Dr. K Rajamani and Ms. Bina Mitra Reliance Energy Ltd., Mumbai
IM = Magnetising component 1. INTRODUCTION Current transformers (CT), though may appear quiet insignificant in the huge electrical power network, play a vital role in protection and metering systems. The key elements in a protection system (Refer Fig.1) are: i. Instrument transformers (Current and voltage transformers) – sensors in the system. ii. Protective relays – locating and initiating isolation of faults in the system. iii. Circuit breaker – isolating faults from the system. iv. AC and DC wiring related to the above elements. Primary connected to current source

Fig.2. Equivalent Circuit of Current Transformer 1.2 Phasor diagram of current transformer Refer Fig. 3 for phasor diagram of current transformer. ϕ : Flux ISRS : Secondary resistance voltage drop ISXS : Secondary reactance voltage drop IP NP : Total primary ampere turns. ICNp : Component of primary ampere turns required to supply core losses (usually very small) IM NP : Component of primary ampere turns required to produce the flux. ISNS : Secondary Ampere Turns. IP’ NP : Component of primary Ampere Turns required to neutralize secondary Ampere Turns; opposite to ISNS For bar primary, NP =1

Fig.1. Protection System Faults in the system can be cleared successfully when all the above elements of protection chain work perfectly. The success of fault clearance, irrespective of use of ‘advanced numerical relays’ and ‘VCBs’ is still critically dependent on faithful reproduction of primary quantities on secondary side by instrument transformers. This paper discusses realistic specification of current transformer in particular to achieve the above objective. Initially few basic concepts which play a vital role in specifying current transformer parameters are explained. 1.1 Equivalent circuit of current transformer Refer Fig. 2 for equivalent circuit of current transformer. ES = Secondary induced EMF VS = Secondary output voltage IP = Primary current IS = Secondary current IE = Exciting current Ic = Core loss component 1

Fig. 3. Phasor Diagram of Current Transformer As seen from the phasor diagram, the primary current IP is made up of two components: i. Exciting current IE - magnetizes the core and supplies the core losses. ii. Reflected secondary current - IP’. The errors in current transformation are due to the exciting current. The proportionality between primary current and secondary current is not

strictly maintained and results in magnitude (ratio) and phase angle errors. IB) decides primary current rating. Knee point voltage (Vk) ii. Fig. PARAMETERS FOR CURRENT TRANSFOMER SPECIFICATION The key parameters required for complete current transformer specification: i. This concept plays an . Rating based on continuous thermal rating ΙA: Maximum load current (mandatory) + 20% overload capacity.1.6. t = 1502 ΙP2 / ΙF2 The fault shall be cleared within ‘ t ‘ seconds to avoid CT damage. ii. Beyond knee point voltage.F) iii. important role in specifying parameters for both general protection class and special protection class CTs. the CT is unable to develop enough voltage across CT secondary to drive the required current through the connected burden. ii. Accuracy class ii.F) iii. Metering class used in metering circuits. Special protection class (Class PS) used in current balance protection schemes.L.1 Parameters based on application of current transformer 3. Saturated Current Transformer The CT excitation characteristic linearity is maintained up to knee point voltage (Vk) (defined later) (Refer . Accuracy class ii. Secondary winding resistance (Rct) 3. CT RATIO CT ratio is defined as the ratio of rated primary current to the rated secondary current. Short circuit current through the current transformer can be maximum 150 times the rated CT current for 1 sec.S. iii.Fig. majority of the primary current is used in exciting the core and very little is transformed into secondary current which flows in the burden (Refer Fig 5). 1.6). CT Excitation Characteristic 1. CURRENT TRANSFORMER CLASSIFICATION Current transformers may be classified in the following categories based on the application: i. under saturation conditions. since major portion of primary current is used in exciting the core.4.4 Voltage developed across CT secondary Another important function of a current transformer is to develop enough voltage to drive required current through circuit burden in addition to faithfully reproducing the primary current. then short circuit withstand time will be less than ‘t’ seconds.5.3 CT saturation When a CT is saturated. C. Rated burden 3. the tight linear relationship between primary and secondary is lost and the CT is unable to replicate faithfully. This ensures robust construction of the current transformer. General protection class used for protective relaying. 2. in case fault current (ΙF) is larger than 150 times the rated primary current. 3. Rating based on short time thermal rating ΙB: Rated short time current for 1 sec / 150 The higher current of the above two values (IA. Accuracy limit factor (A.1 General protection class i. 4. Fig. Healthy Current Transformer However. Under healthy conditions very little current is used for excitation and majority of the primary current is transformed into secondary (Refer Fig. Instrument security factor (I.1. Exciting current (Iex) iii. Based on Ι2t criteria.T. Eg: CT Ratio = 200 / 1 2 Fig. Rated burden 4.1. Number of cores 3.1 Rated primary current Factors influencing rated primary current: i.3 Metering class i. current transformer starts saturating. In case of CT saturation.4). Ratio ii.2 Special protection class i.

F is not relevant for CTs mounted on neutral circuit in medium and high resistance grounded systems and for metering class.5A can be used. 1 A CT is preferred if CT lead goes out of the switchgear. Example: C. Specifying ALF > 20 is not useful as relay operating time characteristic flattens out at 20 times rated current (Refer Fig.6 sec to avoid damage of current transformer. The selection of these two parameters depends on the voltage required to be developed by the current transformer during faults.L.L. up to which CT must retain the specified accuracy.2 Rated secondary current The standard CT secondary current ratings are 1A and 5A.1 Accuracy class Standard accuracy classes available are 5P and 10P.7). In such networks low ratio CTs will be heavily saturated under short circuit conditions causing mal operation of over current protection. This may be useful particularly in design of auxiliary system of power plants where the motor rating at 6. If the actual burden < 5 VA.2 Accuracy limit factor (A. The figure ‘5’ in ‘5P’ indicates the accuracy limit in percent expressed in terms of composite error.F) is the ratio of largest value of current to CT rated current.T. A. For example. is relevant only for protection class CTs since it is required to retain specified accuracy at current values above normal rating to faithfully reflect the fault currents. 5.3 Rated burden Burden is the load burden in VA. RL = Lead resistance. For protection class CTs the actual voltage required on CT secondary (Refer Fig.20. RCT = CT resistance. of all equipment connected to CT secondary circuit.2) recommends use of two sets of CTs. One set with a low ratio to be used for metering and another set with a high ratio to be used for protection.Fault Current IF = 40kA Short Circuit withstand time t = 1502 x 2002 / (40. GENERAL PROTECTION CLASS 5. only RR in above expression is low but other factors are significant. ALF = 20 and composite error < 5 % up to 20 times rated current for burden of 5VA. 5.6kV can vary from 200kW to 9000kW.L. if CT is located in switch yard and CT leads have to be taken to relay panels located in control room which can be away.7. For such situations IEEE (C37. Generally. A special mention is required for CTs used for equipment of small rating connected to high voltage and high short circuit level networks. The design value of CT secondary voltage is given by VDESIGN = Burden x Accuracy Limit Factor (A. For CT with very high lead length. Fig.F) ΙRAT (Secondary) 3 .L. even if very low burden numerical relays are used. 4.: 5P20. In this case. The selection is based on the lead burden used for connecting the CT to meters/ relays. 1A CT is preferred to reduce the lead burden. 5A CT can be used when current transformer and protective devices are located within same switchgear. even for currents > 20 times rated current.57 sec The fault shall be cleared within 0. at rated CT secondary current. 5.where IF = Reflected fault current.000)2 = 0. IDMT Characteristics A. In large generator circuits. The combination can thus provide accurate metering and adequate short circuit protection.8 It may be mentioned in passing that. 5P Class CTs are employed. where primary rated current is of the order of few kilo-amperes only 5A CTs are used.L. CT with secondary current rating of 0. RR = Relay resistance Fig.F) Accuracy limit factor (A.F. The rating of CT for protection application may be standardized as per the criteria given above whereas the ratings for metering CTs may vary as per the individual load ratings. 5 VA. Burden and accuracy limit factor (ALF) are two sides of the same coin. 1A CTs are not preferred since the turns ratio becomes very high and CT becomes unwieldy. 8) VACTUAL = IF (RCT + 2 * RL+ RR) . composite error is less than 5%.

any standard value of A. During external fault conditions CT2 presents short circuit when it is saturated (Refer Fig. In such cases. 6. VREQUIRED = IF (Rct1 + RL1+RL3+Rct2 + RL4+ RL2) Assuming. RR = 0Ω VACTUAL = (30000/800) * (3 + 2*1) = 187. In case of HT side fault. VREQUIRED during external fault condition with CT2 saturated. the available secondary current of 1A is enough to operate the relay. Knee point voltage is relevant only during external fault conditions and does not have significance during normal operating conditions. only CTs on HT side carry current. VK (min) = Minimum Knee Point Voltage IF = Max.T secondary resistance typically varies from 1 to 8 Ω RL = Lead resistance typically 8 ohms / km for 2. knee point voltage.5 V VDESIGN = 20 x 10 / 1 = 200 V The chosen parameters are acceptable since VDESIGN > VACTUAL. 6).800 /1: 5P20.9. 10 VA IF =30kA. Assume relay pickup setting as 10% (0. RCT = 3Ω . SPECIAL PROTECTION CLASS 6. 4 Fig. CT1 has to develop enough voltage to drive current through the complete CT circuit.1. RCT = C.L. the CT requirements furnished by relay manufacturer may be followed. Fig. VDESIGN > VACTUAL Example: CT : Ratio .F and burden may be selected to satisfy Design voltage across CT > Actual volts required. RL = 1Ω.LT system fault current or 20 times rated current of LT CT. 10). HT side of transformer .10 . ii. fault current will not exceed 20 times rated current assuming minimum transformer impedance as 5%.As the rated CT secondary current is known.1 Knee point voltage (Vk) Knee point voltage (VK) at which CT starts saturating is defined as the point where exciting current increases by 50% for 10% increase in voltage (Refer Fig. Current Balanced Scheme During internal fault conditions. Rct1 = Rct2 = Rct and RL1= RL3= RL4= RL2= RL VREQUIRED = IF (2*Rct + 4*RL) VREQUIRED = 2* IF (Rct + 2*RL) Therefore. through fault current to which CTs are subjected to.1 A for 1A CT) and fault current 20 times rated current. whichever is lower. 6.1 Fault current for CT sizing Following guidelines are used for choosing appropriate fault current IF for knee point voltage calculations of CTs used in biased differential protection scheme of transformer to avoid CT oversizing: i. The knee point voltage (Vk) for Class PS CTs used in high impedance scheme is calculated for the worst condition that one of the CTs is fully saturated and the other CT has to develop enough voltage to drive current through the other CT circuit to ensure stability during external fault. Fig.5 mm2 Cu control cable Modern numerical relays offer low impedance biased schemes as an alternate which achieves stability during through faults by algorithmic calculation after measuring CT secondary currents. even if 19A is consumed in saturation. LT side of transformer . CT2 presents an open circuit (Refer Fig. Now. whichever is lower.11 Now. 9.HT system fault current or 20 times rated current of HT CT. 11). for Class PS CTs is Vk (min) > VREQUIRED = 2 * IF (RCT + 2RL) where. The rational for the above is as follows: i. In case of LT side fault. ii. A typical current balanced scheme which operates by sensing the difference of two or more currents measured by the CTs located on two sides of the protected object is shown in Fig.

------.e 0. Therefore. voltage required to be developed by CT is only 5% of the knee point voltage.1 A for a 1A CT. 05 ⇒ 5% 2ΙF 2 x30 KA As seen from above. 15). specifying ΙEX @ VK / 4 (25%) is more than adequate whereas specifying ΙEX @ VK / 2 (50%) is a conservative design resulting in bigger size of CTs.14 Generally identical class PS CTs are used in both sides of the protected equipment. 5 .2. Under fault conditions. Fig. 14). Knee point voltage (Vk) = 2ΙF (RCT + 2 RL) Under normal conditions.= 0. On similar lines 150mA is normally specified for 5A CT. under healthy conditions.= ------------.g. . Fig. For Class PS CT.15 A point may be noted here that it is not mandatory to use Class PS CTs in current balanced schemes. For example. It is not necessary to order both CTs from same vendor as long as class PS requirements are met.12 Therefore for such schemes the relay pickup current is set based on the number of CTs in the circuits and the exciting current for each CT. Usually IEX <30mA is specified for 1A CT and IEX < 150mA is specified for 5A CT at VK / 4. It can be even 45mA for a 1A CT for a two winding transformer. 3 KA ΙRAT e. specifying 30mA @ Vk/4 is adequate. Also. the exciting current of CTs can be <30mA when used for a three winding transformer (Refer Fig.2. The exciting current at VK / 4 is less than that at VK / 2 (Refer Fig. 12).13). the spill current through the differential relay should be less than the relay pick up (Refer Fig.6. General protection class CTs can be used as long as the CT have low exciting current and is able to develop enough knee point voltage required for the said application. Assuming a relay pickup of 10% i.2 Exciting current (IEX) Error in transformation is due to exciting current (IEX) because of which the proportionality between primary and secondary current is not maintained. Point by point matching of saturation characteristics for the CTs is not mandatory and not required. The site test results given in table (Table-1) shows that the exciting current for a protection class CT is less than that of a Class PS CT. (Refer Fig. Considering a limiting value of 30mA for exciting current. 6. Fig. they are acceptable. this proportionality is retained to a high degree by specifying a low exciting current. it has a higher knee point voltage compared to a Class PS CT.13 6.2 ΙEX to be specified at VK / 4 or VK / 2? is relevant only during normal operating ΙEX conditions to ensure stability and prevent false tripping and is not relevant during faults. if ΙEX < 30 mA @ VK/4 for both the CTs. ΙRAT VCT = ΙRAT (RCT + 2 RL) = Vk ------2ΙF Fig.1 Why IEX <30mA or IEX <150mA? In current balanced scheme to avoid mal operation of protection scheme during normal operating conditions.

4 ΙR . METERING CLASS 7. CT secondary winding resistance is usually specified. For a current transformer the rated burden should be carefully chosen based on the equipments connected in the secondary circuit as burden has bearing on the price of CT. As mentioned above. Cl. This is mostly true for tie lines connecting industrial plants with captive power plant and grid. Ie < 150mA @ Vk/4. 15VA Current (mA) 5 7 12 22 33 Table-2 Generally I. Therefore for 1 sec the coil can withstand.3 Rated burden Burden usually expressed in VA indicates the impedance of the CT secondary circuit at a specified power factor and at the rated secondary current. If current through the metered line is much less than the rated current of CT. indicating meters can be connected to protection core and no separate metering core is required. 7. Ι2 x 1 = (10 ΙR)2 x 5 = 500 ΙR2 Ι = 22. anticipated accuracy is never realised in practice.S. 7. The site test results given in the table below (Table-2) shows that knee point voltage for a metering CT is much less than that of a protection class CT.8 ohm Current Current Volts Volts (mA) (mA) 10 75 130 143 158 (Vk) 174 10 42 71 85 111 181 10 40 80 120 171 (Vk) 190 Table-1 6.S. 20VA 130.Special Protection General Protection Class Class 1600/5A. Therefore knee point voltage and ALF are not relevant for metering 6 5 12 20 33 77 132 CTs. It may be noted that a current transformer with high accuracy class and low I.F. Therefore it may be emphasized that metering CTs should saturate after certain current may be10ΙN to protect meters while protection CTs should not saturate up to 20ΙN to ensure accuracy during fault conditions.F cannot be realised in practice. 0.S. 5P20. fault current and lead resistance values and not to specify both knee point voltage and Rct to the vendor. General Protection Class 1600/5A. The vendor can then optimally choose Rct to get the desired knee point voltage. However it is preferable to furnish expression for knee point voltage.2 Instrument security factor (I. This will avoid oversizing of CTs. High accuracy class requires low excitation current which in turn results in bigger core. Cl. However this does not have much practical significance and I. This signifies the current at which the CT starts saturating to protect the apparatus supplied by CT in the event of the system fault.1 Accuracy class Accuracy class is defined as the maximum ratio error at rated current and at rated burden.4 times CT rated primary current.S. Class 0. Cl.F) is defined as the ratio of minimum value of primary current to the rated current at which composite error of CT is greater than 10%. Cl. Rct < 0. PS. if ΙFAULT is less than 22.5 CTs are used for precision industrial metering / tariff metering.2 and 0.F. for majority of time. 5P20. For special protection class CTs (Class PS).5. 20VA Volts 40 80 120 171 (Vk) 190 Current (mA) 12 20 33 77 132 Volts 6 10 20 30 (Vk) 33 . meters are designed to withstand 10 times the rated current for 5 seconds and faults are generally cleared within one (1) sec. Metering Class 1600/5A. Vk > 1600/5A. 0. This is one way to identify metering core at site.S. It may be worth mentioning that meters can also be connected to protection core for feeders with instantaneous protection where fault clearing time is less than 100ms.1. The accuracy requirements are specified at rated burden.F) Instrument security factor (I. 7. is specified less than 5. where ΙR is the CT rated current Therefore.F = 10 is acceptable as the ammeters and current coils of meters are designed to withstand 10 times the rated current for 5 seconds. As per IS 2705 accuracy is not guaranteed for current less than 20% of the rated current. The saturation point of a bigger core is high which contradicts the requirement of low I.3 Secondary winding resistance (Rct) Winding resistance is part of the CT burden and is taken into account while determining knee point voltage requirement of CT.S.

A radical rethink when selecting primary rating of CT for protection application is needed.8. W.S. 9. Protective Relays.F for metering CTs can be 10 without endangering meters.Application Guide – GEC Measurements ii. The design of Electrical Systems for large projects (in India) – N Balasubramanyam iii. The practicing engineer is encouraged to apply the ideas presented here to realize optimally sized CTs. CONCLUSION The article covers salient aspects that the user should consider to realize CTs that are not oversized. I. Electrical Measurements and Measuring Instruments – E. REFERENCES i. Golding 7 . Extreme care shall be exercised when selecting knee point voltage and exciting current for CTs used in current balanced schemes.

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