Electrical insulation can have imperfections due to manufacturing or ageing. When the insulation is electrically stressed, partial discharge (PD) pulses, with very fast rise-times and short-time durations, may occur. One of the consequences of charges being accelerated within the discharge is the emission of electromagnetic energy. The measurement of these emissions is widely used to identify defective insulation within high voltage equipment and help in predictive and planned maintenance in order to prevent sudden failure. The location of the source of the radiated PD signals may be determined using multi-lateration techniques using an array of at least four antennas. Depending on the relative position between the antennas and the PD source, the pulsed emissions from the PD source arrive at each antenna at different times. The relative time differences of arrivals (TDOA) together with the antenna positions are variables used to locate the PD source in 3D space. This paper investigates the accuracy of the location determination of the source as a consequence of systematic errors on the positioning of the antennas. These errors are analyzed for three different antenna array configurations and for different vector directions from the arrays. Additionally, the least sensitive layout in relation to antenna positioning errors is proposed to assist in improving the location accuracy of PD sources.
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