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V-Contact VSC

Medium voltage vacuum contactors










The medium voltage V-Contact VSC contactors are apparatus suitable for operating in alternating current and are normally used to control users requiring a high number of hourly operations. The basic contactors consist of: moulded polyester resin monobloc containing the vacuum interrupters bistable electromagnet drive multi-voltage feeder auxiliary contacts mechanical status indicator (open/closed). The V-Contact VSC contactor introduces the drive with permanent magnets, already widely used, experimented and appreciated in medium voltage circuit-breakers, into the worldwide panorama of medium voltage contactors. The experience acquired by ABB in the field of medium voltage circuit-breakers fitted with drives with MABS permanent magnets, has made it possible to develop an optimised version of the actuator (Bistable MAC drive) for medium voltage contactors.

The drive is operated by means of an electronic feeder which, with just three versions, can cover all the power supply voltages required by the major international Standards.

Versions available
The V-Contact VSC are available in the fixed version with rated voltages of 7.2 kV (VSC7) and 12 kV (VSC12). They are available in the following versions: SCO (Single Command Operated): the closing operation takes place by supplying auxiliary energy. On the other hand, the opening operation takes place when the auxiliary energy is either voluntarily cut off (by means of an auxiliary command) or involuntarily (due to no auxiliary energy in the installation). DCO (Double Command Operated): the closing operation takes place by supplying the input of the closing command of the apparatus in an impulsive way. On the other hand, the opening operation takes place when the input of the opening command of the contactor is supplied in an impulse way.

Fields of application
The V-Contact VSC contactors are used for controlling electrical apparatus in industry, in the service sector, in the marine sector, etc. Thanks to the vacuum interrupter breaking technique, the contactors can operate in particularly difficult environments. They are suitable for control and protection of motors, transformers, power factor correction banks, switching systems, etc. Fitted with suitable fuses, they can be used in circuits with fault levels up to 1000 MVA.

Operating characteristics
Ambient temperature: 5 C ... + 40 C Relative humidity: < 95 % (without condensation) Altitude: < 1000 m a.s.l. For other conditions, please contact us.

Main technical characteristics

Chopping current value less than or equal to 0.5 A Maintenance-free Suitable for installation in prefabricated substations and switchgear both of the card type (slimline) and of the traditional type High number of operations Direct checking of contact wear Long electrical and mechanical life Remote control Multi-voltage feeder. Bistable drive of the type with permanent magnets Behaviour on power cut adjustable by the customer (instantaneous or delayed opening).

Compliance with Standards

V-Contact VSC contactors comply with the Standards of the major industrialised countries and in particular with the following Standards: IEC 60470 (2000) and IEC 632-1 (1978) for the contactor ANSI/NEMA ICS3 UL347 for the contactor.

Approval by DNV, RINA e LL.RR shipping register is foreseen.

Electrical life
The electrical life of V-Contact VSC contactors is defined in category AC3 with 100,000 operations (closing-opening), interrupted current 400 A, closing current 2.4 kA, and cos = 0.35.


Interruption principle
The main contacts operate inside the vacuum interrupters (the level of vacuum is extremely high: 13 x 10-5 Pa). On opening, there is rapid separation of the fixed and moving contacts in each contactor interrupter. Overheating of the contacts, generated at the moment they separate, causes formation of metallic vapours which allow the electric arc to be sustained up to the first passage through zero current. On passage of zero current, cooling of the metallic vapours allows recovery of high dielectric resistance able to withstand high values of return voltage. For motor switching, the value of the chopped current is less than 0.5 A with extremely limited overvoltages.

Schematic cross-section of the vacuum interrupter.

4 5



1 2 3 4 5

Ceramic housing Seal diaphragm Metal screen Moving contact Fixed contact

MAC magnetic drive

Based on the experience gained in the field of circuit-breakers with magnetic drive, ABB has implemented this technology in the field of contactors. The magnetic drive adapts perfectly to this type of apparatus thanks to its precise and linear travel. This means that a simple and direct axial transmission of the movement to the moving contacts of the vacuum interrupter can be realised, with both electrical and mechanical benefits. The drive, which is of bistable type, is fitted with an opening and a closing coil. The two coils - individually energised - allow the drive core to be moved from one of the two stable positions to the other. The drive shaft is solid with an iron core which is immersed and held in position in a field generated by two permanent magnets (fig. A). Energising the coil opposite to the magnetic latching position (fig. A) of the core, the magnetic field is generated (fig. B), which attracts and moves the core into the opposite position (fig. C)

Every opening and closing operation creates a magnetic field concordant with the one generated by the permanent magnets, with the advantage of keeping the intensity of the field itself constant during service as the number of operations carried out increases. The energy needed for operation is not supplied directly by the auxiliary power supply, but is always stored in the capacitor which acts as an energy accumulator, and therefore operation always takes place with constant speeds and times, regardless of the divergence of the power supply voltage from the rated value. The auxiliary power supply has the only aim of keeping the capacitor charged. The power required for carrying out this operation is 5 W. In order to re-instate the rated energy value after an operation, there is an inrush of 15 W for a duration of a few tens of milliseconds. Careful selection of the components and a precise design make the electronic multivoltage feeder extremely reliable, unaffected by electromagnetic interference generated by the surrounding environment and free of any emissions which may affect other apparatus placed in the vicinity. These characteristics have made it possible for the V-Contact VSC contactors to pass the electromagnetic compatibility tests (EMC) and obtain the CE mark.

Fig. A - Magnetic circuit in closing position.

Fig. B - Magnetic circuit with opening coil energized.

Fig. C - Magnetic circuit in opening position.

Technical documentation
For more in-depth technical and application aspects of the VSC contactors, also consult the publication on the REF542plus multi-function control and protection unit - code 1VTA00001.

Quality System
Certified by an external independent organization as complying with ISO 9001 Standards.

Control module / feeder

The electronic control module is fitted, as standard, with a connector with screw terminal board for connection of the auxiliary circuits.

Test laboratory
Conforming to the UNI CEI EN ISO/IEC 17025 Standards.

Environmental Management System

Certified by an external independent organization as complying with ISO 14001 Standards.

Health and Safety Management System

Certified by an external independent organization as complying with OHSAS 18001 Standards.


General characteristics
Characteristics Rated voltage Rated insulation voltage Withstand voltage at a 50 Hz Impulse withstand voltage Rated frequency Rated service current Short-time withstand current Short-time withstand current for 1 s Short-time withstand current for 30 s Rated peak current Rated short-circuit time (tk) Rated values Operations / hour Rated load and overload characteristics in category of use: (Category AC4) 100 closing operations (Category AC4) 25 opening operations Rated voltage of the operating devices and auxiliary circuits Feeder type 1 (24 ... 60 DC) Feeder type 2 (110 ... 130 AC-DC) Feeder type 3 (220 ... 250 AC-DC) Normal current Electrical life (category AC3) (1) (operations) Electrical life at rated current (cat. AC1 - electrical latching) (operations) Mechanical life (operations) Breaking capacity under short-circuit (O-3min-CO-3min-CO) Making capacity under short-circuit (O-3min-CO-3min-CO) Opening time with electrical latching (2) Closing time (2) Weight Overall dimensions (accessories excluded) Tropicalisation [kV] [kV] [kVbil] [Hz] [A] [A] [A] [kA] [s] [No.] Ref. IEC 60470 4.1 4.2 4.2 4.3 4.101 4.5 4.5 4.6 4.7 VSC 7 7.2 23 60 50-60 400 6,000 2,500 15 1 900 VSC 12 12 28 75 50-60 400 4,000 2,500 15 1 900

[kA] [kA]

4.103, 4.104 4.103, 4.104 4.8, 4.9

4,000 4,000

4,000 4,000

[A] [No.] [No.] [No.] [A] [A] [ms] [ms] [Kg] [mm] H [mm] L [mm] D

4.4.101 4,106 4,106

400 100,000 1,000,000 1,000,000 6,000 15,000 20 ... 30 30 ... 50 371 350 215

400 100,000 1,000,000 1,000,000 4,000 8,000 20 ... 30 30 ... 50 391 350 215

4.107, 6.104 4.107, 6.104


Performances Rated voltage Ultimate performances for: Motors Transformers Capacitors Ultimate performances for back-to-back capacitor banks Rated current Maximum transient current of the capacitor Maximum transient frequency of the capacitor [kV] [kW] [kVA] [kVAR] [A] [kA] [kHz] 2.2/2.5 1,000 1,100 1,000 3.3 1,500 1,600 1,500

VSC 7 3.6/7.2 1,500 2,000 1,500 250 8 2.5 6.2/7.2 3,000 4,000 3,000

VSC 12 12 5,000 5,100 5,000 (1) 230 8 2.5

(1) Overvoltage surge arresters are compulsory between phases and between phase and earth.

Standard fittings
1 MAC Drive with permanent magnets with capacitor for storing energy (1b) 2 No. 5 normally closed auxiliary contacts 3 No. 5 normally open auxiliary contacts 4 Multi-voltage feeder. Three auxiliary voltage ranges are available which can be selected as desired among: a. Feeder type 1: 24-60 V d.c. b. Feeder type 2: 110-130 V d.c./a.c. 50-60 Hz) c. Feeder type 3: 220-250 V d.c./a.c. 50-60 Hz) 5 Socket/plug with terminal at terminal box 6 Manual emergency opening operation 7 Mechanical Open/Closed indicator 8 Opening delayed (for SCO version contactor). Available delay: 0; 0.5; 1; 2; 3; 4; 5 s. 9 Self diagnosis. The contactor open automatically when the capacitor energy is under the safety threshold. 3 6 2


Characteristics of the auxiliary contacts

Rated voltage: Rated current Ith2: Insulation voltage: Electric resistance: 24 ... 250 V AC-DC 10 A 2500 V 50 Hz (1 min) 3 mOhm

The rated current and breaking capacity values in category AC11 and DC11 are indicated below. Un 220 V ~ 24 V 60 V 110 V 220 V Cos 0.7 T 15 ms 15 ms 15 ms 15 ms In 2.5 A 10 A 6A 4A 1A Icu 25 A 12 A 8A 5A 2A

Optional accessories 1 Interfacing shafts A
These can be used to interface the apparatus with the kinematics of the switchgear to make interlocks and/or signalling devices. The interfacing shafts are available with two different lengths (A = 22 mm and 70 mm) and can be mounted on the right-hand and/or left-hand side of the contactor (only for VSC 7, contactor seen from the side of the guard).

2 Operation counter
This is an operation counting device which counts the contactor closing cycles.

3 Undervoltage (version DCO only)

The V-Contact VSC contactor offers undervoltage function with selectable delay: 0; 0,5; 1; 2; 3; 4; 5 s. This accessory must be specified at the time of order. It is not possible installation after assembling stage.

Electromagnetic compatibility
The V-Contact VSC vacuum contactors ensure operation without unwarranted trips when there are interferences caused by electronic apparatus, by atmospheric disturbances or by discharges of electrical type. Moreover they do not cause any interference with electronic apparatus in the vicinity of the installation. The above is in compliance with IEC 60694, 60470, 61000-6-2, 61000-6-4 Standards, as well as with the EEC 89/336 European Directive regarding electromagnetic compatibility (EMC), and the feeders are CE marked to indicate their compliance.

Resistance to vibrations
V-Contact VSC contactors are unaffected by mechanically or electromagnetically generated vibrations.

V-Contact vacuum contactors are manufactured in compliance with the prescriptions regarding use in hot-humid-saline climates. All the most important metal parts are treated against corrosive factors corresponding to ambient conditions C in compliance with the UNI 3564-65 Standards. Galvanization is carried out in compliance with the UNI ISO 2081 Standard, classification code Fe/Zn 12, with thickness of 12x10-6 m, protected by a layer of conversion mainly consisting of chromates in compliance with the UNI ISO 4520 Standard. These construction characteristics mean that all the V-Contact VSC series apparatus and their accessories comply with climate graph no. 8 of the IEC 721-2-1 and IEC 68-2-2 (Test B: Dry Heat) / IEC 68-2-30 (Test Bd: Damp Heat, cyclic) Standards. B

Installation of fixed contactors

The performance of the contactor remains unaltered in the installation positions indicated: A) floor-mounted with moving contacts at the bottom B) wall-mounted with horizontal moving contacts and terminals at the bottom.


Connection of capacitor banks

The presence of current transients, which occur during switching-in of a capacitor bank, requires attention during the calculation procedures. In fact assessment of the size of the phenomenon provides the elements for selecting the switching apparatus which is suitable for connecting/ disconnecting the bank and for guaranteeing its protection in the case of overload. To make this calculation, the power factor correction installations must be divided into two types: 1) installations with a single three-phase capacitor bank (single bank installations) 2) installations with more than one three-phase capacitor bank, which can be connected separately (multiple bank installations). In the first type of installation there is only one type of switching-in transient, called switching-in transient of a single capacitor bank to the network. An example of typical current transient is shown in fig. A. In the second type of installation there are two types of switching-in transients: on connection of the first capacitor bank there is the switching-in transient of a capacitor bank to the network on connection of the other banks there is a different transient called the switching-in transient of a capacitor bank to the network with other banks already supplied in parallel. In this case, the current transient is the type shown in fig. B.

It is therefore advisable to select the rated normal current of the contactor for operating the capacitor bank at least equal to 1.43 times the rated current of the bank. The V-Contact VSC contactors completely fulfil the requirements of the Standards and in particular those regarding connection and disconnection operations of banks and the overvoltages which, in any case, do not exceed three times the peak value of the rated phase voltage of the installation. It is necessary to apply voltage surge arresters for the VSC 12 contactors.

Single bank
The parameters of the current transient - peak value and own frequency - present in the case of connection of the bank to the network, are usually of notably smaller size than those in the case of multiple banks. It is, however, necessary to check the values with the calculation and make sure that the peak current is equal to or less than 8 kA peak.

Two or more banks (back-to-back)

In the case of several capacitor banks, it is necessary to make the calculations regarding the installation, considering operation of a single bank with the other capacitor banks already connected. Under these conditions, it is necessary to check that: the maximum switching-in current does not exceed 8 kAp; the switching-in current frequency does not exceed 2500 Hz. For switching-in current values under 8 kAp, the switching-in frequency can be increased so that the product - Ip (kA) x f (Hz) is less than 20,000. To calculate the switching-in current and frequency, refer to the ANSI C37.012 Standards or the IEC 62271-100 Appendix H Standards. Should higher values than those indicated be obtained in the calculations, it is necessary to connect air reactors of suitable value in the circuit. The use of reactors is, however, recommended in the case of frequent contactor operations with high switching-in frequencies.

Selection of contactors suitable for connection of banks

The CEI 33-7 and IEC 871-1/2 Standards specify that the capacitor banks ... must be able to operate correctly under overload with an effective line current value up to 1.3 In, not taking into account the transients. The switching, protection and connection devices must therefore be designed to withstand continuously a current 1.3 times the current there would be at the rated sinusoidal voltage and at the rated frequency. According to the effective value of the capacity, which may also be 1.10 times the rated value, this current can have a maximum value of 1.3 x 1.10 = 1.43 times the rated current.


Fig. A - Example of a current transient during connection of a single capacitor bank.

a b c d = = = = Transient switching-in current: first peak at 600 A peak and 920 Hz frequency. Transient voltage at the 400 kVAR bank terminals. Power supply phase voltage 10/3 = 5.8 kV. Rated bank current at 50 Hz: 23.1 A.

Trend of the current and voltage during and after the switching-in transient.

Trend of the current and voltage during the first 10 ms of the switching-in transient.

Fig. B - Example of a current transient during connection of a capacitor bank with another one already supplied with voltage.
a b c d e = = = = = Transient switching-in current: 1800 A peak and 4280 Hz frequency. Transient voltage at the 400 kVAR bank terminals Power supply phase voltage: 10/3 = 5.8 kV. Component at 4280 Hz frequency of the transient switching-in current. Component at 1260 Hz frequency of the transient switching-in current.

Trend of the current and voltage during the first 2 ms of the switchingin transient.

Trend of the two components of the total current (see graph above).


It is well-known that the insulating properties of air decrease as the altitude increases. This phenomenon must always be taken into account during the design stage of insulating parts of equipment which is to be installed over 1000 m above sea level. In this case a correction coefficient must be applied, which can be taken from the graph drawn up according to the indications given in the IEC 694 Standard. The following example gives a clear interpretation of the indications given above.
Example Installation altitude: 2000 m Service at a rated voltage of 7 kV Withstand voltage at power frequency 20 kV rms Impulse withstand voltage 50 kVp Ka Factor = 1.13 (see graph).

Taking the above parameters into consideration, the apparatus will have to withstand the following values (under test at zero altitude i.e. at sea level): withstand voltage at power frequency equal to: 20 x 1.13 = 22.6 kVrms impulse withstand voltage equal to: 50 x 1.13 = 56.5 kVp. From the above, it can be deduced that for installations at an altitude of 2000 m above sea level, with a service voltage of 7 kV, apparatus with a rated voltage of 12 kV characterized by insulation levels at power frequency of 28 kV rms and with 60/75 kVp impulse withstand voltage must be provided.

Environmental protection programme

The V-Contact VSC contactors are constructed in compliance with the ISO 14000 Standards (Guidelines for environmental management). The production processes are carried out in compliance with the Standards for environmental protection both in terms of reduction of energy consumption and raw materials and of production of waste. This is thanks to the environmental management system in the production facility conforming with what is certified by the certifying body. The minimal environmental impact during the life cycle of the product (LCA - Life Cycle Assessment), is obtained by targeted selection of materials, processes and packing made during the design stage. The production techniques prepare the products for easy dismantling and easy separation of the components to allow maximum recycling at the end of the useful life cycle of the apparatus. For this purpose, all the plastic components are marked according to ISO 11469 (2nd ed. 15.05.2000). When compared with a contactor fitted with a traditional operating mechanism, V-Contact VSC contactors allow an energy saving which prevents emission into the atmosphere of about 7000 kg of carbon dioxide (CO2).

Graph for determining the Ka correction factor according to the altitude H = altitude in metres; m = value referring to power frequency and to the lightning withstand impulse and between phases.



Notes 1) The width of the contactor varies depending on the presence of the interfacing shafts. 2) Hole for earthing.



As an example, the diagram given below shows the contactor circuits. In any case, to take into account product evolution, it is always useful to refer to the circuit diagram provided with each piece of apparatus.

Version DCO (Double Command Operated)

Version SCO (Single Command Operated)


State of operation shown The diagram is shown in the following conditions: contactor off circuits de-energized Caption XB

S3 S2 S1
JP11 JP10 JP9 JP8 JP7

= Delivery terminal board of the contactor circuits available for customer QC = Contactor QB = Circuit-breaker or changeover contact for customer MO = Shunt opening release MC = Shunt closing release SC = Closing pushbutton SO = Opening pushbutton CC = Capacitor TR = Control and switching unit BB1...-BB2= Auxiliary contacts (N 2 packs of 5 contacts) DR = Contact signalling control and actuating circuits ready. The following conditions are fulfilled: - capacitive energy available - electronic device in working conditions PRDY = Signalling of control and actuating circuits ready. The following conditions are fulfilled: - capacitive energy available - electronic device in working conditions SL2 = Available contact.

Diagram figure description Fig. 1 Fig. 2 Fig. 3 = DCO = Undervoltage for DCO version (on request) = SCO

Digital output DO 1 Unit Ready Digital inputs DI 1 Close command (SCO) DI 2 Open command (SCO) DI 3 Undervoltage (DCO) Close/Undervoltage (SCO)


Graphic symbols for electric diagrams

Thermal effect

Terminal or clamp

Changeover contact with momentary interruption

Electromagnetic effect


Power circuit-breaker with automatic opening

Pushbutton control

Socket and plug (female and male)

Control coil (general symbol)

Earth (general symbol)

Capacitor (general symbol)

Electronic impulse counter

Conductive electric part, frame

Potentiometer with moving contact

Lamp (general symbol)

Conductor in shielded cable (e.g. three conductors)

Make contact

Digital isolated binary inputs

Connections of conductors

Break contact


ABB Power Technologies S.p.A. Unit Operativa SACE (PTMV) Via Friuli, 4 I-24044 Dalmine Tel: +39 035 395111 Fax: +39 035 395874 E-mail: Internet://

The data and illustrations are not binding. We reserve the right to make changes in the course of technical development of the product.

1VCP000165 Rev.-, en Technical Catalogue - 2004.06 (V-Contact VSC)