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Efficient and Effective

Link Alert

Developing and trialling remote monitoring equipment into LV link boxes.

Project-on-a-Page summary

Project data

Start date: 05/02/2018
End date: 04/05/2020
Budget: £0.25m

Link box failures are difficult to predict as there is no active monitoring on this type of plant. Risk is currently mitigated with a high frequency inspection policy. This project is developing a link box monitor to deploy on high risk link boxes, with temperature moisture and FPI capability.

The project will test prototypes and then install into link boxes remote monitoring equipment that can detect increases in temperature, moisture, current and voltage. The devices will remotely send a signal if there is any change. This will enable proactive response to investigate potential issues before a failure occurs. The detailed project activities are as follows:

  1. Identification of site locations where sensors are to be installed: The plan is to target areas with older link boxes for the trials in a variety of environments.
  2. Procurement: We will conduct an open tender to ask the market to demonstrate prototype devices. Products from selected bidders will be tested under controlled conditions that are not on a live network.
  3. From the prototypes tested, we will select which one(s) will be developed and procured in numbers for a live network trial.
  4. Install sensor systems at identified sites.
  5. Data gathering from trials and analysis of data: This will cover obtaining and analysing a whole year’s worth of data.
  6. Reporting: This will include internal and external reporting for reviewing and communicating progress on the project. This includes the NIA Annual Progress and the Close Down reports.
  7. Plan for business as usual rollout. Subject to the success of the trials, the rollout plan may include updating any policies and procedures relating to link box deployment as well as management of inspection and maintenance going forward.


In-situ monitoring of link boxes has not previously been conducted for a number of reasons, primarily because effective remote communications from link boxes has not been possible. This has been compounded by the harsh environments link boxes are installed in with a lack of auxiliary supply and extremely poor radio reception.

Communication with link boxes were demonstrated in previous projects (SULVN and FUN-LV). In these trials, there were a number of data communication issues. These included missing measurement data and incorrect current direction. We believe advances in technology and our learnings from these other projects will enable us to develop a solution with higher reliability.

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