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10/13/2014

Applications and Characteristics Of Overcurrent Relays (ANSI 50, 51) | EEP

Applications and Characteristics Of Overcurrent


Relays (ANSI 50, 51)
P o s te d O C T 8 2 0 1 4 b y E DV A R D i n E NER GY A ND P O W ER , P R O TE CT IO N w i th 2 CO M M ENT S

Applications and Characteristics Of Overcurrent Relays (ANSI 50, 51)

50/51 and 50/51N relays


Overcurrent relays are the most commonly-used protective relay type.Time-overcurrent relays are
available with various timing characteristics to coordinate with other protective devices and to protect
specific equipment. Instantaneous overcurrent relays have no inherent time delay and are used for
fast short-circuit protection.
Figure 1 below shows the timing characteristics of several typical 51 time-overcurrent relay curve
types, along with the 50 instantaneous characteristic.

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10/13/2014

Applications and Characteristics Of Overcurrent Relays (ANSI 50, 51) | EEP

Figure 1 ANSI 50 and 51 overcurrent relay characteristics

The pickup level is set by the tap setting, which is usually set in CT secondary amperes but may be
set in primary amperes on some microprocessor-based relays.

Each relay curve has a time dial setting which allows the curve to be shifted up or down
on the time-current characteristic curve.

In Figure 1, the time dial settings are different to give enough space between the curves to show
their differences.
The above are IEEE-standard curves; others are available, depending upon the relay make and
model. A solid state electronic or microprocessor-based relay will have all of these curves available
on one unit; electromechanical relays must be ordered with a given characteristic that cannot be
changed.
The 50 instantaneous function is only provided with a pickup setting. The 30ms delay shown in figure
1 for the 50 function is typical and takes into account both the relay logic operation and the output
contact closing time.
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10/13/2014

Applications and Characteristics Of Overcurrent Relays (ANSI 50, 51) | EEP

Most microprocessor-based units will also have an adjustable delay for the 50
function; when an intentional time delay is added the 50 is referred to as a
definite-time overcurrent function. On solid-state electronic and microprocessorbased relays, the 50 function may be enabled or disabled.
On electromechanical relays, the 50 function can be added as an instantaneous
attachment to a 51 time-overcurrent relay. If a relay has both 50 and 51 functions
present and enabled is referred to as a 50/51 relay.
Typically, overcurrent relays are employed as one per phase. In solidly-grounded medium voltage
systems, the most common choice for ground fault protection is to add a fourth relay in the residual
connection of the CTs to monitor the sum of all three phase currents. This relay is referred to as
a residual ground overcurrent or 51N (or 50/51N) relay.
The CT arrangement for 50/51 and 50/51N relays for a solidly-grounded system is shown in Figure
2 below.

Figure 2 Overcurrent relay arrangement with CTs, including


50/51N

For a low-resistance-grounded system, the use of an overcurrent relay connected to a CT in the


service transformer or generator neutral is usually the best option. This CT should have a ratio
smaller than the phase CTs, and the relay pickup range in conjunction with the neutral CT should
allow a pickup as low as 10% of the neutral resistor rating.
For a feeder circuit downstream from the service transformer, a zero-sequence CT
is recommended, again with a ratio small enough to allow a pickup as low as 10% of the neutral
resistor rating.
When an overcurrent relay is utilized with a zero-sequence CT it is referred to as a 50G, 51G or
50/51G relay depending upon relay type used. Figure 3 shows typical arrangements for both these
applications.

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Applications and Characteristics Of Overcurrent Relays (ANSI 50, 51) | EEP

Figure 3 Transformer neutral and zero-sequence ground relaying


applications for resistance-grounded systems

For ungrounded systems, the ground detection methods are recommended since little ground
current will flow during a single phase-to-ground fault. Low voltage solidly-grounded systems are
discussed below.
The typical application of phase and residual neutral ground overcurrent relays in one-line diagram
form is shown in figure 4.

Figure 4 Typical
application of overcurrent
relays

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10/13/2014

Applications and Characteristics Of Overcurrent Relays (ANSI 50, 51) | EEP

In Figure 4, the designation 52 is the IEEE Std. C37.2-1996 designationfor a circuit breaker.
The phase relays are designated 51 and the residual ground overcurrent relay is designated 51N
(both without instantaneous function). The bracketed denotes that there are three phase overcurrent
relays and three CTs. The dotted line from the relays to the circuit breaker denotes that the relays
are wired to trip the circuit breaker on an overcurrent condition.

Another type of overcurrent relay is the voltage-restrained overcurrent relay 51 V and


the voltage-controlled relay 51C. Both are used in generator applications to allow the
relay to be set below the generator full-load current due to the fact that the fault
contribution from a generator will decay to a value less than the full-load current of
the generator.

The 51C relay does not operate on overcurrent unless the voltage is below a preset value. The 51
V relay pickup current shifts as the voltage changes, allowing it to only respond to overcurrents at
reduced voltage. Both require voltage inputs, and thus require voltage transformers for operation.

OverCurrent Protection and Coordination (VIDEO)

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Applications and Characteristics Of Overcurrent Relays (ANSI 50, 51) | EEP

Cant see this video? Click here to watch it on Youtube.

Reference: System Protection - Bill Brown, P.E., Square D Engineering Services

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