Prototype monitoring system for power line inspection by means of a PandaBoard

27 July 2016

The national energy supplier (Eskom in South Africa) supplies electricity through thousands-of-kilometers of overhead power lines. The current methods of inspection of these overhead power lines are infrequent and expensive. In this paper, the authors present the development of a prototype monitoring system for power line inspection in South Africa. The developed prototype monitoring system collects data (information) from the overhead power lines, is remotely accessible and fits into a power line robot. The prototype monitoring system makes use of a PandaBoard® (SBC) with GPS receiver and 5 MP camera to collect data. Hardware fatigue is the biggest problem faced on the overhead power lines and is captured by means of the 5 MP camera and is displayed on a website hosted by the PandaBoard® via Wi-Fi. The monitoring system has low power consumption, is light weight, compact and easily collects data. The data obtained from the prototype monitoring system was satisfactory and provides an improved solution for monitoring power lines for Eskom in South Africa