Powell Technical Brief #1 Fast Bus Transfer

April 23, 1990 Fast bus transfer is normally used for transferring a bus supplying motors to an emergency power source on failure of the normal source of power. It is essential that this transfer be accomplished with a minimum of "dead time" to prevent loss of critical motors or damage to the motors on re-energization. Two schemes of operation are used for fast transfer. In the first, the trip signal to the opening breaker and the close signal to the closing breaker are given simultaneously. With this method, there is a possibility of overlap between the two sources, which may lead to the incoming breaker closing into a fault. This can be prevented by adding a few milliseconds of time delay to the closing signal. In the second scheme, the closing signal of the second breaker is initiated by a "b" contact of the opening breaker. This may be either standard "b" contact or a fast "b" contact. We have recently run timing tests on the "Dash 3" PowlVac® circuit breaker to determine fast transfer dead times. The result, which apply to 5PV0250-3 and 15PV0500-3 breakers, both 1200A and 2000A, are given in the following table. Source of Closing Signal No Arcing Simultaneous Close and Trip Signals Trip Then Close, Using Fast "b" Contact Trip Then Close, Using Standard "b" Contact • Possible overlap 7.0 - 17.0 53.0 - 63.0 57.5 - 67.5 Dead Time, ms With Arcing (1.0)* - 9.0 45.0 - 55.0 49.5 - 59.5

Baldwin Bridger, P.E. Technical Director

Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems, Inc. PO Box 12818 • Houston, TX • 77217

©2005 Powell Industries, Inc. • All rights reserved.

Tel: 713.944.6900 • Fax: 713.947.4453 www.powellind.com info@powellind.com

Powell Technical Brief #2 Closing and Latching Capability of Medium Voltage Power Circuit Breakers
May 18, 1990 ANSI Standard C37.06-1987, American National Standard for Switchgear - AC High Voltage Circuit Breakers Rated on a Symmetrical Current Basis - Preferred Ratings and Related Required Capabilities, includes a column in Table 1 headed Closing and Latching Capability. In older editions of this standard, the current value in this column was given in rms kiloamperes, and was determined by multiplying the maximum symmetrical interrupting capability by 1.6. In the 1987 edition, this current is expressed in crest kiloamperes, and the value is determined by multiplying the maximum symmetrical interrupting capability by 2.7. Other standards had previously required the closing and latching current to have a crest value of 2.7 times the maximum symmetrical interrupting current, so the performance required of the circuit breaker has not really changed. Only the method of stating the requirement has changed. This change was made to bring the ANSI standard in line with the IEC standard, which also expresses closing and latching capability in crest amperes. Since many specification writers will be using older standards, or copying older specifications, we will probably see both methods of specifying closing and latching current used in specifications for many years. The following table gives both sets of values. Rated Maximum Voltage kV, rms 4.76 4.76 8.25 15.0 15.0 15.0 Rated Short Circuit Current kA, rms 29 41 33 18 28 37 Closing and Latching Capability per ANSI C37.06 1979 Edition kA, rms 58 78 66 37 58 77 1987 Edition kA, Crest 97 132 111 62 97 130

Nominal MVA 250 350 500 500 750 1000

Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems, Inc. PO Box 12818 • Houston, TX • 77217

©2005 Powell Industries, Inc. • All rights reserved.

Tel: 713.944.6900 • Fax: 713.947.4453 www.powellind.com info@powellind.com

Powell Technical Brief #2 Closing and Latching Capability of Medium Voltage Power Circuit Breakers
page 2 If the specified value of closing and latching current matches a value from either edition of the standard, we can assume that a standard breaker is desired. If there is any possibility of confusion, the specifier should be contacted to determine which basis is being used to specify the close and latch rating.

Baldwin Bridger, P.E. Technical Director

Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems, Inc. PO Box 12818 • Houston, TX • 77217

©2005 Powell Industries, Inc. • All rights reserved.

Tel: 713.944.6900 • Fax: 713.947.4453 www.powellind.com info@powellind.com

76kV 250MVA 4. using GE interrupters. for both isolated and back-to-back switching of capacitors.76 6. Tel: 713.29 19.52 12.47 15PV0500 15.08 10.71 18.powellind. Inc.36 3.15 11.15 10.75 16.4 2.05 12.4 05PV0250 4.25 for ungrounded capacitor banks and 1.16 4.64 2000A Breaker 3.8 14.04 10.34 6.95 Grounded Bank 1200A Breaker 1.00 16.4453 www. PO Box 12818 • Houston.7.1.2 13.06-1987. The results of these tests showed that these breakers are qualified as definite purpose circuit breakers.28 18.88 11.947. These multipliers include allowances for higher than normal voltage.944.85 9.08 5.67 11.com .11 14. inrush currents and frequencies must be limited to the values given in Table 1A of ANSI C37. capacitor tolerance.35 for grounded banks.5 12.012-1979.94 3. This may require the addition of reactance between the two capacitor banks.30 10.76 11. • All rights reserved.94 17. MVAR Ungrounded Bank 1200A Breaker 2.09 3.06-1987. Table 1A. The values in the table were calculated using a total current multiplier of 1. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. When PowlVac® circuit breakers are used in a back-to-back switching situation.0kV 500MVA 13.com info@powellind.12 19.33 5. in accordance with ANSI Standard C37.57 2000A Breaker 3. Table 1 lists the maximum rating of capacitor bank that can be switched by each rating of circuit breaker when applied in accordance with ANSI/IEEE Standard C37. and harmonic components in the current.012-4.Powell Technical Brief #3 Capacitance Current Switching Capability of PowlVac® Circuit Breakers June 7. See ANSI/IEEE C37.93 17.48 Circuit Breaker Type and System Voltage Rating kV Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems.63 4. Table 1: Capacitor Bank Switching Capability of "Dash 3" PowlVac® Circuit Breakers Maximum Nameplate Rating of Capacitor Bank.60 15.6900 • Fax: 713. 1990 We have recently had capacitance current switching tests performed on our "Dash 3" PowlVac® circuit breakers. Inc.

Inc.944.powellind. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. Inc. We have not tested those breakers for capacitance current switching capability.com .com info@powellind.6900 • Fax: 713. Tel: 713. Baldwin Bridger. but we do have some data from Mitsubishi that allows us to apply them.E. PO Box 12818 • Houston.947. P. Such applications should be referred to me for checking.Powell Technical Brief #3 Capacitance Current Switching Capability of PowlVac® Circuit Breakers page 2 Note: This table does not apply to PowlVac® circuit breakers using Mitsubishi interrupters.4453 www. • All rights reserved.

The umbilical cord's plug mechanism is mechanically interlocked with the circuit breaker to insure safe operation.Powell Technical Brief #4 Umbilical Cord Used on PowlVac® Circuit Breakers July 28. the plug cannot be removed.944.com . Some of the questions asked. 1990 Occasionally.powellind.947. In our PowlVac® design. PO Box 12818 • Houston. Interlocks provided include: • • • The circuit breaker cannot be inserted into the cell without plugging in the umbilical cord. are: Q.6900 • Fax: 713. It is also commonly used in Europe. these interlocks insure that the circuit breaker is open and all energy storage springs are discharged when the circuit breaker is taken out of the cell. Why does Powell use an umbilical cord for its control disconnect? A. In addition to the control disconnect. Tel: 713. These devices are also available for servicing without removing the circuit breaker from the cell. Why does Powell differ from all other manufacturers in the method of disconnecting the control connections to the circuit breaker? A. Unplugging the umbilical cord trips the circuit breaker if it is closed and discharges the closing spring if it is charged. Q. We chose to use this design because we think it offers superior performance in total. and our answers to them.com info@powellind. • All rights reserved. Powell does not differ from "all other manufacturers". Q. customers or prospective customers question our use of a manually-operated control disconnect ("umbilical cord") on our PowlVac® circuit breakers. these devices are located where they may be observed by an operator inserting or removing the circuit breaker. Yes. Since the plug must be removed in order to remove the circuit breaker from its cell. It is therefore not possible to disconnect the control circuits of a circuit breaker that is in service.4453 www. which locates all circuit breaker control accessories in the front of the cell. other American manufacturers have used it. Inc. Inc. While the umbilical cord design has not been used frequently in the United States. these devices include the mechanism-operated cell switch (MOC) and the truck-operated cell switch (TOC). Is this design safe? A. allowing the operator to check alignment and operation when the circuit breaker is installed. The use of the umbilical cord is part of our user-friendly design. Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. Once the circuit breaker racking mechanism has been operated to start the circuit breaker insertion process.

The PowlVac® circuit breaker meets these requirements.com . Inc.947.20. P.4453 www. Inc. PO Box 12818 • Houston.2. is covered in detail in ANSI/IEEE Standard C37. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. Yes.6900 • Fax: 713. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. Tel: 713.com info@powellind. • All rights reserved.powellind.E.2-6.7. Does the umbilical cord design meet ANSI standards? A. Baldwin Bridger. This design.944.Powell Technical Brief #4 Umbilical Cord Used on PowlVac® Circuit Breakers page 2 Q. including required interlocking.

there are a number of general comparisons which can be made. This insulation has given excellent results in the eight years since we first introduced PowlVac®. Tel: 713. Inc.4453 www. porcelain is unrepairable. users include Westinghouse. PO Box 12818 • Houston.powellind. The Izod impact strength. The tensile strength of cyclo is about 11 times that of glazed porcelain. While the repairability of cyclos is limited.Powell Technical Brief #5 Comparison of Porcelain & Cycloaliphatic Epoxy Insulation July 29. but we still have customers who request porcelain.com info@powellind. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. Inc. In the electrical area. A few years ago. First. • All rights reserved. S&C and Square D.947. the following relationships are typical: • • • • • • • • Cycloaliphatic epoxy ("cyclo") weighs less than 70% of porcelain's weight. in the physical area.6900 • Fax: 713. Dimensional and shape control is much easier in cyclos than in porcelain. but is still in the range of 2/10's of 1%. is about the same as glazed porcelain. each of which has its own specific qualities and parameters. both were strong proponents of porcelain insulation. and other U. S. 1990 PowlVac® vacuum circuit breakers and metal-clad switchgear use a primary insulation system of cycloaliphatic epoxy. you will find: • • • • The dielectric constant of cyclo is only about two-thirds that of porcelain. It is especially interesting to see the first two of these companies using cycloaliphatic epoxy.com . The track resistance of cyclo is slightly less than that of porcelain. The temperature class of porcelain is much higher than that of cyclo. but cyclo mixtures with temperature classes of 105 C or 130 C are readily available. Powell is far from alone in using cycloaliphatic epoxy insulation. The flexural strength of cyclo is 16 to 18 times that of glazed porcelain. The thermal coefficient of expansion of cyclo is 1/20th that of porcelain. The material has been in common use in Europe for a generation. Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. Although there are many formulations of cycloaliphatic epoxy and a number of varieties of porcelain.944. The water absorption of cyclo is slightly greater than that of porcelain. unnotched. The compression strength of cyclo is 4 to 6 times that of glazed porcelain.

This is especially true for applications requiring great strength under severe dynamic loading. we believe that the excellent physical properties of cyclo make it the insulating material of choice in spite of some small sacrifice in electrical properties.Powell Technical Brief #5 Comparison of Porcelain & Cycloaliphatic Epoxy Insulation page 2 Finally. cyclo exhibits excellent resistance to common industrial chemicals. such as support insulators in circuit breakers and switchgear. Inc.6900 • Fax: 713. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries.4453 www.com . Baldwin Bridger. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems.E. is readily washable. Inc.com info@powellind. • All rights reserved.947. and has excellent erosion resistance and weathering properties. P.powellind. In summary. Tel: 713.944. PO Box 12818 • Houston.

Inc. but we should not be expected to automatically quote a 2000A circuit breaker where a 1200A circuit breaker is specified. As a switchgear manufacturer. How should we handle this extra heat? Metal-enclosed switchgear built to ANSI standards.com . is rated in accordance with the usual service conditions set forth in those standards.20. just because the installation is outdoors in Yuma.20. Tel: 713. Arizona. All four of the ANSI product standards we commonly use (C37. • All rights reserved.Powell Technical Brief #6 Effect of Solar Radiation on Outdoor Metal-Enclosed Switchgear July 30.24-1986. ANSI/IEEE C37.6900 • Fax: 713.4453 www.com info@powellind. C37. we assume that our customers specify switchgear ratings in accordance with the usual service conditions given in the product standards.1 for low voltage switchgear.E. This standard is site-specific.3 for interrupter switchgear.2 for metal-clad switchgear. If requested.powellind. Baldwin Bridger. all testing and rating of switchgear ignores the effect of solar radiation. gives the information necessary to allow calculating the derating of the continuous current capability of switchgear exposed to the sun. Inc. It is fairly obvious to anyone who thinks about it that switchgear sitting out in the sun gets hotter than switchgear sitting in the same ambient air temperature inside a building where it has no solar exposure. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. 1990 From time to time we get questions about the rating of outdoor metal-enclosed switchgear which is exposed to solar radiation.944. Thus. there is another ANSI standard to give guidance in properly applying the switchgear.947. as is all Powell switchgear. C37. We further assume that the specifier will do the necessary evaluation and either limit his loads or upgrade his ratings to take care of any solar radiation derating that is needed. and C37. and to assist them with the calculations if necessary.20. P. the derating depends on the location of the switchgear installation. When switchgear is installed in a location where solar radiation is significant. we will be glad to discuss this derating with our customers. IEEE Guide for Evaluating the Effect of Solar Radiation on Outdoor Metal-Enclosed Switchgear.23 for bus duct) include as one of the usual service conditions that the effect of solar radiation is not significant. PO Box 12818 • Houston.

but are site specific. we have absolutely no guidance from ANSI standards. Fp is a force. Force = Mass x Acceleration. or g.com info@powellind. are not stated in terms of seismic zones.5 for Category III. which varies from 1 for Category I to 1. Here. I and Cp is a dimensionless coefficient for g. and is the weight of the equipment. PO Box 12818 • Houston.125 for Zone 0 to 1 for Zone 4. is the seismic zone coefficient. is the occupancy factor.45. Seismic requirements for nuclear generating station equipment.944. the value of this coefficient is 1 x 1.3.powellind. which is the product of a mass and the acceleration of gravity. It follows that the product of Z. is the horizontal force factor.45 g. or 0. From basic mechanics. Wp is a weight. Tel: 713. Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other Structures. Based on past experience and input from various users.3 for all machinery in a building. The other aspect of suitability is the performance of the equipment under the specified conditions.6900 • Fax: 713. which is 0.947. which do exist in standards. Unfortunately there is no ANSI standard that defines "suitable for use in seismic zone X". Since seismic testing is performed in terms of acceleration rather than force applied. gives some guidance for the seismic loading that various items must withstand. • All rights reserved.com . Powell has decided that the following are reasonable criteria for suitability: Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. where X may be any number from 0 to 4.5 x 0. Inc. ANSI Standard A58. which varies from 0. For a worst case situation.1-1982. 1990 We often see specifications that call for switchgear "to be suitable for use in seismic zone X". depending on the location of the final installation of the switchgear. using the basic formula: where is the lateral force to be designed for.Powell Technical Brief #7 Seismic Testing of PowlVac® Switchgear September 29.4453 www. the test level for a worst case installation should be 0. Inc. In the above formula. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. where the switchgear is installed in a critical occupancy in Zone 4.

They were therefore worst-case seismic samples. Inc.5 Hz for vertical acceleration and about 1. 5) After the event.powellind. The eight criteria listed on the previous page were used to judge the performance of the equipment under seismic test. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries.944.9 g at 2.com info@powellind. the equipment performed as required. Except for a minor problem with the transformer rollout drawer.4453 www. PO Box 12818 • Houston. About four years ago.Powell Technical Brief #7 Seismic Testing of PowlVac® Switchgear page 2 1) There shall be no structural damage that prevents normal operation of the equipment after the event.5 Hz for horizontal acceleration. we chose to use 0. and the equipment performed successfully on retest. with a minimum value of 0. 3) The circuit breakers shall not open or close during the event except on command. 6) Primary and control fuses shall remain in their fuse clips.1-1982.6900 • Fax: 713. primary circuits shall withstand a 27 kV power frequency withstand test (hipot).45 g (the ZPA) at frequencies above 32-33 Hz. The value of 27 kV is chosen because it is the power frequency withstand voltage specified for field testing of 15 kV metal-clad switchgear. to give the narrowest structure possible. Tel: 713. 7) Transformer rollout drawers shall not come open during the event.947. the circuit breakers were successfully closed and tripped on command during the seismic test. Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. In addition. Inc. Powell had samples of PowlVac® metal-clad switchgear tested for the ability to withstand Zone 4 seismic forces. 2) No doors or covers shall open during the event.8 g at 3. 4) The circuit breakers shall not move from the fully connected position during the event. Based on the requirements of ANSI A58. and had the heaviest circuit breakers installed in the highest positions in which they are ever used.45 g as the zero period acceleration (ZPA) value for these tests. Full seismic tests were done by Southwest Research Institute at these values of acceleration. The rollout drawer fastening system was reinforced. 8) After the event. it shall be possible to open and close the circuit breakers and rack them into and out of the connected position. These samples were single-unit equipments. The seismic experts at Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio took this value and developed a required response spectrum (RRS) that peaked at about 1. • All rights reserved.com .

Baldwin Bridger. P. PowlVac® is suitable for use in zones 3 and 4.com . Inc.com info@powellind. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries.944. PO Box 12818 • Houston.947.4453 www.powellind. 1 and 2. With the addition of holding clips at the transformer rollout drawers. standard PowlVac® metal-clad switchgear is suitable for use in seismic zones 0. Inc.E. • All rights reserved.Powell Technical Brief #7 Seismic Testing of PowlVac® Switchgear page 3 Based on these tests. Tel: 713.6900 • Fax: 713. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems.

Inc.com info@powellind.Powell Technical Brief #8 Preventing Voltage Feedback in Synchronizing Circuits October 22. The two lamps will be in series with the secondary of the bus voltage transformer. 1990 Many synchronizing schemes use two lamps in series. For more complex schemes. where one or more generators are manually synchronized to a common bus. • All rights reserved. This scheme.E. For simple synchronizing schemes.com ©2005 Powell Industries. and this higher voltage will be applied to the switchgear bus. To prevent this voltage feedback. and this circuit will be connected across the energized incoming voltage transformer secondary. TX • 77217 Tel: 713. This "dark lamp" synchronizing indication can be used by an operator to supplement the meter and synchroscope readings to insure synchronism before closing the incoming circuit breaker. a more complex circuit may be necessary to insure that no voltage feedback circuits exist. Inc. involving automatic synchronizing. The portion of this voltage which appears across the bus voltage transformer will be stepped up by the ratio of the bus voltage transformer. however.944. or synchronizing to a utility source. this circuit with its one 27B relay is satisfactory. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. . All synchronizing circuits should be reviewed carefully to prevent voltage feedback through the synchronizing lamps. machine-to-machine synchronizing.powellind.4453 www. P.947. a dead bus relay (27B) should be connected in the circuit as shown in the figure below. connected from the incoming voltage source to the running voltage source. PO Box 12818 • Houston.6900 • Fax: 713. can allow energizing of a supposedly dead bus if the synchronizing switch is accidentally left in the "ON" position. Baldwin Bridger.

powellind.Powell Technical Brief #9 Fuses for Use in DC Control Circuits January 9. Based on this test data. however. we should use either Fusetron Type FRN-R or Low-Peak Type LPN-RK.com . particularly in metal-clad switchgear. • All rights reserved. PO Box 12818 • Houston. Inc. someone raises the question of the dc rating of these fuses. 1991 The majority of control circuits in metal-enclosed switchgear. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. If a fuse with a UL listing for dc use is required. which is the rating commonly ascribed to these fuses. we can safely apply these fuses to dc control circuits where the short circuit level of the control circuit is 10 kA or less. Typical fuse types are Bussmann Type NON and Shawmut Type OT.947. From time to time. The answer is no. Baldwin Bridger. For nearly half a century Powell and other switchgear manufacturers have used 250-volt cartridge fuses (so-called "Code fuses") to protect these control circuits.4453 www. The typical control battery used for switchgear can deliver a short circuit current of about 10 times its one-minute discharge rating. The application of these fuses to this type of circuit has been generally successful and has been generally accepted by our customers. Bussmann advises me that the Type NON has been tested successfully for 10 kA interrupting capability at 250 V dc.E. P. are supplied from a dc power source. Tel: 713. so it would be a very unusual dc control circuit that had a short circuit capability in excess of 10 kA. Inc.944.6900 • Fax: 713.com info@powellind. These fuses are dual-element time delay types which may be used in the same fuse blocks used for Type NON fuses. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. Another question sometimes raised is whether or not these fuses are UL listed for dc applications.

leaving the manufacturer with no guidance on this subject. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. The values obtained by this method were used in the testing of PowlVac® circuit breakers. For lower currents.06-1987. both higher peaks and faster times are specified. • All rights reserved. Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. values of T2 are not standardized. The conventional way of specifying the rate of rise of the transient recovery voltage is to specify the peak value (E2) and the time required to reach that peak (T2).06-1987. Powell decided to use the rate-of-rise values given in Table IIA of IEC Standard 56.4453 www.com . 1991 The interrupting performance of any circuit interrupter is affected by the transient recovery voltage appearing across the first pole to interrupt. The rate of rise is then determined by dividing E2 by T2. and multiplying the rate-of-rise values by E2 to obtain T2. Inc. along with the other ratings of circuit breakers. calls for E2 to be 1.Powell Technical Brief #10 Transient Recovery Voltage (TVR) Values for Testing PowlVac® Circuit Breakers January 10.947. PO Box 12818 • Houston.com info@powellind. and are given in the table below. The required values of transient recovery voltage are included in ANSI/IEEE C37.06-1987 lists the multiplying factors to be applied to E2 and T2 for interrupting currents below the full rating of a circuit breaker. interpolating between the listed values to match the ANSI voltage ratings.powellind.6900 • Fax: 713.944. The nominal values are those for a full rated short circuit interruption. which gives the preferred ratings of indoor oilless circuit breakers. Both the absolute value of this voltage and its rate of rise are important in determining the interrupter's ability to meet its interrupting rating. Tel: 713. Table 6 of ANSI/IEEE C37. In order to assign some reasonable value to T2. such as PowlVac® breakers.88 times the breaker's rated maximum voltage for tests at 100% of the circuit breaker's interrupting rating. Unfortunately. Table 1 of ANSI/IEEE C37. Inc.

com .947.58 8.E.47 10.20 29 29 49 73.4453 www.944. Tel: 713. P. Inc. • All rights reserved. PO Box 12818 • Houston.4 529 510 289 181 Baldwin Bridger. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems.1 49.76 kV 7 to 13 20 to 30 40 to 60 100 33.00 31.17 28. Inc.95 19.6 1137 1098 615 383 10.powellind. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries.86 30.11 9.com info@powellind.6900 • Fax: 713.8 19.8 33.Powell Technical Brief #10 Transient Recovery Voltage (TVR) Values for Testing PowlVac® Circuit Breakers page 2 PowlVac® Transient Recovery Voltage Test Values Transient Recovery Voltage Current % of Interrupter Rating Rated Maximum Voltage = 15 kV Rated Maximum Voltage = 4.

Powell Technical Brief #11 Consequences of Vacuum Interrupter Failure
March 1, 1991 Users and prospective users of vacuum circuit breakers frequently ask us what happens if a vacuum interrupter fails to interrupt. The short answer to this question is that the interrupter is usually destroyed and must be replaced. However, this short answer needs some additional comment to be really informative. First, failure of a properly applied vacuum interrupter to interrupt a fault current within its rating is a very rare event. In the 8 years that we have been building PowlVac® vacuum circuit breakers, we have manufactured over 3200 breakers. Assuming an average of two years in service for these breakers, we have a history of nearly 20,000 interrupter-years of service. We have never heard of a failure to interrupt by any of these circuit breakers. We are proud of this history, but, based on industry statistics, we are not surprised by it. Second, even if an interrupter does fail, the consequences are not the disastrous burn down that some people imagine. During some recent design tests of a prototype of a new version of the PowlVac® breaker, we drove an interrupter far past its rated contact life span and had a failure. Photo 1 shows the failed interrupter. When failure occurred, the internal shield was burned through and the ceramic envelope, exposed directly to the arc, broke apart. The arc continued for several cycles, until the circuit was opened by a backup circuit breaker. Aside from the failed interrupter, the only damage to the circuit breaker was a small area of smoke and burn discoloration on the nearby insulating material. Photo 2 shows this area, which was about 6 inches square. Five minutes with an industrial cleaner and a couple of paper towels removed all but about one square inch of this discoloration. The remaining area seemed to be singed, but there was no detectable erosion of the surface of the insulating material. Had this breaker been in service, it could have been returned to service immediately after replacing the interrupter.

Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems, Inc. PO Box 12818 • Houston, TX • 77217

©2005 Powell Industries, Inc. • All rights reserved.

Tel: 713.944.6900 • Fax: 713.947.4453 www.powellind.com info@powellind.com

Powell Technical Brief #11 Consequences of Vacuum Interrupter Failure
page 2 Summing up, interrupter failures are rare, and when they do happen, most are not a major disaster.

Photo 1 Failed Vacuum Interrupter

Photo 2 Discolored Insulation at Failure Location

Baldwin Bridger, P.E. Technical Director

Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems, Inc. PO Box 12818 • Houston, TX • 77217

©2005 Powell Industries, Inc. • All rights reserved.

Tel: 713.944.6900 • Fax: 713.947.4453 www.powellind.com info@powellind.com

Powell Technical Brief #12 Continuous Current Carrying Capability of Low Voltage Circuit Breakers
March 4, 1991 Various types of low voltage circuit breakers have differing continuous duty capabilities. Some are rated to carry 100 percent of their trip rating continuously, while others are rated to carry only 80 percent of their trip rating continuously. It is important that we understand the difference and apply these breakers properly. The general run of molded case circuit breakers in frame sizes of 400 A and below are rated to carry only 80 percent of their rated trip current on a continuous basis. Particularly when these breakers are mounted close to each other in a panelboard, the extra heat generated by carrying 100 percent of the trip rating will both lead to false tripping and cause long-term degradation of the insulating material of which these breakers are made. On the other hand, all low voltage power circuit breakers and the general run of insulated case circuit breakers are capable of carrying 100 percent of their trip rating on a continuous basis. Some confusion can arise when using large molded case circuit breakers, in frame sizes of 600 A and above. These breakers may be rated either 80 percent or 100 percent, depending on the model and the manufacturer. As you would expect, the 100% breaker costs considerably more than the 80% breaker. Some models have both 80% and 100% ratings available. The 100% rated breaker may require a larger enclosure and/or more ventilation than the 80% rated breaker of the same model. Please observe the following application rules: 1) Apply MCCB's in 400 A frame size and smaller based on continuous loads of not more than 80% of the circuit breaker's trip rating. If trip ratings are selected by our customer, assume that they are based on the 80% load requirement. 2) Apply insulated case breakers and low voltage power circuit breakers based on continuous loads of not more than 100% of the breaker's trip rating. If trip ratings are selected by our customer, assume that they are based on the 100% load requirement., Be sure that the insulated case breakers selected are 100% rated.

Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems, Inc. PO Box 12818 • Houston, TX • 77217

©2005 Powell Industries, Inc. • All rights reserved.

Tel: 713.944.6900 • Fax: 713.947.4453 www.powellind.com info@powellind.com

Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems.Powell Technical Brief #12 Continuous Current Carrying Capability of Low Voltage Circuit Breakers page 2 3) Apply large molded case circuit breakers based on either the 80% or the 100% rating.E. • All rights reserved.powellind. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. and that adequate space and ventilation is provided for the breaker chosen. Inc. Tel: 713.com .com info@powellind. If trip ratings are selected by our customer.944.947.6900 • Fax: 713. Inc.4453 www. making sure that the breaker selected fits the application. be sure that you understand which basis was used for selection. P. Baldwin Bridger. PO Box 12818 • Houston.

An area that can never be used for a primary switching device.A complete. future. and all cell parts required for inserting the drawout switching device. A spare differs from an active unit only in that the spare has no assigned function in the power system.Includes a door with cutouts for primary switching devices but not for secondary and control devices. primary disconnecting devices and riser bus connecting them to the main bus. and all cell parts required for inserting the drawout switching device. This area is made unusable by thermal limitations of the equipment. • All rights reserved. so there is often confusion between specifier and manufacturer or between engineering and shop personnel about what is desired on a particular job. fully wired. Inc. including the drawout switching device (circuit breaker or motor starter) and all required secondary devices.A blank door.944. there are no industry standards defining these terms and their use varies widely throughout the industry. This may include temporary primary and/or secondary connections or jumpers to allow use of the circuit pending the addition of the future device. Fully Equipped Space . spare. PO Box 12818 • Houston. but is available for future use.6900 • Fax: 713. no primary or secondary devices. No primary or secondary devices are included. Unfortunately.com . and blank. and wiring is minimal.4453 www. and is called by many different names. primary buswork and disconnecting devices. or cell parts required for inserting the drawout switching device. a finished unit door. future space.947. Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. Related to these definitions but somewhat different is Mounting and Wiring for a future device or a device to be field installed by the user. equipped space. wiring. or some similar problem. physical supports. ready-to-operate unit. Some of the terms used include space. and primary and secondary connections to allow easy installation of the future device. space only.com info@powellind. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. Inc.Powell Technical Brief #13 Future Use of Space in Powell Equipment March 27. This space varies in the amount of equipment present. buswork. Steelwork should be done so that the blank space can be equipped in the field with little or no cutting or welding. Blank . Tel: 713. Equipped Space . Mounting and wiring may be furnished in any of the above units or in an active unit. 1991 Powell's switchgear and motor control equipments frequently include space which is not used by active switching devices.powellind.A spare without the drawout switching device. Blank Space . Includes all required secondary devices and wiring. Mounting and wiring includes the necessary space. inability to bus to the area or to maintain proper isolation of bus or outgoing leads. In order to minimize the confusion. we have adopted the following terms and descriptions in Powell for internal use: Spare .

Inc. Tel: 713.E.Powell Technical Brief #13 Future Use of Space in Powell Equipment page 2 Where any of these conditions leave openings in the front door or in isolation barriers required by standards. Baldwin Bridger.com .4453 www.com info@powellind. • All rights reserved. the opening must be covered by a temporary cover plate. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. P.powellind.6900 • Fax: 713.944.947. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. PO Box 12818 • Houston. Inc.

which has been used for many years and appears in textbooks and handbooks on motor control.4453 www.Powell Technical Brief #14 Autotransformer Starting of Motors April 1. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. Inc. Upon analysis. • • Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. The circuit used was the familiar 3-contactor. The primary circuit is shown below: An investigation of the failed autotransformers by their manufacturer showed that the failure had been a surface flashover from the line end of the winding either to another tap of the winding or to a ground point. when the voltage recovered to a fixed point. This bank was switched off automatically. and found that there had been previous experiences of this problem.947.com .powellind. PO Box 12818 • Houston. Tel: 713. We consulted with both the autotransformer manufacturer and the manufacturer of the contactors used in the starter. We are uncertain of the setting of the timer used to transfer from the starting connection to the running connection. we found several conditions that contributed to this problem: • • The starter was located at the end of a rather weak supply line. The autotransformer was set on the 80% tap. the user switched in a rather large capacitor bank to minimize the line voltage drop. 2-coil Korndorfer circuit.com info@powellind. The flashovers occurred because system transients generated during the starting sequence caused an excessive voltage to appear on the line end of the autotransformer winding. During the starting sequence.6900 • Fax: 713. Inc. There was no damage to the winding or the core. 1991 One of our customers recently experienced failures of two autotransformers used in medium voltage motor starters. during the starting sequence. • All rights reserved.944. and the autotransformers could be easily repaired and put back into service.

Add an instantaneous current relay to the circuit. the manufacturer informs us that similar problems have been encountered with both air and vacuum contactors. Use the contact of this relay to bypass the timing relay contact. • All rights reserved. In the future. insuring that the motor has fully accelerated before the starter is transferred to the running connection. For induction motors.947. This should be done on all future starters of this type. both the taps that are used and the unused taps. Tel: 713. Further discussions with our suppliers led to several suggestions to minimize the occurrence of this problem: • Insulate the transformer connection points.944. please include this relay in all starters of this type.powellind. PO Box 12818 • Houston.com . be sure that the timer that transfers to the running connection is set at a long enough time so that the motor is fully accelerated before changing to the running connection. The type of contactor used doesn't seem to be a factor in the occurrence of the problem.Powell Technical Brief #14 Autotransformer Starting of Motors page 2 Although the contactors used in this particular installation were vacuum contactors.4453 www. Use a lower voltage tap on the autotransformer.com info@powellind.6900 • Fax: 713. Inc. See the control circuit below. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. if the motor will accelerate successfully on these taps. • • • Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. set to pick up at about 5 A and drop out just below that current. Inc. This relay will pick up when the motor is started and drop out when it reaches full speed. Connect the coil of this relay in any phase CT. such as 65% or 50%.

com info@powellind. PO Box 12818 • Houston.947. Tel: 713. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. Inc.6900 • Fax: 713.powellind.com . TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. P.4453 www. it may be necessary to connect intermediate class surge arresters to the line taps of the two autotransformer coils.Powell Technical Brief #14 Autotransformer Starting of Motors page 3 • In extreme cases. Inc.E. Baldwin Bridger. • All rights reserved.944.

this directional element enables ("turns on") the other element. the relay will operate to trip the generator breaker if the generator begins to draw power from the system and act as a motor. Tel: 713. In complex distribution or subtransmission networks. ANSI device 67. A directional power relay can be used to limit power flow in a circuit. By using quadrature potential connections or a phase shifting transformer. Inc. Directional overcurrent relays (67) respond to excessive current flow in a particular direction in the power system.6900 • Fax: 713. They are connected to trip an incoming line breaker for fault current flow back into the source. so that a fault on one source is not fed by the other sources.944.com . 1991 From time to time we experience some confusion about the difference between directional overcurrent relays. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. The relay typically consists of two elements. Directional overcurrent relays are normally used on incoming line circuit breakers on buses which have two or more sources. The relay may trip a breaker or initiate control action to change the system configuration. Directional power relays (32) measure real power .powellind. The transformer can then be disconnected from the system. Although there are some similarities between these two types of relays. these relays can be made to measure vars . which is typical of faults in power systems. these relays may be used to improve coordination of the system. they are really very different in both construction and application. This is usually due to loss of prime mover power. complete with taps and time dial. PO Box 12818 • Houston. detecting loss of the primary source to the transformer. so they operate best at a high power factor. Connected to measure power flow into a transformer from the secondary side. Various degrees of sensitivity and speed of operation are available in various models of directional power relays. • All rights reserved. as found on a normal non-directional overcurrent relay.4453 www. which determines the direction of current flow with respect to a voltage reference.Powell Technical Brief #15 Directional Overcurrent and Directional Power Relays May 24. • • Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. ANSI device 32. There are three typical uses of these relays: • Connected to measure power flow into a generator. a very sensitive directional power relay can measure core loss power input to the transformer. and directional power relays. the directional unit is made so that it operates best on a highly lagging current. which is a standard overcurrent relay. Inc. A typical use would be to limit the real or reactive power drawn from a utility source to a contractual level.com info@powellind. One is a directional element. Because these relays are designed to operate on fault currents. When this current flow is in the predetermined trip direction.947.

com info@powellind.947.6900 • Fax: 713.E. Inc. P. Tel: 713. PO Box 12818 • Houston. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems.944.com .Powell Technical Brief #15 Directional Overcurrent and Directional Power Relays page 2 Neither the functions (67 and 32) nor the actual relays are interchangeable.powellind. Baldwin Bridger. Be sure to use the function and the hardware which fit the application. • All rights reserved.4453 www. Inc. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries.

Another way is to energize the motor windings from a low voltage source. This method may be preferable to the use of heaters. as the windings generate enough heat to prevent condensation. • All rights reserved. PO Box 12818 • Houston. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries.944. supplementary heat is often required to keep the motor dry. The one-line diagram below shows the connections for this method of heating the windings. however. especially a medium voltage motor.com info@powellind. When the motor is stopped. One way of providing the required heat is to install heaters in the motor.6900 • Fax: 713. Tel: 713. several precautions must be observed: Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. Inc.powellind.com . Inc.Powell Technical Brief #16 Preventing Condensation in Medium Voltage Motors June 12. When using this method of heating.947. 1991 Condensation or other accumulation of moisture can be very damaging to the windings and mechanical parts of a motor. as it actually heats the windings instead of relying on the transmission of heat from a separate heater.4453 www. This is not usually a problem for a motor that is running.

Baldwin Bridger. The running contactor and the heating contactor must be mechanically and electrically interlocked so that only one of them can be closed at any time.com . PO Box 12818 • Houston. Inc. Tel: 713. Tests show that there is an open circuit time of approximately 75-80 milliseconds when the running contactor is picked up by a "b" contact of the heating contactor. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. Since it is not critical to apply the heating circuit immediately. Inc. as the motor winding side of this contactor is energized at line voltage when the motor is running. The user should consider whether this is an adequate time period to prevent unwanted system problems. • All rights reserved. If not.944.powellind. The voltage applied to the motor windings must be carefully selected to produce the proper heating. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems.4453 www. a time delay of a few seconds can be inserted in the pickup circuit of the running contactor to be sure that the heating contactor has cleared before the motor is energized by the operating voltage. to allow the residual voltage on the motor to decay before the motor windings are connected to the low voltage source.947.6900 • Fax: 713. There needs to be a time delay between the opening of the running contactor and the closing of the heating contactor.E.com info@powellind. P. it is recommended that this time delay be in the order of 2 to 5 minutes. based on input from the motor manufacturer.Powell Technical Brief #16 Preventing Condensation in Medium Voltage Motors page 2 • • • • • The heating contactor must be a full line voltage contactor. This value must be selected by the user.

The first function of the ground lead disconnector is to disconnect the ground lead of the surge arrester in case of an internal failure of the arrester. If a user requests that we include a surge arrester with a ground lead disconnector. Tel: 713. As the current rises. where the clearances are not nearly as great as on overhead lines.com info@powellind. The ground lead disconnector contains a cartridge in series with a gap. This current will cause the arrester body to fail if it is not stopped quickly.947. Inc. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. • All rights reserved. If a lineman sees an arrester with its ground lead hanging in midair. we should offer an equivalent model without the disconnector. The ground lead disconnector is not a fault current interrupter. blowing the ground lead free. he knows that he has a failure which must be replaced. The second function of the ground lead is to give a visible indication of arrester failure for arresters mounted on overhead distribution lines. If it does not go out. The visible indication function of the disconnector is useless if the device is mounted within an enclosed equipment. preventing explosive failure of the arrester body.4453 www. blue or green plastic. The ground lead disconnector is expected to create a gap which will not reignite when power is reapplied to the circuit. P. This is a device which is mounted on the ground end of the arrester and which looks about like a small hockey puck. The gap is shunted by a resistor. recloser or fuse must operate to extinguish the arc.Powell Technical Brief #17 Ground Lead Disconnectors on Distribution-Class Surge Arresters July 18. a couple of inches in diameter and an inch or so tall.powellind. and where secondary damage from the arc is much more likely to occur. 1991 Many current models of zinc oxide distribution or riser pole arresters come equipped with ground lead disconnectors. Baldwin Bridger. causing ground fault current to flow. the voltage across the gap increases until the gap flashes over. PO Box 12818 • Houston. creating an arc which ignites the cartridge. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. We do not want the explosion and subsequent uncontrolled arc inside equipment. Inc.944. The arc drawn by the ground lead as it separates from the body of the arrester may or may not go out on its own.E. The enclosure is black. but the gap which will be created is a function of the length and flexibility of the ground lead. a circuit breaker. The normal failure mode of these arresters is a short circuit to ground.com .6900 • Fax: 713. These explosive ground lead disconnectors are not suitable for use in metal-enclosed equipment. All surge arresters used in Powell's equipments should be of the type without ground lead disconnectors.

The following values may be used in application studies for these circuit breakers. Inc. The "Dash 2" breaker. the time from energizing the closing coil with rated control voltage until the primary contacts touch is 80 milliseconds or less. Opening Time Opening times vary with the model of PowlVac® breaker. as shown in the following table.2 1. in particular. 1991 We are frequently asked about the actual operating times of PowlVac® circuit breakers.4453 www.6900 • Fax: 713. Tel: 713.com info@powellind.E.com . Baldwin Bridger.947. P.Powell Technical Brief #18 Operating Times of PowlVac® Circuit Breakers July 19. Breaker Model Vacuum Interrupter Opening Time. Typical values are in the 44 to 45 millisecond range. • All rights reserved. milliseconds 25-35 Design Limits 26 or 27 Typical Test Values "S" (asymmetry) Factor 1. PO Box 12818 • Houston. Closing Time For all current production models of PowlVac® circuit breakers.06-1987. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. Inc. even though they may be faster. All times are from energizing of the trip coil with rated control voltage until the primary contacts part.1 48 or 49 40-50 "Dash 2" Mitsubishi "Dash 3" General Electric All of these breakers are rated 5 cycles interrupting time in accordance with the preferred ratings found in Table 1 of ANSI C37.944. is very nearly a 3 cycle breaker.powellind.

The standard fan control equipment includes a current-actuated control to start the fans at about 2500 A and an alarm circuit which uses air flow switches to detect and alarm loss of cooling air at currents above this level. we can provide for continuous currents of about 3500 A by paralleling two 2000 A breakers and about 5000 A by paralleling two 3000 A breakers.powellind.com info@powellind. For systems that require continuous current ratings above 3000 A. and the last breaker to open has the capability of interrupting the full fault current. the interrupting rating is neither increased nor decreased. Main bus construction must also be very carefully balanced to insure equal impedance in both legs of the circuit. First. as whichever breaker closes first can carry the continuous current for the few milliseconds until the second breaker closes. When breakers are paralleled. the highest continuous current rating of our standard line of PowlVac® circuit breakers is 3000 A. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. This design requires a unit somewhat wider than the standard 36inch switchgear unit to include the necessary air ducts.6900 • Fax: 713. If the main bus exceeds 3000 A. and the required special bus design limits the switchgear to one-high construction. 1991 In accordance with ANSI/IEEE Standard C37. Fan cooling is our preferred method of obtaining higher continuous current ratings.947. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. P.06.Powell Technical Brief #19 Use of PowlVac® Circuit Breakers for Continuous Currents Above 3000 Amperes August 26. Inc. Baldwin Bridger. • All rights reserved.944. Using this approach.com . Precise timing in closing or opening the two paralleled breakers is not critical. Tel: 713. we can offer two possible solutions.E. standard PowlVac® bus cannot be used. we can offer our standard 3000 A circuit breaker with cooling fans.4453 www. special attention must be given to the design of any portions of the switchgear bus which are rated over 3000 A. Inc. We have a design that has been successfully tested at 3750 A. Parallel breakers should only be used for a user who refuses to use fan cooled circuit beakers. Regardless of which breaker uprating method is used. Paralleling of breakers does require special circuitry to balance the currents between the two breakers and individual overcurrent protection for each breaker as well as combined overcurrent protection for the entire circuit. and the results of that test indicate that the fan-cooled breaker may be applied at 4000 A without overheating. A second method of providing for high continuous currents is to parallel two circuit breakers. A completely redundant second set of fans can be furnished if desired. PO Box 12818 • Houston.

947. This may result in operator injury.powellind. Inc.4453 www. Deenergizing the unloaded bus of a lineup of metal-clad switchgear by withdrawing a dummy circuit breaker is an acceptable application.Powell Technical Brief #20 Application of Dummy Circuit Breakers in Metal-Clad Switchgear August 27. PO Box 12818 • Houston. It only takes a few hundred feet of 15 kV cable to draw a charging current of as much as half an amp. Baldwin Bridger. dummy circuit breakers normally are interlocked with other switching devices so that the dummy cannot be withdrawn until the other devices are opened. it has absolutely no current interrupting rating. If an attempt is made to withdraw the dummy circuit breaker with current flowing. 1991 Dummy circuit breakers are used in metal-clad switchgear to provide a method of disconnecting and isolating a circuit or circuits without using a circuit breaker. This highly capacitive current is difficult to interrupt.com . Because a dummy circuit breaker is really a set of three jumper bars mounted on a breaker carriage. arcing will occur at the primary disconnect fingers. insuring that no current is flowing in the dummy. Therefore. Tel: 713. P.944. Inc. A common use of a dummy circuit breaker is as a temporary connection in a switchgear cell where a circuit breaker will be installed as part of a planned future expansion. A particular application that can be troublesome is isolating a tie cable that has been opened by a circuit breaker at the other end. If the cable is still attached to an energized bus through the dummy breaker.com info@powellind. or both. cable charging current will flow through the dummy. • All rights reserved.E. Another use might be to isolate one end of a tie bus or cable from a switchgear bus. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. It is recommended that the interlocking for any circuit involving power cable and a dummy circuit breaker be arranged so that the cable is completely deenergized before the dummy circuit breaker is removed to isolate the cable. equipment damage. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems.6900 • Fax: 713. The limited length and very low capacitance of a switchgear bus structure keeps the charging current low enough to be successfully interrupted by withdrawing a dummy circuit breaker.

Inc. P.Powell Technical Brief #21 Switching Capability of Rollout or Tiltout Carriages December 3. The switching capability will vary with the details of the design. Within these restraints. and to some extent will depend on the operator. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems.com info@powellind. 1991 We are often asked about the switching capability of the rollout or tiltout carriages used in medium voltage switchgear to mount voltage transformers.powellind. Control power transformers: A CPT up to 50 kVA single phase or 75 kVA three phase can be switched with a rollout or tiltout provided the carriage is interlocked so that the CPT must be unloaded before opening the primary device.6900 • Fax: 713. Larger CPT's must be switched with some other mechanism.944.com . our experience with 5 kV and 15 kV equipments over the years has led us to adopt the following limits: • Voltage transformers: A set of three wye connected VT's or two open delta connected VT's can be switched with a rollout or tiltout without any interlocking of the secondary circuit. • • Any other application should be reviewed by Powell's engineering department. since the speed of opening a rollout or tiltout depends on the individual opening the device. Baldwin Bridger. Capacitors: Rollouts or tiltouts must not be used to switch capacitors. Inc.E. and no test data is available to certify this performance. Tel: 713. PO Box 12818 • Houston. and fuses for larger control power transformers.4453 www. This question usually takes the form "How large a CPT can you handle with fuses mounted in a rollout or tiltout?" There is no industry standard to measure this switching capability. such as a load break disconnect switch. The CPT may be mounted on the rollout or tiltout. • All rights reserved. or the rollout or tiltout may contain only the fuses for a stationary mounted CPT. small control power transformers. however.947.

It is convenient to analyze this asymmetrical waveform as consisting of a symmetrical ac wave superimposed on a dc current.powellind.com info@powellind. or to have a 100% dc component. including the parameters of the power system up to the point of the short circuit and the point on the ac wave at which the short circuit was initiated. Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. which may result in a waveform that has no current zeros for one or more cycles of the ac power frequency. to have an offset in excess of 100%.4453 www. the closer the fault is to generators or other large rotating machinery. Tel: 713. 1991 The figure below shows a typical short circuit current wage form and defines the various component parts of this wave.1 s in most power systems. the faster the decay will be. • All rights reserved.947. and reaches an insignificant value within 0. In a 3-phase circuit.944. At the moment of initiation of a short circuit the ac current wave. Inc.6900 • Fax: 713. The degree of asymmetry is a function of several variables. rms Symmetrical and rms Asymmetrical December 4. The dc component of the current normally decays rapidly. creating a waveform which is symmetrical about another axis.com . It is possible. The rate of decay is a function of the system parameters. CC' represents the dc current.Powell Technical Brief #22 Short Circuit Currents – Crest. Inc. When the initial value of the dc current is equal to the initial peak value of the ac current. at a rate dependant on the system parameters. the resulting waveform is said to be fully offset. in some power systems. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. which is normally symmetrical about the zero axis BX is offset by some value. PO Box 12818 • Houston. The ac component of the short circuit current will also decay. and the value of that current at any instant is represented by the ordinate of CC'. there is usually one phase which is offset significantly more than the other two phases. In general. CC'.

and it is calculated by the formula: Baldwin Bridger.com info@powellind. . P.Powell Technical Brief #22 Short Circuit Currents – Crest.944. rms Symmetrical and rms Asymmetrical page 2 In the figure. TX • 77217 Tel: 713. Its value is equal to .E. IMC is the crest.powellind. is the rms value of the ac portion of the current wave.947. value of the short circuit current. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. Inc.com ©2005 Powell Industries. and it is shown graphically by the distance from CC' to DD'. It is the maximum instantaneous current in the major loop of the first cycle of short circuit current.6900 • Fax: 713. such as EE'. The rms asymmetrical value of the short circuit current is the rms value of the combined ac and dc waves. Inc.4453 www. or peak. • All rights reserved. The rms symmetrical value of the short circuit current at any instant. PO Box 12818 • Houston.

Powell Technical Brief #23 Using Design Tests to Qualify Several Ratings of Equipment December 5. varying only for continuous current ratings. Inc. The tests are performed at the maximum momentary current. It also may differ for different products. Although Powell and many other manufacturers have used these principles in performing their design tests for many years.com info@powellind. Tel: 713. 1200 A.6900 • Fax: 713. or different manufacturers offerings in the same product line. all future Powell test reports will document the additional ratings covered by any test. • All rights reserved. weakest bars of any continuous current rating of PowlVac® bus. To demonstrate the momentary and short-time current ratings of this bus structure. These higher bus ratings are covered because they use larger bus bars. it is possible to run every test on every possible rating of equipment but such an extensive program is very expensive and is seldom required to fully document the performance of a product line.4453 www.944. This bus structure is the same for all voltage and short circuit ratings. not everyone in the industry understands the concept.50 series discuss the principles of testing to qualify multiple ratings. which are mechanically stronger and which have greater thermal capacity than the bus bars used in the 1200 A bus. It is fairly obvious that passing these tests qualifies the 1200 A bus for this rating and for all lower momentary and short-time current ratings. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. P. Baldwin Bridger. Some of the conformance test standards in the ANSI C37. PO Box 12818 • Houston. but may not necessarily be true for other manufacturers' similar products. The grouping of ratings may differ for different tests. The example given in the previous paragraph is true for PowlVac® switchgear. 1991 The many variations in construction and ratings encountered in the typical switchgear or motor control product line make the planning of design and conformance test programs quite complex at times. Inc.E. 132 kA crest.947. Of course. such as 2000 A and 3000 A. and the maximum short-time current. which uses the smallest. The grouping of ratings and the selection of which rating to test requires a thorough knowledge not only of the standards but also of the particular product line being tested. The ANSI standards for switchgear recognize this complexity and provide for the qualification of a piece of equipment for all lower ratings provided test results show it to be qualified for the highest rating for which it is used.powellind. required for any rating of PowlVac® switchgear. What may not be quite so obvious is that successful tests on the 1200 A bus also qualify higher continuous current ratings. To aid in this understanding. 49 kA rms. These standards also give guidance in the grouping of equipment ratings for testing. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. A typical example of qualifying multiple ratings by a single test is the bus structure used in PowlVac® metal-clad switchgear. tests are performed on the bus with the lowest continuous current rating.com .

• • • The complex interaction of these and other factors makes it nearly impossible to calculate temperature rise. a bus bar covered with insulation generally runs cooler than an equivalent bare bus bar.6900 • Fax: 713. Inc. Proximity of other conductors and other heat-producing devices. square inches Current density. 1992 We occasionally get questions about how we select the size of bus bar for various continuous current ratings in Powell equipments. a favorite requirement being 1000 A per square inch for copper bus. Consider the following chart. although this may vary for different classes of equipment. Flow of ventilating air past the bus bars or the bus enclosure. based on bus sizes used in our PowlVac® metal-clad switchgear: Switchgear Bus Rating Number of bus bars per phase Size of bus bar.com . Surprisingly. This may be a good way to choose bus sizes for the mythical "single conductor in free air".7°C 59. the requirement is generally for a temperature rise of no more than 65°C.com info@powellind. IEEE and NEMA standards for switchgear and motor control have requirements for the maximum operating temperature of various parts of the equipment. Tel: 713.4453 www. but it isn't a satisfactory way to design buswork in practical equipments. All of the ANSI. • All rights reserved. Whether the bar is insulated. Some of the major ones are: • • Size and material (copper or aluminum) of the bus bar. because the usually darker color of the insulating material is a better radiator of heat than the shiny surface of a bare bus bar.947. amps per square inch 1200 A 2000 A 3000 A 1 1 1200 1 3 667 2 6 500 1/4 x 4 1/2 x 6 1/2 x 6 Maximum temperature rise. A number of factors affect the temperature rise of bus bars. Inc. For bus bars.5°C Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. inches Cross section area of bus.powellind. since excessive temperature shortens the life of the insulation. and leads to the requirement in all applicable standards for continuous current tests to determine the temperature rise of a bus design.Powell Technical Brief #24 Sizing Bus Bars in Switchgear and Motor Control February 7. These requirements are designed to prevent overheating the insulation supporting and enclosing the bus bars.944. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. Size and material (magnetic or non-magnetic) of the enclosure around the bus. Specifications will sometimes call for bus sized by current density. The answer is that we use temperature rise as the basic criterion. from test data 60°C 59. PO Box 12818 • Houston.

Tel: 713. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries.com info@powellind.4:1 ratio of the current densities.E.com . P. • All rights reserved.powellind.947.4453 www.Powell Technical Brief #24 Sizing Bus Bars in Switchgear and Motor Control page 2 The last line of the chart shows that the temperature rises of the three bus ratings are almost identical in spite of the 2. Inc.6900 • Fax: 713. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. Baldwin Bridger. PO Box 12818 • Houston.944. Inc.

95 0. In all cases. Low Voltage Switchgear and Breakers Altitude (ft)* 6600 (2000 m) (and below) 8500 (2600 m) 13.00 0. Tel: 713. the current correction factor is applied to the continuous current rating of the switchgear and the circuit breakers.944. • All rights reserved.Powell Technical Brief #25 Application of Metal-Enclosed Switchgear at High Altitude February 11.000 (3900 m) Voltage Current 1. the ANSI standards require derating when these equipments are used at high altitudes. Because of this. The current derating does not apply to interrupting current or any of the other high-current ratings of the breakers.com info@powellind.4453 www.com .00 0. Inc. At high altitudes.000 (3000 m) Voltage Current 1.99 0.00 0.80 1. This does not usually present a problem. I have never been able to get a reasonable answer as to why this is true. You will notice that there are different altitudes given for low voltage and medium voltage. Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. The following tables show the altitude correction factors taken from the ANSI standards.96 Medium Voltage Switchgear and Breakers Altitude (ft)* 3300 (1000 m) (and below) 5000 (1500 m) 10. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. as we seldom design a system with load currents over 95% of the equipment rating. Inc. PO Box 12818 • Houston.6900 • Fax: 713.and medium-voltage metal-enclosed switchgear and the circuit breakers used in these equipments depend on air for both cooling and insulation.powellind.96 * Intermediate values may be obtained by interpolation.99 0. 1992 Both low.95 0.80 1. the less dense air is less efficient both as in insulator and as a heat transfer medium. and I understand that the committee responsible for the standards is reviewing these values with the idea of reconciling them.00 0.947.

com .6 V.com info@powellind. is used. but 0. if a breaker is used on a 480 V system. the voltage correction factor applies to the low frequency withstand (hipot) rating of both the breaker and the equipment. such as a vacuum interrupter.947. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. When derating the rated maximum voltage. with a 0. if this same system required a 0. less than the service voltage. Inc.80 x 508 is only 406 V.95 rating factor the short circuit rating at 480 V may be used.Powell Technical Brief #25 Application of Metal-Enclosed Switchgear at High Altitude page 2 For low voltage equipments. However.95 x 508 is 482. the short circuit rating of the circuit breaker cannot exceed the rating at the voltage before derating.4453 www.E.80 rating factor. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. as most of those in Powell equipment are. P. and 0. since 0. slightly above the 480 V service voltage. Inc. • All rights reserved. Tel: 713.powellind.80 x 635 is 508 V. since the rated maximum voltage for that system nominal voltage is 508 V. It also applies to the rated maximum voltage of the circuit breaker. For medium voltage equipments. the breaker short circuit rating at 600 V must be used. PO Box 12818 • Houston. the voltage correction factor applies to the low frequency withstand (hipot) rating and the impulse withstand (BIL) rating of both the breaker and the equipment. Baldwin Bridger. It also applies to the rated maximum voltage of the circuit breaker unless a sealed interrupter. For instance.944.6900 • Fax: 713. The use of surge arresters to protect the equipment should be considered for all such high altitude installations. comfortably above the service voltage.

The proper voltage rating depends on the system line-to-line voltage. and the type of surge arrester used.4453 www. P. Instead of one voltage rating.944.8 kV system.7 kV MCOV of a 15 kV arrester is not adequate. Tel: 713.com . the continuous operating voltage is 13. Finally.8 kV system.3 kV. It has many advantages as a surge protector. Although there is a slight variation with the nominal rating. Baldwin Bridger. 15 kV and 18 kV. or 7970 V. the choice will be between arresters rated 12 kV.947.2 kV. 1992 Surge arresters (formerly known as lightning arresters) are applied to electrical power distribution systems to protect the equipment and the circuits from damaging overvoltages caused by lightning or other surges. application seems quite simple. it may be necessary to use a 10 kV arrester with an MCOV of 8. the maximum continuous operating voltage is about 85% of the nominal rating and the one-second temporary overvoltage capability is about 120% of the nominal rating. It is important that surge arresters of the correct voltage rating be used. Inc. the 12.800 divided by the square root of 3. the method of system grounding. but it is somewhat more complicated to apply correctly. About a decade ago. the next higher arrester rating above the system lineto-neutral voltage is used.powellind. a ground fault on one phase can raise the other two phases to line-to-line voltage above ground. the temporary overvoltage capability is established by curves supplied by the surge arrester vendor. a maximum continuous operating voltage. and a one-second temporary overvoltage capability. usually zinc oxide. For solidly (effectively) grounded systems. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. let's consider a 13. It is necessary to use an 18 kV arrester with an MCOV of 15. Older designs of surge arresters generally consist of silicon carbide resistor blocks in series with air gaps. so the next higher rating above the system line-to-line voltage is used.4 kV or a 12 kV arrester with an MCOV of 10. Each arrester model has a single voltage rating.8 kV system. For resistance grounded or ungrounded systems. for a resistance-grounded 13.com info@powellind. For a solidly grounded system. It does carry some slight current at all times. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. Except for a few special conditions.Powell Technical Brief #26 Voltage Ratings of Surge Arresters April 13. For an ungrounded 13. Depending on the value and expected duration of system overvoltages. • All rights reserved. with no gaps.E. As an example.650 V for an arrester rated 9 kV. the metal oxide surge arrester was introduced to the industry. It consists of a number of blocks of a variable resistance material. Care must be taken to avoid overstressing the arrester. Inc.6900 • Fax: 713. depending on the time needed to relay ground faults off the system. PO Box 12818 • Houston. This is above the MCOV of 7. it has three: a nominal voltage. These arresters carry no current in the normal state. For times other than one second.

Conformance Tests: Conformance tests demonstrate compliance with the applicable standards. impulse withstand (BIL) for mediumvoltage equipment.com info@powellind. 1992 Although each particular product line is governed by its own industry standards. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries.20. can be used as baseline data for future maintenance programs. style or model of equipment or its component parts to meet its assigned ratings and to operate satisfactorily under normal service conditions or under special service conditions if specified.944. chosen to demonstrate compliance with the standards. and may be used to demonstrate compliance with the applicable standards of the industry. Many of these tests are somewhat destructive. not on production equipment which is supplied to customers. These tests are frequently used for third-party certification of a design. momentary and short time current. In addition. Production Tests: Tests made for quality control by the manufacturer on every device or on representative samples. and mechanical tests to demonstrate the effectiveness of interlocks. and therefore they are run on manufacturer's prototypes. and several types of timing tests. or on parts. Production tests include hipot to demonstrate insulation integrity and mechanical and control circuit tests to demonstrate proper operation. which Powell furnishes to customers on request.6900 • Fax: 713. circuit breakers are subjected to a series of interrupting tests to demonstrate their ability to interrupt currents of various magnitudes. Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. circuit breakers receive timing tests to show proper closing and opening speed. Inc.4453 www. PO Box 12818 • Houston. these categories are: Design Tests: Tests made by the manufacturer to determine the adequacy of the design of a particular type. • All rights reserved. Typical design tests for equipment and circuit breakers will include continuous current (heat runs). operational life tests.Powell Technical Brief #27 Testing of Switchgear and Motor Control Equipment April 14.947. In addition. Conformance tests generally include certain of the design tests. Inc.2-1987 for Metal-Clad and Station-Type Cubicle Switchgear. Records of these tests. The test specimen is normally subjected to all planned production tests prior to the initiation of the conformance test program.powellind. As defined in ANSI/IEEE C37. low-frequency withstand (hipot). switchgear and motor control equipment of the types built by Powell are generally subject to three major categories of tests. or materials required to verify during production that the product meets the design specifications and applicable standards. Tel: 713.com .

Powell Technical Brief #27 Testing of Switchgear and Motor Control Equipment
page 2 Each type of test, and each test within a given type, has a particular part to play in the overall process of producing quality equipment properly rated for a user's needs. No single test demonstrates the proper design and operation of switchgear or motor control equipment. It takes a combination of tests to do the job properly.

Baldwin Bridger, P.E. Technical Director

Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems, Inc. PO Box 12818 • Houston, TX • 77217

©2005 Powell Industries, Inc. • All rights reserved.

Tel: 713.944.6900 • Fax: 713.947.4453 www.powellind.com info@powellind.com

Powell Technical Brief #28 Short Circuit Current Levels Used to Test Various Types of Circuit Breakers
August 25, 1992 When applying interrupters of various types, it is important that we understand the meaning of the interrupting rating given to these devices. Consider, for instance, the methods of making interrupting tests on various types of circuit breakers. As the breakers get smaller and less costly, the test methods in the industry standards generally get less demanding. When testing the interrupting capability of a high-voltage (over 1000V) circuit breaker, the current measured is the actual fault current flowing through the circuit breaker at the moment of the interruption. To rate a breaker of this class as a 25kA interrupter, it must actually interrupt 25kA. Momentary and short-time current requirements of the switchgear are also based on actual current flowing during the test. The reference standards are ANSI/IEEE C37.04, C37.06 and C37.09 for the circuit breakers and C37.20.2 for the switchgear. For low voltage circuit breakers, this requirement changes to rating by prospective current. The test terminals of the laboratory source are short-circuited, as indicated by point A in Figure 1, and the required current flow is established. That short circuit is then removed and the equipment to be tested is connected to the test source. A short circuit is then applied to the equipment and the test made. The location of the short varies with the type of circuit breaker or equipment being tested:

Figure 1: Fault Locations for Testing Low Voltage Equipments (A) Low Voltage Power Circuit Breakers (B) Molded Case Circuit Breakers (C) Low Voltage Motor Control Centers

Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems, Inc. PO Box 12818 • Houston, TX • 77217

©2005 Powell Industries, Inc. • All rights reserved.

Tel: 713.944.6900 • Fax: 713.947.4453 www.powellind.com info@powellind.com

Powell Technical Brief #28 Short Circuit Current Levels Used to Test Various Types of Circuit Breakers
page 2

For a low voltage power circuit breaker, the fault is placed at the load terminals of the breaker, at point B in Figure 1. The reference standards are ANSI/IEEE C37.13 for the circuit breakers and C37.20.1 for the switchgear equipment. For a molded case circuit breaker, the fault is also placed at the load terminals of the circuit breaker, at point C in Figure 1. However, 4 feet of appropriately-sized conductor may be included between the test station terminals and the line terminals of the circuit breaker under test. The reference standard is UL 489. For a typical combination motor starter unit in a motor control center, the fault is placed at the end of 4 feet of appropriately-sized conductor connected to the load terminals of the starter unit, at point D in Figure 1. The reference standard is UL 845.

At each step of this chain, impedance is added to the test circuit, reducing the actual fault current the circuit breaker is required to interrupt. Several papers presented at recent IEEE conferences have raised questions about the adequacy of equipment certified to some of these test standards to interrupt all possible faults downstream of the circuit breaker. At least two IEEE subcommittees are discussing this matter.

Baldwin Bridger, P.E. Technical Director

Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems, Inc. PO Box 12818 • Houston, TX • 77217

©2005 Powell Industries, Inc. • All rights reserved.

Tel: 713.944.6900 • Fax: 713.947.4453 www.powellind.com info@powellind.com

which may be required on motor feeder breakers but not on other breakers of the same rating.2. the easiest way to solve the problem is to furnish the required modification on all breakers of that rating in the assembly. The ANSI standard for Metal Enclosed Low Voltage Power Circuit Breaker Switchgear. Most commonly. however.powellind.com . This feature allows users to make use of spare circuit breakers to replace circuit breakers which must be taken out of service for maintenance. The ANSI standard for Metal Clad Switchgear.20.2. this is seldom a problem. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. addresses interchangeability in §6. These mechanisms typically prevent interchanging breakers if either the frame size (maximum continuous current rating) or the interrupting rating differ.6900 • Fax: 713. PO Box 12818 • Houston.944.4453 www. ANSI/IEEE C37. Inc.5.11. This section requires that "All removable elements of the same type and rating on a given assembly shall be physically interchangeable in the corresponding stationary housings. ANSI/IEEE C37. a user desires to have some electrical accessory on some but not all breakers of a given rating in a particular assembly.947. This section requires that "All removable elements of the same type and rating on a given assembly shall be physically and electrically interchangeable. Removable elements not of the same type and rating shall not be interchangeable. Trip device characteristics and ratings and electrical accessories available on this class of circuit breaker are so numerous and changeable that no attempt is made to prevent interchangeability of breakers with differences in these features. 1992 One of the key features of switchgear assemblies using drawout circuit breakers is the interchangeability of circuit breakers within an assembly." Since the breakers used in this class of switchgear are not provided with variable trip devices or very many optional electrical features. Tel: 713.4. Inc. This need not include electrical interchangeability of electrical control circuits." Switchgear of this type and the circuit breakers used in it typically have mechanical interference mechanisms for breakers of the same physical size but of different ratings. Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems.20. it may be necessary to make specific modifications to the control circuitry of the breaker with the accessory to prevent breaker interchangeability. • All rights reserved. Occasionally.Powell Technical Brief #29 Interchangeability of Drawout Circuit Breakers in Switchgear Assemblies August 28. If this is not acceptable to the user. addresses interchangeability in §6.com info@powellind.1. When this occurs. minimizing down time when a circuit breaker problem occurs. this is an undervoltage device.

P. Inc.E.947. but allow a higher-rated breaker to be used in a lower-rated cell. Inc. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems.com info@powellind.4453 www.com . PO Box 12818 • Houston.944.6900 • Fax: 713. Tel: 713. it allows users to minimize the number of spare circuit breakers required to replace all breakers in the assembly without using any breaker in a cell where it would not meet the needs of that circuit. we provide interference mechanisms which prevent a breaker with a lower rating from being used in a cell with a higher rating.Powell Technical Brief #29 Interchangeability of Drawout Circuit Breakers in Switchgear Assemblies page 2 As part of the standard design of our PowlVac® circuit breakers. • All rights reserved. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries.powellind. Baldwin Bridger. While this feature is not strictly in accordance with the ANSI requirements.

both physical and electrical. Static devices can be provided with communications capability which is not available in electromechanical devices. we have seen a decided trend toward the use of metering and protective devices using solid-state components. Long-term familiarity and satisfactory experience with electro-mechanical devices. static devices are more accurate and more repeatable than the equivalent electromechanical devices.6900 • Fax: 713. Existing company standards. While we have no formal statistics. Inc.com . particularly microprocessor-based digital devices. Concerns about possible failure in adverse environments. These devices are often used instead of the conventional electro-mechanical relays or analog meters. Some of the reasons are: • • • • • Possibility of total failure of the protective system due to failure of one component on the critical path. 1992 In recent years. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. Tel: 713. Equivalent functions can often be obtained at lower cost.944. Lack of service capabilities for static devices. such as a common power supply.Powell Technical Brief #30 Static Relays and Meters October 16. particularly if a multi-function device is used. A single static device can perform the functions of many electro-mechanical devices. Some functions or operating characteristics which are not possible with available electromechanical devices can be done with static devices. looking at the equipment manufactured by Powell I estimate that static devices are used for about 40-50% of the relays and meters we provide to our customers.4453 www. Some of the reasons for this shift to static devices include: • • • • • • In general. PO Box 12818 • Houston. Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. However. Static devices can be made highly resistant to corrosive or dirty atmospheres. Inc. • All rights reserved.powellind. not every engineer is happy with the idea of relying on static devices for protection functions.947.com info@powellind.

944.6900 • Fax: 713. PO Box 12818 • Houston. P. Tel: 713. I would expect this to happen in about the next 10 years. • All rights reserved.powellind. Inc. Baldwin Bridger. many of the shortcomings of static devices available 10 or more years ago have been overcome by further development of solid-state components and better packaging. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries.Powell Technical Brief #30 Static Relays and Meters page 2 As time goes on. Long-term.947. I expect that the balance between static and electro-mechanical devices will shift to 90-95% static. New static products are arriving in the marketplace with great regularity.4453 www. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. Inc.com . and their capabilities are constantly being expanded.com info@powellind. but don't hold me to the timing. On the other hand.E. little if any development work is being done on electro-mechanical relays and meters.

Thermal devices. The recent survey of the readers of these Technical Briefs mentioned harmonics more than any other topic as a suggestion for a subject to be covered. Baldwin Bridger. However. If present. Since the effective resistance of a conductor goes up as frequency rises. Circuit breakers interrupt current flow at a current zero. • All rights reserved.E. a current wave rich in harmonics may cause greater heating in the switchgear power conductors than a sine wave of the same rms value.4453 www. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. Tel: 713. Other relays may be designed to operate on certain selected frequencies and may thus operate incorrectly in the presence of a significant level of harmonics. as the limiting impedance is that of the power system. However. Fortunately. Inc. PO Box 12818 • Houston.com info@powellind. Inc.powellind. high fault currents are generally not severely distorted. However.947. this effect will probably not be a problem. very little if any of this flood of information concerns the effects on switchgear. but the heating effect of a harmonic-rich current on the protected load may require a different level of protection. these spurious current zeroes could cause premature interruption and restrike during a circuit breaker opening operating. This PTB will try to fill that gap.Powell Technical Brief #31 Effects of Harmonics on Switchgear October 18. The repeated application of a higher peak value may result in premature failure of the insulating systems in the switchgear. are inherently rms sensing. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. P. such as fuses or thermal elements in circuit breakers. I have not heard any reports of adverse effects of harmonics on switchgear itself. The technical programs of two recent IEEE conferences I attended were full of papers on the subject. 1992 Harmonics in power systems is the current hot topic in power systems engineering. • • • • • A highly distorted voltage wave can have a peak value much greater than the peak value of a sine wave of the same rms value. there are a few points which bear watching. A badly distorted current wave may contain current zeroes at locations other than the normal zero of the fundamental sine wave. as are many modern solid-state protective packages.6900 • Fax: 713. since we seldom load switchgear to its maximum continuous current rating. and a level of harmonic current which may be quite significant when compared to load current is much less significant when compared to fault current.com . First. Switchgear does not appear to be subject to the serious additional heating effects which harmonics can cause in transformers or rotating machinery.944. The effect of harmonics on the operation of protective and metering systems is not fully documented. The trade press carries article after article on harmonics.

Powell. Inc. but the combination would not pass.2-1987.com info@powellind. All of these tests involve interaction between the cell and the circuit breaker. Any user considering converting low-voltage or medium-voltage switchgear equipment should review this standard and insist that vendors conform to it. including nameplates and instructions.E. In any case.com . This standard specifies the design and testing requirements for conversion. P.59-1991. covers conversion of both switchgear equipments and power circuit breakers. Modernization may be accomplished by either of two methods. both conversions and replacement breakers. Tel: 713. or circuit breaker parts may no longer be available. this is fairly simple. including uprating. The only caution is that certain tests. For instance. Modernization may also involve an increase in one or more ratings of the switchgear and/or circuit breaker. The interrupting duty may have grown past the interrupting capacity of the existing circuit breakers. requiring additional work to the breaker to achieve the desired result. momentary current.Powell Technical Brief #32 Replacing Older Medium Voltage Circuit Breakers with Vacuum Circuit Breakers October 19. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. we have performed full wave impulse (BIL) tests where both the breaker alone and the cell alone passed the test. including continuous current. PO Box 12818 • Houston. offers both conversions and replacement breakers meeting these standards.09-1979 and ANSI/IEEE C37. 1992 Many older installations of metal-clad switchgear are candidates for modernizing or upgrading.20. to aid in modernization.4453 www. users should insist that modernization be done in accordance with applicable industry standards to insure that the modernized switchgear meets the required ratings.6900 • Fax: 713. are included. should be performed in a switchgear cell of the basic design in which the breaker will be used. of existing equipment. Inc. just like any other new circuit breaker that is used in metal-clad switchgear. maintenance costs may be getting out of hand. Baldwin Bridger. Powell offers a series of PowlVac® circuit breakers. through our Powell Apparatus Service Division. conversion of the existing equipment or replacement of the circuit breaker with a new. Requirements for new documentation. and BIL.947. ANSI/IEEE C37. modernization may involve conversion of the switchgear equipment and replacement of the circuit breaker.powellind. modern vacuum breaker.944. A new ANSI standard. The breakers should be tested in accordance with ANSI/IEEE C37. In some cases. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. IEEE Standard Requirements for Conversion of Power Switchgear Assemblies. • All rights reserved. For replacement circuit breakers.

with two main breakers and a tie breaker. Within the limits of the accuracy of the CT's and the relays. However. the currents will subtract and the relays will not respond. the relays can be very fast. Note that this is a double-ended substation.944. bus differential relaying provides no backup to the feeder overcurrent relaying. True bus differential relaying compares all currents entering and leaving a switchgear bus. Since all currents are taken into account.947. • All rights reserved.powellind. true bus differential relaying will detect all faults on the protected bus.com . TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries.com info@powellind. Tel: 713. If a fault exists on the protected bus. The partial differential relaying concept cannot be used on a straight radial distribution system.4453 www. the partial differential relays will act as backup to the feeder overcurrent relays. Partial differential relaying sums the currents entering or leaving a switchgear bus through main and tie breakers.6900 • Fax: 713. and many switchgear users do not feel that it is economically justified. so additional overcurrent relays are required on main and tie breakers to provide this backup function. high speed bus differential relaying can be quite expensive. Also. 1992 "Partial differential" relaying is a form of overcurrent relaying frequently used to detect main bus overcurrent faults and to back up feeder overcurrent relaying. the currents will add in the relays. Inc.Powell Technical Brief #33 Partial Differential Relaying December 16. but if fault current is flowing through the bus to a fault on another bus. The basic circuit is shown in the one-line diagram. Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. PO Box 12818 • Houston. Inc. If the fault is on a feeder.

Baldwin Bridger.6900 • Fax: 713. since the same relays serve both the main and the tie breakers without compromising coordination.944.4453 www. • All rights reserved. proper coordination of the overcurrent protection requires that the tie breaker relays coordinate with the feeder relays and that the main breaker relays coordinate with the tie breaker relays.com . for a total of three steps of relaying at this bus. which are often on the utility system serving the substation. Tel: 713. Inc. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. PO Box 12818 • Houston.com info@powellind. This improved coordination is the principal benefit of partial differential relaying. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries.powellind.947. Inc. P. eliminates one step of coordination. however. However. Using the partial differential circuit.Powell Technical Brief #33 Partial Differential Relaying page 2 Similar protection can be obtained by using separate overcurrent relays on each main and tie circuit breaker. This reduces the time delay required for the main breaker relays and improves the chances of getting good coordination with upstream relays.E.

Tel: 713. similarly marked secondary terminal in the same direction as though the two terminals formed a continuous circuit.13. not the circuit breaker.4453 www.944. Inc. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. 1992 All instrument transformers are provided with polarity marks on certain primary and secondary terminals. particularly current transformers.947. in different ways. the CT's are part of the equipment. similarly marked primary terminal and leaves the identified.powellind.com . In ANSI/IEEE C57.com info@powellind. Since the direction of current flow reverses 120 times per second in a 60 Hz circuit. especially for such things as differential relays on delta-wye transformers. polarity is defined as follows: polarity. however. In metal-enclosed switchgear with drawout circuit breakers. which is desirable. In many cases it is more convenient to mount the CT's with the polarity mark pointing toward the breaker. This arrangement is required by the ANSI and NEMA standards for that class of circuit breaker. • All rights reserved. Different kinds of switchgear mount instrument transformers. but proper operation is not a function of which way the polarity marks point. mounting the CT with polarity mark toward the breaker also means that the CT nameplate is visible.Powell Technical Brief #34 Polarity Markings on Instrument Transformers December 17. This definition relates only to the relative instantaneous direction of current flow. Inc. some users have expressed concerns that reversing the polarity marks from the arrangement shown in the relay or meter instructions would lead to improper operation of the device. the current enters the identified. From time to time. P. Most circuits shown in instruction literature by relay and meter manufacturers are based on this arrangement of CT's. Baldwin Bridger.E. at a given instant during most of each half cycle. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. Outdoor circuit breakers have bushing CT's mounted with the polarity mark toward the line end of the primary bushing and the non-polarity end of the winding toward the breaker contacts. PO Box 12818 • Houston. American National Standard Requirements for Instrument Transformers. The designation of the relative instantaneous directions of the currents entering the primary terminals and leaving the secondary terminals during most of each half cycle. no mark can identify the absolute direction of current flow.6900 • Fax: 713. This is not true. In the typical drawout switchgear enclosure. Relays or meters will work properly regardless of the direction of the polarity marks on the CT's if the connections are made properly. not an absolute direction. NOTE: Primary and secondary terminals are said to have the same polarity when. Great care must be taken in making these connections.

or 2 ½ cycles on a 60 Hz basis. barely reaching its nominal rating before being cut off. In addition. with some breakers drawing only a little over 1 A. most commonly 0. Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems.0 A. paralleling the target coils of these relays and reducing the current through each one. You will see that the duration of the trip current is about 41 or 42 ms. Many of these target units have tapped coils. • All rights reserved. Figure 1 is the trace of the trip current of a typical PowlVac® circuit breaker. Inc.6900 • Fax: 713. as seen in Figure 1.944. One manufacturer recommends expecting two relays to close simultaneously on time delay relays and three on instantaneous relays with target coils.2 A and 2. 1993 Almost all protective relays used in switchgear are equipped with targets to indicate which protective function caused the circuit breaker to trip.) Thus. Tel: 713. and are not a problem. (Note: The instantaneous elements on most 50/51 relays have mechanical targets. manually-reset. Some of the reasons for this dilemma are: • • Trip currents of modern medium voltage circuit breakers may be much lower than those of older breakers. The target relay takes about 1 cycle to pick up. PO Box 12818 • Houston. For the most common varieties of electro-mechanical relays. but not so low that the voltage drop across the target coil is excessive. The current setting must be low enough to insure actuation under all fault conditions.powellind. the selected tap on the target coil should operate properly on no more than half of the rated trip current of the breaker. these targets take the form of small auxiliary relays which are actuated by the current flowing through the relay contacts and the circuit breaker trip coil.947.com . Trip times are faster than in the past. Typical Circuit Breaker Trip Current • • Trip current rises slowly. relieving these contacts of the duty of carrying trip current. Figure 1. typical trip currents are now in the 3A range. For instance. This auxiliary relay provides a visual. Inc. at 125 V dc. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries.4453 www.Powell Technical Brief #35 Setting of Targets on Electro-Mechanical Protective Relays January 14. indication of operation. Some faults may cause the closure of two or more relay contacts at the same time. with the choice of two pickup currents. Proper setting of these target coils is often neglected. This is not always an easy choice.com info@powellind. it often includes contacts which bypass the main contacts of the relay.

7 A 2. P.944.Powell Technical Brief #35 Setting of Targets on Electro-Mechanical Protective Relays page 2 For a list of trip currents and recommended relay target settings for PowlVac® circuit breakers see Table 1.9 A 3.powellind. • All rights reserved.6900 • Fax: 713. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems.2 A 0.7 A 3.947.-2.4 A * 0.9 A 10.2 A * 0.4453 www.2 A 1.2 A 0.2 A 0. Inc.2 A 0.0 A 2.3 A 0.E. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries.-5 Trip Voltage PowlVac® -3.2 A 0. PO Box 12818 • Houston.2 A 2. Table 1 .7 A 3.2 A 16.com info@powellind.6 A 2.Trip Currents and Suggested Relay Target Taps for PowlVac® Circuit Breakers PowlVac® -0.2 A 3.5 A 1. Tel: 713.2 A Consult factory if this rating is required.com .2 A 0.4 A 1.0 A 0.-6 PV-26 Trip Current Target Tap Trip Current Target Tap 24 V dc 48 V dc 125 V dc 250 V dc 120 V ac 240 V ac Capacitor Trip • 16. Baldwin Bridger. Inc.2 A 0.-4.0 A 0.

there is no possibility of setting up a partialdischarge cell between the surface of the bus and the insulation. P. Baldwin Bridger. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. removing the coating from areas where it isn't wanted (contact surfaces. The coated bars have passed the tests required by ANSI/IEEE C37.powellind.2. which has been used on selected Powell equipments for the past several years. and curing the coated bar at a high temperature. Unlike some heat-shrink tubings. Inc. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. Using extruded rigid tubing limits the choice of conductor cross-sections to those for which the extruded tubing is available. and for other jobs with special requirements. We believe that this new insulating process is another step in our process of continuous improvement of Powell switchgear. the insulation conforms to the bar at all angles and bends.7 FlameResistance Tests for Applied Insulation. Heatshrink tubing may pull away from the bar at the inside of a bend.3 Test for Bus-Bar Insulation and the §5. etc.947. PO Box 12818 • Houston.2.com . its use will be extended to additional equipments. dipping it in a liquid epoxy mixture.E. • All rights reserved. Some of the advantages of the epoxy dip process are: • • • • • The insulation is extremely rugged and has excellent dielectric properties. Inc.2-1987. Conductors of any size and shape can be coated with equal ease. this insulation is being used for bus in metal-clad switchgear equipments rated above 15 kV.Powell Technical Brief #36 Epoxy Bus Bar Insulation March 4.1. which may not be the optimum size from a current-carrying or electric field standpoint.20. Already-bent bars can be coated. While this process is new to Powell.4453 www. We chose the liquid dip process over the fluidized bed process both because the final coating is more rugged and because the process itself is less subject to interference from the ambient conditions of the factory floor. Since the coating conforms to the surface of the bus. Tel: 713. eliminating the need for tape or boots at bends. This is especially important at voltages above 15 kV. Currently. It is also similar to the fluid bed application of epoxy to bus bars. 1993 Powell has recently installed a new process line to coat bus bars with an epoxy insulating material.).944.com info@powellind. As more production capability comes on line. similar materials and processes have been in use in the industry for 20 years or more.6900 • Fax: 713. including the §5. The process consists of preheating the copper bus bar.

4453 www.Powell Technical Brief #37 Testing for Loss of Vacuum in Vacuum Interrupters March 5. Atmospheric pressure (760 Torr) on the exposed side of the movable contact pushes the contact closed with a force proportional to the area of the contact. this 40-pound force disappears. Powell therefore does not recommend this pull test as a satisfactory loss of vacuum test. • All rights reserved. but decreases the 40-pound force by only a fraction of an ounce. 50/60 Hz. 1993 In the 30 years or so that they have been used in circuit breakers. This force is about 40 pounds for a typical vacuum interrupter used in our PowlVac® ( circuit breakers. but at pressure above 10-3 Torr is interrupting capability falls off. (1) revised 6-4-93 Baldwin Bridger. A frequentlyasked question is "How can I tell if my vacuum interrupter has lost vacuum?" Modern vacuum interrupters are evacuated to a pressure on the order of 10-7 Torr. The present state of the art leads Powell to recommend the use of a high voltage test across the contacts of an open vacuum interrupter. A breakdown on this test indicates a loss of vacuum in the interrupter. partial loss of vacuum in the 10-2 Torr pressure range puts the vacuum interrupter at risk of not performing properly. Thus. it must be supplied from a full-wave rectifier. they can fail. no such device is presently commercially available. 35 kV(1). Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. much less by feel. This test should be at least 25 kV. In all cases. Inc. Testing by manufacturers of vacuum interrupters shows that the vacuum interrupter will still interrupt its rated interrupting current at a pressure <= 10-3 Torr. or 1/760 of a standard atmosphere. or the equivalent dc voltage.com . If dc is used in this test. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. Unfortunately. However.E.947. 10-7 Torr is approximately equal to the pressure of the atmosphere on the surface of the moon. a successful loss of vacuum test must detect the difference between pressures above and below 10-3 Torr. and a pull test will certainly be effective. An ideal loss of vacuum test would be an on-line test that constantly monitored the pressure within the vacuum interrupter and alarmed when this critical pressure was approached. PO Box 12818 • Houston. If there is a complete loss of vacuum.6900 • Fax: 713. This minor change in contact loading would hardly be detectable by a good force gauge.com info@powellind. vacuum interrupters have proved to be extremely rugged. Tel: 713. However. At least one switchgear manufacturer is stating that loss of vacuum can be detected by disconnecting the movable contact of the vacuum interrupter from the mechanism and manually pulling on the movable contact. the manufacturer's instruction book for the circuit breaker should be consulted for proper procedure and cautions before making the test. The use of a half-wave in the power supply can lead to applying excessive dc voltage to the vacuum interrupter. reliable devices.944. Inc. A Torr is the pressure exerted by 1 mm of mercury. like any man-made device. P.powellind.

it may be necessary to derate the interrupting capacity of vacuum interrupters. This allows 50 Hz tests to establish a 60 Hz rating. Tel: 713. Continuous Current: The ac resistant of a conductor. the higher frequency test is slightly more severe than the lower frequency test.6900 • Fax: 713. many applications of Powell switchgear are made at other frequencies. BIL: Since the BIL rating is the ability to withstand a dc impulse.Powell Technical Brief #38 Using Switchgear at Frequencies Other Than 60Hz April 21. The ANSI standards require continuous current test to be made at a frequency no lower than the rated frequency.947. and thus the heat loss at a given current. ANSI/IEEE C37.com . and vice versa.4453 www. Inc. increases with frequency. an equipment which is tested at 60 Hz is satisfactory at any lower frequency. Short Time and Interrupting Currents: Again. Momentary. such as 25 Hz. and the rate-of-rise of the voltage increases with frequency. The nameplates of PowlVac® circuit breakers carry a rated frequency of 60 Hz. The standards actually allow the assigning of a higher continuous current rating at very low frequencies.09 allows the test to be made at rated frequency ±20%.com info@powellind.09 allows these test to be made at rated frequency (20%. and all Powell switchgear is designed for and tested at 60 Hz.powellind. One of Powell's vacuum interrupter suppliers has tested at various frequencies and suggests the following derating formula: Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. For lower frequencies. so tests at either 50 Hz or 60 Hz can cover both frequencies. However. Inc. The following paragraphs discuss the effect of frequency on various major characteristics of switchgear. particularly 50 Hz. and users may question the suitability of the circuit breakers and equipment at other frequency. Since the voltage level is the same. • All rights reserved.944. ANSI/IEEE C37. 1993 All ANSI circuit breaker and switchgear equipment standards specify a rated frequency of 60 Hz. Power Frequency Withstand: Although this rating is best demonstrated by a test at rated frequency. regardless of frequency. power system frequency has no effect on the BIL rating of switchgear equipment. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. Thus. PO Box 12818 • Houston.

Of course. such as relays.E. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries.944.com info@powellind. switchgear equipment and power circuit breakers rated 60 Hz may be applied at 50 Hz without changing ratings. instruments and instrument transformers.4453 www. Tel: 713. P. Baldwin Bridger. and some increase of continuous current rating may be possible.powellind. • All rights reserved. must be checked for application at the power system frequency. devices in the switchgear.com . PO Box 12818 • Houston.947. Inc. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. 16 2/3Hz <= f < 50 Hz = short circuit current at frequency f = short circuit current at 60 Hz Summarizing.6900 • Fax: 713. some derating of interrupting capacity may be required. Inc.Powell Technical Brief #38 Using Switchgear at Frequencies Other Than 60Hz page 2 Where = power system frequency. At lower frequencies.

PO Box 12818 • Houston.6900 • Fax: 713. but do not necessarily have reduced starting currents. you can use it.944. §430-52 allows an instantaneous trip circuit breaker (MCP) to be set at up to 1300% of the motor full load current. but so far as we know. Exception No. They therefore have starting currents that are higher multiples of full load current than those of the lower efficiency motors.com .4453 www. but you have met the Code. this 1300% is generally interpreted as being the maximum setting of a separately adjustable instantaneous element on a power circuit breaker or a molded case circuit breaker having that feature. High efficiency motors typically have lower full load currents than lower efficiency motors of the same rating. Tel: 713. • All rights reserved. The problem is that some motors. Inc. Small circuit breakers.5 to 12 times rated current. but some of the questions have related to low voltage power circuit breakers. rather than the 13 times required for an MCP. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. have fixed instantaneous settings. Generally. So what can be done to take care of the problem? As of now.947. You have degraded the protection of the circuit. A fine print note in NEC §430-52 allows an instantaneous trip circuit breaker to include a damping means to accommodate a transient motor inrush current without nuisance tripping of the circuit breaker.powellind.Powell Technical Brief #39 Motor Branch Fault Short-Circuit Protection April 22. so the instantaneous pickup can be from 30 to 48 time the motor full load current. I know of no good answer. but there are several possibilities: • • Use a thermal-magnetic circuit breaker rather than an MCP. will not start satisfactorily with these devices set at the maximum setting allowed under §430-52 of the 1993 National Electrical Code. up to 150A rating. allows an inverse time circuit breaker rated up to 400% of the motor full load current to be used for motors with less than 100A full load current. Since all of the protective device ratings in the NEC are expressed as percentages of full load current of the motor. 1993 I have received several questions about ratings and settings of short-circuit protective devices used in motor branch circuits. Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. with minimum pickup varying from 7. no such device is commercially available. If you can find one of these. a high efficiency motor is more likely to have starting difficulties due to current inrush. Although the NEC does not specifically say so.com info@powellind. NEC §430-52. 2C. the devices in question are instantaneous-trip molded case circuit breakers of the motor circuit protector type. Inc.

944. PO Box 12818 • Houston. P. • All rights reserved. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems.com .com info@powellind.Powell Technical Brief #39 Motor Branch Fault Short-Circuit Protection page 2 • • Use a fused switch instead of a circuit breaker to supply your motor circuit.powellind. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. Baldwin Bridger.6900 • Fax: 713. Tel: 713. Not a recommended move. and find a fuse that meets the requirements of §430-52 and still allows you to start the motor. but I understand that it is being done.E. Ignore the NEC.4453 www.947. Inc. Inc.

Table 4 of each standard limits the temperature rise of silver or tin-surfaced connections to insulated cables to 45°C.4453 www. power cables usually terminate on buswork. This is in contrast to panelboard.5 of each of these standards limits the temperature of the air surrounding insulated power cables to 65°C. The allowable temperature rise of the connections to insulated cables and the allowable temperature of the air surrounding these cables is given in the ANSI switchgear standards.20. PO Box 12818 • Houston.20. where power cables may terminate on the terminals of molded-case circuit breakers or starters.Powell Technical Brief #40 Temperature of Cable Terminations and Cable Compartments in Switchgear April 23. or a total temperature of 85°C. • All rights reserved. switchboard and motor control center construction. When cables are connected to metal-enclosed switchgear. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. Inc. is carrying rated continuous current.1 for low-voltage switchgear.com info@powellind. P. ANSI/IEEE C37. ANSI/IEEE C37. Tel: 713.powellind. 1993 One of the important features of almost all low-voltage and medium-voltage switchgear is provision for terminating power cables. A single run of power cable may pass through several different environments.3 for metal-enclosed interrupter switchgear. Power cables are sensitive to the temperature of the surrounding air. All three of these standards require the same temperature for these features.6900 • Fax: 713. One of these environments may be within the switchgear cable area. not directly on the terminals of the main switching device.E. and ANSI/IEEE C37. In metal-enclosed switchgear.20. Baldwin Bridger. The tests to demonstrate conformance with these limiting temperature rises require including appropriate sizes and lengths of power cables in the continuous current path. Inc. §4.2 for metal-clad switchgear.944. and is in an ambient temperature of 40°C.com . and the effect of each environment on the cable selection must be considered. and must be chosen carefully to operate in the various environments in which they are installed. the cable selection must take into account the air and terminal temperatures encountered in the switchgear.947. when the switchgear assembly is equipped with devices having the maximum current rating for which the assembly is designed.5. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries.

with "equivalent" being undefined. Since limiting the temperature rise is 30°C would require manufacturers to double the amount of copper used. For various technical and manufacturing reasons.4453 www. better than tin plating. The standard for high voltage circuit breakers speaks of "silver. the resistance and the temperature rise of the conductor usually increase rapidly. silver or tin? At Powell. while the limit for plated connections is 65°C rise.com info@powellind. Powell will provide tin plating on the connections of the bus bars in equipments. • All rights reserved. speak of "silver surfaced. The two materials commonly used for plating are silver and tin. such as a hinge point or a primary disconnect. The low-voltage and medium-voltage switchgear standards. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. silver alloy. and for plated and unplated contacts and connections in circuit breakers. tin surfaced.powellind. we generally use silver. PO Box 12818 • Houston. tin plating is superior in certain industrial atmospheres. Which material is better. This standard was last revised in 1979.Powell Technical Brief #41 Plating of Contact Surfaces in Switchgear and Circuit Breakers June 3. it is not practical to substitute tin for silver on surfaces within circuit breakers. and withstands the stress of a moving joint. they should be coated with contact lubricating grease to prevent corrosion problems. or equivalent" surfaces. Silver plating is harder than tin plating. The higher temperature rise is allowed for plated connections because plated copper does not oxidize nearly as rapidly as bare copper. P. Inc.6900 • Fax: 713. Inc. such as those containing hydrogen sulfide. Included are limitations for buses with plated and unplated joints in switchgear. joints are almost universally plated. or equivalent" connections. revised in 1987. On request. Baldwin Bridger. the limit for unplated copper connections is 30°C rise.944. Typically. and once the oxide forms. particularly for sliding contacts.E. If the atmosphere attacks silver surfaces. Copper oxide is not a good conductor. Tel: 713.947. or on circuit breaker primary disconnects. 1993 The various ANSI standards covering metal-enclosed switchgear and circuit breakers used in this switchgear prescribe temperature rise limits for various parts of the equipment.com . Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. In all cases the temperature rise allowed is considerably higher for plated connections than it is for unplated connections. However.

In mechanical terms.6900 • Fax: 713. so moving the bus bars apart decreases the force. or the distance between supports.947. a 50 kA current creates a force on each bus bar of nearly 17. flat-to-flat or edge-to-edge. switch or fuse used in the particular switchgear equipment.. if the circuit breakers or other switching devices are properly applied.944. The forces involved are quite high. these determine the section modulus of the bars in the phase-tophase direction. and material of the bar and the arrangement of the bars with respect to each other.4453 www. The bus must withstand the test without any permanent deformation of the bus bar. on 6" phase centers. The force is directly proportional to the square of the current and inversely proportional to the phase spacing. of if there is permanent deformation. There also must be no breakage of the bus supports. the bus duct momentary rating should match that of the switchgear.powellind. Momentary ratings are normally proved by high current testing. In the case of low voltage switchgear. • All rights reserved. shape. the equipment momentary will match both the needs of the system and the rating of the switching device. Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. Inc. The strength of the bus support structure is determined by the material and configuration of the supports and the distance between them. There are a number of design variables that enter into the ability of the bus structure to withstand a momentary current. Inc. Where bus duct is used in conjunction with metal-enclosed switchgear.Powell Technical Brief #42 Momentary Rating and Construction of Bus in Metal-Enclosed Switchgear June 4. Thus. 1993 The bus in metal-enclosed power switchgear is required by ANSI standards to have a momentary current rating equivalent to the momentary rating of the circuit breaker.com info@powellind. a particular assembly is required to have the momentary rating of the smallest frame size of circuit breaker used in the assembly.e. Both the bus supports and the bars themselves must withstand this force. it must not be sufficient to prevent the equipment from passing its standard dielectric tests (hipot and impulse). i.com . PO Box 12818 • Houston. The ability of the bars to withstand the force created by the momentary current is a function of the size. where the circuit breaker momentary rating may vary with the breaker frame size. Tel: 713. For a bus consisting of one ¼" x 4" bar per phase. The deflection of the bars is also affected by the length of the span. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries.000 pounds per foot of length. The force is also affected to a small degree by the dimensions and shape of the bus bars.

Baldwin Bridger. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems.4453 www. such as bus duct. for relatively simple bus configurations. and most bus structures within switchgear are somewhat complex and not subject to easy analysis. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. • All rights reserved. if phases are spread apart further than they were in the tested sample. the allowable increase in spacing between supports can be easily calculated. it may be easy to modify a design based on previous test data. PO Box 12818 • Houston. Tel: 713.E.com .947.Powell Technical Brief #42 Momentary Rating and Construction of Bus in Metal-Enclosed Switchgear page 2 The standards require test to demonstrate the momentary rating of the bus. P.com info@powellind. For instance. Inc. However.944. so we seldom use calculations for the design of bus structures.powellind. Inc.6900 • Fax: 713.

Typical use would be for a multifunction motor protective relay.) However. • All rights reserved. The issue before that was 1987.com . In 1979.947. Tel: 713. Beginning with the 1987 edition. Listed below are some of the changes made in the last two revisions. PO Box 12818 • Houston. 7 11 In the 1979 edition. For many years. which is commonly thought of as an instantaneous overcurrent relay.powellind. but I've seen it used on drawings dating back to the 1930's. device 7 is used for a rate-of-rise current relay. device 7 was an anode circuit breaker. IEEE Standard Electrical Power System Device Function Numbers. This is defined as a device with three or more important functions. device 11 was reserved for future application. device 11 became a multifunction device. This system is over half a century old. This feature is no longer part of device 50's description. (No. the description of device 50. a device frequently used in mercury arc rectifier equipments but no longer seen in this day of solid state rectifiers. Inc.com info@powellind." In the 1991 edition. I haven't been using it quite that long myself.944. When device 11 is used. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. included the rate-of-rise feature. In the 1987 edition. The latest revision is dated 1991. device 7 was "Reserved for future application.2.6900 • Fax: 713. 1993 The system of device function numbers used in switchgear schematic and connection diagrams is documented in ANSI/IEEE C37. the functions included in it should be defined in the drawing legend.Powell Technical Brief #43 Device Function Numbers July 30. Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. and the one before that was 1979. Inc. like any standard. it is revised from time to time.4453 www.

device 24 was reserved for future application. Up through 1979.Powell Technical Brief #43 Device Function Numbers page 2 24 In 1979. 47 50 82 Some other changes were made. device 24 became a volts per hertz relay.6900 • Fax: 713. • All rights reserved.com info@powellind. the proper number for a bus tie breaker has been 52BT since some time in the 1950's.944. Inc. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. and the description specifically lists negative phase sequence overvoltage as one of its applications. Tel: 713. this definition was expanded to read phase-sequence or phase-balance voltage relay.powellind. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. Baldwin Bridger. PO Box 12818 • Houston. device 82 is described as a dc reclosing relay.947.com . but these are the ones most likely to affect switchgear for utility and industrial distribution systems. Starting with the 1987 edition. See device 7. In the standard. and are seldom seen in Powell switchgear. Inc. Up through 1987. but we still see the designation 24 from time to time. Beginning with the 1987 edition. device 47 was a phasesequence voltage relay. These relays are typically used to protect large generators from overvoltage during subsynchronous operation.4453 www. P.E. In the 1991 edition the description is expanded to read dc loadmeasuring reclosing relay. I mention it because there are still those among us who remember the use of 24 for a bus tie circuit breaker.

a level floor is absolutely necessary to maintain the critical alignment of drawout devices.947. but you'll be sorry if you don't." Some smaller equipments. For indoor equipments without built-in bases. either come with their own built-in base channels or are not terribly sensitive to slightly uneven floors. Baldwin Bridger. PO Box 12818 • Houston. so its location may be as important as the locations of the other two channels. Inc. These are usually located under the bolt-down holes in the equipment. but the lore in the industry seems to be that a one-eighth inch slope. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. Manufacturers have been rather shy about putting a tolerance on "level" over the years.Powell Technical Brief #44 Preparing Foundations for Indoor Installation of Switchgear August 2. the floor on the drawout side of the switchgear needs to be flush with the top of the floor steel so the breakers will roll in and out smoothly. most manufacturers will recommend that steel channels or rails be imbedded in the floor to provide support and a level surface. 1993 Nearly every manufacturer of switchgear and motor control equipment will tell users that the equipment must be installed on a level foundation.4453 www. be sure that the equipment sits flush on the surface of the channels. All the effort and expense put into the level floor channels was negated by a poor installation of the equipment on the channels. each lineup has a channel near the front of the gear and another near the rear of the gear. P. maintaining such a tolerance almost certainly requires carefully installed floor channels. evenly spread over the front-to-back or the end-to-end dimension of the lineup. Often.com .944. Frequently. the manufacturer may have located this channel under some feature of the design which need good support. so its location may not seem to be as important as the location of the other two channels. However. • All rights reserved. a third channel is shown somewhere between the first two.com info@powellind. but I have seen installations where one side of a 36" unit was flush with the channel and the other side was ¼" above the channel. Once a level surface is established by the floor channels. is tolerable. Tel: 713. in deep switchgear. however. Once you decide that floor steel is required.powellind. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. Normally. such as PowlVac® metal-clad switchgear. For larger equipments. this channel does not match any bolt-down holes. If the circuit breakers roll out on the floor. If the equipment includes drawout circuit breakers or contactors. This may seem elementary. The concrete needs to be no higher than the floor steel.6900 • Fax: 713. so their location is important. like low voltage motor control centers and switchboards. Inc. These recommendations lead inevitably to two questions: "How level is level?" and "Do I really have to install the floor steel?" The quick answers to these are "Damn flat!" and "No.E. here are a few cautions about using it: • • • Be sure to locate the channels where the manufacturer shows them.

were developed about 50 years ago.06-1987 Preferred Ratings ANSI/IEEE C37.General ANSI/IEEE C37.6900 • Fax: 713. MVA was included. In 1964. This last appeared in the 1971 edition of ANSI C37. These new standards no longer referred to MVA in their rating structure. these standards now include six documents: • • • • • • ANSI/IEEE C37. and sometimes we get wrapped around the axle about just what they mean. but was missing from the 1979 edition. Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. Tel: 713. In the rating structure used in these standards. A little history is in order. Undoubtedly. a new series of ANSI standards were first published.12. certain equivalences were established.Capacitance Current Switching However. PO Box 12818 • Houston. Inc. The chart below compares the nominal MVA ratings to the actual MVA ratings calculated using the rated interrupting currents established in the current standards. Although it is quite common for all of us to talk about 500 MVA circuit breakers or 1000 MVA circuit breakers. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. this statement will come as a surprise to some readers of this PTB.Powell Technical Brief #45 MVA Interrupting Rating of Circuit Breakers Used in Metal-Clad Switchgear September 22. Inc. particularly when applied to circuit breakers used at a voltage considerably less than their rated maximum voltage. The interrupting rating in these standards is expressed kiloamperes. These standards used symmetrical.powellind.4 through C37.012-1979 Application Guide . interrupting ratings were based on the total current interrupted. including those for use in metal-clad switchgear.944.9 and C37.09-1979 Test Procedure ANSI/IEEE C37. rather than total. 1993 Modern medium voltage circuit breakers used in metal-clad switchgear have no MVA interrupting rating. and those of us who date back to that era got used to referring to breakers by their MVA rating. this rating does not appear anywhere in the ANSI standards applying to these breakers. so that manufacturers would not have to retest all their breakers. Unfortunately.010-1979 Application Guide . Under these standards.com . After a couple of decades of development.011-1979 Application Guide . current as the basis for interrupting rating. we have continued to use these identifications informally.06.Transient Recovery Voltage ANSI/IEEE C37. and for a few years the preferred rating tables carried "nominal" MVA ratings for "identification". • All rights reserved. These "total current" standards included ANSI C37.04-1979 Rating Structure ANSI C37. such as 4760 V breakers used at 2400 V. including the dc component. The first ANSI standards covering circuit breakers.4453 www.947.com info@powellind. nor does it appear anywhere on the nameplate of the breakers.

Inc. TX • 77217 Tel: 713. Baldwin Bridger.com ©2005 Powell Industries.com info@powellind.0 37 1000 13. rms 4. PO Box 12818 • Houston.25 33 500 7.6900 • Fax: 713.0 15.Powell Technical Brief #45 MVA Interrupting Rating of Circuit Breakers Used in Metal-Clad Switchgear page 2 Rated Maximum Voltage kV.76 4.0 15.947.4453 www.16 2. rms 4.powellind. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. rms 29 250 System Operating Voltage kV.5 15. a good history of these standards appears in the forewords of the various documents.5 Interrupting Current @ Operating Voltage kA 29 33 36 41 47 49 33 38 41 18 20 23 28 30 36 37 40 48 Actual MVA @ Operating Voltage(1) MVA 239 238 150 338 338 204 472 472 469 468 478 458 727 717 717 961 956 956 Nominal MVA (1) Slight variations in MVA may be due to rounding of interrupting current values.4 4.E.2 6.6 15. .8 11.8 11.8 11. • All rights reserved.76 4.0 18 500 13.16 2.76 Rated Short Circuit Current kA. Inc.0 28 750 13. If you are interested in the development of these standards. P.0 15.25 8.5 15.76 41 350 4.4 8.944.

This is a simple concept.) In many types of circuit breakers the physics of arc interruption are such that a given circuit breaker can interrupt a higher current at a lower voltage. I. between V and V/K. • All rights reserved. Inc. at voltages below V/K.com info@powellind. these breakers also have a rated voltage range factor. The rated maximum voltage divided by the K factor. and may be calculated by the formula: Required symmetrical current interrupting capability = rated short circuit current x (rated maximum voltage/operating voltage) This formula yields a constant MVA interrupting rating. gives a voltage below which no increase in interrupting current is required. In the latest (1987) edition of ANSI C37. Breakers using these technologies really do have higher interrupting ability at lower voltages. the concept agrees with the physical reality of oilblast and air-magnetic circuit breakers. equal to KI.powellind. V. Inc. Between V and V/K. Two things need to be said about the K factor.947.6900 • Fax: 713. the current increase is proportional to the voltage decrease. K has been set to 1. widely understood. First.06. However.com . In order to take advantage of this capability in the application of circuit breakers. and a constant current interrupting rating. the K factor was introduced into the ANSI standards for circuit breakers. The K factor also defines the magnitude of the increased interrupting requirement. at which the breaker must interrupt I. and a rated maximum voltage. Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems.944. so a K factor other than one does not match the physical attributes of circuit breakers using these technologies.Powell Technical Brief #46 Significance of K factor in Circuit Breaker Ratings September 23. 1993 The most basic interrupting ratings of a high voltage circuit breaker are a rated short-circuit current. which is not so widely understood. The K factor is a dimensionless number which defines the range of voltage over which the interrupting current increases. (Note: This K factor has absolutely nothing to do with the K factor used to determining the suitability of a transformer for use in a circuit with high harmonic levels.0 for all circuit breakers except indoor oilless circuit breakers. K. The current which must be interrupted as voltage V/K is KI. circuit breakers using vacuum or SF6 puffer interrupters are essentially constant current interrupters up to a limiting maximum voltage. and assigning a K factor other than one allows a wider application of a given circuit breaker. PO Box 12818 • Houston. or V/K. equal to the square root of three times VI. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. which are the breakers used in metal-clad switchgear.4453 www. However. Tel: 713.

Inc. Baldwin Bridger.com . the available short circuit current will also decrease. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries.6900 • Fax: 713. not increase. it will have the necessary short circuit capability for any lower voltage on that system. the K factor is unimportant. Tel: 713.4453 www.powellind. P. • All rights reserved.com info@powellind.947.944. PO Box 12818 • Houston.E. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. On any given system.Powell Technical Brief #46 Significance of K factor in Circuit Breaker Ratings page 2 Second. Inc. for a known system voltage. if the voltage decreases. If a circuit breaker is properly applied at the maximum system voltage.

P. Inc. See PTB 22 for further information. Since generators. It is another way of stating the power factor of the source system. If the X/R ratio is too high. looking back to the power source from any point in a power circuit. information about the values and use of these factors is found in §5 of ANSI/IEEE C37. Mathematically.Powell Technical Brief #47 X/R Ratio November 17. However. the ANSI standards require this X/R ratio to be 6.944. the rms value of the symmetrical fault current is determined by the system source voltage and the total system impedance to the point of fault. this information is found in §10 of ANSI/IEEE C37. which must be combined with the ac symmetrical component to give a new current value. This asymmetry is treated in analysis as a dc component. For a given level of symmetrical fault current and a given circuit breaker contact part time.E. the more slowly the dc component decays. For high voltage circuit breakers (over 1000 V). 1993 What is X/R ("X over R") ratio. almost all faults involve significant asymmetry in at least one phase. with its slower decay rate. X/R ratio is simply the ratio of the system reactance to the system resistance. if Power Factor = cos theta . Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. The higher the X/R ratio.6900 • Fax: 713.010-1979. transformers and transmission lines are generally quite highly inductive. PO Box 12818 • Houston.947.13-1990.4453 www. • All rights reserved. This dc component of a fault current decays rather rapidly. what can be done about a high X/R? The approach is taken by the ANSI standards is to establish multiplying factors for the symmetrical fault current. the rms asymmetrical value. When a short circuit occurs. It has absolutely no relationship to the power factor of any load on the system.6 or higher. assuming that a short circuit is applied to the system at that point. Baldwin Bridger. It is the value of the rms asymmetrical current at the moment of contact part which a circuit breaker must interrupt. the X/R ratio is generally significantly above unity in any utility or industrial power system. corresponding to a power factor of 15% or less. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. and why is it important? First. reaching an insignificant value in a matter of 3 to 5 cycles of the power frequency. These factors vary with the system X/R ratio and the speed of the circuit breaker. then X/R = tan theta. this rate of decay is determined by the X/R ratio of the circuit at the point of fault.com info@powellind. Circuit breakers are tested using power sources with an X/R ratio prescribed by industry standards. Note that this is the power factor of the system up to that point. For low voltage power circuit breakers. will result in a higher asymmetrical fault current at contact part time. A higher X/R ratio. this X/R ratio establishes the value of asymmetrical fault current the breaker is required to interrupt. However. Inc. the asymmetrical fault current may exceed the breaker's interrupting capability. For power circuit breakers. Since the X/R ratio of a system is inherent in its design and cannot be changed easily.powellind. both low and high voltage. Tel: 713.com . Why is the X/R ratio important? Its importance is that it affects the level of short circuit current a circuit breaker is required to interrupt.

power outlet. when these higher rated conductors are presumably more expensive than lower rated conductors. Note 8 to Table 310-16 requires an adjustment of the ampacity to 80% of the ampacity listed in the table when there are 4 to 6 current carrying conductors in one raceway. as a general principle.com . if the ampacity is based on the conductor temperature rating marked on the breaker. unless the end use equipment (panelboard. It is acceptable to use conductors with a higher insulation rating. Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. such as UL. service equipment. • All rights reserved. Inc. As an example. you may find that other derating factors applying elsewhere in the conductor run will reduce the allowable ampacity so that the 60°C or 75°C rating at the terminal is met without difficulty. In view of these rules. Now. The MCCB terminal temperature rating is the limiting factor in this conductor application. you might ask why anyone would want to use conductors with a higher temperature rating than the breaker rating.947. a #4/0 AWG copper conductor with 90°C insulation has an ampacity of 260 A per Table 310-16 of the NEC. 3. or 60/75°C rated conductors. However. In UL's Electrical Construction Materials Directory ("Green Book") we find the following conditions attached to the listing of circuit breakers: 2. 4.4453 www.) is also marked suitable for use with conductors rated 75°C. PO Box 12818 • Houston. 1993 Books can be written. 75°C only. switchboard. etc. with all size conductors run in the same conduit. if you connect this conductor to a molded case circuit breaker terminal. and to be installed in accordance with the conditions attached to that listing. or 230 A.Powell Technical Brief #48 Temperature Rating of Conductors Connected to Molded Case Circuit Breakers December 2. This PTB will address one small facet of that overall problem: the temperature rating of conductors connected to the terminals of molded case circuit breakers. its ampacity is limited to the ampacity of the same size conductor with 75°C insulation. Circuit breakers rated 125 amperes or less and marked suitable for use with 75°C rated conductors are intended for field use with 75°C rated conductors at full 75°C ampacity only when the circuit breaker is installed in a circuit breaker enclosure or individually mounted in an industrial control panel with no other component next to it. Outside of the possibility of convenience (the 90°C wire was laying around doing nothing).6900 • Fax: 713. let's look at a circuit with two of these conductors per phase in parallel. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries.powellind.944. Inc. and probably have been written. Circuit breakers with a current rating of 125 amperes or less are marked as being suitable for 60°C. Tel: 713.com info@powellind. A circuit breaker with a current rating of more than 125 amperes is suitable for use with conductors rated 75°C. The NEC. requires most material used in electrical systems to be listed by a thirdpart certifier. on the subject of proper sizing of conductors to meet all the various requirements of the National Electrical Code.

and the use of the 90°C insulation is advantageous.4453 www. or 460 A. and the conduit size would have to be increased from 2½" to 3". the wire size would have to be 250 kcmil to carry 408 A.powellind. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. the allowable current is twice the 75°C rating of the cable.com info@powellind.com . • All rights reserved. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries.6900 • Fax: 713. P. Inc.8 = 416 A.E. If 75°C insulation were used.944. Now the MCCB terminal temperature is no longer the limiting factor.Powell Technical Brief #48 Temperature Rating of Conductors Connected to Molded Case Circuit Breakers page 2 The two 90°C cables now have an ampacity of 2 x 260 x 0. At the MCCB terminals. Tel: 713.947. PO Box 12818 • Houston. Baldwin Bridger. Inc.

947. 1993 All Powell products are designed and tested to conform to applicable industry standards. test methods. PO Box 12818 • Houston. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. Tel: 713.6900 • Fax: 713. The major standards organizations whose standards are referenced below are: ANSI: American National Standards Institute IEEE: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers NEMA: National Electrical Manufacturers Association UL: Underwriters Laboratories NFPA: National Fire Protection Association PowlVac® Vacuum Circuit Breakers ANSI/IEEE C37.Conformance Test Procedures Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems.IEEE Standard for Metal-Clad Switchgear and Station-Type Cubicle Switchgear 1987 ANSI C37.com .55-1989 Metal-Clad Switchgear Assemblies .04-1979 ANSI C37.4453 www.541987 IEEE Standard Rating Structure for AC High-Voltage Circuit Breakers Rated on a Symmetrical Current Basis AC High-Voltage Circuit Breakers Rated on a Symmetrical Current Basis -Preferred Ratings and Related Required Capabilities IEEE Standard Test Procedure for AC High-Voltage Circuit Breakers Rated on a Symmetrical Current Basis Indoor Alternating-Current High-Voltage Circuit Breakers Applied as Removable Elements in Metal-Enclosed Switchgear Assemblies .944.061987 ANSI/IEEE C37.20. each of these standards includes a list of reference standards which further define the details of products. In general.com info@powellind.2.09-1979 ANSI C37. The following is a list of the principal standards applying to each of these products. • All rights reserved. etc.Conformance Test Procedures PowlVac® Metal-Clad Switchgear ANSI/IEEE C37.Powell Technical Brief #49 Industry Standards Covering Powell Products December 3. Inc.powellind. Inc.

powellind.com .944.1-1987 ANSI C37.51-1989 UL 1558-1984 IEEE Standard for Metal-Enclosed Low-Voltage Power Circuit Breaker Switchgear Metal-Enclosed Low-Voltage Power Circuit-Breaker Switchgear Assemblies .Powell Technical Brief #49 Industry Standards Covering Powell Products page 2 Medium-Voltage Switch-and-Fuse Equipment ANSI/IEEE C37.23.501979 IEEE Standard for Low-Voltage AC Power Circuit Breakers Used in Enclosures Low-Voltage Power Circuit Breakers and AC Power Circuit Protectors . Part ICS 2-324. Controllers and Assemblies. Inc.171979 ANSI C37.6900 • Fax: 713.947. PO Box 12818 • Houston. Related Requirements.4453 www.161988 ANSI C37.Preferred Ratings. • All rights reserved. NEMA ICS AC General-Purpose Medium Voltage Contactors and Class E 2-1988 Controllers. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries.13-1990 ANSI C37.Test Procedures Low-Voltage Power Circuit Breaker Switchgear ANSI/IEEE C37. 50 and 60 Hertz Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems.20.IEEE Standard for Metal-Enclosed Bus and Calculating Losses in Isolated-Phase Bus 1987 Medium-Voltage Motor Control Industrial Control Devices. Tel: 713.31987 IEEE Standard for Metal-Enclosed Interrupter Switchgear Low-Voltage Power Circuit Breakers ANSI/IEEE C37.com info@powellind. Inc.20.Conformance Test Procedures Metal-Enclosed Low Voltage Power Circuit-Breaker Switchgear Bus Duct ANSI/IEEE C37. and Application Recommendations American National Standard for Trip Devices for AC and GeneralPurpose DC Low-Voltage Power Circuit Breakers Low-Voltage AC Power Circuit Breakers Used in Enclosures .

Part ICS 2322. The only industry standard that applies to the complete assembly is ANSI/NFPA 70-1993: National Electrical Code.powellind. AC Motor Control Centers 1988 UL 845-1988 Motor Control Centers PCR® Power Control Rooms There are no industry standards for these buildings themselves. P. Inc. Other equipments and devices installed in PCR® buildings are normally manufactured per the applicable industry standards for the particular item.4453 www. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries.Powell Technical Brief #49 Industry Standards Covering Powell Products page 3 Low-Voltage Motor Control Centers NEMA ICS 2.6900 • Fax: 713. PO Box 12818 • Houston.E. All electrical work within and on the outside walls of the PCR® is done per the NEC.com info@powellind. Individual Powellbuilt equipments installed in PCR® buildings are built per the standards listed above. Baldwin Bridger. Controllers and Assemblies. Tel: 713.947.944.Industrial Control Devices. Inc. • All rights reserved. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems.com .

However. 1993 Every three years the National Electrical Code is revised. each proposal for revision of the NEC is reproduced. Inc.4453 www. This information appears in the NFPA Technical Committee Report (TCR). • All rights reserved. and why the code-making panel rejected the proposal. The proposer's substantiation was: "This particular sentence in the 1990 NEC as written can be interpreted as permitting the installation of a dry type.947. which is issued during each code cycle.944. it is just as useful to know what proposed changes were not made. Inc. the sprinklers." Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems." The code-making panel unanimously rejected that proposal. and a cottage industry springs up to inform all of us about the changes made in the new version of the Code. smoke and the manual hose streams. In this document. which preceded the 1993 revision of the NEC. floor mounted transformer below a panelboard." The other proposal suggested removing the words "foreign to the electrical equipment" from the text of the section. The transformer is equipment not foreign to the electrical equipment (panelboard). Tel: 713. In the 1992 TCR.Powell Technical Brief #50 NEC Article 384 – Switchboards and Panelboards December 10. there were two interesting rejected proposals with regard to §384-4 . sometimes when you are looking for the intent for the detailed meaning of a particular section of the Code. thus permitting the installation below the panelboard. if properly installed and maintained. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. with the comment: "Such a transformer not being foreign to electrical equipment is permitted in the dedicated panelboard space provided it does not intrude into the 110-16 work space. flame. PO Box 12818 • Houston.Installation.6900 • Fax: 713.powellind. then that service equipment and service bus duct shall be rated as raintight." The code-making panel also unanimously rejected the proposal. The first of these suggested adding the following text: "Where water sprinklers are in a position where they can deliver water to service equipment or service bus duct. provide effective protection with virtually no hazard to personnel and with no measurable increase in damage to the equipment as compared with the damage done by heat. along with the panel's action and the panel's reason for taking that action.com .com info@powellind. with the following comment: "Experience has proven that if a fire activates sprinklers.

as the transformer intrudes into the work space required by 110-16 of the NEC. Inc. TX • 77217 Tel: 713. or to the structural ceiling. . • All rights reserved. the transformer is located above the work space.com ©2005 Powell Industries. A typical hung ceiling of drop-in panels is not considered to be a structural ceiling for this purpose.Powell Technical Brief #50 NEC Article 384 – Switchboards and Panelboards page 2 Figure 1 .947. PO Box 12818 • Houston.6900 • Fax: 713.powellind. P.4453 www. the panelboard has been mounted away from the wall so that the transformer does not extend into the work space. In View 3. whichever is lower.com info@powellind. is not permitted. Baldwin Bridger. In View 2. with the transformer mounted below the panelboard.Panelboard/Transformer Arrangements (DS* is panelboard's Dedicated Space) Figure 1 shows three examples of a transformer located near a panelboard. Note that the "dedicated space" above and below the panelboard is the width and depth of the panelboard and extends from the floor to a point 25 feet above the floor.944. which only extends up to 6½ feet from the floor. Views 2 and 3 are both installations permitted by the NEC.E. Inc. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. View 1.

Arc resistant switchgear is designed to minimize the likelihood of injury to a person standing nearby. up to a height of 2 meters. Arc resistant switchgear has been available for some time in Europe and Canada.powellind. arc resistant switchgear is equipped with panels. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. Both standards require similar tests to qualify a design. Appendix AA. Typically. "Arc-proof" would imply that an internal arc could not occur. Arcing does not cause a hole in the surfaces covered by the type under test. do not open. etc. which is incorrect. The following criteria must be met during the two tests (which may be combined into one test if desired): • • • • • Properly secured doors. 1994 Powell has recently announced the availability of arc-resistant metal-clad switchgear. These indicators must not ignite. The lower parts of the switchgear are reinforced to prevent opening or burnthrough of the enclosure parts.Powell Technical Brief #51 Arc Resistant Metal-Clad Switchgear June 2.6900 • Fax: 713. and Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers Association of Canada (EEMAC) Standard G14-1.. This equipment is sometimes erroneously referred to as "arc-proof". in the event that an internal arc occurs in the switchgear. Tel: 713.com info@powellind.com . and is now being specified by some users in the United States. Arc resistant equipment must resist two phenomena which accompany an internal arc-increased internal pressure and burnthrough.4453 www. wherever flame or hot gases might escape.947. no U. Resistance to both of these events is demonstrated up to a height of 2 meters. When applying arc resistant switchgear. arc-resistant simply means that the equipment resists the effect of the arc in the unlikely event that one does occur. These ratings should match the ratings of the switchgear and circuit breakers. Black cotton cloth indicators are placed around the equipment under test. The area of exposure should be considered. several items need to be kept in mind: • • The arc-resistant rating is at a particular voltage and short-circuit current level. At the present time. Inc. located above the 2-meter level.944. • All rights reserved. the two generally recognized standards are International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) Standard 298. Type PowlVac-AR®. covers. standards exist for arc-resistant switchgear. PO Box 12818 • Houston. These two standards differ somewhat. Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. See descriptions in Table 1. and the major differences are shown in Table 1. but the IEEE Switchgear Committee is working on one. Parts which may cause a hazard do not fly off. Until it is available. and the requirements of the system. which blow open under the increased internal pressure caused by the internal arc. The grounding connection must remain effective. which we consider to be more stringent. Powell has designed and tested Type B switchgear in accordance with the EEMAC standard. Inc.S.

E. Arc-resistant construction at the front.com info@powellind. -------------------------Arc-resistant construction at the front. Unrestricted accessibility. • All rights reserved.Powell Technical Brief #51 Arc Resistant Metal-Clad Switchgear page 2 Quoting Note 4 of the EEMAC standard. this can be a very dramatic event. Inc.944. TX • 77217 Tel: 713. Appendix AA EEMAC G14-1 Restricted to authorized personnel only.6900 • Fax: 713. 160 ms 1 second 10 cm from unit (all types) Type B: 10 cm from unit Type A: 150 grams per square meter Type B: 40 grams per square meter Duration of Tests: Pressure 0.powellind. "The overpressure in the electrical room caused by arcing due to an internal fault in the switchgear and the ejection of gases from pressure relief devices should be taken into consideration in the design of the building. Attribute Accessibility: Type A Accessibility: Type B Accessibility: Type C IEC 298.947. Test all accessible sides. and between compartments within the same cell or between cells. . P. back and sides. Arc-resistant construction at the Test sides which are readily front only. accessible.4453 www. back and sides.com ©2005 Powell Industries.1 second (100 ms) Withstand Duration of Tests: 1 second Burnthrough Type A: 30 com from unit Indicator Location Indicator Material Weight 150 grams per square meter (all types) Baldwin Bridger. PO Box 12818 • Houston. Test Front." At high arc currents. including general public. Inc. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems.

The UL requirements are found in UL Standard 886. Baldwin Bridger. separating them so that the poured sealing compound will effectively seal each wire.1. Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. which give the number of conductors of specific types and sizes allowed in various sizes of conduit. The fill tables in Chapter 9 of the NEC. Any reducer or other fitting used must also comply with the listing requirements for use in a classified area. For very short runs of conduit. A table of permissible ills by wire size and seal fitting size is found in UL 886. Technical Director Note: Thanks to Crouse-Hinds for the information calling industry attention to this situation. it may be easier to use an oversized conduit so that the seal fitting is not overloaded. the fill may not exceed 25%.944.E. In conduits enclosing 3 or more conductors (except for lead-covered conductors).powellind. UL also requires manufacturers of listed seal fittings to include the 25% fill requirement in their installation instruction. This is not unreasonable. See Table 1 of Chapter 9. but is backed into by the requirement that listed items be used in accordance with their listing. Outlet Boxes and Fittings for use in Hazardous (Classified) Locations. 1994 NEC requirements for wire fill in seal fittings are different from the wire fill requirements in conduit.947. are based on this 40% fill. P. Tel: 713.com info@powellind. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. as the packing material used in a seal fitting must be packed around each wire.6900 • Fax: 713.Powell Technical Brief #52 Wire Fill in Seal Fittings June 14. Inc.com . Table 35. Inc. When installing seal fittings. with reducers to allow the conduit to fit. be sure that the 25% fill is not exceeded. this may mean using a seal fitting a size or two larger than the conduit size. In some cases.4453 www. PO Box 12818 • Houston. • All rights reserved. and UL lists seal fittings for 25% fill. This is not specifically stated in the code. For seal fittings. conductors may occupy 40% of the area of the conduit.

such as fastening terminals for small wire sizes. use a bolt one inch longer than the combined thickness of the bus bars being bolted together.11 1/2 .com . Figure 1 -Proper Bolt Assembly Proper assembly of the hardware is vital to a low-resistance joint.6900 • Fax: 713.944.20 Bolt Size 5-7 Torque. pounds-feet 55-70 35-50 20-30 Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. Each bolt is installed with two flat washers. Proper bolt torque is vital to a good joint. Grade 5 hardware is used to allow high installation torque. Do not overtorque the bolts. more properly. for half a century or so the workhorse of the industry has been the Grade 5 carbon steel bolt. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. but 5/8-11 hardware is used for some very large joints and sizes down to 1/4-20 are used for smaller jobs. either. Other bolt sizes may take longer or shorter bolts to compensate for differences in the thickness of the nuts and washers used. Tel: 713. hex head cap screw. The bolt should be long enough that a minimum of two full threads extend out of the nut when the bolt is tightened. 5/8 . This information is given on a label installed in Powell switchgear near bolted field connections. The most common size used is 1/2-13. as extra bolt length usually decreases the clearance from the bolt end to the nearest other phase or to ground.com info@powellind. • All rights reserved. I've seen bolts which were barely half their original diameter in the middle removed from bus joints. 1994 What kind of hardware should be used for bus joints in metal-enclosed switchgear? While there may be several acceptable answers.Powell Technical Brief #53 Hardware for Bus Connections July 5. For the 1/2-13 size. The bolt should not be longer than necessary. PO Box 12818 • Houston. Inc. and a hex nut.16 1/4 . Excessive torque can stretch the bolt past its elastic limit and cause failure. or.13 3/8 . Inc. The hardware should be assembled as shown in Figure 1.powellind.4453 www. Zinc plated to retard corrosion and installed with the proper torque. this hardware has a long history of satisfactory performance with both copper and aluminum bus bars. a split-ring lock washer.947. with the flat washers next to the bus bars on both sides of the joint and the lock washer under the nut. Torques to be used for various size bolts are shown in the table.

• All rights reserved.Powell Technical Brief #53 Hardware for Bus Connections page 2 How about other types of hardware? Some users specify aluminum hardware for aluminum bus. Baldwin Bridger. PO Box 12818 • Houston. There are many types of equipment. P. or 1 part in 2.com . for the usual metal-enclosed switchgear.0004 inch per inch of joint thickness. or Bellville washer.6900 • Fax: 713. which have been in service for 50 years. One other piece of hardware frequently requested is the spring washer.944. For copper bus. where all the bus joints are inside the enclosure and are expected to be warm and dry.4453 www.E. which is used in almost all Powell switchgear. or for installation in contaminated atmospheres. or more using carbon steel bus joint hardware. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. the difference between the expansion of the bus and the expansion of steel hardware is on the order of 0. Offsetting any advantage of better-matched expansion characteristics. is the difficulty of finding high-strength hardware made of these alloys.947.powellind. it may be of some value when aluminum bus is used with steel hardware. such as open buswork. This may be a valid reason for joints that are exposed to the weather.500 over the entire 65°C allowable temperature rise.com info@powellind. however. The first is the inhibition of corrosion cells where dissimilar metals made contact. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. the special hardware is usually not necessary. While Powell will be glad to furnish special bus joint hardware when our customers specify it. In our experience. in our experience it is not needed for the usual installation of metal-enclosed switchgear or control equipment. This washer is used to replace the split-ring lock washer. The other reason for specifying hardware of a material similar to the bus bar is concern that differential expansion between the bus and the hardware may lead to loosening of the joint. or stainless steel for either bus material. However. Inc. but is generally unnecessary when the bus is copper. bronze (usually Everdur) hardware for copper bus. Lower hardware strength may require reduced torque levels on the joints. Inc. and is intended to compensate (within limits) for the differential expansion of the bus material and the hardware. Tel: 713. There are two reasons usually given for this requirement.

If resistance to damage due to arcgenerated pressure is desired. Internal pressure. PO Box 12818 • Houston. reaches its peak in 5 to 10 milliseconds after the arc begins. Assuming that the sensor itself has a zero time of response to the presence of an arc. I discussed the arc resistant construction which is now available in Powell's PowlVac® metalclad switchgear. P. the front door of a breaker cell was launched across the test cell at that time. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. in one of our first tests of a preliminary arc resistant design. Inc.powellind. no detection system can protect metal-clad switchgear of normal. However. the backup breaker must still open and interrupt before the arc is extinguished.com info@powellind.com . arc-resistant switchgear must resist two phenomena . The test to prove resistance to burnthrough is of 1 second duration. These sensors will detect an arc within the switchgear and signal a backup breaker to trip. Inc.E. Burnthrough is a relatively long-time event. Any damage that is going to be done by the pressure wave will happen in that time frame. This breaker takes 3 cycles.944. consider the timing involved. As noted in the PTB. • All rights reserved. For instance.Powell Technical Brief #54 Arc Resistant Switchgear Construction or Arc Detection Devices? November 16. to interrupt a circuit once its trip coil is energized. the arc-resistant design of metal-clad switchgear must be used. Several manufacturers are now offering optical arcing sensors as an alternative to arc resistant construction. clearing the arcing fault. These two phenomena operate in two different time frames. This time of operation will give good protection against burnthrough.4453 www. but by this time the internal pressure in the switchgear has long since reached its peak.increased internal pressure and burnthrough. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries.947. on the other hand. The fastest circuit breakers commonly used in metal-clad switchgear are 3-cycle breakers. Optical arc sensors may offer excellent protection to gas-insulated substations. Tel: 713. digging a divot out of the concrete wall on the other side of the test cell. Baldwin Bridger. However. 1994 In PTB 51. and any physical damage that pressure is going to cause has already happened.6900 • Fax: 713. or 50 milliseconds on a 60 Hz system. unreinforced construction against damage from arc-generated pressure because the backup breaker cannot open fast enough to prevent this damage. where the principal problem is protection against burnthrough.

there is absolutely nothing in any industry standard that addresses this question. to get this kind of service out of switchgear. Make sure the foundation is level. Don't overheat it. and it will last you a long time.6900 • Fax: 713. Abuse it or neglect it.com info@powellind. with the right size splice plates and the right size and number of bolts. Here are some of them. PO Box 12818 • Houston. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. most manufacturers have rather consistently answered this question with an estimate of 30 to 40 years of useful service life.powellind. If artificial cooling is required to keep the ambient temperature within limits (usually a maximum of 40°C). and insulated if insulation is required. • All rights reserved. P. • • • • Install it properly. and that any filters or other ventilating openings in the switchgear are clean and that air flow is not restricted. cleaned. for the very good reason that there is no reasonable way to test the life of a piece of switchgear other than to put it into service and see how long it lasts. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. what is the design life of our products. space heaters are recommended to deter condensation. Other than the very complex procedures used in the nuclear industry.com . Treat your switchgear well.4453 www. Connect cables carefully. be sure it operates properly. There are numerous installations of metal-enclosed switchgear which have been in service for 40 years or more. Inc. for the over 40 years that I've been in the industry.E. The equipment should be inspected. Check out all control wire connections. Take care of it.944.Powell Technical Brief #55 Useful Life of Metal-Enclosed Switchgear December 8. there are a few ground rules you have to follow. Baldwin Bridger. Tel: 713. Keep it dry. For outdoor installations and indoor installations in damp climates. Heat is one of the two great enemies of electrical insulation. However. and it will die young. properly torqued. and lubricated on a regular schedule.947. 1994 We are frequently asked how long we expect metal-enclosed switchgear to last in service. Make sure there are no leaks that will allow rain or other moisture to dampen the switchgear. and that the equipment has been set level on the foundation and properly secured. Make sure that ventilation is adequate. Inc. Be sure all bus splices are assembled properly. and after any traumatic event. Check alignment of all disconnects and interlocks on drawout circuit breakers to make sure that they fit properly into the cell. Don't overload the equipment in service. Moisture is the other great enemy of insulation. such as interrupting a major fault. Of course.

are used in most equipment we produce. The wire marker is marked with the wire number shown on the schematic and wiring diagrams.Powell Technical Brief #56 Control Wire and Wire Markers in Switchgear and Motor Control December 19.944. but elaborate color coding can be rather costly.947.com . the wire is required to have a minimum size of #14 AWG. but are also subject to special charges for nonstandard wire mill runs. Inc. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. although this is not called for by any industry standard.4453 www. and to be flexible (41 strand or more) where it is connected across a hinge. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. Powell's standard is to use gray wire except for ground wires. Switchgear control wire has traditionally been colored gray. P. Powell's standard is a white tube marked with black characters. Special wire markers can be furnished on request. Therefore. 1994 ANSI standards for metal-enclosed switchgear require the use of either Type TBS or Type SIS wire for control wire in this type of equipment. Further. When wire markers are used. All of these can be furnished. Special wire types can also be used when required. as wire manufacturers require sizeable runs of special items such as unusual colors. but at a cost. The wire will be #14 AWG unless a larger wire is required by the circuit or is specified by the purchaser. Baldwin Bridger. which are green. or wire tags. Powell's standard is to use Type SIS flexible wire for all switchgear wiring.com info@powellind.6900 • Fax: 713. Inc. Some special features requested from time to time include special sleeve materials. Wire markers. heat shrink installation.powellind.E. and special wire designations or numbering. special colors. Tel: 713. PO Box 12818 • Houston. they must be specified by the purchaser when desired. but are not required by standards. • All rights reserved. Other colors may be used if specified by the purchaser.

• All rights reserved. there is no such thing as an MVA rating for a circuit breaker. the maximum symmetrical interrupting capability. Other important ratings are as follows: Rated Maximum Voltage V: The highest rms (root mean square) voltage for which the circuit breaker is designed. this current is equal to KI. latching. although this term does not appear in the ANSI standards. Inc. The circuit breaker must also be able to withstand this same value of current in the closed position as a part of the short time current test. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. 1994 Based on questions I receive. Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems.6900 • Fax: 713. Closing and Latching Capability: This is the peak. Numerically.com info@powellind. Numerically. PO Box 12818 • Houston.powellind.947. It is required to interrupt this current at a voltage of V/K and at any lower voltage. For more on K. and the upper limit for operation. First. Inc.4453 www. It is not an interrupting rating. Rated Short Time Current: This is the rms value of the current which the circuit breaker is required to carry for 3 seconds. current that the circuit breaker must be capable of making and immediately thereafter. or crest.7KI. this current is equal to KI. see PTB 46. This PTB will attempt to clarify some of the more commonly discussed ratings. Rated Voltage Range Factor K: The ratio of the rated maximum voltage to the lower limit of the range of operating voltage in which the required symmetrical and asymmetrical interrupting capabilities vary in inverse proportion to operating voltage.944. Numerically. Maximum Symmetrical Interrupting Capability: The highest value of rms symmetrical current which the circuit breaker is required to interrupt. this current is equal to 2.Powell Technical Brief #57 Ratings of Medium Voltage Circuit Breakers December 22.com . Rated Short Circuit Current I: The highest value of rms symmetrical current which the circuit breaker is required to interrupt at rated maximum voltage. This capability is sometimes referred to as the "momentary current" rating. as these ratings appear in the ANSI circuit breaker standards. Tel: 713. See PTB 45 for a detailed discussion of MVA. there appears to be quite a bit of confusion in the industry about the meaning of various voltage and current ratings applied to circuit breakers used in metal-clad switchgear. the breaker is not required to interrupt this current until it has cooled down to operating temperature. Interrupting capabilities at voltages between V and V/K are calculated by a formula given in PTB 46.

4453 www.Powell Technical Brief #57 Ratings of Medium Voltage Circuit Breakers page 2 Since interrupting ratings vary with voltage. P. it is absolutely imperative that purchaser and supplier communicate clearly about the voltage at which a specified interrupting rating applies.E. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems.com . Tel: 713. PO Box 12818 • Houston.944. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries.com info@powellind.947. Baldwin Bridger. • All rights reserved. Inc.powellind.6900 • Fax: 713. Inc.

requires the ground bus to carry the rated short-time current of the switchgear for 2 seconds. The purpose of the ground bus is to keep these items at a common potential under normal conditions and to carry ground fault current when a ground fault occurs. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. The ground bus is rated for short-circuit and short-time duty. For metal-clad switchgear.1. ANSI C37.2. and none of these standards describe any test to demonstrate such a rating.944. P.Powell Technical Brief #58 Rating of Ground Bus in Metal-Enclosed Switchgear January 17.powellind. If a 4-wire system with line-to-neutral loads is in use. Inc. None of the ANSI standards require a continuous current rating for ground bus. ANSI/IEEE C37. will carry a certain amount of current continuously without damage.2. For low voltage metal-enclosed switchgear. Tests to demonstrate these ratings are included in the conformance test standards.12. CT and VT secondary circuits.5 second. Inc. 1995 All metal-enclosed switchgear built to ANSI standards is required to include a ground bus to connect together all items in the switchgear that are required to be grounded.6900 • Fax: 713. While a ground bus. relay and instrument cases. just how much and under what circumstances is not defined. §6.E.com . Baldwin Bridger. Tel: 713. Ground bus is not expected to carry any continuous current. requires the ground bus to carry the rated short-time current of the switchgear for 0.20. a neutral bus may be needed to carry any current unbalance. PO Box 12818 • Houston. ANSI/IEEE C37. etc. §6.947. This includes such things as the enclosures. This is quite common in low voltage switchgear. like any conductor. Therefore.51 for low voltage switchgear and ANSI C37.1.20. and should be avoided.com info@powellind. specifying a continuous current rating for ground bus has little or no meaning. circuit breaker frames. • All rights reserved.55 for metal-clad switchgear.4453 www. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. and much less common but not unknown in metal-clad switchgear.

Voltages Low-Frequency Withstand 2.6900 • Fax: 713.com . Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. pole-top hardware. Phase-to-phase and phase-to-ground dimensions are the same because switchgear used on ungrounded or impedance grounded systems will have phase to phase voltage between the unfaulted phases and ground during a ground fault condition. two dimensions are important. but they are usually pretty consistent. ANSI switchgear standards are generally performance standards. 1995 From time to time we are asked what bus spacings are required by ANSI standards for switchgear. power frequency withstand for all voltages and impulse withstand for medium voltage. Inc. or the distance across an insulating surface. outdoor substation construction. The dimensions used by different manufacturers may differ a bit. The first is clearance.E. The distances are measured from metal to metal. PO Box 12818 • Houston. so every manufacturer has a working guide of dimensions to be used for configurations that aren't tested. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries.4453 www. or the distance through air between conductors of opposite polarity or between an energized conductor and ground. are specified in the standards. The second is surface creepage. Remember that these are dimensions used within metal-enclosed switchgear equipments. It is not possible to test every configuration of bus used in switchgear.76 kV 15 kV 27 kV 38 kV Impulse Withstand N/A 60 kV 95 kV 125 kV 150 kV Baldwin Bridger. Inc.com info@powellind. remember that we do this every day in vacuum interrupters. And before you conclude that I'm being ridiculous. If you can place bare conductors 1/2" apart and meet the test requirements for 15kV equipment. The following table shows some of the more common dimensions we use at Powell.Powell Technical Brief #59 Bus Spacings in Metal-Enclosed Switchgear January 24. They do not apply for overhead lines. etc. and vary with voltage and also with whether or not the conductors are insulated. • All rights reserved. The design must pass these tests. How a manufacturer designs equipment to meet the requirements is up to the manufacturer. P.2 kV 19 kV 36 kV 60 kV 80 kV Air Clearance Insulated Bare Conductors Conductors N/A 1" 2" 3 1/2" 3" 6" 6" 9" 7 1/2" 10 1/2" Surface Clearance Insulated Bare Conductors Conductors N/A 2" 3" 5" 5" 7" 9" 14" 11" 17" Rated Maximum 635 V 4. Tel: 713.powellind. Those who ask are frequently surprised by the answer: None.947. that is fine. When considering bus spacings.944. Dielectric tests.

This device is needed on air-magnetic circuit breakers to insure interruption of small currents. in the range of a few percent of the breaker's continuous current rating. Inc. interruption of low currents is a non-problem for PowlVac® circuit breakers. and some other models at capacitive currents as low as half an amp. 1995 We occasionally see a specification which requires that the medium voltage circuit breakers that are supplied should be capable of switching very small currents. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. Baldwin Bridger. All of these tests were successful.4453 www. P.com info@powellind. When the current is very low.Powell Technical Brief #60 Switching Small Currents with Vacuum Circuit Breakers January 30.com . PO Box 12818 • Houston. do have some problems with switching low currents. We have tested one model of PowlVac® circuit breaker at inductive currents as low as 25-30 A. and the interruptions took no longer than high current interruptions. and the necessary arc movement may not be obtained. These breakers depend on a magnetic field generated by the current flowing through auxiliary coils in the interrupter circuit to drive the arc into the arc chute for successful interruption.E. the ANSI standard for circuit breaker rating allows the interrupting time for the interrupting of current below 25% of the required asymmetrical interrupting capability to exceed the rated interrupting time by as much at 50%. only a small field is generated. so that the arc is literally blown into the arc chute. • All rights reserved. Vacuum breakers. Tel: 713. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems.947. At least in part because of this problem with the interruption of small currents. Air-magnetic circuit breakers. which have been successfully used for many years in medium voltage switchgear. As far as we are concerned.powellind. Load current switching tests have been made on all of our present production models of PowlVac® circuit breaker at inductive current levels in the 250-260 A range. The oscillograms indicated no distress in the interruptions.6900 • Fax: 713. Generally speaking. switching of low currents is not a problem for vacuum circuit breakers. Inc. handle small currents with ease. on the other hand. Almost all varieties of air-magnetic circuit breakers are equipped with a "puffer" device. This piston is equipped with a nozzle that is directed at the area where the arc is truck by the opening of the breaker. a small air piston driven by the opening of the breaker.944.

• • • • • • Overcurrent: A current exceeding the rated current. they really aren't interchangeable.com . This current may be only an amp or two. A typical example is a ground fault current on a highresistance grounded system. IEC 439-1 and IEC 947-1. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. Overload current: An overcurrent occurring in an electrically undamaged circuit.944. A short circuit current is both a fault current and an overcurrent. Also.Powell Technical Brief #61 Overcurrent Definitions March 7. Although these terms are sometimes used interchangeably. P. Baldwin Bridger.6900 • Fax: 713. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. A fault current is not necessarily an overcurrent. Inc. Recently. Note several relationships among these various currents: • • • • An overload current is always an overcurrent. An overload is not a fault. Inc.E. Short circuit current: An overcurrent resulting from a short circuit due to a fault or an incorrect connection in an electric circuit. Under some fault conditions. • All rights reserved. Fault current: A current resulting from an insulation failure or the bridging of insulation. so I'm passing them along to you. not all fault currents are short circuit currents. Overload: Operating conditions in an electrically undamaged circuit which cause an overcurrent. I came across a set of definitions that made a lot of sense to me.com info@powellind. compared to a rated current of up to several thousand amps. These are taken from a couple of standards of the International Electrotechnical Commission. However. 1995 There are several terms that we use to name abnormal current in an electric power system. Tel: 713. of two or more points in a circuit which are normal at different voltages. the fault current may be much less than the rated current.4453 www. but not all overcurrents are overload currents. Short circuit: The accidental or intentional connection. not all overcurrents are short circuit currents.947. by a relatively low resistance or impedance.powellind. PO Box 12818 • Houston.

the usual method for wound primary CT's. Inc. Divide 24. The "C" or "T" describes the method used for determining this voltage. No. March/April 1995.6900 • Fax: 713. the voltage required is 300x0.947. Vol. to determine the secondary current. or 100 V. Tel: 713. The number represents the voltage output at the CT terminals with 20 times normal secondary current flowing (100A for a typical 5 A secondary CT).powellind. only a few electrical degrees wide. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries.4453 www.000 A by the CT ratio. To be sure that the CT's do not saturate. The report title is "Relay Performance with Low Ratio CT's and High Fault Currents". Recent work by a working group of the IEEE Power Systems Relaying Committee has shown that lowratio CT's applied to systems with high fault current levels may saturate under fault conditions and cause improper or no operation of the overcurrent relays. Inc.944. PO Box 12818 • Houston. The voltage for CT's with a "T" designation has been determined by test. Vol. 392-404. assume a bus with 24 kA available fault current and a CT rated 400/5 A (80:1 ratio). This rating is expressed as the letter "C" or the letter "T" followed by a number. without exceeding 10% ratio error.33. 31. No.Powell Technical Brief #62 Choosing Current Transformers for Relaying Use March 28. Extreme saturation of the CT's can result in very narrow pulses of secondary current. the relay rating of the CT should be twice the voltage necessary to drive the maximum fault current through the connected burden. 80. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. pp. the current does not flow for long enough at a time to operate the relay. 3. If the secondary burden is 0.E. A CT with a relay rating of C200 or T200 should be chosen for this application. Standard values are 10. Baldwin Bridger. Several possible ways to improve the situation are to use higher ratio CT's. July 1993. 100. If you want to review the entire report of the PSRC working group. For example. 884897.33 ohms. 20. to use lower burden relays. Where low-ratio CT's are needed on a system with a high available fault current. under maximum fault conditions. P. It may be found in IEEE Transactions on Power Delivery. 50.com . • All rights reserved. 2.com info@powellind. it may be very difficult to find a CT with the necessary relay rating. you can find it published in two different IEEE Transactions. and in IEEE Transactions on Industry Applications. 8. 300 A. 200 and 400. 1995 Current transformers used for relaying under high current conditions must have a relay rating. Although the magnitude of the pulse may be above the pickup setting of the relay. to use higher accuracy CT's. pp. or to use separate instantaneous overcurrent relays connected to a separate set of high-ratio CT's. to divide the burden between two sets of CT's.

a capacitance graded bushing may be the answer. Inc. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. In a capacitance graded bushing. primary disconnect spouts. 1995 Bushings or similar structures are used in medium voltage switchgear to carry a conductor from one side of a grounded barrier to the other side. Typical uses are roof entrance bushings. sometimes the spacing is very tight.com info@powellind. Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. layers of conductive or semi-conductive material are placed in the thickness of the insulation in such a manner that these layers serve as a builtin capacitor and the stress on the insulation is equalized and controlled. If the voltage isn't too high. a bushing with suitable insulation characteristics and long life can be made with only these basic ingredients. and the configuration of the conductor. the insulation. use capacitance graded top-mounted bushings to control the stress where the bushings penetrate the top frame of the circuit breaker.Powell Technical Brief #63 Capacitance Graded Bushings June 12.powellind. or the ground plane has sharp corners or protruding hardware so that the local stress on the insulation is excessive. However. a bushing consists of a conductor. to bring conductors from outside the switchgear through the roof to the switchgear interior. and a mounting provision of some kind. some surrounding insulation. Inc. first manufactured nearly 60 years ago. to bring the primary connections of a circuit breaker from the bus or cable compartment to the circuit breaker compartment.6900 • Fax: 713. In its simplest form.944. In this case. and the ground plane isn't too bad. For instance. This technique has long been used in medium voltage switchgear. Tel: 713. • All rights reserved.com . GE's vertical lift Magne-Blast circuit breakers.4453 www. PO Box 12818 • Houston. Proper use of capacitance grading can control both through-insulation and over-surface stress. and main bus penetration from one unit of switchgear to the next unit.947.

com info@powellind.947. and the outermost layer is connected to ground.6900 • Fax: 713.E.com . Inc.944. Baldwin Bridger. Inc.powellind. for mounting current transformers. PO Box 12818 • Houston. • All rights reserved. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. Each line in the thickness of the insulation represents a conductive layer.Powell Technical Brief #63 Capacitance Graded Bushings page 2 The figure above. shows a section view of the capacitance graded primary disconnect spout used in Powell's PV System 38® switchgear. The innermost layer is connected to the primary conductor. P. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems.4453 www. this particular construction provides an area around the spout shielded from the electrical field. In addition to controlling the stress in the insulation. Tel: 713.

Other tables in this standard give ratings for other sizes of contactors. single phase. Motor HP Full Voltage NEMA Starting.Powell Technical Brief #64 Load Switching Capability of NEMA General Purpose Contactors June 22.powellind. PO Box 12818 • Houston. 480 V systems. • All rights reserved. Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. other motor duties and starting methods. The table below shows the ratings assigned to size 1 through size 5 for use on 60 Hz. Inc. other voltages and frequencies.4453 www.3 7.944.947.com info@powellind. with motors rated 460 V. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. Tel: 713.6900 • Fax: 713. 1995 NEMA general purpose contactors. Inc. etc.) Lamps 288 483 947 1581 3163 27 45 90 135 270 15 30 60 120 240 27 45 90 135 270 8. NonSize of Contactor plugging and Nonjogging duty rms Amperes Peak CircuitClosing Switching Rating Inrush Inrush Amps <= >20x (Inrush) Continuous Tungsten Resistance 20x <=40X Current Lamps Loads & Full Full (300V Discharge Load Load max.5 14 28 47 94 4. depending on the type of load being switched. have a number of different load switching ratings.2 14 23 47 Transformer Primary Switching kVA 1 2 3 4 5 10 25 50 100 200 These values are taken from tables in NEMA Standard ICS2-1988. and the switching sequence being used. the duty cycle of the load. of the type generally used in motor control centers.com .

6900 • Fax: 713. Loads with high inrush characteristics require oversized contactors to handle the inrush current without damage. Inc. P. 480 V. which has a full load current of 18 A.Powell Technical Brief #64 Load Switching Capability of NEMA General Purpose Contactors page 2 In most cases.com info@powellind. Baldwin Bridger.powellind.com . the rating limit is established by the contactor's ability to close a certain peak current. consider a 15 kVA. This is well within the continuous current rating of a size 1 contactor.4453 www. and a size 4 contactor if the inrush current is between 20 x and 40 x full load.E. • All rights reserved. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. For instance.947.944. Tel: 713. Inc. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. PO Box 12818 • Houston. but switching the primary of this transformer required a size 3 contactor if the inrush current is <= 20 x full load. 3 phase transformer.

There are two basic types of fields used on synchronous motors. the field winding is shorted through a field discharge resistor. which changes suddenly when field is lost. This frequency decreases as the motor speed increases. Inc.com . This differs from an induction motor squirrel cage in that it is not rated to carry load. Once the motor reaches near synchronous speed. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. giving this type its name. either shaft-driven or a separate m-g set. and can use any starting method that is used on a squirrel cage induction motor: full voltage. • All rights reserved. an excitation bus. and includes protection against loss of field and incomplete starting sequence. generator serves as the exciter. is applied. Protective relays are unable to measure the d. Speed is sensed by measuring the frequency of the induced a. opening the discharge resistor circuit and closing the main field circuit. For either type.com info@powellind. brush type and brushless. but only to assist in starting. field of the synchronous motor directly. usually defined as about 95% speed. The synchronous motor is started as a squirrel cage induction motor. the control closes the field contactor. and requires no slip rings or brushes. and is usually supplied by a solid-state package. On brush type motors. etc. current which flows in the field winding and the field discharge resistor.947. d. Baldwin Bridger.4453 www. The control may be electromechanical or solid-state. much detailed information about the motor's characteristics is required for proper application of starting equipment.c. The external supply may be a rotating exciter. 1995 Starting synchronous motors is a two-step process. The a. or the output of a solid-state excitation package. This is the second step of the starting process. Controls are also usually solid-state. D. which are contacted by brushes. which is removed from the circuit before the d. When an appropriate speed is reached. Tel: 713. usually a field contactor. and a solid-state sensing and switching package mounted on the rotor of the synchronous motor. Protection required for the motor's stator and this first stage of its starting sequence is the same as required for an induction motor of similar size and starting method.c. Brushless motors have the armature of an a. capacitor. autotransformer. so loss of field protection is provided by relays looking at the power factor of the motor.c.Powell Technical Brief #65 Starting Synchronous Motors June 29.c.6900 • Fax: 713. reactor.c.944. a rectifier package. the two ends of the field winding are brought to slip rings. the field discharge resistor. generator. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. Inc. The first step is to accelerate the motor to near synchronous speed. is applied to the rotor's field winding. Most synchronous motors are equipped with a squirrel cage winding on the rotor for starting purposes.c.c. A small d. pulling the rotor into step at 100% of synchronous speed. supply is required for this field winding. and its field winding is stationary.E.c. P.powellind. During the acceleration stage. which are an older design. from an external supply is applied to the field using external switching devices. PO Box 12818 • Houston.

and combining several main CT secondary circuits for totalized metering.947. it would seem that.6900 • Fax: 713.powellind. it would always be preferable to step down the higher main CT secondary current. which is the current from the main CT with the lower ratio. • All rights reserved. Inc. is reflected into the main CT secondary circuit by the square of the current ratios. 1995 There are several applications for auxiliary current transformers in switchgear.com . whereas using the auxiliary CT to step the main CT secondary current down decreases the burden by the square of the step-down ratio.com info@powellind. these devices can be a very useful tool in complex or specialized CT circuits. if you are matching two main CT ratios by using an auxiliary CT. Tel: 713. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. stepping up the secondary current of main CTs for greater sensitivity in metering or relaying. A typical auxiliary CT circuit is shown in the figure above. PO Box 12818 • Houston.4453 www. their use may create a burden problem for the main CTs if care is not used in the application of auxiliary CTs. From this.944. However. Since makers of auxiliary CTs will provide almost any ratio you might need. From this equation you can see that using an auxiliary CT to step the main CT secondary current up increases the burden on the main CT by the square of the step-up ratio. The auxiliary CT secondary burden. Inc.Powell Technical Brief #66 Use of Auxiliary Current Transformers November 3. per the following formula: where is the total burden on the main CT and is the burden of the auxiliary CT itself. . including matching ratios of main CTs.

and that the overall circuit will give the performance desired under all operating conditions.E. and thus be capable of handling a larger burden with the same accuracy. including the main CTs. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. are operating within their capabilities. A couple of other considerations come into play: • The higher ratio CTs may have a higher burden capability than the lower ratio CTs. PO Box 12818 • Houston. Baldwin Bridger.com info@powellind.Powell Technical Brief #66 Use of Auxiliary Current Transformers page 2 Unfortunately. step-up or stepdown. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. and the relays or meters connected in the circuit. the auxiliary CTs.6900 • Fax: 713. and this lower setting may greatly increase the relay burden. the best solution is to do a complete burden calculation to see which way.944. • As always. • All rights reserved. Tel: 713. "Best results" means that all of the devices. Inc.947.4453 www.com . it is not always that simple. The lower current resulting from the step-down transformation may require a lower relay setting to achieve the desired sensitivity. Inc. P.powellind. gives the best results.

To handle this type of circuit. however. The latched contactor is opened by energizing a trip coil. This is commonly done for transformer feeders originating in the medium voltage MCC. which is energized to close the contactor. PO Box 12818 • Houston. For loads other than motors. When the coil is deenergized. or they may be supplemented with overcurrent relays for better overload protection.944. but they don't work just like circuit breakers.4453 www.com info@powellind. When closed by its operating coil. latched contactors are available. Inc. separate undervoltage relays must be provided if undervoltage protection is needed. Since automatic undervoltage protection disappears when a latched contactor is used. the motor starting current-limiting fuses should be replaced with general purpose current-limiting fuses. something like a circuit breaker is opened. These fuses may stand alone as the overcurrent protection. a latched contactor will remain closed even if the closing coil is deenergized. the contactor opens. If a latched contactor is presented with simultaneous.6900 • Fax: 713. • All rights reserved.Powell Technical Brief #67 Using Latched Contactors in Medium Voltage Motor Control Centers November 13. it is sometimes desirable to maintain the circuit during an undervoltage condition. this design provides automatic undervoltage protection for the motor. Inc. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. The latched contactor has no anti-pump feature. P. then remain open until the closing signal is removed and reestablished.powellind. such as transformers or capacitors. Since the contactor's coils is usually energized from a control power transformer connected to the primary circuit of the starter. A circuit breaker. on the other hand. Several cautions are in order when latched contactors are used: • • • For non-motor loads. Latched contactors may be equipped with manual closing and/or tripping operators if desired. These may be in addition to or in place of the operating coils. Control and interlocking circuits used with latched contactors should be investigated very carefully to make sure that there is not a circuit that could result in damage to the contactors. Tel: 713. Properly applied latched contactors are useful devices. it will cycle closed and open until one of the signals is removed or until the contactor destroys itself.E. 1995 The motor starting contactors used in medium voltage motor control are usually held closed by an operating coil. Be sure you understand the differences and take them into account when using latched contactors. There is a major difference between the control circuit for a latched contactor and the control circuit for a circuit breaker. maintained close and trip signals.947. will close once and open once.com . leading to quite a few possible combinations of operators. Baldwin Bridger.

9 Both of these relays operated correctly and reliably with both CTs. Relay Under Test HFC IT Relay Pickup Setting 0. the ABB ITH. Two different relays were tested with each of two CTs. we also tested a third relay. At the higher currents. C10 accuracy. 50/5.9 31. a high dropout version of the IT.4 34. Powell recently ran a series of tests to check the operation of typical CT-relay combinations. C20 accuracy.3 56. and I mentioned the IEEE working group report on this subject. it chattered quite badly and did not close its contacts for long enough to operate a circuit breaker. 50/5.05 67.8 A 13.3 36.com info@powellind. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries.5 A 0. This circuit. It picked up at quite low values.6900 • Fax: 713. or the zero-sequence CTs should have higher ratios. even though the CTs are badly saturated at that current level. Baldwin Bridger.85 33.35 95. CTs. I found that this relay had been recommended for 50 GS service some years ago.05 27.4453 www. However. Based on this information and the tests.95 72. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. both the HFC and the IT work quite well at primary ground fault currents up to 1800 A. Because of this concern. P.5 A 5.944. residually-connected relays should be used.75 61.Powell Technical Brief #68 Instantaneous Ground Fault Relays (50GS) and Zero-Sequence CTs November 28. Tel: 713.15 A Current Transformer 141-500 143-500 141-500 143-500 Primary Pickup Current 15. Powell strongly recommends that the ITH relay not be used as a 50GS relay. Summarizing. I discussed the problem of low-ratio CTs used on systems with high fault current. Inc. For these systems.6 A 6.2 132.6 68. 1995 In PTB 62.powellind.0 36. The second was Model 143-500.com .4 A Time to trip at indicated current (ms) Pickup 600 A 1200 A 1800 A 39. Inc. Electro-mechanical relays were chosen for the test because their higher burden places a greater load on the CTs. The first Model 141-500. We found that this relay was not reliable in this service. The CTs used were both made by ITI. The test results are given in the table below. 600 A and up. or core balance.E.7 60. but its manufacturer (Westinghouse at that time) changed the recommendation when the chattering problem was discovered. with these CTs and relays. The relays were the GE HFC and the ABB IT. should not be used on solidly grounded systems with high ground fault current. Asking around.947. Because of the emphasis in this report on making sure that CTs do not saturate. PO Box 12818 • Houston. a number of people have become concerned about the operation of instantaneous ground fault relays connected to zero-sequence. and operated well with primary currents up to about 150 A. • All rights reserved.3 24.

PO Box 12818 • Houston.Powell Technical Brief #69 Wound Rotor Induction Motors and Starters January 5. The switching may be done by a manual drum switch or by a series of contactors activated by timers. depending on the motor size and the starting characteristics desired.4453 www. once the motor is manufactured these characteristics are fixed. or a continuously variable resistance. Controllers for wound rotor motors include for the stator the same protection and switching functions that are used for squirrel cage motors.6900 • Fax: 713. the resistor is switched out of the circuit step by step as the motor accelerates. and slip. • All rights reserved. Inc. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. The number of steps varies. like the starting resistors. or lower the starting current for the same torque. adding resistance during the starting cycle can increase the starting torque. For a soft start application. like a liquid rheostat. By decreasing the rotor resistance as the motor accelerates. For the rotor. and loaded conveyors. are fixed. For speed control. like a squirrel cage motor. such as starting inrush current.com info@powellind. Many of the characteristics of these motors. the resistor is completely shorted out.947. This added resistance can accomplish two things: • • Since the starting torque developed in an induction motor by a given starting current is proportional to the rotor resistance. The running resistor may be further steps of fixed resistance. starting torque. Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. Inc. Once it reaches full speed. and the motor runs like a squirrel cage motor. Tel: 713. the torque can be controlled to provide a smooth acceleration of the load. some resistance remains in the rotor circuit for all speeds except maximum speed. Although a motor designer can vary these characteristics at the design stage. sometimes called a "soft start".powellind. Since the slip of an induction motor increases as the rotor resistance increases.com . hoists. some speed control is possible using a wound rotor motor and varying the rotor resistance while running. The wound rotor induction motor has a rotor winding that is not short-circuited on the rotor. but is brought to slip rings so that the rotor circuit can be modified by inserting external resistance. but generally falls in the range of 3 to 7 steps. This can be very helpful for loads such as cranes. 1996 The garden variety of induction motor used in industry is the squirrel cage induction motor.944. a multi-step resistor and switching means for that resistor are required.

Powell Technical Brief #69 Wound Rotor Induction Motors and Starters page 2 Wound rotor motors have some drawbacks. and the maximum speed is limited to something less than synchronous speed for the number of poles in the motor. Inc. Tel: 713.947. • All rights reserved.6900 • Fax: 713. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. The added running resistance in the rotor circuit of the motor on speed control increases losses. and thus operating costs.E.powellind. many users now turn to squirrel cage motors and variable frequency drives to meet their needs for both soft start and speed control. Baldwin Bridger. P. Inc.com . Because of these limitations. PO Box 12818 • Houston.com info@powellind. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems.944.4453 www. Both the motor and the controller are more complex and cost more than a similar squirrel cage motor and its controller.

Inc. 1996 In PTB 10 there is some information about transient recovery voltage (TRV) and some data about the TRV values used by Powell in testing PowlVac® circuit breakers. Breakers rated 121kV and above also use a different curve shape. shown visually in the figure below. • All rights reserved. What TRV will my breaker withstand? A.06 defines the requirements. the voltage is higher and the timer is shorter. Why should I care about TRV? A. Inc. and of the location and magnitude of the fault being interrupted. For lower values of short circuit current. Just what is transient recovery voltage: A. Q. TRV is an inherent function of the parameters of a power system.6900 • Fax: 713. and a time to reach that voltage. The curve between O. E2 is required to be 1. If the TRV withstand rating is exceeded by the system TRV. Q. at full rated short circuit current for a fault at the terminals of the breaker. The rating is stated in terms of a peak voltage. but this effect is usually unimportant. typically about 600V in a 15kV circuit.76kV to 125µs for breakers rated 38kV.4453 www. When the current passes through zero.com . T2 . PO Box 12818 • Houston. Since the circuit breaker is part of the system. Q. For circuit breakers used in metal-clad switchgear. The contact-to-contact voltage is the arc voltage. How do I know what my TRV will be? A. How is TRV determined? A. just like continuos current.944. Q. Q. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. Computer programs designed for power system analysis can usually calculate TRV at selected points on the system.powellind. ANSI Standard C37.Powell Technical Brief #70 The Importance of Transient Recovery Voltage January 10.O and E2. Tel: 713. an arc is created between them.com info@powellind. Both E2 and T2 increase as the breaker's rated voltage increases. but a proposed revision lists values from 50µs for breakers rated 4. This may take a computer-based system study. As circuit breaker contacts part during the interrupting process. I'll try to answer some additional recent questions about TRV in this PTB. conduction ceases. TRV withstand capability is a rating of a circuit breaker.88 times the breaker's rated maximum voltage. it may have some minor effect on the TRV. and the contact-to-contact voltage moves toward the difference in system voltages on the two sides of the open circuit breaker. the circuit breaker may fail to perform properly.T2 is defined as a "1-cosine" curve. maximum voltage.947. This change in voltage is the transient recovery voltage. E2 . and interrupting current. The present standard does not specify T2. Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems.

com info@powellind. Inc.4453 www.6900 • Fax: 713.Powell Technical Brief #70 The Importance of Transient Recovery Voltage page 2 Baldwin Bridger.E. PO Box 12818 • Houston. • All rights reserved. P.947. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. Inc.powellind.944. Tel: 713.com . TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries.

Several methods of accomplishing this task are available. or 50% of the line voltage to the motor to start. then shorted out. The capacitors are removed from the circuit as the motor reaches running speed. using the 80% tap on the autotransformer requires only 64% of the across the line starting current. followed by an hour's rest before repeating the three starts. 65%.944.947. • All rights reserved. canceling out the large reactive current drawn by the motor on starting. The reactor may be placed on the line side of the motor or in the neutral. Baldwin Bridger. and is 64$ on the 80% tap. 1996 Most ac motors. P.E. This reduced-impact starting is frequently referred to as reduced voltage starting because most of the common methods involve applying a reduced voltage to the motor winding. However.Powell Technical Brief #71 Starting Methods for Large Medium Voltage Motors February 9. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems.com info@powellind. Starting torque is also 64% on the 80% tap. Tel: 713. Line current is reduced by the square of the tap. Unless otherwise requested. Line current is reduced to the tap value. • • • • • Autotransformer: An autotransformer is connected between the power source and the motor during the starting period. The motor thinks it is seeing a full voltage start. both synchronous and induction. 65%. These reactors usually have taps that apply 80%. Reactor: A reactor is connected in series with the motor. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. while the power system thinks it is seeing a running motor. Inc. Wound Rotor: For induction motors only. or 50% of the line voltage to the motor to start. Modern starters use the closed transition switching sequence. See PTB 69 for further information. in which the autotransformer winding is converted briefly to a series reactor near the end of the starting sequence. that is. the autotransformer will be the medium duty type.6900 • Fax: 713. This sequence requires three switching devices (circuit breakers or contactors). Some of the more common methods are described below. Capacitor: A bank of capacitors is connected in parallel with the motor during starting.com . that is. Motor starting autotransformers usually have taps that apply 80%. Solid-state Drives: A wide variety of starting and speed control performance can be obtained through the use of modern solid-state drives. using the 80% tap on the reactor requires 80% of the across the line starting current. when motors are large with respect to the capacity of the power system it is often necessary to use a starting method that reduces the impact on the power system caused by starting the large motor. Two switching devices are required.powellind. are started "across the line". Starting torque is reduced by the square of the tap. that is. Reactor start requires only two switching devices. allowing 3 starts. Inc. PO Box 12818 • Houston.4453 www. the starting contactor or circuit breaker connects the 3-phase motor winding directly to the 3-phase power supply.

which are normally voltage actuated. open circuit protectors are available. Also.com . This is especially important for CTs connected to high impedance bus differential relays. CT secondary circuits are often wired to special terminal blocks which allow a short circuit to be placed on the CT secondary if it is necessary to service the secondary circuit.E. but in very different ways. 1996 Current transformers should never be operated with an open secondary circuit. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries.6900 • Fax: 713. in order to protect itself. and shorts the CT secondary through an SCR if the instantaneous voltage exceeds the set point.Powell Technical Brief #72 Open Circuit Protectors for Current Transformers April 10. The protector must operate for a true open circuit. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems.944. this voltage may be several hundred volts if the primary current is high enough. such as in substations where CT leads from high voltage circuit breakers or transformers may runs as much as several hundred feet to reach the secondary devices. The variable resistance type carries enough current to limit the voltage across the protector. For those users who wish even further protection against the possibility of an accidental open circuit in a CT secondary. Both types of protector come in several voltage classes. Tel: 713. This short remains for the rest of the half-cycle of the voltage wave on which it occurs. this device includes a heater element in series with the variable resistor and a bimetallic contact which will short out the CT secondary before the variable resistor element is damaged.powellind. PO Box 12818 • Houston. Some users require these devices in metal-enclosed switchgear. devices used in CT secondary circuits are designed to prevent open circuits. These are useful especially where the CT secondary leads are long and subject to possible damage. The electronic type monitors instantaneous voltage. If the secondary of a CT carrying primary current is open circuited. but only about 5% or less of the switchgear we build has these protectors. It is very important when applying these protectors that the proper voltage class be chosen. P. and coordinated with the operation of the relays at maximum fault current. but must not operate to short circuit the CTs under fault conditions. To guard against this possibility. There are two basic types of protectors available . and drawout relay cases have shorting contacts in current circuits so that the CT circuits are shorted before the relay coil is removed from the circuit. For instance. Each half cycle is separately monitored and acted upon. Inc. much in the manner of an MOV or a surge arrester.com info@powellind. They both work by limiting the CT secondary voltage.947. This voltage may be dangerous to personnel servicing the equipment and damaging to the CT itself or to devices connected to the CT. However. and is then removed. preventing desired relay operation. Baldwin Bridger. ammeter switches have overlapping contacts so that the circuit is never opened as the ammeter is transferred from phase to phase. • All rights reserved. Inc.variable resistance and electronic.4453 www. a high voltage can be developed across the CT terminals. Depending of the characteristics of the particular CT.

20. While some of these features may be available as options (Powell can provide all of them). Ratings are available up to 38 kV.3. The maximum ratings in C37. Metal-clad switchgear requires that the main switching and interrupting device be drawout. Metal-Clad Switchgear and C37. is not required.20. and bare bus is standard. • All rights reserved. Inc. as defined in ANSI standards. This definition appears in all three of the ANSI/IEEE standards covering the types of metal-enclosed power switchgear: C37. shutters over the primary circuit elements when the interrupter is withdrawn. low voltage switchgear cannot be considered metal-clad. or both. PO Box 12818 • Houston. It may be either manually or electrically operated. Each circuit breaker is enclosed in a grounded metal compartment. This rating is commonly used on 2400 V ac circuits. Let's look at some of the things that define each of these types. a definition is in order. Circuit breakers are always electrically operated. 1996 Would you be surprised if I said it might be both? Metal-clad switchgear is one of three common types of metal-enclosed switchgear. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries.20.2 is 4. or both. but is seldom used at lower voltages. Metal-enclosed low voltage power circuit breaker switchgear is obviously for use on low voltage systems.1 are 635 V for ac switchgear and up to 3200 V for dc switchgear.com . they are not required by the standard.944. with buses and connections. Metal-Enclosed Low Voltage Power Circuit Breaker Switchgear. and insulation-covered bus are all required.947. It may be either a circuit breaker (usual) or a load-break interrupter switch (unusual). The minimum rated voltage listed in C37.76 kV. Access to the interior of the enclosure is provided by doors or removable covers.4453 www. Shutters are not required over bus connections when drawout breakers are used. Metal-Enclosed Interrupter Switchgear. Under the ANSI standards.1. The interrupting device is a low voltage power circuit breaker. either withdrawable or stationary.6900 • Fax: 713. The assembly may include control and auxiliary devices. but other isolation. Tel: 713. fused or unfused. Extensive barriering. Metal-clad is usually considered the top of the line of medium-voltage metal-enclosed switchgear. C37.20.20.Powell Technical Brief #73 Metal-Clad Switchgear or Metal-Enclosed Switchgear: Which is it? April 23. Inc. such as between buses and cable connections. Metal-enclosed power switchgear: A switchgear assembly completely enclosed on all sides and top with sheet metal (except for ventilating openings and inspection windows) containing primary power circuit switching or interrupting devices.2. Before I confuse you further.powellind.com info@powellind. Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems.

powellind. • All rights reserved. The main switching device is an interrupter switch. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. Bare bus is standard and required barriering is minimal. Baldwin Bridger. P.com . usually load-break.6900 • Fax: 713.947.Powell Technical Brief #73 Metal-Clad Switchgear or Metal-Enclosed Switchgear: Which is it? page 2 Metal-enclosed interrupter switchgear covers the same voltage range as metal-clad. which may be stationary (usual) or drawout (unusual).944. Inc. Overcurrent protection is usually provided by fuses. Tel: 713.com info@powellind. but is of simpler construction. Inc. the switches are usually manually operated. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems.E.4453 www. Although electrical operators are available. PO Box 12818 • Houston.

Inc.4453 www. Tel: 713. there is no exact equivalence between the enclosure types in the various standards. • All rights reserved. and C37. However. because each enclosure type number is preceded by the letters "IP" (for International Protection).947. and must allow ventilation adequate to keep the equipment within its temperature limitations while operating. they protect the working parts of the equipment from the effects of the environmental conditions in which the equipment is installed.3 are the basic standards for metal-enclosed switchgear. and IEC standards. It is the source of the definitions for the familiar NEMA 1. There are three major sources of enclosure information applicable to metal-enclosed switchgear and motor control: ANSI/IEEE. IEC 694: This standard covers high-voltage switchgear and controlgear. enclosures. including parts of the human body. Second. It refers to IEC 529.20. Each standard defines its various enclosure types and prescribes appropriate tests to demonstrate the effectiveness of the enclosure. It is often referred to as the "IP Code". Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. NEMA 250: This standard lists numerous varieties of enclosures for electrical equipment.2.com . TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. Inc.6900 • Fax: 713.20. NEMA.. etc. These standards recognize only two types of enclosure. but specifically limits high-voltage switchgear and controlgear enclosures to enclosure types with no degree of protection against harmful ingress of water (second characteristic numeral X). but the following table shows a comparison of the closest types in each standard. C37. and there is no voltage limitation. Unfortunately. 1996 The enclosures which are a part of metal-enclosed switchgear and motor control equipment furnished by Powell serve two major purposes. while performing these two duties the enclosures also allow reasonable access to parts for operation and maintenance. First. but applies only to equipment rated 2000 V maximum.powellind.1. ANSI/IEEE C37 Series: C37. NEMA 4.944.20. indoor and outdoor. they protect users of this equipment from injury by preventing access to live parts by foreign objects. PO Box 12818 • Houston. Outdoor equipment uses the suffix W. NEMA 3R. IEC 529: This standard also lists numerous varieties of enclosures for electrical equipment.Powell Technical Brief #74 Enclosures for Metal-Enclosed Switchgear and Motor Control July 12.com info@powellind.

Powell offers arc resistant indoor enclosures for PowlVac® metal-clad switchgear and weather-proof Power Control Room (PCR®) enclosures for all types of equipment.com .947. • All rights reserved.com info@powellind.Powell Technical Brief #74 Enclosures for Metal-Enclosed Switchgear and Motor Control page 2 ANSI/IEEE C37 Series Indoor Outdoor NEMA 250 NEMA 1 NEMA 3R IEC 529 IP20 IP24 IEC 694 IP2X IP2XW In addition to the standard indoor and outdoor enclosures. P.944.E. PO Box 12818 • Houston.6900 • Fax: 713. Baldwin Bridger.4453 www.powellind. Inc. Tel: 713. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. Inc.

you define a surface area where effective bar-to-bar conduction takes place. Since most joints are made by bolting a bus bar to a splice plate or a riser bus. and its presence leads to increased resistance and high temperature in the joint. Copper bus bars are normally plated with silver. and additional overlap area is of little importance. This is shown by the heavy line in Figure 1. Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. PO Box 12818 • Houston. Tel: 713. As pointed out in PTB 24. tin. 1996 From time to time questions arise about bus overlap dimensions and the number of bolts required in a bus joint. Inc. that 1/2" bolts make a very satisfactory joint for bus rated up to 4000 A. the bolted joint will be effective. The great majority of these points of deformation take place under the hardware.4453 www. Inc. Proper torques are given in PTB 53.powellind.Powell Technical Brief #75 Overlap and Bolting of Bus Connections July 29. the complete bus-to-bus splice will normally have four bolts. If you project a line outward a 45° from the edge of the flat washer through the thickness of the bus bar.E. As long as the overlap of the two bus bars is sufficient to cover this area. For most main buses in switchgear and motor control. we prefer to us 1/2" bolts. as shown by the dotted line in figure 1.947. • All rights reserved. it is preferable to use a few large bolts rather than many small ones. If the temperature rise is less than the limits given by the relevant product standard. the bus work and its joints are satisfactory.com . To achieve high torques and large contact areas. When two bus bars are bolted together. and then bolting the next section of bus to this same splice plate or riser bus. the factor which determines the adequacy of bus work is the temperature rise. Baldwin Bridger.6900 • Fax: 713. It is our experience. based on numerous temperature rise tests. the current transfer from one bar to the other takes place at a number of locations where microscopic projections on the surface of the two bars are deformed by the pressure of the bolted joint. If the temperature goes too high. no amount of overlap or number of bolts makes the joint okay. Copper oxide is a semiconductor. Bolted Bus Connection In order to create the pressure necessary to deform the micro projections on the bus bars.944. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. the bolt torque must be rather high. or nickel at all joints in order to prevent the formation of copper oxide in the joint. P. Figure 1.com info@powellind.

And third. Technical Director Emerititus Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. like the metal enclosure of switchgear units. However. it is magnetic. The basic raw material is much more costly than either carbon steel or aluminum. The usual method of reducing these magnetic effects is to make at least one side of the bus duct enclosure of a non-magnetic material. raises the temperature of the enclosure. Second.E.com . reducing its effectiveness in dissipating the heat generated in the bus bars. Baldwin Bridger. a third alternative is to make the bus duct enclosure of stainless steel. aluminum may also have environmental problems. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. Powell will furnish bus duct with stainless steel enclosures. Inc. This effectively reduces the continuous current rating of the bus duct. a stainless steel bus duct enclosure should not be specified unless there is a real need for the material. The first material we think of when talking about metal enclosures is steel — ordinary. Powell routinely uses galvanized steel for all outdoor bus duct enclosures. performs several functions. If steel is not suitable. If the circumstances require it. PO Box 12818 • Houston. At some very high ratings. which withstands bad environments well and is also non-magnetic. Another drawback of steel is that. The drawback to using stainless steel is its cost. every-day hotrolled carbon steel. at an appropriate price adder.944. it may not stand up well in some harsh environments. First. if neither galvanized carbon steel nor aluminum is suitable for the environment. P. Tel: 713.23. since the continuous current rating is determined by the temperature rise of both the conductors and the enclosure. it provides mechanical support for the conductors and their insulation system. However. often aluminum. Most importantly. These currents have a couple of ill effects. Because of this increased price. This. and considerably greater effort is required to fabricate it. Inc.com info@powellind. the entire bus duct enclosure may be made of aluminum. The metal enclosure of the bus duct. • All rights reserved. To a lesser degree.powellind.6900 • Fax: 713. an all-aluminum bus duct enclosure is preferred. in accordance with ANSI/IEEE Standard C37. it protects personnel from the hazard of contact with energized electrical conductors.4453 www. Powell’s usual practice is to make the top cover of bus ducts rated over 1200 A of aluminum. but aluminum is. 1997 Bus ducts built by Powell are metal-enclosed. steel has some drawbacks as an enclosure material. making the entire bus duct run hotter. it protects the conductors from mechanical damage and environmental distress.Powell Technical Brief #76 Bus Duct Enclosure Material February 19. even with a good paint job on galvanized steel. They represent energy losses as they flow through the resistance of the steel.947. in turn. and the magnetic field surrounding the conductors induces circulating currents in the enclosure.

6900 • Fax: 713. are the most common method of joint insulation in switchgear up to 15 kV. The insulated bus.com info@powellind. and it is still used in some cases.Powell Technical Brief #77 Insulation of Bus Joints February 20. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. molded to fit the shape of the joint. If a fault does occur. the insulation allows reduced spacing between the bus bars for a given B. This voltage is applied between the insulated conductor and an electrode. These generally do a good job on straight in-line joints. This is probably the oldest method of insulating a joint. However.4453 www. rating. 4. but there are probably many of these joints still in service in older switchgear. The great majority of these boots are molded of PVC. including the following: 1. Over the years a number of methods of insulating joints have been used. 2. usually a foil wrapping. 1997 One of the defining features of metal-clad switchgear built according to ANSI/IEEE Standard C37. Tel: 713. often taking several hours per joint. Asphalt-filled plastic boxes. it is very difficult to get these boots to pass the test for bus bar insulation required by the standard.947. Heat and cold shrink materials. Inc.20. Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. including both factory-made and field-made joints. Boots. There are a number of heat shrink and cold shrink products available. must pass a power-frequency voltage test for one minute at rated voltage. on the surface of the insulation. but can be difficult to use on joints with a more complex shape. taking advantage of this smaller size equipment requires insulation of all joints. At voltages above 15 kV. is covered with insulating material. The method was abandoned before 1960 for new equipment. and a good joint is highly dependant on the skill and care of the person doing the taping. It was especially messy when a joint had to be opened and cleaned for some reason. removed readily. however. However. some joints are so complex that taping is about the only way to insulate them. This was a messy process. both in the main bus and at cable or bus duct terminations in the switchgear. including the joints.com .L. 3. Taping. PO Box 12818 • Houston. and reused. And finally.powellind. 45 to 50 years ago.2 is that all power circuit bus work. but other materials have been used. The boots can be installed quickly and easily. Inc.I. Flexible boots. allowing more compact switchgear. • All rights reserved. The insulation decreases the likelihood of accidentally starting a fault with a misplaced tool (or body part). due to a break in the insulating system.944. the fault is usually kept from traveling the length of the bus because the insulation keeps the arc rooted in one place. many main bus joints were insulated by enclosing them in hard plastic boxes and pouring the box full of an asphaltic compound. It is slow. and the materials used were neither flame retardant nor track resistant.

• All rights reserved.947. Poured joints.powellind. For our PV System 38® switchgear. and provides for visual inspection of the bus joint. Please be sure to insulate the bus joints when you install your metal-clad switchgear. This joint insulation method does meet the bus bar insulation test at 38 kV.com info@powellind.944. Baldwin Bridger.com . TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. using removable molds and a clear urethane insulating material.6900 • Fax: 713.E. PO Box 12818 • Houston. Technical Director Emerititus Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems.4453 www.Powell Technical Brief #77 Insulation of Bus Joints page 2 5. Powell has developed a system of poured joints. Inc. Inc. P. Tel: 713.

Powell Technical Brief #78 Circuit Breaker Trip Defeat Switch October 1. Tel: 713. In this position the trip coil is in the circuit. If we can help with this or any other topic please don't hesitate to call. Yes. This scheme allows a much more comprehensive check of the protection system than we have done in the past. Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems.com . Due to the critical nature of defeating the trip coil a separate contact should be wired to the substation annunciator and to an amber light mounted in the front of the breaker panel to indicate when the breaker is in the trip defeated mode. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. but don’t forget the circuit breaker. With the switch in the trip defeated position the technician can function the relays -. Once the testing is complete the technician confirms that the lockouts are reset. The dropping resistor is sized to make the circuit draw the same amount of current as the trip coil. This action combined with a healthy coil monitor device or a healthy coil light tests the circuit to the final element without opening the circuit breaker. Inc. The Circuit Breaker Trip Defeat Switch requires a two position control switch (95 device). Thus confirming that the relays output contacts will indeed pick-up the lockout relays and that the lockout contacts will energize the trip coil of the circuit breaker. and then pull the relays for a full calibration check every second or third year. • All rights reserved. the trip light is de-energized then transfer the Circuit Breaker Trip Defeat Switch back to the normal mode. Now for my note as a circuit breaker manufacturer. In the trip defeated position the circuit breakers trip coil is cut out of the circuit and replaced with an indicating light and a dropping resistor.com info@powellind.tripping lockouts and see that the lockout would have energized the trip coil via the indicating light. we have tested the protective logic all the way to the trip coil but the breaker has just gone another year without functioning and the grease without exercise hardens over time. As the failure rate of relays goes down. Inc. With the increased reliability of relaying and the pressure for extending the maintenance intervals: more equipment owners are asking for the capability to do final element functional testing on the circuit breakers feeding loads that they can not afford to de-energize on a regular basis.4453 www. 1997 (corrected) The Circuit Breaker Trip Defeat Switch allows the owner to take the functional testing of the protective relay scheme and extend it all the way to the trip coil without opening the circuit breaker. the equipment owner would prefer to functionally check the protective relay scheme and setpoint yearly. Granted in an air-conditioned substation the interval between maintenance can be extended but not indefinitely.947.powellind. PO Box 12818 • Houston. Position one is the normal trip mode (see sketch).944.6900 • Fax: 713. The second position is the trip defeated mode.

com info@powellind.4453 www. • All rights reserved.com ©2005 Powell Industries. PO Box 12818 • Houston.6900 • Fax: 713. TX • 77217 Tel: 713.947.944. .Powell Technical Brief #78 Circuit Breaker Trip Defeat Switch page 2 Jim Bowen Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. Inc.powellind. Inc.

Powell Technical Brief #79 Ferroresonance in Voltage Transformer (VT) Circuits
October 1, 1997 (corrected) In the last couple of months we have received several different questions as to what is ferroresonance in a VT circuit, when does it occur and how do we protect against it. Ferroresonance can occur when the primary of a voltage transformer is connected line to ground in an ungrounded circuit. This configuration results in the magnetizing reactance of the VT being in a parallel loop with the coupling capacitance to ground of the system (see Figure 1).

Figure 1

The coupling capacitance is primarily made up of the capacitance of the system dielectric between the phase conductor and ground. The value of the voltage transformers magnetizing reactance varies as a function of the amount of flux going through the iron. This results in an LC circuit and requires only a simple voltage transient to excite the resonant frequency. Once the ringing begins the voltage across the individual components of magnetizing reactance and coupling capacitance can reach high levels and the ringing can go undamped if the voltage transformer is lightly loaded. The loading of the VT has a very important part to play in limiting the magnitude of current in the oscillation circuit since the resistance of the load will act as a current divider and send a portion of the current to ground. This graph from the IEEE Red Book shows the impact of load on the magnitude of the current in the ringing circuit (see Figure 2).

Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems, Inc. PO Box 12818 • Houston, TX • 77217

©2005 Powell Industries, Inc. • All rights reserved.

Tel: 713.944.6900 • Fax: 713.947.4453 www.powellind.com info@powellind.com

Powell Technical Brief #79 Ferroresonance in Voltage Transformer (VT) Circuits
page 2

Figure 2

During the oscillation, the current can drive the magnetizing force to saturate the VT. When the VT is saturated, the reactance to ground will diminish and the current to ground through the primary of the VT will go high. At the end of the sinusoid the VT will drop out of saturation, but with a low loss system the stored charge remains relatively high across the system coupling capacitance. As the polarity of the sinusoid changes the process repeats itself. The current surges, through the VT primary during the periods of saturation, can be much greater than full load rating but not approaching fault current levels, making it very difficult for the fuses on the primary of the VT to interrupt. Thus current surging may result in a blown VT fuse but often results in a shorted VT. To keep the resonance magnitude down, the secondary side of the VT circuit can be artificially loaded. There are two common methods of loading used to minimize the effects of ferroresonance. One is to install the VT’s with their secondary windings connected in a broken delta and with a resistor completing the broken delta circuit. The watts of the resistor should equal 50% of the VA of a single VT.

Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems, Inc. PO Box 12818 • Houston, TX • 77217

©2005 Powell Industries, Inc. • All rights reserved.

Tel: 713.944.6900 • Fax: 713.947.4453 www.powellind.com info@powellind.com

Powell Technical Brief #79 Ferroresonance in Voltage Transformer (VT) Circuits
page 3 The second and most popular method is to put a resistor across the secondary of each VT. The rule of thumb from several old references is that the resistive loading should range between the VA required to excite the core at no load and 50% of the thermal rating of the VT. For specific VT’s, the manufacturer can recommend a precise value of resistance. Due to the varying frequency of the transient and the magnetizing reactance this is not a problem that occurs in every system or even every time a voltage transformer is connected to ground on an ungrounded system. If the resonant frequency of the LC circuit is excited the swamping resistor will dampen the ringing to prevent long term effects. If we can be of help on this or any other topic please don't hesitate to call.

Jim Bowen Technical Director

Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems, Inc. PO Box 12818 • Houston, TX • 77217

©2005 Powell Industries, Inc. • All rights reserved.

Tel: 713.944.6900 • Fax: 713.947.4453 www.powellind.com info@powellind.com

The silver is found on the bus. and test switches. Inc.6900 • Fax: 713. 1997 Sulfur rich environments such as those found in paper and refinery processes have a special problem with the silver plating in Switchgear and Motor Control Centers. How does the sulfur get in? The sulfur from the process combines with air to form Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S) with some Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) and Sulfur Trioxide ( SO3) by-products. These include: Chemical Filtration One of the most effective ways of combating the whiskers is to filter the H2S.com . ISA Standard 70. SO2 and SO3 out of the air in the switchgear room. Your nose can give you some idea whether sulfur is present. Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems.Powell Technical Brief #80 Switchgear in a Sulfur Rich Environment October 27. and in turn accelerates the tarnishing and the growth of the semi conducting whiskers. Tel: 713. Silver plating is used throughout switchgear because of the superior conductivity and longevity. . The unit does require some maintenance and the filters have to be changed approximately once a year. The whiskers are semi conducting and the tarnish is highly resistive. These filters are housed in a separate box about the size of one of the air conditioning units and reduce the ISA harsh environment levels such as the 50 ppb of H2S to an H2S concentration of 3 ppb and SO2 and SO3 to 10 ppb. which produces more heat. control switches. The odor threshold is down around 8 ppb for the H2S. This death spiral continues on until you clean the surfaces or the whiskers get long enough to reach a ground plane.944. PO Box 12818 • Houston. in the circuit breaker.powellind. But the best way to detect sulfur is by surveying the existing gear for the problems described above and in the case of grass roots facilities discussing with your environmental people the types of fugitive emissions expected from the new units. In and around process units with sulfur present it is very common to open up the switchgear and see fine black hairs commonly referred to as whiskers growing from any and every silver plated surface. The silver sulfide tarnish grows in areas of the switchgear where the highest concentrations of sulfur is exposed to heat and since the hottest areas are bus joints and sliding contacts. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. To combat the effects of sulfur on switchgear there are a couple of steps that can be taken. such as the bus stabs.947. These whiskers and the black tarnish forming under them are silver sulfide. The tarnish at the splices and sliding contacts result in a high resistance connection. If the Switchgear and MCC’s are going into a separate Power Control Room the air conditioning can be fitted with activated carbon filters.com info@powellind. auxiliary relays. • All rights reserved. this is not good.be it a relay contact or a breaker stab.4453 www. in protective relays.01 defines a harsh environment as a concentration of 50 ppb (parts per billion) of H2S or 300 ppb of SO2 and SO3. Inc.

TX • 77217 Tel: 713. If we can help with this in any way please give us a call. These individual filters are disposable and can do a good job of filtering whatever portion of the air that goes through the louvers. Exposure Avoidance The other strategy commonly used is to minimize the amount of silver exposed to the sulfur by specifying tin plated bus in place of the silver and gold plated contacts or hermetically sealed relays where available. Conducting grease applied at any sliding contact points can help to seal out the sulfur and stiffer springs to improve the wipe can also assist in fighting the problem.com info@powellind.4453 www.947. It is well worth while to evaluate the cost of these different options on any job where H2S or SO2 and SO3 may be present. who have experienced these problems first hand you know that this is more that just a shorter maintenance interval. test switches and protective relay contacts are not available with gold plated contacts. But there are difficulties with this strategy. For those.6900 • Fax: 713. And tin has a couple of problems such as galling and softness that make it less than ideal for sliding contact applications. See PTB 41 "Plating of Contact Surfaces in Switchgear and Circuit Breakers". Jim Bowen Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems.com ©2005 Powell Industries.944. many control switches. so their overall effectiveness is limited. Inc. . While the individual filters do have a significant impact on how often the switchgear has to be maintained it will not protect the equipment in the instrument compartment or cubicles where there is not a definite air entry. • All rights reserved. Inc. PO Box 12818 • Houston.Powell Technical Brief #80 Switchgear in a Sulfur Rich Environment page 2 The next level of protection is to fit individual active carbon filters over all switchgear louvers. The whiskers are not only a threat to the power circuit they can be rather insidious in affecting the functionality of the protective scheme.powellind. In the areas where we replaced the silver with either tin or gold we have eliminated the chance for the whiskers to grow.

1.powellind.Powell Technical Brief #81 Direct Control of Motor Contactors via PLC’s and Distributive Control Systems October 28. Two amps seem to be the most popular for the electro-mechanical value and ¼ amp for the solid state output. This is without the consideration of the wire impedance connecting the two systems. Both of these digital output modules are listed in the vendor literature as having a 120 Vac rating of such and such current.947. The expected power factor obviously changes from one manufacturer to the next for both PLC and DCS. Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems.944. In most cases the manufacturer has a kit available as an option. For solid state outputs the snubber is a 0. A power factor of 0. PO Box 12818 • Houston. For the electromechanical output internal protection is usually provided for loads up to 1 amp after that you need to provide it separately. The normal contactor coil has a power factor of 0. Tel: 713. The leakage current is a small quantity of current that trickles through the device even after turn off. The output relay ends up with contact pitting and the contactor coil receives a steep fronted voltage spike which shortens the life of the insulation. A commonly asked question is whether the interposing relay situated between the two systems is really needed or not. Inc. This appears to make the triac an undesirable combination with the standard contactor.1 microfrad capacitor and a 100 ohm resister series together. In addition to confirming the make and break capability. 1997 As we automate the process systems more and more we are looking for direct control of the motor starters with PLC’s and Distributive Control Systems (DCS). The cap should have about a 400 Vdc rating for a 120 volt control system.6900 • Fax: 713.4453 www. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. the application engineer should realize that the turn off of the standard starter results in an inductive kick that sends a significant voltage spike though the system. The forward bias means that the triac must maintain some minimum current flow to keep the device in the on state.com info@powellind. The thing I had difficulty finding was the expected power factor of the load.com . I have gone through and looked at the more common systems and put together this technical brief to highlight some of the concerns involving the interposing relay. • All rights reserved. The triac outputs add an additional level of possible problem due to the triac’s leakage current during turn off and forward bias requirements. Inc. The spike can be limited by installing a snubber circuit across the output contacts.0. at this level the output rating should be derated by 50%.5 seemed to be the most common although I did find one manufacturer who based his rating on a power factor of 1. This few milli amps will be in parallel with the distributed wire capacitance of the wire between the control system and the MCC to make the turn off a significant problem. Digital Outputs Modules The electro-mechanical and the solid state (triac) output modules are commonly available for either PLC’s or DCS’s.

A separate concern about doing away with the interposing relay you may want to discuss with the end user is the safety aspects of bringing 120 volt control power from the MCC starter drawers into the PLC or DCS.947. you may have to add a swamping resistor in parallel with the MCC input to make sure the circuit draws sufficient current to keep the triac forward biased. Inc. with a stop station in the field next to the load.4453 www. If we can help with this or any other topic please do not hesitate to call. The way most plant treat the insides of their PLC and DCS is as though there is no voltage level greater that 50 volts to ground. The reliability of the triac output module will allow it to do more operations successfully than the electromechanical. Tel: 713.6900 • Fax: 713. The electro-mechanical relay output is less likely to have problems getting the two systems to match-up.944. PO Box 12818 • Houston.com info@powellind. Inc. In some cases this can have a tremendous impact on the cost of doing work. but since the coil is not operated directly. if it is wired properly! So the concerns relative to interrupting a large inductive load are eliminated. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. the high relay input impedance of the smart MCC and the distributed wire capacitance may begin to play a part in the functionality of the stop circuit. The longer the length of the control circuit the higher the leakage current and the more likely resistance may need to be added to assure that the circuit will recognize a stop command. In addition. At 50 volts and below OSHA Standard 1910 and NFPA 70E’s Electrical Safe Work Practices & Working Space Requirements need not apply.Powell Technical Brief #81 Direct Control of Motor Contactors via PLC’s and Distributive Control Systems page 2 Smart Motor Control When using many of the new smart motor control centers the control circuit is no longer interrupting the coil current directly. • All rights reserved. Based on the legwork I have done the interposing relay still makes good sense until the confidence in the twisted pair communication allows us direct communication between the smart MCC and the PLC or DCS. But by bringing the 110 Vac into the control system the rules identified in OSHA 1910 are applicable.powellind. Jim Bowen Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems.com .

Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. To install MOV surge arresters in switchgear and MV MCC there are several physical aspects to be considered to assure reliable operation.6900 • Fax: 713. thus resulting in a line to ground fault. If the temperature exceeds the thermal capability of the arrester. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. Cable connection tail length – It is critical that the length of the leads connecting the surge arrester to the protected equipment and the arrester to the ground bus must be minimized. The internal resistance of the surge arrester begins to drop off and the device turn-on voltage is lowered. Inc. an insulator at nominal voltage and a conductor at higher voltages. Skirt to skirt distances – The surge arrester is made up of two dielectric materials in parallel. The most significant of these are ambient temperature.com info@powellind.the leakage current continues to climb.com .Powell Technical Brief #82 Physical Installations of Surge Arresters April 16. Tel: 713.6 kV/ft.944. The wave continues to travel down the system past the surge arrester near the speed of light at the original surge voltage until the arrester turns on to clamp the voltage at the arrester discharge voltage. and the spacing between the arrester in two separate phases. Inc.4453 www. The decreased discharge voltage becomes more important in systems above 15 kV where BIL coordination margin is reduced below the 20% protection margin recommended by ANSI. The outer surface is typically a polymer insulating material that creates a voltage gradient along the length of the arrester. The second part is the inner portion of the arrester. A skirt to skirt spacing of 1 inch/30 kV of BIL is recommended. thermal runaway occurs and the arrester turns on at the system operating voltage and will not turn off. This surface distance is commonly referred to as the creepage distance. The increase in leakage current causes the surge arrester temperature to exceed the temperature rating of the MOV. The voltage drop of the lead wire connecting the arrester to the equipment being protected and the arrester to the ground plane adversely effects the discharge voltage of the surge arrester. Ambient temperature –The Metal Oxide Varistors are rated for a -40°C to 40°C ambient with a temporary maximum air temperature of 60°C. A rule of thumb is that the arrester discharge voltage is decreased by 1. 1998 Surge arresters are commonly used in switchgear today to clamp transient voltages at levels below the allowable BIL of the equipment being fed and the switchgear feeding it. Metal Oxide Varistors (MOV) are commonly used in switchgear and medium voltage motor control centers (MV MCC). To prevent conduction across the surface (tracking). PO Box 12818 • Houston. • All rights reserved. The arrester plays a special part for motors and generators in extending the equipment life under certain system configurations. The metal oxide arresters offer smooth turn-on and turn-off at lower surge current levels than the older valve type silicon-carbide technology. for every foot of lead length between the phase conductor and the ground bus. the lead length of the conductor connecting the arrester to the equipment being protected.powellind.947. adequate phase to phase and phase to ground spacing must be maintained. As the temperature of the device increases -. the MOV disk.

4453 www. Inc. If the switchgear spacing is based on insulated phase distances.6900 • Fax: 713.944. it is important that phase spacing be maintained between the conductors throughout the lineup. To keep from "shorting out" the creepage distance.Powell Technical Brief #82 Physical Installations of Surge Arresters page 2 Conductor to conductor distances -. the lug connection on top of the arrester must be booted.947. These physical considerations play an important part in assuring that the arresters are able to function properly. The conductor connected to the lug on top of the arrester is at line potential and must maintain the same phase spacing as the bus phase conductors (see PTB #59 for distances). • All rights reserved.com info@powellind.In additional to skirt to skirt spacing. the boot may not make contact with more than the first skirt.powellind. The boot fit should barely cover the first skirt ring. Jim Bowen Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. Inc. PO Box 12818 • Houston. and should form a continuous path from the conductor to the first ring of the arrester. Tel: 713.com . TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries.

Powell Technical Brief #83 Additional Safety Features August 3. Yes. This extension design allows the shutter to be the primary point of Lock and Tag out. PO Box 12818 • Houston. Our existing shutter mechanisms have a set of holes to allow the shutters to be padlocked in the closed position. Once again this is something that is covered by the plant’s safe-work practices. The technician was going down the line up cleaning all the breaker stabs when he mistakenly went into the cubicle with the load side stabs energized and was killed when he came in contact with the stabs. The labels identify whether the stabs are "Load Side". By padlocking the shutter closed you protect technicians from mistakenly opening a shutter on an energized set of stabs. Tel: 713.4453 www. He had performed the proper isolation and lock out procedure.6900 • Fax: 713. The lead technician was performing preventative maintenance on a secondary selective system. 1998 There are several optional features that our clients specify to enhance the overall safety of the switchgear for the individual electrical technician. "Line Side" "Bus Side A" or "Bus Side B".947. Every safe-work practice says assume everything is energized before you touch a conductor. Shutter locks: The shutter mechanism is the last level of protection between the stabs and a person doing work in the cell.944. Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. Tasks often require an electrical technician to open the shutters on an energized cell. But we have had another case here in the Gulf Coast region just recently of a individual getting electrocuted on an energized stab while doing preventative maintenance. this simple label offers a valuable confirmation to the technician in the field that has proven to be effective. Whether the shutters need to be opened to megger a motor feeder or to insert a ground and test device it is important that the technician be given visual confirmation of which set of stabs are energized. • All rights reserved.powellind.com info@powellind. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. the safe-work practice requires that the stabs be checked for voltage prior to hooking up the test equipment. The labels are decals mounted on the shutters in front of the circuit breaker stabs. he had left a load side CPT energized via a down stream emergency generator to provide station service power for the shut down. This PTB will begin a series highlighting some of these features so that others might benefit from the collective experience. Three of these topics that were discussed at the last PCIC Safety Workshop were: Shutter labels: The simplest enhancements to add to a switchgear line-up are shutter labels. Inc. We also have an optional design that brings a bar from the shutter mechanism to the very front of the cell. The shutter is the moveable guard that drops in front of the breaker stabs as the breaker is racked to the disconnected position. Inc. As planned.com . But. The shutter label indicates to the technician performing testing or grounding on a vertical section the destination of the top and bottom stabs.

6900 • Fax: 713.powellind. There is a pair of 3/8" holes through the moving and fixed portion of the shutter mechanism that permit the locking of the shutter. Tel: 713. The shutter lock is also a very effective point for locking out the breaker and cell. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. shutter locks. • All rights reserved.com . and cell locks can play an important part in how the switchgear is operated. Inc.944. The shutter lock is the best system available for protecting people when the switchgear has a tie cubicle and half of the system is out of service for maintenance.947. Locking out the cell assures that a spare breaker cannot be racked in and mistakenly energize downstream loads. Inc. The cell lock absolutely prevents any breaker from being racked onto the stabs. the group required access to the cubicle so they had to be able to leave the cubicle door unlocked.Powell Technical Brief #83 Additional Safety Features page 2 Because of other work going on. In all cases the shutter labels. A cell lock allows full access to the breaker out of the cell on the floor for maintenance purposes while people continue to work under their lock-out and tag-out on downstream loads. A simple lock and tag on that particular set of shutters would have prevented the technician’s mistake. PO Box 12818 • Houston.com info@powellind. This locking mechanism also proves to be useful with any main-tie-main system.4453 www. Jim Bowen Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. Cell locks: The most discussed topic when drafting a site Lock-out and Tag-out Procedure is where to place the locks on metal-clad switchgear. Locking out the cell is replacing locking out the circuit breaker due to the increased safety. Every site has different skill levels and site procedures that determine when and if these features should be incorporated into the site safety program.

Tel: 713. The most effective way of discharging the capacitor is to utilize the unit energy to open the circuit breaker. The capacitor may still have some residual charge and needs to be discharged prior to touching any conductor in the trip circuit. therefore it is important that the user have a written procedure for discharging the unit and jumping out the capacitor prior to working on the control circuit to prevent an electric shock hazard. The capacitor unit has a blocking diode to maintain the storage capacitor charged at the peak AC voltage. This model protects against losing power for time period up to 2 days by having a small gel cell battery support the voltage. In so doing not only do you partially discharge the capacitor but you also get a functional test as a bonus. in installations of only one or two circuit breakers. healthy monitoring relays or any other such load continuous loads. the stored 30 watt-seconds of energy dissipates very quickly. One capacitor trip unit should be provided per coil load.6900 • Fax: 713. PO Box 12818 • Houston. disconnect the AC control power and operate the circuit breaker via the cap trip unit. as they would drain the energy stored in the capacitor when the source voltage is lost. The battery assisted units have a disconnect switch wired into the front of the unit. • All rights reserved.com . The capacitor trip units are also available in a battery-assisted model.powellind. DC control utilizing a charger and battery bank is the more reliable method of supplying tripping power but.4453 www. Inc. The unit can not support indication lights. Discharge the additional stored energy by installing a jumper with a resister in series. the circuit breaker panel or a local knife switch depending on how the circuit is set up. For example if you have two lockout relays and a trip coil -. There are no set points to the cap trip unit and most of the designs do not permit monitoring relays to warn that the capacitor is still working.com info@powellind. 1998 A capacitor trip unit is a prepackaged module that supplies power for tripping an AC controlled circuit breaker with discrete relays following the loss of the AC control voltage. Once the load is connected. The standard product holds sufficient charge to trip the breaker for 12 seconds after loss of AC voltage. To accomplish this. Inc.944. Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. Due to the long charge retention time these unit are usually supplied with a toggle switch to disconnect the unit and discharge the capacitor to allow trip circuit maintenance.this circuit requires three of the cap trip units.Powell Technical Brief #84 Capacitor Trip Unit November 17. The load is typically either a lockout relay or a circuit breaker trip coil. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. This can be the pullapart fuse block.947. It can hold a charge for a surprisingly long period of time. Obviously for you to disconnect the AC you need a disconnecting means for the AC. In case of loss of AC the blocking diode prevents the capacitor from discharging due to upstream loads. sometimes it is difficult to justify the higher cost of the battery system.

In closing remember there is a limited life to the battery assisted capacitor trip units. as there is too great of a chance of energizing the circuit with the capacitor trip circuit shorted. Inc. • All rights reserved. PO Box 12818 • Houston. With either type of device it is critical that you include this device into the site maintenance plan.4453 www.6900 • Fax: 713. Tel: 713. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. Inc.com info@powellind.powellind.Powell Technical Brief #84 Capacitor Trip Unit page 2 If site safety requirements make it difficult for you to install the jumper on a circuit that may be in excess of 50 volts to ground you may decide to have a push button installed to discharge the remaining capacitor charge. Jim Bowen Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems.com .947. I do not recommend a maintained switch.944.

For many years manufacturers have installed 600-volt class current transformers in medium voltage switchgear.2. Inc.4453 www. Bus Mounted Current Transformers Occasionally the client’s current transformer requirements exceed the physical mounting capacity of the circuit breaker spouts. To certify the dielectric capability of the equipment the switchgear type tests are performed with the maximum number of current transformers mounted on the circuit breakers cell’s feed through bushings.947.20. In these cases it becomes necessary to add additional window type current transformers.6900 • Fax: 713. The table below indicates what configurations were acceptable when tested for 95kV BIL.com info@powellind.944.com . These additional current transformers are mounted in the cable compartment around the run-back bus. they do not get included in the switchgear BIL testing. the associated standard current transformer and a special "increased dielectric" current transformer. The preferred location for the current transformers is the circuit breaker spouts. During the power frequency test (high potential) and the impulse test required in ANSI C37.Powell Technical Brief #85 The Application of 600 Volt Class Current Transformers in Medium Voltage Switchgear August 10. The success of the BIL testing in the area around the circuit breaker feed through bushings relies on the following combination of insulation: • • • • The solid dielectric of the circuit breaker’s feed through bushings The air gap between the conductor and spout The air gap between the spout and the case of the current transformer The 600 volt class insulation of the current transformer This series combination of various insulating mediums provides an insulating system that goes through the dielectric testing along with the entire switchgear system. Powell went through the process of testing the 1-inch air gap rule of thumb with various bus insulation systems that we use in the manufacture of the switchgear. We have established an internal matrix that applies to the various insulating systems. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. it is proven that the system dielectric strength exceeds the nominal BIL rating for the voltage class. To maintain the BIL of the equipment an industry rule of thumb for both factory and field installations requiring bus mounted window type current transformers is to allow a 1 inch air gap between the insulated bus and the current transformer housing.powellind. Inc. Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. 1999 ANSI Medium Voltage Switchgear commonly uses 600-Volt Class window type current transformers in medium voltage circuits. • All rights reserved. Tel: 713. A typical configuration of the switchgear with the smallest air gaps is then subjected to the series of Basic Impulse Levels Tests required by ANSI. PO Box 12818 • Houston. Since these are non-standard components.

com info@powellind.com ©2005 Powell Industries.947. • All rights reserved. Inc.5 Inch Bus Mounted Window Type Current Transformer Number of Bus Insulation Standard Current Increased Dielectric Bars per Phase Material Transformer Current Transformer and Size (inches) Hipoxy-2000® (1) 1/2 x 3 (1) 1/4 x 4 (1) 3/4 x 4 (2) 1/2 x 3 (2) 1/2 x 4 (2) 3/4 x 4 GE-Noryl (1) 1/4 x 4 (2) 3/4 x 4 Scotch BBI-4A Passed Failed @ 82kV Failed @ 78kV Failed @ 94kV Failed @ 74kV Failed @ 72kV No Test No Test Passed Passed Passed Passed Passed Passed Passed Failed @ 94kV (3) 3/4 x 4 No Test Passed (sandwiched) Note: Standard current transformers would be suitable for all switchgear designs requiring 60kV. .powellind.4453 www.Powell Technical Brief #85 The Application of 600 Volt Class Current Transformers in Medium Voltage Switchgear page 2 Table of BIL Tests on 6.6900 • Fax: 713. Jim Bowen Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. PO Box 12818 • Houston. TX • 77217 Tel: 713. Inc.944.

This approach may result in higher current chopping and associated voltage transients.92 1.000 1. Care must also be taken to confirm that the outer creepage distance is acceptable within the de-rated values.40 section 2.92 0. However as the altitude at which we apply our electrical equipment increases. which depend on air as an insulating medium.80 0. The de-rating is a function of the ability of the fuse to clear a fault and achieve a dielectric across the fuse element gap faster than the system voltage across the fuse can be established. This Powell Technical Brief will explain how altitude de-rating effects the installation of medium voltage fuses.Powell Technical Brief #86 Altitude De-rating of Fuses.00 0.001 to 10. the effectiveness of the dielectric property decreases.com info@powellind.3) offers de-rating factors for high voltage fuses. Since the dielectric strength of air is reduced as the altitude is increased. Inc.301 to 5.com ©2005 Powell Industries. Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. Note that hermetically sealed fuses are both expensive and may have a long delivery time.848 When the dielectric strength of the fuse is de-rated.00 0.944. and voltage transformers.95 0. Fuse Disconnecting Switches.000 10. In the past we have discussed the altitude de-rating factors for switchgear (see PTB 25). Fuse De-rating The IEEE Standard for Conditions and Definitions for High Voltage Fuses. Inc.98 0. To compensate for the reduced thermal conductivity the standard allows for a reduction in either the maximum ambient temperature or the continuous current rating. the fuse has to be de-rated in accordance with the published chart.4453 www. the application engineer is often required to choose a fuse of higher voltage class. surge arresters. where the outside air is the insulating means used to isolate the line and faulted load.65 1. • All rights reserved. and Accessories (C37. Surge Arresters and Potential Transformers August 11.330 3. Distribution Enclosed Single Pole Switches. PO Box 12818 • Houston.00 0. Rated Dielectric Ambient Altitude in Feet Continuous Strength Temperature Current 0 to 3. TX • 77217 Tel: 713. which requires a de-rating of the continuous current.947. The IEEE Standard for Metal Clad Switchgear (C37.99 0. (see Table) The thinner air also results in lower thermal conductivity. An increased altitude also decreases the continuous current carrying capability of electrical equipment due to the reduced thermal conductivity of the lower density air.2) explains that switchgear assemblies.000 5. which does not require de-rating of the internal operating mechanism.powellind.96 0. . An alternate solution is the hermetically sealed fuse.001 to 16. 1999 As a dielectric — dry air works satisfactorily.6900 • Fax: 713. This de-rating would be applicable for non-sealed fuses like expulsion fuses and current limiting fuses.20. will have a lower dielectric withstand capability when operating in altitudes above 3300 feet. but not both.

Powell Technical Brief #86 Altitude De-rating of Fuses.com info@powellind. A special caution when applying de-rated higher voltage current limiting fuses. Powell Technical Brief # 59 describes the acceptable surface creepage distance for various impulse levels given insulated conductors.powellind. Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. Each fuse has a characteristic current chop that results in a maximum allowable voltage transient of three times the rated fuse voltage.com . The expulsion-type arresters have an internal system that depends on ambient air as a dielectric and. The outer surface has a certain creepage distance that prevents the surge arrester housing from tracking across the surface of the arrester. To maintain the desired discharge level of the arrester and the required creep distance. Care must be exercised when applying the altitude de-rating factor. Inc. PO Box 12818 • Houston.6900 • Fax: 713. as such. The metal oxide surge arresters are sealed and outside air does not play a part in the isolating process. it may be necessary to have special arresters manufactured with a standard duty cycle arrester in a housing with higher creep levels. The insulated conductor distances can only be used if an insulating boot properly covers the ferrule at the top of the arrester. Surge Arresters and Potential Transformers page 2 Surge Arrester De-rating There are two types of surge arresters in common use today -.4453 www. Tel: 713. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries.947. air also plays a part in the external surface creepage distance of the housing. so the surge arrester does not require de-rating for the internals to operate properly. However. Distribution class arresters have a high enough conducting impedance that this is not a problem. The transients that result from applying a higher voltage class fuse due to altitude de-rating can often result in the surge arrester conducting during a fuse interruption. must be de-rated as a function of altitude just as fuses. Inc.944. • All rights reserved.the expulsion-type arrester and the metal oxide arrester. This should be avoided for line side station class and intermediate class arresters as the conducting impedance of this arrester is low enough that conducting during a fault will cause serious damage.

4453 www. If I can be of further assistance please do not hesitate to call. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. • All rights reserved. ANSI C57.6900 • Fax: 713.3. This Powell Technical Brief should clarify some of the concerns expressed by customers on recently shipped substations installed at higher altitudes.000 feet.947. When the 80% de-rating factor is applied due to the altitude. identifies the derating factors.com info@powellind.16kV at an altitude of 10. Tel: 713. The transformer would have an insulation class of 8. This de-rating requires use of a higher voltage class transformer with the appropriate primary voltage and the ratio to maintain the desired secondary voltage.13.7kV with a BIL at sea level of 75kV. For example: Given a line-up of switchgear operating at 4.powellind.com . this VT has a BIL of 60kV. Jim Bowen Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. Inc.944. section 4. the appropriate choice is a voltage transformer with a primary voltage of 4200 Volts and a secondary of 120 Volts. Surge Arresters and Potential Transformers page 3 Voltage Transformer De-rating When voltage transformers are applied at higher altitudes. PO Box 12818 • Houston.Powell Technical Brief #86 Altitude De-rating of Fuses. Inc.

The single ground is irrespective of the number of current transformers or the chosen grounding location. Inc. Tel: 713.6900 • Fax: 713. Figure 1 shows a typical differential relay with two current transformers. the neutral of the current transformer secondary should have a single ground location for each circuit. multiple grounds allow a different ground potential rise for each current transformer.powellind.3 serves as the ANSI guide to standardize instrument transformer grounding practices. the actual problem may go uncovered until the system is reenergized into the original fault. Tripping a differential relay due to a fault external to the zone of protection. • All rights reserved.947. This Powell Technical Brief investigates the preferred ground location of typical CT circuits such as transformer and bus differential relays.4453 www. IEEE standard C57.13. This ground loop typically creates a potential across the operating coil of the differential relay causing the relay to pick up as though a fault exists in the relay's protective zone. is one of the more popular nuisance trips. These nuisance trips may not only shut down the load. several questions should be addressed regarding the ground point for the Current Transformer (CT) circuits. 2000 With the new PowlVac-AT Model ATSB outdoor substation circuit breakers recently introduced by Powell Electrical Manufacturing Company. To assure the safe and reliable operation. The result is a significant current flow through the CT circuit that is not representative of the primary current.com info@powellind. PO Box 12818 • Houston. Inc. Figure 1 To demonstrate what happens with a second ground on the current transformer circuit.com . Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. Further.944. The recommended method of grounding is to install a single ground point at the “first point of application (switchboard or relay panel) of the current transformer secondary circuit. The grounding of current transformers is important to both safety and the proper operation of the protective relays. but may require a maintenance crew to spend days in testing to determine that no real problem exists in the differential zone.Powell Technical Brief #87 Current Transformer Grounding May 12. Utilizing a single ground eliminates the risk of redundant ground loops and associated problems. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. However during a fault condition. During normal operation more than one ground on a CT circuit is not an obvious problem other than the difficulties it may cause during testing.

• All rights reserved.947. external to the protective zone.944. Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems.6900 • Fax: 713. then the wye connection is in the breaker but is grounded at the relay house.com ©2005 Powell Industries. insufficient voltage develops across the operating relay to pick up the coil. The CTs are grounded at the place where the metering or relaying is located (see Figure 2).powellind. Inc.com info@powellind.Powell Technical Brief #87 Current Transformer Grounding page 2 Figure 2 A substation circuit breaker should have the wye or delta connections made-up at the CT terminal blocks in the equipment. If the protective relay is mounted in the breaker the wye connection is grounded at the circuit breaker. . TX • 77217 Tel: 713. If the protective relays are mounted in a separate building. The same applies for current transformers in the transformer tank.4453 www. Figure 3 Note: For a fault. Inc. PO Box 12818 • Houston.

Figure 4 Note: With a fault in the protective zone. this allows the current flowing through the current transformer on the line side of the protected zone and the current flowing through the load side current transformers to develop a voltage of opposite polarities. As you can see. then the protective relay will experience sufficient voltage across the operating coil to cause the relay to nuisance trip even though the fault was outside the fault zone. Tel: 713. The most desirable way to do this is to bus the wye points together at the relay panel and have a single conductor to ground. The relay coil does will not operate without sufficient applied voltage.944. The result is a voltage of very small magnitude across the operating coil of the relay. If the fault creates a ground potential rise of 100 volts. Schweitzer.6900 • Fax: 713. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. the voltage developed by the current transformers is of the same polarity. Just as with any other event there is an exception to this standard. • All rights reserved.com .Powell Technical Brief #87 Current Transformer Grounding page 3 For an external fault (see Figure 3). sufficient voltage develops across the operating relay coil to pick up the coil.947. Many of the new multifunction relays (ABB. In the final example (Figure 5) there is a second ground is on a current transformer mounted near where a ground fault occurs. In the case of a fault internal to the protective zone.4453 www. Each wye has to be grounded. there are significant considerations in the proper grounding of current transformer circuits. The magnitude of voltage drop across the operating coil is sufficient to operate the relay (see Figure 4). Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. to make certain the relay has but one ground potential.com info@powellind. GE/Multilin.powellind. PO Box 12818 • Houston. and Basler) are designed to connect all current transformers coming into the relay in a wye connection. Inc. Inc.

Jim Bowen Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems.4453 www. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries.947. Inc.com info@powellind.944.powellind. PO Box 12818 • Houston. Tel: 713.com .6900 • Fax: 713. Inc. • All rights reserved. the voltage across the operating coil is sufficient to result in a miss-operation for an external fault and cause a nuisance trip situation.Powell Technical Brief #87 Current Transformer Grounding page 4 Figure 5 Note: With a second ground at a remote location.

. e. The motor control center can be close coupled to the switchgear or remotely located. Why the differences? The differences in the Standards are set to match up to the way the equipment fits into a system design. Inc. The question is often asked. e.com ©2005 Powell Industries. It is the intent of ANSI C84. • All rights reserved.com info@powellind.947. or source of supply. Range B also defines the range of voltage variation within which equipment must be designed to operate satisfactorily. and the motor is rated based on the utilization voltage as required in NEMA Standard MG1. where they come from and how they are related to the utilization voltage.1 that operator intervention will compensate for extended operation at voltages outside Range A boundaries. These definitions include: • System Voltage – The voltage bounded by the step-up and step-down transformer voltage. For example. and 575V. The chart shows two different ranges of voltage. • Maximum System Voltage – The highest voltage at which the system will operate under normal conditions.1 for electrical systems from 100 volts through 230kV. • Utilization Voltage – The voltage at the terminals of the equipment. The attached chart identifies the allowable voltage ranges in per unit values with a base voltage of 120V per unit. since transformers are tapped to maintain the utilization voltage high in order to increase motor torque in the field. It is the greatest voltage for which the equipment is designed to operate continuously without de-rating of other values such as short circuit rating.g. Inc. Switchgear is often operated at close to maximum voltage. The equipment nameplates vary in which voltage is used as “Rated Voltage”. while the close-connected switchgear carries a nameplate listing maximum system voltage.6900 • Fax: 713. 480V. The voltage variation of a distribution system as a function of the actual load and the impedance between the source point and the point of voltage measurement are well understood.12 and C37.powellind. • Service Voltage – The voltage at the utility.20. The Range A portion of the chart illustrates the range over which voltage systems are designed to operate under normal conditions.944. 2001 Standard equipment voltage ratings and the associated tolerance limits are established by ANSI Standard C84. boundary. For insulated case circuit breakers and molded case circuit breakers NEMA ICS-1 allows either the utilization voltage or the nominal system voltage to appear on the nameplate. a motor control center will carry a nameplate listing the nominal system voltage. PO Box 12818 • Houston. For low voltage power circuit breakers and the metal-clad switchgear the voltage rating is the maximum system voltage as required by ANSI C37. C84.g. 240V. 460V. Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. TX • 77217 Tel: 713. and 600V. “How do established equipment ratings relate to utilization voltage?” This Powell Technical Brief explains equipment voltage ratings. 230V. The Range B portion of the chart is the allowable level of overshoot and droop that will happen while trying to regulate the system to the Range A values.4453 www. so the same design may have a utilization voltage approaching either the maximum service voltage or the system voltage.2.Powell Technical Brief #88 Standard Voltage Ranges and Ratings May 8.1 identifies several of definitions necessary to understand the equipment’s voltage ratings and the system’s operating ranges.

4453 www.944.947.powellind. Inc.6900 • Fax: 713. PO Box 12818 • Houston. = 120 per unit 127 per unit Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems.Powell Technical Brief #88 Standard Voltage Ranges and Ratings page 2 An example of how the chart works: For a 480V system the maximum voltage will be proportional to the new systems nominal system voltage by the ratio of the maximum per unit voltage (127 per unit) to the nominal voltage (120 per unit). Inc. • All rights reserved. Tel: 713.com info@powellind. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries.com . X Maximum Voltage Rating = 480 Maximum Voltage Rating for 480V is 508V.

Tel: 713. Jim Bowen Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems.com info@powellind. Inc. • All rights reserved. The motors connected to the motor control center will list the utilization voltage of 460V. The difference between minimum service and minimum utilization voltages is the intended voltage drop within the wiring system.4453 www.com . The Range B utilization voltage limits for 6900Vac and 13800Vac are 90% and 110% of the voltage rating of the standard motor and thus vary slightly from the chart. The motor control center will list the system voltage of 480V.6900 • Fax: 713. Inc.947. the 508V will appear on the nameplate of the low voltage power circuit breaker as the maximum voltage.Powell Technical Brief #88 Standard Voltage Ranges and Ratings page 3 Therefore. PO Box 12818 • Houston. I hope this helps to clarify the different voltage ratings.944. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries.powellind. This difference is greater for services greater than that of 600Vac which allows for a transformer voltage drop between service voltage and utilization equipment. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of further help.

Using the 1968 standards.4453 www.947. In the past the interrupting rating changed as a function of the voltage at which the breaker was applied. the 250MVA breaker had a 29kA interrupting rating if applied at 4. Using the 1999 standards. • All rights reserved. The k factor of 1 results in all medium voltage breakers.944.Powell Technical Brief #89 The New Medium Voltage Circuit Breaker Interrupting Ratings Based on K Factors of 1 July 31. The standards evolved from the 1945 revision when breakers were rated based on interrupting MVA (see figure below). IEEE C37. Inc. 2001 The ANSI Standard for Medium Voltage Circuit Breaker Test Procedures. having a constant interrupting rating irrespective of nominal system voltage. The changes in interrupting rating at the system voltage can be seen in the graphs below.76kV while the same breaker applied at 4.com .09 was revised in 1999. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries.16kV had a 33kA interrupting rating and when applied at 3. PO Box 12818 • Houston. a newly certified 36kA breaker with a k factor of 1 will retain the 36kA interrupting rating independent of the applied voltage. independent of the nominal system voltage.85kV it had a 35. This standard defines the short circuit tests required to certify a medium voltage circuit breaker’s interrupting rating. Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. Inc. In 1968 the standards established varying k factors to adjust interrupting rating as a function of the voltage. The new standards are an effort to recognize that modern vacuum and SF6 interrupting technologies more closely represent a constant current interrupting device. tested to the 1999 version of C37. This practice ended with the 1999 change.5kA rating. Tel: 713.6900 • Fax: 713.09. The k factor reflects the performance of the oil and air interrupting technologies available at that time.powellind.com info@powellind. where circuit breaker k factors were all set at to a value of one.

Powell Technical Brief #89 The New Medium Voltage Circuit Breaker Interrupting Ratings Based on K Factors of 1
page 2

Important Note: Circuit breaker short circuit interrupting rating is the symmetrical RMS current at the time power contacts part. These new rating structures do not change the rating of circuit breakers certified prior to the 1999 revision. They only impact breakers that are certified to the new testing standards. The new 1.0 k factor ratings will simplify breaker application and align with the long-standing IEC nomenclature. It is important that we do not make the mistake of trying to apply a short circuit rating that varies as a function of the voltage to circuit breakers certified to have a k factor of 1.

Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems, Inc. PO Box 12818 • Houston, TX • 77217

©2005 Powell Industries, Inc. • All rights reserved.

Tel: 713.944.6900 • Fax: 713.947.4453 www.powellind.com info@powellind.com

Powell Technical Brief #89 The New Medium Voltage Circuit Breaker Interrupting Ratings Based on K Factors of 1
page 3

Jim Bowen Technical Director
Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems, Inc. PO Box 12818 • Houston, TX • 77217 Tel: 713.944.6900 • Fax: 713.947.4453 www.powellind.com info@powellind.com

©2005 Powell Industries, Inc. • All rights reserved.

Powell Technical Brief #90 Asymmetrical Interrupting Current Rating of Medium Voltage Circuit Breakers
September 15, 2001 As discussed in the last Powell Technical Brief, the 1999 revision of ANSI Standard C37.04 and C37.09 changed several definitions relating to the rating structure of medium voltage circuit breakers. The earlier revision of the circuit breaker standards utilized the “S factor” as a multiplying factor that defined the total current a breaker was rated to interrupt at contact part. The newest revision of C37.04 replaced the “S factor” with the “%dc” as the method of evaluating the asymmetrical current offset. The “%dc” is utilized to calculate the total interrupting current. The asymmetrical current is an important component of the total fault current. It is critical that not only the symmetrical interrupting current, but also the circuit breaker total interrupting rating be greater than the system worst-case available fault condition. In the past, we have been able to pay very little attention to the possibility of a system x/r ratio higher than the nominal value of 17 and the resulting total current. Today, with more generation being installed, the momentary rating and the total current capability play a greater role in the sizing of equipment because local generation increases system x/r ratio.

Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems, Inc. PO Box 12818 • Houston, TX • 77217

©2005 Powell Industries, Inc. • All rights reserved.

Tel: 713.944.6900 • Fax: 713.947.4453 www.powellind.com info@powellind.com

com info@powellind. PO Box 12818 • Houston. The “%dc” that circuit breakers are certified to interrupt. This dc component quickly decays and the fault current is greatly reduced in magnitude by the time the contacts part on the circuit breaker (see figure on structure of an asymmetrical current wave). An asymmetrical offset containing a dc component of as much as 160% of the symmetrical current can be impressed on top of the symmetrical ac current in one or two of the three phase currents. is based on the contact part time and a standard x/r decrement curve.4453 www.Powell Technical Brief #90 Asymmetrical Interrupting Current Rating of Medium Voltage Circuit Breakers page 2 The maximum fault current occurs during the first loop of sinusoidal current after the instant of fault initiation. Inc. A high x/r ratio means a greater system inductance will dominate the fault current and slow the attenuation of the dc offset.6900 • Fax: 713. The nominal x/r of 17 coincides well with the typical 60 Hz industrial substation and utilities distribution systems.powellind. • All rights reserved. Tel: 713. Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries.com . Inc. The combination of the contact part time and the nominal x/r value. The speed at which this dc component decays is a function of the system x/r ratio.944. (Refer to Figure 1 above). results in the maximum value for % dc that the circuit breaker must interrupt.947.

Inc.com . • All rights reserved. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. the contact part time is 50 msec.947. Tel: 713. Since. a contact part time of 33msec is used. Where does this all become significant? With more and more generation being installed we find that the system x/r ratio plays a much more significant part in applying equipment properly.com info@powellind. whether it clears in 5-cycles or 2 seconds. Inc. Jim Bowen Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. The following equation shows how this total current is computed. we find the breaker is capable of interrupting the 36kA symmetrical current with a 50% dc component riding on top of the symmetrical current when these values are plugged into the formula above. Utilizing the chart and this formula we can compute the total current. Note that if a 5-cycle breaker was certified.powellind. The contact part time includes ½ cycle of minimum relaying time added to the opening time of the breaker. the total rms current is 44kA. Using the 33msec contact part time of our sample. 3-cycle rated breaker with a published opening time of 25msec. PO Box 12818 • Houston.Powell Technical Brief #90 Asymmetrical Interrupting Current Rating of Medium Voltage Circuit Breakers page 3 The %dc is then used to compute the total interrupting current of the circuit breaker at the moment of contact part. To find the asymmetrical interrupting capability of a 36kA.6900 • Fax: 713. In many generator bus cases the equipment may have to be oversized to handle the higher level of total current or the tripping of the breaker may have to be delayed a few cycles to allow the dc to decay to an acceptable level.4453 www.944. this breaker is certified as a 3-cycle breaker it is certified to interrupt a total current of 44kA at time from 3 cycles to 2 seconds. The total interrupting current rating would be 40kA. An illustration will help clarify the calculation.

Powell Technical Brief #91 Condensation in Switchgear and Anti-Condensation Heaters April 25.6900 • Fax: 713. The resulting liquid that condenses combines with dust and other contaminates.com info@powellind. • • Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. thermally non insulated equipment is most susceptible to condensation. This is not as great a problem as it once was due to improved insulating products and finishing techniques. When deposited on the surface of an insulator the semi-conductive film results in a “shorting out” of a portion of the creep path. When the outside panel of the equipment is exposed to colder air the chilled panels may cause the moisture to condense on the interior surfaces. Space heaters are used to raise the temperature in the enclosure by supplementing the heating naturally present in energized equipment. In all of these cases the internal temperature close to the sheet metal is greatly influenced by changes in external temperature.947. The reduction in impedance of the insulators allows an increase in leakage current and results in tracking. Inc. The cold surface chills the air to below the dew point and condensation is the result. The condensation occurs when warm moist still air comes in contact with a cold surface. in most cases. • • To control the entrance of moist air.com . Typically. 2003 Condensation or dew occurs when the temperature of still air falls to the point the air can no longer hold the water vapor suspended in it as a gas. Experience has found that raising the internal temperature by 10°C alleviates the problem.4453 www. It is still considered a best practice to seal all raw edges of insulators with an antitrack sealer to minimize moisture absorption. prevents the switchgear from approaching the dew point. The induced eddy current heating in the steel panels of the switchgear caused by the current flow and the resistive heating resulting from the impedance of the current path combine to create heat inside the enclosure. Special care also must be used in cable compartments with outdoor ventilation. condensation is only considered a problem if the internal relative humidity is 65% or greater. But. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries.powellind. and for outdoor switchgear. • All rights reserved. Tel: 713. In addition to the problems with this semi-conduction film. The 10°C temperature increase assures air movement and.944. Inc. the moisture can also be absorbed by many types of insulators. Several design considerations are relevant to minimizing this condensation possibility. a current flow of only 200 amps. PO Box 12818 • Houston. results in a temperature rise of less than 2°C and space heaters must be used to maintain dew point control. A 500 amp load current flowing through a vertical section of 1200 amp rated equipment will result in an internal temperature rise of 11°C. vapor barriers in bus duct. The heating created by load currents will be adequate as long as there is a significant current flowing. To control the condensate problem. When condensation occurs in switchgear there are very few surfaces where the result is not detrimental. Outdoor. a common approach is to maintain an elevated temperature relative to the ambient. ventilation should only be used when necessary to keep the temperature rise below the acceptable design limits.

which apply to air at sea level pressure. Now we divide 9 grams of water vapor. Air Temperature in ºC 30 degrees 20 degrees 10 degrees Water Vapor Air Can Hold at This Temperature 30 grams per cubic meter of air 17 grams per cubic meter of air 9 grams per cubic meter of air These numbers. Now. Dew point is a measure of how much water vapor is actually in the air. if this particular air were cooled to 10°C at ground level. We divide 9 by 30 and multiply by 100 to get a relative humidity of 30%. Donald Ahrens. What would happen if this air cooled to 10°C with no water vapor being added or taken away? As is cools to 10°C. How about relative humidity? At 3:00 pm the air has 9 grams of water vapor per cubic meter of air. What is “Dew Point and Relative Humidity?” “The warmer the air. Imagine that at 3:00 pm you measure the air temperature at 30°C and you measure its humidity at 9 grams per cubic meter of air. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries. Inc. the vapor actually in the air.944. the air becomes saturated. we divide 9 by 9 and multiply by 100 to get a relative humidity of 100%. Cool the air even a tiny bit more and its water vapor will begin condensing to form dew. The air now has as much vapor as it can hold at its new temperature. it cannot hold any more water vapor than 9 grams per cubic meter. that is.6900 • Fax: 713. Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems.947. PO Box 12818 • Houston. the more water vapor it can hold”. To see how this works. are based on measurements over the years.com . by 17. Finally.powellind. published by West Publishing. That is. let’s see how dew point and relative humidity work. and multiply by 100 to get a relative humidity of approximately 53%.Powell Technical Brief #91 Condensation in Switchgear and Anti-Condensation Heaters page 2 For further reading I extracted the following information from the web to provide a better understanding of the definition of dew point and relative humidity. Tel: 713. the amount of vapor it could hold at its new temperature.com info@powellind. The air actually has 30% of the water vapor it could hold at its current temperature. • All rights reserved. Cool the air to 20°C. They are basic physical facts. Inc. its humidity would begin condensing to form dew. we could say that the air’s dew point was 10°C. when the measurements were taken. let’s use the chart below which is adapted from Meteorology Today by C. Back at 3:00 pm. when the air cools to 10°C. Relative humidity is a measure of the amount of water in the air compared with the amount of water the air could hold at the measurement temperature.4453 www.

Tel: 713. We recommend that clients specify an ammeter in each space heater circuit to monitor circuit health and. • • • • • • • Jim Bowen Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. PO Box 12818 • Houston. include transducers to monitor each space heater circuit.6900 • Fax: 713. TX • 77217 ©2005 Powell Industries.4453 www. We recommend the use of enclosures designed to minimize the chance of condensation falling or dripping onto current carrying parts. We recommend thermostatic control to be included on all space heater circuits with the heaters set to turn off at 60°C +/.944. Inc.com .com info@powellind.5°C.Powell Technical Brief #91 Condensation in Switchgear and Anti-Condensation Heaters page 3 What does all this mean to Powell switchgear designs? At Powell we recommend these guidelines for minimizing the possibility of condensation: • We recommend installation of two 125 watt space heaters in each of the cable and the circuit breaker compartments for: o 27kV and 38kV indoor switchgear o 5kV and 15kV outdoor switchgear o 15kV indoor switchgear with current transformer ratios of 200:5 and smaller mounted on the insulation spouts. We recommend a second set of space heaters be added to that already recommended and set for operation at 10°C +/.947. We recommend installation of one 125 watt space heater in each of the cable and circuit breaker compartments for indoor 5kV and 15kV switchgear.powellind.5°C for applications operating for extended periods in climates below 0°C. • All rights reserved. Inc. We recommend epoxy or porcelain standoff insulators for outdoor equipment due to the low water absorption nature of the material. We recommend installation of space heaters within 2 feet of the outdoor side of any bus duct vapor barrier to prevent condensation when the bus duct is not energized. if a smart substation is purchased. This is to compensate for lack of heat and air flow due to low operating current and the lower associated eddy current and conductor resistance heating effects.

6900 • Fax: 713.com info@powellind.20. Tasks in this category include: • • • • Racking a medium voltage circuit breaker to or from the bus connected position Racking a VT or CPT roll-out to or from the bus connected position Opening and closing a circuit breaker Calibrating and troubleshooting devices within the instrument compartment The purpose of arc resistant switchgear certified to ANSI C37. the second step is to design the hazard out of the normal work procedures. or final element tests to assure functionality. The result is a reduced need for PPE.944. • All rights reserved. .9 inches from all possible seams and one of the many acceptance criteria of ANSI C37. and the third step is to rely on Personal Protective Equipment to minimize the risk to the individual performing the task. and molten copper) during normal tasks performed on the equipment. pressure.7(c) (11).7 is that none of the cotton indicators ignites during or following a test.5oz/yd untreated t-shirt material identified as Hazard/Risk Category 0 per NFPA70E Table 130. The first step is to minimize risk by having operators perform work with the equipment only in an electrically safe condition. calibration. In conclusion.com ©2005 Powell Industries.7 is to eliminate the risk from the arc blast and the by-products (heat. Standard for Electrical Safety in the Work Place. Inc.4453 www. Arc resistant switchgear can assist with the first step effort by providing enhanced safety conditions when the operator task involves energized equipment and possible exposure to an arcing fault.947.20. PO Box 12818 • Houston. The switchgear designed for arc resistant protection requires heavy reinforcing of the entire structure. Inc. The panels are mounted at 3. shrapnel. During arc fault design tests the energy release by an arcing fault is monitored by mounting racks of a black cotton material in panels covering the surface of the switchgear.20. arc resistant switchgear designs the hazard out of the tasks and reduces the level of risk for normal tasks to a zone 0 category.powellind. TX • 77217 Tel: 713.Powell Technical Brief #92 Arc Resistant Switchgear Tested to ANSI C37. Jim Bowen Technical Director Powell Electrical Group Powell Electrical Systems. it is the pressure wave associated with the arc fault that dictates the design of the switchgear. This material is similar to 4. While the focus of NFPA70E is the heat from the arc in medium voltage switchgear. The design focus of arc resistant switchgear is to provide the necessary enhanced safety features while requiring no addition maintenance. is to minimize the “at-risk” procedures used by operators of electrical equipment.7 and NFPA70E The intent of the 2004 version of NFPA70E.