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DIRECTIONAL OVERCURRENT RELAYS

If fault current can flow in both directions through the relay location it is necessary to
add directional properties to the overcurrent relays in order to obtain correct
discrimination. Directional protection is commonly applied in two areas, namely,
parallel feeders(transformers) and ring mains.

RING MAINS
The more usual application of directional relays is to ring mains. In the case of a ring
system, fed at one point only the relays at the generation end and at the mid-point
substation, where the setting of both overcurrent relays are identical, the relays can
be made non-directional, provided that in the latter case the relays are located on the
same feeder, one at each substation. In this respect it is interesting to note that
when the numbers of feeders in the rings is an even number, the two relays with the
same operating time are at the same substation and will have to be directional
whereas when the number of feeders is odd, the two relays with the same operating
time are at different substations and therefore, do not need to be directional. Also at
intermediate substations it will be noted that whenever the times of the two relays at
a substation are different, the difference in operating time is never less than the
grading interval of 04 seconds and consequently it is permissible for the relay with
the larger operating time to be non-directional.
Grading Ring Mains
The usual practice for grading relays in an interconnected system is to open the ring
at the supply point and to grade the relays first clockwise and then anti-clockwise.
Thus, the relays looking in a clockwise direction around the ring are arranged to trip
in the sequence 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 and the relays looking in the anti-clockwise
direction are arranged to trip in the sequence 1' - 2' - 3' - 4' - 5' - 6'. The arrows
indicate the direction in which the power must flow in order that the directional units
will close their contacts and prepare the overcurrent elements for operation. The
double headed arrows on each of the two feeders at the generating station indicate
non-directional relays, directional features being unnecessary at these points,
because power can flow in one direction only, that is out of the generating station. At
all other points single headed arrows are shown. These indicate directional relays
connected so as to operate with power flow in the direction of the arrow which is in
every case from the substation bus bars and into the protected line. See Figure 1.
This rule is invariable and applies to all forms of directional relays. Selection of the
faulty section is by time and fault power direction. Fault power has two phases x and
y. It divides between the two paths in the inverse ratio of the impedances and
passes through all the substations in the ring. Thus, at every substation one set of
relays will be inoperative because the power flow is against the arrow and other set
operative because the flow is with the arrow. In every case it will be found that the
time settings of the relays that are inoperative are shorter than those of the operative
relays, except in the case of substation C where the settings happened to coincide.
In this way, all relays with short time on sections between the fault one and the
generating station are prevented from operation. The others, which are operative are
graded downwards towards the fault and the last to be traversed by the fault current,
namely that on the faulty feeder section, has the shortest time and operates first.
This applies to both paths to the fault. Consequently, the faulty section is the only
one to be isolated and supply is maintained to all substations.

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Grading Ring Mains With More Than One Source


When grading ring systems with more than one infeed (say two sources of supply)
the best method of approach is to either :
a)

b)

Open the ring at one the supply points by means of a suitable high set
instantaneous overcurrent relays and then proceed to grade the ring as in the
case of a single infeed.
Treat the inter-connector between the two sources of supply as a continuous
bus, separate from the ring and protect it by means of a unit system of
protection such as pilot wire relays. Then proceed to grade the ring as in the
case of a single infeed.

PARALLEL FEEDERS
If non-directional overcurrent relays are applied to parallel feeders any faults
occurring on any one line will inevitably, irrespective of the relay setting chosen,
isolate both lines and completely disrupt the supply. To ensure discriminative
operation of the relays during line faults, it is usual with this type of system to design
and connect relays R1' and R2' such that they will only operate for faults occurring on
the protected line in the direction indicated by the arrows. See Figure 2. With
parallel feeders to ensure correct discrimination during line faults, it is important that
the correct directional relay R1' or R2' operates before the non-directional relays R1
and R2. For this reason relays R1' and R2' are given lower time settings than relays
R1 and R2 and also lower current settings. The usual practice is to set relays R1'
and R2' to 50% of the normal full load of the circuit (ensure that the relays are
capable of carrying without damage, twice their setting current continuously),
operating with an IDMT characteristic with a TMS =1.0
Care should be taken when using definite time relays. For such applications the
directional relays should be set above full load current to prevent them operating due
to load current reversal as a result of a phase to phase fault on the other side of the
transformer.

ESTABLISING DIRECTION
The direction of alternating current can only be determined with respect to a common
reference. In relay terms, the reference is commonly referred to as the polarising
quantity. The most convenient reference quantity is polarising voltage taken from the
power system voltages.
The relay compares the power system current against this fixed polarising reference
to determine direction of operation.

RELAY CHARACTERISTIC ANGLE (RCA)


This is a setting on the relay and is defined as the angle by which the current applied
to the relay must be displaced from the voltage applied to the relay to produce
maximum sensitivity.

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RELAY CONNECTIONS
This is the angle by which the current applied to the relay is displaced from the
voltage applied to the relay at unity power factor.
The 90 connection (quadrature connection) is now used for all overcurrent relays.
30 and 60 connections were used in the past, but no longer, as the 90 connection
gives better performance. The 90 connection is achieved by using IA and VBC.
Hence, for an A phase fault the polarising voltage does not collapse. Without a
polaring voltage most relays are unable to make a directional decision. Modern
numerical relays are able to use prefault data to make a decision, a technique
referred to as memory polarising.
90 Connection - 45 RCA
The 'a' phase relay is supplied with Ia current and Vbc volts displaced 45 in an anticlockwise direction. In this case the relay maximum sensitivity is produced when the
current lags the system phase to neutral voltage by 45. This connection gives a
correct directional tripping zone over the range of current 45 leading to 135 lagging.
See Figure 3.

TYPICAL RCA SETTINGS


A relay designed for quadrature connection and having an RCA of 30 is
recommended when the relay is being used for the protection of plain feeders with
zero sequence source behind the relaying point.
In the case of transformer feeders or feeders which have a zero sequence source in
front of the relay, a quadrature connected relay is recommended but it is preferable
when protecting this type of feeder that the directional relay is designed to have an
RCA 45.
An RCA 45 is necessary in transformers and transformer feeders, to ensure correct
relay operation for faults beyond the star/delta transformer.
Three fault conditions may theoretically cause mal-operation of the directional relay.
They are phase to phase to ground on a plain feeder; phase to ground fault on a
transformer feeder with the zero sequence source in front of the relay and phase to
phase fault on a transformer with the relay looking into the delta winding of the
transformer.

DIRECTIONAL EARTH FAULT RELAYS


These relays are similar in construction to the overcurrent relays but are polarised by
residual voltage or current. The polarising voltage is obtained from the secondary of
a three phase voltage transformer connected in broken delta. It is essential to
ensure that the correct voltage is fed to the relay that the voltage transformer primary
neutral is earthed and that it be a three phase, five limb type or consist of three single
phase units. Current polarisation is normally obtained by connecting a current
transformer in a local transformer neutral. If voltage polarisation is used a 45 RCA
is normally used for solidly earthed systems and 0 for resistance earthed systems.

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Voltage Polarised Earth Fault Relays


Some care is necessary when using voltage polarised relays on solidly earthed
systems, as the residual voltage under single phase to earth fault conditions will be
equal to the phase to neutral voltage at the fault location or a solid earth fault only.
Any line impedance between the fault point and the relay, or resistance in the fault
itself will tend to reduce the value of the voltage and it can be very small if the line
impedance between the fault point and the relaying point is large compared with the
source impedance behind the relay. With modern directional relays however, which
will operate down to 1% of normal voltage, no trouble should be experienced.
Current Polarised Earth Fault Relays
As already mentioned, current polarised relays may be polarised by a current
transformer connected in the power transformer neutral. Only certain types of power
transformers however, are suitable as sources of polarising current, as in some the
direction of the current in the neutral can reverse depending upon the fault position
and the ratio of system zero sequence impedances.
A star/star power transformer is not suitable for polarising relays even if both star
points are earthed. A current transformer in one neutral would not be suitable as the
current would reverse depending upon which side of the transformer the fault is on.
Paralleling two current transformers, one in each neutral connection, will not be
satisfactory as the resultant current would zero.
Three winding or two winding power transformers with one winding delta connected
are suitable for relay polarisation. Provided the star point is earthed, then a current
transformer in this neutral can be used to supply the relay. In the case of three
winding transformers, if two star connected windings have the star point earthed,
then current transformers in each neutral connected in parallel must be used having
ratios inversely proportional to the power transformers voltage ratio. An alternative to
this is to use one current transformer within the delta winding provided that no load is
taken from the delta. If load is taken from the delta winding it is necessary to use a
current transformer in each leg of the delta to prevent unbalanced load or fault
current producing incorrect polarising current.
Dual Polarised Earth Fault Relays
As the polarising current for current polarised earth fault relays is taken from a
current transformer in a local power transformer neutral, this may be lost if the
particular transformer is switched out of service and for this reason voltage
polarisation is in general more reliable. However, as pointed out, in solidly earthed
systems where the zero sequence source impedance is small the value of the
residual voltage can be very low and dual polarised relays, with both current and
voltage are used. It should be noted, however, that with modern relays the possibility
of voltage polarised relays failing to operate is very remote and that for all practical
conditions this possibility can in general be ignored.

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INSULATED AND PETERSEN COIL EARTHED SYSTEMS


The operation of earth fault indication relays on systems earthed through a Petersen
Coil or totally insulated system is dependent on the capacitive current flowing in the
healthy feeders and when a Petersen Coil is used on the current due to the
suppression coil flowing in the faulty phase.
In the case of overhead lines the majority of earth faults are of a transient nature and
it is preferred that these faults shall not lead to automatic isolation of the faulty line. It
is desirable, however, that an indication should be given of sustained system faults in
order that the system may be supervised continuously and so that the faulty section
of the network is indicated.
For detection of a system earth fault, a sensitive directional relay or wattmetric relay
is used (Petersen Coil Systems)
Petersen Coil Earthed System
The diagram in Figure 4 shows a system of radial feeders, with a phase to ground
fault on the 'C' phase of one of the feeders. No current will flow in the 'C' phase of
the healthy feeders as they will be at earth potential. Capacative current will flow in
the healthy phases of all feeders to earth and back to the source via the fault. The
vector sum of the currents in the current coil of the relay on the faulty feeder Is is
proportional to :
Ica

Icb

3Ic

IL

-2Ic

IL

Where :
Ica

Icb

Ic

The vector diagram of the currents in the sound phases shows that the total wattage
component of the currents in the restraining quadrant, hence the relays on the
healthy feeders will not operate. However, the current in the faulty feeder show that
the wattage component of the currents is in the operating quadrant and hence, the
relay in the faulty feeder will operate.
The current transformers are of a special design, class 02, having an exceptionally
low phase angle error and because of this cannot be balanced accurately for currents
greatly in excess of rated current. The relay is provided with 0 MTA.
Insulated System
The diagram in Figure 5 shows a system of radial feeders, with a phase to ground
fault on the 'C' phase of one of the feeders. The residual current flowing in the
current coil of the relay on the faulty feeder, neglecting the effect of magnetising
current, is proportional to the 2 Ic where IC is the vector sum of the currents in the
healthy phases Ica and Icb. Since the system is an insulated one, the fault has the
effect of raising the neutral point of the system by a voltage equivalent to the phase
voltage and the voltages of the healthy feeders by 3 .

The relay is provided with a 90 leading MTA.

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G.S.

~
2.1

2.1

6'

6
0.1

0.1

1'

1.7

1.7
5

5'

Y
FAULT

2'

0.5

4'

1.3

1.3
3

3'

0.9

0.9

C
FIGURE 1
RING MAIN OVERCURRENT PROTECTION

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0.5

R1

R1'

LOAD

R2

R2'

FIGURE 2
RING MAIN OVERCURRENT PROTECTION

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Ia
Vb'c

Va

Vbc
Vc

Vb

0 LINE
UNITY P.F.
Ia

RCA LINE
Vb'c

45
135
90 LINE
ZERO P.F.
LAGGING

Vab

Va
Vc
Vca

Vb
Vbc

ZERO SENSITIVITY
LINE

FIGURE 3
90 CONNECTION 45 RCA

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a b c
Ica
Icb

Ic
Ica
Icb

Source

Ic
IL
Ica
Icb

IL

3Ic

Ic

2Ic

Location of CT's
IL

b
Restrain

Restrain
Icb
Ica
IL

3Ic
Is

Operate
VPO

Ica
Ic

Icb
Operate
VPO
Healthy Feeders

Faulty Feeder
FIGURE 4

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a b c
Ica
Icb

Ic
Ica
Icb

Source

Ic

Ica
Icb

2Ic

3Ic

Location CT's
Faulty Feeder
VRE
a

Icb
Ic

-3Ic

Ica c

Healthy Feeders
VRE

VRE

-2Ic

RCA
Operate

Restrain
VPO

Ic = Ica + Icb
RCA
Operate

Restrain
VPO

FIGURE 5
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