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Published for the Excitation Systems Division


#121 August 1996

Induced Field Current at Time of Crowbar Trigger

A crowbar circuit is a fast de-excitation method that is designed to quickly dissipate the field energy during shutdown of the excitation system. The crowbar circuit consists of two power SCRs connected in antiparallel with a series discharge resistor. See Figure 1. The increased speed of response due to the fast action of the crowbar circuit allows a faster decay of the field energy, therefore, reducing potential damage caused by a generator differential fault.

Figure 2: Voltage Across Field Discharge Circuit Breaker Main Contacts Figure 1: Schematic of Crowbar Circuit The crowbar circuit provides two levels of protection. In one example, SCR A or B is triggered on by an excessive voltage transient induced into the generator field. The transient can be of a magnitude that can damage the bridge power semiconductors. The induced field transient can be caused by a machine pole slip or generator short circuit. During either one of these two conditions, the crowbar circuit senses the polarity of the overvoltage transient and causes the appropriate power SCR to turn on, quickly dissipating the field energy through the discharge resistor to minimize the potential damage caused to the generator by a fault. In the second example, the crowbar circuit is triggered on by an external contact typical of an 86 relay. Here, triggering the power SCRs (A and B) causes the field energy to very rapidly dissipate through the discharge resistor. Unlike the dc field breaker, however, the operating time of the solid state circuit is 50 times faster. This results in crowbar SCRs being triggered on within 150 microseconds as compared to .1 seconds, typical of a dc field breaker, when action is initiated. (See ANSI/IEEE C37.18). See Figure 2. Since the operating time of the crowbar circuit is much faster than the dc field breaker, larger induced field currents can be expected at time of initiation. See Figure 3.

Figure 3: Field Curent with 3 phase Armature Fault ANSI/IEEE C37.18 indicates the field breaker clearing time does not begin until .1 seconds after initiation. By this time, the interrupting current is much less than if closed in 150 microseconds using a crowbar SCR shunting circuit.

Induced Field Current at Time of Crowbar Trigger, Page 2

The magnitude of the induced field current at the time the crowbar SCRs are turned on is provided in Table 5 of ANSI/IEEE C37.18 (Table 1 shown below).
Kc Maximum Ratio of Crest Value of Total Current to Field Current at Machine Rating or Capability 5.5 3 to 4 3.5 Kdc Maximum Ratio of Direct-Current Component of Total Current to Field Curent at Machine Rating or Capability 4 2.3 to 3 3

Type of Machine Conventional two-pole air cooled and hydrogen-cooled turbine generators Conductor-cooled turbine-generators Four-pole turbine and salient-pole generators

Table 1: Multiple of Rated Field Current at time of Generator Short Circuit Kdc = (Xd) (Xd) Where Xd Xd If Ifag (Ifag) ( If ) According to Table 1, within the first cycle, the power SCRs in the crowbar circuit must handle 3-5 times rated field current. Table 2 below illustrates the surge current handling capability of various power SCRs utilized on standard 6 SCR rectifier bridge ratings. For each of the bridge ratings shown, the crowbar power SCRs are well within the current inrush values that can be expected into the field. (In accordance with Table 5 of ANSI/IEEE C37.18 noted, Table 1 above). Because of the fast reaction time provided by the crowbar SCR shunting circuit, the maximum protection possible is provided to the generator, minimizing machine damage caused by a fault.
Maximum Expected Field Current per ANSI/IEEE C37.18 Table 5 700-1100 Amperes Depending upon type of generator per Table 5 810-1485 Amperes Depending upon type of generator per Table 5 1650-3025 Amperes Depending upon type of generator per Table 5 3000-5500 Amperes Depending upon type of generator per Table 5

= synchronous reactance = transient reactance = maximum continuous field current = air gap field current at rated voltage, no load

The value of Kc can be approximated by using the calculated value of Kdc and increasing it by the same percentage as shown in Table 1 for the type of machine under consideration.

Bridge Rating 200 Amperes

Time After Initiation .01 seconds .03 seconds .5 seconds

Maximum Current Handling Capacity of Power Crowbar SCR at Specified Time 5100 Amperes 3700 Amperes 2500 Amperes 6500 Amperes 4685 Amperes 4040 Amperes 12000 Amperes 8960 Amperes 7440 Amperes 27,000 Amperes 20,200 Amperes 16,700 Amperes

270 Amperes

.017 seconds .05 seconds .17 seconds

550 Amperes

.017 seconds .05 seconds .17 seconds

1000 Amperes

.017 seconds .05 seconds .17 seconds

Table 2: SCR Power Handling Capacity at Short Circuit

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