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Module 1 on Circuit breakers:Switch gear and control gear:All equipment used in clearing fault like fuse,

switch, circuit breaker, isolator and relays are

used in control panel.
Surge arrestors, CT, PT are part of switch gear.
Control gear for switching and controlling power
used in furnace, motor controls etc.
Circuit breaker:It makes and breaks electrical circuit under
normal and abnormal conditions like short circuit.

Parts of a Circuit Breaker:

Poles with a opening mechanism

Insulating support.
Arc quenching arrangement.
Operating mechanism.
Control cabinet..
Motorised spring mechanism to operate contacts.
3 Poles of circuit breaker operate simultaneously
Each pole will have one or more interrupts. (Arc
Interrupts are supported on insulators.
These interrupts will enclose fixed and moving contacts.
Circuit Breakers are commanded by relays.

Trip Circuit on fault:- ref fig 1.

When fault occurs circuit breaker opens using the
potential energy
of the spring operating the contacts.
The spring is pre charged by a motor mechanism.
This ensures very positive and fast opening of contacts.
The over current sensing CT in series with the breaker
sends a
signal to the CT secondary which operates a relay
the trip coil to operate the breaker.
In the trip coil circuit an auxiliary switch is connected in

Why a auxiliary switch?

It is a multi point switch(4 to 24 points) mechanism interlocked to
the operating mechanism of the circuit breaker. so that when a
circuit breaker opens the auxiliary switch also opens to open the
trip coil.

The trip circuit is interrupted by auxiliary switch and not

by protective relay.
The auxiliary switch besides operating trip coil also
indicates by lamps circuit breaker close and open and
also controls circuits of interlock between circuit
breaker and isolator. Some other circuits can also be
controlled based on specific designs.

Types of circuit breakers: Classification of both AC and DC Circuit

breakers is based on the type of arc extinction
method .

1. Air circuit breaker (ACB)

2. Oil circuit breaker (OCB)
3. Minimum oil circuit breaker (MOCB)
4. Air Blast circuit breaker (ABCB)
5. SF6 circuit breaker (Single pressure and
Double pressure)
6. Vacuum Circuit breaker.

ACB uses atmospheric air for quenching

ABCB uses (compressor) pressured air.
Needs a separate compressor.
Oil circuit breakers use transformer oil for
SF6 circuit breaker use SF6 gas for arc
1 Pressure-4 to 6 Kg/Sq cm
Double pressure- high pressure.

Module 2 on circuit breakers

Vacuum circuit breaker: Contacts open in high vacuum.
Air break switches are used for voltage
levels below 1 KV
SF6 and VCBs are used in medium
voltage systems covering a range of 3.3
KV to 33 KV.
SF6 breakers can be used in higher
voltage systems up to 1200 KV.

Fault clearing Time of a breaker: Time from (start) occurrence of fault to final arc
extinction, expressed in cycles.
1 cycle = 1/50 secs.
Fault clearing time = relay time + circuit breaker time.
For better power system stability the fault should be
cleared as fast as required.
On EHV Transmission system the circuit breaker time
for clearing the fault is of the order 2 to 2.5 cycles.
The relay operating time is of the order1to 2 cycles,.
Distribution systems do not need such fast clearing
system. It is of the order 5 to 8 cycles.
Distance protection of the order 1 to 10 Cycles.

Auto re closing This system automatically restores service after interrupting a

transient fault on over head lines. Faults are not permanent but
70% of faults on over head transmission lines are only transient
faults and not permanent faults.
Temporary faults can be due to lightning or birds flying close
resulting in arcing faults.
After a short time (dead time) circuit breaker re closes to resume
Rapid Auto re closing of EHV AC improves transient stability.
If re closure time is 12 cycles =0.24 secs the time of 0.24 secs
should be sufficient for the ionised air of arc path to dissipate.
Dead time for 66 KV > 5 C/s
110 KV > 8 C/s
132 KV > 9 C/s
220 KV >14C/s.

Module 3 on circuit breakers:breakers

To calculate the total fault clearing time {Tf} for auto re closing circuit
breakers:Tf -fault clearing time duration between fault occurrence and final arc
Tr- Relay time. between occurrence of fault and closing of trip contact or
activating shunt trip release.
To-Opening time of circuit breaker.
Ta-Arcing time of circuit breaker time between separation of circuit breaker
contacts and current to zero.
Dead time-Time between total current zero and auto re closing
De ionising time:Time required for de ionising arc space
Difference between rapid auto re closing and delayed auto re closing:Rapid auto re closing:- The circuit breaker is re closed within 0.3 sec,,15
Delayed auto re closing:- re closing time is more than 1 sec..This is
adopted where net work is inter connected and the line can be delayed for
several seconds.

Module 4 on Circuit breaker High resistance interruption:The resistance of the arc is increased
by lengthening and cooling the arc so that
the system voltage is not able to sustain
the arc .
Used in ACB and DC CB.
Low resistance /zero point interruption:The interruption is done at zero crossing
to prevent the re striking .
Most of the circuit breakers use this

Ratings of AC Circuit breaker:

Rated voltage
Rated normal current
Rated insulation level.
Rated frequency
Short circuit current
Breaking current
Making current. {as per IEC 56}
Normal KV:- 6.6, 11, 22, 33, 66, 132
Rated KV:- 7.2, 12, 24, 36, 72.5,145......
Rated current:- 400,630,800,1254,1600...... 4000A.

Rated Short circuit breaking current is the highest short

circuit current the circuit breaker can break.
Rated breaking capacity of circuit breaker in terms of
KV is the rated Voltage and KA is the rated breaking
Rated making current :-{Peak} -2.5x Rated short circuit
breaking current (1.8x1.414= 2.5}
Rated Short time current -RMS current the circuit
breaker can stand in a fully closed position in specified

Module 5 on circuit breakers: Operating sequence for circuit breaker (Duty cycle)
The operating mechanism experiences severe
mechanical stress during auto re closure,
a. O -t -CO- T - CO

O - Opening

C - Closing

CO- Closing followed by opening.

t -- 3 minutes for circuit breaker with auto re close


0.3 secs for circuit breaker with rapid auto re


T-- 3 minutes.
b. CO - t! - CO where t! = 15 secs for circuit breaker not
to be used for rapid auto re close.

Routine test:

No load mechanical test :--- To check the speed of closing and

opening at 85% and 110 % of shunt trip., temperature rise test,
dielectric with stand test using 1.2/50 micro seconds wave form., 1
minute power frequency with stand test, switching impulse test
using 250/2500 microseconds with stand test for circuit breakers
above 275 KV, short circuit breaking current etc.
Flame proof circuit breakers in UK, India are known as explosion
proof circuit breakers in US and pressure proof in Germany.
These breakers are designed to with stand high pressure ..Flame
from the contacts should not spread beyond the enclosure.
SF6 filled circuit breakers are non explosive filled in gas tight
enclosures at 3 to 5 bar pressure.
Contacts of breaker not only operates under normal and over load
conditions they also make and break short circuit currents.

Vacuum circuit breakers:

When contacts open arc is drawn between them..

Hot spots in the contacts create metal vapours from electrodes
creating a plasma..
Plasma depends on the rate of vapour emission.
With AC Voltage at zero plasma emission is zero. and metal vapour
condenses and dielectric strength builds up..
As a result re striking arc stops.
Vacuum circuit breaker contains one vacuum interrupter per pole
The mounting contact is connected to insulating operating rod.
Vacuum of the order 10 to the power of -8 to -9 is maintained in the
breaker. Shelf life is 20 years.
Rated current
Breaking Current in KA.
7.6 KV
12 KV
36 KV
800 to 2500 A
1200 to 3150 A

HV Circuit Breaker: Here DC is controlled by SCRs.

In AC natural zero crossing is used for
breaking current.
In DC LC resonant circuit is connected in
parallel. When contacts open oscillations
produced in main current thus creating an
artificial zero current point for contacts to

Module-6 on circuit breakers: Temperature rise test at normal current in circuit breaker :--- Apart from circuit breakers similar tests are done in other parts of
switchgear like isolators, contactors, bus bar etc.
AC current of normal value and frequency is passed through closed
contacts continuously till stead temperature is reached.
Temperature readings at various parts are taken every half hour.
The steady state temperature should be less than the permissible
This is a type test.
Contact resistance of the closed contacts should be less than 20
micro ohms.
Measurement is done using micro ohm meter or milli volt drop test.
If there are n joints then the total contact resistance should be less
than nx 20 micro ohm.
For milli volt drop test DC current of more than 100 A and less than
rated current is used.
This is also a routine test.

High Voltage test on Circuit

breakers: High Voltage tests are done for transients due
to switching and lightning. They are
1.Impulse voltage dry withstand test
2.1 minute power frequency dry withstand test.
3.1 minute power frequency wet withstand test.
Impulse and power frequency test is done with
breaker closed between single pole and frame
at a time.

Operating mechanism: 1.It enables circuit breaker to be closed rapidly

at all currents. also holds the circuit breaker in closed
position by toggles and latches till tripping signal
is received.
3.It helps the circuit breaker to open without
4.It helps to perform auto re closure cycle.
5.It helps to perform related functions like
indicators, control, alarm etc.
6.Store4d energy independent of auto operating
mechanism is used in circuit breakers above
200 MVA.

Operating mechanism can be

a. Spring open close mechanism.
b. Solenoid close spring open mechanism.
c. Hydraulic mechanism
d. Pneumatic mechanism..
In AC HV Circuit breakers both open and spring close are provided by
separate springs.
Between the two the closing mechanism will have higher energy level geared
motor. to drive.
Closing spring is automatically charged with each closing and hence
available for re closing.
Oil dash pots are provided for damping the forces at the end opening and
Spring has a maximum force at the start and reduced force at the end of
Pneumatic mechanisms are preferred where compressed air is available like
For closing air pressure of 18 to 30 Kgs /cm sq. are used.
Pneumatic mechanisms are used in SF6 circuit breakers and ABCB.
Pneumatic system requires high pressure air. Modern circuit breakers are
provided with compressed air system package.

Module 7 on circuit breaker

Hybrid operating mechanism :- Pneumatic pressure is utilised in charging the
closing spring
In SF6 circuit breaker spring assisted by
pneumatic pressure operated the opening and
closing mechanism.
Hydraulic Pressure mechanism High pressure hydraulic oil (300 to 3350 bar)
stored in accumulator is ideal for SF6 puffer
type breaker.

Interlocks in circuit breaker: This makes the switching device independent of

other units.
Inter locks are safety devices against wrong
Inter locks can be either electrical or mechanical.
While disconnecting the power line : 1.First open the circuit breaker
2.Then open the isolator
3.Then close the earthing switch.

While closing the power line :--

1.Open the earthing system

2.Close the isolator
3.Then finally the circuit breaker.
Isolators are no load disconnecting/
connecting switches.
Auxiliary switches have standard numbers
of contacts 4,6,8,12 1nd 24.

Answer yes or no
1.During closing electro magnetic forced between
contacts assist closing. (No. oppose closing)
2.Manual closing is suitable for breakers up to 7500
MVA. (No. Up to 150 MVA only)
3.Operating time for opening the circuit breaker is 2
seconds. (No. 60 milli seconds only)
4.Auto re closure improves power system stability. (Yes)
5.Isolators open before circuit breaker (No. Circuit
breaker opens first)
6.Earthing switches are mounted on circuit breaker
frame (No .It is mounted on isolator frame)

Module 8 on circuit breakers: To fill SF6 gas {which is electro negative, non explosive
and has a high di electric strength),SF6 is transported in
liquid form in cylinders with valve.. When the valve is
opened the gas fills the breaker.
Heat is absorbed from the atmosphere to form the gas.
In cold countries the cylinder is wrapped in hot water .
Normal pressure of SF6 gas is 5.5 Kg/cm^
Alarm rings when the pressure falls to a low value of 4.5
Automatic tripping takes place when the pressure falls
below 4 Kg'/cm^

Contact resistance of the breaker contacts is measured

using 1.Micro ohm meter and 2.Milli volt drop test at
currents more than 100 A
Pressure of SF6 gas in puffer type SF6 Circuit breaker
is usually 5 Kgf /cm^
Opening resistance r connected in parallel with
interrupter to reduce rise of transient recovery voltage.
r should be less than 1/2/L/C where L is the inductance
of circuit per phase and
C is the capacitance of circuit between phase and

components of circuit breaker: 1.Support insulator - epoxy for indoor and

porcelain for out door.
2.Pole contacts - Copper for main
contacts and Tungsten copper for arcing
3.Arc control device-glass fibre reinforced
epoxy enclosure.
4.Nozzle in SF6 gas-Teflon.

Module 9 on circuit breakers: Merits of SF6 gas: 1.Compact. Occupies 10 to 15 % of conventional

space of a circuit breaker.
2,Total protection from pollution.
3.Not much of maintenance.
4.Installation faster.
5.Superior arc interruption
6.Gas pressure of 3 gs is relatively low and does
not present problem of leakage.
7.Since enclosures are earthed accidents are

De merits: 1.High cost

2.Excessive damage in case of failure,
3.Before assembly all parts that go inside
must be thoroughly cleaned.
4.Indoor substations require separate
5.SF6 stock must be quite enough.

Popularity of SF6 and Vacuum Circuit

breakers: 1.Maintenance is simple.
2.Long life
3.Inert operation
4.No explosion is possible.

Pressure of SF6 gas inside circuit

breaker: More than 8 Kgf pressure cannot be used because the
gas becomes liquid at higher pressure.
Higher the pressure lower the temperature at which the
gas becomes liquid.
At 15 Kgf pressure the gas becomes liquid at minus 4
In oil circuit breaker oil vaporises at arc quenching and
the pressure increases.
In SF6 P1V1/T1=P2V2/T2 which means P1/T1=P2/T2.
In puffer type Circuit breaker pressure rise is not much.
When circuit breaker is open the interrupter should stand