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Over current Relay calculation and settings explained

noman105 March 10, 2015 Protecton Leave a comment 277 Views

This article will

What is over current relay? Why is the purpose of giving delay in tripping? What different
options for tripping are available in over current relay? Over current relay setting? Over current
relay calculation?

Over current Relay

Introduction to over current relay

The most important and most widely used protection in power system is over current protection.
Therefore it is very important for every power engineer and technician to be familiar with the
settings of over current relay.
As name suggest, over current relay provide protection against over current. Relay senses the
over current and gives a trip command to the circuit breaker. Circuit breaker trips and isolates the
faulted area from rest of the power system.
Correct setting of over current relay is very important to ensure the protection of power system
and electrical appliances during fault condition. Following figure shows the knobs (setting
buttons) of typical over current relay.

Over current relay settings

Rated current or nominal current (In) is that default value of current at which the breaker trips.
Usually breaker is named based on their rated trip current value. For example if name plate of

circuit breaker displays 800A VCB, it means the breaker trips at 800A current while VCB stands
for Vacuum circuit breaker.
Breakers are manufactured for standard values. E.g 100A, 250A, 400A, and 800A etc. if the user
wants to set a breaker to trip at 650A, relay settings can be used. Relay settings can be used to
achieve tripping at non standard values. Also relay avoids unnecessary tripping explained in
Instantaneous over current tripping:
The condition in which relay gives a trip command to circuit breaker without any delay is called
is called instantaneous tripping. This type of command is issued in case of short circuit. During
short circuit the current is very high (roughly 10 to 100 times of full load current) and the faulted
part have to be isolated instantaneously from rest of power system to prevent damages.
The picture suggests that current at which instantaneous tripping occurs can be set is multiple of
rated current. Different values ( 2, 3,.15 xIn ) implies that instantaneous trip current values can
be set at twice of rated current to 15 times of rated current. (How to set values See example
It can be seen from figure that there is no duration setting knob with instantaneous current
setting. It is because the trip command is given without any delay.
Over current relay Long Delay Tripping:
In this type, the circuit breaker is commanded to trip after a long delay. The long delay is from a
one second to few seconds. Long time tripping is used to monitor overloading conditions
(overloading when the current exceeds rated current by small amount). This facility of long delay
is used to differentiate between temporary overloading and persistent overloading conditions.
Temporary overloading can occur due many reasons in worth mentioning is starting of induction
motor, furnaces and other such equipment which draws high current in starting. High starting
current normalizes in few seconds. If the high current normalizes before the preset set delay,
relay does not issue trip command. However if the high current sustains for long period, the relay
trips the circuit breaker. The delay is used to avoid unnecessary tripping due to short-term
overloading conditions.
Relay gives two options. One knob can be used to set the delay and other can be used to set
current value after which relay issue trip command. (How to set values See example below)
Over current relay Short delay Tripping:
In this type, the replay issue trip command to breaker after a short delay. The delay is under one
Sometime surge or high current can pass through the power system momentarily, which can be
due to transients or any other reason. In order to differentiate between instantaneous surges of
current or sustained high current, the relay waits for short duration before it gives trip command
to breaker. If the current normalizes before preset delay, CB is not tripped.

Over current relay setting calculations

Consider 800A Circuit breaker is available which has to be used in the following condition
Rated Current or normal current of system= 600A.

Fault current = 6 KA
Long Time Delay Trip Setting calculation

First we need to the set the relay for overloading conditions. Therefore the best suited setting for
relay in this would be on 0.8. That is turn the current setting knob of relay in front of 0.8. So the
relay will consider rated current as
Rated current set value

Ir=0.8 x In
Ir=0.8x 800A= 640A

Note that relay will not trip CB at 640A or above. When the current exceeds above 20% of rated
current, CB trips. So in this case tripping current will be
Tripping current


Next step is to set delay (tr). Turn the knob to select desired delay. This delay depends upon the
conditions and type of load connected.
Short Time delay Tripping Settings calculation.

Based on the type of load and other equipments connected, short delay trip current is selected. If
the load is delicate, low value should be selected while robust load can sustain high current
momentarily. Same principle should be used to select short time delay. Let maximum allowable
current is 1500A which must not flow for more than 0.2 Sec.
So best possible setting should be

Isd= 2.5 x Ir
Isd= 2.5 x 640 = 1600

Rotate the time knob to set 0.3 sec delay. So if the current exceeds from 1600A for more than 0.3
seconds, over current relay will trip the circuit Breaker.
Instantaneous tripping setting calculation:

The value of instantaneous tripping current should be selected based on calculated fault current.
In this case the fault current is 6KA.
So best setting would be

Is= 10 x In

Is= 10 x600 = 6000A

If the over current relay senses 6000A or greater current it will trip the CB immediately without
any delay. It can also be seen from the figure that no delay setting knob is given with
instantaneous tripping settings
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