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CHAPTER 3

REVIEW OF POWER TRANSFORMER PROTECTION


SCHEMES

3.1. Introduction
Power Transformer is the nerve centre of any power distribution system. The
capacity of power transformers is generally decided from the data of the load survey.
The power transformers are the main equipment of the substation, while other
equipments are to associate with the functional aspects of the transformers. Any fault
on the transformer will operate Buchholz relay and differential relay. On action of
these relays, the transformer should not be charged. It should be isolated and all the
tests are to be conducted. The unit should be put into service only if tests confirm the
healthiness.
Generally the following are the possible faults in power transformers:
• Faults within the transformer tank
• Over heating
• Faults external to the transformer zone(through fault)
• Incipient faults
• Internal faults (To overcome these kind of faults Differential protection
schemes are provided )
• Over excitation (To overcome this kind of fault over fluxing relay is
provided)
• Turn to turn fault ,Arcs within the Oil(To overcome these kind of faults
sudden pressure relay schemes are provided )
Generally, for the purpose of discussion, transformer faults can be divided
into two main categories. They are:
(i) Through faults, i.e., overloads and external short circuits.
(ii) Internal faults, i.e., Faults in the transformer windings and connections.
Internal faults can be sub divided into incipient faults and heavy faults.

Incipient faults
The incipient faults are not serious in nature. But it should be deducted and
cleared as soon as possible before it develops into a major fault. These incipient faults
can be detected by periodical dissolved gas analysis test and then with the help of
portable partial discharge analyzer.
The major causes for incipient faults are:
• Poor electrical connection of conductors or core fault which causes limited
arcing under the oil.
• Coolant failure (clogged oil flow) which will cause a rise in temperature
even when the load is below the rated capacity.
In the recent trend, power transformer incipient faults are detected by using
Dissolved Gas analysis (DGA) method. So, in this research work investigations
are made on this method.

Heavy faults
This can be sub divided as:
• Multi phase and phase to earth faults within the transformer and outside
the transformer at HV, LV and tertiary terminals
• Short circuit between turns in HV and LV winding.
Heavy electrical faults will be detected by unit protection like Differential relays
and so investigations are made in transformer differential schemes.
Generally the following types of protection schemes are used for large power
transformers:
• High speed differential protection
• Restricted earth fault protection.
• Back up over current protection
• Buchholz protection
• Temperature protection
Depending upon the location, importance and rating of the transformers a
selection among the above protection schemes are made. Out of these, conventionally
differential protection and over current protection are used in most of the cases.
Therefore in this research work focus is made on incipient fault protection,
overcurrent protection and differential protection.

3.2. Incipient Fault Protection


Abnormal conditions can occur within a transformer due to several reasons.
Some of the possibilities are lightning, switching transients, mechanical flaws, and

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chemical decomposition of oil or insulation. Some of them are incipient faults. The
incipient faults may be due to one or more of the causes shown in table 3.1. Incipient
faults of power transformers can be classified as Overheating of oil (OHO),
Overheating of cellulose (CD), Electrical arcing (HEDA) and Electrical corona
(LED).

Table 3.1. Correlation between power transformer incipient faults and causes

Faults
Causes Arcing Corona Overheating Overheating
of Cellulose of Oil
Winding turn-turn short circuit X - X -
Winding open circuit X - X -
Operation of build -in LTC X - - -
Winding Distortion - X X -
Loose connection to bushing
terminals, tap leads, terminal X X X -
boards
Free water or excessive moisture X
X - -
in oil
Floating metal particles X X - -
Loose connection to corona shields - X - -
Loose collars, spacers, core ground
straps, core hold down angle - X - -
(Braces)
Through fault - - X
Overloading - - X X
Damaged yoke bolt insulation - - - X
Rust or other damage on core - - - X

The life and service quality of the transformer gets increased with the
preventive and corrective maintenance, carried out at the appropriate time. The solid
insulation materials, used in the manufacture of transformer, are basically from
cellulose material and are hygroscopic in nature. The ageing or deterioration of the
solid or liquid insulation system is very much dependent on the operating temperature
and the level of oxygen, moisture and dust particles present in the air, breathed in by
the transformer during its service-life. Hence, it is imperative that the maintenance
schedule for the upkeep of the transformer needs to be focused on preservation of its
insulation system.
Generally all types of faults in a transformer result on the localized heating
and breakdown of the oil. Some degree of arcing will always take place in a winding
fault and the resulting decomposition of the oil will release gases such as hydrogen,

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carbon monoxide and light hydro carbons. When the fault is of a very minor type such
as a hot joint, gas is released slowly. But a major fault involving severe arcing may
cause rapid release of large volume of oil as well as vapour. Hence to protect from
this kind of faults Buchholz relay in conjunction with any pressure relief device are
conventionally used. In the recent past focus is made on preventive maintenance
action. As a result of various attempts to develop a technique that will detect the
transformer fault in its very incipient stage, Dissolved Gas Analysis (DGA) method
[37] was developed. The DGA test on oil of transformer in service, periodically,
reveals the healthiness of transformer and prediction of development of fault at the
initial stages. So, at present, a most widely used method is incipient fault protection
based on Dissolved Gas Analysis (DGA).

Dissolved Gas Analysis (DGA) methods


Dissolved Gas Analysis is a powerful diagnostic technique for detecting the
incipient faults, in oil-filtered equipments, particularly Power Transformers. An oil
filled transformer in operation is subjected to various stresses like thermal and
electrical, resulting in liberation of gases from the hydrocarbon mineral oil. The
components of solid-insulation also take part in the formation of gases, which are
dissolved in the oil. An assessment of these gases, both qualitatively and
quantitatively, would help in diagnosing the internal faults in the transformers. In this
method, fault diagnosis is done according to the concentration of the dissolved gases
and gas ratios. In this research work, certain AI techniques such as ANN and
ANNEPS are used to develop relaying algorithms for power transformer incipient
fault protection using DGA method.

3.3. Overcurrent Fault Protection


As the fault impedance is less than load impedance, the fault current is more
than load current. If a short circuit occurs the circuit impedance is reduced to a low
value and therefore large current accompanies a fault. Overcurrent relays sense such
fault current and also over-load currents. Overcurrent protection is that protection in
which the relay picks when magnitude of current exceeds the pickup level. The basic
element in overcurrent protection is an overcurrent relay. Overcurrent protection
includes the protection from overloads. Overloading of equipment means that it takes
more current than the rated current. Since short circuit currents are generally several

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times (5 to 20 times) of full load current this type of protection also provides short-
circuit protection. Hence Overcurrent protection is widely used for motor protection,
transformer protection, line protection and protection of utility equipment.
Since most of 11kV, 22kV, 33kV, 66kV and 110kV feeders are radial,
normally overcurrent relays without directional feature are employed. For 110kV tie
feeders directional overcurrent relays are employed for transformer short circuit
protection. Transformers are provided with overcurrent protection against faults when
the cost of differential relays cannot be justified. However, overcurrent relays are
provided in addition to differential relays to take care of through faults and as back-up
to differential protection. While selecting the overcurrent protection of transformers,
the following aspects needs consideration:
• Magnetizing Inrush current
• Primary full load current
• CT requirements
These overcurrent devices are installed at strategic places in electric systems
to sense conditions that are considered to be abnormal. The sensitivity of an
overcurrent device is related to the ability to sense a fault when it really exists. The
selectivity of an overcurrent device is related to the ability of the system to select the
section of the power system that has a problem, and remove service from only that
section .This situation demands the proper and optimal coordination of overcurrent
relays in a power system.
Proper settings of protective relays are essential for the reliable operation of
electrical power systems, during both fault and normal system operating conditions.
The ideal relay operating characteristics can also be influenced by parasitic
phenomena, such as CT saturation.
Protection coordination requires serial steps. One suggested approach is to
first determine the fault conditions critical to evaluating coordination: the fault types,
the fault locations, and the system contingencies in effect. The next step is to
determine which devices need to be coordinated (i.e. the devices which offer primary
protection, and the devices which are acting in a backup mode for the given fault are
to be determined) for a given fault. The knowledge base would need data on system
topology and device locations and characteristics. The expert system would have to
call on an algorithmic procedure to determine device operating times for these critical

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faults. A final step would look for possible corrective actions when a mis-
coordination occurs between devices for a particular fault. Some alternatives might be
to change the device’s pick up, reach, or timer, or possibly even to upgrade the
protective device.
In some protection coordination situations, human experts have different
opinions on the correct action to take. In such cases, it would be desirable to apply the
expert system for alternative solutions. Today protection coordination is a design and
planning problem rather than an operational problem. Electro mechanical relays do
not have provision for remote setting during operation. Their settings cannot usually
be changed for different load conditions or changes in configuration. With the
customer driven power system and changes in system configuration, the protection
coordination can be viewed as an operational problem of adaptive protection device
setting. Emerging technologies such as digital and microprocessor based relays will
have provision for real time remote setting and can be employed in adaptive
protection coordination. The domain of protection coordination involves heuristics
and experience and is well suited for AI approach [10].
Hence, optimal coordination of directional overcurrent relays using the
advanced Evolutionary programming is done in this research work. Owing to the huge
variety of protective relays from different manufacturers and technologies, the
approach must be flexible. Moreover the approach must cater for the old, electro-
mechanical relays, static relays as well as the modern digital protective relays. The
developed method of optimizing coordination of DOCR satisfies these requirements.
Moreover existing conventional Electro mechanical inverse overcurrent relays
exhibit limited flexibility and poor accuracy and cannot cater to the modern complex
relaying demands. Hence microprocessors controlled relay shall be designed with
features like CT ratio selection, plug setting multipliers etc. Also variety of relay
characteristics, viz. IDMT, very inverse, extremely inverse and earth fault relay can
be realized from a single relay unit. On experimental basis, in this research work the
AI techniques such as Fuzz logic and neural approaches are used for modeling
conventional IDMT characteristics of overcurrent relaying system.

3.4. Differential Protection


Transformer internal faults are very serious since there is always the risk of
fire. These internal faults can be classified into two groups.

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(i) Electrical faults which cause immediate serious damage but generally
detectable by unbalance of current of voltage.
(ii) Incipient faults which are initially minor faults causing slowly developing
damage. These are not detectable at the winding terminals by unbalance.
It is important that the faulted transformer be isolated as quickly as possible
after the fault has occurred. The reason is not only to limit the damage to the
transformer, but also to minimize the length of time of low voltage in the system. A
prolonged period of low voltage may result in loss of synchronization between
rotating machines. This may cause other relays to operate and initiate sequential and
necessary tripping.
Mostly the universal protective scheme for the faults within the transformer
uses transformer differential relay. This relay is the principle form of fault protection
for transformers rated 5 MVA and above. Differential relaying usually involves the
detection of an imbalance in current flow into and out of a protected area.
These relays, however, cannot be as sensitive as differential relays used in generator
protection, because they are subject to several factors not ordinarily present for
generators that cause mal-operation.

Problems Associated With the Conventional Transformer Differential Protection


The advances in the transformer differential protection have involved many
disturbing compromises between the basic requirements of service protection and
limitation of equipment damage. These limitations have become increasingly felt as
the art of system protection has progressed, and the standards of service have been
raised.
Major factors that can cause mal-operation of transformer differential relays
are:

• Different voltage levels including taps, which result in different primary


currents in the connecting circuits.
• Possible mismatch of ratio among different current transformers
• A 30 degree phase-angle shift introduced by transformer Wye-delta
connections.
• Magnetizing inrush currents and over excitation due to over fluxing which a
differential relay considers as internal faults.

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Transformer protection is further complicated by a variety of equipment
requiring special attention, multiple winding transformer banks, zigzag transformers
etc.
Moreover, in a transformer differential relay, the current comparison is complicated
by the following factors:
• Current transformer ratios connecting to the power transformer mismatch.
• There may be phase shift between the power transformer primary and
secondary windings.
• The power transformer may have a tap changer on one of its winding.
• The CT can saturate under through fault conditions, giving an effective ratio
error.
• When a power transformer is energized, inrush current flows for a short time
into the energized winding.
• Over fluxing of the transformer can give rise to exciting current flowing in
only one winding.

Recent Trends in Transformer Differential Protection


Since the magnetizing inrush current phenomenon is transient, stability can be
maintained by providing a small time delay. In 1960s, an instantaneous relay shunted
by a fuse (kick fuse) was introduced. This kick fuse was chosen so as to carry the
inrush current without blowing. Only in the event of an internal fault the fuse may
blow and permit the relay to operate. In 1970s, induction pattern relays of the IDMT
type which provided suitable time delay during switching conditions was developed.
The prime drawback of using this low-set relay was the low speed operation under
fault conditions. Gradually the need for quicker operation of a relay made way to
develop relays with immunity to magnetizing inrush currents. Later in 1980s, the
following technique was employed i.e. the current curve during the magnetizing
inrush current contains pronounced harmonics, whereas internal fault current is
sinusoidal. A relay was designed to operate under fault conditions, restraining all the
harmonic frequencies when fundamental frequency was predominant. However, over
excitation resulting from over voltages due to sudden tripping of major loads or under
frequencies caused heavy magnetizing currents which cause inadvertent relay
tripping. To overcome this difficulty in early 1990s, a reputed manufacturer came out
with the solution of detecting over excitation by measuring fifth harmonic component

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of differential current, and a fixed percentage of fifth harmonic restraint was
introduced as an added feature to the relay.
At present, the whole idea of development of transformer differential
protection is focused on tackling the magnetizing inrush current phenomenon and the
restraint feature provision to various harmonics.
Hence recent basic methods to stabilize differential relay during magnetic
inrush condition are:
• Harmonic restraint / blocking
• Wave shape identification
• Voltage restraint
Traditionally second harmonic is used to block the relay from operation during
inrush condition. But this resulted in a significant slowing of the relay operation
during heavy internal faults. To overcome this in mid 1990s, one manufacturer came
up with a new waveform recognition technique to detect magnetic inrush. In that case,
inrush current waveform is characterized by a period of each cycle, simultaneously in
all the three phases, where its magnitude is very small (nearly zero). By measuring the
time of this period of low current, an inrush condition was identified. In spite of this
relays, unwanted tripping occurred during switching on load.
For several decades power transformer protection schemes had experienced
many changes and arrived to employ fully numerical technology in late 1990s. With
the advent of technological advancements in the digital applications, it is now
possible to provide powerful protection algorithms within the cost effective hardware
modules for dedicated differential protection applications. The features and
advantages provided by these devices have proved beneficial in quicker isolation of
faults resulting in stability of power system under abnormal operating conditions.
In conventional digital technology a transformer differential protection is a
biased differential protection to which restraints and high-set threshold must be added
in order to obtain correct operation in all circumstances. The restraint is therefore vital
when the transformer is energized and when it is used in an over fluxed situation. The
most popular solution is to measure second and fifth harmonics of the differential
current. The restraint threshold for these harmonics can be adjusted in most cases.
Actually these adjustments make the user to determine the compromise between

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stability (on inrush) and sensitivity (on pre-existing faults). However technical
progress should allow protection manufacturers to do this kind of adjustment. [38].
Hence, in this research work, the new approaches with AI techniques are
developed to achieve stability with much consistent and lower operating times, yet
retaining a high degree of through fault stability. This modern relay shall provide the
events with real time and recording of disturbance recordings. Also it provides total
accessibility for protection, data acquisition and control.

3.5. Conclusion
This chapter provided a bird’s eye view of the various existing schemes which
have ample applications for power transformer protection. In the subsequent chapter,
detailed description of the AI techniques proposed for power transformer protection in
this research work is discussed.

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