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AREVA T&D, Stafford, UK


AREVA T&D, Los Angeles, CA

Sam Sambasivan

AREVA T&D,Bethlehem,PA


This paper is a technical introduction to the MiCOMho P443 and P445 relays. Deployment in distance protection mode is discussed in detail, with later sections introducing InterMiCOM 64 integral teleprotection.


Distance protection has two fundamental design requirements. (1) Firstly, the relay must trip quickly for any genuine in-zone fault, to ensure that the system stability is not compomised and damage is minimized. (2) Secondly, the relay must remain stable for all load and through-fed conditions. This latter point is particularly critical to avoid constraining the loadability of the line, and to avoid sympathetic unwanted trips from propagating through the power system under extreme conditions (such as power shortages, neighbouring circuit outages, power swings etc.). Good load avoidance is an essential defence mechanism in avoiding blackouts and unnecessary islanding.

A view of the trip and restrain (stable) requirements is

shown in Figure 1.

In the figure, the protected line impedance is shown,

along with an extended area to the right where fault arcing resistance may appear. The effective fault impedance measured by a distance relay may thus lie within this shaded region. As each protected line has at least one remote end terminal, there is likely to be an additional current infeed to any in-zone fault. This remote infeed serves to magnify the apparent fault arc impedance as measured from one line end, with the effect becoming more pronounced as the fault position assumed moves towards the remote line end. References [1, 2] detail remote infeed effects.

In order to ensure tripping for all genuine faults, the relay

characteristic must include the shaded region, for all zones up to and including the longest reaching zone (typically Zone 3) reach point.

It is also evident that the relay must avoid the load area. The shaded load region shows the load impedance that may be presented to the relay under normal system operation, for example with the neighboring circuit in a double circuit line being in-service. However, in many cases lower minimum load impedance needs to be avoided, as shown by the unshaded extension of the load cone. This may consider circuit overloading, which could be +20% or more of full load current, and also the doubling effect where an adjacent circuit trips/opens. Overall, it is common to ensure stability for 2.5 to four times full load current flowing.

X load import Z Line load export Arc impedance with Remote end infeed Z Load
load import
Z Line
load export
Arc impedance with
Remote end infeed
Z Load
Load impedance

Fig. 1 Distance Relay Operating Requirements


From the previous section it is straightforward to deduce that distance relay settings fall into two categories.

Category (1) is to ensure tripping for all faults within the reach of the distance zones. Thus all settings here are

related to the impedance of the protected line, and follow- on adjacent lines.

Category (2) is to ensure load avoidance, commonly called “load blinding”. All such settings are related to the load flow, ensuring that line loadability is not constrained. The MiCO Mho has been designed such that the user merely inputs the protected line data, and the load data, and the relay will then self-set accordingly. With approximately 50% of all investigated “maloperations” found to be the result of poor settings, then a product which has been designed with such simplicity should reduce the risk of typical errors occurring.

The relay uses an intelligent overview of the protected line to implement a “Simple”-set option, and in doing so the user has only a few key parameters to set.


In the majority of cases, “Simple” setting is recommended, and allows the user merely to enter the line parameters such as length, impedances and residual compensation. Then, instead of entering distance zone impedance reaches in ohms, zone settings are entered in terms of percentage of the protected line (example, Zone 1 = 80%), as shown in Figure 2.

line (example, Zone 1 = 80%), as shown in Figure 2. Fig. 2 Simple Setting of

Fig. 2 Simple Setting of Zone Reaches

Each Zone can be set with a reach relative to the protected line, or if fine-tuning is required, an “advanced” setting option can be switched-in later.

The “Advanced” setting mode allows the user full access to all individual distance ohmic reach, filter and residual compensation settings per zone. This makes the relay adaptable to networks where the protected and adjacent lines are of dissimilar construction, requiring independent zone characteristic angles and residual compensation.

The relay can be applied with mho, or quadrilateral characteristics – to suit the utility’s preference. When a quadrilateral characteristic is applied, this requires zone resistive reaches to be set too – the right and left-hand lines.


The MiCO Mho uses an advanced load blinder which is designed to allow better resistive reach coverage. The blinder is basically formed from an underimpedance circle, with radius set by the user and two blinder lines crossing through the origin of the impedance plane. It cuts the area of the impedance characteristic that may result in an operation under maximum dynamic load conditions.

Figure 3 shows a typical mho forward zone application, coupled with Load Blinder action.

forward zone application, coupled with Load Blinder action. Fig. 3 Settings for a Mho Zone, showing

Fig. 3 Settings for a Mho Zone, showing Blinder

The radius of the circle should be less than the minimum dynamic load impedance. The blinder angle should be set half way between the worst case power factor angle, and the line impedance angle.

In the case of a fault on the line it is no longer necessary to avoid load. So, for that phase, the blinder can be bypassed, allowing the full mho characteristic to measure.

Phase undervoltage detectors are the chosen elements to govern switching of the blinders. Under such circumstances, the low voltage could not be explained by normal voltage excursion tolerances on-load. A fault is definitely present on the phase in question, and it is acceptable to override the blinder action and allow the distance zones to trip according to the entire zone shape. The benefit is that the resistive coverage for faults near to the relay location can be higher.

The undervoltage setting must be lower than the lowest phase-neutral voltage under heavy load flow and depressed system voltage conditions. The typical maximum V< setting is 70% Vph-neutral.


Many of the application difficulties for distance protection have historically been related to (in) correct faulted phase selection. For example, in the case of a close-up reverse earth fault, a large amount of neutral current will be measured by the relay. This neutral current is also included in the earth loop impedance measurement for the unfaulted phases (by means of residual compensation), and the 120 o displacement between phase voltages may allow the fault to appear in a forward trip characteristic.

Similarly, it can be difficult to ensure that the correct phase-phase element will be allowed to measure in the case of a double phase to earth fault, whilst restraining the involved earth pair zones. The latter is necessary to avoid overreach – particularly where quadrilateral characteristics are employed. In this respect, AREVA decided to use a proven and successful technique, used in the previous two generations of their transmission line protection – delta current phase selection [3]. Figure 4 shows the principle.




No Change! Change! Change!
1 Cycle 1 Cycle Comparison Comparison
1 Cycle
1 Cycle

Ground Fault,

Phase C

Fig 4. Delta Current Phase Selection

Selection of the faulted phase(s) is performed by comparing the magnitudes of the three phase-to-phase superimposed currents. A single phase fault produces the same superimposed current on two of these signals and zero on the third. A phase-to-phase or double phase-to- earth fault produces one signal which is larger than the other two. A three phase fault produces three superimposed currents which are the same size. Figure 4 shows how the change in current can be used to select the faulted phase for a CN fault. A superimposed current is deemed to be large enough to be included in the selection if it is greater than 80% of the largest superimposed current.

The large advantage of using delta – which is effectively the magnitude of a step change – is that it is naturally biased towards detecting a fault. Faults produce a definite step change, whereas power swings and other unfaulted phase effects yield a lesser delta. Delta phase selection is used to control the distance elements, and has the advantage that it has no associated settings – the sensitivity is internally biased, and equally applicable for strong, and weak infeeds. The relay is thus easier to apply than designs which use underimpedance, overcurrent, or other starters to detect a fault.


Superimposed current is also used as the criterion to detect power swings. Power swings generate a continually changing current, and hence prolonged pickup of delta detectors. Pickup for longer than 3 cycles is used to initiate power swing blocking, and keep relay stability.

An advantage again is that no threshold settings or impedance starters are required – the technique works by its nature in all applications. Figure 5 shows an abbreviated logic representation of the PSB function. The I pickup is internally set/adaptive – so nothing to worry the user.

internally set/adaptive – so nothing to worry the user. Fig 5. Delta Current Phase Selection Two

Fig 5. Delta Current Phase Selection

Two timers are shown in the logic: an unblocking ‘timeout’ that can be used to force tripping for swings which do not stabilize within an allowed period (to deliberately split the system), and secondly: a ‘reset delay’. The latter is used to ensure that where the swing current passes through a natural minimum, and I detection might reset, that the detection does not drop out/chatter. It can thus be used to ensure a continual Power Swing indication when pole slipping (an unstable out of step condition) is in progress.

The relay tracks the profile of the delta current, and if at any point there is an unexpected step change in the prevailing delta, blocking must cease as a fault is now present. This is termed the “Fault in Swing Logic” in Figure 5. Thus, the trip time and zone selectivity for any fault inception during a power swing is as fast and reliable as had no swing been present.


The P443 model within the MiCO Mho range has been designed specially for subcycle performance, even in the presence of capacitor coupled VT (CVT) applications. There is also no performance slow-down as source to line impedance ratios (SIRs) increase. (Higher SIRs are typical for weaker infeeds or long line applications.)

Figures 6 and 7 show P443 trip time characteristics at SIR = 5 as an
Figures 6 and 7 show P443 trip time characteristics at SIR
= 5 as an example. The shaded regions denote the min-
max spread of operating times, which include the closure
of a conventional trip relay contact.
P443 50Hz, SIR = 5
Subcycle up
to 75% Reach
Fig 6. Zone 1 Trip Times (ms) – 50Hz System P443 60Hz, SIR = 5
Fig 6. Zone 1 Trip Times (ms) – 50Hz System
P443 60Hz, SIR = 5
Subcycle up
to 75% Reach

Fig 7. Zone 1 Trip Times (ms) – 60Hz System


The MiCO Mho family is designed with multiple main protection elements resident in each product. In parallel to the distance protection, delta directional comparison protection (P443 only) and directional earth fault aided schemes are provided. There is insufficient opportunity in

this short paper to discuss the merits of delta directional comparison protection in detail, reference [4] refers.

Directional earth fault (DEF) protection is employed as a channel-aided ground fault scheme. In such a scheme, the relay at each end of the line must make a forward or reverse decision for any earth fault. A comparison of the respective decisions at each line end allows the relaying scheme to declare that the fault is internal or external to the line.


A DEF scheme requires that a local polarizing current is

compared to a local polarizing voltage, and depending on the relative angular displacement of the two vectors, a forward or reverse decision can be made. The DEF operation is only reliable if polarizing quantities are significant enough to measure (ie. greater than could be generated by equipment tolerances or load unbalance). This is difficult to guarantee when DEF by its nature is

applied to detect high resistance faults of 50…100’s of ohms. This will often generate negligible sequence component quantities, as used by traditional relays.

A distinct advantage of MiCO Mho DEF is that the relay

can trip by this method of polarizing, even if traditional polarizing quantities (“V 2 ” negative sequence, or “VN” residual voltage) might be zero. Provided that the superimposed current phase selector has identified the faulted phase (suppose phase A), it will remove that phase from the residual voltage calculation Va + Vb + Vc, leaving only Vb + Vc. The resultant polarizing voltage will have a large magnitude, and will be in the same direction as –VN. This provides a substitute pseudo “residual voltage” for directionalizing. The table below shows how the phase selector and DEF interact to give true directionality for all faults. The phase selector has a sensitivity of typically 4% of rated current, allowing it to phase select even in the event of high resistance faults.

This technique of subtracting the faulted phase is given the description “virtual current polarizing” as it removes the need to use current polarizing from a CT in a transformer star (wye)-ground connection behind the relay. This could have been necessary with traditional relays.

Phase Selector Pickup

Virtual Residual,


A Phase fault

Vb + Vc

B Phase fault

Va + Vc

C Phase fault

Va + Vb

No selection

VN =

Va + Vb + Vc

Table 1. “Residual Voltage” used for DEF Directional


In these schemes a signalling channel is used to convey simple ON/OFF data (from a local protection device) thereby providing some additional information to a remote device which can be used to accelerate in-zone fault clearance and/or prevent out-of-zone tripping. This kind of protection signalling has been used with distance protection relays for many years and can be grouped into three operation modes. In each mode, the decision to send a command is made by a local protective relay operation.

Three generic types of channel are common:

Intertripping, Permissive, and Blocking [5]:

Speed Permissive Blocking faster slower low high high Direct Security Dependability Intertrip

Fig. 8 Channel Response Preferences by Application

In Intertripping, (direct or transfer tripping) applications, the command is not supervised at the receiving end by any protection relay and simply causes a breaker trip operation. Since no checking of the received signal by another protection device is performed, it is absolutely essential that any noise on the signalling channel isn’t seen as being a valid signal. In other words, an intertripping channel must be very secure.

In Permissive applications, tripping is only permitted when the command coincides with a protection start at the receiving end. Since this applies a second, independent check before tripping, the signalling channel for permissive schemes do not have to be as secure as for intertripping channels.

In Blocking applications, tripping is only permitted when no signal is received but a protection operation has occurred. In other words, when a command is transmitted, the receiving end device is blocked from operating even if a protection start occurs. Since the signal is used to prevent tripping, it is imperative that a

signal is received whenever possible and as quickly as possible. In other words, a blocking channel must be fast and dependable.

The requirements for the three channel types are represented pictorially in Figure 8.

This diagram simply states that a blocking signal should be fast and dependable; a direct intertrip signal should be very secure; and a permissive signal needs to be a compromise of speed, security and dependability. High Security is where channel noise cannot spuriously be interpreted as an ON signal. High Dependability is where an ON signal is able to propagate through a noisy channel, and be received as a logical ON.

The MiCO Mho relays offer inbuilt teleprotection, under the brand name “InterMiCOM”, whereby for each end- end signalling bit the user can choose its response according to the nature of the teleprotection link, and the intended scheme to be applied.


InterMiCOM is offered in two variants in the MiCOMho range, firstly as an EIA (RS) 232 connection designed to interface with a MODEM link, secondly with a fiber optic connection. The latter operates at 56/64 kbit/s, termed as InterMiCOM 64 , and will be discussed further.

InterMiCOM 64 in it’s simplest format allows two line end relays to be connected by 1300nm direct optical fiber, with signalling bit transit times typically 5ms. However, multiplexed application is more common, as depicted in Figure 9:

A B 52 52
8 bits
8 bits
8 bits

8 bits

& 1 > PSL

Fig. 9 Teleprotection via a Multiplexed Link

Connection to the multiplexer is via external P590 interfaces, in the case of G.703, V.35 or X.21 links. When connecting to a multiplexed network supporting IEEE C37.94 [6], direct 850nm optical fiber feeds straight into the multiplexer, without needing external interfaces/converters.

Three terminal applications are supported, as shown in Figure 10.

terminal applications are supported, as shown in Figure 10. Fig. 10 Three Terminal (Triangulated) Teleprotection It

Fig. 10 Three Terminal (Triangulated) Teleprotection

It should be noted that in the case when one leg of the

communication triangle fails, e.g. channel A-C becomes unavailable, the InterMiCOM 64 will continue to provide the full teleprotection scheme between all 3 ends. In this new ‘Chain’ topology, relays A and C will receive and

transmit teleprotection commands via relay B, which means that the original ‘Triangle’ topology is not necessary. The retransmitting done by relay B (A-B-C

and C-B-A) provides the self-healing for the lost links A-

C and C-A). Some users may apply Chain topology also

as a means to save cost (two legs may be cheaper to install than full triangulation).


This paper demonstrates how a distance relay designed for ease of application has fewer settings, and has a lower scope for accidental setting errors. Modern numerical algorithms can be designed to be adaptive, especially in the areas of power swing detection and directional polarizing, making the application task easier.

Including integral teleprotection into distance relays avoids reliance on costly external stand-alone devices, and improves the response time of the overall scheme. As the channel data communicates directly from relay to relay, no time is lost in transferring hardwired statuses between adjacent equipment. The MiCOMho range can be deployed as subcycle protection, with subcycle teleprotection.


[1] Network Protection and Automation Guide, ISBN-2- 9518589-0-6, AREVA T&D, 2002. [2] IEEE Guide for Protective Relay Applications to Transmission Lines, Std. C37.113-1999, pp 75-80.


Keeling D., Pickering S., High Speed Numerical

Techniques for Transmission Line Protection, IEE 6 th International Conference, Nottingham, UK. [4] MiCO Mho Technical Manual, AREVA T&D,

P44y/EN M/.

[5] IEC60834-1: 1999, Teleprotection Equipment of Power Systems.

[6] IEEE Standard for N Times 64 Kilobit Per Second Optical Fiber Interfaces Between Teleprotection and Multiplexer Equipment, IEEE C37.94 TM .