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Why do we need Protection?

Electrical power system operates at various voltage levels from 415 V to 400 kV
or even more. Electrical apparatus used may be enclosed (e.g., motors) or placed in
open (e.g., transmission lines). All such equipment undergo abnormalities in their life
time due to various reasons. For example, a worn out bearing may cause overloading of
a motor. A tree falling or touching an overhead line may cause a fault. A lightning strike
can cause insulation failure.

It is necessary to avoid these abnormal operating regions for safety of the

equipment. Even more important is safety of the human personnel which may be
endangered due to exposure to live parts under fault or abnormal operating conditions.
To conclude, every electrical equipment has to be monitored to protect it and provide
human safety under abnormal operating conditions. This job is assigned to electrical
protection systems. It encompasses apparatus protection and system protection.
Types of Protection
Protection systems can be classified as:
i) apparatus protection &
ii) system protection
Apparatus Protection
Apparatus protection deals with detection of a fault in the apparatus. Those are:
 Transmission Line Protection and feeder protection
 Transformer Protection
 Generator Protection
 Motor Protection
 Busbar Protection
System Protection
System protection deals with detection of proximity of system to unstable
operating region and consequent control actions to restore stable operating point and/or
prevent damage to equipments. Loss of system stability can lead to partial or complete
system blackouts. Under-frequency relays, out-of- step protection, islanding systems, rate
of change of frequency relays, reverse power flow relays, voltage surge relays etc are
used for system protection.
Relay Coordination:

The major challenge for an protection engineer is Over current relay coordination among ring
feeders and radial feeders.

Before proceeding to relay coordination we must understand principles of Over current relays.
Principles of Overcurrent Relays:

Overcurrent relays have to play dual roles of both primary and backup protection. For example, in a radial
distribution system, there may be more feeders downstream. If the downstream fuse or relay R1or circuit breaker fails
to detect the fault and/or isolate the equipment, upstream relays/CBs R2 have to be opened.
The upstream relay action (e.g. R2) should be initiated if and only if
downstream relay (e.g. R1) has failed. Thus, back up action requires a wait state.
For this purpose, in an overcurrent relay, an additional feature of Time Multiplier
Setting (TMS) is provided. The basic idea is that by increasing or decreasing the
TMS, the relay operating time can be increased or decreased proportionately.
Likewise TMS, another setting is there called Plug Setting Multiplier (PSM). Plug Setting Multiplier (PSM) is
used only for Electromechanical Relays. This term or parameter is not so used in Numerical Relays but they are
conceptually used and incorporated in Numerical Relays too but the way of their implementation is quite different than
that of Electromechanical Relays. In Numerical Relays Pickup current used as a setting parameter.
Two fundamental requirements of protection are as follows:
1. Primary protection should be fast.
2. Back up protection should act if and only if primary protection has failed. Hence, it is intentionally slow.
This provides selectivity.
For relays which do not have co-ordination responsibility (e.g. relays at the leaf nodes), usually TMS can be set
to the minimum. With the knowledge of PSM and TMS, the desired relay operating time is calculated.
Types of Overcurrent Relay
Various Time Current Characteristics (TCCs) for overcurrent relay are used in practice. Salient features are described
Instantaneous Relay: The operating time of an instantaneous relay is of the order of a few milliseconds. Traditionally,
such a relay has only the pick-up setting and it does not have any TMS. As the name indicates, it's action is fast. It is used
when it is obvious that large fault currents are the consequence of fault on the equipment being protected by the relay
e.g., close-in fault on a long feeder. This relay is not suitable for backup protection.
Time delayed Definite Time Relay : A definite time over-current relay can be adjusted to issue a trip output after a
specified delay when the relay picks up (PSM>1). This delay is fixed and it is independent of PSM value. Thus, it has a
adjustable time setting as well as a pick up adjustment. It is used for short length feeders where the fault current does
not change significantly with the location of the fault across the feeder.

The above figure illustrates an overcurrent protection scheme for radial distribution system, with definite time relays.
Relay R1 does not have any coordination responsibility and hence it can trip without any intentional time delay. Relay
R2 has to coordinate with relay R1and hence its time of operation is delayed by time equal to Coordination Time
Interval (CTI). Relay R3 has to back up R2. Hence its time of operation is delayed by another CTI. Thus, we see that as
we move along towards source, the relaying action slows down. Typically, there is an upper limit on any fault clearing
time called critical clearing time (CCT) in the system and it equals approximately 1sec. This limit would be hit near the
relay close to source. Normally Coordination Time Interval should be ≥ 20mSec.
Inverse definite minimum time (IDMT) Relay : To protect the electrical equipments from major damage in case of
fault we should isolate the faulted section as early as possible. If fault current is more then the damage occurred to
the system components also high. So, for higher fault currents we should isolate the faulted portion quickly. This
leads to development of an inverse characteristic for overcurrent relay. This is probably the most widely used
characteristic. It is inverse in the initial part and tends to approach a definite minimum operating time characteristic
as the current becomes very high.
Various inverse current operating time characteristics of a relay are shown in figure. They are normal or
standard inverse, very inverse and extremely inverse characteristics.

Very inverse time

The inverseness of this characteristic is higher than that of the
normal inverse characteristic.
Extremely inverse time
The inverseness of this characteristic is even higher than that of
the very inverse characteristic.
These relays are preferred where less time of operation of relay
is required.
Table summarizes the IEC standard equations governing inverse characteristic.

IEC Inverse Characteristic Equations

IEC NI (Normal Inverse) IEC VI (Very Inverse) IEC EI (Extremely Inverse)

As PSM approaches unity, it is clear from above equations that relay operating time increases to infinity.
With electromechanical relays, usually manufacturers do not guarantee accuracy of the relay operating time in
the PSM range 1 to 1.5. Hence, traditionally PSM of an overcurrent relay is set above 1.5. However, in principle,
such restrictions do not apply to numerical relays.
PSM setting for primary and back-up protection

To explain intricacies of the problem, let us consider a radial system in the fig 16.1. Fault under consideration is
a 3 - phase fault. Relays used have Normal Inverse, IEC standard characteristics. Coordination time interval CTI is 0.3sec. It
is required that primary protection should fulfill its responsibility within 1.0sec (Critical Clearing Time, CCT) of the
occurrence of fault.
The relays along with Circuit Breaker are labeled as R1, R2, R3, R4. The bus loads and fault currents are
tabulated in Table 1. It is obvious that pick up current settings for the relays should be above the feeder load currents and
not the bus load currents. In fact, one should consider the maximum possible loading conditions, to decide conservatively
pick-up current settings. A rule of thumb is to set the pick-up current at 1.25 times maximum load current. Another 'rule
of thumb' is to limit pick-up current to 2/3rd of the minimum fault current. This decides the range available for setting
relay pick-up.
Table 2 details the calculations associated with setting of overcurrent relays. It shows both the minimum fault
current and the maximum load current. Now ideally, one can set the pick up current of the overcurrent relay anywhere
within the maximum feeder load current (column 2) and minimum fault current (column 3). However, as explained in
the previous lecture, with electromechanical relays, we should not allow PSM to be below 1.5. Since Ip = Ifmin/PSM,
upper limit on PSM sets lower limit on Ip, which is equal to (2/3) x Ifmin at PSM = 1.5. For example, pick up of relay R1
can be set between 62.5 A to 167A. In this example, we choose pickup of R1 to be 160A.

Bus Max Load Min Fault Current Max Fault Current Now to decide the pick-up current of relay R2, it is not adequate to
Bus A 50 250 500
just look at the minimum fault current of section CB. This is
Bus B 50 650 1200 because, relay R2 also has to back up the section BA in case relay
Bus C 100 1100 2000 R1 or the its CB or the associated circuitry fails. Hence, minimum
Bus D 50 1600 3500 fault current to be protected by relay R2 is also 250 A.
Now one can choose pick up current of R2 to be equal to R1. However, if we use same TMS setting for R2 as R1 then it
leads to a serious conflict of interest between relays R1 and R2 with both of them competing to clear the fault. If R1
clears the fault F1 first, then there is absolutely no problem. But if R2 clears the fault first then, there is an unwanted
loss of service to load at node B. This brings out another additional requirement for relay R2 viz. it should give
preference to relay R1 for faults on section BA. This can be achieved in two ways:
1. The relay R1 sends a blocking signal to relay R2 (if having GOOSE communication among relays).
2. Relay R2 conservatively waits for a specified time for relay R1 to act (time discrimination principle).
In the absence of the communication channel availability, alternative 2 is the only option.
Relay coordination for Phase fault Relay

In this example, we will use IEC - NI characteristic for all relays R1 - R4. Various steps of PSM setting are summarized in
below table
a1 a2 a3=1.25xa2 a4 a5=(2/3) X a4 a6 - .
Max Feeder segment Load Min Limit on Pickup Min Fault Current at Min Limit on Pickup Min Fault Current at
Relay PSM (A) TMS
Current(A) current(A) Remote bus(A) current(A) Remote bus(A)

R1 50 62.5 250 167 500 160 0.025


R2 100 125 650 433 1200 167 0.07


R3 200 250 1100 733 2000 400 0.086


R4 250 312.5 1600 1067 3500 700 0.097

1 Used for evaluating TMS of R2.

This interactive table works out the relay setting and coordination.
2 Used for evaluating TMS of R3. The descriptive explanation of various steps follows:
3 Used for evaluating TMS of R4.
Step 1
In this step, we will set relay R1.Choose for relay R1 TMS = 0.025. No intentional time delay is provided because R1
does not have backup responsibility.
Relay 1 (R1)
As explained before, pickup current of R1 = 160A.
For fault on section AB (Ifmax = 500 A):
PSM = Fault Current / Actual Pick up = 500/160 = 3.125
TMS = 0.025
Operating time using IEC NI TCC.

Now, the back-up protection for section AB is given by relay 2. Setting of relay -2 is explained in the next step.

Step 2
Relay 2 (R2)
Let, Actual Pick up = 167 A. The PSM setting of R2 has been already explained and summarized in row 2 of table.
We co-ordinate R2 with R1 for close in fault for relay R1. This leads to large PSM. Other alternative would be to perform
relay co-ordination at minimum fault current on remote feeder (Ifmin). However, co-ordination at Ifmax of remote feeder
is preferred because it is observed that TCC for say TMS1 and TMS2 (TMS2 > TMS1) tend to come closer for large PSM.
Conversely, as PSM reduces, they separate out.
Thus, if we co-ordinate relays at large PSM, then co-ordination at lower values is automatically ascertained.
PSM = Fault Current / Actual Pick up = 500/167 = 2.99
Expected operating time for relay 2 = Operating time of relay 1+ CTI
= 0.15 + 0.2 = 0.35sec.

TMS = 0.07
Now for maximum fault current on section BC (1200A)
PSM = Fault Current / Actual Pick up = 1200/167 = 7.185
with TMS = 0.07 operating time of relay 2

Operating time of relay 2 = 0.24sec.

In the similar way all relays can be coordinated. Details of PSM setting are given in Table 1. Reader, should in an
interactive mode single-step through the example in Table - 1. Similarly for TMS, readers should single step through fig

It is clear that slowest relay in the system is R4. To compute its worst case performance, we should evaluate its fault
clearing time with minimum fault current at remote bus D for primary protection and bus C for backup protection.
Time of operation for fault current of 1600A (bus D) = 0.82sec.
Time of operation for fault current of 1100A (bus C) = 1.5sec.
Since primary protection is always cleared within 1sec, we can consider the protection system to be satisfactory.
Iteration 2
Repeating the same process as above,

For fault at F1, time of operation = 0.122sec

Time of operation of R1 = + CTI = 0.3 + 0.122 = 0.422sec

Iteration 2 (contd..)
Iteration 3
For relay R1, which has to back up R2
Time of operation = 0.3 + 0.1217 = 0.4217sec