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Critical power: Circuit protection

#CSEcircuitprotection

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Learning objectives
Explain the applicable codes and standards including NFPA 70:
National Electrical Code (NEC).
Analyze and compare the differences between using fuses,
circuit breakers, and other overcurrent protective devices
(OCPD) to protect transformers, switchgear, feeders, branches,
and equipment.
Consider the importance of proper grounding in circuit protection.
Outline the coordination, overcurrent, short-circuit, and ground-
fault protection issues for non-residential facilities.

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Now a word from our sponsors

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Speakers:
Presenter:
Tom Earp, PE, ATD,
Principal/MEP Engineering Director,
Page, Austin, Texas

Presenter:
John Yoon, PE, LEED AP ID+C,
Lead Electrical Engineer,
McGuire Engineers Inc., Chicago

Moderator:
Jack Smith
Content Manager
Consulting-Specifying Engineer and
Pure Power

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Circuit protection
Definitions
Fuses, circuit breakers, and how to choose between
them
Selected protection issues and applications.

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NFPA 70: National Electric Code (NEC)

Article 100Overcurrent protective devices,


branch circuit:

A device capable of providing protection for service, feeder, and branch


circuits and equipment of the full range of overcurrents between its rated
current and its interrupt ratings appropriate for the intended use, but no
less than 5,000 amperes.

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Protect the health and safety of the public

Guiding principle:
Interrupt unintentional current before it can
cause harm to people and to minimize damage
to equipment.

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What is an overload?

NEC, Article 100 definition:


Operation of equipment in excess of normal, full-load
rating, or of a conductor in excess of rated ampacity that,
when it persists for a sufficient length of time, would cause
damage or dangerous overheating. A fault, such as a short
circuit or ground fault, is not an overload.

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What is a fault?
Faults are categorized by
flow of current through a
path other than the intended
load. However, only ground
faults have a formal
definition.
NEC Article 100aground
fault: an unintentional,
electrically-conductive
connection between an
ungrounded conductor of an
electrical circuit and the
normally non-current
carrying conductors,
metallic enclosures, metallic
raceways, metallic
equipment, or earth.

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Circuit protection
Definitions
Fuses, circuit breakers, and how to choose between
them
Selected protection issues and applications.

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Fuses
Definitionnone in NEC Article
100
Applicable standard UL248,
NEMA FU1
FU1 definitionfuse: a
protective device that opens a
circuit during specified
overcurrent conditions by
means of a current response
element.
FU1 definitionelement: the
fusible portion of the fuse that
melts during an overcurrent
condition to clear the circuit.
Also referred to as a link.

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Fusible element
Cartridge body encloses an element/fusible link
Element is a conductor with reasonably low
resistance
When exposed to excessive current, link heats
(I2T), eventually melts and opens the circuit
Fast-acting versus slow-blow/time-delay versus
dual-element time-delay (CC, J, L, R, T).

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Fuse classes
Class CC:
Small general-purpose fuse
Used for small motors, light fixtures, control transformers, etc.
Current-limiting 0-30 amps, 600 amps, 200 kAIC
Higher temperature contact rating
Class J:
Used for motor, feeders, and transformers
Slightly smaller than Class R, not interchangeable
Current limiting 0-600 amps, 600 V, 200 kAIC
Class L:
Common, used for larger loads, switchboard feeders, etc.
Bolt-in, rejection feature due to unique size
Current limiting 100-6, 000 amps, 600 V, 300 kAIC, bolt-in.

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Fuse classes
Class R:
Most common general use: RK1 and RK5
Not small due to blades on end of cartridge body
Current-limiting 0-600 amps, 250 V and 600 V, 200 kAIC
Rejection feature via notch in fuse blade
Can be installed in H, K, or R fuse holders
Class T:
Very compact design found in fused pull-out switches and
similar devices where dimensional constraints are present
Current limiting 0-1,200 V, 300 V, and 600 V, 200 kAIC.

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Minimum melt times
From NEMA FU1
Class CC:
135% for 60 minutes
200% for 12 seconds
Classes J, L, R, and T (<600 amps):
135% for 60 or 120 minutes,
200% for 4 to 14 minutes
500% for 10 seconds
FU1 only specifies 150% for sizes >600 amps, 240
minutes.

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Class RK1 versus RK5

Has fractionally higher peak let-


through current
RK5 has slower, longer melt time
Slower means more energy let-
through (I2T)
I2T values can be several times
higher
3 to 5 times higher at a fault of
100 kA depending on fuse size.

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Anatomy of a dual element fuse

Overload Short circuit


element element

Cartridge body Sand fill

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Time current curve
Generic RK5 dual-element
time-delay fuse time current
curve (TCC)
Curve represents average
melting time
Note lack of pronounced
knee in curve between
overload and short circuit
regions
Note thinner band between
min and max melt times in
curve.

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Circuit breakers
NEC Article 100:
A device designed to open the circuit
automatically on a predetermined overcurrent
without damage to itself when properly applied
within its rating.
Two primary functions: switching
and overcurrent protection
Although UL tested to rated
ampacity in free air, maximum
continuous current is 80%
when in an enclosure (although
there are exceptions)
Thermal magnetic, electronic
trip, or mag only (for motor
protection).

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Thermal magnetic trip

The greater the magnitude of current, the faster it


trips
Overcurrent mechanism consists of two parts:
Thermaloverload
Bimetal: two strips of metal bonded together
Bends/deflects: interacts with the armature, which triggers
the latch
Can hold current above rating for several seconds
Magneticfault/short circuit
Electromagnetic winding interacts with the armature, which
triggers the latch, tripping the breaker
Designed to trip within 0.5 to 1 cycle
Some designs are current limiting.

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Anatomy of a circuit breaker
Switch handle Bimetal element

Load terminal

Switch contact

Magnetic element

Plug on jaw

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Time current curves

Generic molded case circuit


breaker (MCCB) thermal-mag
TCC
Instantaneous mag function
below 1 cycle (0.167 seconds)
8X to 10X of rated current
Overload-thermal function
above
Reacts slower as it reaches
rated current
Note space between min and
max clearing times
Note shape of curve at 0.01
seconds.

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Solid state trip units
Aka electronic trip
Affects overload portion of a breakers TCC
Senses current flow via integral current transformers (CTs), one for
each pole
Microprocessor monitors CT output
Abnormal current causes microprocessor to send signal to trip coil
These types of trip units are typically characterized by adjustability
(long-time trip/delay, short-time trip/delay)
Can incorporate other protective features, such as ground fault
protection
Instantaneous cannot be defeated per UL489
Instantaneous can only be defeated in ANSI C37 certified LVPCBs,
but also required to have 30-cycle withstand ratings.

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Fuses versus circuit breakers
Note differences in
instantaneous region
of curve
In this particular case,
MCCB reacts faster
(less area under
curve) but this is not
necessarily true for all
fuse classes
Note shape of both
curves at 0.01
seconds.

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Fuses
Pros Cons
Very high interrupt rating (100 kA Potential for single phasing and
and 200 kA common) backfeeding
Interrupt rating doesnt change with Must replace fuse after overcurrent
voltage condition
Better short-circuit protection than Additional cost associated with
circuit breakers protective relaying for GFPE, GFCI,
Current limiting when RMS fault shunt trip, etc.
current is equal to or greater than Generally slower than circuit breaker
the fuse threshold current in overload conditions
Reduced arc flash magnitude Fused switches physically larger than
Can be easier to perform selective comparable circuit breaker
coordination when certain size Cannot adjust TCC to accommodate
ratios are maintained between certain combinations of OCPDs
upstream and downstream fuses; Arc flash reduction not in 2017,
TCCs are parallel and less likely to potentially coming in 2020 NEC.
overlap.

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Circuit breakers
Pros Cons
Resettable Lower short circuit current rating
Generally faster than fuses (SCCR) than fuses
Ability to adjust TCC with electronic Ratings may vary based on voltage
trip units
Availability of accessories to Can be difficult to provide selective
address other protection coordination
requirements (AFCI, GFCI, GFPE, Higher initial cost, especially with
undervoltage, shunt trip, etc.)
Can perform zone selective electronic trip units
interlocking (ZSI) with certain Often not current limiting (higher arc
electronic trip units for better flash I2T energy).
selectivity
Opens all poles under an
overcurrent condition
Greater endurance than fused
switches when used in a switching
application.

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Circuit Protection
Definitions
Fuses, circuit breakers, and how to choose between
them
Selected protection issues and applications.

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Equipment protection
NEC Article 240 requires general overcurrent
protection for equipment and conductors
Table 240.3 lists other articles that provide more
specific requirements by equipment/conductor type
Requirements for overcurrent protection device(s)
will vary based on the equipment or conductor that
must be protected
System characteristics, such as whether the
system is solidly grounded or not may alter the
requirements for overcurrent protection and may
require additional types of protection.

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1000
Conductor protection
CURRENT IN AMPERES

6 AWG
1000
CURRENT IN AMPERES

6AWG
500 500

6 AWG 6AWG
200 200

100 100
60A MCCB 60A FUSE
50 50

20 20

TIME IN SECONDS
10

TIME IN SECONDS
10

5 5

2 2

1 1

0.50 0.50

0.20 0.20

0.10 0.10

0.05 0.05

0.02 0.02

0.01 0.01
0.5 1 2 5 10 20 50 100 200 500 1K 2K 5K 10K 0.5 1 2 5 10 20 50 100 200 500 1K 2K 5K 10K

tcc3.tcc Ref. Voltage: 480V Current in Amps x 1 tcc4.tcc Ref. Voltage: 480V Current in Amps x 1

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CURRENT IN AMPERES

1000

500
75KVA XFMR
Transformer protection
200

100

50
75KVA XFMR
Must protect
20
125A MCCB transformer from
damage

TIME IN SECONDS
10

5
Must not nuisance
2

1
trip on transformer
0.50
inrush at startup
0.20 This MCCB doesnt
0.10
TX Inrush
do either of these
0.05
correctly.
0.02

0.01
0.5 1 2 5 10 20 50 100 200 500 1K 2K 5K 10K

tcc1.tcc Ref. Voltage: 480V Current in Amps x 1

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CURRENT IN AMPERES

1000

500
75KVA XFMR
Transformer protection
75KVA XFMR
200

100

50
125A ELEC CB
A solid state electronic
trip breaker has
20
adjustable functions that

TIME IN SECONDS
10

5
allow the trip curve to be
customized to the
2
application

1

0.50
The breaker will not trip
on transformer inrush,
0.20
TX Inrush
but it will protect the
0.10
transformer from
0.05
thermal damage.
0.02

0.01
0.5 1 2 5 10 20 50 100 200 500 1K 2K 5K 10K

tcc2.tcc Ref. Voltage: 480V Current in Amps x 1

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Selective coordination

NEC Article 100 definition:


Localization of an overcurrent
condition to restrict outage to the
circuit or equipment affected,
accomplished by the selection an
installation of overcurrent
protective devices and their ratings
or settings for the full range of
available overcurrents, from
overload to the maximum available
fault current, and for the full range
of overcurrent protective device
opening times associated with
those overcurrents.

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CURRENT IN AMPERES

1000

500 Selective coordination


125A FUSE
200

100
60A FUSE
50
Selective coordination can be easier
with fuses, especially when the ratio
20 of their ratings is 2:1 or higher.

TIME IN SECONDS
10

5
Selective coordination is required in
2 some NEC Articles:
1 517.30G (health care)
0.50 620.63 (elevators)
0.20
695.3 (fire pumps)
0.10
700.28 (emergency systems)
0.05
701.27 (legally required standby
systems)
0.02 708.54 (COPS).
0.01
0.5 1 2 5 10 20 50 100 200 500 1K 2K 5K 10K

tcc5.tcc Ref. Voltage: 480V Current in Amps x 1

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Arc energy reduction
NEC Article 240.87
Required for all circuit breakers
that can be adjusted to 1,200
amps or more
Allowed methods:
ZSI
Differential relaying
Energy-reducing maintenance
switching with local status
indicator
Energy-reducing active arc flash
mitigation system
Approved equivalent.

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Archive:
Within 7 days, an archive with Q&A will be posted
We will send an email to registered attendees with hyperlink
Can also access from www.csemag.com home page

38
Speakers:
Presenter:
Tom Earp, PE, ATD,
Principal/MEP Engineering Director,
Page, Austin, Texas

Presenter:
John Yoon, PE, LEED AP ID+C,
Lead Electrical Engineer,
McGuire Engineers Inc., Chicago

Moderator:
Jack Smith
Content Manager
Consulting-Specifying Engineer and
Pure Power

39
Critical power: Circuit protection
#CSEcircuitprotection

Sponsored by:

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