DC Arc-Fault Detection Based on Empirical Mode Decomposition of Arc Signatures and Support Vector Machine

Wenchao Miao, Qi Xu, K. H. Lam, Philip W.T. Pong, H. Vincent Poor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


Protection devices are extensively utilized in direct current (DC) systems to ensure their normal operation and safety. However, series arc faults that establish current paths in the air between conductors introduce arc impedance to the system. Consequently, they can result in a decrease of current, and thus conventional protection devices may not be triggered. Undetected series arc faults can cause malfunctions and even lead to fire hazards. Therefore, a series arc-fault detection system is essential to DC systems to operate reliably and efficiently. In this paper, a series arc-fault detection system based on arc time-frequency signatures extracted by a modified empirical mode decomposition (EMD) technique and using a support vector machine (SVM) algorithm in decision making is proposed for DC systems. The oscillatory frequencies from the arc current are decomposed by the EMD with an analysis of the Hurst exponent ( H ) to reject interference from the power electronics noise. H analyzes the trend of a signal and the intrinsic oscillations of the signal are those with values of H larger than 1/2. Comparing to traditional filters or wavelet transforms, this method does not require knowledge of the frequency range of the interference which varies from system to system. The capability and applicability of the proposed technique are validated in a photovoltaic system. The effectiveness of arc-fault detection is significantly improved by this technique because it can acquire sufficient and accurate arc signatures and it does not need to predefine various thresholds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9274520
Pages (from-to)7024-7033
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Sensors Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 2021
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • Arc fault
  • arc time-frequency signatures
  • empirical mode decomposition
  • support vector machine


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