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Charter for LV electrical installations

The know-how and appropriate selection of earthing systems in LV electrical installations

3 N PE masses
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3 N N PE masses
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3 N PE masses 3 N N PE masses 3 N N PE masses ■ Merlin

Schneider Electric SA

Postal address F-38050 Grenoble cedex 9 tel: 04 76 57 60 60 telex: merge 320842 F

As standards, specifications and designs change from time to time, please ask for confirmation of the information given in this publication.

Published by Schneider Electric SA Printed in France by

Published by Schneider Electric SA Printed in France by this document has been printed on ecological

this document has been printed on ecological paper

This document

constitutes the

section "the know- how and appropriate selection of earthing systems in LV electrical installations" of the "charter for LV electrical installations".

The first part states the know-how of Schneider concerning the choice of appropriate schemes of neutral connection, substantiated by reasoned argument. This position has been approved by the LV strategic business units of Schneider, in September 1995.

The second part addresses this position, scheme- by-scheme.

Charter for LV electrical installations

The know-how and appropriate selection of earthing systems in LV electrical installations

Summary

page

Relevance of the charter to LV electrical installations

c

objective

2

LV neutral-connection schemes

c

international letter code

3

The know-how of Schneider

c

the range of choice in standard neutral-connection

schemes

4

c

compliance with choice criteria

6

c

practical recommendations

8

c

the economic balance-sheet

12

Features of the neutral-connection schemes

c

IT system

14

c

TT system

16

c

TN-S system with residual current protection

at the origin of the installation

18

c

TN-S system without residual current protection

at the origin of the installation

20

c

TN-C system

22

1

The know-how and appropriate selection of earthing systems in LV electrical installations

Relevance of the charter to LV electrical installations

Objective

The charter of LV electrical installations is intended to describe the means of dealing comprehensively with questions of installation, covering:

the conception of the offer;

the work specification;

the relevant standards.

It provides for the reader requiring a quick reference - the client, or marketing manager, or design office chief - the views of Schneider on important questions related to a LV electrical installation, as well as all elements necessary for a complete understanding of the subject.

2

The charter of LV electrical installation has been conceived and realized by the Schneider competence group for "LV electrical installations".

Charter for LV electrical installations

LV neutral-connection schemes

International letter code

Earthing system IT

The earthing system consists of the connections to earth of the neutral point of the supply system i.e., the LV neutral connection scheme, as well as the conductive parts* of the installation.

The several systems of connections to earth are defined by two (or three) letters:

c

first letter: neutral (N) of the transformer:

v

I: isolated from earth,

v

T: connected to earth;

Earthing system TT

second letter: exposed conductive parts (M) of the loads:

c

v

T: connected to earth,

v

N: connected to the neutral conductor;

c

third letter (optionnal):

v

S: neutral conductor (N) and the

protective conductor (PE) are separated,

 

v

C: neutral conductor (N) and the

protective conductor (PE) are common.

 

Earthing system TN-S

Earthing system TN-C

* conductive parts are defined as:

c all parts of electrical apparatuses, many of them

being accessible (see IEV 826 Exposed conductive parts);

c as well as supporting and building structures, made

of conductive material (generally metal) not intended to be alive or to carry current in normal operating conditions. Some of them are likely to transfer a hazardous voltage and correspond to the extraneous conductive parts of IEV 826.

Charter for LV electrical installations

3 N PE masses
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3 N N PE masses
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N
N
PE
masses
3 N PEN masses
3
N
PEN
masses

3

The know-how and appropriate selection of earthing systems in LV electrical installations

The position of Schneider

The range of choice in standard neutral-connection schemes

No neutral-connection scheme is universal

While the choice of neutral-connection scheme is possible, Schneider recommends a choice, case by case, dictated by constraints particular to a given proposed installation, and to the requirements of the client, within the framework of the rules established by legislation or by the power-distribution authority.

It is often advantageous not to make a unique choice for an entire installation. The choice(s) of neutral-connection scheme(s) most appropriate to an establishement, is (are) the most important initial choice(s) for the safety and reliability of an electrical installation.

4

Charter for LV electrical installations

Questions

What is the earthing system of an electrical installation?

What is the choice of a neutral- connection scheme for a distributor of electrical energy?

What is the choice of a neutral- connection scheme within a building?

Answers

The earthing system of an installation cover the methods of connecting the system of live conductors to earth (i.e. the LV power source), as well as the exposed conductive parts of the LV loads. The earth-connection mode of the live-conductors system is called the "neutral-connection scheme" and can be realized in 3 different ways in the electrical installation of a building. On the other hand, the exposed conductive parts are always connected to the earth electrode of the building in which they are installated, by either protective or neutral conductors. If no building electrode exists (in some TN-C schemes), they are connected to the neutral supply conductor.

For a distributor of electrical energy, it is the choice related closely to natural conditions, technical or historic, of the value of global resistance of the earth electrodes of his distribution network, and of the extent of the responsibilities he wishes to take, or avoid to take in the protection against electric shock for the user-clients.

It is the association of the simultaneous choice made concerning three distinct technical issues within the framework of the relevant standards:

c choice of earthing the LV neutral point of the transformer

supplying the installation: direct, via an impedance, or isolated from earth; the neutral point is connected to an earth electrode, which is either:

v

the electrode for the building,

v

coupled electrically to the electrode for the building,

v

completely separate;

c

choice of realizing the protective conductor (PE) function:

separate conductor, or a conductor which acts both as the neutral and PE conductor, designated PEN;

c choice of circuit-interruption devices used for the protection

against indirect contacts: either a circuit breaker or a fuse, or a residual current device. The use of residual current devices at the origin of the installation achieves, very simply, the separation of responsibilities between the distributor of energy (the contractor) and the client (the user).

Charter for LV electrical installations

5

The know-how and appropriate selection of earthing systems in LV electrical installations

The position of Schneider (continued)

Compliance with the criteria of choice

Protection against electric shock

Protection against the risk of fire of electrical origin

The Schneider offer and related documents must aim at proposing satisfactory solutions for the realization of all the neutral- connection schemes

The proposed solutions respect the six criteria:

c

protection against electric shock;

c

protection against fire of electrical origin;

c

continuity of power supply;

c

protection against overvoltage;

c

protection against electromagnetic disturbances;

c

designed performance limits of the installation.

A

synthesis of features characterising each LV neutral-

connection scheme leads to the following technical

comparisons.

All the LV neutral-connection schemes are equally effective in the protection against electric shocks, providing that the schemes are correctly installed in strict conformity with the standards.

In the TT and IT systems, the occurrence of a first insulation failure phase/earth, will produce fault currents which are weak and verry weak respectively, so that the risk of fire is correspondingly low.

On the other hand:

In the event of a short circuit to earth of low impedance on a

TN system, the value of fault current will be very high and the risk of damage and fire is increased accordingly.

In the case of a partial short circuit to earth, i.e. the fault current

is limited due to the impedance of the fault, TN systems that do not include differential protective devices do not provide sufficient protection against damage or fire risk. Modification of the TN system to that of a TN-S system is recommended, together with the use of residual current protective devices or at least ground fault protection.

In normal operation, the TN-C system presents a greater fire risk

than the other systems. In fact, any (normal) out-of-balance current passes back to the source, not only through the PEN (neutral/PE) conductor, but also through element to which the PEN conductor is connected, such as steel beams and girders, metallic housings, screens, etc. During a short circuit to earth, the heat energy dissipated in these extraneous current paths increases considerably. It is for this reason that the TN-C system is forbidden in locations where the risk of explosion and/or fire exists.

6

Charter for LV electrical installations

Continuity of power supply

The choice of an IT system avoids any serious consequences on the occurrence of an earth fault, such as:

c

voltage dip;

c

disturbances caused by fault current;

c

damage to equipment;

c

tripping of the faulty circuit, i.e. normal supply is not interrupted.

The correct exploitation of the IT scheme minimizes the probability of a second concurrent earth fault.

Note: in general, supply continuity is assured by an association of circuit elements: duplication of power sources, inverters, selective protection, IT systems, service maintenance, etc.

Protection against overvoltage

In all earth connection schemes, some kind of protection against overvoltage is generally necessary. In order to choose an appropriate protection scheme, the degree of exposure of the installation (to atmospheric electrical disturbances) and the nature of the establishment and its activities, must be considered. Then the number and quality of its equipotential zones must be defined, in order to install suitable protective devices (lightning arrester etc.) on the incoming and outgoing circuits of the different systems.

Note:

c the TT system very often requires the use of lightning arresters (overhead-list service);

c

no system can dispense with these measures;

c

in the IT system the protection against overvoltage on the LV

system due to earth faults at the HV side of a supply transformer, must be realized by an overvoltage limiter at the LV neutral point.

Protection against electromagnetic (EM) disturbances

The following applies to all systems:

c for all disturbances in the differential mode;

c for any disturbance (common or differential mode) at frequencies in the MHz range.

The TT, TN-S and IT systems are all amenable to satisfying the criteria of EM compatibility. It may be noted however, that the TN-S system creates more disturbance than the others during short- circuit earth-faults, because of the higher level of fault current.

The systems TN-C and TN-C-S are not recommended where EM compatibility is important: in these schemes, the PEN conductor, cable armouring and other conductive parts, all carry current permanently in normal operation; such current being part of any unbalanced-load current. This permanent current creates disturbing potential differences between sensitive equipments, which are connected to the PEN conductor. The presence of third- (and multiples of third-) harmonic currents have substancially increased these disturbing-current levels in modern installations.

Designed performance limits of the installation

Charter for LV electrical installations

The TT system, together with the TN-S system, are, when using residual current protection, the least difficult to realize. The TN-S system, when designed without residual current protection, must respect the requirements of circuit length, imposed by the indirect-contacts protection scheme. Likewise for:

c the IT system, which, additionally, requires a competent

maintenance service;

c the TN-C system, which is, moreover, not allowed for non-fixed

circuits, or for circuits of cross-sectional-area (c.s.a.) of i 10 mm 2

for copper, or i 16 mm 2 for aluminium.

7

The know-how and appropriate selection of earthing systems in LV electrical installations

The position of Schneider (continued)

Practical recommendations

Comparaison of the several standard LV neutral-connection schemes leads to the following recommendations

The TT system is recommended for unsupervised installations which are likely to be frequently extended. In practice, the TT scheme is the simplest to realize in private or public distribution systems. However, because of its use of widely-separated earthing electrodes, the installation of overvoltage protection devices is generally required.

The IT system is recommended when continuity of supply is

imperative. In practice, the IT scheme ensures the highest level of power-supply availability. However, it requires:

c an assessment of overvoltage withstand capability levels for the installation cabling and apparatuses, and the avoidance of

excessive leakage currents;

c a competent maintenance service, capable of rapidly locating and

eliminating a first earth fault, and of reviewing the (possibly new) installation requirements following extensions.

The TN-S system is recommended for installations which are closely supervised and unlikely to be frenquently extended.

It is often implemented without medium-sensitivity residual current protection. Current levels due to insulation failure are high and produce:

v

transitory disturbances,

v

risk of significant damage,

v

fire risk.

The TN-S system requires an accurate study. If residual current protective devices of medium sensitivity are installed a greater degree of fire protection is afforded, and a more flexible installation is achieved, both in its conception and exploitation.

In terms of overvoltage-withstand levels and electromagnetic- disturbance performance, the IT, TT and TN-S systems, installed in conformity with the current state-of-the-art standards, are all equallly satisfactory.

Notes The TN-C (or TN-C-S) are not recommended.

In fact:

c

the scheme presents a number of permanent risks, in particular:

v

voltage drops along the PEN conductor,

v

circulating currents in the cable armouring, conductive parts and

associated bonding conductors (risk of destruction and/or fire),

v

wide magnetic fields,

c

no protection against resistive short circuits;

c

in the case of a solid short circuit, the level of fault current is high.

8

The TN-C scheme requires very careful study.

Charter for LV electrical installations

Questions

Why is the TT system the simplest to realize?

What are the consequences of a first fault to earth in the IT system?

Why is it recommended that no neutral conductor be used in IT systems?

What is the influence of the existence of a PEN conductor in an electrical installation?

phase PEN

N i PEN PE équipement 1 equipment 1 U coaxial câble coaxial cable N équipement
N
i
PEN
PE
équipement 1
equipment 1
U
coaxial
câble
coaxial
cable
N
équipement 2
equipment 2
PEN
PE
i
section TN-C
section TN-S

Charter for LV electrical installations

Answers

The length of circuits is not limited by considerations of protection against electric shock (because the residual current protection functions at less than one ampere of fault current, while the circuit breakers or fuses operate at current levels equal to several times the rated current of the circuit). No calculations of maximum permissible circuit length are therefore necessary at the design stage.

A single residual current protective device can protect several

circuits, in particular, those added when carrying out extensions.

It has no significant influence on the protection of persons if the

installation conforms to the relevant standard furthermore, there are generally no disturbances due to the leakage currents in the conductive parts. On the other hand, transient phenomen occur, mainly governed by the global capacitance of the installation with respect to earth (length of cabling, filter circuits of equipments). Furthermore, the voltages on the conductors of the healthy phases increase, from phase values to line values, with respect to earth. Electronic materials employed must therefore conform with the requirements of IEC 950 relevant to the IT scheme or have equivalent overvoltage withstand capabilities.

This recommendation is simply an effective means of avoiding the use of any material not capable of withstanding line to line voltage with respect to earth.

It also avoids having an installation which is unduly extended, since the calculated circuit cable lengths allowed, which satisfy the requirements for protection against indirect-contact hazards, are greater.

The simple existence of a length of PEN conductor causes circulation currents in the conductive parts and armouring of equipments and cables, the latter materials being part of a TN-S system. The corresponding voltages can cause disturbances. Under fault conditions, these currents and voltages increase and can be the origin of damage and fire. Finally, the stray currents, i on the figure, and those shunted from the neutral conductor, create electromagnetic fields, which may interfere with the correct functioning of sensitive electronic equipment (medical measuring instruments, VDUs, etc.).

9

The know-how and appropriate selection of earthing systems in LV electrical installations

The position of Schneider (continued)

Practical recommendations

Tabulated comparison of LV neutral connection schemes in an establishment

(continued)

Les recommandations d'emploi découlent des choix techniques présentés dans le tableau ci-dessous.

LV neutral-

technical choice:

 

connection

method of

PE conductor

protection against indirects contacts

recommendations

scheme

earthing

connection

IT

transformer neutral point isolated or earthed through high impedance to building earthing electrode

PE conductor separated from all active conductors

circuit breaker, fuse, sometimes residual current device (4 poles)

recommended when continuity of supply is imperative

TT

transformer neutral point earthed and not directly connected to the earth-electrode of building

PE conductor separated from all active conductors

residual current device (4 poles)

recommended for unsupervised installations which are likely to be extended

TN-S with residual current protection at the origin of the installation

transformer neutral point, the neutral and PE conductors, all connected to the transformer earth electrode

PE conductor separated from all active conductors

residual current device (4 poles)

recommended for unsupervised installations which are likely to be extended

TN-S without residual current protection at the origin of the installation

transformer neutral point, the neutral and PE conductors, all connected to the transformer earth electrode

PE conductor separated from all active conductors

circuit breaker (4 poles) or fuse

recommended for well supervised installations which are unlikely to be extended

TN-C (or TN-C-S) in an establishment

transformer neutral point or PEN conductor connected to the building earth electrode

the neutral conductor also acts as the PE conductor and is referred to as the PEN conductor

circuit breaker

not recommended because of fire risk and problems of electromagnetic compatibility

or fuse

10

Charter for LV electrical installations

Questions

How do the component parts of the TN system react under fault conditions?

U U 1 HT BT L3 L2 L1 PEN I m U R f
U
U
1
HT
BT
L3
L2
L1
PEN
I
m
U
R
f

How to the component parts of the TT system react under fault conditions?

U U 1 HT BT L3 L2 L1 N I m U R R R
U
U
1
HT
BT
L3
L2
L1
N
I
m
U
R
R
R
f
B
A

What precautions must be taken to avoid the rise in potential of the exposed conductive parts of unfaulted components which are disturbed transitorily?

Charter for LV electrical installations

Answers

In this classic example of a consumer's substation, connected in the

TN scheme the LV installation and connected loads remain

unaffected during LV faults, U = 230 V.

However, a voltage (Uf) created by a HV fault or by the discharge current of a lightning arrester passing through the earthing- electrode resistance (shown as R) will raise all LV active conductors, plus associated exposed conductive parts, to a common potential of Uf volts.

In this typical example, the HV fault, or lightning-discharge current, does not affect the LV installation.

However, a lightning-induced current surge passing to earth

through the LV neutral-point earthing electrode, will raise all active

LV conductors to a potential U with respect to their associated

exposed conductive parts.

It is necessary to supply sensitive equipments (data processors, etc.) through separate dedicated circuit. Use of local transformers; systems of transmission via isolating transformers (galvanic isolation) can be effective, notably on TN systems. The close-mesh bonding of exposed conductive parts and conducting elements attenue to some extent, the effects of these disturbances.

11

The know-how and appropriate selection of earthing systems in LV electrical installations

The position of Schneider (continued)

The economic balance sheet

12

Any economic balance sheet must include all the costs: the conception, the maintenance, the modifications or extensions, the delays in production

Attention is drawn to the fact that only comprehensive economic balance sheets truly reflect the viability of a scheme for the user concerned.

Charter for LV electrical installations

Questions

What procedures are necessary to protect a site against overvoltages?

Answers

Evaluate the kinds of disturbances which have to be addressed, independently of the neutral-earthing connection scheme, as a function of:

c site exposure (overvoltages due to the indirect effects of lightning or

to a nearly lightning stroke);

c

the kind of power-supply network (insulation failure);

c

the kind of building establishment (choice of a reasonable level of

safety). This evaluation is carried out at the industrial power-frequency of the system, and then for higher frequencies, up to several MHz.

Then, the number and quality of equipotential zone must be

established (local, building, site) in order to arrange the protection of each of them. In practice, in the arrangement of sites with several buildings, supplied from a common source, but interconnected by communication systems, a possible choice could be, for example:

c

either the interconnection of the buildings:

v

by the conductors interconnecting the earthing electrodes,

v

by paralled earthing conductors at least 35 mm 2 , dimensioned

according to the levels of anticipated fault current,

v by a close-mesh system of conductors for particular cases;

c or the complete isolation of equipotential zones, using optical-fibre links with non-conducting sheaths.

Lastly, the overvoltage protective devices (lightning arresters, etc.) are installed on the incoming and outgoing lines of the different systems.

Notes:

c no LV neutral connection scheme can be realized without these

preliminary measures;

c in an IT system, the protection against overvoltage due to LV faults

must, in addition, be provided by a voltage limiter.

Are touch voltages higher on TT schemes than those of TN schemes?

Corrosion?

Charter for LV electrical installations

On TN systems, the highest touch voltages are close to 50% of the phase/neutral voltage if the size of the PE and phase conductors are equal; more, if the PE conductor is smaller. On TT systems, the touch voltage is very small between a healthy equipment and a faulty one, because the earth-fault current is small. On the other hand, it is close to the nominal phase voltage between a faulty equipment and a point on the ground distant from the building earth electrode.

An electric current, particularly if dc (rectified ac or natural earth current) can corrode earth electrodes, conducting elements of an earth mat and the exposed conductive parts of equipments, structural metal, etc. This must be taken into account for the earth electrodes and meshes (data processing systems, lightning-protection systems) and connections made at a PEN conductor. The TN-C scheme is the most vulnerable to corrosion.

13

The know-how and appropriate selection of earthing systems in LV electrical installations

Features of the neutral-connection schemes

IT system IMD CPI LS earthing electrode LV earthing prise de terre prise de terre
IT system
IMD
CPI
LS
earthing electrode
LV earthing
prise de terre
prise de terre BT
of a HV/LV
electrode
du poste MT/BT
substation

E

Method of earthing

The LV neutral point of the transformer is isolated from earth. In

 

practice, it is connected to earth by the inherent capacitance to earth

of

the installation conductors and by an additional earthing resistor. A

voltage limiter (LS) is obligatory in many countries. The exposed conductive parts and extraneous conductive parts are connected to the earthing electrode of the LV installation by protective conductors.

PE

Protective conductors

The protective conductors PE are entirely separate from the neutral conductor and are dimensioned according to the highest possible value of fault current (for example, if two concurrent earth faults occur on different phases).

PIC

Protection against indirect-contact

The first fault to earth is not dangerous. The fault current is very small.

hazards

A

second earth fault (on a different phase or on the neutral conductor)

Note:

the symbols E, PE and PIC defined above, are used again on the next page as a reminder of their origins and operational features.

14

concurrent with the first, constitutes a dangerous short circuit. This

possibility must be made extremely improbable by a rapid location and repair of the first fault. An insulation monitoring device (IMD) affords permanent surveillance of the insulation to earth for the entire installation. Protectives devices are set to operate in the case of double faults. Whether protection is by fuses or by circuit breakers, the rules are similar to those used for TN schemes. Residual current devices can also be used when appropriate or necessary. If two concurrent faults occur on circuits downstream of a residual current device, it will remain inoperative, since it detects an apparent overload condition only. This means that a residual current device is necessary for each individual circuit.

If two sites have common IT installation, and their installation-earthing

electrodes are not interconnected, a residual current device is imperative at the origin of each installation. This arrangement will ensure that, if a first fault occurs at one installation and a first fault occurs concurrently on a different phase (or on the neutral) of the other installation, a potentially dangerous condition will be avoided.

Charter for LV electrical installations

Fire

PIC

The presence of an alarm relay which

sensivity i 500 mA, will assure a certain prevention of fire due to a faulty electrical installation.

permanently monitors the insulation-resistance to earth of the installation. This device, together with

the possible use of residual current devices of

 

Overvoltages

E

In normal operation the exposed conductive

E

If lightning arresters are used, the

parts, the earthing electrode and the neutral

standards require that their rated voltage be based on the line to line voltage of the system concerned.

conductor are all at similar potentials.

E

A voltage limiter must be provided to

prevent any increase in voltage that would exceed the rated overvoltage-withstand capability of the LV installation and equipments, on the occurence of a HV fault. Overvoltage protection in the LV distribution circuits of the installation is

then carried out according to measures which are common to all schemes.

E

If a neutral conductor is provided, the

equipments, even if supplied at phase voltage, must withstand line voltage between phase and accessible conductive parts: in general equipments insulated for (2U + 1,000) V are suitable. For electronic equipments, it is necessary that they satisfy the IEC 950 (or EN 60950) specifications, or an equivalent, relative to the IT scheme. These equipments can also be supplied through separate dedicated transformers.

E

After a first fault, the supply to all loads is

maintained, and line voltage appears between the phase conductors of the healthy phases and the exposed conductive parts. The equipments must therefore be selected accordingly.

Continuity of

E

The fault current level for a first fault is very

The user of an IT system must ensure that such

supply,

low, being due only to the stray capacitive currents of conductors and equipment HF filters etc., plus the current through the high-resistance star-point earthing resistor (if one is installed).

a

situation can never occur, even though the

electromagnetic

standards envisage the possibility with suitable

compatibility

protection schemes, in the interests of safety.

PE

In normal system operation, and even on

E

The LV first-fault condition causes no

the occurence of a first fault, the PE conductors do not cause any voltage drops. The equipotentiality of protective conductors, conductors of functional earth electrodes, the exposed conductive parts and conducting structures, etc. of the building to which the protective conductors are connected, is maintained.

voltage drop at the loads, or electromagnetic disturbances of extensive frequency spectrum, normally associated with short-circuit faults to earth.

E

The second fault could occur on a different

phase than that of the first fault (or on a neutral conductor) thereby creating a short-circuit of very

low impedance with all its consequential problems.

 

Design and

PIC

A competent maintenance team must be

line voltage for phase conductors, and on phase voltage for a neutral conductor.

exploitation

available at all times to locate and repair a first fault as quickly as possible.

PIC A rigorous design study of the electrical

installation is necessary: application of the IT scheme, where justified by the continuity of supply it affords; isolation of load elements having large leakage currents (industrial ovens, certain information technology equipments); leakage-current studies including transitory currents, in particular, on residual current devices; subdivisioning of the installation

PIC Where residual current devices of 30 mA

are installed for the protection of socket-outlet

circuits, the downstream capacitive and leakage currents must not exceed a total of 10 mA. The estimation of these currents must be based on

If a circuit is not of critical importance, a residual

current device could trip the circuit for a first fault, which is thereby eliminated. If not their use should be avoid and other measures adapted.

Note: If a neutral conductor is provided it must be protected by the fourth pole of a 4-pole circuit breaker, or, on single-phase circuits, by bipolar units. In final-circuit distribution boards, unipole + neutral tripping protections are allowed, providing that their calibrations are equal or very close to each other and as long as a residual current device of medium sensitivity exists upstream.

Charter for LV electrical installations

15

The know-how and appropriate selection of earthing systems in LV electrical installations

Features of the neutral-connection schemes (continued)

TT system prise de terre earthing electrode prises de terre BT LV earthing du poste
TT system
prise de terre
earthing electrode
prises de terre BT
LV earthing
du poste MT/BT
of a HV/LV
electrode

substation

E

Method of earthing

The LV neutral point of the transformer is connected solidly to earth.

 

The exposed conductive parts of equipments are connected by protective conductors to the earthing electrode of the installation, which is generally remote from the transformer earthing electrode. However, if the transformer is installed in the same building as the installation the earthing electrodes may be unintentionnaly connected together.

PE

Protective conductor

The protective conductors PE are independent of the neutral conductors, and are dimensioned according to the highest possible level of fault current available.

PIC

Protection against indirect-contact hazards

In the case of a short-circuit fault, circuit-breaker tripping is obligatory. The level of earth-fault current is very low.

In practice, tripping is achieved by residual current devices, which are sufficiently sensitive to detect the low fault-current levels resulting from the resistance of the two (source and installation) earthing electrodes in services.

Note:

the symbols E, PE and PIC defined above, are used again on the next page as a reminder of their origins and operational features.

16

Charter for LV electrical installations

Fire

PIC

The use of residual current protection

PIC

Residual current devices of sensitivity

ensures correct operation for high impedance

i 500 mA assures a certain prevention of fire

faults.

due to a faulty electrical installation.

Overvoltages

E

If, as in the TN systems, the potential of the

At industrial sites or in urban areas, this is not generally the case. In such cases, the interconnection of the two earthing electrodes is

exposed conductive parts and of the earthing electrode are equal, it does not necessarily

follow for the neutral conductor, connected to a different earthing electrode, sometimes located

necessary compromise (since the zones of

influence of the two electrodes overlap). The installation of lightning arresters afford the

a

in

a certain distance from the installation (e. g. at

supply-authority's substation) (case of lightning on public-distribution rural systems).

a

level of protection required.

Continuity

E

The current level for an earth fault is

PE

In normal operation, there are non voltage

of supply,

relatively low: a current of 100 A corresponds to

drops along the protective conductors none of

electromagnetic

a

resistance for the two earthing electrodes of

the undesirable features of the TN-C scheme are present. On the occurence of an earth fault, the voltage impulse along the PE conductor is weak and any induced disturbance are negligible.

compatibility

230/100 = 2,3 , which is an unusually low value. This means that the voltage drop caused by the fault; the consequent electromagnetic disturbance, and the fleeting potential difference between two equipments (e. g. two PCs) interconnected by an armoured cable, are much more-easily tolerated than those occuring on a TN-S scheme.

In

the distributed circuits, the PE conductors can

be of smaller cross-sectional-area than those required for a TN-S scheme.

 

E

Short circuit to earth fault currents are of

very short duration.

Design and

PIC

Residual current devices, in the form of

exploitation

relays, must be added to circuit breakers, while residual current load-break switches must be series-connected with fuse-protected circuits. They may protect a single circuit, or a group of circuits, and the sensitivity of the devices will depend on the maximum value that R, the resistance of the earthing electrode of the protected installation, can attain. They must avoid a voltage rise of the exposed conductive parts exceeding the magnitude and period of time prescribed by the designed overvoltage withstand capabilities of the

installation.

PIC The use of residual current devices reduces

design and exploitation constraints to a minimum. No knowledge of the source impedance is necessary. The length of circuits is unlimited (except for considerations of voltage drop). Installation modifications or extensions can be carried out without calculations or measures in situ.

PIC The use of an alternative power source by

the distribution authority or by the user, is easily

accommodated.

PIC The distribution authority has no

responsibility concerning the protection against electric shocks in private installations: the protection is independent of the continuity of the

neutral conductor (or PEN) of the public distribution system.

Charter for LV electrical installations

17

The know-how and appropriate selection of earthing systems in LV electrical installations

Features of the neutral-connection schemes (continued)

TN-S system with residual current protection at the origin of the installation N PE N
TN-S system with residual current protection at the origin of the installation
N
PE
N
PE
earthing electrode
prise de terre
LV earthing
prise de terre BT
of a HV/LV
du poste MT/BT
electrode

substation

E

Method of earthing

The neutral point of the transformer or the supply neutral conductor (see note) are connected once, to the LV earthing electrode, at the origin of the installation.

 

The exposed conductive parts of equipments and associated extraneous conductive parts, are connected to the PE conductor which, in turn, is connected to the neutral, at the origin of the installation only.

Note:

in countries where the TN-C-S system is standard for the distribution, the neutral point of the transformer is always solidly earthed, and the neutral conductor of the public distribution system is earthed at intervals along its length. The consumer is often required to provide an earth electrode and to connect the neutral conductor to it at the head of the installation. From this point a TN-S system begins and the installation is according to the TN-S system.

PE

Protective conductors

The protective conductors are independent of the neutral conductor and are dimensioned according to the maximum possible level of fault current. The separation of neutral and PE conductors allows the application of residual current devices.

PIC

Protection against indirect-contact hazards

Circuit-breaker tripping is obligatory in the event of a fault. The fault-current level is high in this scheme.

Note:

This tripping is achieved by residual current protective devices.

the symbols E, PE and PIC defined above, are used again on the next page as a reminder of their origins and operational features.

18

Charter for LV electrical installations

Fire

PIC

The use of residual current protection

ensures correct operation for high impedance

 

faults.

PIC

Residual current protection devices of

sensitivity i 500 mA assures a certain prevention

 

of fire due to a faulty electrical installation.

Overvoltages

E

In normal operation the LV neutral point of

E

Because of the localised influence of the

the transformer, the exposed conductive parts and the earthing electrode are all at the same potential. However transitory phenomena can occurr and require the use of lightning arresters between phases, neutral and PE.

earthing electrodes, the potential can be different

at some points distant from them.

So

that, during a period of insulation failure at

HV, some current* will pass to earth, via the LV neutral earthing electrode, and a power-system

 

frequency voltage will appear between the PE of

LV

equipment and remote earth.

* electrodes in close proximity are (loose) "connected" through the soil and behave in an inefficient way as a single electrode.

Continuity

E

The influence of HV/LV faults, insulation

PE

In normal operation, the PE conductor, as

of supply,

faults at HV and at LV, is similar to that experienced on a TN-C scheme. In particular, the large fault currents at LV, which are not limited by an earthing electrode, are important, and can reach several kA.

opposed to the PEN conductor, occasions no voltage drops, so that none of the drawbacks of

electromagnetic

compatibility

the

TN-C system in this respect, exist. The TN-S

system is similar, in this way, to the TT system.

 

PE

In earth-fault conditions however, significant

 

E

During the period of a LV fault, the potential

current and associated voltage impulses can occur on a PE conductor which are similar to those of the TN-C scheme, and detrimental to the aims of electromagnetic compatibility.

of the neutral conductor in the installation is displaced, so that the phase voltage to exposed conductive parts increases on some phases to exceed the normal phase/exposed conductive parts voltage. A value of 1.45 Un is representative.

E

During the period of a LV fault the voltage

depression on the faulty phase, electromagnetic disturbances and damage (fire, windings, motor magnetic circuits, etc.) are important.

 

Design

PE

Connection of the neutral conductor of the

PIC

The inclusion of residual current devices

and exploitation

installation to earth is not allowed again. This prohibition ensures that a TN-C condition is avoided with all its short-comings. It precludes, in

particular, any possibility of permanent currents, shunted (in the normal steady-state condition) from the neutral conductor. Earth faults are isolated in 0.2 to 0.4 seconds.

removes many constraints in the design and exploitation of an installation. An accurate knowledge of the source impedance is not

essential. The lenght of circuits is unlimited (apart from volt-drop considerations). Modifications or extensions can be carried out, without the need

for further calculations or on-site measurements.

PIC The residual current device current setting,

is set at a level which exceeds that of the leakage current of the installation, but is lower than that of the fault level in the fault loop.

PIC In order to avoid unintended tripping, the

trip-setting levels may be set relatively high, so

that setting of 1 amp or more are not unusual.

PIC The use of an alternative power source by

the distribution authority or by the user is easily accommodated.

Charter for LV electrical installations

19

The know-how and appropriate selection of earthing systems in LV electrical installations

Features of the neutral-connection schemes (continued)

TN-S system without residual current protection at the origin of the installation N PE N
TN-S system without residual current protection at the origin of the
installation
N
PE
N
PE
prise de terre
earthing electrode
prise de terre BT
LV earthing
du poste MT/BT
of a HV/LV
electrode

substation

E

Method of earthing

The neutral point of the transformer or the neutral conductor (see note page 18) are connected once, to the LV earthing electrode at the origin of the installation.

 

The exposed conductive parts of equipments and associated extraneous conductive parts, are connected to the PE conductor which, in turn, is connected to the neutral, at the origin of the installation only.

PE

Protective conductors

The protective conductors are independent of the neutral conductor and are dimensioned according to the maximum possible level of fault current. The separation of neutral and PE conductors allows the application of residual current devices.

PIC

Protection against indirect-contact hazards

Circuit-breaker tripping is obligatory in the event of a fault. The fault-current level is high in this scheme.

Note:

the symbols E, PE and PIC defined above, are used again on the next page as a reminder of their origins and operational features.

20

This tripping is achieved by circuit breaker or fuses.

Charter for LV electrical installations

Fire

PIC

No protection is afforded in the case of a

resistive fault, which limits the level of fault

 

current, thereby presenting a fire hazard.

Note: The use of residual current devices set at i 500 mA would have been effective in reducing the risk of fire due to resistive faults. It would have also provided, like ground fault protection, some prevention of the effects of high-level short-circuit faults.

Overvoltages

E

In normal operation the LV neutral point of

E

Because of the localised influence of the

the transformer, the exposed conductive parts and the earthing electrode are all at the same potential. However, transitory phenomena can occur and require the use of lightning arresters between phases, neutral and exposed conductive parts.

earthing electrodes, the potential can be different

at some points distant from them. So that, during a period of insulation failure at HV, some current* will pass to earth, via the LV neutral earthing electrode, and a power-system frequency voltage will appear between the exposed conductive parts of LV equipment and remote earth.

 

* electrodes in close proximity are (loose) "connected" through the soil and behave in an inefficient way as a single electrode.

Continuity

E

The influence of HV to LV faults, HV faults

PE

In normal operation, the PE conductor, as

of supply,

and LV faults, is similar to that of the TN-C scheme. In particular LV earth faults produce very high currents (several kA) since no earthing

opposed to the PEN conductor, occasions no voltage drops, so that none of the drawbacks of the TN-C system in this respect, exist. The TN-S system is similar, in this way, to the TT system.

electromagnetic

compatibility

electrode is involved.

E

During the period of a LV fault, the potential

PE

In earth-fault conditions however, significant

of the neutral conductor in the installation is displaced, so that the phase voltage to PE increases on some phases to exceed the normal phase/PE voltage. A value of 1.45 Un is representative.

current and associated voltage impulses can occur on a PE conductor which are similar to those of the TN-C scheme, and detrimental to the aims of electromagnetic compatibility.

E

During the period of a LV fault the voltage

depression on the faulty phase, electromagnetic disturbances and damage (fire, windings, motor magnetic circuits, etc.) are important.

 

Design

PIC

Connection of exposed conductive parts to

PIC

The circuits have a maximum length that

and exploitation

the neutral conductor of the installation is not allowed. This prohibition ensures that a TN-C condition is avoided with all its short-comings. It precludes, in particular, any possibility of permanent currents, shunted (in the normal steady-state condition) from the neutral conductor.

must not be exceeded.

PIC

Any modification of the installation requires

complete re-assessment of the conditions of protection.

a

PIC

An absence of protection if the installation

PIC It is necessary to calculate and to verify by

measurement the source impedance and the circuit-length resistances periodically, to ensure that each circuit is correctly protected.

PIC The foregoing calculations and checks

must be repeated for each source, if the installation has more than one possible source

(standby generators, inverters, etc.).

Charter for LV electrical installations

is supplied from a source, such as a standby

generator, which has an internal impedance exceeding that for which the maximum circuit

lengths were calculated.

21

The know-how and appropriate selection of earthing systems in LV electrical installations

Features of the neutral-connection schemes (continued)

TN-C system PEN prise de terre earthing electrode prise de terre BT LV earthing du
TN-C system
PEN
prise de terre
earthing electrode
prise de terre BT
LV earthing
du poste MT/BT
of a HV/LV
electrode

substation

E

Method of earthing

The neutral point of the transformer is solidly earthed, and the neutral conductor is earthed at intervals throughout its length.

 

The installation extraneous conductive parts and equipment exposed conductive parts are connected to the neutral conductor.

PE

Protective conductor

The neutral conductor also acts as a PE conductor, and is referred to as a PEN conductor.

PIC

Protection against indirect-contact hazards

Automatic and rapid clearing of a short-circuit fault is obligatory. The fault-current level is very high.

This clearing must be by means of a circuit breaker or fuses, since the employment of residual current devices is not possible with a common PEN earthing conductor. A phase/exposed conductive parts fault constitutes a phase/neutral short circuit.

Note:

the symbols E, PE and PIC defined above, are used again on the next page as a reminder of their origins and operational features.

22

Charter for LV electrical installations

Fire

PE

The TN-C system is not allowed in areas at

and/or a fire. Widely distributed currents as described, can also give rise to severe problems of electromagnetic compatibility.

risk from fire and/or explosions and classified respectively BE2 and BE3 by the international standard IEC 364. In fact, the bonding of all

 

PIC

The protection against certain types of fault,

 

extraneous metal (structural steel members, etc.) to the PEN conductor provides shunt parallel

paths for normal (out-of-balance) load currents. Such currents increase enormously at times of short-circuit-to-earth faults, with a risk of sparking, or arcing, resulting in an explosion,

such as high-resistance faults which do not develop rapidly into solid short circuits is not assured. Only residual current devices can provide such protection. This situation (persistent resistive faults) constitutes a serious fire hazard.

Overvoltages

E

In normal operation, the neutral point of the

earth-electrode, thereby raising its voltage and that of the connected conductive parts, to some value (at power-system frequency) above remote earth.

transformer, the exposed conductive parts, and the earth are all at a similar potential.

E

Due to the limited area of influence of

E

During a LV earth fault, the neutral

earthing electrodes, the potential of the surrounding earth becomes less and less with distance from an electrode passing current. So that, during the period of earth-fault current flow from a HV fault, a current will pass through the LV

conductor at the installation will acquire a potential, and the voltage phase/PE applied to connected loads will exceed that of the rated value of phase voltage. In practice, a value of 1.45 Un is representative.

Continuity

E

Short-circuit faults can give rise to currents of

This phenomenon is more prevalent in modern installations which include equipment that generates 3rd-harmonic currents. The currents are of zero- phase-sequence, so that the resultant neutral harmonic current is three times that of each phase conductor.

of supply,

several kA, since there is no resistance due to earth electrodes in the TN-C system. During the passage of LV fault current, the supply voltage drops considerably; electromagnetic disturbances are severe, and the risk of fire and damage to equipment are high (burnt-out motors, damage to magnetic-circuit laminations, etc.).

electromagnetic

compatibility

PE

In a more insidious manner, these circulating

PE

In normal system operation voltages appear on

currents lead to an unbalance of current in the distribution circuits of the installation, as well as

a

mainly due to the normal voltage drop along the neutral (PEN) conductor, due to loading imbalance. Closed circuits through conductive parts are formed by PE bonding conductors, co-ax cables, cable armouring, etc. of electronic systems, the exposed conductive parts and the PEN conductor, so that the potential differences along the PEN conductor cause currents to circulate around the closed loops.

PEN conductor at supply frequency. These are

creating random magnetic fields which interfere with the correct functioning of cathode-ray tubes, VDUs,

and certain electronic medical equipment

above a

(weak) field strength of 0.7 A/m (being equal to 5 A flowing through a conductor at a distance of 1 metre from a sensitive electronic device). This phenomenon is (evidently) greatly magnified when fault current is flowing.

Design

PE

The PEN conductor must satisfy the

and exploitation

requirements of its two functions. In the case of contradicting circumstances, the PE function has

priority.

PE The TN-C system is not allowed for any circuit

of less than 10 mm 2 section (for copper) or less than

16 mm 2 section (for aluminium), or if the installation is

made up of flexible conductors (i.e. not rigidly fixed).

PE Corrosion has two principal causes: a

(possible) dc component carried by a PEN conductor, and earth currents due to galvanic action of elements occurring naturally (acid or alkaline soils, etc.) on the (often) dissimilar metals of earthing rods, structural

steel, etc. in the presence of moisture.

PIC The use of circuit breakers and fuses as

protection against indirect-contact hazards implies that the impedances of the source, the circuits upstream of the CB or fuses, and of the circuit being protected must be known at the design stage of the installation, and will remain unchanged. Any

subsequent change will require redefining the protection parameter values. These impedance values must be checked at the initial commissioning of the installation and periodically there after. The protection settings will, if necessary, have to be adjusted according to the check-test values.

PIC In the case of alternative supply being provided

by more than one source (standby generator, inverter, etc.) the protective devices must be checked for satisfactory operation on any one of them.

PE Every circuit is determined once and for all,

and must not exceed a maximum length, given in the design tables, as a function of the protective device

employed. An overdimensioning of cable cross-sectional-area may be necessary in some cases.

PE Any modification of the installation requires a

redetermination and verification of the conditions of protection.

Charter for LV electrical installations

23

The know-how and appropriate selection of earthing systems in LV electrical installations

24

Charter for LV electrical installations