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Working Principle Of Thermal Motor Protection Relay


March 20, 2013 Edvard

Working Principle Of Thermal Motor Protection Relay

Principle of operation
strips together with a trip Thermal motor protection relays contain three mechanism in a housing made of insulating material. The bimetal strips are heated by the motor current, causing them to bend and activating the trip mechanism after a certain travel which depends on the current-setting of the relay. The release mechanism actuates an auxiliary switch that breaks the coil circuit of the (Figure 1 ). A switching position indicator signals the condition tripped .

A = Indirectly heated bimetal strips B = Trip slide C = Trip lever D = Contact lever E = Compensation bimetal strip The bimetal strips may be heated directly or indirectly . In the first case, the current flows directly through the bimetal , in the second through an insulated heating winding around the strip.

Figure 1 - Principle of operation of a three pole

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thermally delayed bimetal motor protection relay with The insulation causes some delay of the temperature compensation heat-flow so that the inertia of indirectly heated thermal relays is greater at higher currents than with their directly heated counterparts. Often both principles are combined.

For motor rated currents over approx. 100 A , the motor current is conducted via . The thermal overload relay is then heated by the secondary current of the current transformer. This means on one hand, that the dissipated power is reduced and, on the other, that the short-circuit withstand capacity is increased. The of bimetal relays can be set on a current scale by displacement of the trip mechanism relative to the bimetal strips so that the protection characteristic can be matched to the protected object in the key area of continuous duty. The simple, economical design can only approximate the transient thermal characteristic of the motor. For starting with subsequent continuous duty, the thermal motor protection relay provides perfect protection for the motor. With frequent start-ups in intermittent operation the significantly lower heating time constant of the bimetal strips compared to the motor results in early tripping in which the thermal capacity of the motor is not utilized. The cooling time constant of thermal relays is shorter than that of normal motors. This also contributes to an increasing difference between the actual temperature of the motor and that simulated by the thermal relay in intermittent operation.

insufficient. For these reasons, the protection of motors in intermittent operation is insufficient .

Temperature compensation
The principle of operation of thermal motor protection relays is based on temperature rise. Therefore the ambient temperature of the device affects the tripping specifications. As the installation site and hence the ambient temperature of the motor to be protected usually is different from that of the protective device it is an industry standard that the tripping characteris-tic of a bimetal relay is temperature-compensated, i.e. largely independent of its ambient temperature (see Figure 2 below).

I = Overload as a multiple of the set current = Ambient temperature - Limit values under IEC 60947-4-1 This is achieved with a compensation bimetal strip that makes the relative position of the trip mechanism independent of the temperature.
Figure 2 - Tripping tolerances for

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temperature-compensated overload relays for motor rotection under IEC 60947-4-1

Sensitivity to phase failure

The tripping characteristic of three-pole motor protection relays applies subject to the condition that all three bimetal strips are loaded with the same current at the same time. If, when one pole conductor is interrupted, only two bimetal strips are heated then these two strips must alone produce the force required to actuate the trip mechanism. This requires a higher current or results in a longer tripping time (characteristic curve c in Figure below ).

I e = Rated current set on the scale t = Tripping time

From a cold state:


a = 3-pole load, symmetrical b = 2-pole load with differential release c = 2-pole load without differential release

From the warm state:


d = 3-pole load, symmetrical If larger motors (10 kW) are subjected to these higher currents for a longer time, damage should be expected. In order to also ensure the thermal overload protection of the motor in the cases of supply asymmetry and loss of a phase, high quality motor protection relays have mechanisms with phase failure sensitivity (differential release).

Typical trip characteristics of a motor protection relay

Resource: Low Voltage Switchgear and Controlgear Rockwell

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