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By José Luis Azucena, P. Eng. Introduction The protection scheme of motors varies considerably from one motor to another because the different motor size, type or application. To be cost effective, motor protection is usually based upon motor size and/or importance. Motor protection is required to detect abnormal operating conditions and internal fault conditions. Abnormal operating conditions include unbalanced voltages, undervoltage, overvoltage, single phasing, and incorrect phase sequence. Internal fault conditions include insulation failures and mechanical failures. Should currents higher than normal circulates through the motor some damage will occur if these currents are not interrupted on time. Short circuit currents in either motor feeders or motor windings are unwanted situations that must be isolated to avoid further damage to the motor and to the system. Motor load currents, available short circuit currents, motor thermal capacity, and protection relay are tabulated in time current curves to evaluate the coordination of the protection devices.
Induction Motor Hazards Induction motor hazards originate from different sources and can be classified as follows: 1. From Motor/Motor Feeder Insulation failure (in feeder or winding) Mechanical failures (loose parts, bearing failure) 2. From Load/Environment Overload/underload Jamming High inertia High ambient temperature/blocked ventilation 3. From Energy Supplier Overvoltage Undervoltage Open phase Phase reversal Out-of-step after system disturbance
Protection of Large Induction Motors 1-877-955-8131
0 V Thermal Damage Curves The Overload Thermal Limit curve. the Accelerating Thermal Limit curve and the Permissible Locked Rotor Time blend together to define the Motor Thermal Damage Curves.magnaelectric. For large motors two thermal damage curves are supplied.Motor Characteristics Involved in Protection Motor Thermal Damage Curve The motor thermal capacity is defined by the Thermal Damage Curves. Full Load Current Protection of Large Induction Motors 1-877-955-8131 www.com 2 . this curve defines the maximum circulating current and the time that this current can circulate.9 V Motor Load Current Asymmetrical Current Current 1. The Thermal Damage Curve should be obtained from the motor manufacturer. The Motor Thermal Damage Curve defines the maximum loading for any given time period. one for starting the motor (cold motor) and another for running the motor (hot motor). These thermal limits are relatively indeterminate zones that for practical purposes are usually represented as curves. Time in Seconds Overload Thermal Limit Accelerating Thermal Limit Permissible Locked Rotor Time Starting Current Curves 0.
When the relay overload pickup level is reached. The curve of operation of O/C relays and thermal relays should be set to follow the motor thermal damage curve Time in Seconds Motor Thermal Damage Curve Thermal Relay Overcurrent Relay Instantaneous Relay Motor Starting Curve Current of Motor Motor Protection Using Overcurrent and Thermal Relays Protection of Large Induction Motors 1-877-955-8131 www. these relays use remote temperature detectors (RTD) to measure stator temperature.The full load current of the motor (FLC) is the maximum continuous current that can circulate during the duty cycle of the motor without producing thermal damage. multiples of two to seven are the most common. The initial motor current levels are significantly above the FLC. the TCC will come into effect.magnaelectric.com 3 . Thermal relays are used as back-up motor protection. and a tripping signal will be issued if the time determined by the TCC is exceeded. Motor Protection Relays Motor overcurrent protection relays operate following a time current curve (TCC).
Also. and Hot Motor Thermal Damage Curves for motor running. and a second one for motor running (O/L Running Curve). Protection of Large Induction Motors 1-877-955-8131 www.L Starting Curve). O/L Running Curve Hot Motor Thermal Damage Curve O/L Starting Curve Cold Motor Thermal Damage Curve Time in Seconds Motor Starting FLC Motor Running Current of Motor Cold and Hot Thermal Damage Curves Short Circuit Currents and Power Fuses in Motor Protection Short circuit currents in the motor and/or motor feeder can be detected using over-current relays. The curve of operation of motor protection relays must be halfway between the Load Current Curve and the Motor Thermal Damage Curve. overload (O/L) motor protection relays must allow the motor to start and run under all normal operation conditions.com 4 . Then two sets of O/L curves should be applied one for motor starting (O.magnaelectric. The TCC of the power fuses must be coordinated with the TCC of the O/C relay. The motor Starting Curve shall not exceed the Cold Motor Thermal Damage Curve. The starting currents of high inertia loads can be very close to the Overload Thermal Limit Curve. Back-up fuses must be used when the short circuit current available at starter terminals exceeds the ampacity of its contacts. The overlap of the O/L Running Curve with the motor starting curve is acceptable for high inertia motors. and the motor Running Curve shall not exceed the Hot Motor Thermal Damage Curve Digital relays are suited to the Cold Motor Thermal Damage Curves for motor starting.
com 5 . Typical relay sensitivity is 5 Amperes primary current (when the relay can not read 5 Amperes then 10 Amperes is used).4 amperes primary current will be protecting 95 % of the windings of the motor. Time Motor Thermal Damage Curve Motor Protection Relay Power Fuse Current Differential Relays Short circuit currents within the motor can be detected using differential relays. Protection of Large Induction Motors 1-877-955-8131 www. The power fuse does not protect the motor from overloads. Ground Fault Protection Ground fault protection using one overcurrent relay and one ZSCT (Zero Sequence CT).05 = 120 volts 120 volts / 300 Ω = 0.Power Fuses Power fuses are used when the starter contacts do not have the capacity to open the short circuit current available at starter terminals. can be obtained whenever the conductors of the three phases of the motor are passed throughout the window of the ZSCT. and then an overcurrent relay is installed at CT secondary terminals. and an O/C relay is connected to ZSCT terminals. The best differential protection in terms of sensitivity.magnaelectric.4 amperes Then an overcurrent relay detecting 0. speed. the motor protection relay of the motor starter is the one that protects the motor from overloads. as previously described. The following example illustrates the application of differential relays when the system is grounded through a neutral grounding resistor: Neutral grounding resistors (NGR) = 300 ohms Line to line voltage 4160 volts (then line to ground voltage is 2400 volts) Differential Relay to protect 95 % of the winding Then the relay should pick up at 5 % of line to ground voltage: 2400 volts x . Power fuses with high interrupting current capacity are used for short circuit protection. and security is to pass the conductors of the windings throughout the window of a current transformer (CT).
Load Characteristics Involved in Protection Load characteristics define the time that the starting current is applied and the motor running currents that circulate during normal operation. Loading induced faults are underload. This feature measures the maximum allowable time between a motor start and the normal motor running speed. these values are called Acceleration Time and Full Load Running Current. In a motor protection relay the Acceleration Time Set Point is used to protect the equipment driven by the motor.magnaelectric. These relays will start to operate only after motor running currents have been detected High Inertia High Inertia means that the motor can not accelerate to running speed. usual tripping setting is 2.5 x FLC with a time delay of 5 seconds. Overcurrent relays are used for this matter. Digital relays can distinguish starting currents from running currents. Protection of Large Induction Motors 1-877-955-8131 www. and The time delay should be greater than the load acceleration time at 95% of nominal voltage. This set point can be obtained from statistics of the operation of the equipment. During this condition lock rotor currents will circulate through the motor. the overcurrent relay following its own TCC will trip the contactor when an overload condition remains in the system for a certain amount of time. Under current relays can detect a current lower than normal and issue an alarm signal. and high inertia. Under this condition locked rotor currents will circulate when the motor tries to accelerate to get back to running speed. Underload Underload appears as a reduction in the average running current and means that the motor is running unloaded. Jamming Jamming means a sudden speed reduction when the motor is operating at normal speed. but the following conditions apply: The pick up value of the setting of the overcurrent tripping should be no more than the 95% of the starting current. This set point should not overwrite the value of locked rotor current or the thermal relay curve. Using those values. jamming. The motor protection relay must trip before the Permissible Locked Rotor Time is reached. and the motor must be isolated before the Permissible Locked Rotor Time is exceeded. a Load Current Curve can be drawn for any given motor and motor loading. Overload Overload produces high currents that must be stopped before the motor is overheated. the relay setting could be 105 % of the motor no-load current.com 6 . Definite time overcurrent relays can properly protect the motor. Definite time O/C relays can properly protect the motor against locked rotor currents. therefore these relays do not operate during motor starting. overload. Increase or decrease of acceleration times or running current values may give indication of loading induced faults.
typical values are 40 % of full load current following in only two phases. Reclosing and Jogging Protection of Large Induction Motors 1-877-955-8131 www. Inverse time undervoltage relays can be used.magnaelectric. in a motor with an Is/Iflc ratio of 5 the negative sequence current for an unbalance of 2 % of the phase voltage will be 10 % of the positive sequence current. or loss of speed and eventually pull out from the system. These values are not to protect the insulation. and the time to trip depends on the thermal capacity of the motor and usually is 10 seconds. Under single-phase conditions excessive heating can occur in the stator only if the current in one or more phases exceeds the nominal current value. Under these conditions the motor protection relay should trip the motor starter because a real fault has been detected. Overvoltage relays do not protect against high surge-voltages. the most common problem is unbalanced voltages. The equivalent circuit of an induction motor with a phase open-circuited is the positive and negative sequence networks connected in series. Undervoltage relays trip the motor starter before the motor pulls out from the system. These negative sequence currents cause overheating and reduction in output torque.System Characteristics Involved in Protection The power system should be operating at nominal values of voltage and frequency. Abnormal system operation conditions are unbalanced voltages. Then. overvoltage and undervoltage. underfrequency. Typical values to alarm are between 5 to 10 % of unbalance in the line current. The ratio of positive sequence impedance to negative sequence impedance at normal speed is approximately equal to the ratio of the starting current (Is) to the normal full load running current (Iflc). high running currents. overfrequency.com 7 . Typical values to trip are between 10 to 20 % of unbalance in the line current. High running currents will reduce the motor thermal overload times. Abnormal system operation conditions may produce unwanted overcurrents that will damage the motor. The supply network must be fitted with surge-suppression devices or voltage limiters if such conditions may arise. Overvoltage and Undervoltage NEMA MG1-1987 quotes a limit of ± 10 % of rated voltage. but to avoid overheating produced by the circulating currents. System low voltages result in failure to start. and the magnitude of the positive and negative sequence currents is the same. Unbalance Voltages Operation of polyphase induction motors on unbalanced voltages produces negative sequence currents much larger than the unbalance of the voltages.
An analysis of voltage variations provides information about the power system itself. and motor thermal damage curves. Summary The information required to analyzing the settings of protection relays for large induction motors was described. The three factors that define motor protection scheme are: • Characteristics of the electrical motor • Characteristics of the load • Characteristics of the power system The measurement of operational currents provides information about the load.magnaelectric. and maximum number of starters per hour. graphical representation of the coordination of the motor protection devices in conjunction motor load. The characteristics of the load include average starting current.com 8 .Reclosing and jogging protection in big non-reversal induction motors is achieved using timers that allowed minimum time between starts. backspin time. Protection of Large Induction Motors 1-877-955-8131 www. Time current curves for each motor-load are required to provide tabulated. average acceleration time and running current.