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Chapter No.

05 Distribution Equipment

Circuit Breakers & their Types Reclosers Sectionalizers Fuses Lightening protection Protective Relay Introduction Disconnect Switches Metering Equipment

Circuit breakers are high voltage, high current devices that automatically disconnect faulted equipment to protect people, prevent damage to equipment and minimize the effects of damage. Range in size from 125V,15A to over 800kV,thousands of Amperes.

Opening of the contacts of circuit breaker causes ionization of gas present between contacts, as a result, producing arc. It is due to the presence of high electric field between the current carrying contacts. Severe in case of inductive loads(Mostly Industrial & faulted lines). Arc must be extinguished to interrupt the current in case of Fault.

Firstly, by lengthening the arc which causes rise in resistance, drop in current & temperature rise, thus reducing the arc.

Using an arc quenching medium e.g Air, Oil or an Insulating gas. DC arcs are harder to break than Ac, but can be extinguiushed using the same principles.

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Convection Arc Trip Arc Horn Interrupting Fins

It causes an arc, which is hot, to rise if the contacts are properly oriented. Increased surface area is exposed to cooler air due to stretching in rising arc, causing its temperature to drop. Longer an arc can be drawn, easier it is to extinguish.

Arc tips, also called arcing contacts, break after the main contacts break. Prevents pitting of the main contacts. Works on same principle as Convection. Only difference is that, it spreads the arc further, thus making it extinguish earlier.

These are placed in the path of rising arc. Stretch the arc further Cool it more Extinguish it faster.

Use air as arc interrupting medium. Used mostly as low voltage breakers. These are driven open by strong springs compressed by rachet mechanism.

Special purpose medium voltage breakers. Used at voltages between 14.4kV and 34.5kV. Blast of compressed air(800 psi) is blown across breaker contacts as they are open. Opening mechanism is provided by powerful springs. Contacts are closed either by a motor or compressed air. Must have a resistor across the arc to dampen high voltage oscillations which may re-ignite the arc.

Contacts are enclosed in a container with a high vacuum. No significant arcing can occur because no air is present to be ionized. Operated by spring force. Available for voltages from 480V to 34.5V.

Use oil as arc interrupting medium. Oil has a dielectric strength far in excess of air. Opening of contacts in oil causes the oil to disassociate which absorbs energy. Hydrogen is used as a product of disassociation. Can be used up to voltage levels of 230kV. Use of arcing chamber increases capacity by a factor of 500, to 10,000 MVA.

SF6 is used as an arc quenching medium. Used for extremely high voltage(EHV, above 345kV) applications. These are usually live tank designs supported on insulators.

User must consider a number of ratings to select a circuit breaker. Continuous Voltage Rating(Decrease at altitudes above 3000 ft.). Rated Impulse Voltage. Continuous Current Rating. Maximum Fault Current. Interrupting Time. Mechanical considerations such as size, foundation and space required.

Controls must include. Monitoring sensors for compressed air. Equipment to start compressor when pressure is low. Interrupting medium monitoring. Monitoring of trip signal from protective relays. Status of the breaker must be relayed.

Reclosers are special purpose, light duty circuit breakers. Can interrupt overloads but not severe faults. Reclosers allow temporary faults to clear. Sense an over current, open, reclose after a preprogrammed time and after a preset number of operations remain open(lock out). Time between reclosures and time of reclose can also be programmed. Much smaller, lighter and cheaper than power circuit breakers.

Electronic Reclosers.(E.R) Hydraulic Reclosers.(H.R) Times are controlled by pistons in hydraulic cylinders and by electronic circuitry in electronic reclosers. E.R are more flexible, accurate and easily tested than H.R but more expensive.

Protection of feeders. Protection of taps on feeders. Sectionalize faulted distribution lines.

It depends on. Voltage Continuous current Minimum fault current in protected zone Interrupt capacity Ground fault sensing capability BIL rating for transient protection

It s a device used to automatically isolate faulted line segments from a distribution system. Senses any current above its actuating current followed by de-energizing by recloser. After a preset number of de-energizations, it opens and locks out.

Small ones which are hydraulically operated in a manner similar to reclosers. Higher capacity ones which are electronically operated. Circuit breakers, reclosers, and sectionalizers are used together to provide better protection of lines.

Fuses are one-time devices that must be replaced each time they open a fault. A metallic element is used which melts when an over current passes.

Use zinc, copper or silver as metallic element. Current limiting fuses limit the peak fault current in less than one-half cycle. Current limiting is important because heating and mechanical damage due to fault are proportional to square of cirrent. Two element fuses are also available for loads with high inrush current such as motors. One element is a normal fault interrupting to open in case of short circuit. Second element is an overloaded sensing element which opens only if a current of about five times the rating remains for one second.

Expulsion fuses, when blowing, use the heat generated by melting element to decompose a material on the inner fuse wall. Sounds like a shotgun when they blow. Expulsion fuses links are usually tin. Available with voltage ratings to over 34.5kV, continuous current ratings over 1000A and interrupt capacities over 12.5A.


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Voltage Continuous current Interrupt Capacity Current Limiting Time-Current Fuse Coordination

Lightning: Cloud charge distribution is the key to lightning formation. Clouds are filled with ions. Larger ions are positive and small ones negative. Ions get attached with the dust particles and small water droplets. At very high electric fields, large droplets get polarize, as a result of which, lightning occurs.

It is used to clip the induced voltage transient caused by a lightning stroke. It should be an insulator at any voltage below the protected voltage, and a good conductor at any voltage above to pass the energy of the strike to ground. First, lightning arresters were spark gaps which break down at a voltage governed by the voltage between the electrodes. Newer ones use enclosed spark gaps plus a ceramic valve block. Silicon Carbide and Zinc Oxide is mostly used as low voltage transient suppression material.

These are conductors strung above the load carrying conductors. Used to protect the load carrying conductors from lightning strokes. Almost all lines 34.5kV and above use shield wires.

It is an electromechanical or microprocessor controlled electronic system that senses an abnormal or fault condition. Used for the protection of generators, transformers, motors and lines. Other type of relays that perform function other than fault sensing include Monitoring relays Programming relays Regulatory relays Auxiliary relays

Microcomputer Controlled Relays Over Current Relays(Type 50/51 ) Under Voltage Relays Differential Relays(Type 87)

It is a single relaying economical package. Current and potential transformers provide current and voltage information to the relay. Microcomputer calculate additional parameters and send trip signal to relay. Works under program control that are stored in read only memory. It is being included mostly in new electrical systems.

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Type 50 are instantaneous over current relays. Type 51 are inverse-time over current relays. 50/51 relay has consists of three relay mechanisms. Instantaneous unit(IIT) for High Value. An Induction Disc(Type CO). An Indicating unit(ICS) to indicate time trip.

A high over current causes IIT to trip. IIT indicator drops the red flag indicating an instantaneous trip. Low value over current starts CO disc turning. CO contacts allow current through ICS coil causing it to pull in. ICS contacts then carry the bulk of trip current to circuit breaker trip coil. Some common CT ratios are 300:5, 600:5 and 2000:5.

An induction disc with voltage coils can be used as under voltage relays. The relay is designed so the coil torque holds the moving contact away from stationary contact. The relay is energized at normal line voltage holding the contacts open but can not hold in at low line voltage.

It responds to the difference in two currents. Relay operates only if the difference is above a preset limit. It provides better protection than an IIT connected differentially. It has a restraining coil, wound so, to produce opening torque when current is same. In case of faults, opening torque weakens and current through operating coil provides closing torque.

Differential relays operates only when there is a difference in the current between the two CTs. Equal and opposite phase voltages form the CT,s result in zero potential across IIT under normal conditions. If a fault occurs, the CT currents are no longer the same and the current through IIT no longer equals zero.

Designed to open and close a circuit. Must have a large gap when open. Air gap of about 11 feet is required at 230kV. Cannot open a fault.

Non-load Break Disconnect Switch:

High and medium voltage disconnect switches are designed to isolate a section of a circuit after the protective device has de-energized the circuit. Allow disconnecting the circuit while rest is in protection zone. Can open very small charging currents to unloaded equipment. Can be operated by motors, insulated lever or manually by using hook stick. Available in single phase, single pole and three phase, three pole.

Can interrupt normal load currents only. Wall switch is most common load break switch. Use interrupters built into the switch to break the load current before switch disconnecting arm is swung open. New high voltage switches are equipped with SF6 interrupters. Motors are commonly used to open and close the switch blades.

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Power metering equipment records the amount of power used in a Particular Area Sent Down a Particular Line Used in Particular Structure. Metering equipment provides power use information for planning of future needs from power use trends and billing for revenue. The equipment uses a current and potential coil and an induction disc. Disc rotation is proportional to the power passing through the metered line. Low voltage meters are directly mounted on metered lines. High voltage must be fed through instrument transformers.