–1–

UPGRADING GENERATOR PROTECTION
USING DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY
Charles J. Mozina
Beckwith Electric Company
6190 - 118th Avenue North • Largo, FL 33773-3724 U.S.A.
PHONE: (727) 544-2326 FAX: (727) 546-0121 FAX-ON-DEMAND: (727) 547-8721
E-MAIL: becomktg@psinet.com WEB PAGE http://www.beckwithelectric.com
INTRODUCTION
Contrary to popular belief, generators do experience short circuits and abnormal electrical conditions. In many
cases, equipment damage due to these events can be reduced or prevented by proper generator protection.
Generators, unlike some other power system components, need to be protected not only from short circuits, but
from abnormal operating conditions. Examples of such abnormal conditions are: overexcitation, overvoltage,
loss-of-field, unbalanced currents, reverse power, and abnormal frequency. When subjected to these conditions,
damage or complete failure can occur within seconds, thus requiring automatic detection and tripping.
In the early 1990’s, the IEEE Power System Relaying Committee conducted a survey to determine how major
synchronous generators in North America were protected from short circuits and abnormal electrical conditions.
Survey findings indicated that despite the clear need to upgrade older generator protection schemes to meet cur-
rent standards, utilities seemed reluctant to make needed modifications to existing power plants. This reluctance
may be due to several factors: a lack of expertise, a misunderstood belief that generators do not fail often enough to
warrant proper protection, or a belief that operating procedures will cover protection design deficiencies.
In a properly protected generator, automatic protection against harmful abnormal conditions is required. The
bulk of this paper deals with the need to provide such protection. Objections to the addition of such protection
is not that it will fail to operate when it should, but that it might operate improperly to remove a generator from
service unnecessarily. This concern about upgrading protection can be greatly reduced by understanding the
need for such upgrades, and how to apply them to a given generator. An unnecessary generator tripping is
undesirable, but the consequences of not tripping and damaging the machine are far worse. The cost to the
utility for such an occurrence includes not only the cost of repair or replacement of the damaged machine, but
the substantial cost of replacement power during the periods when the unit is out of service.
An alert and skillful operator, at manned locations, can sometimes avoid removing a generator from service by
correcting an abnormal operating condition. In the vast majority of cases, however, the event will occur too
rapidly for the operator to react and automatic detection is required. Operators have also been known to make
mistakes, creating abnormal conditions where generator tripping is required to avoid damage. Inadvertent
energizing and overexcitation are examples of such events. For these reasons, operating procedures are not a
substitute for proper automatic protection.
AREAS OF PROTECTION UPGRADE ON OLDER GENERATORS
The areas of upgrading of 20+ year old generator protection fall into three broad categories:
1) Improved Sensitivity in protection areas where older relaying does not provide the level of detection
required to prevent damages. Examples of protection in this area are:
• negative sequence (unbalanced current) protection
• 100% stator ground fault protection
• dual level loss-of-field protection
2) New or Additional Protection Areas that 20 years ago were not perceived to be a problem, but operating
experiences have proved otherwise. These areas are:
• inadvertent generator energizing
• vt fuse loss
• sequential tripping
• oscillographic monitoring
3) Special Protection Application Considerations that are unique to generators. These areas include:
• generator breaker failure
• generator breaker head flashover protection
–2–
The IEEE/American National Standards Institute (ANSI) develop protection guides (see references 1, 2 and 3)
reflecting the need to provide the protection, which is outlined in this paper, in the major upgrade areas cited.
These guides express the views of both users (utilities/generator owners) as well as the generator manufactur-
ers and are reflective of in-service experience viewed at a national level. The guides are updated on a five year
basis to keep them current with both in-service experience as well as changes in technology.
IMPROVED SENSITIVITY PROTECTION AREAS
Negative Sequence (unbalanced current) Protection
There are a number of system conditions that can cause unbalanced three-phase currents in a generator. These
system conditions produce negative sequence components of current which induce a double-frequency current
in the surface of the rotor. The skin effect of the double-frequency rotor current causes it to be forced into the
surface elements of the rotor. These rotor currents can cause excessive temperatures in a very short time.
Figure 1 Currents in the Rotor Surface
Figure 1 shows the general flow of negative sequence current in a cylindrical machine rotor. Similar negative
sequence current flows also occur in salient pole machines. The current flows across the metal-to-metal contact
of the retaining rings to the rotor forging wedges. Because of the skin effect, only a very small portion of this
high frequency current flows in the field windings. Excessive negative sequence heating beyond rotor thermal
limits results in failure. These limits are based on the following equation, for a given generator:
Where:
K=I
2
t
2
K = constant depending on generator design and size
t = time in seconds
I
2
= RMS value of negative sequence current in p.u.
The continuous unbalanced current capability of a generator is defined in ANSI C50.13 (references 4 and 5).
This standard states that "generator shall be capable of withstanding, without injury, the effects of a continuous
current unbalance corresponding to a negative-phase-sequence current I
2
of the following values, providing
the rated kVA is not exceeded and the maximum current does not exceed 105 percent of rated current in any
phase."
–3–
Figure 2 High Impedance-Grounded Generator
Permissible I
2
Type of Generator (percent of stator rating)
Salient Pole
With connected amortisseur windings 10
With non-connected amortisseur windings 5
Cylindrical Rotor
Indirectly cooled 10
Directly cooled - to 960 MVA 8
961 to 1200 MVA 6
1201 to 1500 MVA 5
These values also express the negative-phase-sequence current capability at reduced generator KVA capabili-
ties.
It is common practice to provide protection for the generator for external unbalanced current conditions that
might damage the machine. This protection consists of a time overcurrent relay which is responsive to negative
sequence current. Two types of relays are available for this protection: an electromechanical time overcurrent
relay with an extremely inverse characteristic, and a static or digital relay with a time overcurrent characteristic
which matches the negative sequence current capabilities of the generator. For open conductor or breaker pole
conditions, the negative sequence relay is usually the only protection. The low magnitude of negative sequence
currents created by this type of event (typically 10-20% of stator rating) prevents other fault relays from provid-
ing protection. For electromechanical negative sequence relays, the minimum pickup can be set to provide only
60% of stator rated current sensitivity. Thus, these relays will provide no protection for open phase or open
generator breaker pole conditions which are frequent negative sequence events within the industry. The sensi-
tivity of negative sequence static or digital relays is required. Almost all 20+ year old generators are protected
with electromechanical negative sequence relays which make this an important upgrade area.
100% Stator Ground Fault Protection
High-resistance generator neutral grounding utilizes a distribution transformer and a secondary resistor. The
secondary resistor is usually selected so that for a single line to ground fault at the terminals of the generator,
the power dissipated in the resistor is approximately equal to the reactive volt-amperes in the zero sequence
capacitive reactance of the generator windings, its leads, and the windings of any transformers connected to the
generator terminals. Using this grounding method, a single line to ground fault is generally limited to 3-25
primary amperes.
R
59
N
–4–
The most widely used stator ground fault protective scheme in high impedance-grounded systems is a time-
delayed overvoltage relay (59N) connected across the grounding resistor to sense zero-sequence voltage as
shown in Figure 2. The relay used for this function is designed to be sensitive to fundamental frequency voltage
and insensitive to third harmonic and other zero sequence harmonic voltages that are present at the generator
neutral. Typically, the overvoltage relay has a minimum pickup setting of approximately 5 V. With this setting
and typical distribution transformer ratios, this scheme is not capable of detecting faults over the entire stator
winding.
The 59N protective scheme is straight forward and dependable, however, this relay will provide protection for
only 90-95% of the stator winding. This is because a fault in the remaining 5-10% of the winding, near the
neutral, does not produce a sufficient 60 Hz residual voltage. It is important to protect major generators with an
additional ground fault protection system so that fault coverage for 100% of the winding is obtained. Twenty
plus year old generators typically have only 90-95% of the stator winding protected for ground faults. Many
utilities have upgraded protection to provide 100% stator winding ground fault protection. One method is the
use of a third-harmonics undervoltage relay. Third-harmonic voltage components are present at the neutral of
nearly every machine to varying degrees; they arise and vary due to differences in design, manufacture and
machine load. If present in a sufficient amount, this voltage can be used to detect ground faults near the neutral.
Figure 3 Third Harmonic Undervoltage Ground Fault Protection Scheme
One method uses the fact that for a fault near the neutral, the level of third-harmonic voltage at the neutral
decreases. Therefore, an undervoltage relay operating from third-harmonic voltage measured at the neutral
end could be used to detect faults near the neutral. The ground faults in the remaining portion of the windings
can be detected by conventional ground fault protection, e.g., an overvoltage relay (59N) which operates on the
60 Hz neutral voltage. The combination of both relays provide 100% stator winding protection. A simplified
protection scheme using this technique is shown in Figure 3. Figure 4 illustrates the overlapping of the 27 third
harmonics and 59N functions to provide 100% stator winding protection.
59 Instantaneous Overvoltage Supervisory Relay
59N Overvoltage Relay Tuned to the Fundamental (60 Hz) Frequency
27Th Undervoltage Relay Tuned to the Third Harmonic (180 Hz) Frequency
2-1, 2-2 Timers
27
Th
59
N
59
59N
COMPLETE
SHUTDOWN
2-2 2-1
95% 100%
86
(+)
(-)
59 2-1 2-2
27Th
–5–
Figure 5 Generator Capability Curve
Fault Position
(% of stator winding measured from
neutral end of generator)
0% 50% 100%
Third-harmonic (180/150 Hz) neutral voltage
during ground fault
27TN Setpoint
Terminal End of
Generator
Neutral End of
Generator
Pre-fault third-harmonic voltage level
Fundamental (60/50 Hz) neutral voltage
during ground fault*
59N
Protection
provided by:
N
e
u
t
r
a
l

V
o
l
t
a
g
e
27Th
10%–30%
5%–10%
Pre-fault fundamental neutral voltage level
59N Setpoint (typically 5V)
Reactive Power
into System
Reactive Power
into Generator
Overexcited
Underexcited
0
Stator End
Iron Limited

MVAR
+
MVAR
Rotor
Winding
Limited
+MW
Stator
Winding
Limited
Real Power
into System
Steady-State
Stability Limit
Minimum
Excitation
Limiter
G System
MW
MVARS
G System
MW
MVARS
Normal Overexcited
Operation
Underexcited Operation
Figure 4 Overlap of Third Harmonic (27Th) with 59N Relay
Dual Level Loss-of-Field Protection
Partial or total loss-of-field on a synchronous generator is detrimental to both the generator and the power
system to which it is connected. The condition must be quickly detected and the generator isolated from the
system to avoid generator damage. A loss-of-field condition which is not detected can have a devastating im-
pact on the power system by causing a loss of reactive power support as well as creating a substantial reactive
power drain. If not detected quickly on large generators, this condition can trigger an area-wide system voltage
collapse.
If the excitation current is reduced or lost, the generator absorbs reactive power from the power system rather
than supplying it and it operates in the underexcited region of the capability curve. If a total loss-of-field occurs
and the system can supply sufficient reactive power without a large terminal voltage drop, the generator will
run as an induction generator, otherwise, synchronism will be lost. The change from normal overexcited opera-
tion to underexcited operation upon loss-of-field is not instantaneous, but occurs over a time period (generally
seconds) depending on the generator's output level and connected system capability. The generator capability
curve (Figure 5) outlines the generator operating limits.
–6–
+X
+R
–X
Underexcited
–R
Heavy Load
Light Load
Minimum Exciter Limit
Machine Capability
Steady-State Stability Limit
Loss of Excitation Final
Impedance Locus
Figure 7 Older, Single-Zone Off-Set mho Relay Loss-of-Field (Characteristic)
The relay measures the impedance as viewed from the machine terminals, and it operates when the impedance
falls inside the circular characteristic. The relay is offset from the origin by one-half of the direct axis transient
reactance ( X’
d
/2) to prevent misoperation during system disturbances and other fault conditions. The diam-
eter of the circle is adjusted to be equal to the direct axis synchronous reactance. A time delay is used to provide
security against stable power swings. This time delay increases the operating time of the relay, which means
that the MVARS drawn by the generator persist for a longer time making the power system more susceptible to
voltage collapse. Many utilities have upgraded to a modern two-zone mho relay to enhance protection. These
schemes are shown in Figure 8. The inner mho circle is set to trip instantaneously and is the impedance locus
trajectory for heavy-loaded machines. The instantaneous operation of the inner mho unit quickly detects a loss-
of-field condition, minimizing the chances of this event precipitating an area-wide voltage collapse.
Figure 6 Generator Loss-of-Field Characteristics
The most widely applied method for detecting a generator loss-of-field is the use of distance relays to sense the
variation of impedance as viewed from the generator terminals. It has been shown that when a generator loses
its excitation while operating at various levels of loading, the variation of impedance as viewed from the ma-
chine terminals will have the characteristics shown on the R-X diagram in Figure 6. Loss-of-field relays on older
generators typically use a single-zone mho characteristic as shown in Figure 7.
–7–
B) Loss-of-field Using Two Impedence Units and Directional Elements Method
Figure 8 Modern Two-Zone mho Loss-of-Field Characteristics
A) Loss-of-field Using Two-Zone Off-set mho Method
+X
–R +R
X
d
–X
Underexcited
Heavy Load
Light Load
1.0 pu
–X'
d
2
13°
Minimum Exciter Limit
Machine Capability
Steady-State Stability Limit
Loss of Excitation
Final Impedance
Locus
+X
–R +R
–X
Underexcited
1.1 X
d
–X'
d
2
13°
X
T
Minimum Exciter Limit
Machine Capability
Steady-State Stability Limit
Directional Element
Heavy Load
Light Load
Loss of Excitation
Final Impedance
Locus
Block Direction
Trip Direction
–8–
NEW OR ADDITIONAL PROTECTION AREAS
Inadvertent Accidental Generator Energizing
Inadvertent or accidental energizing of synchronous generators has been a particular problem within the in-
dustry in recent years. A number of large machines have been damaged or, in some cases, completely destroyed
when they were accidentally energized while off-line. The frequency of these occurrences has prompted gen-
erator manufacturers to recommend that the problem be addressed through dedicated protective relay schemes.
When a generator is energized while off-line on turning gear, or coasting to a stop, it behaves as an induction
motor and can be damaged within a few seconds. A significant number of large machines have been severely
damaged and, in some cases, completely destroyed. Operating errors, breaker head flashovers, control circuit
malfunctions, or a combination of these causes, have resulted in generators becoming accidentally energized
while off-line.
S1
GEN
A
B
C D
GEN
S1
A B
D
C
Figure 10 Inadvertent Energizing Function Logic Diagram
A) Typical Breaker-and-a-Half Station B) Typical Ring Bus Station
Figure 9 One-Line Diagrams for High-Voltage Generating Stations
Operating Errors - Operating errors have increased within the industry as high-voltage generating stations
have become more complex with the use of breaker-and-a-half and ring bus configurations. Figure 9 shows
typical one-line diagrams for two such stations.
These station designs provide sufficient flexibility to allow a single high-voltage generator breaker (A or B) to be
taken out-of-service without also requiring the generator to be removed from service. Breaker disconnect switches
(not shown) are available to isolate the breaker for repair. When the unit is off-line, however, generator breakers
(A and B) are generally returned to service as bus breakers to complete a row in a breaker-and-a-half station or
to complete a ring bus. This results in the generator being isolated from the system using only an open high-
voltage disconnect switch (S1).
When a generator is accidentally energized with three-phase system voltage while on turning gear, it behaves
as an induction motor. During three-phase energization at standstill, a rotating flux at synchronous frequency is
induced in the generator rotor. The resulting rotor current is forced into sub-transient paths in the rotor body
and damper windings (if they exist), similar to those rotor current paths for negative sequence stator currents
during generator single-phasing. Rapid rotor heating occurs, which can quickly damage the rotor. The machine
impedance during this high-slip interval is equivalent to the generator negative sequence reactance.
AND
Pickup
Delay
Dropout
Delay
27
Undervoltage*
V<P.U.
50
Overcurrent
I>P.U.
Output
Contact
–9–
Due to the severe limitation of conventional generator relaying to detect inadvertent energizing, dedicated
protection schemes have been developed and installed. Unlike conventional protection schemes, which pro-
vide protection when equipment is in-service, these schemes provide protection when equipment is out of
service. Thus, great care should be taken when implementing this protection so that dc tripping power and
relay input quantities to the scheme are not removed when the unit being protected is off-line. One method
widely used to detect inadvertent energizing is the voltage supervised overcurrent scheme shown in Figure 10.
An undervoltage element with adjustable pickup and dropout time delays supervise an instantaneous overcurrent
relay. The undervoltage detectors automatically arm the overcurrent tripping when the generator is taken off
line. This undervoltage detector will disable or disarm the overcurrent relay when the machine is returned to
service.
Breaker Head Flashover - The extreme dielectric stress associated with HV and EHV breakers and the small
contact gap spacing associated with their high-speed interrupting requirement can lead to contact flashover.
This flashover of contacts (generally one or two poles) is another method by which generators have been inad-
vertently energized. The risk of a flashover is greatest just prior to synchronizing or just after the unit is re-
moved from service. During this period, the voltage across the open generator breaker can be twice the normal
voltage as the unit slips angularly with the system. During this period a loss of pressure in some types of HV
and EHV breakers can result in the flashover of a breaker pole(s), energizing the generator and causing a signifi-
cant flow of damaging unbalanced current in the generator windings. This unique breaker failure condition
must be quickly detected and isolated to prevent major generator damage. Protection to address breaker head
flashover is discussed in the Breaker Failure portion of this paper.
VT Fuse Loss Protection
Loss of the vt signal can occur due to a number of causes, the most common cause being fuse failure. Other
causes may be an actual vt or wiring failure, an open in the draw-out assemblies, a contact opening due to
corrosion, or a blown fuse due to screwdriver shorts during on-line maintenance. Such loss of vt signal can
cause protective relays misoperations or generator voltage regulator runaway leading to an overexcitation con-
dition. Some method of detection is required so that the effected relay tripping can be blocked and the voltage
regulator transferred to manual operation. Typically, protective functions such as 21, 32, 40 and 51V are im-
pacted and are normally blocked when a loss of potential is detected.
On larger generators, it is common practice to use two sets of voltage transformers (vts) in the generator zone of
protection. As shown in Figure 11a, the vts that are usually connected grounded wye-grounded wye, normally
have secondary and possibly primary fuses. These vts are used to provide potential to a number of protective
relays and the voltage regulator. If a fuse blows in the vt circuits, the secondary voltages applied to the relays
and voltage regulator will be reduced in magnitude and shifted in phase angle. This change in voltage signal
can cause the misoperation of the relays and the regulator to overexcite the generator.
a) Application of Voltage Balance Relay Protection b) Modern VT Fuse Loss Detection
Figure 11 VT Fuse Loss Detection
60
GEN
TO
PROTECTIVE
RELAY
TO
VOLTAGE
REGULATOR
VOLTAGE
BALANCE
RELAY
VT
60
FL
GEN
TO PROTECTIVE
RELAY AND
VOLTAGE
REGULATOR
–10–
On many older, moderately sized generators, only one set of vts is provided. It is not possible to use a voltage
balance relay unless a second set of vts is added. Thus, many generators do not have vt fuse loss protection. A
modern digital method used in vt failure detection makes use of the relationships of negative sequence voltages
and currents during a loss of potential. When one vt signal is lost, the three phase voltages become unbalanced.
Due to this unbalance, a negative sequence voltage is produced. To distinguish this condition from a fault,
negative sequence currents are checked. The presence of negative sequence voltage in the absence of negative
sequence current indicates a fuse failure rather than a fault.
Sequential Tripping
This method of shutting down a generator is used on steam generators to prevent overspeed when delayed
tripping has no detrimental effect on the generating unit. This method of generator tripping was recommended
by generator manufacturers of steam turbines some years ago as a result of overspeed generator failures and is
an upgrade item. It is used to trip the generator for prime mover problems only where high speed tripping is
not a requirement. The first device tripped is the turbine valves. A reverse power relay in series with the valves
close position switches provides security against possible overspeed of the turbine by ensuring that steam
flows have been reduced, below the amount necessary to produce an overspeeding condition, before the gen-
erator breaker(s) are tripped. For boiler/reactor or turbine mechanical problems, this is the preferred tripping
mode since it prevents the overspeed of the machine. Figure 12 shows the block diagram for sequential trip-
ping.
Figure 12 Sequential Tripping Logic
A disadvantage of this tripping method is that there is no trip output for a failure of the turbine valve limit
switches or reverse power relay. When this approach is used, backup protection should be provided to assure
tripping of the generator main and field breakers in case there is a failure. This is generally provided by a
separate reverse power relay that initiates independent tripping. Modern digital relays have sensitive multiple
reverse power setpoints that can be used for sequential tripping and reverse power direct tripping. On large
forced conductor cooled steam machines, reverse power sensitivities of 1/2% of stator rating are required. This
trip mode should not override the generator or switchyard protection that instantaneously opens the generator
breaker and initiates generator shutdown when a critical electrical fault occurs that might cause serious damage
to the generator or switchyard equipment.
Oscillographic Generator Monitoring
The monitoring of a utility's transmission system with oscillographs which record relay currents and voltages
has long been accepted within the industry as providing the basic data to analyze the performance of the trans-
mission protective system. Because of the greater number of transmission line faults versus generator faults and
abnormal conditions, it was felt by many that similar monitoring of generators could not be economically justi-
fied with “stand alone” oscillographs. However, with the advent of digital protective relays for generators,
oscillographs are built into the protective relay. Figure 13 is an example of an oscillographic recording from such
a relay.
Mechanical Devices
"Turbine Tripped"
Generator Reverse
Power Relay (32)
Trip Generator
Breakers
Trip Field
Breaker
Transfer Unit
Auxiliaries
Lockout
or
Aux
Relay
AND
Steam Valves
Timer
Time
Delay
–11–
Figure 14 Typical Transmission Line Breaker Failure Functional Diagram
Figure 13 Digital Relay Oscillograph Record
With the remote communication capabilities of these relays, oscillograph and target information can be quickly
accessed from a remote location, after a generator tripping, to determine if relay and circuit breaker operations
were proper. Oscillographic information can also identify the type of testing needed to find the cause of a
tripping and speed the return of the generator to service. It gives the relay engineer the necessary data to keep
machines off-line for testing and inspection, when necessary, after an electrical tripping or to return the unit to
service with a minimum delay. Those utilities that have implemented a program of oscillographic monitoring
of generators have found the information invaluable.
SPECIAL PROTECTION APPLICATION CONSIDERATIONS
Generator Breaker Failure
A breaker failure scheme needs to be initiated when the protective relay system operates to trip the generator
circuit breaker but the breaker fails to operate. Because of the sensitivities required, there are major differences
in how local breaker failure is applied on a generator breaker versus a transmission line breaker. Figure 14
shows the functional diagram of a typical breaker failure scheme used on a transmission line breaker.
Protective
Relays
AND
Trip
Transmission
CD
Line Breaker
A
ø
Trips
Backup
Breakers
CD - Current Detector
62 - Breaker Failure Timer With
Adjustable Pickup & Zero Dropout Delays
62
Timer
–12–
When the protective relays detect a fault, they will attempt to trip the primary transmission line breaker and at
the same time initiate breaker failure. If the line breaker does not clear the fault in a specified time, the timer will
trip the necessary backup breakers to remove the failed circuit breaker from service. The successful tripping of
the primary breaker is determined by the drop out of its current detector (CD) which stops the breaker failure
timer (62). When breaker failure is applied on a generator breaker, however, its tripping may not be initiated by
a short circuit but by an abnormal operating condition for which there maybe little or no short circuit current.
Abnormal operating conditions such as overvoltage, overexcitation, excessive underfrequency, reverse power
and stator ground faults will not produce sufficient current to operate the current detectors (CD). The breaker
52a switch must be used in parallel with the fault detectors to provide additional indication in a breaker failure
scheme for generator breakers. This logic is shown in Figure 15.
Protective
Relays
AND
Trip
Generator
CD
Breaker
A
ø
Trips
Backup
Breakers
and
Unit
62
Timer
52a
OR
52a - Circuit Breaker Auxiliary Contacts
CD - Current Detector
62 - Breaker Failure Timer With
Adjustable Pickup & Zero Dropout Delays
Figure 15 Functional Diagram of a Generator Breaker Failure Scheme
If each pole of the breaker operates independently, breaker “a” switches from all three poles must be paralleled
and connected into the logic circuit. This can be an upgrade item if the logic shown in Figure 15 was not used
when the original generator was commissioned.
Generator Breaker Head Flashover Protection
Generator breaker head flashover is described in the Inadvertent Energizing section of this paper. This event is
most likely to occur just prior to synchronizing or just after the generator is removed from service, when the
voltage across the generator breaker contacts approaches twice the normal voltage as the generator slips in
frequency with respect to the system. Although circuit breakers are rated to withstand this voltage, the prob-
ability of a flashover occurring during this period is increased. Rarely are such flashovers simultaneous three-
phase occurrences. Thus, most protection schemes are designed to detect the flashover of one or two breaker
poles.
If one or two poles of a breaker flash over, the resulting unbalance current will generally cause the generator
negative-sequence relay (if sensitive static or digital type) or possibly transformer ground overcurrent backup
relay to operate, which will initiate a tripping of the flashed-over breaker. It should be noted that tripping the
flashed over breaker will have not rectified the situation since this breaker is already open. Initiation of breaker
failure for this condition is required. Breaker failure as shown in Figure 15 will be initiated if current detectors
(CD) are set with sufficient sensitivity to detect this situation.
–13–
Protective
Relays
AND
CD A
ø
Trips
Backup
Breaker
and
Unit
62
Timer
52a
GEN
OR
OR
50
BF-N
52b
CD
50
BF-N
52a, 52b - Circuit Breaker Auxiliary Contacts
CD - Current Detector
62 - Breaker Failure Timer With
Adjustable Pickup & Zero Dropout Delays
50BF-N - Ground Transformer Overcurrent Relay
Figure 16 Modified Breaker Failure Logic for Breaker Head Flashover
An approach used to speed up the detection of a breaker flashover is to modify the breaker failure scheme as
shown in Figure 16. An instantaneous overcurrent relay (50BF-N) is connected to the neutral of the generator
step-up transformer. The relay’s output is supervised by the generator breaker “b” contact and provides an
additional start to the breaker-failure scheme. When the generator breaker is open and one or two poles of the
breaker flash over, the resulting transformer neutral current is detected by the 50BF-N relay without the delay
that would be associated with negative-sequence or transformer neutral backup relays. Again, current detec-
tors (CD's) associated with the generator breaker failure must be set with sufficient sensitivity to detect this
flashover condition. Reference 6 provides information on how to calculate current levels for a breaker flashover
condition.
–14–
Figure 17 M-3430 One-Line Diagram
Utility System
59N
52
Unit
High-Impedance
Grounding
27T
N
81 24 27 59
50
50
BF
3
27
27
A B
C
87
21 32 60FL 40 46
27
I
A, B, C
I
a, b, c
A
C
B
50
BF-N
8
7 4
5 6 1
2
M-3430
MULTIFUNCTION
RELAY
Denotes Upgrade
Functions
USING DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY TO IMPLEMENT AN UPGRADE PROGRAM
Just as it has been in the transmission line upgrade area, multifunction digital relaying is an ideal and cost
effective way to upgrade generator protection to current industry standards. Figure 17 shows a functional dia-
gram of such a relay.
–15–
Common upgrade functions (shaded) are shown in Figures 17 and 19:
1 Negative Sequence (unbalanced current) Protection
2 100% Stator Ground Fault Protection
3 Dual Level Loss-of-Field
4 Inadvertent (accidental) Generator Energizing
5 VT Fuse Loss Protection
6 Sequential Tripping
7 Generator Breaker Failure
8 Generator Breaker Flashover Protection
These functions, plus six (6) additional protection functions, are included in a single compact (52.8 x 19.4 x 35.9
cm) package (Figure 18) suitable for rack or panel mounting.
Figure 18 M-3430 Front Panel
Additional features, which make this relay extremely flexible for upgrade applications, include:
• Eight programmable outputs and six programmable inputs
• Oscillographic recording (170 cycles total, with up to four-record storage)
• 32-target storage
• Metering of all measured parameters
• Two RS-232 and one RS-485 communication ports
• Removable printed circuit board and power supply
• Both 50 and 60 Hz models available
• Both 1 and 5 A rated CT inputs available
• IPScom™ Communications Software (included with relay)
• Redundant power supplies
• Continuous self-checking diagnostics
For low impedance-grounded generators (resistor-or reactive-grounded), a companion relay (M-3420) is avail-
able with suitable stator ground relaying for this type of generator grounding. Figure 19 illustrates a one-line
diagram of this application.
–16–
Utility System
52
81 27 59
50
50
3
27
27
51V 32 60FL 40 46
I
A, B, C
3
I
a, b, c
50N 51N
Low-Impedance
Grounding
24
87
87
GD
M-3420 MULTIFUNCTION RELAY
50
BF
R
Denotes Upgrade
Functions
4 7
5 3 6 1
Figure 19 M-3420 One Line Diagram
–17–
Communications-Line
Splitter
Modem
Up to six relays
can be used with a
communications-line splitter.
Address 2
Address 4
Address 5
Address 6
Address 3
Address 1
IBM-Compatible PC
Telephone
Line
Integrated Protection
System
Modem
Many protection upgrade projects are part of larger life extension or automation efforts within a power plant.
One of the important features of digital relays is their communication capability. Both the M-3430 and M-3420
have three serial communication ports. Two serial interface ports, COM1 and COM2, are standard 9-pin RS-232
DTE-configured ports. This front panel port, COM1, is used to locally set and interrogate the relay by computer.
The second RS-232 port, COM2, is provided at the rear of the unit. An RS-485 configured port, COM3, is also
available at the rear terminal block of the unit. Either rear-panel port, COM2 or COM3, can be used to remotely
set and interrogate the relay via a modem. Communication software (IPScom™) is provided with the relay and
runs through the Microsoft
®
Windows™ operating system. Communication with multiple relays can be ac-
complished using a simple low cost communication signal splitter and Hayes compatible modem at speeds up
to 19,200 baud. (Figure 20)
Figure 20 Multiple System Addressing Using Communications-Line Splitter
Metering quantities (MW, MVAR, Volts, Amps, P.F., etc.) within the relay can be accessed by a DCS (Distributed
Control System) within the plant through the relay communication ports. This saves in the costs and wiring
required for dedicated transducers for each metering quantity.
Figure 21 shows a system which uses the digital relay as an Intelligent Electronic Device (IED) to gather data for
a DCS system. An external Network Interface Module (NIM) is used to translate the communication protocol of
the relay to that of the DCS system to provide system integration.
–18–
PLANT
DCS System
NIM 1 NIM 2 NIM 3 NIM
EMS
Center
Data link to
EMS Center Local
Operator
CRT
Display
M-3420
Relay 1
M-3430
Relay 2
VENDOR 1
Relay 3 Relay
VENDOR
Figure 21 System Integration
CONCLUSION
There are a number of functional protection areas on 20+ year old generators which have significant shortcom-
ings. This paper identifies those protection areas and the risks of not addressing them. In addition, a cost-
effective strategy to upgrade protection to current industry standards is outlined using multifunction digital
relaying. Generation is the single most expensive capital investment of a utility. Protecting this investment to
prevent failure should be a priority item with utilties as well as non-utility generator owners.
REFERENCES
[1] ANSI/IEEE C37.102-1986, "IEEE Guide for AC Generator Protection."
[2] ANSI/IEEE C37.101-1993, "IEEE Guide for AC Generator Ground Protection."
[3] ANSI/IEEE C37.106-1987, "IEEE Guide for Abnormal Frequency Protection for Power Generating Plants."
[4] ANSI C50.13-1987, "American National Standard for Cylindrical Rotor Synchronous Generators."
[5] ANSI/IEEE C50.12-1982, "American National Standard Requirements for Salient Pole Synchronous Gen-
erators and Generator/Motors for Hydraulic Turbine Applications."
[6] IEEE Power Engineering Society Tutorial 95TP102, "IEEE Tutorial on the Protection of Synchronous Gen-
erators."