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Application Setting Philosophy

A Philosophy for
Distance Element Fault Detector Settings
For the purposes of this discussion, the B phase current will be used since a comparison of threephase and phase-to-phase bolted faults will be made.
From component theory, we know

I B = I 0 + a 2 I 1 + aI 2

(1)

where
a = 1120
For a three-phase fault, I0 = I2 = 0 and the positive sequence current can be determined by

I1 =

E1
Z1

(2)

where
E1 = positive sequence source voltage
Z1 = sum of positive sequence source and line impedances
Applying (1), we get

I B = a 2 I1

(3)

Substituting (2), we get

IB = a2

E1
Z1

(4)

For a phase-to-phase fault, I0 = 0 and I1 = -I2. The positive sequence current can be determined by

E1
2 Z1

(5)

I B = a 2 I 1 - aI 2

(6)

I1 =
Applying (1), we get

Rearranging (6) and substituting (5), we get

IB =

a 2 - a E1

2
Z1

SEL Application Setting Philosophy Fault Detectors

(7)

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Comparing (4) and (7), we see that the difference in phase current for the two fault conditions is

a2 - a
a2 - a
. If we only look at magnitudes, a 2 applies a factor of 1 where
applies
2
2
3
3
. Therefore, we see that the phase current for a phase-to-phase fault is
times
a factor of
2
2
a 2 versus

the phase current for a three-phase fault at the same location.


Knowing the relationship between the phase current for a three-phase and phase-to-phase fault
allows fault detector settings to be determined by using the three-phase fault current magnitude.
If the fault detector operates on phase current, the setting can be safely set at 50% of the phase
current for a three-phase fault. Such a setting provides a pick up value that is equal to 58% of the
phase current for a phase-to-phase fault.
If the fault detector operates on phase-to-phase current, the setting can be safely set at the phase
current for a three-phase fault. Such a setting provides a pick up value that is equal to 58% of the
phase-to-phase current for either fault condition. The safety margin is automatic since the phaseto-phase current is 3 times the phase current during a three-phase fault and the phase-to-phase
current is 2 times the phase current for a phase-to-phase fault. The result is that a phase-to-phase
fault detector will see the same current for a three-phase or phase-to-phase fault, as shown below.
Assume I f is the phase current for a three-phase fault.
Then the phase-to-phase current for a three-phase fault is

I BC = 3 I f
And the phase-to-phase current for a phase-to-phase fault is

I BC =

3
If 2 = 3 If
2

SEL Application Setting Philosophy Fault Detectors

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