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Directional Over Current & Earth Fault Relays Study (Good


Why directional overcurrent protection?

Why do we use directional overcurrent protection? When does fault
current direction become important? Well, electrical power grid
comprises a network of power stations, substations and transmission
lines. As well as the simple single-end-fed radial system, there are
other more complex systems such as double-end-fed power systems
and parallel feeders in ring formation.

In many cases, it is therefore not only necessary to know the
magnitude of the fault current, but also its direction.
A double-end-fed radial system is shown in Figure 1. In this
example, the line is fed from both ends. The protection zones are
indicated by ellipses. The requirement is to open all breakers in any
one protection zone where the fault occurs, but none of the others.

In this example, it is impossible to set up an adequate protection
scheme using non-directional protection devices.

Consider a fault FC5. As defined by the zones, only CBs 4 and 5 should
trip. As CB 3 is in close proximity to CB 4, there would be no great
difference in fault current flowing through these two circuit breakers,

therefore IDMT IEDs (Inverse Definite Minimum Time protection relay)
would not be able to discriminate between them. The same situation
applies for CB 5 and CB 6.

This means that by using non-directional devices, CBs 3, 4, 5 and 6
would trip in the event of a fault at F C5. It is clear then that we need a
device that is capable of detecting the direction of the fault current as
well as its magnitude.

Directional overcurrent protection devices can achieve this
requirement, albeit at extra cost. Directional IEDs determine the
direction of the fault current by measuring the voltage with a voltage
transformer as well as the current with a current transformer, and
establishing the phase difference.

This technical article does not go into details of exactly how this is
achieved, but it can be seen that it is possible to determine the
direction of the fault current and base a tripping decision on this

Consider again a fault at F C5. This time let us assume we have
directional IEDs. If we configure the IEDs to trip for overcurrent’s only if
the direction of the current flow is away from the bus, CB 4 and CB 5
will trip, but CB 3 and CB 6 will not.
To summarize //

The overcurrent IED should trip whenever the fault power flows away
from the bus but should restrain whenever the fault power flows
towards the bus. There are other situations, which do not involve dual
sources, where directional protection devices are necessary.

In the example above. all circuit breakers will trip. This problem can be solved by introducing directional IEDs at (2) and (3).directional ones. only the CBs in the required zone will trip.Parallel feeders in single-end-fed system One example is for a single-end fed system of parallel feeders. they necessitate the use of an additional voltage transformer. thus isolating the healthy section of line between (1) and (2). through CB 4. Bus B and CB3. but also from the source. For these reasons. What is more. Figure 2 shows a situation where a fault on one of the parallel lines is fed from both the faulted line and the healthy one too. through CB 1. they should only be used when absolutely . CB 2 will not trip as the fault is flowing towards the bus. If the tripping direction is set such that they will trip when the fault is away from the bus. If non-directional IEDs are used. CB 2. Directional IEDs are more expensive than non. This diagrams shows that a fault current will not only flow from the source.

Such a system allows supply to be maintained to all loads in spite of a fault on any section of the feeder. as depicted in Figure 3. Ring main feeder system Another example where directional IEDs are called for is in a ring main feeder system.necessary. non- directional IEDs will suffice for positions (1) and (4). . You can see by inspection that in this example. A fault in any section causes only the CBs associated with that section to trip.

as these will trip with currents flowing in either direction. How Directional Feature Incorporated in a Relay? Why Directional Relay? .ended arrows indicate non- directional IEDs.The directional IEDs and their tripping direction are indicated by arrows in the diagram. The double.

. So.For understanding the need of Directional Relay. suppose a system as shown below. Now suppose fault occurs at F2. Similarly. For fault at F1. for fault at F2. To avoid such scenario what can be done? Can we provide time graded protection here? No. it may happen so that Relay R2 operate before the operation of Relay R1 as the set pick-up value for both the Relay is same and both Relay see the same fault current. we consider a power system as shown in figure below. Relay R2 is supposed to pick-up and operate the circuit breaker. But how can we provide this directional feature to a Relay? Which electrical quantities need to be used for this? For answering this. what could be the solution? We may arrange something such that Relay R1 only operate if the fault is at F2 or toward Source A and likewise Relay R2 operates if the fault is at F1 or toward source B. Relay R1 shall operate to isolate the faulty section from the healthy section. This provision is Directional Feature as we are assigning a direction in which the Relay has to operate. As Relay R2 is operating here hence the power supply to the load from Source B is interrupted even when there is no fault in that section. we can’t provide time graded protection here as if there is fault at F1 then because of time grading Relay R2 will take more time to operate because of intentional time delay provided.

Suppose a fault occurs at F1. The CT secondary and PT secondary is connected to the Relay R2 Operating and Polarizing Coil respectively. We can use this concept to provide directional feature in the Relay. The bus voltage is measured using a PT which is Vp here. Now if the fault is at F2. To summarize. if the fault is at F1 then current is lagging Vp and if fault is at F2. Will explain Polarizing Coil latter in this section. the fault current I 1will lag behind the reference voltage Vp. As the fault is at F1. The fault current is flowing in the direction of I1. be patient till then. the direction of fault current through the CT will change by 180 degree and therefore the CT secondary current will also change its direction by 180 degree and hence the fault current in this case will lead the reference voltage Vp (saying reference voltage assuming that Vp remain unchanged). We can set in the Relay that if I1 lags Vp . current is leading Vp.

we can use directional element in over-current relay to make it Directional Over-current Relay. If the relay ‘detects fault’ and current lags VR (= Vp). For example. if we measure the bus voltage phasor Vp and compute the phase angle of relay current with respect to bus voltage. This Relay will actuate if the angle between the fault current and Reference Voltage is satisfied AND over-current element picks up. If the relay ‘detects fault’ and current leads VR (= Vp). . one of which is used as reference is called ‘Directional Discrimination Principle’. then inhibit the relay tripping. thereby eliminating the problem of actuation of R3 for fault at F1.then only it should operate for both Relays R2 and R3. then we can use the following logic to provide selectivity. then permit relay tripping. Any Relay can be made directional by incorporating directional element in it. The ‘discrimination principle’ based on phase angle comparison between a set of phasors. Relays with this principle are called directional relays. Thus.

V = RMS value of voltage fed to the voltage coil of Relay I = RMS value of current fed to the current coil of the Relay Ɵ = Angle between V and I Ƭ = Maximum torque angle. K1 is some constant.How Directional Relays are designed? The torque developed by a directional unit is given as T = VICos(Ɵ-Ƭ) – K Where. fixed by design (How fixed?) As we know that Torque produced by a Relay = K1Ø1Ø2Sinξ. The phasor diagram for directional over-current relay is shown below. where ξ is the angle between Ø1 and Ø2. the maximum Torque angle ξ is fixed by design. Therefore. Therefore. . maximum torque will be produced when ξ = π/2 The angle ξ is developed because of Shaded Pole in the Relay so how much lagging flux will be developed by Shaded Pole depends upon the construction and design.

Now. Øv is the flux created by Voltage Coil which lags behind the Voltage by around 70 to 80 degrees. if the angle between Øv and ØI is 90 degrees then the Torque will be maximum which is shown by dotted line in the above phasor which is called Maximum Torque Line and the angle Ƭ is called Maximum Torque Angle or Relay Characteristics Angle (RCA). actually K is restrain torque because of spring and friction. This is called Zero Torque Line. This reference phasor is called Polarizing quantity. The net torque is produced by the interaction of Øv and ØI. The torque will be zero if the angle between Øv and ØI is 180 degree which is as shown in the phasor above. ØI is the flux created by current coil. Here it is to be noted that V is assumed fixed and hence reference phasor. VICos(Ɵ-Ƭ) – K>0 Assume k to be negligible. Also. as V is unchanged hence for the production of net torque for directional Relay.Here. .

how to select reference Voltage Phasor? Vector diagram and relationship between different phasors are shown above. Now. Therefore. Carefully observe the zone where the Relay operates and the zone where it is not operating. Observe that Maximum Torque Line and Zero Torque Line are perpendicular to each other.VICos(Ɵ-Ƭ)>0 Ɵ-Ƭ> +(-)π/2 Ɵ> Ƭ+(-)π/2 This equation can be represented in polar form as shown below. . it is clear that the Relay operates in between the Zero Torque Line on both side of Maximum Torque Line.

It does operate. As Zero Torque Line is perpendicular to the Maximum Torque Line. using 3- phase line model we get. Now consider a line fault involving phase ‘a’ and ‘b’. Then. Va – Vf = ZsIa + Zm(-Ia) = (Zs – Zm) Ia = Z1Ia Similarly. then from below figure we get that If abwill be at an angle of 60 degrees lagging to Van.Here. Therefore. it is better to take Vbc as reference phasor. Vb. . Va.Vf = ZsIb + ZmIa = – (Zs – Zm) Ia = – Z1Ia So. We take the Maximum Torque Line at an angle of 30° with Vbc. We need to check whether the Relay will operate for Line to Line and Phase Phase to Line fault for this assumed reference Phasor.Vb = 2Z1 Ia Ia = (Va. Thus. unit with Vbc as reference phasor will pick-up on both 3-phase fault and L-L fault.Vb)/ 2Z1 If for simplicity we assume Z to be purely reactive. which is described below. hence it is drawn as shown in figure below. Vbc is perpendicular to the Van.

Therefore. In contrast.For a L-L fault involving phases ‘a’ and ‘c’ . the phase current Ia will lag Vbc by . this unit (lead with Vbc as reference phasor) will pickup for all phase faults involving phase ‘a’. . directional unit will not pick up. Hence. Ibc will lag Vbc by . it will lie outside the tripping region of the directional unit. Assuming purely reactive circuit. It is apparent that in numerical relays. Vac lags Van by . Iac will be again in the operate region and the directional unit will pickup. the key feature in obtaining directional discrimination is the placement of zero torque line which separates the R-X plane into two regions viz. this placement is quite flexible and can be specified with respect to any one reference voltage phasor. As seen in the figure. operate and do not operate. Thus. for L-L fault involving phases ‘b’ and ‘c’. To summarize. This placement can be made programmable.

Earth faults are characterized by the presence of Zero Sequence Curren I0. The reference phasor is called as Polarizing Quantity. much more sensitive pick-up is possible for earth fault by using zero sequence current component I0 = (Ia + Ib + Ic) / 3 and declaring a fault if I0 exceeds a threshold. earth faults are Single Line to Ground (SLG) and Line-Line to Ground (LLG) faults.Directional Earth Fault Protection Generally. Since. For ground fault relaying both Voltage and Current Polarization can be used. Therefore Ib = Ic = 0 and Ia = 3I0. except for unbalance. We know that I0 = (Ia + Ib + Ic) / 3 However. As we discussed in earlier post How to Incorporate Directional Feature in a Relay. normal system operation is not having Zero Sequence Current I0. . that for making a Relay directional we need Reference Phasor. Voltage Polarization: Let the system be initially unloaded and a ground fault occur on phase A. We will consider each Voltage and Current Polarization separately for Earth Fault Protection. in a system with multiple sources or parallel paths. we require earth fault relays to be directional as discussed in earlier post How to Incorporate Directional Feature in a Relay.

3V0 = Vag+Vbg+Vcg. As V0 = (Vag+Vbg+Vcg)/3. phasor sum of Va. Phasor diagram for Voltage and current for SLG fault can be drawn as below Voltage and Current Phasor under Single Line to Ground Fault: In the phasor diagram only 3I0 is shown as Ib = Ic =0 and Ia = 3I0 for Single Line to Ground fault.Vb and Vc is to be taken. phasor sum .For Single Line to Ground fault there is a drop-in voltage of phase A while phase B and C voltages remain unchanged. Now we will find the Zero Sequence Voltage under the fault.

Therefore.From phasor diagram it is clear that Zero Sequence Voltage 3V0 is in phase opposition with Vag (Phase Voltage of A). . In normal power system V0is not present but available only during the fault. it is appropriate to take -3V0 as a reference phasor. Let the maximum torque be drawn at 60 degrees lag with respect to -3V0 phasor as shown in figure below.

As we know that Zero Torque Line is perpendicular to the Maximum Torque Line. earth fault directional unit will not pick-up. Hence. therefore we draw Zero Torque Line as shown in figure above. for fault in the correct region. 3I0 will lead -3V0 by about 45 to 60 degrees and hence will lie in do not operate region. 3I0 lags -3V0 hence falls in operate region. Thus. If fault is behind the relay. . It is then clear that zero Torque Line which separates the plane into Operate and Do Not Operate zone leads -3V0by 30 degrees.

During ground fault say at phase A. 3I0 flows from ground to neutral of a Wye connection of Transformer. phasor sum is taken here. This indicates that directional unit for ground relay should pick-up as Ia is in phase with 3I0. For balanced system. It is an alternative for voltage polarization. Thus we place maximum torque line at zero degrees with respect to I 0 phasor.Current Polarization: For providing direction feature in earth fault relay we can also use current as refrenec phasor which is called current polarization. Ia+Ib+Ic = 0. Therefore. I0 = (Ia+Ib+Ic)/3 = 0 which means absence of Zero Sequence Current in balanced system. . then 3I0 and Ia are in phase. If we assume for simplicity that Ib = Ic = 0. The correspondingOperate and Do Not Operate zones are marked in figure below. It does not require an additional Potential Transformer (PT).

As current have both magnitude and direction but they do not follow the triangle law of addition of two vectors. hence current is a scalar. it is represented by an arrow pointing toward a particular direction and the length of the arrow is proportional to the magnitude of the vector. Same argument applies with voltage. then the Ia will fall in Do Not Operate region and hence relay will not pick up as Zero sequence Current through the neutral of Wye connection and Relay will be in phase opposition. V = VmSinωt If we see this voltage on Voltage and Time axis. we find that magnitude of voltage varies from –Vm to +Vm with respect to time. However. . their values changes over time in a sinusoidal way. Electrical quantities such as voltage and current are scalar quantities. While representing a vector. Now coming to Phasor. Vectors are physical quantity which have magnitude. Next. Differences between a Phasor and a Vector If someone ask you whether current and voltage are vector or scalar quantity the obviously you will answer that they are scalar quantity.If fault is behind the relay. the question arises if current and voltage are scalar quantity then why do we represent then in form of vector which is famously known as Phasor? We will discuss here this aspect. direction and above all which follows the triangle law of addition of two vectors. Now consider the figure below.

Mind that this vector is rotating with some frequency. we observe that we get the instantaneous value of the Voltage V = VmSinwt.In the figure a vector is drawn from the origin making an angle of wt with the time axis and rotating in anti clockwise direction.S value of the Voltage / Current while in vector.M. Anything that behaves like this can be represented by phasors. The phase differences in various sinusoidal quantities can be represented in space respectively by single elements rotating at angle difference with each other but their frequency should be same else they cannot be represented on a single diagram. Normal Vector do not rotate. that is why it is Phasor. If we take the projection of the vector on Voltage axis. . Thus Phasors are generally rotational representation of sinusoidally varying quantities. length is directly proportional to magnitude of the vector. It is normal practice to take the length of Phasor as the R. Their projection on the reference axis gives the value of the individual quantities at an instant of time. which are really just representations of sinusoids.