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TRANSFORMER

PROTECTION SECHEMES

INTRODUCTION : NECESSITY OF PROTECTION SCHEMES

Transformers are critical expensive components


of the power system. Its failure in service might
imply a lengthy and costly outage.
Even where spare transformers are available,
a lot of time will be spent on transportation,
testing and commissioning.
A major goal of transformer protection is limiting
damage to a faulted transformer.
The basic philosophy in protection system design
is that any equipment that is threatened with
damage by a sustained abnormal condition be
automatically isolated.

TRANSFORMER PROTECTION OVERVIEW


The type of protection available for a given
transformer, depends on the size, complexity and
revenue derived there from. For these reasons,
different types of protection schemes are employed
for power and distribution transformers.
The type of protection used should minimize the
time of disconnection for faults within the
transformer and to reduce the risk of catastrophic
failure.
Any extended operation of the transformer under
abnormal condition such as faults or overloads
compromises the life of the transformer.
This implies that the speed of isolation upon the
occurrence of a fault is very important.

CAUSES OF TRANSFORMER FAILURE


The windings and magnetic core of transformers are
subjected to a number of different forces during
operation amongst which are :
Expansion & Contraction caused by
thermal cycling;
Vibration caused by flux in the core;
Localized heating caused by eddy current in parts
of the winding induced by magnetic flux;
Impact forces caused by through-fault currents;
Thermal heating caused by overloading.

Transformers through-out the power system,


experience different levels of through-fault
currents in terms of magnitude, duration and
frequency.
Through-faults in transformers can produce
physical forces that causes insulation wear
and friction induced displacement in the
winding.
These effects are cumulative and should be
considered over the life of the transformer.

CLASSIFICATION OF FAILURES IN TRANSFORMERS


Failures in transformers can be classified into:
Winding failures due to short-circuit(turn-to-turn faults;
phase-to-phase faults; phase-to-ground & opencircuited winding faults.);
Core faults(core insulation failure; shorted laminations;
corroded laminations);
Terminal failures(open leads; loose connections; shortcircuits);
Abnormal operating conditions(over-fluxing, overvoltage & over-loading);
External faults;
On-load tap changer failures(mechanical, electrical &
short-circuits).

TRANSFORMER PROTECTION SCHEMES


DISTRIBUTION TRANSFORMER PROTECTION
A distribution transformer steps down distribution
feeder voltage to the utilization voltage(11kv/415v).
For best efficiency, distribution transformers should be
operated between 50% and 75% of full load rating.
The protection arrangement for distribution
transformers is very simple but adequate as long as
the devices used are not subjected to any form of
abuse.
The devices used are:1. Fuses
2. Lightning Arresters
3. Transformer Neutral Earthing.

FUSES

Fuses are used as primary protection for distribution


transformers because of their simplicity & low cost.
They are short time devices and can be applied to
protect distribution transformers of up to 33kv.
Generally, a fuse is designed to snap or rupture
when its current rating is exceeded. Fuses ruptures for
a variety of reasons.
The knowledge of the magnitudes of the transformer
primary and secondary current, will help in the correct
selection of the primary and secondary fuse ratings.
Hence, when properly selected, fuses offer adequate
protection for distribution transformers against over
load and short circuit currents.

Example:What are the correct J&P or R.M.U and H.R.C


cartridge fuse ratings suitable for a 500KVA
11/0.415kv transformer assuming a 4-way feeder
pillar is used with 4 overhead cables.
Solution:
Transformer full load primary current = Ip
Ip = KVA =
500
= 26.244 Amps
3 x kv
3 x 11
Transformer full load secondary current = Is
Is =
KVA =
500
= 696 Amps
3 x kv
3 x 0.415

Since a 4-way feeder pillar was used, the secondary


current per feeder pillar unit is
I4 = 696 Amps
=
174 Amps
4
The nearest value of fuse available is 150 Amps.
Therefore 150 Amps can be used per phase in each
feeder pillar unit.
It is note worthy that continuous overloading is one of
the main causes of premature ageing and breakdown
of distribution transformer winding insulation.

EFFECTS OF TRANSIENT OVER-VOLTAGES


Distribution transformers are subjected to transient overvoltages resulting from the networks to which they are
connected.
These voltages are either the result of direct or induced
lightning strikes on the H.V. or L.V. networks or of surges
generated during switching by switchgear operations.
These voltages are usually higher than the rated
breakdown voltage of the insulation and are usually
responsible for the premature ageing of the transformer
winding insulation.
The cumulative ageing process of the transformer
winding insulation eventually leads to its failure in
service.

LIGHTNING ARRESTERS AND SPARK GAP PROTECTION

Two means of over-voltage protection widely used are:


Spark Gap Protection &
Lightning Arresters.
(1.) Spark Gaps
Spark Gap Protection devices are the simplest and
least expensive scheme. Voltage limiting across its
terminals is achieved by arcing in the air gap.
(2.) Lightning Arresters
Lightning Arresters provides protection with greater
performance but at noticeably higher cost. They are
made from voltage dependent materials as soon as
the threshold is exceeded, it starts to conduct.

The disadvantages associated with spark gap protection


are as follows :
The appearance of an earth fault current after spark gap
protection operation. This follow-up current whose
intensity depends on the networks neutral earthing
arrangement, cannot in general extinguish itself
spontaneously and requires the intervention of an
upstream protection device.
Dependence of the level of protection in relation to the
steepness of the voltage gradient. This implies that a high
over-voltage with very steep gradient does not lead to
arcing until a peak value noticeably greater than the
protection level is reached.
High variations in flash-over level as a function of
environmental conditions(humidity, dust, foreign body, etc).

The basic requirements of lightning arresters are: It should behave as a perfect insulator for the
highest system voltage to ground.
It should discharge any over-voltage to ground safely.
It should restore itself as insulator after discharging the follow
voltage.
In order to facilitate this process, the earth resistance must
be very low; typically 2 ohms or lower.
Transformer

11kv feeder

J&P fuse

Location of Lightning Arresters


The Lightning Arrester should be located as close as
possible to the apparatus or equipment to be
protected, particularly if an overhead line terminates
in
a transformer. During wave propagation phenomena,
the transformer represents a point of almost total
reflection and the stress that it is subjected to can
reach approximately twice the maximum voltage of
the incident wave.

TRANSFORMER NEUTRAL GROUNDING


Transformer neutral or star point is usually grounded
in order to protect the transformer against the dangerous
effects of over-voltages and heavy short circuit current by
holding the neutral potential close to ground potential.
Neutral Earthing ensures the rapid disconnection of faulty
apparatus from the system without undue delay and enables
the use of protective relaying(earth fault relays) for fault
clearance.
The ground resistance must be low(typically 2 ohms or less
for distribution substations).
In practice, distribution transformer neutral grounding is
effected in the feeder pillar by providing a link between the
earth bar and the neutral bar.
Neutral grounding can be solid, through resistance or
reactance or both.
The practice in P.H.C.N. is solid grounding.

PROTECTION OF POWER TRANSFORMERS


Power transformers of various sizes and configuration
are installed throughout the power system. They are
bulk power sources and play an important role in
power delivery and the integrity of the power system
network as a whole. They operate at full load for best
efficiency.
Power Transformers are subjected to many external
electrical stresses from both upstream & downstream.
The consequences of any failure can be very great in
terms of operating losses.
The transformers must therefore be protected against
faults of external origin on one hand and isolated from
the network in case of internal faults on the other
hand.

POWER TRANSFORMER PROTECTION SCHEMES


Protection of Power Transformers does not require
the use of Fuses. In its place protective relays and
circuit breakers are used because of the magnitude
of the voltage and fault current.

Power transformer protection schemes can be


divided into two categories namely.
Non Electrical protection
Electrical protection

NON ELECTRICAL PROTECTION


Non Electrical Protection implies that the relay used is
not an electrical device but has connections which when
actuated can give an alarm and or trip the breaker to
isolate the transformer.
THERMAL RELAY PROTECTION
In the first category is the transformer oil temperature
indicator. This is a simple instrument which indicates the
top oil temperature at an instant of time and loading
cycle. If the temperature of the top oil is found to be
above permissible limit, the transformer is understood to
be overloaded.
Immediate steps must be taken to ensure that the top oil
temperature drops and remains within tolerable limit.
The longer a power transformer is allowed to operate
above permissible temperature limit, the faster the
insulating materials and oil deteriorate and may cause
premature failure at an early stage.

The thermal relay with alarm and trip contacts is


a very common device for protecting the
transformer against high winding temperatures.
The thermal relay is immersed in the transformer
oil and energized from a current transformer so
that it responds to the copper temperature (direct
heating effect of load current).
The relay can be arranged to close several sets
of contacts in succession as the copper
temperature climbs with increasing load. The
first contact to close can start fans or pumps for
auxiliary cooling.
The next contact can warn of temperatures
approaching the maximum safe limit while the
final contacts can trip a circuit breaker to isolate
the transformer

BUCHHOLZ PROTECTION
The Buchholz relay is a mechanical safety device
sensing the accumulation of gas in large oil-filled
transformers and will cause an alarm on slow
accumulation of gas or initiate the operation of the
transformer breaker to isolate the transformer if the
gas is produced rapidly in the transformer oil.
The relay is installed in the pipe between the
transformer main tank and the conservator.
It responds to internal arcing faults and slow
decomposition of insulating materials. It can also
detect low oil level in the transformer due to leakage.

It has two elements, a float switch and a combined


hinged flap and float switch. Gases generated due to
internal failure in the transformer tank cause streams
of bubbles which move upwards and towards the
conservator tank but is trapped in the buchholz
chamber.
The trapped gases, displace the oil in the buchholz
chamber consequently lowering the upper float.
The operation of the switches connected to an
external alarm and trip circuit is then initiated for
incipient faults and serious faults respectively.
Buchholz protection is an important protective scheme
for power transformers as it detects fault within the
transformer particularly in the incipient stages to avoid
major breakdown and sudden failure of power supply.

TYPES OF GASES GENERATED IN TRANSFORMER OIL

In oil immersed transformers, different types of gases


are generated due to different faults or due to
degradation of different materials in the transformer.
The major advantage of this gas evolution is that
substantial amount of gas is evolved even for very
incipient faults or material degradation.
Thus, analysis of this gas forms a very important
means for monitoring the health of the transformer or
for determining the nature of the fault in the event of a
tripping due to gas accumulation.
The gas can be analyzed on-line(in-situ = that is, as it
is being produced inside the transformer oil) in case
such systems have been installed on the transformer.

Alternatively, oil samples from the transformer


can be taken periodically for analysis in a lab.
The periodicity depends on the size and
criticality of the transformer.
The implication of a few of the gases that may
be observed in the oil is as follows: Hydrogen : is generated by corona or partial
discharge. In conjunction with other gases
observed with it, the source of the discharge
can be determined.

Ethylene : is associated with the thermal


degradation of oil. Trace quantities of Methane
and Ethane are generated at 150C. Ethylene
is generated in significant quantities at 300C.
Carbon Dioxide & Carbon Monoxide :
are evolved when cellulose(treated paper)
insulation is overheated.
Acetylene : is produced in significant quantities
by arcing in oil.

ELECTRICAL PROTECTION
Electrical protection is used to protect power transformer from
unbalanced short circuit current and over-voltages.
When an electrical protection operates, isolation of the power
transformer is instantaneous because of the magnitude of
current and voltage involved.

DIFFERENTIAL RELAY PROTECTION


The differential protection is an arrangement that covers the
transformer and provides the best overall protection for both
phase and ground faults.
This protection is a current balance scheme. It compares
primary and secondary currents of two winding transformers or
primary, secondary and tertiary currents of three winding
transformers.

The basic requirements that the relay must


satisfy are : The relay must not operate for load or external
faults;
The relay must operate for severe enough
internal faults.
The Differential scheme is a unit protection
and the protected zone is exactly determined
by the location of the current transformers.

CURRENT TRANSFORMER (C.T.) CONNECTIONS

A simple rule of thumb is that the current


transformers on any wye(star) winding of a
power transformer should be connected delta
and the current transformers on any delta
winding should be connected wye(star).
This is necessary in order to take care of phase
shift(usually 30) in the delta windings so that
the currents presented to the relay are
vectorially the same. For stability in a differential
relay scheme, the vectorial difference of the
currents must equal to zero so that their effects
cancel out.

For this to be achieved, matching current


transformers are used in the differential scheme.
Any internal fault within the transformer or the
difference zone, will bring about a difference
between high voltage(H.V) primary currents and
low voltage (L.V) secondary currents or between
primary, secondary & tertiary currents in case of 3
winding transformers.
This imbalance or difference in current will flow in
the relay winding to cause operation of the
differential relay with the consequent isolation of the
transformer.

The relay provides protection against the


followings : Short circuit between phases;
Short circuit between windings;
Short circuit between phases and earth;
Any electrical fault within the protected zone.
Trial re-closure is not permitted anytime the
differential relay operates. The transformer
should be disconnected and properly tested to
establish the cause of tripping before
restoration in service can be made to prevent
subsequent trippings.

RESTRICTED EARTH FAULT (REF)


PROTECTION
Restricted earth fault (REF) protection scheme is a
current balance scheme involving only the residual
currents passing through the phases of one winding
and the associated neutral current of the same
winding. It is only used to protect a transformer
against earth faults close to the neutral of the star
winding of a power transformer.
It is based on the principle that if there is an internal
fault to earth on any of the windings, the summation of
the line currents will no more be the same as the
neutral current. Therefore the relay balance will be
upset.

Fault detection is confined to the zone between the


current transformers and hence the name restricted
earth fault.
REF protection is fast and can isolate winding faults
very quickly, thereby limiting damage and consequent
repair cost.
To prevent the relay from burning out due to high
voltages seen by the relay during a fault, a stabilizing
resistor is required. This should be an adjustable
resistor which enables it to be used at different earth
fault settings.
REF relays are high impedance relays and like
differential relays, it operates instantaneously and trial
re-closure is not allowed until a thorough investigation
of the cause of tripping has been carried out.

OVER CURRENT AND EARTH FAULT PROTECTION

Over-current and earth fault relay protection are


usually applied on small power transformer since the
use of differential relay is not economical.
This protection scheme is used as a back-up for
larger power transformers. It does not distinguish
between external short circuit, overloads and internal
faults.
The scheme comprises of two over current relays on
the Red & Blue phases while the earth relay is
installed on the yellow phase.
The relays are the inverse time type where the time of
operation is inversely proportional to the current.
These relays also have instantaneous attachments for
fast clearing of faults very close to the substation
because of the magnitude of fault current involved.

STANDBY EARTH FAULT (SBEF) PROTECTION


The SBEF protection is employed to protect large
power transformers against both external and internal
faults. It is normally a kind of back-up protection with a
relatively long delay.
The relay is connected to the neutral current
transformer and is meant to coordinate with down
stream earth fault relays.
Operation of standby earth fault (SBEF) protection
relay trips both primary and secondary circuit breakers
of the power transformer.

TRIPPING UNIT : D.C. SUPPLY SYSTEM


Introduction : All protection schemes designed to
prevent or minimize damage to equipment requires an
actuating signal. This signal can be an alternating
current(a.c.) or a direct current (d.c.) signal.
Alternating current(a.c.) supplies can be used for
protection and control systems, but the major problem
is that it can disappear when needed most depending
on the source of supply. The fact that a.c. cannot be
stored makes it less attractive.
In practice, a battery bank with a matching charger
(rectifier) are the inseparable pair which must be
installed for a healthy d.c. system.

The standard arrangement is for the charger to


provide d.c. to the standing load and at the same
time provide trickle charge or boost charge to the
battery bank depending on the discharge condition
of the batteries in the bank.
The battery bank should come into supply the load
during emergency or loss of output from the
charger.
It is therefore extremely important that the
batteries in the bank be fully charged at all times
so that in times of prolonged outage to the station
or charger, the battery bank can provide the
required d.c. signal for protection & control.

Direct Current supply failures have not only led


to an outbreak of fire, they have also led to a
complete collapse of the power system.
In fact it is safer to shut down the station if the
battery bank output is not available because
without d.c. there is no protection for the bulk of
the equipment/apparatus in service in the
station.
THE CHARGER : The d.c. supply unit is
basically a rectifier circuit where an alternating
current is converted to direct current. The a.c.
is stepped down to the value needed to obtain
the required d.c. voltage.

The power rectifier assembly is made up of silicon


diodes with the regulator circuits, d.c. output
breakers or fuses and the required number of
feeder breakers to distribute the d.c. power to the
various loads.
The arrangement of the charger and the battery
banks with the associated d.c. distribution panels
is usually the practice in PHCN where the charger
is used to continuously charge the storage
batteries as well as supply the d.c. loads.
The charge rate is usually low in the case of
floating(about 0.3 amps or thereabout) and usually
high for boosting about 3.5 amps and above
depending on the battery capacity.

Supervisory schemes are employed extensively in


d.c. supply units to monitor the prevailing condition
of the supply unit and to alert in case of unwarranted
situations because a highly reliable d.c. system is a
requisite for proper operation of a power system.
Some supervisory schemes and protection which
are in use presently are:
A.C. Fail scheme;
Charger Failure scheme;
Miniature Circuit Breaker(M.C.B) Trip;
Battery Earth Fault;
Battery Low Voltage scheme;
Boast Charge scheme.

While some of the supervisory schemes employ


d.c. for its alarm annunciation, it is to be noted
that the alarm annunciation for d.c. failure will
necessarily be an a.c. scheme(a.c. visual
indication and alarm).
Generally speaking, if the charger and the d.c.
distribution panel are not subjected to any form of
mal-operation, they hardly breakdown.
However, some form of maintenance is carried
out on them, these includes:

Periodic check of d.c. voltage output;


Panel cleaning and removal of dirt/cobwebs;
Check for Charge retention ability;
Replace ruptured fuses.

Standard voltage ratings of the d.c. supply unit


(Charger) are 30 volts, 50 volts, 110 volts, &
150 volts while the ampere ratings are usually 3
amps, 6 amps, 10 amps, 20 amps, 30 amps,
40 amps, 50 amps.
The capacity of the substations,
the switching arrangement and
the standing load are the factors which decide
the size and rating of the supply unit.

STORAGE BATTERIES
A battery is an electro-chemical device that is a
source of direct current(d.c.) electricity. Some
batteries allow recharging while others do not.
The primary battery cells are designed for
discharge operation and not intended to be
recharged. A typical example is the carbon-zinc
dry cells used in flashlights and radio sets.
The secondary batteries, on the other hand are
designed for repeated discharging and recharging
or cycling without appreciable decrease in
capacity per cycle.
The secondary battery can be maintenance free
while some others require maintenance.

The condition of a fully charged lead-acid or


Nickel-alkaline battery deteriorates if left
unattended to, over a period of time, even when
left on open circuit.
Batteries requires trickle charge to overcome
internal losses called self discharge or standing
loss which tend to drain the battery, and remain
fully charged at all times.
The cell voltage is the rated steady open circuit
e.m.f of a fully charged cell and is usually about
2.1 volts or 2.2 volts/cell for the lead-acid type
while it is 1.2 volts for the alkaline type. The battery
bank voltage is normally the sum of the cell
voltages in the bank.

The specific gravity of the electrolyte to a large


extent determines the status of the cells.
The values of the specific gravity when the cell
is fully charged is 1.21 0.1 and 1.18 when
discharged.
The specific gravity is measured with a
hydrometer. During charging, the density of the
electrolyte increases due to evaporation of
water.
Evaporation of electrolyte should be made up
by adding distilled water occasionally but never
acid.

The rate of fall of d.c. voltage depends on the


following factors:
Current demand of load;
Duration of discharge;
State of charge of battery at start of discharge;
Ageing.
Battery Capacity Ratings : The capacity of the
battery is its ability to deliver a given amperage
for a given period of time at a giving initial cell
temperature while maintaining voltage above a
given minimum level.

The Ampere-hour rating is simply the product of


the discharge current and a given period of
time. It is usually specified at a given definite
discharge rate.
Thus a battery cell of 250 AH type 10gro E250
at the 10 hour rate of discharge will give 25A
output continuously for 10 hours.
A given cell usually delivers more total amperehours when the discharge rate is decreased.
Conversely, the same cell will deliver fewer
total ampere-hour when the discharge rate is
increased under similar conditions.

Battery Bank Installation : The installation of a


battery bank should take cognizance of the
followings:

Proper battery rack should be constructed.


Where steel rack is specified, plastic channels to protect
the steel rails against corrosion and to provide insulation
should be used.
Battery bank should be located as close as possible to the
load to avoid excessive voltage drop along the conductor.
Appropriate conductor cross sectional area should be
used.
Battery room to be properly ventilated so as to prevent a
build-up of hydrogen gas.
Smoking and open flame should always be prohibited in
the battery room.

Maintenance of Battery Bank :


The most important aspect of battery
maintenance is the addition of distilled water to
correct electrolyte level.
Scheduled checks of electrolytes specific
gravity, voltage levels, cell voltage, etc should
be noted and recorded in the battery
maintenance report sheet.
Battery cleaning, greasing of terminals and
connections should be done every six months.
Battery room should always be kept clean and
properly ventilated.

PRECOMMISSIONING PROCEDURES
Transformers are dispatched to various locations
either:(a) In their tanks with sufficient oil to cover the coils,
the remaining oil being dispatched separately in
sealed steel drums, or alternatively with the full
complement of oil in the tanks.
(b) In their tanks without oil, all oil being sent
separately.
Upon arrival at the site, the transformer is thoroughly
examined for possible damage which may have
occurred in transit.
Oil leakage from the tanks, cooling fins, bushings etc
should be noted and stopped immediately.

Where the transformer was dispatched to the site


without oil, as in the case of large power transformers,
after installation of the cooling fins, it should be dried
out to remove moisture in the transformer tank.
When receiving oil which has been dispatched
separately, each drum should be inspected and
samples tested for the presence of moisture.
If necessary, the oil should be dried out before pouring
into the transformer tank up to the requisite level as
indicated by the oil gauge.
The silica gel is then poured into a receptacle
(breather) and installed at the oil conservator tank.

TESTS
Various test are carried out on transformers in order to
confirm the exact condition of the windings. Even new
transformers have been known to fail under test. Perhaps
due to storage, haulage & handling conditions.
INSULTION RESISTANCE TEST
This involves the use of a portable 500volts 5,000 volts
insulation resistance tester. For a transformer with voltage
rating 11/0.415kv, the H.V. winding is
tested by applying 5,000 volts at the H.V. terminal with
respect to ground. The L.V. side is tested with 1,000 volts.
All values obtained are recorded in meg-ohms. Any value
below 100 meg-ohms is regarded as bad and is usually seen
as a sign of deterioration of the insulation of the windings or
ingress of moisture in the oil/ windings.

The results are recorded as follows :


HV E = 300 M
LV E = 250 M
HV - LV = 900 M

INSULATION TEST
A 60KV or 80KV D.C insulation tester is used for this
purpose. For a transformer with voltage rating
11/0.415kv, 25kv D.C is applied on any
of the primary (H.V) winding terminals for 1 minute
and 2kv applied on the secondary (L.V) winding
terminal for 30 seconds both with respect to ground.
The leakage current is noted if possible.
Any considerable drop in the voltage applied is
indicative of a fault in the windings of the
transformer. The continuity of the windings in
the transformer is also checked.

The results are recorded as follows :


T/F winding

Initial Voltage

Time

Continuity

Remarks

H.V.

25KV

1 minute

Okay

Good

L.V.

2KV

30 seconds

Okay

Good

RATIO TEST
Ratio test is used to check the transformation
ratio in the windings of the transformer.
It helps detect any abnormality in the windings.
Transformer ratio test is of 2 types :
(i.) Voltage Ratio Test;
(ii.) Turns Ratio Test.

VOLTAGE RATIO TEST


This is used to check the ratio of voltage
transformation in the windings of transformers.
This test is usually carried out on Distribution
Transformers using a single phase source of a.c.
power supply, e.g. Generator.
The result of a single phase voltage ratio test of a 500
KVA, 11kv/415v dy11 Transformer is shown below:
AB

BC

CA

ab

bc

ca

an

bn

cn

215

168

46

8.3

2.6

5.6

4.6

3.6

1.0

113

216

102

7.1

6.8

0.2

2.4

4.6

2.2

51

166

217

2.4

8.2

5.8

1.1

3.5

4.6

A three phase voltage ratio test is achieved by using a


3-phase source of a.c. power supply.
The difficulty in obtaining a 3-phase source of power
supply is usually a set back.
The result of a 3-phase voltage ratio test of a 500
KVA, 11kv/415v dy11 transformer is shown below.
AB

BC

CA

ab

bc

ca

an

bn

cn

388

388

388

14.4

14.4

14.4

8.2

8.2

8.2

TURNS RATIO TEST : The Ratio Meter Method


The ratio-meter is used to carry out this test
This is one of the final tests before placing a power
transformer in service(especially for new installation).
The ratio meter is used to verify that the transformer is
connected correctly to give the selected voltages as
given on the name plate.
With modern electronic ratio-meters, the test is
simplified.
At switch-on, input transformer vector group at the
prompt;
Input the test voltage, the tap-position and the
secondary voltage.
The remainder of the test is automatic with the display
indicating ratio, magnetizing current, etc.
The ratio test is usually carried out on all tap positions.

The formula used to calculate the nominal ratio is


n = X1 Xo x 100
H1 H2

It will be found that the calculated ratio and the ratio


reading taken will not match exactly.
This slight difference between calculated and actual
ratio may be due to the construction of the transformer ,
the ratio-meter itself and the use of a tap-changer in
the windings.
The simple ratio of turns or voltage and the related ratio
error is not sufficient to detect all possible failures of a
transformer winding.

EXCITATION TEST
In this test, a single phase a.c. supply voltage(230
Volts) is applied to the secondary terminals of the
transformer with the primary terminals open-circuited.
The voltage is applied to all the phases one after the
other with the phase voltage at the secondary
terminals measured and noted.
Note that the transformer is operated in reverse(i.e. in
step-up mode) and a dangerous high voltage will be
available at the primary terminals and therefore no
measurement can be conducted there.
An excitation test is very powerful and can indicate
that a transformer is faulty even when the insulation
resistance test, insulation test and ratio test results are
okay.

The result of a test on a 500KVA 11kv/415v,


dy11 transformer is shown below :
an

bn

cn

189

136

52

98

196

98

52

136

189

TRANSFORMER EARTH RESISTANCE TEST


Transformer or sub-station earth resistance test is
usually carried out prior to the commissioning of
transformers in service.
This is achieved by measuring the resistance to flow of
ground current using an earth resistance tester.
Typical earth resistance acceptable for distribution
substations in 2 ohms.
For power transformer substations, this value has to be
improved to less than 1 ohm in order to prevent damage
to equipment by providing a low impedance path
between a fault and the source of ground-fault current. It
also help to facilitate the operation of protective devices
and minimize the build-up of static charges.

CAPACITY TEST
Capacity confirmation test is conducted on a transformer
to determine the capacity of a transformer whose rating
is not known or whose name-plate is suspicious.
At the commencement of this test, a 3-phase voltage
ratio test is conducted.
The L.V. terminals of the transformer are then shorted.
A 3-phase supply is connected to the H.V. terminals and
clamp-on ammeters used to determine the values of the
circulating currents(H.V. and L.V. sides).
It is note worthy that the circulating current in the L.V.
windings is not less than 70% of full load current. This is
a guide as to the selection of appropriate shorting links.

The results and calculation are as follows for a


500KVA transformer whose impedance is 4% :
1.) 3-Phase Voltage Ratio Test
AB

BC

CA

ab

bc

ca

an

bn

cn

388

388

388

14.4

14.4

14.4

8.2

8.2

8.2

SHORT-CIRCUIT TEST RESULT


H.V. Side

L.V. Side

22.0 Amps

610 Amps

23.3 Amps

610 Amps

23.1 Amps

586 Amps

TRANSFORMER CAPACITY CONFIRMATION


FOR PRIMARY SIDE
IN = ISC X VN X Z%
VT X 100

FOR SECONDARY SIDE


IN = 610 X 415 X 4
14.4 X 100
= 703.194 Amps
Power, P = 3 x 415 x 703.194
= 505.4 KVA
> 500 KVA

IN = 23.3 x 1100 x 4
388 x 100
= 26.42 Amps
Power, P = 3 x VN x IN
= 3 x 1100 x 26.42
= 503.35 KVA
> 500KVA

Where :
IN = Normal Current
ISC = Short Circuit Current
VN = Normal Voltage
VT = Test Voltage
Z = Transformer winding impedance.

MAINTENANCE OF TRANSFORMERS
If a transformer is to give long and trouble free
service, it should receive a reasonable amount of
attention and maintenance.
The causes of breakdown of transformers includes :
Faulty design and construction;
Incorrect installation;
Prolong overloading;
Neglect;
Wear and Tear and other deterioration;
Accidents.

It is standard practice all over the world to draw up


maintenance schemes for transformers as they age in
service.
In recent past, maintenance used to be time based,
but the modern trend is condition based in which the
performance/condition of a transformers is monitored
on a continuous basis.
This method is cost effective because limited
resources would be utilized for transformers that are
in dire need of maintenance.
Transformer maintenance consists of regular
inspection, testing and reconditioning where
necessary.
Records should be kept of the transformer
performance, giving details of all inspections and tests
made and of any unusual occurrences if any.

The reasons for the maintenance of transformers are


as follows:(a) To prolong service life of transformers by preventing
premature failures.
(b) To minimize power outages and the attendant loss in
revenue to suppliers and end-users of electric
power.
(c) To prevent frequent costly replacement of
transformers and the associated long delivery time.
(d) To ensure that the useful lives of transformers are
fully utilized which translates to good return on
investment (R.O.I)

Maintenance can be subdivided into two main


parts namely:(i) Preventive Maintenance
a. Routine Maintenance
b. Overhaul Maintenance
(ii) Breakdown Maintenance

Routine maintenance of transformer include:1. Inspecting the transformer for rusts and leakages
2. Removing climbers from T/F body
3. Replacing moisturized silica gel
4. Testing oil samples obtained from the top and
bottom of the transformer tank
5. Checking T/F oil level
6. Taking T/F load readings and balancing the load
7. Replacement of vandalized earth conductors.
8. Insulators and bushings cleaned periodically.

Overhaul of Transformers include:(1)


(2)
(3)
(4)
(5)

Complete change of transformer oil and gaskets.


Improving on the insulation of the windings.
Replacement of damaged bushings
Maintenance of tap changers
Purification of transformer oil.

BREAKDOWN MAINTENANCE OF TRANSFORMER

A transformer is confirmed to be defective by a


series of tests which include:-

(1)
(2)
(3)
(4)
(5)

Insulation resistance test


Insulation test
Ratio test
Excitation test
Continuity test

The repair process of a failed transformer can be


time consuming depending on the KVA rating and
the availability of materials. It can run into months.

The scope of work involved include:1.


2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.

Un-tanking the transformer


Dismantling and removing the laminations
Removal of defective windings
Rewinding of the defective windings
Testing to confirm characteristics
Re-assembling of laminations
Couple and oven dry
Re-tank dry by vacuuming and or filtration
Final electrical tests

BREAKDOWN MAINTENANCE OF TRANSFORMER


WITH DEFECTIVE TAP CHANGER
Repair is usually by replacement of damaged component
parts or a complete replacement of the tap changer with a
similar one.
The first thing to do is to remove the diverter switch unit
(tap changer) with a suitable lifting device.
Drain the oil in the compartment and clean the chamber
with Electro-clean.
Check thoroughly to ascertain the extent of damage.
Clean and vanish flashed points on the cylinder housing
Dry the unit in an oven to improve on the insulation.
Re-install and fill with fresh oil.
Duration of repair can be up to 2 weeks.

TRANSFORMER DRY-OUT PROCEDURE


It is essential that all transformers be as free as
possible from moisture before being placed in service.
Due to the hygroscopic nature of the oil and the
various insulating materials used, a more or less
appreciable amount of moisture will be absorbed by
both when they are in contact with the atmosphere.
If samples of oil tested indicate the presence of a
small amount of moisture, the oil alone should be
dried out, but if a large proportion of moisture is
indicated, it would be advisable to dry the transformer
itself in addition.

For this the transformer must be un-tanked and


allowed to drip-dry before placing it in an oven.
Thereafter, the improvement of the winding insulation
is monitored by the use of an insulation resistance
tester.
When standard insulation values are obtained, the
transformer is brought out and re-coupled. It is then
filled with new oil.
This method is only suitable for drying small and
medium sized transformers for reason that border on
weight and handling. Consequently, vacuuming and
hot oil filtration is the most convenient method for
drying-out larger transformers.

TRANSFORMER DRY-OUT BY VACUUM


In a vacuum environment, the pressure is
lower than atmospheric. Consequently engineering
fluids like moisture
and volatile liquids evaporate at faster rates and at
reduced temperature.
The essence of vacuuming a power transformer is to
extract as much moisture as possible from the
windings.
Distribution transformers in the KVA range cannot be
vacuumed because the tank cannot withstand vacuum
pressures.

When vacuuming a transformer, better results are


obtained faster if the hose from the vacuum pump of
the machine is connected at or near the top of the
transformer as the tank construction will permit.
This dry-out technique is used when the insulation
resistance of a transformer tends towards zero meg
ohms.
The procedure is to drain the entire oil from the
transformer into a clean receptacle.
Measure and record the insulation resistance values
at regular intervals, say every 4 hours with the vacuum
broken. Never measure transformer insulation under
vacuum.

Stop vacuuming when a appreciable improvement is


noticed. If possible heat the oil in the receptacle and
re-introduce into the transformer under vacuum
through the bottom valve.
Filter the transformer. Stop when the standard
insulation values in excess of 300 meg ohms is
achieved with the oil still hot as the heated system
cools towards ambient temperature.
The insulation resistance will further improve.