In the early days of the electricity supply industry, protective equipment for plants
connected to a busbar installation was relied upon to clear busbar faults. This resulted in
time delayed fault clearance by time graded protections such as distance relays or
overcurrent time relays. With present day widely meshed power system networks with
line sections varying in length and numerous intermediate infeeds, fault clearance by
Zone 2 or Zone 3 of distance relay can be difficult plus the impossibility of selective
tripping of different bus sections. In order to maintain system stability and minimise
damage due to high fault levels time delayed tripping for busbar faults is no longer
acceptable. It is therefore necessary to detect busbar faults selectively with a unit form of
protection system.

It must be completely reliable, since the protection may only be called to operate
once or twice in the life of the switchgear installation and failure to operate under fault
conditions would be unacceptable.
It must be absolutely stable under all through fault conditions since failure to
stabilise would cause unnecessary widespread interruption of supply.
It must be capable of complete discrimination between sections of the busbars to
ensure that the minimum number of circuit breakers are tripped to isolate the fault.
It must possess high speed of operation to minimise damage and maintain system

Three types of busbar protection are commonly applied:
1. Frame to Earth (Leakage) Protection
2. Differential Protection
3. Directional Comparison (Blocking Schemes) Protection

This is a simple and economical form of busbar protection which is ideal for the protection
of phase segregated indoor metalclad switchgear where earth fault protection only is
required. The main basic requirement is that the frame of the switchgear must be
insulated from the true earth and between sections of the switchboard. This provision of
insulation between switchboard sections is the main disadvantage of this form of
protection plus the fact that it is not possible to discriminate between faults on two sets of
busbars running though common switchgear frames.

Page 1

IF Outgoing feeder = I1 + I2 Frame-leakage current Switchgear transformer frame Switchgear frame Generator System earthing Earth I1 + I2 I1 I1 Frame insulation I2 Earthing electrode Page 2 .Principle of Operation The principle of operation of a frame leakage scheme is based on the fact that any breakdown of the switchgear insulation will raise the potential of the frame to earth and cause a current to flow in the connection between the frame bonding bar and earth. A current transformer connected between the bonding bar and earth will therefore measure this earth fault current and operate a protective relay. The current transformer ratio used is not critical provided the necessary fault setting can be obtained. An instantaneous current relay is sufficient for this application.

No spurious tripping will take place for an external earth fault with current flowing into or out of the switchgear frame. The insulation achieved should be greater than 10 ohms to ensure stability under external fault conditions. but in practice the associated current transformer may not behave ideally when the current exceeds a certain value. They are useful where a standard relay with a given setting is used for all the busbar installations to achieve a given primary fault setting throughout. The stability limit of a busbar protection scheme is based on the maximum through fault current. Page 3 . taking care that the foundation bolts do not touch any steel reinforcement. In order to ensure stability for external faults the current through the relay is limited by the insertion of an external resistor in series with the relay. Theoretically such a system is unaffected by through faults. High Impedance Differential Protection This is a unit type protective scheme in which currents entering and leaving the busbar installation are compared continuously. `High Impedance` and `Low Impedance`. namely. DIFFERENTIAL PROTECTION Two forms of differential protection are adopted for busbar protection. This resistor is often refered to as a stabilising resistor. In general this takes the value of the associated switchgear rating irrespective of the existing or anticipated fault levels. Current transformers on each of the busbar circuits are connected in parallel which will produce a resultant current to operate a relay for internal busbar faults only. All cable glands must be insulated to prevent circulation of spurious current produced by high voltages induced in the cable sheaths under through fault conditions causing flashover between gland and switchgear frame. This is to ensure that : The effective setting of the relay is not raised by any path shunting the principal earth connection and current transformer.Insulation Requirement and Frame Earthing The switchgear must be insulated as a whole. Errors in transformation due to saturation of the current transformer cores may be sufficient to cause maloperation if special precautions are not taken. No other earth connections of any type including incidental connections to structural steelwork should be present. The object is to provide fast operation at a low fault setting on internal faults and yet retain stability up to the highest possible value of short circuit current on through faults. Fault Setting Resistors These are used to increase the effective primary fault setting by creating a shunt resistance across the relay circuit. usually by standing it on concrete.

The condition of an open circuit can be detected by measuring the voltage across the relay circuit by a sensitive voltage operated relay as shown in the following figure. CT1 R I2 R V ZM2 ZM3 ZM4 R I1 Super vision relay Page 4 I3 I4 . This relay is set to operate when the out-of-balance current equals about 10% of the least loaded feeder connected to the busbars or 25 amperes whichever is the greater. CT WIRING SUPERVISION When a current transformer secondary winding or connections between current transformers and the relay circuit become open circuited. the resultant out-of-balance current will flow through the parallel combination of relay. leading to the development of a high voltage the waveform of which will be highly distorted with a peak value many times the nominal saturation voltage. The check system is arranged in a similar manner to the primary protection but forms one zone only covering the whole of the busbars and does not discriminate between faults in the various sections of the busbars. A check feature is provided by duplication of the primary protection using a second set of current transformers on all circuits other than bus section and coupler units. Checks should be done on site to ensure that the relay will not operate due to normal unbalance with the system and protection healthy. This may cause the protection to operate for load or through fault conditions depending on the effective primary setting. fault setting resistor and current transformer magnetising impedance. Non-linear resistors are used in parallel with the relay circuit to reduce this voltage. Use of Non-Linear Resistors (Metrosils) to Limit Voltage Across Relay and Current Transformer Secondary Wiring Under in-zone fault conditions. not to give security against maloperation of the primary protection due to inherent defects but to prevent incorrect tripping as a result of damage to wiring and equipment from extraneous sources. metrosil. the required setting can be calculated.Check Feature A second line of defence is considered good practice in most schemes of busbar protection. If accurate details of current transformer magnetising characteristics are available. the high impedance relay circuit constitutes an excessive burden to the current transformers.

Page 5 . A low reactance current transformer is defined as one of which a knowledge of the secondary exciting current. However.5 mm². CURRENT TRANSFORMERS Current Transformer Design An important advantage of using high impedance relay in a circulating current system is the ability to predict the protective scheme performance in terms of primary fault setting and through fault stability by calculation without heavy-current conjunctive tests. The validity of the calculation is based on the assumption that all the current transformers are of low reactance type. Current Transformer Wiring With high impedance circulating current schemes.Operation of the supervision relay is arranged to give an alarm that the busbar protection is faulty and to short circuit the buswires if this is necessary to prevent damage to the protective relay and stability resistors. A time delay of about 3 seconds is used. secondary winding resistance and turns ratio is sufficient for an assessment of its performance. This avoids the need for numerous radial loops between the current transformers and the bus zone panel which would be required if the buswires were formed in the bus zone panel. The supervision relay must have a time delay to prevent its operation due to genuine busbar faults. When the busbar protection has a fault setting below full load of the connected feeders it is very likely to operate due to an open circuit current transformer. iii) loop between marshalling kiosks. It is therefore advisable to run the buswires in the form of a closed ring between all the circuit breaker control cabinets. In this case a check feature is required to prevent tripping. It also provides easy extension of the protection when new circuits are to be connected into the protection zone. it is occasionally necessary to use parallel cores to reduce the burden. it is of the utmost importance that the lead burdens between the various sets of current transformer be kept as low as possible in order to obtain the required stability and sensitivity. ii) marshalling kiosk to auxiliary switches in the busbar selector isolators. A closed ring consisting of cores in multicore cables affords increased security against maloperation which may result from unbalancing of the protection due to inadvertent disconnection of bus wires. This covers current transformers with uniformly distributed windings or whose core leakage flux is negligible. The size of conductor normally used for the interconnecting pilots is 2. At the same time it is important that the buswires are short circuited via the supervision relay to prevent thermal damage to the protective relay and stabilising resistors which would otherwise remain continuously picked up under load conditions. An example of running a multicore cable ring in the case of a double busbar arrangement is as follows : i) current transformers to marshalling kiosk.

T. current transformer outputs are switched to the correct buswires by means of auxiliary switches on the selecting isolators.s Interlocked overcurrent relay F4 All C.T.BUSBAR SELECTOR AUXILIARY SWITCHES In a lot of cases such as a double bus arrangement where on-load transfer of a circuit is possible. R M A B C D a b c d R M Current Transformer Location The three alternative arrangements as shown in the following diagram : F1 F1 F1 Interlocked overcurrent relay Circuit protection F3 Circuit Protection F3 Circuit protection F4 Busbar F3 Busbar Protection protection Busbar protection F2 Overlapping C.s on line side of circuit breaker Page 6 F2 All C. These auxiliary switches should close before the main isolator closes and should open after the main isolator opens to ensure stability during switching operation. This is shown in the following figure.s on Busbar side of circuit breaker .T.

This relay is interlocked with the busbar protection. No unnecessary disruption to loads will result from this. ii) This is the most common arrangement where all the current transformers are on the feeder side of the circuit breaker. However. Intertripping can be achieved by unstabilising the feeder protection and can be instantaneous or time delayed to allow clearance of faults on the busbar side of the circuit breaker before intertripping. Faults at F4 will be seen by the feeder protection but also by the busbar protection resulting in unnecessary tripping of the busbars for what is essentially a feeder fault. Faults at F3 between the circuit breaker and feeder protection current transformers will be cleared by the busbar protection and possibly also by the remote end of the feeder protection. BUSBAR CONFIGURATIONS Several switching schemes are available and there are many variants of each scheme. With this arrangement it is therefore required to intertrip the remote circuit breaker when busbar protection operates. Page 7 . The reverse bar may then function also as a transfer bar and the bus coupler breaker takes over the function of the feeder breaker to free it for maintenance. This is the main disadvantage of this arrangement.i) current transformers for feeder and busbar protection overlapping the circuit breaker ii) all current transformers on line side of circuit breaker iii) all current transformers on the busbar side of circuit breaker. iii) When all the current transformers are located on the busbar side of the circuit breaker a fault at F3 between the current transformers and circuit breaker will continue to be fed from the busbars after the circuit breaker has been tripped by the feeder protection. Alternatively an interlocked overcurrent relay can be used to intertrip the remote circuit breaker. When selecting a suitable scheme consideration should be given to the ability to take out any circuit breaker or other equipment for maintenance without removing the corresponding circuit from service. also the ability to isolate the busbar for maintenance. some schemes being more flexible than others in this respect. In addition to plain single and double busbar schemes. i) In this arrangement faults at F1 and F2 are cleared correctly by the busbar and feeder protection respectively. there is a blind spot at point F3 where faults are seen by busbar protection but not seen by the feeder protection. each feeder has isolators to enable switching to main or reverse/transfer bars. and also an additional isolator to enable the feeder breaker to be bypassed. the following are some of the other more popular arrangements: 1) Double Busbar with Transfer With this double busbar variation. An interlocked overcurrent relay which is interlocked with the feeder protection is required to ensure that the busbars are only tripped for this condition and not for faults on the feeder.

the transfer bus is energised from the selected main or reserve bus by the transfer breaker and the feeder bypass isolator closed on the transfer bar. and the trip circuits to the appropriate relays. Under normal conditions all bus section and bus coupler breakers are closed. For busbar protection isolator auxiliary switches are required as previously. suitable auxiliary switches are required on each isolator to select the CTs for the correct zone. Main Reserve Transfer CB Transfer CB Transfer Page 8 . transfer busbar. During maintenance of a feeder breaker. All bus section and bus coupler breakers remaining closed. Main Reserve / Transfer By-pass By-pass Isolator Isolator 2) Triple Busbar This is a double busbar scheme with a third.To apply discriminative busbar protective.

F1 F3 T1 T3 T4 T2 F4 F2 The protection shown consists of a fully discriminative scheme with a relay at each corner.3) Mesh Busbar Scheme The mesh busbar scheme is a frequently used EHV busbar configuration. F1 F3 87 87 R1 R3 T1 T3 T2 T4 87 R4 Page 9 87 R2 . A transformer and a feeder are linked at each corner of the mesh and four circuit breakers used to complete the mesh interconnection the arrangement being justified on the grounds of economy. A fault at any corner trips the two breakers associated with that corner and also initiates any intertripping necessary to open circuit breakers at remove ends.

then each busbar is considered individually and a single busbar scheme applied to each as shown.4) One and a Half Breaker Scheme This is a very popular and economical scheme. the protection scheme does not require isolator auxiliaries for CT zone selection or in the tripping circuits. and this together with the operational flexibility of this busbar configuration accounts for its popularity. all the breakers connected to that busbar would remain open to isolate that busbar. Page 10 . When busbar protection is required. the scheme being very simple. During maintenance of a feeder breaker only that breaker would be kept open. Under normal conditions all breakers are closed. as with the protection for the mesh busbar previously. three breakers and two feeders being arranged between the two busbars. During maintenance of a busbar.

This is achieved by using saturation detectors • Current transformers can be of different ratio. Often. relatively smaller output and shared with other protective devices • The current transformer secondary circuits are not switched • Continuous supervision of CT circuits and constant monitoring of vital circuits can be included Page 11 . back tripping of associated breakers is required in the event of breaker failure. LOW IMPEDANCE PROTECTION Low impedance busbar protection has a number of advantages: • Fast • Modular scheme design allows relays to relate to each circuit and function of the protection • High sensitivity for phase and earthfaults. breaker fail protection is arranged in conjunction with busbar protection tripping circuits to initiate tripping of breakers on a busbar zone associated with the failed breaker. Protection for each phase can be relatively independent • Extremely stable for external faults.87 87 BREAKER FAIL PROTECTION Where breaker fail protection is applied to a system.

Page 12 . Incomer Block BLOCK t O/C Backt IF2 O/C O/C O/C O/C By using directional relays it is possible to provide zones of protection.DIRECTIONAL COMPARISON (BLOCKING SCHEMES) The use of numerical overcurrent relays enables busbar protection and backup protection to be combined within the same unit. Typically the overcurrent relays would be time co-ordinate in the normal manner providing overcurrent and earthfault protection for the system. This allows the use of busbar protection at voltage levels where the traditional high or low impedance protection would have been too expensive. Upon detection of a feeder fault the associated feeder relay would operate a start contact. The instantaneous element in the incomer relay can be prevented form operating by the overcurrent relays on the outgoing feeders. this contact would be wired to an opto isolator in the incomer relay which upon energisation would block the instantaneous element of the incomer relay. thus only removing the faulty section of a busbar.