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Grounding System of an Uninterruptible Power System (UPS)
Xiyu Liu
China Information Technology Designing & Consulting Institute Design Institute of P&T of MII Zhengzhou, Henan, China liuxy@dimpt.com
Abstract - Nowadays an uninterruptible power system (UPS) has been widely used in China to protect various sensitive electrical equipments such as computers, workstations, telecommunications systems, internet data centers, process control systems, etc. The UPS protects them from problems associated with utility power of poor quality, or a complete loss of power. Furthermore, a UPS can also perform other functions such as improving the quality of the power to the critical load. A suitable grounding system should be installed properly for UPS system so that the UPS can function correctly. A grounding system allows circuit protection to clear a ground fault, and provides paths for diverting surge current away from the UPS and for removing undesirable current from the critical load. But in practical applications there used to be some problems which are caused by improper grounding of UPS. This is not a simple subject because grounding techniques depend on several factors such as the configuration of UPS and the type of load connected to the UPS. In addition, another factor to get the grounding system right is knowing whether to design for a separately derived system (SDS). Unfortunately there have been few papers that treat all aspect of UPS grounding system.In this paper the design principle of grounding system for UPS is introduced. The practical grounding systems of UPS used for telecom, DATACOM and computer, etc. are proposed.

I. INTRODUCTION An Uninterruptible Power System (UPS) is an electronic power system which is used for critical load widely at present time . The primary function of UPS , just as its name implies,is to provide specified continuity of power to a user's equipment in the event of a partial or total failure of the normal source of power, which is usually the local electric utility. This is usually accomplished by converting the internal stored energy of battery to supply power to the user's equipment for a specified period of time when the utility is no longer available or acceptable. However a UPS can also perform other functions such as improving the quality of power supplied to the load .That is to

say,a UPS can suppress various interferences from the utility power.Besides,the critical load can be transfer to the ultility power (bypass power) by static transfer switch when UPS fails to function itself. In normal condition a UPS takes power from utility power source and supplies high quality of power to the critical load by means of carrying out some power conversions and regulations. So the UPS acts as a load for utility power source and acts as a power source for the critical load. In order to achieve the continuity and quality requirements of power for different load, various types of UPS need to be used. At present time there are three types of single UPS system architecture (passive standby, line interactive and double conversion UPS) and mainly three types of redundant UPS system architecture (parallel redundant, isolated redundant and distributed redundant UPS). A suitable grounding system should be installed properly for every UPS system to ensure the correct function of UPS. A grounding system allows circuit protection to clear a ground fault, and provides paths for diverting surge current away from the UPS and for removing undesirable current from the critical load. But in practical applications there used to be some problems which are caused by improper grounding of UPS. This is not a simple subject because grounding techniques depend on several factors such as the configuration of UPS and the type of load connected to the UPS. In addition, one of steps to getting the grounding system right is knowing whether to design for a separately derived system (SDS). UPS acts as a load for utility power source and acts as a power source for the critical load. Therefore the grounding system of UPS involves upstream and downstream grounding system. The upstream and downstream grounding system of UPS can be identical or different. Both upstream and downstream grounding system of UPS must comply with IEC or local standards. Unfortunately

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B. TN: neutral of power source connects to the earth and frame of load equipments connect to the neutral of power source which is already connected to the earth at power source.TN-C and TN-C-S.2 Various low voltage grounding systems included the same power supply system (2) IT System In IT system the neutral of the power source is not grounded. The subsystem is known as TN-S when protection fuction is provided by a separated conductor from the neutral of power source which is called PE conductor . So the risk voltage does not present in the frames of load equipments. TN-S A B C N PE TN-C A B C PE N TT A B C N PE TN-C-S A B C N PE IT A B C N PE PEN N Fig.But there also can be multiple low voltage systems in a low voltage powe supply system (see fig.2). Therefore RCD (residual current device) must be fitted at all circuits.1). The design principle of grounding system for UPS is then introduced. an insulation fault will turn into a short circuit between phase line and neutral line. are proposed. when an insulation fault occurs the fault current is far lower than the settings of the over current protection devices. there are five types of TN-C. A low voltage power supply system generally adopts one of the above low voltage grounding systems. etc. Finally the practical grounding systems of UPS used for Telecom. But if a second fault occurs and the first fault has not been eliminated. Letter of T denotes neutral connects to the earth.28-3 there have been few papers that treat all aspect of UPS grounding system. (3) TN-C System In TN-C system.Each grounding system is indentified by two letters. Datacom and computer. a short circuit fault will occurs and the overcurrent protection devices must provide the necessary protection. So the over current protection devices can not act as the isolation fault protection. letter of I denotes neutral does not connect to the earth or connects to the earth through impedance.The second letter denotes the connect relationship between the fram of load equipments and the erath. To sum up. . This paper describes various low voltage grounding systems available and analyses their performances. TN system includes three subsystems of TN-S. but in fact it is connected to the ground by stray capacities of the network or by high impedance. Performances of Various Low Voltage Grounding Systems (1) TT System In TT system.TN-C-S denotes using of a TN-S downstream of a TN-C (vice versa is not permitted).It should point out that the IT system must isolated by other transformer whose neutral conductor of secondary wind does not connect to the earth. II.TN-C-S.TT and IT low voltage grounding systems altogether (fig.The first letter denotes the connect relationship between the neutral of power source and the earth. IT: neutral of power source does not connect to the earth and frame of load equipments connect to the earth.1 Classification of low voltage grounding system A A B C N N C B PEN N TN-C PE TN-S PE TT PE IT TN-C-S Fig. Classification of Low Voltage Grounding Systm Standard IEC60341-1 defines three type of grounding system for low voltage systems. The frames of load equipments are connected to the earth. TN-C denotes the neutral and protection function are conbined in a single conductor which is called PEN conductor. letter of N denotes fram of load equipments connects to the neutral which is already connected to the earth at the power source. BRIEF TECHNICAL REVIEW OF LOW VOLTAGE GROUNDING SYSTEM A. If an insulation fault occurs a small current is developed due to the network’s stray capacities. The possible combinations of above two letters define the following three types of grounding system: TT: neutral of power source connects to the earth and frame of load equipments connect to the esrth. TN-S. Letter of T denotes fram of load equipment connects to the earth.

III. phase a phase b phase c N incoming ground chassis ground neutral-ground bond phase A phase B phase C output ground ground electrode PE load equipment Fig. are separately derived because the primary circuit conductors do not have any direct electrical connection to the secondary circuit conductors. Ground electrode connection. So there is no disturbance voltage for the load equipments that their frames connect to the PE line. CONCEPTION AND APPLICATION of SEPARATELY DERIVED SYSTEM (SDS) A . The Definition of Separately Derived System (SDS) Separately derived system (SDS) is one of the most cost-effective measures to improve power quality. the first system disconnecting means.” All transformers. When an isolation fault occurs a large fault current will be produced. (3) The system bonding jumper can be installed at the separately derived system or the first system disconnecting means. the risk voltage of 220V will presents on the frames of load equipment if the PEN line disconnects. a solar photovoltaic system. or any point in between the separately derived system and the first system disconnecting means. or from a generator. triple frequency harmonic current and multiple of triple frequency current will flow in the N line. Grounding and bonding of separately derived system includes five main ground connection points: Incoming ground. transformer. But no current flow in the PE line and no voltage present on PE line. Therefore one conductor line can be saved. triple frequency harmonic current and multiple of triple frequency current will flow in the PEN line.28-3 and the faulty part will be disconnected by over current protect devices. Generators that supply a transfer switch that open the grounded neutral conductor would be considered separately derived system. Grounding and Bonding of Separately Derived system Separately derived system must be grounded and bonded in accordance with following: (1) The secondary neutral must be grounded.but not at more than one location. except autotransformers. As shown in fig. This type of power system can eliminate the common mode noise problem by properly grounding and bonding (equipotential connections) and is applicable to the sensitive load. to supply conductors originating in another system. and also can be installed at any point in between the separately derived system and the first system disconnecting means. including a solidly connected grounded circuit conductor. The front part of the distribution system posses the characters of TN-C and the back part posses the characters of TN-S. which can be at the separately derived system. and which has no direct electrical connection. or converter windings. TN-C system has also some other disadvantages: a) for the single phase load equipments. Output neutral. The PEN line has the functions of PE line and N line. (4) The system bonding jumper must be installed at the same location where the grounding electrode conductor terminates to the grounded neutral terminal of the separately derived system. (5) TN-C-S System This system uses a TN-S downstream from a TN-C. TN-S is an ideal low voltage grounding system for telecom and datacom system. The load equipment whose frames connect to PEN line will be disturbed.but not at both locations. So the fault circuit will be disconnected by tripping the overcurrent protection device.3. Equipment / Output ground. Separately derived system is defined as “A premises wiring system whose power is derived from a battery. B. TN-C has now gone out of use in telecommunication and computer system in China. At present time all the telecom system and datacom system adopt TN-S system. b) RCD devices and 4 pole circuit breaker can not be used. (4) TN-S System In TN-S system if there are nonsymmetrical three phase loads or nonlinear load. But if there are nonsymmetrical three phase loads or nonlinear load. (2) The metal parts of the separately derive System must bond to the secondary grounded neutral terminal by the installation of system bonding jumper in order to ensure that dangerous voltage from a secondary ground fault can be quickly remove by opening the secondary circuit’s overcurrent protection devices. Chassis gruond connection.3 A separately derived system is defined as a wiring system .

Design Principle of Grounding System of UPS For telecom. (1) Non-Isolated Grounding System In the grounding system circuit shown in Fig. But if the upstream grounding system is TN-C and downstream grounding system is TN-S. (1) Both upstream and downstream grounding system of UPS should be TN-S Because TN-S is the ideal low voltage grounding system for telecommunication. B. namely.28-3 whose power has no direct electrical connection to the supply conductor originating in another system. IV. distance between load and UPS. the upstream power supply system which lies between utility power source and UPS,as well as the downstream power supply systems which lies between UPS and critical load. Grounding System of Single UPS The upstream and downstream grounding systems of what follows all are TN-S. DATACOM and computer is designed the following principles should be considered carefully besides fault protection and personal safety. Design Basis of UPS Grounding System As mentioned above. THE OUTLINE OF TECHNOLOGY FOR UPS GROUNDING SYSTEM A. That is to say. UPS involves two low voltage power supply systems. However at present time this grounding system is used widely because of its circuit simplification. TN. In other word. GROUNDING SYSREM DESIGN EXAMPLES OF THE UPS USED FOR TELECOM. UPS downstream channel to isolate UPS downstream output circuits from UPS upstream circuits. etc A. The main input and bypass input of UPS are connected to the wye connected utility transformer whose neutral is grounded. Moreover the upstream and downstream grounding system may be identical or different grounding system. The other UPS grounding systems in which the upstream and downstream grounding system is different will not be discussed in this paper. TT or TN-C. V. Therefore the upstream grounding system must be TN-S. UPS acts as a load for utility power source and acts as an AC power source for the critical load. and is applicable for powering the sensitive load. separately derived system (SDS) can improve power quality and eliminate common noise disturbance problem. AC input distribution paanel PEN AC output distribution pannel 3phase N 3phase When the grounding system for the UPS used for telecom. data communication and computer system. IT) defined by IEC60346. the transformers are not required. But their downstream grounding systems include two types of isolated and non-isolated grounding system from utility power source. Fig. This grounding system is not a preferred grounding system because UPS output neutral and critical load neutral are not isolated from utility neutral. Without electrical isolation. For General application UPS. There are some factors that influence the neutral-to-ground voltage: neutral current. Upstream and downstream grounding system can be one of the standard grounding systems (TT. UPS upstream and downstream grounding systems all are TN-S. (2) UPS output terminal should adopt separately derived system (SDS) As everyone knows.4 shows those UPS grounding systems. it can not provide immunity from common mode noise and grounding problem. TT or TN-C grounding system downstream. these sites usually adopt TN-S system. separately derived system and non-separately derived system respectively.5. Owing to the downstream of UPS are critical load the downstream grounding system of UPS has to be TN-S. when the upstream and downstream grounding system is different some transformers are required for bypass channel or/and UPS upstream channel. Therefore the both upstream and downstream grounding system should be considered. namely. DATACOM and Computer System . General speaking. DADACOM AND COMPUTER SYSTEM. impedance of neutral conductor and downstream devices on the same branch circuit and UPS equipment bypass input TT transformer main input electrode TN-C PEN PE TN-S N PE 3phase PEN TN-C Fig. the insulation fault protection and personal safety should be taken into account mainly. When there are unsymmetrical three phase loads or non-linear loads the current will flow in the neutral conductor and produce voltage drop which will result in neutral-to-grounding voltage. UPS output neutral and the load neutral are solidly connected to the utility power neutral which is bonded to the grounding conductor at the service entrance equipment. the possible combinations are TN-C grounding system upstream and TN-S. Thus downstream of UPS should adopt SDS.4.

5 Non-Isolated Grounding System (2) Output Distribution Isolated Grounding System I In the grounding system shown in fig. The UPS module neutral is bonded to UPS ground. UPS AC output distribution panel is separately derived system.8. The main input and bypass input of UPS are connected to the wye connected utility transformer whose neutral is grounded. The advantages of this grounding system are as follows: The transformer in the output distribution panel can provide any isolation or common-mode noise attenuation for sensitive loads. This grounding system must not be used when single phase load need to be directly connected to the UPS. AC iuput distribution UPS equipment pannel bypass input N (3) Output Distribution Isolated Grounding System II Fig. The neutral of bypass isolated transformer is connected to the neutral of UPS. the main input and bypass input of UPS are connected to the wye connected utility transformer whose neutral is grounded. Unfortunately sometimes this problem can hardly be solved with non isolated grounding system and the isolated grounding systems have to be considered. except that the utility neutral is not brought into the UPS module. 6 output distribution isolated grounding system I This is a preferred grounding system. But UPS output distribution panel can be considered as separately derived system because the secondary winding conductors involving neutral conductor of transformer in the output distribution panel are not connected to the primary windings. As shown in fig. This grounding system is similar to that shown in fig.7 is another output distribution isolated grounding system. a neutral-to-ground voltage over 1 Vac requires further investigation and study.28-3 shared neutrals. The features of this grounding system are as follows: . Upstream and downstream grounding system all are TN-S. AC input distribution panel bypass input transformer N PE UPS equipment AC output distribution panel 3 phase output N PE main input N PE AC output distribution pannel 3phase output PE N electrode N PE Fig. the circulating current will flow through the ground path.6 the upstream and downstream system are all TN-S. two AC power (inverter and bypass power) are briefly connected together and circulating current must flow. UPS output neutral and the load neutral are solidly connected to the utility power neutral which is bonded to the grounding conductor at the service entrance equipment. Whenever the UPS module transfers to or from bypass power. (4) Bypass Power Isolated Grounding System Fig. which is connected the local ground electrode. This is also a preferred grounding system. The load that can be directly connected to the UPS must be three phase and does not require a neutral from UPS. possibly tripping ground fault interrupter. because it can not provide neutral line when bypass power supplies the load. Locate the output distribution panel as close to the sensitive load as possible. This will minimizes common-mode noise and neutral-to-ground voltage. Therefore UPS is not separately derived system. UPS output transformer is considered a separately derived system.6. Bypass power is connected to UPS module through another branch circuit breaker and bypass isolated transformer.7 output distribution isolated grounding system II transformer PE main input electrode Fig.8 is Bypass Power Isolated Grounding System. The neutral line of transformer in output distribution panel should be connected to the local electrode. AC inpit distribution UPS equipment panel bypass input N AC output distribution panel 3phase output N PE transformer PE main input electrode Fig. Therefore proper adjustment of ground fault interrupter is necessary to avoid unwanted tripping. Bypass isolated transformer is wye connected and neutral grounded. In many cases. Because the neutral of bypass power is not connected to the neutral of UPS. However single phase and three phase load can be connected the output distribution panel.

For three phase load. In other word. there is other option that it is to run a single neutral conductor from utility power to the paralleling cabinet. each UPS neutral will need to be solidly connected to the paralleling cabinet. For single phase load. C. The main input and bypass input power of UPS come from the wye connected utility transformer whose neutral is grounded. So the output distribution panels with transformer are needed if the separately derived system of downstream circuit is required. UPS output transformer is separately derived system.8 Preferred grounding system with isolated bypass power transformer N PE or cabinet must be grounded to the UPS module ground bus. . For the single phase load application. 9 Output Transformer Isolated Grounding System transformer (5) Output Transformer Isolated Grounding System Fig. the downstream grounding system is also TN-S. Grounding Systems of Distributed redundant UPS (dual bus UPS power supply system) The distributed redundant UPS system consist of two (or more) independent UPS systems. There must not be a neutral to ground bond inside the paralleling cabinet or inside either UPS. it is not necessary to connect a neutral conductor to the paralleling cabinet. which constitute “dual bus UPS power supply system”. Both UPS neutrals are then solidly connected to the paralleling cabinet neutral. b) The UPS neutral is isolated from the utility neutral by bypass isolated transformer. In this manner.9 shows the grounding system in which UPS neutral is isolated from the utility power neutral by UPS output transformer. by which the UPS does not share neutral line with other load equipments. 10 is an extension of the non-isolated grounding system circuit. This grounding system is especially applicable when an exiting single UPS is upgraded to the 1+1 parallel redundant system. There no power connections between the two independent distribution circuits. So we need not to equip the output distribution panel with isolated transformer. Accordingly the isolated neutral can be derived in all instances.28-3 a) The UPS receives its bypass neutral from the bypass transformer. AC input distribution UPS equipment panel bypass input main input transforner N PE N PE AC output diatribution panel 3 phase output N PE AC output distribution panel 3 phase output N PE electrode local electrode Fig. where each UPS output neutral is solidly connected to the utility neutral. Fig. Whether the battery system is open-rack or cabinet. The output winding is connected to distribution circuit. the metal rack part B. (6) Grounding for UPS Battery System The most UPS battery systems connected as floating (ungrounded) systems. Both UPS will then have their output neutrals solidly connected to the paralleling cabinet. The output windings of UPS output transformer is ywe connected and the neutral is connected to the UPS ground and local electrode. the isolated neutral can be derived just by UPS output transformer itself, which will ensure the neutral-to-ground voltage is small. bypass transformer AC input distribution distribution electrode panel PE N 3 phase bypass input UPS equipment main iuput N PE electrode Fig. each capable of carrying the entire critical load. c) Some amount of common-mode noise attenuation can be obtained for sensitive loads if the UPS module and bypass transformer are located close to sensitive loads. The two input windings are connected to UPS inverter and bypass power through output switch and bypass switch respectively. Grounding Systems of Parallel redundant UPS Here we just give an example of grounding system for 1+1 parallel redundant UPS system. This 1+1 parallel redundant UPS is non-separately derived system. Each UPS system provides power to its own independent distribution circuit. the upstream grounding system is TN-S. UPS output transformer has two input windings and one output winding.

for utility power adopting TN-S system. In that case. By Mike Holt [6] GB7260: Uninterruptible power systems (UPS) . Consequently the large branch circuit breaker of the UPS output distribution circuit can not be trip by UPS fault current. Assume that the short circuit current of UPS is equal to 2. 01 1999 Electrical Construction & Maintenance.E.5 times its rated output current. if an isolation fault occurs a large fault current will be produced. The STS is fed by two transformers in the power distribution units (PDU). For the UPS used for telecom. Maximum branch circuit breaker must be recommended. By Dawn Van Dee. the upstream and downstream grounding system should be TN-S system. [4] UPS Stands on Firm Ground Nov. P. 11 2006 Electrical Construction & Maintenance. 2002. For the single cord load the power sources are fed to the critical load through static transfer switch (STS). So each PDU can provide a clean neutral and ground reference point for its load. P. CONCLUSION UPS equipment bypass input N main input PE UPS equipment bypass input N main input PE TN-S PE N TN-S PE N 3 phase N PE system paralleling cabinet The low voltage grounding systems defined by IEC and the conception of separately derived system (SDS) are design basis of UPS grounding system. The fault current that UPS can provide is generally limited to the values of 2-3 times its normal current. REFERENCES Fig. EYP Mission Critical Facilities. [5] Grounding and bonding of Separately Derived AC System Oct.E. the bypass STS will transfer the load to bypass power to trip the circuit breaker of fault circuit.10 Grounding Systems of Parallel redundant UPS For the dual cord load the grounding systems of two power sources from the dual bus are independent.28-3 The grounding systems of that two UPS system are designed according to the requirements of single UPS mentioned above and can be isolated or non-isolated grounding system. By Patrick Russell. In generally. and the PDU ground will be solidly connected to the electrode. D. Each PDU transformer will have a neutral-to-ground bond. Electrical Construction & Maintenance. However the UPS adopting TN-S system can not output large fault current because of its output current limit characteristic. output distribution branch circuit breaker should be limited to the value of 25% UPS rated output current.. So that the fault current flowing through the branch circuit breaker will equal to 10 times its rated current. The neutrals of the two transformers are connected together at one point and a neutral-to-ground bond is made. So the fault circuit will be disconnected by tripping the overcurrent protection device. Inc. UPS [1] IEC 60364: Low-voltage electrical installations [2] IEC and EN 62040: Uninterruptible power systems (UPS) Part 1-1: General and safety requirements for UPS used in operator access areas Part 1-2: General and safety requirements for UPS used in restricted access locations Part 3: Method of specifying the performance and test requirements [3] Connecting UPS Grounds and Neutrals Oct 01. DATACOM and computer system. Features and Requirements of UPS Overcurrent Protection As mentioned early. In order for the branch circuit breaker to work with UPS normally. VI. Moreover the downstream grounding system should be separately derived system in order to ensure that the UPS output distribution circuit provides a clean neutral and ground reference point for its connected load equipments.