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Protection of Power


4. Overcurrent Relays
 The CT secondary current I is the input to the
overcurrent relay operating coil.
 Instantaneous overcurrent relays respond to the
magnitude of their input current, as shown by the trip
and block regions in Figure 10.9.
 If the current magnitude I = I  exceeds a specified
adjustable current magnitude Ip, called the pickup
current, then the relay contacts close
‘‘instantaneously’’ to energize the circuit breaker trip
 If I is less than the pickup current Ip, then the relay
contacts remain open, blocking the trip coil.
 Time-delay overcurrent relays also respond to the
magnitude of their input current, but with an
intentional time delay.
 As shown in Figure 10.10, the time delay depends on
the magnitude of the relay input current.
 If I is a large multiple of the pickup current Ip, then
the relay operates (or trips) after a small time delay.
 For smaller multiples of pickup, the relay trips after a
longer time delay.
 And if I < Ip, the relay remains in the blocking
 Figure 10.11 shows two examples of a time-delay
overcurrent relay:
 (a) Westinghouse electromechanical CO relay; and
 (b) Basler Electric digital relay.
 Characteristic curves of the Westinghouse CO-8 relay
are shown in Figure 10.12.
 These relays have two settings:
 Current tap setting: The pickup current in amperes.
 Time-dial setting: The adjustable amount of time delay.
 The characteristic curves are usually shown with
operating time in seconds versus relay input current
as a multiple of the pickup current.
 The curves are asymptotic to the vertical axis and
decrease with some inverse power of current
magnitude for values exceeding the pickup current.
 This inverse time characteristic can be shifted up or
down by adjustment of the time-dial setting.
 Although discrete time-dial settings are shown in
Figure 10.12, intermediate values can be obtained by
interpolating between the discrete curves.
 Figure 10.13 shows the time-current characteristics
of five CO time-delay overcurrent relays used in
transmission and distribution lines.
 The time-dial settings are selected in the figure so
that all relays operate in 0.2 seconds at 20 times the
pickup current.
 The choice of relay time-current characteristic
depends on the sources, lines, and loads.
 The definite (CO-6) and moderately inverse (CO-7)
relays maintain a relatively constant operating time
above 10 times pickup.
 The inverse (CO-8), very inverse (CO-9), and
extremely inverse (CO-11) relays operate
respectively faster on higher fault currents.
 Figure 10.14 illustrates the operating principle of an
electromechanical time-delay overcurrent relay.
 The ac input current to the relay operating coil sets
up a magnetic field that is perpendicular to a
conducting aluminum disc.
 The disc can rotate and is restrained by a spiral
 Current is induced in the disc, interacts with the
magnetic field, and produces a torque.
 If the input current exceeds the pickup current, the
disc rotates through an angle  to close the relay
 The larger the input current, the larger is the torque
and the faster the contact closing.
 After the current is removed or reduced below the
pickup, the spring provides reset of the contacts.
Homework 2