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Transformer Protection

Application Guide

This guide focuses primarily on application of • An overall view of the economic impact of a
protective relays for the protection of power transformer failure and what can be done to
transformers, with an emphasis on the most reduce the risk, including:
prevalent protection schemes and transformers. · The direct economic impact of repairing
Principles are emphasized. Setting procedures or replacing the transformer.
are only discussed in a general nature in the · The indirect economic impact due to
material to follow. Refer to specific instruction production loss.
manuals for your relay. The references provide a · Repair time vs. complete replacement
source for additional theory and application time.
guidance. · The availability of backup power feed or
emergency replacement transformers, and
The engineer must balance the expense of the cost of each option.
applying a particular protection scheme against · The possibility that a given protection
the consequences of relying on other protection scheme can reduce the damage and
or sacrificing the transformer. Allowing a pro- resultant repair time, or that it can change
tracted fault would increase the damage to the a replacement into a repair.
transformer and the possibility of tank rupture
with a consequent oil fire and consequent Some specific applications that affect protection
personnel safety risks. There is no rule that says are: A tap changer flashover can ordinarily be
what specific protection scheme is appropriate repaired in the field, but if this fault is allowed to
for a given transformer application. There is evolve into a winding fault, the transformer will
some tendency to tie protection schemes to the need to be shipped to a repair facility; hence,
MVA and primary kV of a transformer. While protection that can rapidly sense a tap change
there is some validity to this approach, there are fault is desirable. A high magnitude through fault
many other issues to be considered. Issues to (external fault fed by the transformer) shakes and
be considered include: heats a transformer winding, and the longer the
through fault lasts, the greater the risk of it
• The severity of personnel safety concerns
evolving into an internal transformer fault; hence,
and the possibility that a given protection
fast clearing for close-in external faults is part of
scheme can reduce these risks.
the transformer protection scheme. Some
• The danger to nearby structures and pro-
transformers are considered disposable and
cesses if a transformer fails catastrophically
readily replaced, reducing the need for ad-
and the possibility that a given protection
vanced protection schemes. Transformer protec-
scheme can reduce the possibility of such a
tion commonly includes some coverage of