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Classification of electrical

system according to neutral


distribution
Protection against electrical
contacts by automatically
disconnection supply

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• Electrical systems are classified
according to international standard IEC
364 in relation to the neutral distribution
system by two letters
• The first one means the neutral state of
the secondary of transformer, the
second one means the connection to
earth of the masses by the user

TN - TT - IT
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First Letter (transformer)
• T (star point of transformer connected
to earth)
• I (star point of transformer isolated from
earth)

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Second letter (masses)
• N (masses connected to star point of
transformer conductor, PE or PEN)
• T (masses connected to dedicated
earth plant)

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TN System
• One neutral point is connected directly to earth and the
masses of the plant are connected to that point by a
protection conductor (PE or PEN)
• TN system can have following configurations:
– TN-S neutral conductor and protection conductor are separated
– TN-C function of neutral and protection are combined in one
conductor
– TN-C-S function of neutral and protection are combined in one
conductor only for one part of the system
• TN system can be used in plants equipped with its own
transformer substation

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TN System
L1
L1 L2
L2 L3
L3 N
PEN PE

TN-C TN-S
Mass Mass

L1
L2
L3
N
PE

TN-C-S
Mass Mass

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TT System
• Neutral connected
directly to earth and L1

masses of the plant


L2
L3
N

connected to one PE

local earthing
system TT
Mass

independent from
the main power
earthing system

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IT System
• No active parts are
connected to earth L1

(possible only by an
L2
L3

impedance “Z”), PE

masses are
Z

connected to earth IT
Mass

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Contact to voltage part
• Contacts to voltage parts can be defined as
follow :
Direct contact
• contact with active part (neutral conductor included and PEN
conventionally excluded).

Indirect contact
• contact with on voltage mass due to a fault: this kind of contact
must be carefully taken in consideration. Direct contact can be
easily avoided by using insulation, indirect contact can not be
foreseen as part which are normally not in voltage get to a
potential for insulation fault of some component.

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Direct contact
L1

L2

L3

Mass

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Indirect contact
L1

L2

L3

Mass

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TN System protection
• Characteristics of protective devices and loop impedance in
case of fault to earth in every point of the plant, must be
coordinated in order to automatically disconnect the supply in
the stated time. Following condition must be satisfied:

Zs ⋅ Ia ≤ U0
• where:
– U0 = nominal voltage V (rms value) between phase and earth
– Zs = fault loop impedance Ω
– Ia = current which make the protecting device tripping in the time
stated according to U0. For residual current devices, Ia=I∆

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Maximum interrupting time
for TN System

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TN-S fault loop
Fault loop with impedance Zs
L1
L2

L3

PE

Ig

Mass TN-S System

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TN-C fault loop
Fault loop with impedance Zs
L1
L2

L3

PEN

Ig

Mass TN-C System

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TT System protection
• For protection by automatically disconnection supply
in TT system, following protecting devices can be
used:
– residual current devices
– overcurrent devices
• Requirements:
– all masses protected by the same device must be connected
to the same earth plant
– neutral point must be connected to earth in a place different
from those of masses

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TT System protection
• Coordination between protecting device and earth
resistance must be done in order to satisfy the following
relation:
Ra ⋅ I a ≤ 50V
where:
– Ra is the sum of resistances (earth system, PE conductor,
masses) in ohm
– Ia is the current which makes the protecting device tripping in A
– 50V is the maximum limit of touch voltage in ordinary condition,
for particular condition (outdoor plant, swimming pool,
hospitals...) the limit is 25V
( Ra ⋅ I a ≤ 25V )

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TT fault loop
L1
L2

L3

Ig

Rn

Mass Ra

TT System

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Protection
• With residual current devices:
– if residual current devices are used Ia=I∆
• With overcurrent protecting devices:
– With inverse time characteristic protection, Ia must
be the current value which makes the device trip in
a time ≤ 5s
– With instantaneous characteristic protection, Ia is
the minimum current which makes the device trip

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Overcurrent devices
• This kind of protection, admitted by the standard, in most of
cases can not be used because of the difficult to obtain very low
earth resistance values in such kind of system. Ra value must in
fact satisfy following condition:
50
Ra ≤ [ Ω]
Ia

– Ra is the sum of earth, protection conductor and mass resistance in



– Ia is the tripping current of the protecting device

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Residual current devices
• Easy to understand that in TT system the
overcurrent protecting device are not indicated for
protection against indirect contacts
• The only safety device is the residual current device
– with 30 mA residual current device, the minimum earth
resistance required is:
50
Ra ≤ = 1666Ω
0.03

condition always satisfied for every plant

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IT system protection
• With the first fault to earth, only a very
low capacitive current is present, such
value is not sufficient to make the
Ra ⋅ I g ≤ 50V

overcurrent device trip


Ra ⋅ I g ≤ 25V

• The circuit is not interrupted and the


continuity of service is guaranteed

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IT system first fault to earth
L1
L2

L3

IT system first
fault to earth

C1 C2 C3

Mass Ra
Ig

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Second fault to earth
• With the second fault to earth
automatically interruption of the circuit is
strictly required
• Condition depends from the earth
connection of the masses

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IT system characteristics
• For users with their own transformer substation which
need continuity of service (hospitals, pulp and paper,
and steel plants…)
• Circuit with high impedance loop in order to avoid
tripping due to the first fault to earth
• It is useful to use a monitoring device able to detect
the first fault to earth

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Interconnection
L1
L2

L3

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Max. admitted tripping time
Second fault to earth

• Is strictly recommended to connect all the


masses to one electrical earthing system, so
that for second fault to earth there are the
same condition of TN system

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TT System RCD applications
L1
L2

L3

Ig

YES
Rn

Mass Ra

TT System

I3+IN=0=Ig (Some mA due to high earth resistance)


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TN-S System RCD applications
Fault loop with impedance Zs
L1
L2

L3

PE

Ig

YES
Mass TN-S System

I3+IN=0=Ig (Short circuit current)


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TN-C System RCD applications
Fault loop with impedance Zs
L1
L2

L3

PEN

Ig

NO! YES
Ig

3 phases load TN-C System


Mass Mass

RCD is not working I3+IN = 0 also in case of fault

Can be used for 3 phase loads only I1+I2+I3=0=Ig


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IT System RCD applications
L1
L2

L3

IT system first
fault to earth

C1 C2 C3

NO !
Z

Mass Ra
Ig

RCD not working I1+I2+I3=0=Ig


but :
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TOO LOW (µA) not detected by
Residual current releases
RC221 RC222
Sizes for T1-T2-T3 for T1-T2-T3 for T4 and T5
Type "L" shape "L" shape Underneath
Technology with microprocessor with microprocessor with microprocessor
Action solenoid solenoid solenoid
Primary operating voltage (1) [V] 85...500 85...500 85...500
Operating frequency [Hz] 45… 66 45… 66 45… 66
Self-supply   
Test operation range (1) 85...500 85...500 85...500
Rated service current [A] up to 250 A up to 250 A up to 630 A
0,03 - 0,05 - 0,1 - 0,3 - 0,5 - 1 - 0,03 - 0,05 - 0,1 - 0,3 - 0,5 - 1 -
Adjustable trip thresholds [A] 0,03 - 0,1 - 0,3 - 0,5 - 1 - 3
3 - 5 - 10 3 - 5 - 10
instantaneous 0,1 - 0,2 - 0,3 - 0,5 - instantaneous 0,1 - 0,2 - 0,3 - 0,5
Adjustable trip times [s] instantaneous
1-2-3 1-2-3
Tolerance over trip times ± 20% ± 20%
Local trip signalling   
SA with changeover contact for trip signalling   
Input for remote opening  
NO contact for signalling pre-alarm  
NO contact for signalling alarm  
Indication of pre-alarm from 25% IDn (tolerance ±3%)  
Indication of alarm timing  
Automatic residual current relay reset   
Type A for pulsed alternating current, AC for alternating current   
Selective type  
Button for insulation test   
Power supply from above and below   
Assembly with three-pole circuit-breakers  
Remote release device   
Conversion kit of circuit-breaker with residual current from fixed to plug-in 
(1) Operation up to 50 V Phase-Neutral

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Residual current releases
RC222
Sizes for T4 and T5
Type Underneath
Technology with microprocessor
Action solenoid
Primary operating voltage (1) [V] 85...500
Operating frequency [Hz] 45… 66
Self-supply 
Test operation range (1) 85...500
Rated service current [A] up to 630 A
0,03 - 0,05 - 0,1 - 0,3 - 0,5 - 1 -
Adjustable trip thresholds [A]
3 - 5 - 10
instantaneous 0,1 - 0,2 - 0,3 - 0,5 -
Adjustable trip times [s]
1-2-3
Tolerance over trip times ± 20%
Local trip signalling 
SA with changeover contact for trip signalling 
Input for remote opening 
NO contact for signalling pre-alarm 
NO contact for signalling alarm 
Indication of pre-alarm from 25% IDn (tolerance ±3%) 
Indication of alarm timing 
Automatic residual current relay reset 
Type A for pulsed alternating current, AC for alternating current 
Type AE for remote release 
Selective type 
Button for insulation test 
Power supply from above and below 
Assembly with three-pole circuit-breakers
Assembly with four-pole circuit-breakers 
Remote release device 
Conversion kit of circuit-breaker with residual current
from fixed to plug-in

(1) Operation up to 50 V Phase-Neutral

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Tmax T1-T2-T3: Residual current
releases

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Tmax T4-T5: Residual current
releases

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