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# Testing Numerical Transformer Differential Relays

Steve Turner
Senior Member, IEEE
Beckwith Electric Company, Inc.
6190-118th Avenue North
Largo, FL 33773-3724
Phone 727.544.2326 FAX: 727.546.0121
STurner@BeckwithElectric.com

## Abstract ― Numerical transformer differential relays Id = I1  I 2 (1)

require careful consideration regarding how to test
them properly. These relays provide different types I1  I 2
Ir = (2)
of protection such as restrained phase differential, 2
high set phase differential, restrained ground Where
differential and overcurrent protection. All I1 = Winding 1 per unit current (A, B, or C-phase)
protection elements that are enabled should be I2 = Winding 2 per unit current (A, B, or C-phase)
A common commissioning practice is to test all the Express (1) and (2) using matrices as follows:
numerical relay settings to verify they were properly Id 1  1 I1
entered. Automated testing using computer software = x (3)
to run the test set has made this possible since the Ir 0.5  0.5 I 2
overall commissioning for a numerical relay could
consist of several hundred tests. While this is a good Where
check, it is still important to ensure that the IC = MxIT (4)
transformer is thoroughly protected for the
particular application. Id 1 1 I1
IC = ,M= , IT = (5)
Index Terms ― Transformer protection, transformer Ir 0.5  0.5 I2
differential relay, ground differential, even harmonic
restraint, transformer inrush, overcurrent protection. Invert the matrix M in (3) to determine the two
equations for the test currents:
I1 0.5 1 I d
I. TRANSFORMER DIFFERENTIAL CHARACTERISTIC = x (6)
BOUNDARY TEST
I2  0.5 1 I r
A common practice for commissioning distance
protection is to test along the boundary of the operating Calculate the test currents based upon an operating
characteristic―for example, circles, lenses or point on the differential characteristic as follows:
quadraterals. This practice can also be applied to Id
I1 =  Ir (7)
transformer differential protection. Consider the 2
example of a two-winding transformer with both sets of  Id
windings wye-connected. To keep the example simple, I2 =  Ir (8)
also assume both sets of CTs are wye-connected and 2
have the same CT ratios―that is, both windings are at
the same potential. If you connect the current leads A. 1st Example
from the test set such that the test currents I1 and I2 are Consider a transformer differential characteristic for
flowing through the transformer winding, then the per- the two-winding transformer described earlier, and
phase differential and restraint currents can be indicated in Figure 1, with the following settings:
expressed as follows: Pickup = 0.2 per unit
Slope = 28.6%

## 978-1-4577-0496-3/11/\$26.00 ©2011 IEEE 251 Protective Relay 2011

To test the A-Phase differential element at point d of
the characteristic shown in Figure 2, use the following
equations:
IA1 = I1xTAP1 (15)
IA2 = I2xTAP2x3 (16)

From Table 1:
I1 = 0.8 per unit (17)
I2 = 0.6 per unit (18)

## IA1 = 0.8xTAP1 (19)

Fig. 1. Phase current differential characteristic IA2 = 0.6xTAP2x3 (20)
for two-winding transformer
IA1 and IA2 are the two test currents.
Table 1 lists the four operating points on the
characteristic along with the corresponding test
currents. All values are in per unit. II. GROUND DIFFERENTIAL ELEMENT SENSITIVITY
TEST
TABLE 1 Ground differential protection can provide good
TEST CURRENTS FOR TRANSFORMER DIFFERENTIAL sensitivity for ground faults on wye-connected
CHARACTERISTIC BOUNDARY transformer windings. Figure 2 shows a simple three-
Id Ir I1 I2 line diagram for a typical application. The CTs are
c 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.2 connected such that:
d 0.2 0.7 0.8 0.6 x if IG and 3I0 are in-phase, the ground fault is
e 0.4 1.4 1.6 1.2 external
f 0.6 2.0 2.3 1.7 x if IG and 3I0 have opposite polarity, the ground
fault is internal
Remember that the test currents are connected such
that they are 180 degrees out of phase.

B. 2nd Example
Now consider a transformer differential characteristic
for a two-winding transformer connected delta (DAB) –
wye with wye connected CTs on both sides. A
numerical transformer differential relay internally
compensates the CT currents as follows:

## Winding 1 (DAB) Winding 2 (Wye)

I A1 I A2  I B 2
IA1relay = (09) IA2relay = (12)
TAP1 TAP 2 x 3 Fig. 2. Ground differential protection connection
I B1 I  IC 2 diagram
IB1relay = (10) IB2relay = B 2 (13)
TAP1 TAP 2 x 3 Stability is improved for CT saturation during
I I  I A2 external faults if the ground differential protection is
IC1relay = C1 (11) IC2relay = C 2 (14)
TAP1 TAP 2 x 3 disabled when IG is less than a preset value, 200 milli-
amps for example. The ground differential element
Where IA1, IB1, IC1, IA2, IB2 and IC2 are the CT currents operates when the difference between 3I0 and IG is
greater than the pickup setting:
|3I0 – IG| > 50GD (21)

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3I0 and IG add together in (21) above when the ground method to check that the relay is properly set. One
fault is internal since they have opposite polarity for this example of playback is to evaluate the performance of
condition. the restrained differential protection for transformer
A good test is to check how much sensitivity 87GD inrush with varying levels of harmonic content in the
provides for ground faults located close to the neutral of current waveforms.
wye connected windings coupled with fault resistance Transformer differential protection has historically
(RF). Consider the case of a two winding delta wye 25 used the 2nd harmonic content of the differential
MVA distribution transformer connected to a 230 kV current to prevent unwanted operation during
grid and serving load at 23 kV. Here is the power transformer inrush. It is advantageous to use both the
system data: 2nd and 4th harmonic content of the differential current.
Source impedance (XS) varies The relay can internally calculate the total harmonic
XT = 10% current per phase as follows:
RF varies
I2-4 = I 22  I 42 (22)
Ground fault located 5% from neutral
CTR23 kV = 600:5
CTRGND = 600:5 The sum of the two even harmonics per phase helps
to prevent the need to lower the value of restraint which
Fig. 3 illustrates the sensitivity of 87GD as a function could cause a delayed operation if an internal fault were
of the source impedance and ground fault resistance. to occur during transformer energization.
The top curve corresponds to each point where IG is Cross-phase averaging also helps prevent unwanted
equal to 200 milli-amperes (that is, the minimum operation during transformer inrush. Cross-phase
amount required for operation or the maximum averaging averages the even harmonics of all three
sensitivity possible). The middle curve corresponds to phases to provide overall restraint. The cross-phase
each point where IG is equal to 500 milli-amperes. The averaged harmonic restraint can be internally calculated
bottom curve corresponds to each point where IG is by the relay as follows:
equal to 1 amp. The source impedance and ground fault Ir2-4 = I A2 24  I B2 24  I C2 24 (23)
resistance are in ohms primary.
87GD Sensitivity
The transformer relay with even harmonic restraint
180 and cross-phase averaging tested for the following cases
160 did not misoperate. The inrush currents presented here
140
were created using ATP and have a slow rate of decay.
Fault Resistance

120
The auto-transformer data is as follows:
100

80

60
40
13.2 kV
20
0
0 20 40 60 80 100 120
W
Source Impedance
lta

kV wye wye

## EVEN HARMONIC RESTRAINT DURING

III. W W
TRANSFORMER INRUSH
Events such as transformer energization can be
captured by utilities using digital fault recorders or
Fig. 4. 600 MVA auto-transformer single-line diagram
numerical relays and then later played back via
(delta winding DAC)
COMTRADE to observe relay performance. Some
simulation software and can build their own transformer
models to simulate inrush. This is a very practical

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TABLE 2
AUTO-TRANSFORMER CHARACTERISTICS 1st Case – Balanced Inrush
ZHM = 0.01073 per unit Energize Line with Bank from Single End
ZHL = 0.04777 per unit (No residual flux)
ZML = 0.03123 per unit
Z HM  Z HL  Z ML
ZH = = 0.0140 per unit [24]
2

Z HM  Z ML  Z HL
ZM = = -0.0029 per unit [25]
2

Z HL  Z ML  Z HM
ZL = = 0.0340 per unit [26]
2
CTRW1 = 1200:5 (wye connected)
CTRW2 = 2000:5 (wye connected)

## TABLE 3 Fig. 5A. Total phase currents for balanced inrush

87T RELAY SETTINGS
600 MVA
TAP1 = = 4.18 (27)
345kV x 240 x 3

600MVA
TAP2 = = 3.77 (28)
230kV x 400 x 3

## 87T Pickup = 0.5 per unit

Slope 1 = 25%
Slope 2 = 75%
Break Point = 2.0 per unit
Even Harmonic Restraint =10% (cross phase averaging enabled)

inrush

## Fig. 5C. 4th harmonic component currents for balanced

inrush

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2nd Case – Balanced Inrush 3rd Case – Unbalanced Inrush
Energize Bank from Winding 2 with Winding 1 Open Energize Line with Bank from Single End
(No residual flux) (Severe A-phase residual flux)

## Fig. 6A. Total phase currents for balanced inrush

Fig. 7A. Total phase currents for unbalanced inrush

## Fig. 6B. 2nd harmonic component currents for balanced

inrush Fig. 7B. 2nd Harmonic component currents for
unbalanced inrush

Fig. 6C. 4th harmonic component currents for balanced Fig. 7C. 4th Harmonic component currents for
inrush unbalanced inrush

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IV. CONCLUSIONS
4th Case – Balanced Inrush A common commissioning practice is to test all the
Energize Bank from Winding 2 with Winding 1 numerical relay settings to verify they were properly
Open (Severe A-phase residual flux) entered. Automated testing using computer software to
run the test set has made this possible since the overall
commissioning for a numerical relay could consist of
several hundred tests. While this is a good check, it is
still important to ensure that the transformer is
thoroughly protected for the particular application.
This paper presented three types of test for
transformer differential protection:
x Transformer Differential Characteristic
Boundary Test
x Ground Differential Sensitivity Test
x Even Harmonic Restraint during Transformer
Inrush
The first test determines if the transformer differential
protection meets the stated accuracy for the operating
characteristic slopes. The second test determines the
Fig. 8A. Total Phase Currents for Unbalanced Inrush fault resistance coverage of the ground differential
protection as a function of the source impedance. The
third test determines if the transformer differential
protection harmonic restraint works during a variety of
stringent conditions that could occur during actual
energization.

Steve Turner is a Senior Applications Engineer at
Beckwith Electric Company, Inc. His previous
experience includes working as an application engineer
with GEC Alstom for five years, primarily focusing on
transmission line protection in the United States. He
also was an application engineer in the international
Fig. 8B. 2nd Harmonic Component Currents for market for SEL, Inc. again focusing on transmission
Unbalanced Inrush line protection applications. Steve wrote the protection-
related sections of the instruction manual for SEL line
protection relays as well as application guides on
various topics such as transformer differential
protection and out-of-step blocking during power
swings. Steve also worked for Progress Energy in North
Carolina, where he developed a patent for double-ended
fault location on transmission lines and was in charge of
all maintenance standards in the transmission
department for protective relaying.
Steve has both a BSEE and MSEE from Virginia Tech
University. He has presented at numerous conferences
including: Georgia Tech Protective Relay Conference,
Western Protective Relay Conference, ECNE and Doble
User Groups, as well as various international
Fig. 8C. 4th Harmonic Component Currents for conferences. Steve is also a senior member of the IEEE.
Unbalanced Inrush

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