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Differential Protection is based on the fact that any fault within an electrical equipment would cause the current

leaving it to be different that

Differential Protection
This scheme is also known as the Merz-Price
scheme. The currents entering and leaving the
equipment to be protected are stepped down with
the help of C.Ts on either side. The following
rule can be applied for the dot notation: when the
current enters the dotted terminal on the primary
side of the C.T, it should leave the similarly
marked dotted terminal on the secondary side.

For normal condition, the currents transformed by

the C.T being equal in phase and magnitude just
circulate on the secondary side and there is spill
current in the over current relay. The over current
relay is wired to trip the two circuit breakers on
either side of the equipment to be protected. A
differential relay (over current relay) responds to
the vector difference between two or more similar
electrical quantities. Thus the simple differential
relay is stable during normal operating condition.
Similarly during external fault condition,
there is no difference in phase or magnitude
of the entering and leaving current thus
giving a zero spill current. Thus the simple
differential relay is stable for the external
fault condition also.
Our Interest: Behavior during internal fault

For internal fault, due the difference in the

entering and leaving values of the current in
and out of the C.T, there is a spill current in
the over current relay which if more than
the pick-up value of the over current relay
will cause the circuit breakers to trip thus
meeting the basic requirement of clearing
internal faults
Difficulties and errors in the Simple
Differential Protection scheme:

1. Pilot wire lengths: The C.Ts and machine to be

protected are located at different sites and
normally it is not possible to connect relay coil to
the equi-potential points. The difficulty is
overcome by connecting adjustable resistors in
series with the pilot wires. These are adjusted on
site to obtain equi-potential points.
2. CT errors during short circuit: The CTs may
have almost equal ratio as normal currents. But
during short circuit conditions, the primary
currents are unduly large. The ratio errors of
CTs on either sides differ during these
conditions due to:
a. Inherent difference in CT characteristic arising
out of difference in magnetic circuit, saturation
conditions etc.
b. Unequal d.c components in the short circuit
Saturation of CT magnetic circuits during
short circuit conditions:
Due to these causes the relay may operate
even for external faults. The relay may lose
its stability for through faults.
To overcome this difficulty the percentage
differential relay or Biased differential relay
is used. It is essentially a circulating current
differential relay with additional restraining
coil. The current flowing through the
restraining coils is proportional to (I1+I2)/2 and
this restraining current prevents the operation
during external faults

Because with the rise in current the

restraining torque increases and I1-I2
arising out of difference in CT ratio is not
enough to cause relay operation. The
through fault stability is defined as the
maximum through fault current beyond
which the scheme loses stability.
The through fault stability is defined as the
maximum through fault current beyond
which the scheme loses stability. It is
denoted as: Istab.
Comparing this with an internal fault, the
minimum internal fault current required for
the scheme to operate, in this case,
correctly, is decided by the pick-up value of
the over current relay in the spill path.
Then to have a better idea of the relation of
this value and we define a term called as the
stability ratio which is given by:
Stability Ratio=(maxm through fault current
beypond which the scheme
maloperate)/min. internal fault current
required for tripping.
The higher the stability ratio, the better is
the system able to distinguish between
internal and external faults.
The stability ratio can be improved by
improving the match between the two
Current transformers.
The percent differential protection scheme

The simple differential relay can be made

more stable if one can develop a restraining
torque proportional to the fault current, the
operating torque still proportional to the
spill current. This is implemented in the
percent differential relay. This relay has a
coil tapped at the centre thus forming 2
sections with equal number of turns: Nr/2.
The restraining coil receives the though
fault current since it is connected in the
circulating current path. The operating coil
having No turns is connected on the spill
path same as the simple differential relay.
Total Restraining torque= M[Nr(I1+I2)/2]+Tsp
Total Operating torque = M[No(I1-I2)/2]
Relay will operate if Op.Torque=Rest.Torque
So at the verge of operation
M[No(I1-I2)/2]= M[Nr(I1+I2)/2]+Tsp
i.e. I1-I2 =K(I1+I2)/2+ Ko
Thus the operating characteristics of this
relay will be a straight line with a slope of
Nr/No and an intercept of Ko on Y axis.
The characteristic is shown in the figure.
Thus the spill current must be greater than a
definite percentage of the through fault
current for the relay to operate. Hence the
name percent differential relay. The slope of
the relay is expressed as percentage. E.g.
slope of 0.4 is 40 % slope.
One of the most important things to note is
that the percentage differential relay does
not have a fixed pick-up value as it
automatically adapts the pick-up value to
the though fault current. Thus as the
through fault current goes on increasing, a
restraining torque is introduced due to the
circulating current thus avoiding mal-
operation of the relay.
The restraining winding is also known as
the biasing winding since we bias the relay
towards restraint. The slope of the
characteristic is also known as percentage
The percentage differential relay can be
made more immune to mal-operation on
though fault by increasing the slope of the
Setting of Differential Relays

The circulating current differential relay has

two principle settings namely:
- Setting of operating coil circuit
- Setting of restraining coil circuit
The percentage setting or basic setting of
the operating coil circuit is defined as the