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H F Zhang'.2 Z C Pan' Z Z Sang'










system through the faulted phase A of potential


transformer (PT) [I].

This is equivalent to an

unsymmetrical three-phase power source attached to the

Most of the 6-66kV distribution networks in China are
ungrounded neutral system or Peterson Coil neutral
system. They can operate indefinitely with a ground fault
on one phase for 1-2 hours, eliminating the need for an





, V,,,





. The signal source is

transformed into an equivalent set of three sequential


immediate shutdown. A major problem in operating

VsGl= Vscl = VsGo= - V,




these systems is locating a ground fault when it occurs.


Small-magnitude fault currents flow in the faulted

sequence-component networks interconnected for the


network due to the leakage capacitance and through the

ground fault viewed from the signal generator are

grounding resistor if one is present. The system leakage

illustrated in Fig. I@).

Superposition principle shows

capacitance is distributed throughout the entire network.

that the current flowing in the network is sum of the

It acts as if it were a single lumped capacitance; however,

currents supplied by the system source and the signal

the charging currents can be observed flowing in all

branch circuits. Technique currently used to track down


faults is visual inspection. The line inspectors look for

the fault point by manual observation along the faulty

line. This is not only time consuming and cumbersome
but also unsafe. Sometimes, it may need several line
inspectors and take several hours or even Ior 2 days to
localize the fault point. Moreover, it is unsuitable for the
distribution network automation.

A diagnosis signal injection method for fault location is

developed in this paper. A diagnosis signal is injected

into the faulted system. Tracing the injected signal can

identify the fault location. There are two circumstances:



- _ _ _ _3 _ _ _ - . .

Fig. I (a) Signal generator interface to the power system

through the faulted phase of PT

one is that the faulted feeder is not isolated from the grid.
The other is that the faulted feeder has been de-energized
They need different approaches to inject diagnosis signal
into the faulted feeder.



Figure I(a) shows signa1 generator coupled to the power

Fig. I(b) Sequence-component networks

viewed from the signal generator

0 2004 The Institution of Electrical Engineers.

Printed and published by the IEE, Michael Faraday House, Six Hills Way, Stevenage, SGI 2AY


generator. The current from the system source has not

After the fault point is broken down, the signal generator

changed. The current from the signal generator is

injects the small AC diagnosis current into the


de-energized faulted feeder. Then, the fault point can be

component and

made distinct by

changing its frequency that different from the normal

found by the same techniques as in live faulted feeders.

power system frequency.

The constant DC current (about 40mA) and injected AC

From Figure I(h), the total impedance seen by the signal

current flow in the de-energized faulted feeder. Sum of

generator is the same order in magnitude as the total

them gives the resulting current in the circuit. The

ground-fault impedance of a solidly grounded system.

resulting current isnt equal to zero all the time in order to

Hence, a relatively small current flows in the fault circuit

detect the diagnosis signal. Figure 3 shows the relation

with a small impedance voltage. The zero-sequence

between DC and AC current. Suppose DC current isl, ,

current level is selected to provide adequate detection

and measurement.

the virtual magnitude ofAC current is I , then I , and I

Summing the three phase currents at any point in the

network gives the residual current. For feeders and

must satisfy the relation,

branch circuits between the signal source and the fault

location, the residual current is non-zero. In all other
non-faulted branch circuits, the residual current will he
zero. Circuit tracing with the diagnosis signal is a


preferred method for locating a fault. Hand-held

detectors sense the signal along the faulted circuit.
Impedance computation of the zero-sequence voltage



and current provides an approximation of the distance




from the measurement location to the fault.





Fig.2 Principle Diagram of Off-line Fault Point Location


Most of the earth faults are caused by insulation

breakdown and may be disappeared after the faulted
feeder de-energized. The diagnosis signal with small

O 1

magnitude couldnt breakdown the fault point and cannot

Fig. 3 Relation between invariable DC and AC signal

be injected to the faulted system. It is important to make

the grounding conductance keeping a comparatively big
value [2].
Figure 2 shows a direct current high voltage (DCHV) is


added to the faulted phase. A DCHV generator supplies

enough high voltage to breakdown the fault point and
constant DC current to the faulted circuit. It makes fault


position keeping constant conductance after power cut.

implemented in MV/LV distribution systems with






The fault becomes solidly grounded fault. The magnitude

ungrounded systems and Peterson Coil grounded

of DCHV must be large enough to break down the fault

systems. One is for live faulted feeders, called online

point, about 1.4 times of rated voltage of the feeder. The

system. Another is for de-energized faulted feeders,

insulation of power system cant be destroyed.

called omine system.


The online system provides detection of ground faults,

If the unbalanced voltage exceeds a given threshold, the



relay indicates the ground fault. When the line-to-ground

measurements to the fault, and fault-path indication for

voltage drops below a threshold constant, then a ground




the feeders and branch circuits. The offline system

fault is detected on that particular phase.

provides DCHV and constant direct current, the

On detection of a valid ground fault, the relay activates










measurements to the fault, and fault-path indication for

non-fundamental frequency current to the faulted circuit.

the feeders and branch circuits.

The relay indicates the feeder on which the fault has

The architecture of online ground-fault location system is

occurred hy monitoring the detectors that located on the

shown in Figure 4. It consists of the following devices:

feeders leaving the substation. Voltage and current

substation relay, diagnosis signal generator and remote

transducers provide measurements to the relay for

ground-fault indicators or hand-held detector.

determining the impedance from the substation to the

The architecture of offline ground-fault location system

fault location. Then the relay dzactivates the signal

is shown in Figure 2. It consists of the following devices:


DCHV and Constant Current Generator, diagnosis signal

By utilizing a zero-sequence impedanceiground distance

generator and remote ground-fault indicators or

algorithm the feeder circuit impedance is computed.

hand-held detector.

With stored feeder parameters, an estimation of the

distance to the fault is obtained.

PonwrSyrtem A

Diagnosis Signal Generator


The diagnosis signal generator provides a low-amperage

ac current to the fault circuit. The signal frequency is
Fig. 4 Online Ground-fault System architecture for a Simple System

The function and operation of each of the devices will he

discussed next.

selected to he distinguishable from the power-line

frequency. An appropriate range is n and n+l the
fundamental power frequency, where n is a positive
integer. Integral harmonic power frequency values
should he avoided, as faulted system produce integral
harmonic currents.

Substation Relay

The signal generator is controlled by the substation relay

system. With the detection of a ground fault, the
substation relay activates the signal generator, The signal

The substation relay monitors bus voltages and provides

initial data about the ground fault's location. Specifically,
the relay indicates the fault; the faulted phase; the
substation feeder on which the fault is located; and the
electrical distance from the substation to the fault.

To detect the presence of a possible ground fault, the

relay uses an algorithm that monitors an unbalanced
voltage condition. The

unbalanced voltage is obtained

through the open-delta side of PT, which is the sum of the

three line-to-ground voltage phasors as follows:

3u, =U,,

=U,, +U,, + U ,

generator injects the current signal into the power system

network for several milliseconds, long enough for the
substation relay to monitor the signal flow as it leaves the
substation and goes to the fault. After the relay has
determined the supplying feeder to the fault and the
electrical distance, the signal generator removes the
current injection.






Hand-held detectors provide the necessary information

and ofnine system, have been widely applied in

of the presence of the injection signal on the power

distribution systems in China. The distribution systems

circuit for operators. Remote sensors located on the

include ungrounded systems, Peterson Coil grounded

branch circuits detect the presence of the injection signal

systems, as well as high-resistance industrial power

on the power circuit. With the detection of a residual

systems. The error of fault localization is less than 10

current flow by the sensor, an annunciation is made

meters. The location systems using remote ground-fault

either through communication to a central data

indicators have being developed.


In ground-fault location system, individual branch

circuits and sections on one branch is monitored by


Remote Ground-Fault Indicator (RGFI). The RGFIs will

all give indication of the fault, as illustrated in Fig. 2 and
Fig. 4. Each branch circuit or section should employ a

This paper has presented new approaches to locating

RGFI. Coordination between the devices is not necessay

ground faults for ungrounded and Peterson Coil

or performed.

grounded systems. The system approach couples

The RGFI is most sensitive to the frequency ofthe signal

information from a relay located at a substation and

generator. At that particular frequency, the device will

remote ground-fault detectors to indicate the fault phase,

give indication with as little as S O m A of current flow on

the supply feeder to the fault, an estimate of the fault

the primary circuit. The device is constructed using a

distance, and the branch circuit with the fault. A

magnetic antenna tuned at the frequency of the signal

diagnostic signal generator that operates at a distinct

generator and a series of signal processing circuits. The

frequency other than the power-line frequency provides a

diagnosis signal can pass whereas power-frequency and

circuit path and signal to help to locate the ground fault.

its high order harmonics are all eliminated.

The remote ground-fault indicator or hand-held detector

is a robust device that gives indication of a ground fault

on a particular circuit. It is sensitive in detecting small
DCHV and Constant Current Generator

diagnostic currents. The DCHV breaks down the fault

point again before injecting the diagnosis signal current
in de-energized system.

The DCHV and constant current generator provides

DCHV and constant DC current to the fault circuit. It is
connected between the faulted phase and ground at the


leaving of the feeder when it is used to localize the fault

position after power cut. Push the button named high
voltage to activate the holding relay, the constant direct

0 Z Z Sang et al, 1997, Power System Technoloav.2I.

current and DCHV is added to the faulted feeder and


break down the fault until the diagnostic signal generator

injects the current signal into the faulted feeder and the

2. H F Zhang et al, 2003, Electric Power Auto. Equip.23,

fault position is determined.



The ground fault location systems based on the injection

method using hand-held detectors, include online system