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12/23/2018 Erection of earthing arrangements (TNC, TN-S, TNC-S and TT) | EEP

Protection / Testing and Commissioning

Erection of earthing arrangements


(TNC, TN-S, TNC-S and TT)
Earthing of low voltage
networks
The earthing of low voltage networks in the UK is
largely determined by the Low Voltage Supplies.
However, if the incoming supplies are at 11kV and the
transformers are in the ownership of the user, the LV
supplies may be earthed in a less conventional way
using a high impedance. This arrangement is not
allowed for public supplies.

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Erection Procedures of Earthing Arrangements (TNC, TN-S, TNC-


S and TT) – photo credit: Edvard CSANYI

However, it is a useful system when it is more


important to maintain supplies than it is to clear the
first earth fault.

EXAMPLE:: An emergency lighting scheme


for the evacuation of personnel from a
hazardous area could use a high impedance
system if it were considered less dangerous
to maintain supplies after a first earth fault
than to disconnect the light completely. The
Channel Tunnel could be such a case.

Even in these circumstances the original earth fault


should be corrected as quickly as possible.

The more conventional earthing arrangements


are:

TN-C where the earth and neutral are


combined (PEN) and
TN-S where they are separated (5 wire) or
TN-C- S.

The latter is very common as it allows the single-


phase loads to be supplied by phase and neutral with
a completely separate earth system connecting
together all the exposed conductive parts before
connecting them to the PEN conductor via a main
earthing terminal which is also connected to the
neutral terminal.

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Earthing concepts

For protective conductors of the same


material as the phase conductor the cross-
sectional area shall be the same size as the
phase conductor up to 16 mm2.
IMPORTANT: When the phase conductor is
above 16 mm2 then the protective conductor
may remain at 16 mm2 until the phase
conductor is 35 mm2, after which the
protective conductor should be half the size
of the phase conductor.

For conductors which are not of the same material


the cross-sectional area shall be adjusted in the ratios
of the factor k from Table 43A in BS 7671. The k
factor takes into account the resistivity, temperature
coefficient and heat capacity of the conductor
materials and of the initial and final temperatures.

Lastly there is the TT system which uses mother


earth as part of the earth return.

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The neutral and the earthed parts are only connected


together via an electrode system back to the source
earth (and neutral). To check that conventional
systems are satisfactory, i.e. that the protection
operates on the occurrence of an earth fault, it is
necessary to calculate the earth fault loop
impedance (Zs) and ensure that the fault current
through it will cause the protection to operate.

Earth fault loop impedance explained

This is quite a tedious process, involving as it


does the calculation of the impedances afforded
not only by the earth return but also by:

1. The phase conductor


2. Supply transformer
3. Supply network
4. Any neutral impedance.

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This information must be requested early. The


Electricity Distributor should be able to give the fault
level or the equivalent impedance of the supply
network and the manufacturer can provide the
appropriate impedances for the transformer.

However, time will be required to obtain the


answers so enquiries should be made at the
commencement of the project.

The substation will house the circuit breakers of fuses


for the main cable connections to the sub-distribution
boards and motor control centres. These protective
devices must discriminate with those further down the
line nearer the ultimate loads. A system study must
therefore establish the correct ratings of the
substation equipment to discriminate with the
distribution network.

Earthing of equipment should be electrically


complete and confirmed mechanically sound and
tight.

Earthing bolt on the switchboard roof

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Earthing conductors (previously termed earth leads)


must be checked for compliance with the IEE
Regulations, i.e. they must not be aluminium and they
must be not less than 25 mm2 for copper and 50
mm2 for steel, unless they are protected against
corrosion. These conductors are for connection to the
earth electrodes.

The protective conductors previously known


as earth continuity conductors must also
comply with BS 7671 (the IEE Regulations)
and in general for phase conductors of less
than 16 mm2; this means the protective
conductors must be the same size as the
phase conductors. When the phase
conductor is above 16 mm2 then the
protective conductor remains at 16 mm2
until the phase conductor is 35 mm2, after
which the protective conductor should be
half the cross-sectional area of the phase
conductor.

Another important point to bring out is that the


earthing conductor to the earth electrode must be
clearly and permanently labelled ‘SAFETY
ELECTRICAL CONNECTION – DO NOT REMOVE’
and this should be placed at the connection of
conductor to the electrode.

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Label: SAFETY ELECTRICAL CONNECTION – DO NOT


REMOVE

Fuse ratings should also be checked in relation to


other fuse ratings in the supply circuit or against the
settings of protective relays to assure correct
sequence of operation and discrimination. Circuit
charts for distribution boards should be completed
and designation labels fitted to ensure safe operation
of switches and isolators.

All tests should be carried out as required in BS


7671, Part 7, and an Electrical Installation
Certificate given by the contractor to the person
ordering the work.

Many installations now incorporate rcds and fault


current operated protective devices. These also must
be tested using appropriate test equipment, full details
of which can be found in BS 7671 or for more
elaborate apparatus in BS 7430 and Guidance Notes
which are published separately and amplify the
requirements in the British Standard.

The nominal voltages at present are:

230V + 10% and -6%


400V + 10% and -6%

Reference: Handbook of electrical installation


practice fourth edition – Eur Ing GEOFFREY STOKES

Edvard Csanyi
Electrical engineer, programmer and founder of EEP.
Highly specialized for design of LV/MV switchgears
and LV high power busbar trunking (<6300A) in power
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substations, commercial buildings and industry


fascilities. Professional in AutoCAD programming.
Present on Google+

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