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Protective Item Operating (Trip) Time
Over-current O-TIME
Phase Loss O-TIME
Locked Rotor O-TIME + D-TIME
Types of Protection

Protection schemes can be divided into two major groupings:

1. Unit schemes
2. Non-unit schemes

Unit Type Protection
Unit type schemes protect a specific area of the system, i.e., a transformer, transmission line, generator
or bus bar.

The unit protection schemes is based on Kerchief’s current law – the sum of the currents entering an area
of the system must be zero.

Any deviation from this must indicate an abnormal current path. In these schemes, the effects of any
disturbance or operating condition outside the area of interest are totally ignored and the protection must
be designed to be stable above the maximum possible fault current that could flow through the protected

Non Unit Type Protection

The non-unit schemes, while also intended to protect specific areas, have no fixed boundaries. As well as
protecting their own designated areas, the protective zones can overlap into other areas. While this can be
very beneficial for backup purposes, there can be a tendency for too great an area to be isolated if a fault
is detected by different non unit schemes.

The most simple of these schemes measures current and incorporates an inverse time characteristic into
the protection operation to allow protection nearer to the fault to operate first.
The non unit type protection system includes following schemes:

a. Time graded over current protection

b. Current graded over current protection
c. Distance or Impedance Protection

(A) Over Current Protection
This is the simplest of the ways to protect a line and therefore widely used. It owes its application from the
fact that in the event of fault the current would increase to a value several times greater than maximum
load current.
It has a limitation that it can be applied only to simple and non costly equipments.

(B) Earth Fault Protection

The general practice is to employ a set of two or three over current relays and a separate over current relay
for single line to ground fault. Separate earth fault relay provided makes earth fault protection faster and
more sensitive.
Earth fault current is always less than phase fault current in magnitude. Therefore, relay connected for
earth fault protection is different from those for phase to phase fault protection.

A relay that operates or picks up when it’s current exceeds a predetermined value (setting value) is called
Over Current Relay.
Over current protection protects electrical power systems against excessive currents which are caused by
short circuits, ground faults, etc. Over current relays can be used to protect practically any power system
elements, i.e. transmission lines, transformers, generators, or motors.

▬ For feeder protection, there would be more than one over current relay to protect different sections of
the feeder.
These over current relays need to coordinate with each other such that the relay nearest fault operates first.
Use time, current and a combination of both time and current are three ways to discriminate adjacent over
current relays.

It has a single input in the form of current . Output is normally – open contact, which changes over to closed
state when the relay trips. The relay has two settings:

1. Time setting: Decides the operating time of the relay.

2. Plug setting: Decides the current required for the relay to pick – up.

The plug – Setting multiplier, PSM, is defined as;

I relay

I relay = current through the relay operating coil and PS is the plug – setting of the relay. The value of the PSM
indicates the severity of the current as seen by the relay.
A PSM less than 1 means that normal load current is flowing. At PSM > 1, the relay is supposed to pick – up.
Higher values of PSM indicates how serious the fault is.
Consider 1.0 A relay (i.e. a relay with current coil designed to carry 1 A on a continuous basis) whose plug
is set at 0.5 A, i.e. at 50%.

Assume that for, a certain fault, the relay current is 5.0 A. the relay is said to be operating at a PSM of

PSM   10

Over Current Relay gives protection against:

▬ Over current includes short-circuit protection.

▬ Short circuits can be:

a. Phase faults
b. Earth faults
c. Winding faults

▬ Short-circuit currents are generally several times (5 to 20) full load current. Hence fast fault clearance
is always desirable on short circuits.

Primary Requirement of Over Current Protection:

► The protection should not operate for starting currents, permissible over current, current surges. To
achieve this, the time delay is provided (in case of inverse relays).

► The protection should co-ordinate with neighboring over current protection.

► Over current relay is a basic element of over current protection.

Over Current Relay Ratings:
In order for an over current protective device to operate properly, over current protective device ratings
must be properly selected. These ratings include voltage, ampere and interrupting rating.
▬ If the interrupting rating is not properly. Selected, a serious hazard for equipment and personnel will
exist. Current limiting can be considered as another over current protective device rating, although not
all over current protective devices are required to have this characteristic
Voltage Rating: The voltage rating of the over current protective device must be at least equal to or greater
than the circuit voltage. The over current protective device rating can be higher than the system voltage
but never lower.
Ampere Rating: The ampere rating of a over current protecting device normally should not exceed the
current carrying capacity of the conductors As a general rule, the ampere rating of an over current
protecting device is selected at 125% of the continuous load current.

Difference Between Over current Protection & Over Load Protection

▬ Over current protection protects against excessive currents or currents beyond the acceptable current
ratings, which are resulting from short circuits, ground faults and overload conditions.

▬ Overload protection protects against the situation where overload current causes overheating of the
protected equipment.

▬ The over current protection is a bigger concept So that the overload protection can be considered as a
subset of over current protection.

▬ The over current relay can be used as overload (thermal) protection when protects the resistive loads,

▬ However, for motor loads, the over current relay cannot serve as overload protection Overload relays
usually have a longer time setting than the over current relays.

Type of Over Current Relay
1. Instantaneous Over Current (Define Current) Relay
2. Definite Time Over Current Relay
3. Inverse Time Over Current Relay (IDMT Relay)
a. Moderately Inverse
b. Very Inverse Time
c. Extremely Inverse

4. Directional over current relay

1. Instantaneous Over Current Relay (Definite Current)
▬ Definite current relay operate instantaneously when the current reaches a predetermined value.
▬ Operates in a definite time when current exceeds its Pick-up value.
▬ Its operation criterion is only current magnitude (without time delay).
▬ Operating time is constant.

Operating time (millisec)

▬ There is no intentional time delay.

▬ Coordination of definite-current relays is

based on the fact that the fault current varies
Pick- up value
with the position of the fault because of the Current in amperes

difference in the impedance between the fault and the source.

▬ The relay located furthest from the source operate for a low current value
▬ The operating currents are progressively increased for the other relays when moving towards the source.
▬ It operates in 0.1s or less
▬ Application: This type is applied to the outgoing feeders
2. Definite Time Over Current (DTOC) Relays
 Two conditions must be satisfied for operation (tripping).
1. Current must exceed the setting value and
2. The fault must be continuous at least a time equal to
time setting of the relay.

 For Operation of Definite Time Over Current Relay operating time is constant.
 Its operation is independent of the magnitude of current above the pick-up value.
 It has pick-up and time dial settings, desired time delay can be set with the help of an intentional time delay
 Easy to coordinate.
 Constant tripping time independent of in feed variation and fault location.

Drawback of Relay
 The continuity in the supply cannot be maintained at the load end in the event of fault.
 Time lag is provided which is not desirable in on short circuits.
 It is difficult to co-ordinate and requires changes with the addition of load.
 It is not suitable for long distance transmission lines where rapid fault clearance is necessary for
 Relay have difficulties in distinguishing between Fault currents at one point or another when fault
impedances between these points are small, thus poor discrimination.
Definite time over current relay is used as:
• Back up protection of distance relay of transmission line with time delay.
• Back up protection to differential relay of power transformer with time delay.
• Main protection to outgoing feeders and bus couplers with adjustable time delay setting.

3. Inverse Time Over Current Relays
▬ Operating time is inversely changed with current. So, high current will operate over current relay faster
than lower ones.
▬ Discrimination by both ‘Time’ and ‘Current’. The relay operation time is inversely proportional to the
fault current.
▬ Inverse Time relays are also referred to as Inverse Definite Minimum Time (IDMT) relay.
▬ With the advent of microprocessor – based relays, it is possible to generate any imaginable time –
current characteristic.
▬ In order to maintain compatibility with the very large number of electromechanical relays, still in
service, certain inverse time characteristics, are described as;
a. Inverse Definite Minimum Time (IDMT) OC relay.
b. Very Inverse Time OC relay.
c. Extremely Inverse Time OC relay

a. Inverse Definite Minimum Time (IDMT) OC Relay
This is possibly the most widely used characteristic of inverse time OC relay. Referring figure shows, that,
characteristic is inverse in the initial part, which tend to a definite minimum operating time as the current
becomes very high.
Reason for the operating time is definite minimum, at high values of current is that, in the electromechanical
relays the flux saturates at high values of current and the relay operating torque, that is proportional to the
square of the flux, does not increase substantially after the saturation sets in.
[This is due to the limitation of electromechanical technology]
Ideally, we may demand that the operating time be inverse in nature throughout the operating range.
The mathematical relation between the current and the operating time of IDMT characteristic can be

0.14 (TMS ) From equation it is clear that, operating

t op  time is directly proportional to TMS &
( PSM ) 0.02  1 inversely proportional to PSM

PSM = Plug – setting multiplier of the relay

TMS = Time – multiplier setting of the relay
b. Very Inverse Time OC relay.
The characteristic of inverse of this type of relay is higher than that of IDMT characteristics.
Mathematically it can be written as;

13.5 (TMS )
top 
( PSM )  1

▬ Particularly effective with ground faults because of their steep characteristics.

▬ Suitable if there is a substantial reduction of fault current as the fault distance from the power source
▬ Very inverse over current relays are particularly suitable if the short-circuit current drops rapidly with
the distance from the substation.
▬ The grading margin may be reduced to a value in the range from 0.3 to 0.4 seconds when over current
relays with very inverse characteristics are used.

c. Extremely Inverse Time OC relay
The inverse characteristic of this type of relay is higher than that of very inverse time OC relay.
Mathematically it can be written as;

80.0 (TMS )
top 
( PSM ) 2  1

▬ Suitable for the protection of machines against overheating.

▬ The operating time of a time over current relay with an extremely inverse time-current characteristic
is approximately inversely proportional to the square of the current.
▬ The use of extremely inverse over current relays makes it possible to use a short time delay in spite of
high switching-in currents.
▬ Used when Fault current is dependent on fault location
▬ Used when Fault current independent of normal changes in generating capacity.


▬ Suitable for protection of distribution feeders with peak currents on switching in (refrigerators,
pumps, water heaters and so on).
▬ Principally suitable for grading and coordinating with fuses and re- closes.
▬ For the protection of alternators, transformers. Expensive cables, etc.

4. Directional over current relay

 When the power system is not radial (source on one side of the line), an over current relay may not be able
to provide adequate protection. This type of relay operates in one direction of current flow and blocks in
the opposite direction.

 Three conditions must be satisfied for its operation: current magnitude, time delay and directionality. The
directionality of current flow can be identified using voltage as a reference of direction.

Characteristics of Directional Relay

NOTE: As the fault moves Vpc is the voltage applied to the pressure coil.
from the forward to the
The current drawn by the pressure coil Ipc lags
reverse direction, the current
the voltage by a large angle θpc
undergoes a large change in
its phase where the phase of
the of the voltage does not
change substantially, thus
voltage signal is the
reference against which the
phase angle of the current is

A relay based on induction principle, the two fluxes responsible for torque are ϕ pc and ϕ cc should be
shifted in phase by 90o, for maximum torque.
The torque becomes zero when the current phasor is ± 90o away form MTA position. This gives the
direction of the current phasor for maximum torque.
The maximum torque angle t, and the boundary between tripping and restraining regions are shown on
the phasor diagram

▬ Operating torque of the directional relay can be expressed as;
Operating torque Toperating  PC CC sin (   PC )
From phasor diagram;
 PC    90o
  PC  90o  
 Toperating  PC CC sin (  90o   )
 PC CC sin [(   )  90o ]
 K1  PC CC cos (   )
Since PC  VPC and CC  I CC
Toperating  K 2 VPC I CC cos (   )
From phasor diagram, the maximum torque angle τ is given by;   90   PC

As voltage coil is highly inductive, the value of ϕPC is of the order of 70o to 80o. This gives MTA of 20o to
10o. However, ϕPC and hence t can be adjusted to any desired value in an external resistance or
capacitance is introduced into the pressure coil circuit.
► Implementation of OC Relay using Induction Disc

T  K 1 2 sin 

▬ Two alternating fluxes with a phase shift are needed for torque production, i.e. a single alternating flux
would not produce torque.

▬ Maximum torque is produced when two alternating fluxes are shifted in phase by 90o.

▬ The resultant torque is steady, i.e. it is not a function of time, as time t is not involved in the expression
for torque.

▬ As OC relay is only one input quantity, it is not possible to produce torque unless tow fluxes shifted in
phase are produced.

▬ By using shading coil two fluxes can be shifted in time phase is shown in the figure.

▬ The flux in the shaded coil lags the main flux.
▬ Torque produced by the interaction of two fluxes,
neglecting saturation is proportional to I2, since each
flux is proportional to I. [called deflecting torque
▬ The spiral spring provides the control torque Tcontrolling.
▬ The permanent magnet provides damping torque,

Protection of a distribution feeder using DTOC relay:

How to set the DTOC relays at bus A and B so that the entire feeder gets over – current protection arranged
as primary and back-up protection?

Data must be given: loads, and fault currents at all the buses.
STEP # 01
Select the ratios for all the CTs.
 CT secondary current is decided by the rating of the relay current coil.
 CT primary current is decided by the maximum load current .

STEP # 02
Relay settings. In case of DTOC relays are involved by means of

1. How to select the pick – up value of the relay?

2. How to select the operating time of the relay?

How to select the pick – up value of the relay?

▬ Pick – up value can be set by keeping in view,

that relay should allow normal load as well as
a certain degree of overload.
▬ Thus, the pick – up value should be more than
the allowable maximum load.
▬ At the same time, the relay should be sensitive
to respond the smallest fault.

Pick – up value should be less than the smallest fault current. Therefore, we can write;

I L , max  I Pick  up  I f , min

How to select the operating time of the relay?
When a fault takes place, it is sensed by both the primary and the back – up protection. First primary
operate, its operating time being less than back – up relay. Figure shows the relationship between the
operating time of the primary and back – up relay.

▬ We have to allow overshoot (moment of inertia of the moving system) of primary relay for proper
coordination between primary and back – up.
▬ Overshoot is the time for which the relay mechanism continues to move, even after the operating coil has
been de – energized. 35
▬ The correct procedure for setting the operating time of an OC relay is to start the setting from the tail
end of the feeder system.
▬ The relay, at the end of the radial feeder can be made to operate without any delay, as it does not
have to coordinate with any other relay.
▬ In the feeder shown, assume that the operating time of RB is set to 0.1 s. Thus RA should wait for 0.1
sec plus, a time equal to the operating time of CB at bus B ( T CB, B) Plus overshoot time of relay A (
T OS, A).

Thus, we can write;
TR , B  0.1 s ( fastest )
TR , A  TR , B  TCB , B  TOS , A
Assuming CB operating time  0.5 s and overshoot time  0.2 s
TR , A  0.1  0.5  0.2  0.8 s
▬ Time space between two relays, is the sum of the operating time of the CB at B and the overshoot time
of relay at A is essential for maintaining selectivity between relays A & B.

Relay purpose Pick – up value Time setting

RB Primary protection of
section BC. Fastest
I L , max  I Pick  up  I f , min
Note: R B is at the tail end of TR,B = 0.1 s
the system
RA Back – up protection of TR , A  TR , B  TCB , B  TOS , A
section BC.
( I L , B  I L ,C )  I Pick up RA  I f ,C , min TR , A  0.1  0.5  0.2
Primary protection of TR , A  0.8 s
section AB
▬ As fault moves towards the source;

▬ Fault current becomes larger and the fault

clearing time becomes longer.

▬ Therefore, the relays nearer the source are

deliberately delayed for selectivity.

▬ That means the relay nearest to the source is

the slowest. But this is not desirable all the

▬ Improvement in the fault clearing time can be

obtained with IDMT relays.

Application of IDMT relay on distribution feeder
Consider a radial feeder with two buses A & B where IDMT relays are to be used.

 RB is to provide primary protection to Line BC.

 RA is to provide primary protection to Line AB and back – up to Line BC.
(a) CT ratios & plug settings: [start setting process from the tail end]
The maximum load current, assuming 25% overload is:
80 A  (0.25  80 A)  100 A
Assuming 1 A relay to be used,
 CT ratio can be selected to 100 : 1
 PS can be done at 100%, i.e. PS = 1.0 A
The maximum load current, assuming 25% overload is:

(160  80) A  0.25  (160  80) A  300 A

Assuming 1 A relay to be used,
 CT ratio can be selected to 300 : 1
 PS can be done at 100%, i.e. PS = 1.0 A
(b) Time multiplier setting (TMS) [Starting from the tail end]
1. Since RB does not have to maintain selectivity with any other relay, it can be made to operate the
fastest. Thus TMS of RB can be selected as 0.1s.
2. To maintain selectivity between RA & RB, following constraint must be met:

Operating time of RA for Operating time of RB for Circuit Breaker B Overshoot time of RA
maximum fault at B
= maximum fault at B
+ operating time
Operating time of RB for maximum fault just beyond bus B can be found from :
0.14 (TMS )
TR , B 
( PSM ) 0.02  1
For maximum fault at B, fault current = 3000 A (given) on primary side of CT, which becomes
(3000/100) = 30 A secondary. Since plug setting is 1.0 A,
I relay 30
PSM    30
PS 1
The TMS of RB has been already set at 0.1. substituting these values, we get;
0.14 (0.1)
TR , B   0.1988  0.2 s
(30) 0.02
Let TCB , B  0.5 s, Then,
TR , B  TCB , B  0.7 s
This value of 0.7 s is the desired operating time of R A . Assuming overshoot time of R A
to be 10% of 0.7 s, i.e. TOS, A  0.07 s

Thus, we get the required operating time of RA for maximum fault at bus B:
TR , A, max faultat B  0.2  0.5  0.07  0.77 s

0.14 (TMS )
The TMS of RA can be found from the expression t op 
( PSM ) 0.02  1
0.14 (TMS )
0.77 
( PSM ) 0.02  1
For RA , PSM  I relay / PS  (3000 / 300) / 1  10
0.14 (TMS ) Required operating time for RA as a back up for RB should be 0.77 .
0.77 
( PSM ) 0.02  1 Substituting this in given eq.
( PSM ) 0.02  1
TSM  0.77 PSM  10
(10) 0.02  1
 0.77
TMS  0.26

Table shows the CT ratios, plug settings, and TMS for both IDMT OCR

Relay CT ratio Plug setting TMS

RB 100 : 1 1A 0.1
RA 300 : 1 1A 0.26

Verify the selectivity for minimum fault at bus B ?
Minimum fault current for fault at bus B = 2000 A. Relay B current corresponding to this is 2000/100 =
20 A. Since plug setting is 1 A, this translates into a PSM of 20.
For relay B, TMS = 0.1. Thus operating time of RB for minimum fault current at bus B will be

0.14 (0.1)
TR , B. minimum fault at B   0.226 s
(20)  1

TCB , B  0.5 s
Expected time of RA for this fault should be greater than
0.226  0.5  0.1 (0.226  0.5)  0.7986  0.8 s

Actual operating time of RA, for minimum fault for minimum fault current at bus B:

Minimum fault current  2000 A

RA current correspond ing to this is 2000 / 300  6.66 A
Since plug setting is 1 A, this translates into a PSM of 6.66. for relay RA, TMS = 0.26. Thus the operating
time of RA for minimum fault at bus B will be:

0.14 (0.26)
TR , A, minimum fault at B   0.94 s
(6.66)  1

Value of 0.94 s is greater than the minimum operating time of 0.8 s, required for maintaining selectivity
between RA and RB

For the system shown below, design the complete OC protection using IDMT relays. Thus deduce
the CT ratios, the plug settings and the TMS at all locations.


LOAD 115 A 80 A 100 A 77 A 70 A

Minimum fault 1500 A 1000 A 780 A 585 A 390 A
Maximum fault 6000 A 5000 A 3000 A 2000 A 1000 A

Application of Overcurrent Relay
 Used against overloads and short-circuits in stator windings of motor.
 Inverse time and instantaneous overcurrent phase and ground.
 Overcurrent relays used for motors above 1000 kW.

 Used only when the cost of overcurrent relays are not justified.
 Extensively also at power-transformer locations for external-fault back-up protection.
 On some sub transmission lines where the cost of distance relaying cannot be justified.
 primary ground-fault protection on most transmission lines where distance relays are used for phase faults.
 For ground back-up protection on most lines having pilot relaying for primary protection.

Distribution Protection:

Overcurrent relaying is very well suited to distribution system protection for the following
▬ It is basically simple and inexpensive.
▬ Very often the relays do not need to be directional and hence no PT supply is required.
▬ It is possible to use a set of two O/C relays for protection against inter-phase faults and a separate
Overcurrent relay for ground faults.

Answer the Questions in brief
1. Why do we use relays in the power systems?
2. What are the ANSI/IEEE codes of overcurrent relays?
3. What type of relay is overcurrent relay?
4. What is pick-up current? How can it be selected regarding to fault current and load current?
5. How many types of overcurrent relays are there?
6. What are the differences between the types of overcurrent relays?
7. What is the purpose of using time delay in the overcurrent relays?
8. What are the types of inverse time overcurrent relay?
9. What is meant by time dial setting?
10. How the directionality of current flow can be found in a power system?
11. Which types of overcurrent relays can be used for ground fault protection?
12. What are the meanings of DMT and IDMT?

1. What do you understand by

a. Primary relay?
b. Secondary relay?
c. Auxiliary relay?

2. What is meant by

a. Pick-up current?
b. Drop out current?
c. Dropout ratio?

3. What are the equations of IEC normal inverse, very inverse and extremely inverse overcurrent


LOAD 115 A 80 A 100 A

Minimum fault 1500 A 1000 A 780 A
Maximum fault 6000 A 5000 A 3000 A