UNIVERSITI TUN HUSSEIN ONN MALAYSIA
FACULTY OF ELECTRICAL AND ELECTRONIC ENGINEERING
BEF 20903 BEF 23903
ELECTRICAL MEASUREMENTS
High AC Current Measurements Using Current Transformer
Written By
Dr. Zainal Alam Haron Dept of Electrical Power Engineering Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia
Date
Version
First draft
Contents
1. Introduction
2. Types of Current Transformers
3. Equivalent Circuit of a current transformer
4. Current Transformer Ratios
5. Phasor Diagram of Current Transformer
6. Errors in current transformer
7. Phase angle error
8. Methods to minimize errors
9. Types of current transformer construction
10. Clamp meter
2
LEARNING OUTCOMES After completing this module you will be able to:
1. Explain the principle of operation, construction and use of current transformers to measure AC currents,
2. Interpret the different current transformers at suppliers catalog,
3. Specify the different kinds of current transformers.
3
1.0 INTRODUCTION High AC currents can be measured with shunts under special circumstances, but most often such direct connections to AC lines are extremely dangerous to humans. One way to get around the hazard is to use current transformers (CT) that isolate AC line voltages and reduce input current by a specified ratio. A current transformer produces a scaled down replica of the input quantity to the accuracy expected for the particular measurement. The common laws for transformers are valid for current transformers.
Tasks of Current Transformers The main tasks of a current transformer are:
1. To transform currents from a usually high value to a value easy to handle for
measuring instruments.
2. To insulate the metering circuit from the primary high voltage system.
3. To provide possibilities of standardizing the measuring instruments to a few rated currents.
Advantages of current transformers
1. The measuring instruments can be placed for away from the high voltage side by connecting long wires to the current transformer. This ensures the safety of instruments as well as the operator.
2. A current transformer can be used to extend the range of current measuring instruments like ammeters.
3. The power loss in current transformers is very small as compared to power loss due to the resistance of shunts.
4
Comparison Between Resistive Shunt And Current Transformer
Table 1; Shunt versus current transformer tradeoff
Advantage 
Shunt 
Current 
transformer 

Meter cost 
X 

Meter can handle higher currents (greater than 100 A) 
X 

Meter power consumption 
X 

Fewer accuracy issues (saturation, phase response at highpower factors) 
X 
2.0 TYPES OF CURRENT TRANSFORMERS Based on the construction, two types of CTs can be identified.
1)
Clampon CT This is a C.T., in which the core can be opened with the help of a clamp and the conductor (whose current is to measured) can be inserted into the core. This conductor acts as a primary winding. The secondary winding is wound on the laminated core. A low range ammeter is connected across the secondary, which measures current of the conductor. It is a portable instrument, which can be used in laboratories.
Figure 1. Clampon CT
5
2)
Bar type CT A bar type CT has a circular ring type core over which secondary winding is wound, across which a direct reading ampere meter is connected. When a bar conductor or a Bus bar whose current, is to be measured is inserted in to the ring, the ampere meter reads the current (Figure 2).
Figure 2. Bar type CT
6
3.0 EQUIVALENT CIRCUIT OF A CURRENT TRANSFORMER
For quantitative analysis, a current transformer can be represented by the equivalent
circuit of Figure 3.
I
p
R
p
X
p
I
_{s} ’
Rs
X
s
N
_{p} :N _{s}
I
s
Ideal
CT
I o
I m
X m
V s
Figure 3. Equivalent circuit of a current transformer.
where 

V _{p} 
: 
Primary voltage 

I _{p} 
: 
Primary current 

R _{p} 
: 
Primary winding resistance 

X _{p} 
: 
Primary winding reactance 

I 
_{o} 
: 
Exciting current 

I 
_{e} 
: 
Core loss current 

R _{e} 
: 
Equivalent core loss resistance 

I _{m} 
: 
Magnetizing current 

X _{m} 
: 
Magnetizing reactance 

E _{p} 
: 
Primary winding induced voltage 

p, s 
: 
Primary and Secondary windings 

_{} 
: 
Flux surrounding the windings 

I _{s} 
: 
Secondary winding current 

E _{s} 
: 
Secondary induced emf 

R 
_{s} 
: 
Secondary winding resistance 

X 
_{s} 
: 
Secondary winding reactance 

R _{L} 
: 
Résistance of external burden 
7
X 
_{L} 
: 
Reactance of external burden 
K 
_{T} 
: 
Turn ratio = N _{s} /N _{p} 
It can be seen from the equivalent circuit diagram shown in Figure 3 that the primary
current contains two components:
An exciting current, which magnetizes the core and supplies the eddy current
and hysteresis losses, etc.
A remaining primary current component, which is available for transformation
to secondary current in the inverse ratio of turns.
Simplified equivalent circuit
The equivalent diagram in Figure 3 comprises all quantities necessary for error
calculations. The primary internal voltage drop does not affect the exciting current
and the errors. Therefore the primary internal impedance is not indicated in the
diagram.
The secondary internal impedance, however, must be taken into account, but only the
winding resistance R _{s} . The leakage reactance is negligible where continuous ring
cores and uniformly distributed secondary windings are concerned. The exciting
impedance is represented by an inductive reactance in parallel with a resistance. I _{m}
and I _{e} are the reactive and loss components of the exiting current. The resulting
simplified equivalent circuit is shown in Figure 4.
V s
Figure 4. Simplified equivalent circuit of a current transformer.
8
Equivalent Circuit Of CT Referred To The Secondary Side Figure 5 shows a simplified equivalent current transformer diagram converted to the secondary side.
Z _{L} = R _{L} + jX _{L}
Note: R _{s} has been assumed negligible here.
Figure
secondary side.
5.
Simplified
equivalent
circuit
of
current
transformer
referred
to
the
Current Transformer Ratios The transformer ratios for a CT can be defined as follows:
i. Turns ratio  This is the ratio of the turns of the transformer windings.
where
K
t
N
s
N p
N _{s} = No. of turns in secondary winding N _{p} = No. of turns in primary winding
ii. Transformation (Actual) ratioThis is the ratio of primary winding current (I _{p} ) to the secondary winding current (I _{s} ) of the transformer;
9
K
act
I
p
I
s
iii. Nominal ratio  This is the ratio of the rated primary winding current (I _{p} (rated)) to the rated secondary winding current (I _{s} (rated)) of the transformer.
K
nom
I (
p
rated
)
N
s
I rated
s
(
)
N
p
K
t
iv. Ratio correction factor (R.C.F.)  This is equal to the transformation ratio divided by nominal ratio.
Thus,
R.C . F
K act
K nom
K
act
R.C .F K
nom
and
K
nom
R . C . F
_{K}
act
Note
If the exciting current I _{o} could be neglected the transformer should reproduce the
primary current without errors and the following equation should apply to the primary
and secondary currents:
I
p
N
s
N p
I K I
s
t
s
In reality, however, it is not possible to neglect the exciting current.
Worked Example 1
A bartype current transformer which has 1 turn on its primary and 160 turns on its
secondary is to be used with a standard range of ammeters that have an internal resistance of 0.2 . The ammeter is required to give a fullscale deflection when the
10
primary current is 800 A. Calculate the maximum secondary current and secondary voltage across the ammeter.
Figure 6. Pictorial view of bartype current transformer referred to in the Worked Example above.
Solution Secondary current:
Voltage across ammeter:
I
s
V
s
I N
160
800
1
p
p
N
s
5
A
I
s
R
A
5
R
A 50.2 1.0
volts
Worked Example 2 A current transformer has a rating of 50 VA, 400 A/5 A, 36 kV, 50 Hz. It is connected into an a.c. line having a linetoneutral voltage of 14.4 kV. The ammeters, relays and connecting wires on the secondary side possess a total impedance (burden) of 1.2 . If the transmission line current is 280 A, calculate:
1. 
The secondary current 
2. 
The voltage across the secondary terminals 
3. 
The voltage drop across the primary. 
11
Solution
Figure 7.
(a) The secondary current 

N 
p 

I 
s 

5 

1 

N 
s 
I 
p 
400 
80 

I s 

I 
^{p} 

N N s p 
280 
1 80 
3.5 A 

(b) The voltage across the secondary terminals 

V s 
I 
s 
R 
s 3.51.2 4.2 V 

(c) The voltage across the primary terminals 

V 
V 

N p 
4.2 
5 
52.5 
mV 

p 
^{s} 
N s 400 
Exercise
A 
toroidal transformer has a ratio of 1000 A/5 A. The line conductor carries a current 
of 
600 A. 
(a) Calculate the voltage across the secondary winding if the ammeter has an impedance of 0.15 . (b) Calculate the voltage drop the transformer produces on the line conductor. (c) If the primary is looped four times through the toroidal opening, calculate the new current ratio.
12
Figure 8.
[Answer: 0.45 V; 2.24 mV; 250 A/5 A]
Changing The Transformer Turns Ratio
Relatively large changes in a current transformers turns ratio can be achieved by modifying the primary turns through the CT’s window where one primary turn is equal to one pass and more than one pass through the window results in the electrical ratio being modified.
So for example, a current transformer with a relationship of say, 300/5A can be converted to another of 150/5A or even 100/5A by passing the main primary conductor through its interior window two or three times as shown. This allows a higher value current transformer to provide the maximum output current for the ammeter when used on smaller primary current lines.
13
PHASOR DIAGRAM OF CURRENT TRANSFORMER The vector diagram for the circuit shown in Figure 4 is shown in Figure 9 Here flux has been taken as reference. EMF E _{s} and E _{p} lags behind the flux by 90 ^{o} . The magnitude of the phasors E _{s} and E _{p} are proportional to secondary and primary turns. The excitation current I _{o} is made up of two components, namely, I _{m} and I _{e} . The secondary current I _{o} lags behind the secondary induced emf E _{s} by an angle _{s} . The secondary current is now transferred to the primary side by reversing I _{s} and multiplied by the turns ratio K _{T} . The total current flows through the primary I _{p} is then vector sum of K _{T} I _{s} and I _{o} .
Figure 9. Phasor diagram of a current transformer.
14
ERRORS IN CURRENT TRANSFORMER Current transformers suffer from two errors:
1. Current ratio (or turns ratio) error
2. Phase angle error
1. The Current Ratio Error
Figure 3 shows that not all the primary current passes through the secondary circuit.
Part of it is consumed by the core, which means that the primary current is not reproduced exactly. The relation between the currents will in this case be:
' N
I
s
s
N p
I
s
I
o
K I
T
s
I
o
Figure 10 shows a vector representation of the three currents in the equivalent diagram.
Figure 10. Vector representation of the three currents in a CT.
15
Hence, the percentage current error in the primary current is
According to the definition above, the current error is positive if the secondary current is too high, and vice versa.
Current error is an error that arises when the current value of the actual transformation ratio is not equal to rated transformation ratio.
Current error _{}
%
_{}
I
s
'
I
p
I
p
100%
K _{N} = rated transformation ratio I _{p} = actual primary current I _{s} = actual secondary current
K
N
I
s
I
p
I
p
100%
Worked Example 3 In case of a 2000/5A class 1 5VA current transformer
K
N
2000
5
I _{p} = 2000 A
400 K
T
16
I _{s} = 4.9 A
Current error
K
T
I
s
I
p
I
p
100%
400
5
2000
2000
2%
Worked Example 4 An application requires a 20:5 CT ratio, but only a 50:5 CT is available. Given that the number of primary turns (N _{p} ) is 3, determine the number of secondary turns that need to be added so that a 20:5 actual ratio will be obtained.
Solution
Given:
Nameplate transformation ratio,
K
N
50
5
Number of primary turns, N _{p} = 3
We require
Therefore,
giving
K
A
4
20
5
10 N
4
sa
3
N _{s}_{a} = 2 turns
17
10
2. Phase Angle Error For a ideal current transformer the angle between the primary and reversed secondary current vector is zero. But for an actual current transformer there is always a difference in phase between two due to the fact that primary current
has to supply the component of the exiting current. The angle between the secondary current phasor reversed (I _{s} ’) and the primary current (I _{p} ) (see Figure 8) is termed as Phase Angle Error; that is,
'
I I
s
p
The phase angle error is usually expressed in minutes, and if the reversed current phasor leads the primary current phasor then the phase angle error is defined as positive; otherwise it is taken as negative.
It will be seen that with a moderately inductive burden, resulting in I _{s} ’ and I _{o} approximately in phase, there will be little phase error and the exciting component will result almost entirely in ratio error. A reduction of the secondary winding by one or two turns is often used to compensate for this.
Figure 11. Picture of current CTs in a switchyard.
18
Worked Example 5 The exciting current of a transformer (of ratio 1000A:5A) with a burden of 1 is 1 A at a p.f. = 0.4. Calculate actual transformation ratio and ratio error.
Solution 

Given : 
Exciting current, I _{o} = 1 A, p.f = 0.4 Turns ratio, K _{T} = N _{S} /N _{P} =1000/5 = 200 Burden, Z _{L} = 1 (resistive) 
Z _{L} = 1
Figure 12. Equivalent circuit of ideal current transformer connected to a 1 burden.
Z _{L} = 1
Figure 13. Simplified equivalent circuit of nonideal current transformer connected
with a 1 burden.
19
Power factor of exciting current (I _{o} ),
p.f. = 0.4 = cos
Φ
Figure 14. Phasor diagram showing phase relationships between I _{o} , I _{e} , and I _{m} .
Turns ratio
K
N
1000 A
5 A
200
Current flowing in secondary, I _{s} = 5 A, p.f. = 1. Therefore, reflected secondary current is
I
' 1000 A
s
K I
N
s
5 A
5
A
20
1000 A
Φ
Figure 15. Phasor diagram showing phase relationships between I _{p} , I _{o} , and I _{s} ’.
From Figure 15, primary current
I
p
I s
'
I
o
sin
2
I
o
cos
2
1sin 23.58
o
2
1cos23.58
o
2
1000
1000.4 A
Therefore, actual turns ratio
K
A
Ratio error,
%
e
I
p
1000.4
I
s
5
200.8
K
measured
K
actual
200
200.8
K actual
200.8
0.04%
21
Ans.
Worked Example 6
A CT has a single turn primary and 400 secondary turns. The magnetizing curent is 90
A while core loss current is 40 A. Secondary circuit phase angle is 28 ^{o} . Calculate the
actual primary current and ratio error when secondary current carries 5 A current.
Solution
The information given is only sufficient to be applied to the simplified equivalent
circuit of a current transformer shown in Figure x.
V s
Figure 16. Simplified equivalent circuit of a current transformer.
K
I
'
s
T
N
s
N
p
N
s
N
p
I
400
1
400 K
N
s
400
5
2000
22
A
Φ
Figure 15. Phasor diagram showing phase relationships between I _{p} , I _{o} , and I _{s} ’. Y component of primaryreferred secondary current,
'
I y
s
'
I
s
cos
2000
cos28
o
1766
A
X component of primaryreferred secondary current,
s '
I x
I
s '
sin
2000
sin 28
o
938.9
A
X component of excitation current, I _{m} = 90 A
Y component of excitation current, I _{e} = 40 A
Total xcomponent of primary current,
' 

I 
p 
( 
x 
) 
( I x s 
) 

I 
m 

938.9 

90 
1029 
A 
Total ycomponent of primary current,
' 

I 
p 
( y ) 

I ( y s 
) 

I 
e 

1766 

40 
1806 
A 
Therefore, actual primary current
23
I
p
Percentage current error
1029
2
1806
2
%
I measured ) I ( actual
p
(
p
)
I
'
s
I
p
I
p
I actual )
p
(
Therefore,
2000 2079
2079
%3.8%
Ans.
100%
3.8%
2079
A Ans.
How to Reduce Errors in Current Transformer In current transformer design, the core characteristics must be carefully selected because excitation current I _{o} essentially subtracts from the metered current and affects the ratio and phase angle of the output current. The higher the exciting current or core loss the larger the error.
It is desirable to reduce these errors, for better performance. For achieving minimum error in current transformer, one can follow the following,
1. Using a core of high permeability, low hysteresis loss magnetic materials, and large cross section. The number of joints in the core should be minimum to minimize the air gaps and the reluctance.
Three materials are preferred for making cores:
i. Cold rolled grain oriented (CRGO) silicon steel
ii. Hot rolled grain oriented (HRGO) silicon steel
iii. Nickel Iron alloys.
24
The grainoriented materials are preferred as their grains are oriented in the direction so as to provide unidirection to the magnetic field, usually rectangular (Figure 160a) or a ring type (Figure 16b) shape is made. In ring shape, the joints may be eliminated and due to orientation of the grains, flux is always along the grains and so the reluctance as minimum.
Figure 16. Current transformer cores. (a) rectangular core; (b) ring core.
The various alloys used for making cores are
(i) Silicon steel (4% silicon) (ii) Mumetal (76% nickel)
(iii) 
Permendur (50% cobalt) 
(iv) 
Hypernik (50% nickel) 
2. Keeping the rated burden to the nearer value of the actual burden.
3. Ensuring minimum length of flux path and increasing cross – sectional area of the core, minimizing joint of the core.
4. Lowering the secondary internal impedance.
Secondary voltage of opencircuit CT Every precaution must be taken to never open the secondary circuit of a current transformer while current is flowing in the primary circuit. If the secondary is
25
accidentally opened, the primary current I _{p} continues to flow unchanged because the
impedance of the primary is negligible compared to that of the electrical load. The
line current thus becomes the exciting current of the transformer because there is no
further bucking effect due to the secondary ampereturns. Because the line current
may be 100 to 200 times greater than the normal exciting current, the flux in the core
reaches peaks much higher than normal. The flux is so large that the core is totally
saturated for the greater part of every cycle. Referring to Figure 17, as the primary
current rises and falls during the first half cycle, flux in the core also rises and falls,
but remains at a fixed saturation level _{s}_{a}_{t} for most of the time.
3000 V
Figure 17. Primary current, flux, and secondary voltage when a CT is opencircuited.
The same thing happens during the second halfcycle. During these saturation
intervals, the induced voltage across the secondary winding is negligible because the
flux changes very little. However, during the unsaturated intervals, the flux changes at
an extremely hig rate, inducing voltage peaks of several thousand volts across the
26
opencircuited secondary. This is a dangerous situation because an unsuspecting operator could easily receive a bad shock. The voltage is particularly high in current transformers having ratings above 50 VA.
Thus, for reasons of safety, if a meter or relay in the secondary circuit of a CT has to be disconnected, we must first shortcircuit the secondary winding and then remove the component. Shortcircuiting a current transformer does no harm because the primary current remains unchanged and the secondary current can be greater than that determined by the turns ratio. The shortcircuit across the secondary may be removed after the secondary circuit is again closed.
To facilitate maintenance of ammeter instrumentation, shortcircuiting switches are often installed in parallel with the CT’s secondary winding, to be closed whenever the ammeter is removed for service (see Figure 18).
Figure 18. Shortcircuit switch allows ammeter to be removed from an active current transformer.
27
Worked Example Current is to be measured in a singlephase line which supplies a 240V, 20 kW load with a 0.8 power factor. Select an appropriate ammeter and current transformer. Direct reading ammeters are available with fullscale reading ranging from 2 to 20 A.
Figure 19
Solution
Step 1.
Step 2.
Calculate Current
I
P 20,000
V
pf
240
0.8
Therefore,
I 104 A
Select Ammeter.
Measurement of larger currents requires the use of a
current transformer. Standard practice is to use a 5A full
scale ammeter with the appropriate current transformer.
Ammeters so used are calibrated in accordance with the
selected transformer.
28
Step 3 
Select Current Transformer 
Because the current is 

greater than 20 A, a current 

transformer is required. A 

transformer is chosen which 

can accommodate a 

somewhat higher current, a 

150:5 current transformer is 

therefore selected. The 

ammeter is a 5A meter with 

its scale calibrated from 0 to 

_{1}_{5}_{0} _{A}_{.} 

Step 4: 
Draw the connection diagram. 
Singlephase
power line
Figure 20.
The ammeter is connected to the line, through the current
transformer, as in the figure.
TYPES OF CURRENT TRANSFORMER CONSTRUCTION Below are the types of current transformers in the manner of construction and applications.
1. Bartype Current Transformer A Bartype current transformer is one that has a fixed and straight single primary winding turn passing through the magnetic circuit. The primary winding and secondary winding(s) are insulated from each other and from the core(s) and are assembled as an integral structure.
2. Bushingtype Current Transformer A bushingtype current transformer is one that has an annular core and a secondary winding insulated from and permanently assembled on the core but has no primary winding and no insulation for a primary winding. This type of current transformer is for use with a fully insulated conductor as the primary winding. A bushing type current transformer usually is used in equipment where the primary conductor is a component pan of other apparatus.
29
3.
Windowtype Current Transformer
A windowtype current transformer is one that has a secondary winding
insulated from and permanently assembled on the core, but has no primary winding as an integral part of the structure. Primary insulation is provided in
the window, through which one turn of the line conductor can be passed to provide the primary winding.
4. Woundtype Current Transformer A woundtype current transformer is one that has a primary winding consisting
of one or more turns mechanically encircling the core or cores. The primary
winding(s) and secondary winding(s) are insulated from each other and from the core(s) and are assembled as an integral structure.


Bar Type CT 
Bushing Type CT 
30


Window Type CT 
Wound Type CT 
Figure 21: Type of current transformers
Outdoor CTs Current Transformer could either be:
1. Indoor current transformer: One that, because of its construction, must be protected from the weather.
2. Outdoor current transformer: One of weatherresistant construction, suitable for service without additional protection from the weather.
In a typical arrangement in outdoor HV CTs, the secondary is wound on bushing type insulated core. The prinary is mounted in insulator bushing insulation around the primary (see Figure 22)
Figure 22
31
Outdoor CTs
A CT for operation on a 110 kV grid
Figure 23. Pictures of different outdoor current transformers of various constructions.
32
CLAMP METER
A clamp meter is an electrical tester that combines a basic digital multimeter with a
current sensor. A common form of current sensor comprises a split ring made of ferrite or soft iron and hinged at one one to form a pair of jaws that can be opened to
clamp around the conductor whose current is to be measured. A wire coil is wound round one or both halves, forming one winding of a current transformer. The conductor around which it is clamped forms the other winding. This allows properties of the electric current in the conductor to be measured, without having to make physical contact with it, or to disconnect it for insertion through the probe.
Types Of Current Clamps The output of the current clamp can be read by any AC ammeter whose input impedance is compatible with the specifications of the current clamp. Current clamps are also available that convert the current input signals into a voltage signal for measurement by a voltmeter.
Some current clamps incorporate a rectifier circuit whose output is a DC voltage that
is proportional to the average current being measured. Such clamps facilitate the use
of strip chart recorders for obtaining real time trends of current loads. To obtain a TRUE RMS output, a DCtoRMS converter is attached to output of the dc current clamp.
1. Current Clamp with Current Output
(a)
33
(b)
Figure 24. Schematic of an analogue AC current clamp meter.
2. Current Clamp with Voltage Output
(a)
34
(b)
Figure 25. Schematic of an analogue AC current clamp meter.
The Output Voltage and “Burden Resistor” The output voltage (Vo) should be set as low as practically possible to minimize the insertion loss. Assuming 0.5 V is the optimum secondary output voltage in a circuit and the output current is 20 A, a 1:100 ratio transformer will yield a secondary current
of ≅ 200 mA. Per Figure 26, the burden resistor should be:
R
o
V
o
0.5
I
s
0.200
2.5
Figure 26
35
Current Clamp incorporating a rectifier and filter circuit
Figure 27. Current clamp incorporating a rectifier and filter circuit to convert the ac current signal into a voltage signal.
Figure 28. Picture of an analogue current clamp.
Digital AC Current Clamp Meter The most common application nowadays is the use of a current probe with a digital multimeter. The probe output is connected to a DMM set on the AC current range to handle the probe output.
36
Figure 29. Block diagram of a digital AC current clamp meter.
37
38
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