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The widespread acceptance of numerical technology by the customer and the experiences of the user helped in developing the second generation numerical relays in 1990. Modern power system protection devices are built with integrated functions. Multi-functions like protection, control, monitoring and measuring are available today in numeric power system protection devices. Also, the communication capability of these devices facilitates remote control, monitoring and data transfer. Traditionally, electromechanical and static protection relays offered single-function, single characteristics, whereas modern numeric protection offers multi-function and multiple characteristics. Some protections also offer adaptable characteristics, which dynamically change the protection characteristic under different system conditions by monitoring the input parameters. The measuring principles and techniques of conventional relays (electromechanical and static) are fewer than those of the numerical technique, which can differ in many aspects like the type of protection algorithm used, sampling, signal processing, hardware selection, software discipline, etc. First generation numerical relays were mainly designed to meet the static relay protection characteristic, whereas modern numeric protection devices are capable of providing complete protection with added functions like control and monitoring. Numerical protection devices offer several advantages in terms of protection, reliability, and trouble shooting and fault information. Numerical protection devices are available for generation, transmission and distribution systems. The following sections cover relay hardware, relay software, multiple protection characteristics, adaptive protection characteristics, data storage, instrumentation feature, selfcheck feature, communication capability, additional functions, size and cost-effectiveness.
additional functions. reliability. which can differ in many aspects like the type of protection algorithm used. transmission and distribution systems. First generation numerical relays were mainly designed to meet the static relay protection characteristic. relay software. hardware selection.What is numerical relay? These are microprocessor-based relays in contrast to other relays that are electromechanically controlled. which dynamically change the protection characteristic under different system conditions by monitoring the input parameters. monitoring and measuring are available today in numeric power system protection devices. control. The following sections cover relay hardware. By combining several functions in one case. These relays provide great precision and convenience in application in the sophisticated electronic products. The measuring principles and techniques of conventional relays (electromechanical and static) are fewer than those of the numerical technique. Also. Numerical protection devices are available for generation. and trouble shooting and fault information. selfcheck feature. numerical relays also save capital cost and maintenance cost over electromechanical relays. signal processing. Numerical protection devices offer several advantages in terms of protection. Modern power system protection devices are built with integrated functions. data storage. size and cost-effectiveness. electromechanical and static protection relays offered single-function. Some protections also offer adaptable characteristics. adaptive protection characteristics. Multi-functions like protection. communication capability. monitoring and data transfer. . single characteristics. sampling. The widespread acceptance of numerical technology by the customer and the experiences of the user helped in developing the second generation numerical relays in 1990. the communication capability of these devices facilitates remote control. Traditionally. multiple protection characteristics. software discipline. The first protection devices based on microprocessors were employed in 1985. whereas modern numeric protection devices are capable of providing complete protection with added functions like control and monitoring. whereas modern numeric protection offers multi-function and multiple characteristics. etc. instrumentation feature.
By contrast. Then a relatively simple microprocessor does a slow speed A/D conversion of the DC signal. or numeric relay . relay contact inputs. as a minimum. taps on transformers. It is capable of analyzing whether the relay should trip or restrain from tripping based on current and/or voltage magnitude (and angle in some applications). commonly using Fourier transform concepts (RMS and some form of averaging are used in basic products). not recorded or digitized. and this same PC interface is used to collect event reports from the relay. a simple microprocessor does some of the relay logic. The logic is user-configurable at a level well beyond simply changing front panel switches or moving of jumpers on a circuit board. allowing the relay to become an element in a SCADA system. beyond what can be entered via front panel knobs and dials. In some solid state relays. The relay has an extensive collection of settings. General characteristics of a digital protective relay include: • • • • • • • The relay applies A/D (analog-to-digital) conversion processes to the incoming voltages and currents. and hence the term "microprocessor relay" is not a clear term.The digital protective relay. More complex digital relays will have metering and communication protocol ports. Though this relay has a microprocessor. and see in an oscillographic fashion at least the fundamental frequency component of the incoming AC waveform. but the logic is fixed and simple. relay I/O (input/output) changes. The relay is capable of applying advanced logic. The event recording would include some means for the user to see the timing of key logic decisions. the Fourier transform is commonly used to extract the signal's phase angle relative to some reference. and in some case. and these settings are transferred to the relay via an interface with a PC (personal computer). an electromechanical protective relay converts the voltages and currents to magnetic and electric forces and torques that press against spring tensions in the relay. magnitude of the incoming quantity. is a protective relay that uses a microprocessor to analyze power system voltages and currents for the purpose of detection of faults in an electric power system. and in some applications. The relay has some form of event recording. An op-amp and comparator is used to create a DC that rises when a trip point is reached. integrates the results to create the time-overcurrent curve response. the incoming AC current is first converted into a small signal AC value. . parameters set by the user. then the AC is fed into a rectifier and filter that converts the AC to a DC value proportionate to the AC waveform. the timing and order of event sequences. it lacks the attributes of a digital/numeric relay. the incoming voltage and current waveforms are monitored by analog circuits. The relay analyzes the A/D converter output to extract. The tension of the spring and taps on the electromagnetic coils in the relay are the main processes by which a user sets such a relay. The analog values are compared to settings made by the user via potentiometers in the relay. and trips when the integration rises above a setpoint. For instance. In a solid state relay. in some time overcurrent solid state relays. Further. except in the most basic applications.
. output contacts operate to trip the associated circuit breaker(s).e. the solid state relay still sees some use where simplicity of the application allows for simpler relays. In distribution applications. unless a high speed algorithm is used that uses subcycle data to monitor for fast changing issues. Next the microprocessor passes the data into a set of protection algorithms. but in the relay. In some relays. and in part designed by the relay manufacturer.  Basic principles Low voltage and low current signals (i. The AC signal is then sampled by the relay's analog to digital converter at anywhere from about 4 to 64 (varies by relay) samples per power system cycle. the entire sampled data is kept for oscillographic records. While the great majority of feeder relays in new applications today are digital. nominal system frequency).e. If a fault condition is detected. only the fundamental component is needed for most protection algorithms. the replacement by the digital relay proceeded a bit more slowly. and which allows one to avoid the complexity of digital relays. In transmission line and generator protection. that monitor for abnormal conditions that indicate a fault... but the arena has become crowded today with many manufacturers. and uses Fourier transform algorithms to extract the fundamental frequency magnitude and angle. by the mid-1990s the digital relay had nearly replaced the solid state and electromechanical relay in new construction.The digital/numeric relay was introduced in the early 1980s. which are a set of logic equations in part designed by the protection engineer. The sampled data is then passed through a low pass filter that numerically removes the frequency content that is above the fundamental frequency of interest (i. with AREVA and ABB_Group's forerunners and SEL making some of the early market advances in the arena. at the secondary of a Voltage transformers and Current transformers) are brought into a low pass filter that removes frequency content above about 1/3 of the sampling frequency (a relay A/D converter needs to sample faster than 2x per cycle of the highest frequency that it is to monitor).
A microprocessor-based digital protection relay can replace the functions of many discrete electromechanical instruments .