I have worked in the electrical industry for a little over fifty years. One thing I have learned is you never know it all and never will but the more you know and understand about electricity helps you in the industry. It is an amazing field to be in. Electricity is the driving force behind every thing we do in today’s world. I believe the person that understands electricity can seek employment anywhere in the world. In my fifty plus years in the industry I have never been without a job.
The power lineman resources available now to learn the electrical field are phenomenal. Through the Internet you can find information in any area you seek. Electrical Power Line technology schools can be found all over the country. Power Linemen have become much more educated than just a few years ago. The young linemen today have many more resources and opportunities to learn than ever before. The electrical industry is much different then it has ever been due to the types of loads and the technology that has been implemented.
When I look back over my career or you might say careers since I have worked in many different areas in the electrical industry my favorite area was oil field electrical. It was very diverse from overhead power lines, underground services, control systems, and all types of transformer connections for secondary voltages ranging from 240 volt three phase to 2400 volts three phase. We installed and maintained Auto Transformers, Pole Mount Distribution Transformers, Pad Mount Transformers, Fact Transformers, and Control Transformers. The connections ranged from Y-Y, Y-Delta, Delta-Delta, Delta-Y, Open Y-Open Delta. The Fact Transformers were interesting due to the multiple taps and connections for the wide range of voltages they were able to deliver. The Fact transformers were and still are widely used in the Oil Field industry. They are a tough transformer with a wide range of voltage delivery. If you understand the basics of transformers, how they work, and the different configurations they can be connected you will be a much better trouble shooter when problems arise. Anyone can memorize transformer connections but you have to know the basics of how they work to be a good trouble shooting technician.
I had the opportunity to install the wiring and controls for the first horizontal salt water disposal pumps ever put to use. They were submersible down-hole pumps mounted horizontal on the surface for high volume disposal of salt water. The pumps were driven by 250 horse enclosed motors. For the pump to have ample fluid to operate it had to have a centrifugal booster pump supplying the intake fluid. The pump manufacture installed the pumps but had no schematics or instructions for the controls. They left that little piece of the puzzle for us to handle. The booster pump had to be controlled by fluid level in the tank. This was accomplished with a high start and low level shut off switches. The main pump could not start until the booster was started and the fluid was sufficient for the main pump to start. This was accomplished with a flow switch and time delay relay connected to the main pump and control panel. When the fluid was sufficient and the relay timed out the main pump contactor closed the soft start circuit of the main pump. The main pump needed to have high and low pressure protection. This was accomplished by adding pressure switches at the discharge point of the pump and wired into the control panel. The main pump was equipped with a soft start unit in the control panel. The oil production company wanted the units equipped with an alarm system in case of pump failure. This was accomplished by installing a high level switch in the salt water tank set approximately 2 feet above the high pump start switch. The high level alarm switch was connected to a telephone dialing system that would call a series of programmed numbers. The alarm would also turn on an emergency indicating light at the pump control panel. Most of the salt water disposal wells the company had were equipped with three horizontal pumps connected in parallel for disposal, so the controls were times three at each location. Anyway, it was interesting to be able to complete the task successfully. Without the knowledge I had gained in the electrical field this would not have been possible for me. And by the way, the pump company and a control company came out to the locations taking pictures of the control system and later produced a pre-wired control system for this type of pump.