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Arc Flash Fault Clearing Time Determination

6/17/2014

2014 ETAP

S.NO

CONTENTS

1.

FCT not determined message

2.

Cause 1 : No Protective device

3.

Solution 1

4.

Cause 2 : Interlocks are missing

5.

Solution 2

6.

Cause 3 : Missing Library information

7.

Solution 3

8.

Cause 4: Magnitude of arc current is low

9.

Solution 4

10.

Cause 5: Bus Levels and Source current contribution.

11.

Solution 5

12.

Symptoms and diagnosis

13.

Tools and debugging techniques from ETAP


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Definitions

FCT Fault Clearing Time in seconds or cycles


LVCB Low Voltage Circuit Breaker
HVCB High Voltage Circuit Breaker
Ibf Bolted fault current
Ia Arc current
PD Protective device
OCR Overcurrent Relay
TCC Time Current Characteristics
CT Current Transformer
PT Potential Transformer
SQOP Sequence of Operation
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FCT not determined message


ETAP eliminates the manual work related to determining the
protective device(s) that clear arc faults and FCT. In some
situations, the program provides a message that reads: FCT
not determined. This message indicates that ETAP did not find
source protective device(s) to de-energize every single
energizing branch.
This article summarizes the causes of why ETAP will display this
message and how to troubleshoot the system to pinpoint the
reason(s).
NOTE: The problem can be caused by a single item or
combination of any of the issues described in this document
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Causes for FCT not determined

3. Missing Library
information
4. Magnitude of
arc current is too
low

2. Interlocks are
missing

1. No Protective
device in
energizing path

FCT Not
Determined

5. Bus levels away


to find Source PD
and Multiple
source
contribution levels

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CAUSE 1
NO PROTECTIVE DEVICE IN ENERGIZING PATH

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Cause 1

If there is no protective device to de-energize the fault, the


message is displayed.
In this example , the utility source is directly connected to
the Main Bus without any protective device.

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Cause - 1

The message will appear If the option User-defined from


Bus Editor is enabled from the study case AF FCT page (as
shown below), and the bus user-defined FCT value is set to
zero.
In the images below, the User defined FCT section has no
values and the study case shows FCT is based on Userdefined from bus editor

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SOLUTION 1
ADDING PROTECTIVE DEVICE IN THE ENERGIZING
PATH

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Solution -1

The following protective devices are available in ETAP that


can be added in the energizing path to trip the circuit in the
event of a fault
1.

Disconnect Switch interlocked to a Relay

2.

Fuse

3.

LVCB with self trip unit or interlocked to a Relay

4.

HVCB interlocked to a Relay

5.

Contactor interlocked to a Relay

6.

Overload Heater & In-Line Overload Relay

7.

Recloser

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Solution -1

In this case, CB29 (HVCB) is introduced between Utility and


Main Bus in order to de-energize the circuit in the event of a
fault at the bus, with FCT as 0.236 seconds, which includes the
relay and breaker trip time.

Note that the message FCT Not Determined will still be


displayed for a arc fault on the line-side (source-side) of the
newly added protective device.
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CAUSE 2
INTERLOCKS ARE MISSING

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Cause -2

Protection schemes with relay devices require an interlock


between the relay and the protective device.
ETAP will not determine the clearing time if the interlock is
missing since the overall fault clearing time is the sum of the
PD opening time plus the relay trip time.

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SOLUTION 2
DEFINE INTERLOCKS

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Solution -2

Interlocks are defined in the Output page of the Relay editor.


In this example, the OCR 1 (Overcurrent Relay) is interlocked
with CB29 , such that on the event of the fault, the relay
sends the trip signal to Open the circuit breaker.

The following interlocks are available for a relay


Interlock to HVCB, LVCB, Switch, Contactor.
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CAUSE 3
MISSING LIBRARY INFORMATION

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Cause -3

If the protective device from the library is missing then the


program cannot find the FCT. See image below.
This applies to all protective devices with curves in the library
such as LVCB, Fuses, Relays, Reclosers, etc .

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SOLUTION 3
SELECT LIBRARIES

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Solution -3

Select the model from the library from the OCR page of the
Relay editor to provide TCC information for the determination
of trip time.

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Solution -3

Check that the relays, protective devices, current transformers


that are involved in fault clearing have data defined from the
library.
Relays Definition of CT and Breaking Device
1. TCC curves for the trip signal
2. CT Turns Ratios and Burden
3. LVCB TCC curves from the Trip Unit
4. Recloser - TCC curves from the Controller
5. Fuser Melting curves from the manufacturer rating
6. Overload Heater - TCC curves from the Heating Unit
7. In-line overload TCC curves from the Thermal library

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CAUSE 4
MAGNITUDE OF ARC CURRENT IS TOO LOW

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Cause-4

The arc current Ia is typically less than the available bolted


short circuit current; especially in low voltage systems
(Typically less than 1kV).
ETAP displays FCT not determined if the arc current is too
low such that it falls below the long-time pick up value of the
trip unit.
In this example, when Bus1 is faulted, the arc current is too
low and it lies on the left-hand-side region of the Fuse TCC
below any possible pickup time

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Cause 4
The magnitude of arc
current is 10.87kA at
0.48 kV and does not
intersect with the
available TCC curve in
order to clear the
fault.

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SOLUTION 4
CONSIDER ALTERNATIVE PROTECTIVE DEVICE SIZES
OR INCIDENT ENERGY MITIGATION SCHEMES

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Solution 4

Make sure that the protective device selected is capable of


tripping under the arc fault current conditions.
If the fault clearing time of the selected protective device is
high, a message which indicates high incident energy value
may appear on the one-line diagram.

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CAUSE 5
BUS LEVELS AWAY TO FIND SOURCE PD AND
MULTIPLE SOURCE CONTRIBUTION LEVELS

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Cause 5

The search for source protective devices has some definable


capability limits. This section describes how those limits are
applied.

The main reason for these limits is to optimize the


calculation time by reducing memory consumption by
excluding unnecessary data

Bus Levels Away to Find Source PD - This limit indicates the


number of bus levels away from the faulted location that
ETAP will search to find the source PD. The source PD is then
used to determine the FCT.

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Cause 5

The default value for this entry is ten(10). The maximum level is
fifty (50). It is recommended that this entry be left as default,
unless the source PD is located more than 10 levels away.

The circled PDs has to be within the Bus levels away to Find
source PD , Otherwise, ETAP cannot determine the FCT

Note that protective devices which are considered as Load PDs


are not considered for determining the bus FCT as they cannot
isolate the fault at the bus as mentioned in the image below.

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Cause 5

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Cause 5
Multiple Source Contribution - This value indicates the
number of multiple sources contribution levels to be
considered. A level is encountered every time two sources
mesh upstream from the fault location.
If the corresponding sources are not seen by the limit that is
set up, the program still displays the message. The default for
multiple source level search is two (2) as can be seen in the
following image.
However, there may be some systems in which the source PDs
are located further away in higher levels of multiple source
contributions
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Cause 5

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Cause 5

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SOLUTION -5
OPTIONS (PREFERENCES)

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Solution -5

The Tools Options(Preferences) Arc Flash Section has the


following two entries that can help to determine the FCT for
Cause 5.

The number of levels can be changed by modifying the entry


in Tools/Options (Preferences) Bus Levels Away to Find
Source PD = 10 (default).

Multiple Source Contribution Levels : The searchable area of


the program is limited by the number of meshed source fault
current contributions and the number of bus levels away.

The search area can be increased by modifying the following


entry under Tools\Options (Preferences) section: Multiple
Source contribution levels = 2 (default)
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Solution -5

Using a very high number for both above options can cause
performance issues with arc flash calculations.

The Highest level of meshed source contribution is level 4 .


Multiple utility sources energize this location.
In a real system, the individual sources could be wind
turbines, PV arrays or synchronous generators.
Whatever the case may be, every time a source contribution
is meshed, the program will require a higher level number as
shown in the image (which requires Level 5)
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Solution -5

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SYMPTOMS AND DIAGNOSIS

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Symptoms

2. Decay
Method

3.Single
Phase
Breaker

1. Main PD
Isolation
Symptoms

4. Back feed
from Tiebreaker

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Main PD Isolation
Symptom
The program reports FCT Not Determined for a
particular bus, yet the main protective device has been
properly configured with libraries, interlocks, etc.
The main PD may not be properly isolated from the main bus
or individual compartments (i.e. the line side of the main PD is
exposed or there is chance the arc fault will expand into this
section. If the upstream PD is not properly configured, the FCT
may not be determined.
Note 1: This option is applicable only for systems rated 15kV
or less.
Note 2: The main PD isolation option can be removed by unchecking it from the Study Case editor -> AF FCT tab.
The following link gives more detailed analysis for the same.
https://helpdesk.etap.com/cgi-in/wonderdesk.cgi?do=faq_view_record&faq=1&view_detail=1&faq_id=490&queue=Default

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Decay Method
Symptom
-FCT is determined using either the 1/2 Cycle or 1.5-4 cycle
methods
-FCT is no longer determined when using the decay method

The FCT for decay method is obtained by integrating the


currents from three different stages (subtransient, transient
and steady-state). The integration using IEEE Std C37.2
equation as shown.

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Decay Method

In this example, The decay method is used on Bus 20


The steady state arc current falls below the relay long
time pickup setting and the magnitude and duration of
subtransient and transient currents were not enough to
cause the relay to trip
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Decay Method

To correct this situation, protective device settings adjustments


which cause relay operation need to be implemented
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Arc Flash 1-Phase


Symptom
Single-phase system has upstream
protective device in 3-phase region
which is outside the searchable area
when the fault occurs in the 1-phase
system
For 1-phase & panel sub-systems, the
program cannot search the source PD
that is in the three phase system (i.e. it
only searches all 1-phase PDs feeding
the system
The image shows Fuse 1 cannot deenergize the Bus2 as it is single phase.
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Arc Flash Single Phase


Adding a source protective device in
the single phase system as shown in
the image (Fuse2) will help to deenergize the faulted bus and determine
the fault clearing time.

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Back Feed from Tie-Breaker


Symptom
- All source PDs appear to be tripping, but the program fails
to find the FCT
In case of Meshed or Loop system with tie-PDs involved, there
is a possibility of small arc current flowing back through the
looped path. The magnitude of this back-feed arcing current
may not be enough to trip feeder relay
ETAP requires that all sources of current be de-energized to
determine the final FCT (regardless of how small of a
contribution they make to the fault location). This is a
conservative method since it is not known exactly at what
point an arc fault will self extinguish as multiple sources deenergize at different times.
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Back Feed from Tie- Breaker

Small Magnitude of Ia

In this example , The upstream breakers clear the fault but


there is a small arc current that is back fed from the source
which prevents the fault from being completely de-energized

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Back Feed from Tie- Breaker

If the relay is set to pick up this small magnitude of Ia that


is back fed, then the total fault clearing time can be
determined.

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TOOLS AND DEBUGGING TECHNIQUES FROM ETAP

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Faulting only one bus


Faulting only one bus is a great way to troubleshoot the FCT not
determined condition.
It marks the source protective devices by showing the arc
current next to them. This allows you to graphically see which
source PDs lie on the energizing branches.
Only source PDs are marked with current flows (even though all
the contributions are considered) as shown in the image below.

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Tools

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Using the AF SQOP Tool


The SQOP tool indicates two very important items for
FCT not determined troubleshooting:
1) It lists only the source PDs which energize the fault
location
2) It also lists the source PDs which did not trip. These
are the PDs which are causing the FCT not Determined
condition

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Using the AF SQOP Tool

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Using the AF SQOP Tool

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