Remote phase identification systems have only been available for a few years. They are still a new concept to much of the industry. If you have not considered this type of tool in the past, you should take a fresh look at what the latest systems can do for you. They are a time and cost savings tool whose use will become more and more important in the future as utilities strive to cut operations costs and improve service. Here is a short list of benefits obtained through the use of a phase identification system.

Geographical Information Systems (GIS)

These systems are only as good as the data they contain. When GIS phase attribute data is incorrect, the usefulness of these important data bases are greatly diminished. A phase identification system allows you to easily and accurately correct your phase maps.

Reduce Outage Management Errors

An accurate outage management data base allows a utility to instantly determine which feeder has tripped based on customer outage calls. However, if the phase attribute data associated with individual customers is wrong, time is wasted directing a troubleman to the wrong fuse or breaker. A phase identification system allows you to correct these data base errors.

Load Imbalance

As new customers are added, or due to seasonal load changes, feeder loads may have to be re-balanced by switching loads from one phase to another. If the phase load being switched is connected to one that is not accurately known, phase balancing becomes a time consuming and frustrating process. Instead of moving load from “C” to “A”, you might be really moving load from “B” to “C”, which makes the problem worse instead of better. With a phase identification system, cables can be accurately tagged.

Wasted Crew Time

Hours are wasted daily with entire crews waiting while attempting to identify phasing. The current practice of “driving a line” to determine phase is no longer necessary. A phase identification system can accurately determine phase anywhere in a matter of minutes.

Neutral Current

This is an area utilities have not spent much attention to because, prior to the availability of phase identification systems, there was no cost effective way to address it. Neutral current is caused by unbalanced phase currents and results in wasted energy. Although not possible to totally eliminate neutral currents, reducing them by using a phase identification tool to balance feeder currents throughout your system can save hundreds of thousands of dollars per year in wasted energy costs.

Click here for an estimate of the savings possible by reducing neutral currents.


Take a close look at the phase identification systems on the market today. We believe you will come to the conclusion that there is really only one choice; The Origo PhaseID System. Here’s why:

Not Dependent on Cell Phones

Although cell phones are a technological wonder of our times, poor coverage and dropped calls make them frustrating to use even for normal conversations. Depending on them for your equipment to work is unacceptable. The Origo PhaseID System does not require cell phones or any other real time communications to operate.

Phase Attributes Identified

The PhaseID System automatically indicates all 12 possible phase attributes. On primaries, phases A, B, and C are identified. On secondaries, phases are identified as A, -A, B, -B, C, -C, AB, -AB, BC, -BC, CA, or –CA. That is, the two primaries feeding delta connected transformer secondaries, along with the in-phase and out-phase of normal 120 volt service, are identified.

Base Station Location

The PhaseID System base station is designed to be placed in your office, dispatch center, or any other convenient location where multiple individuals can have access to it. Just plug it into any wall outlet. The outlet can be on any one of the 12 possible phase attributes. The Base Station LAN output allows different users on different PCs to simultaneously retrieve phase attribute data. Reports are automatically printed if desired.

GPS and Cell Connect Time

The GPS lock time on the PhaseID System field unit is on the order of 1 minute when first turned on and on the order of 10 to 20 seconds when off for less than 2 hours. The advanced roving GPS receiver requires no lock time at all when left on. Of course, no cell phone modem lock time delays are ever required with the PhaseID System.

Long Battery Life

The PhaseID System operates approximately 20 hours on 3 AAA batteries. That is two full work days of continuous use and months of occasional intermittent use.

Size, Weight, and Ease of Use

The PhaseID System field unit weighs about 3 lb. and has a single push button switch to operate. No data interpretation skills are required by either the field unit or base station operator. The unknown phase attribute, out of the 12 possible phase attributes, is automatically identified by the base station computer.

Can be Used in Buildings

The PhaseID System GPS receiver can maintain timing lock with a single GPS satellite in view. It also incorporates a highly stable internal oscillator that allows timing lock to be maintained for up to 5 or 10 minutes without any satellites. Once locked, the field unit will usually maintain lock indefinitely inside most buildings and can be used inside totally shielded vaults or buildings for short periods to obtain phase attribute readings.

Field Probe Ground Reference

The PhaseID Lineman field probe incorporates a ground clip to ensure phase voltage measurements are made with respect to ground. Without a hard ground reference, phase measurements made on one phase, in a crowded 3-phase environment, can be referenced to a second phase (or a combination of phases and ground) which can lead to phase errors (but not primary attribute errors).

Phase Identify Overhead Lines Without an Extendo Stick

Use the Handheld field probe to phase identify all three 3-phase overhead conductors with a single measurement from ground level without using an extendo stick. On high overhead lines, the Handheld turns a 20 minute extendo stick phasing task into a 20 second task.

Precision Phase Meter

Using the ground cable converts the Lineman field probe into a precision phase meter. By providing a solid ground reference, phase errors are reduced to one or two degrees. This allows the PhaseID System to be used to identify transformer windings or characterize phase shifts through a transformer.

Low Cost Field Probes

An unlimited number of field probes can be used simultaneously with a base station. Additional probes are very inexpensive, so it is cost effective for every lineman that needs one to carry one.

Purchase a Field Probe Only and Use Data From Origo's Remote Base Stations

Origo uploads remote base station reference phase data every 10 minutes to our data website which users can download and use with their field probes. Although not as convenient as owning your own base station, it allows small utilities a low cost option for obtaining the benefits of remote phase identification anywhere.

Phase Identify Your Entire System

Origo’s DataLogger field probes record phase attributes, their GPS location, and any user notes to a data file which can be exported to your GIS system.

Use Meter Readers to Gather Phase Attributes

Origo’s handheld DataLogger field probes can be used by meter readers to record phase attributes during their normal rounds. In a matter of months, a utility can completely phase identify their entire system in a cost effective manner using low cost existing personnel.

PowerPoint Presentation of the Benefits of the Origo PhaseID System

Most slides in the presentation below contain linked audio files. The presentation is packeged and zipped along with their audio files and a PowerPoint viewer for viewers who don't have PowerPoint installed on their PC. Download the package, unzip it, and view it with either the enclosed PowerPoint viewer (pptview.exe) or with your own PowerPoint program. Be sure to double click on each slide speaker icon to hear the audio clip. Download size: 22.2 MB.

PhaseID System Benefits PowerPoint Presentation

© Origo Corporation 2009