The traditional method of using electric field sensors to realize early warning of electric power safety distance cannot measure the distance of dangerous sources. Therefore, aiming at the electric field with a frequency of 50 to 60 Hz (AC electric field), a new method for localization of aerial AC target by the capacitive one-dimensional spherical electric field sensor circular array is studied. This method can directly calculate the distance, elevation, and azimuth of the detector from the dangerous source. By combining the measurement principle of the spherical electric field sensor and the plane circular array theory, a mathematical model for the localization of aerial targets in an AC electric field is established. An error model was established using Gaussian noise and the effects of different layout parameters on the localization error were simulated. Based on mutual interference between sensors, minimum induced charge, and localization error, an optimal model for sensor layout was established, and it was solved by using genetic algorithms. The optimization results show that when the number of sensors is 4, the array radius is 20 cm, and the sensor radius is 1.5 cm, the ranging error is 8.4%. The detector was developed based on the layout parameters obtained from the optimization results, and the localization method was experimentally verified at 10 and 35 kV alarm distances. The experimental results show that when the detector is located at 10 kV alarm distance, the distance error is 0.18 m, the elevation error is 6.8°, and the azimuth error is 4.57°, and when it is located at 35 kV alarm distance, the distance error is 0.2 m, the elevation error is 4.8°, and the azimuth error is 5.14°, which meets the safety distance warning requirements of 10 and 35 kV voltage levels.
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