Can Ultrasound Detect Generator or Other Electrical Faults?


On 5th April 2016, MFAME published USCG safety alert on How a generator tripped due to faulty excitation wires.

 659D1CB3-6222-41CB-1B07-6B339BCBDBDF.jpgFFT                                                       TIMEWAVE

In response to that, MFAME reached out to industry experts to find out a solution to such problems.

One of the condition monitoring experts told MFAME that he can predict such failures well before the equipment leads to a potentially dangerous situation.

The USCG issued a safety alert where one of the generators’ excitation wires grounded out and tripped off the line when chafed against its steel enclosure.

The safety alert further stated that such problems can have simple fix where a protective rubber or an electrical tape can ward off the problem.  While such simple fix is only after finding the problem after a potentially dangerous situation, is there a way to identify or predict such faults?

“Yes! There is!” – says Mr. Rajagopalan, who heads SVL Singapore Services.

“This kind of defects can easily be identified at an early stage by way of getting Tracking noise from an Ultrasound instrument”, Mr. Raja said to MFAME.

He further explained about the ultrasound instrument with an example where the below sound file can be clearly heard – indicating a fault.  Mr. Raja further explained that he has identified many such faults without which the ship would have landed onto a potentially dangerous situation.

Harmonics matching at 60 Hz in some points and rich frequency content between harmonics indicate tracking in FFT.  Non-uniform peaks in Timewave forms indicate Tracking event.  The same event can also be seen in thermal Imaging which will possibly indicate a Higher temperature.


Mr. Rajagopalan, is the CEO of SVL Singapore services, which has a combined Marine experience of 72 years.  The company is specialized in Thermal Imaging, Ultrasound, Vibration & Noise control audits and the company strongly believes that condition based maintenance is always cost effective and can predict faults well before catastrophic failures.

MFAME readers have the privilege to consult Mr. Rajagopalan for FREE.  Please contact Mr. Raja or SVL Singapore Services by writing to:


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