here
19.  Plant illumination external corrosionClick Here
20.  Weigh Feeders Variable Speed DrivesClick Here
21.  Cement kilns, Rotary Drum Driers Simplest DriveClick Here
22.  Welding Machines Poor Availabilities Click Here
23.  Screen Vibrators Click Here
24.  11 kV Bus A to B Phase CheckClick Here
25.  Miscellaneous Electrical TasksClick Here
26.  Misbehaving HT Motor disciplinedClick Here
27.  110 KV Minimum Oil Circuit Breakers (MOCB); No Vendor Spares & Service threaten their sudden failure and indefinite outageClick Here
28.  Poor Electrical Heating Element LivesClick Here
29.11 kV, 3.3 kV, and 400 V systems IR values made infinity foreverClick Here
30.Burst Transformers and 11 kV Input BreakersClick Here
31.Transformers Coolers ProblemClick Here

Also Read:

Author: S. Raghava Chari

Do you face any similar issues? Share with us through the below comments section.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for Instrumentation, Electrical, PLC, and SCADA video tutorials.

You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter to receive daily updates.

Don't Miss Our Updates
Be the first to get exclusive content straight to your email.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address

8 thoughts on “30 Electrical Engineering Problems – Root Cause Analysis”

  1. Thank You Vivek, Tonee, Atharv Kumar and Saravanan. I am sure all of you will do better than me thanks to high information availabilities and todays better quality products and quality consciousness in India too. Please treat this as Individual reply

    Raghava Chari


Leave a Comment