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Special considerations when selecting transformer protection


O il p o we r trans fo rme rs 11/0.42kV 2000kVA

Current Transf ormers

Current transf ormer ratio selection and perf ormance require special attention when applying transf ormer protection. Unique f actors associated with transf ormers, including its winding ratios, magnetizing inrush current, and the presence of winding taps or load tap changers, are sources of dif f iculties in engineering a dependable and secure protection scheme f or the transf ormer. Errors resulting f rom CT saturation and load-tap-changers are particularly critical f or dif f erential protection schemes where the currents f rom more than one set of CTs are compared. To compensate f or the saturation=mismatch errors, overcurrent relays must be set to operate above these errors.

CT Current Mismat ch
Under normal, non-f ault conditions, a transf ormer dif f erential relay should ideally have identical currents in the secondaries of all current transf ormers connected to the relay so that no current would f low in its operating coil. It is dif f icult, however, to match current transf ormer ratios exactly to the transf ormer winding ratios. T his task becomes impossible with the presence of transf ormer of f -load and on-load taps or load tap changers that change the voltage ratios of the transf ormer windings depending on system voltage and transf ormer loading.

T he highest secondary current mismatch between all current transf ormers connected in the dif f erential scheme must be calculated when selecting the relay operating setting. If time delayed overcurrent protection is used, the time delay setting must also be based on the same consideration. T he mismatch calculation should be perf ormed f or maximum load and through-f ault conditions.

CT Sat urat ion

CT saturation could have a negative impact on the ability of the transf ormer protection to operate f or internal f aults (dependability) and not to operate f or external f aults (security). For internal f aults, dependability of the harmonic restraint type relays could be negatively af f ected if current harmonics generated in the CT secondary circuit due to CT saturation are high enough to restrain the relay. With a saturated CT, 2nd and 3rd harmonics predominate initially, but the even harmonics gradually disappear with the decay of the DC component of the f ault current. T he relay may then operate eventually when the restraining harmonic component is reduced. T hese relays usually include an instantaneous overcurrent element that is not restrained by harmonics, but is set very high (typically 20 times transf ormer rating). T his element may operate on severe internal f aults. For external f aults, security of the dif f erentially connected transf ormer protection may be jeopardized if the current transf ormers unequal saturation is severe enough to produce error current above the relay setting. Relays equipped with restraint windings in each current transf ormer circuit would be more secure. T he security problem is particularly critical when the current transf ormers are connected to bus breakers rather than the transf ormer itself . External f aults in this case could be of very high magnitude as they are not limited by the transf ormer impedance.

Magnetizing Inrush (Initial, Recovery, Sympathetic)

Init ial
When a transf ormer is energized af ter being de-energized, a transient magnetizing or exciting current that may reach instantaneous peaks of up to 30 times f ull load current may f low. T his can cause operation of overcurrent or dif f erential relays protecting the transf ormer. T he magnetizing current f lows in only one winding, thus it will appear to a dif f erentially connected relay as an internal f ault. Techniques used to prevent dif f erential relays f rom operating on inrush include detection of current harmonics and zero current periods, both being characteristics of the magnetizing inrush current. T he f ormer takes advantage of the presence of harmonics, especially the second harmonic, in the magnetizing inrush current to restrain the relay f rom operation. T he latter dif f erentiates between the f ault and inrush currents by measuring the zero current periods, which will be much longer f or the inrush than f or the f ault current.

Recovery Inrush
A magnetizing inrush current can also f low if a voltage dip is f ollowed by recovery to normal voltage. Typically, this occurs upon removal of an external f ault. T he magnetizing inrush is usually less severe in this case than in initial energization as the transf ormer was not totally de-energized prior to voltage recovery.

Sympat het ic Inrush

A magnetizing inrush current can f low in an energized transf ormer when a nearby transf ormer is energized. T he of f set inrush current of the bank being energized will f ind a parallel path in the energized bank. Again, the magnitude is usually less than the case of initial inrush. Both the recovery and sympathetic inrush phenomena suggest that restraining the transf ormer protection on magnetizing inrush current is required at all times, not only when switching the transf ormer in service af ter a period of de-energization.

Primary-Secondary Phase-Shif t
For transf ormers with standard delta-wye connections, the currents on the delta and wye sides will have a308phase shif t relative to each other. Current transf ormers used f or traditional dif f erential relays must be connected in wye-delta (opposite of the transf ormer winding connections) to compensate f or the transf ormer phase shif t. Phase correction is of ten internally provided in microprocessor transf ormer protection relays via sof tware virtual interposing CTs f or each transf ormer winding and, as with the ratio correction, will depend upon the selected conf iguration f or the restrained inputs. T his allows the primary current transf ormers to all be connected in wye.

Turn-to-Turn Faults
Fault currents resulting f rom a turn-to-turn f ault have low magnitudes and are hard to detect. Typically, the f ault will have to evolve and af f ect a good portion of the winding or arc over to other parts of the transf ormer bef ore being detected by overcurrent or dif f erential protection relays. For early detection, reliance is usually made on devices that can measure the resulting accumulation of gas or changes in pressure inside the transf ormer tank.

Through Faults
T hrough f aults could have an impact on both the transf ormer and its protection scheme. Depending on their severity, f requency, and duration, through f ault currents can cause mechanical transf ormer damage, even though the f ault is somewhat limited by the transf ormer impedance. For transf ormer dif f erential protection, current transf ormer mismatch and saturation could produce operating currents on through f aults. T his must be taken into consideration when selecting the scheme, current transf ormer ratio, relay sensitivity, and operating time. Dif f erential protection schemes equipped with restraining windings of f er better security f or these through f aults.

Backup Protection
Backup protection, typically overcurrent or impedance relays applied to one or both sides of the transf ormer, perf orm two f unctions. One f unction is to backup the primary protection, most likely a dif f erential relay, and operate in event of its f ailure to trip.

T he second f unction is protection f or thermal or mechanical damage to the transf ormer. Protection that can detect these external f aults and operate in time to prevent transf ormer damage should be considered. T he protection must be set to operate bef ore the through-f ault withstand capability of the transf ormer is reached. If , because of its large size or importance, only dif f erential protection is applied to a transf ormer, clearing of external f aults bef ore transf ormer damage can occur by other protective devices must be ensured. Resource: Power System Protection Arun Phadke, Virginia Polytechnic Institute