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Modeling Relays for use in Power System Protection Studies

S. G. Aquiles Prez
Student Member IEEE

M. S. Sachdev
Life Fellow IEEE

T. S. Sidhu
Fellow IEEE Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering University of Western Ontario London, ON, Canada

Power System Research Group University of Saskatchewan Saskatoon, SK, Canada

This paper presents a new approach for modeling numerical relays. The models are embedded in the code of the electromagnetic transient program PSCAD/EMTDC. The software for modeling distance and differential relays (PLSA) is described in the paper. The inclusion of the models in PSCAD/EMTDC and their use in power system protection studies are addressed as well. Keywords: Relay models, Distance relays, Differential relays, Electromagnetic transient program.

The microprocessor technology is being widely used in almost all aspects of daily life. Power systems engineering has also been making use of this technology for more than twenty years. In particular, relaying technology has changed dramatically since the advent of microprocessors. The use of this technology in relays has made them physically smaller and easier to set and test, and has given them the ability to communicate with their peers and other control computers. These advances have made it possible to develop more accurate, faster and less expensive protection systems. Modeling of numerical relays is important for the protection industry because it allows the users to observe the internal performance of relays during normal operating states of the power system as well as during system disturbances. Relay models are used in a variety of processes, such as designing new prototypes and selecting appropriate protection algorithms, setting relay parameters, and training personnel. The most important advantage of using relay models, however, is that the models allow the user to observe the processing of inputs signals in a very detailed manner during the relay operation. Several techniques for modeling numerical relays have been developed in the past [1, 2, 3, 4]. In most modeling approaches, the interfacing of the models with an electromagnetic transient program is important for making the models more useful for the protection engineers.

The use of electromagnetic transient programs (emtp) for power system analysis has been known for a long time. The EMTP was developed at the Bonneville Power Administration before the commercial initiative, in 1984, by the EMTP Development Coordination Group and the Electric Power Research Institute [5]. The EMTP software has been enhanced and commercialized during the previous few years. The Alternate Transient Program (ATP) is a public-domain licensed software that is based on the EMTP [5]. PSCAD/EMTDC, developed by the Manitoba HVDC Research Center, is an electromagnetic transient analysis program that uses a graphical user interface for constructing input data files. This approach eliminates the chances of either not providing the required data or the data being out of the normal range. More recent developments have interfaced the EMTP with FORTRAN [6], EMPT with MATLAB [7], ATP with MATLAB [8], and PSCAD/EMTDC with MATLAB [9] for enhancing their abilities for processing the generated numerical data with signal processing techniques. The methodologies described in [6-9] have a major disadvantage: the external programs must be compiled separately or the subroutines of the electromagnetic programs must be changed to accept the use of external subroutines. Some of these methodologies are described in References 5 and 8. This paper proposes a new approach in relay modeling and the interaction of the developed models with electromagnetic transient programs. This approach neither requires the subroutines of the electromagnetic transient program to be modified nor requires the external programs to be compiled.


The proposed technique embeds the digital relay models in the power system model, in a manner that the numerical relay model and the modeled power system form a single computational unit within the emtp. A Visual C++-based program, named PLSA, has been developed for this purpose. A user is allowed to enter, through a user-friendly interface, the specifications of the relay to be modeled.

0-7803-8886-0/05/$20.00@2005 IEEE CCECE/CCGEI, Saskatoon, May 2005

After receiving the specifications, the PLSA processes the information and generates the code that represents the functional blocks of the relay and their interactions among them and with the power system model. The generated code is stored in a FORTRAN file. A separate file is created for each numerical relay to be modeled and used in system studies. The sequence of variables is kept ordered so that the simulations are consistent, and they interact with each other and with the parent software seamlessly. Because the generated relay models are to be used in conjunction with power system analysis studies, a power system has to be modeled in EMTDC as the first step. The models library of EMTDC and the parameters of the elements of the power system are used for developing the system model. Similarly, the data needed by the PLSA is entered; this data includes the types, parameters and settings of the relays. To enable the EMTDC and the PLSA to function together, a feature of EMTDC, called component, is used. A component, in EMTDC, is a resource which allows a user to create custom models in addition to those already available in the models library of the EMTDC. Components models in the EMTDC share a common structure. This consists of a graphical interface, which represents the component, as shown in the main window of EMTDC. The electrical connections are added and the parameters are provided through dialog boxes. The outputs are displayed in graphical form in selected formats. Computational space, where custom code can be added to process the input and output signals, is also provided. For each relay model to be incorporated in the project, a component must be installed by defining the inputs and outputs, and the internal variables that are to be monitored. Electrical and logical signals are connected to the inputs and outputs of the components. As a final step, the code representing the relays (code created by PLSA) is incorporated. The numerical relay models are now complete and ready for use in power system simulations. The inherent advantage of the proposed technique is that it does not require the use of an external program to process the signals. The modeled relays function in conjunction with the EMTDC as it simulates power system studies. This methodology represents an advantage over the other modeling techniques because the simulation of the power system and the protection systems provided to protect the system components are an integral part of the simulation without the need for creating loops, closed or open, between the power system model and the relay models. Moreover, there is no need to modify the code of EMTDC which task can be quite cumbersome, complex and daunting.


The use of Digital Signal Processor (DSP) boards has led the development of multi-functional relays in which the same hardware is able to perform different protection functions by selecting appropriate software programs [10]. McLaren [11] proposed an Open System Relaying approach in which a hardware program could perform several relay functions depending on the selection of the software for use in the relay. In this situation, it is necessary to identify the minimum hardware components that a numerical relay must have. The identified components could be modeled to recreate, as close as possible and with the information commonly known, the selected relay. The minimum hardware suggested in Reference 11 performs the following processes. Signal-level reduction: Currents and voltages from instrument transformers are acquired and converted to voltage levels suitable for use in the numerical relay. Anti-aliasing filters: Low-pass filters are included to avoid aliasing produced by high frequency components in the inputs. Analog-to-Digital Conversion: The reduced level and filtered analog signals are converted to streams of numerical data by Sample-and-Hold and Analog-to-Digital Converter (ADC) modules. Phasor estimation: The magnitude and phase of each signal are estimated by using signal processing techniques called algorithms. Relay function and logic: A set of numerical and logical functions help the software to distinguish between healthy and faulted states of the power system.


The numerical relay model generator software (PLSA) is a user-friendly program written in Visual C++. Through a series of windows and dialog boxes, a user establishes the principal parameters of the relay to be modeled. The user is allowed to choose from several options, which represent the commonly used features incorporated in modern numerical relays. PLSA makes it possible to model distance and differential relays. However, the software can be expanded to include other relay functions. A number of models of numerical relays can be generated and applied at different locations in the power system model. The variables in the relay models interact with the memory arrays inside the EMTDC model of the simulated power system.


To design a specific relay model, PLSA offers the user to select from the following options: Instrument transformers Type: CT or VT Current or voltage ratings Relay type Differential (single-phase or three-phase) or Distance (ground distance or phase distance) Characteristics: Distance relays: Impedance, Mho, Polarized Mho, or Reactance Differential relays: Percentage differential slope and minimum pick-up current Anti-aliasing filters Gain and, pass and stop-band frequencies; or coefficients of the polynomials of the numerator and denominator of the transfer function of the filter Type of low-pass filter: Butterworth, Chebyshev I, Chebyshev II, Bessel, or Elliptic Sampling and ADC Sampling frequency EMTDC simulation frequency Number of bits in ADC word Method of quantizing positive numbers (Rounding or Truncation) Method of quantizing negative numbers (Ones complement, Twos complement, or Sign and magnitude) Phasor estimation technique Short window algorithms: Miki & Mikino, Mann & Morrison, Rockefeller & Udren, or Gilbert and Shovlin algorithms Long window algorithms: Least error squares, DFT, or Walsh functions algorithms Relay logic Distance relays: Comparator type; phase or amplitude comparator Differential relays: Parameters of operating and restraining equations Trigger logic Extra information Relay name Location node of connection Channel name Type of signal in the channel Maximum expected value, for ADC limiting

Setting distance and differential numerical relays Distance relays for remote backup protection Differential relay performance during internal and external faults Differential relay performance during inrush current events

Figure 1 shows a 17-bus test system, which has two sources representing power systems with excess generation and two motors representing power systems that have load in excess of generation. Distance relays protect the transmission lines and differential relays protect the transformers. The relay models were designed using the developed PLSA software. A mho distance relay (designated P) is located at Bus 3 and protects the transmission line L5. The performance of this relay is investigated in this example.

Figure 1: Seventeen bus test system A fault involving phases B and C was simulated at halfway between buses B3 and B4. Figure 2 shows the voltages and currents provided to the relay by the instrument transformers. Figure 3 shows the signals generated by the relay model. Shown are, from top to bottom, filtered and sampled signals generated from phase B voltage, magnitude and phase estimates of the voltage difference between phases B and C, output generated by the phase comparator and the trip signal generated by the relay logic.


The methodology presented in this paper allows a user to model different types of protection systems, from the simplest one element relay to an entire protection system. The developed technique has been used for the following types of studies.

The paper has presented a new approach for modeling numerical relays. This approach employs the user-friendly software (PLSA), which generates relay models from the parameters specified by the user. The code generated by PLSA, which represents the models of relays, is incorporated in the electromagnetic transient program


PSCAD/EMTDC in such a way that the relay models and the modeled power system are analyzed in a unified simulation. Complex and flexible protection systems can be modeled by the proposed technique. PLSA has been designed to produce models of numerical distance and differential relays. The software, however, can be extended to incorporate other types of relays as well.


McLaren P. G., Swift G. W., Neufeld A., Zhang Z., Dirks E., Haywood M., Open System Relaying, IEEE Trans. on Power Delivery, Vol. 9, no. 3, July 1994.

[1] M.S. Sachdev, Nagpal, M. and Adu, T., 1989, "Interactive Software for Evaluating and Teaching Digital Relaying Algorithms", IEEE Transactions on Power Delivery, Vol. 5, No. 1, p. 346-352 T.S. Sidhu, M. Hfuda and M.S. Sachdev, 1998. Generating Relay Models for Protection Studies, IEEE Computer Applications in Power, Vol. 11, No. 4, pp. 33-38 M.S. Sachdev (Coordinator) et al, "Advancements in Microprocessor Based Protection and Communication", 1997, A tutorial publication of the IEEE, Piscataway, NJ: IEEE Cat. No. 97TP120-0, pp. 127 P.G. McLaren et al. (including M.S. Sachdev), 2001, Software Models for Relays, IEEE Transactions on Power Delivery, Vol. 16 No. 2, pp.238-45 Canadian/American EMTP users Group, Alternative Transient Program (ATP)- Rule book, Portland, Oregon, 1992 Chaudhary, A.K.S., Kwa-sur Tam, Phadke A. G., Protection System Representation in the Electromagnetic Transient Program, IEEE Transactions on Power Delivery, Vol. 9, No. 2, April 1994, pp. 700-711 Mahseredjian J., Benmouyal G., Lombard X., Zouiti M., Bressac B., Grin-Lajoie L., A link between EMTP and MATLAB for user-defined modeling, IEEE Transactions on Power Delivery, Vol. 13, Issue 2, April 1998, pp. 667-674 Kesunovic M., and Chen Q., A novel approach for interactive protective system simulation, IEEE Trans. on Power Systems, vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 668-694, Apr. 1997 Gole M. and Daneshpooy A., Towards Open Systems: A PSCAD/EMTDC to MATLAB Interface," International Conference on Power Systems Transients (IPST97), Seattle, June22-26, 1997., pp. 145-149 Network Protection and Automation, ALSTOM, 1st Edition, July 2002


Figure 2: Voltages and currents provided to the relay









Figure 3: Examples of signals generated by the relay model.