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• 21 • Relay Testing
and Commissioning

Introduction 21.1
Electrical type tests 21.2
Electromagnetic compatibility tests 21.3
Product safety type tests 21.4
Environmental type tests 21.5
Software type tests 21.6
Dynamic validation type testing 21.7
Production testing 21.8
Commissioning tests 21.9
Secondary injection test equipment 21.10
Secondary injection testing 21.11
Primary injection testing 21.12
Testing of protection scheme logic 21.13
Tripping and alarm annunciation tests 21.14
Periodic maintenance tests 21.15
Protection scheme design for maintenance 21.16
References 21.17
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• 21 • Relay Testing
and Commissioning

The testing of protection equipment schemes presents a
number of problems. This is because the main function
of protection equipment is solely concerned with
operation under system fault conditions, and cannot
readily be tested under normal system operating
conditions. This situation is aggravated by the
increasing complexity of protection schemes and use of
relays containing software.
The testing of protection equipment may be divided into
four stages:
i. type tests
ii. routine factory production tests
iii. commissioning tests
iv. periodic maintenance tests

21.1.1 Type Tests

Type tests are required to prove that a relay meets the
published specification and complies with all relevant
standards. Since the principal function of a protection
relay is to operate correctly under abnormal power
conditions, it is essential that the performance be
assessed under such conditions. Comprehensive type
tests simulating the operational conditions are therefore
conducted at the manufacturer's works during the
development and certification of the equipment.
The standards that cover most aspects of relay
performance are IEC 60255 and ANSI C37.90. However
compliance may also involve consideration of the
requirements of IEC 61000, 60068 and 60529, while
products intended for use in the EEC also have to comply
with the requirements of Directives 89/336/EEC and
73/23/EEC. Since type testing of a digital or numerical
relay involves testing of software as well as hardware,
the type testing process is very complicated and more
involved than a static or electromechanical relay.

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21.1.2 Routine Factory Production Tests would take 4 years to write the functional type-test
specifications, 30 years to perform the tests and several
These are conducted to prove that relays are free from
years to write the test reports that result. Automated
defects during manufacture. Testing will take place at
techniques/ equipment are clearly required, and are
several stages during manufacture, to ensure problems
covered in Section 21.7.2.
are discovered at the earliest possible time and hence
minimise remedial work. The extent of testing will be
Element Range Step Size
determined by the complexity of the relay and past
I>1 0.08 - 4.00In 0.01In
manufacturing experience. I>2 0.08 - 32In 0.01In
Directionality Forward/Reverse/Non-directional
RCA -95° to +95° 1°
21.1.3 Commissioning Tests Characteristic DT/IDMT
Definite Time Delay 0 - 100s 0.01s
These tests are designed to prove that a particular
IEC Standard Inverse
protection scheme has been installed correctly prior to
IEC Very Inverse
setting to work. All aspects of the scheme are IEC IDMT Time Delay
IEC Extremely Inverse
thoroughly checked, from installation of the correct UK Long Time Inverse
equipment through wiring checks and operation checks Time Multiplier Setting (TMS) 0.025 - 1.2 0.025
of the individual items of equipment, finishing with IEEE Moderately Inverse
testing of the complete scheme. IEEE Very Inverse
IEEE IDMT Time Delay IEEE Extremely Inverse
US-CO8 Inverse
R e l a y Te s t i n g a n d C o m m i s s i o n i n g

21.1.4 Periodic Maintenance Checks US-CO2 Short Time Inverse

Time Dial (TD) 0.5 - 15 0.1
These are required to identify equipment failures and IEC Reset Time (DT only) 0 - 100s 0.01s
degradation in service, so that corrective action can be IEEE Reset Time IDMT/DT
taken. Because a protection scheme only operates under IEEE DT Reset Time 0 - 100s 0.01s
fault conditions, defects may not be revealed for a IEEE Moderately Inverse
significant period of time, until a fault occurs. Regular IEEE Very Inverse
IEEE IDMT Reset Time IEEE Extremely Inverse
testing assists in detecting faults that would otherwise
US-CO8 Inverse
remain undetected until a fault occurs. US-CO2 Short Time Inverse

Table 21.1: Overcurrent relay element specification


Various electrical type tests must be performed, as
Three phase non-directional pick up and drop off accuracy
Test 1
over complete current setting range for both stages
Three phase directional pick up and drop off accuracy
21.2.1 Functional Tests Test 2 over complete RCA setting range in the forward direction,
current angle sweep
The functional tests consist of applying the appropriate
Three phase directional pick up and drop off accuracy
• 21 • inputs to the relay under test and measuring the Test 3 over complete RCA setting range in the reverse direction,
performance to determine if it meets the specification. current angle sweep

They are usually carried out under controlled Three phase directional pick up and drop off accuracy
Test 4 over complete RCA setting range in the forward direction,
environmental conditions. The testing may be extensive, voltage angle sweep
even where only a simple relay function is being tested., Three phase directional pick up and drop off accuracy
Test 5 over complete RCA setting range in the reverse direction,
as can be realised by considering the simple overcurrent voltage angle sweep
relay element of Table 21.1. Test 6 Three phase polarising voltage threshold test
To determine compliance with the specification, the tests Test 7 Accuracy of DT timer over complete setting range
listed in Table 21.2 are required to be carried out. This is Test 8 Accuracy of IDMT curves over claimed accuracy range
a time consuming task, involving many engineers and Test 9 Accuracy of IDMT TMS/TD
technicians. Hence it is expensive. Test 10 Effect of changing fault current on IDMT operating times
Test 11 Minimum Pick-Up of Starts and Trips for IDMT curves
When a modern numerical relay with many functions is
Test 12 Accuracy of reset timers
considered, each of which has to be type-tested, the
Test 13 Effect of any blocking signals, opto inputs, VTS, Autoreclose
functional type-testing involved is a major issue. In the
Test 14 Voltage polarisation memory
case of a recent relay development project, it was
Table 21.2: Overcurrent relay element functional type tests
calculated that if one person had to do all the work, it

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21.2.2 Rating Tests seconds. This is carried out between all circuits and case
earth, between all independent circuits and across
Rating type tests are conducted to ensure that
normally open contacts. The acceptance criterion for a
components are used within their specified ratings and
product in new condition is a minimum of 100MΩ. After
that there are no fire or electric shock hazards under a
a damp heat test the pass criterion is a minimum of
normal load or fault condition of the power system. This
is in addition to checking that the product complies with
its technical specification. The following are amongst
the rating type tests conducted on protection relays, the
21.2.7 Auxiliary Supplies
specified parameters are normally to IEC 60255-6.
Digital and numerical protection relays normally require
an auxiliary supply to provide power to the on-board
21.2.3 Thermal Withstand microprocessor circuitry and the interfacing opto-
isolated input circuits and output relays. The auxiliary
The thermal withstand of VT’s, CT’s and output contact
supply can be either a.c. or d.c., supplied from a number
circuits is determined to ensure compliance with the
of sources or safe supplies - i.e. batteries, UPS’,
specified continuous and short-term overload conditions.
generators, etc., all of which may be subject to voltage
In addition to functional verification, the pass criterion is
dips, short interruptions and voltage variations. Relays
that there is no detrimental effect on the relay assembly,
are designed to ensure that operation is maintained and
or circuit components, when the product is subjected to
no damage occurs during a disturbance of the auxiliary
overload conditions that may be expected in service.
Thermal withstand is assessed over a time period of 1s

R e l a y Te s t i n g a n d C o m m i s s i o n i n g
for CT’s and 10s for VT’s. Tests are carried out for both a.c. and d.c. auxiliary
supplies and include mains variation both above and
below the nominal rating, supply interruptions derived by
21.2.4 Relay Burden open circuit and short circuit, supply dips as a
The burdens of the auxiliary supply, optically isolated percentage of the nominal supply, repetitive starts. The
inputs, VT’s and CT’s are measured to check that the duration of the interruptions and supply dips range from
product complies with its specification. The burden of 2ms to 60s intervals. A short supply interruption or dip
products with a high number of input/output circuits is up to 20ms, possibly longer, should not cause any
application specific i.e. it increases according to the malfunction of the relay. Malfunctions include the
number of optically isolated input and output contact operation of output relays and watchdog contacts, the
ports which are energised under normal power system reset of microprocessors, alarm or trip indication,
load conditions. It is usually envisaged that not more acceptance of corrupted data over the communication
than 50% of such ports will be energised in any link and the corruption of stored data or settings. For a
application. longer supply interruption, or dip in excess of 20ms, the
relay self recovers without the loss of any function, data,
settings or corruption of data. No operator intervention
21.2.5 Relay Inputs is required to restore operation after an interruption or
dip in the supply. Many relays have a specification that
Relay inputs are tested over the specified ranges. Inputs
include those for auxiliary voltage, VT, CT, frequency,
exceeds this requirement, tolerating dips of up to 50ms • 21 •
without operation being affected.
optically isolated digital inputs and communication
circuits. In addition to the above, the relay is subjected to a number
of repetitive starts or a sequence of supply interruptions.
Again the relay is tested to ensure that no damage or data
21.2.6 Relay Output Contacts corruption has occurred during the repetitive tests.
Protection relay output contacts are type tested to Specific tests carried out on d.c. auxiliary supplies
ensure that they comply with the product specification. include reverse polarity, a.c. waveform superimposed on
Particular withstand and endurance type tests have to be the d.c. supply and the effect of a rising and decaying
carried out using d.c., since the normal supply is via a auxiliary voltage. All tests are carried out at various
station battery. levels of loading of the relay auxiliary supply.


The insulation resistance test is carried out according to There are numerous tests that are carried out to
IEC 60255-5, i.e. 500V d.c. ±10%, for a minimum of 5 determine the ability of relays to withstand the electrical

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environment in which they are installed. The substation that the relay can withstand an interruption in the
environment is a very severe environment in terms of the auxiliary supply without de-energising, e.g. switching
electrical and electromagnetic interference that can off, and that when this time is exceeded and it does
arise. There are many sources of interference within a transiently switch off, that no maloperation occurs.
substation, some originating internally, others being It simulates the effect of a loose fuse in the battery
conducted along the overhead lines or cables into the circuit, or a short circuit in the common d.c. supply,
substation from external disturbances. The most interrupted by a fuse. Another source of d.c. interruption
common sources are: is if there is a power system fault and the battery is
a. switching operations supplying both the relay and the circuit breaker trip coils.
When the battery energises the coils to initiate the
b. system faults
circuit breaker trip, the voltage may fall below the
c. lightning strikes required level for operation of the relay and hence a d.c.
interrupt occurs. The test is specified in IEC 60255-11
d. conductor flashover
and comprises a interruptions of 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and
e. telecommunication operations e.g. mobile phones 200ms. For interruptions lasting up to and including
A whole suite of tests are performed to simulate these 20ms, the relay must not de-energise of maloperate,
types of interference, and they fall under the broad while for longer interruptions it must not maloperate.
umbrella of what is known as EMC, or Electromagnetic The relay is powered from a battery supply, and both
Compatibility tests. short circuit and open circuit interruptions are carried
Broadly speaking, EMC can be defined as: out. Each interruption is applied 10 times, and for
R e l a y Te s t i n g a n d C o m m i s s i o n i n g

auxiliary power supplies with a large operating range,

‘The ability of equipment to co-exist in the same the tests are performed at minimum, maximum, and
electromagnetic environment’ other voltages across this range, to ensure compliance
It is not a new subject and has been tested for by the over the complete range.
military ever since the advent of electronic equipment. EMC
can cause real and serious problems, and does need to be
21.3.2 A.C. Ripple on D.C. Supply
taken into account when designing electronic equipment.
This test (IEC 60255-11) determines that the relay is able
EMC tests determine the impact on the relay under test
to operate correctly with a superimposed a.c. voltage on
of high-frequency electrical disturbances of various
the d.c. supply. This is caused by the station battery being
kinds. Relays manufactured or intended for use in the
charged by the battery charger, and the relevant waveform
EEC have to comply with EEC Directive 89/336/EEC in
is shown in Figure 21.1. It consists of a 12% peak-to-peak
this respect. To achieve this, in addition to designing for
ripple superimposed on the d.c. supply voltage.
statutory compliance to this Directive, the following
range of tests are carried out: 60.00
a. d.c. interrupt test 50.00

b. a.c. ripple on d.c. supply test 40.00

21 •
Voltage (V)

• c. d.c. ramp test 30.00

d. high frequency disturbance test 20.00

e. fast transient test 10.00

f. surge immunity test 0.00








g. power frequency interference test Time (ms)

h. electrostatic discharge test Figure 21.1: A.C. ripple superimposed on d.c.
supply test
i. conducted and radiated emissions tests
j. conducted and radiated immunity tests For auxiliary power supplies with a large operating range,
the tests are performed at minimum, maximum, and
k. power frequency magnetic field tests other voltages across this range, to ensure compliance
for the complete range. The interference is applied using
a full wave rectifier network, connected in parallel with
21.3.1 D.C Interrupt Test
the battery supply. The relay must continue to operate
This is a test to determine the maximum length of time without malfunction during the test.

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21.3.3 D.C. Ramp Down/Ramp Up

Burst period, 300 ms
This test simulates a failed station battery charger, which V Burst duration (1/15 ms)
would result in the auxiliary voltage to the relay slowly
ramping down. The ramp up part simulates the battery
being recharged after discharging. The relay must power
up cleanly when the voltage is applied and not
maloperate. V 5 ns rise time, 50 ns pulse width

There is no international standard for this test, so individual

manufacturers can decide if they wish to conduct such a
test and what the test specification shall be. Repetition period t

Figure 21.3: Fast Transient Test waveform

21.3.4 High Frequency Disturbance Test

The High Frequency Disturbance Test simulates high The product is energised in both normal (quiescent) and
voltage transients that result from power system faults tripped modes for this test. It must not maloperate when
and plant switching operations. It consists of a 1MHz the interference is applied in common mode via the
decaying sinusoidal waveform, as shown in Figure 21.2. integral coupling network to each circuit in turn, for 60
The interference is applied across each independent seconds. Interference is coupled onto communications
circuit (differential mode) and between each circuits, if required, using an external capacitive coupling

R e l a y Te s t i n g a n d C o m m i s s i o n i n g
independent circuit and earth (common mode) via an clamp.
external coupling and switching network. The product is
energised in both normal (quiescent) and tripped modes
21.3.6 Surge Immunity Test
for this test, and must not maloperate when the
interference is applied for a 2 second duration. The Surge Immunity Test simulates interference caused
by major power system disturbances such as capacitor
bank switching and lightning strikes on overhead lines
within 5km of the substation. The test waveform has an
open circuit voltage of 4kV for common mode surges and
2kV for differential mode surges. The test waveshape
consists on open circuit of a 1.2/50ms rise/fall time and
a short circuit current of 8/20ms rise/fall time. The

0 generator is capable of providing a short circuit test

current of up to 2kA, making this test potentially
destructive. The surges are applied sequentially under
software control via dedicated coupling networks in both
differential and common modes with the product
energised in its normal (quiescent) state. The product
shall not maloperate during the test, shall still operate • 21 •
Figure 21.2: High Frequency Disturbance
Test waveform within specification after the test sequence and shall not
incur any permanent damage.

21.3.5 Fast Transient Test 21.3.7 Power Frequency Interference

The Fast Transient Test simulates the HV interference This test simulates the type of interference that is caused
caused by disconnector operations in GIS substations or when there is a power system fault and very high levels
breakdown of the SF6 insulation between conductors of fault current flow in the primary conductors or the
and the earthed enclosure. This interference can either earth grid. This causes 50 or 60Hz interference to be
be inductively coupled onto relay circuits or can be induced onto control and communications circuits.
directly introduced via the CT or VT inputs. It consists of There is no international standard for this test, but one
a series of 15ms duration bursts at 300ms intervals, each used by some Utilities is:
burst consisting of a train of 50ns wide pulses with very
fast (5ns typical) rise times (Figure 21.3), with a peak a. 500V r.m.s., common mode
voltage magnitude of 4kV. b. 250V r.m.s., differential mode

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applied to circuits for which power system inputs are not 1. current and voltage applied at 90% of setting,
connected. (relay not tripped)
2. current and voltage applied at 110% of setting,
Tests are carried out on each circuit, with the relay in the
(relay tripped)
following modes of operation:
3. main protection and communications functions
1. current and voltage applied at 90% of setting,
are tested to determine the effect of the discharge
(relay not tripped)
To pass, the relay shall not maloperate, and shall still
2. current and voltage applied at 110% of setting,
perform its main functions within the claimed tolerance.
(relay tripped)
3. main protection and communications functions
are tested to determine the effect of the
21.3.9 Conducted and Radiated Emissions Tests
The relay shall not maloperate during the test, and shall still These tests arise primarily from the essential protection
perform its main functions within the claimed tolerance. requirements of the European Community (EU) directive
on EMC. These require manufacturers to ensure that any
equipment to be sold in the countries comprising the
21.3.8 Electrostatic Discharge Test European Union must not interfere with other
equipment. To achieve this it is necessary to measure the
This test simulates the type of high voltage interference
emissions from the equipment and ensure that they are
that occurs when an operator touches the relay’s front
below the specified limits.
panel after being charged to a high potential. This is exactly
the same phenomenon as getting an electric shock when Conducted emissions are measured only from the
R e l a y Te s t i n g a n d C o m m i s s i o n i n g

stepping out of a car or after walking on a synthetic fibre equipment’s power supply ports and are to ensure that when
carpet. connected to a mains network, the equipment does not inject
interference back into the network which could adversely
In this case the discharge is only ever applied to the front
affect the other equipment connected to the network.
panel of the relay, with the cover both on and off. Two
types of discharges are applied, air discharge and contact Radiated emissions measurements are to ensure that the
discharge. Air discharges are used on surfaces that are interference radiated from the equipment is not at a
normally insulators, and contact discharges are used on level that could cause interference to other equipment.
surfaces that are normally conducting. IEC 60255-22-2 This test is normally carried out on an Open Area Test
is the relevant standard this test, for which the test Site (OATS) where there are no reflecting structures or
parameters are: sources of radiation, and therefore the measurements
a. cover on: Class 4, 8kV contact discharge, 15kV air obtained are a true indication of the emission spectrum
discharge of the relay. An example of a plot obtained during
b. cover off: Class 3, 6kV contact discharge, 8kV air conducted emissions tests is shown in Figure 21.5.
The test arrangements for the conducted and radiated
In both cases above, all the lower test levels are also emissions tests are shown in Figure 21.6.
When performing these two tests, the relay is in a
The discharge current waveform is shown in Figure 21.4.
quiescent condition, that is not tripped, with currents
• 21 • 100 and voltages applied at 90% of the setting values. This
Current, % of Peak

80 Rise Time = 0.7 to 1.0 ns. is because for the majority of its life, the relay will be in
70 Current specified for 30 ns and 60 ns
the quiescent state and the emission of electromagnetic
50 interference when the relay is tripped is considered to be
40 of no significance. Tests are conducted in accordance
20 with IEC 60255-25 and EN 50081-2, and are detailed in
10 Table 21.3.
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90
Time, ns Frequency Range Specified Limits Test Limits
30dB(µV/m) 40dB(µV/m)
30 - 230MHz
Figure 21.4: ESD Current Waveform at 30m at 10m
37dB(µV/m) 47dB(µV/m)
230 - 1000MHz at 30m at 10m
79dB(µV) 79dB(µV)
The test is performed with single discharges repeated on 0.15 - 0.5MHz quasi-peak quasi-peak
66dB(µV) average 66dB(µV) average
each test point 10 times with positive polarity and 10 Conducted
73dB(µV) 73dB(µV)
times with negative polarity at each test level. The time 0.5 - 30MHz quasi-peak quasi-peak
60dB(µV) average 60dB(µV) average
interval between successive discharges is greater than 1
Table 21.3: Test criteria for Conducted and
second. Tests are carried out at each level, with the relay Radiated Emissions tests
in the following modes of operation:
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90 Quasi-peak limits
Average limits
Emissions Level, dBuV

Typical trace





0.1 1 Frequency, MHz 10 100

Figure 21.5: Conducted Emissions Test Plot

Screened room

R e l a y Te s t i n g a n d C o m m i s s i o n i n g

E.U.T. Access panel

Impedance network Support/analysis

(a) Conducted EMC emissions test arrangement


• 21 •



Earth Plane

(b) Radiated Emissions test arrangement on an OATS

E.U.T. - Equipment under test

Figure 21.6: EMC test arrangements

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21.3.10 Conducted and Radiated Immunity Tests operate their radios/mobile phones without fear of relay
These tests are designed to ensure that the equipment is
immune to levels of interference that it may be subjected IEC 60255-22-3 specifies the radiated immunity tests to
to. The two tests, conducted and radiated, arise from the be conducted (ANSI/IEEE C37.90.2 is used for equipment
fact that for a conductor to be an efficient antenna, it built to US standards), with signal levels of:
must have a length of at least 1/4 of the wavelength of
1. IEC: Class III, 10V/m, 80MHz -1000MHz
the electromagnetic wave it is required to conduct.
2. ANSI/IEEE: 35V/m 25MHz - 1000MHz with no
If a relay were to be subjected to radiated interference at
modulation, and again with 100% pulse
150kHz, then a conductor length of at least
λ = 300 x106/(150 x 103 x 4)
IEC 60255-22-6 is used for the conducted immunity test,
= 500 m with a test level of:
would be needed to conduct the interference. Even with Class III, 10V r.m.s., 150kHz - 80MHz.
all the cabling attached and with the longest PCB track
length taken into account, it would be highly unlikely
that the relay would be able to conduct radiation of this 21.3.11 Power Frequency Magnetic Field Tests
frequency, and the test therefore, would have no effect. These tests are designed to ensure that the equipment is
The interference has to be physically introduced by immune to magnetic interference. The three tests,
conduction, hence the conducted immunity test. steady state, pulsed and damped oscillatory magnetic
However, at the radiated immunity lower frequency limit
R e l a y Te s t i n g a n d C o m m i s s i o n i n g

field, arise from the fact that for different site conditions
of 80MHz, a conductor length of approximately 1.0m is the level and waveshape is altered.
required. At this frequency, radiated immunity tests can
be performed with the confidence that the relay will Steady state magnetic field tests
conduct this interference, through a combination of the These tests simulate the magnetic field that would be
attached cabling and the PCB tracks. experienced by a device located within close proximity of
Although the test standards state that all 6 faces of the the power system. Testing is carried out by subjecting
equipment should be subjected to the interference, in the relay to a magnetic field generated by two induction
practice this is not carried out. Applying interference to coils. The relay is rotated such that in each axis it is
the sides and top and bottom of the relay would have subjected to the full magnetic field strength. IEC 61000-
little effect as the circuitry inside is effectively screened 4-6 is the relevant standard, using a signal level of:
by the earthed metal case. However, the front and rear Level 5: 300A/m continuous and 1000A/m short duration
of the relay are not completely enclosed by metal and are
The test arrangement is shown in Figure 21.7.
therefore not at all well screened, and can be regarded as
an EMC hole. Electromagnetic interference when
directed at the front and back of the relay can enter
freely onto the PCB’s inside.
When performing these two tests, the relay is in a Induction coil
• 21 • quiescent condition, that is not tripped, with currents
and voltages applied at 90% of the setting values. This
is because for the majority of its life, the relay will be in E.U.T.
Induction coil
the quiescent state and the coincidence of an
electromagnetic disturbance and a fault is considered to
be unlikely.
However, spot checks are performed at selected
frequencies when the main protection and control Ground plane
functions of the relay are exercised, to ensure that it will
operate as expected, should it be required to do so.
The frequencies for the spot checks are in general
selected to coincide with the radio frequency broadcast E.U.T. - Equipment under test
bands, and in particular, the frequencies of mobile
communications equipment used by personnel working Figure 21.7: Power frequency magnetic
field set-up
in the substation. This is to ensure that when working in
the vicinity of a relay, the personnel should be able to

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To pass the steady-state test, the relay shall not open contacts intended for connection to tripping
maloperate, and shall still perform its main functions circuits, in accordance with ANSI/IEEE C37.90
within the claimed tolerance. During the application of
3. 1.0kV r.m.s., 50/60Hz for 1 minute across the
the short duration test, the main protection function
normally open contacts of watchdog or
shall be exercised and verified that the operating
changeover output relays, in accordance with IEC
characteristics of the relay are unaffected.
60255-5 Pulsed magnetic field
The routine dielectric voltage withstand test time may be
These tests simulate the magnetic field that would be shorter than for the 1 minute type test time, to allow a
experienced by a device located within close proximity of reasonable production throughput, e.g. for a minimum of
the power system during a transient fault condition. 1 second at 110% of the voltage specified for 1 minute.
According to IEC 61000-4-9, the generator for the
induction coils shall produce a 6.4/16µs waveshape with
test level 5, 100A/m with the equipment configured as 21.4.2 Insulation Withstand for Overvoltages
for the steady state magnetic field test. The relay shall
The purpose of the High Voltage Impulse Withstand type
not maloperate, and shall still perform its main functions
test is to ensure that circuits and their components will
within the claimed tolerance during the test.
withstand overvoltages on the power system caused by Damped oscillatory magnetic field lightning. Three positive and three negative high voltage
These tests simulate the magnetic field that would be impulses, 5kV peak, are applied between all circuits and
experienced by a device located within close proximity of the case earth and also between the terminals of

R e l a y Te s t i n g a n d C o m m i s s i o n i n g
the power system during a transient fault condition. IEC independent circuits (but not across normally open
61000-4-10 specifies that the generator for the coil shall contacts). As before, different requirements apply in the
produce an oscillatory waveshape with a frequency of case of circuits using D-type connectors.
0.1MHz and 1MHz, to give a signal level in accordance The test generator characteristics are as specified in IEC
with Level 5 of 100A/m, and the equipment shall be 60255-5 and are shown in Figure 21.8. No disruptive
configured as in Figure 21.7. discharge (i.e. flashover or puncture) is allowed.
If it is necessary to repeat either the Dielectric Voltage or
21.4 PRODUCT SAFETY TYPE TESTS High Voltage Impulse Withstand tests these should be
carried out at 75% of the specified level, in accordance
A number of tests are carried out to demonstrate that
with IEC 60255-5, to avoid overstressing insulation and
the product is safe when used for its intended
application. The essential requirements are that the
relay is safe and will not cause an electric shock or fire
hazard under normal conditions and in the presence of a
single fault. A number of specific tests to prove this may
be carried out, as follows.

21.4.1 Dielectric Voltage Withstand • 21 •

Dielectric Voltage Withstand testing is carried out as a
routine test i.e. on every unit prior to despatch. The
purpose of this test is to ensure that the product build is
as intended by design. This is done by verifying the
clearance in air, thus ensuring that the product is safe to
operate under normal use conditions. The following tests
are conducted unless otherwise specified in the product 5kV peak Time
Rise time (10 % to 90 %) = 1.2 s
documentation: Duration (50 %) = 50 s
1. 2.0kV r.m.s., 50/60Hz for 1 minute between all
Figure 21.8: Test generator characteristics
terminals and case earth and also between for insulation withstand test
independent circuits, in accordance with IEC
60255-5. Some communication circuits are 21.4.3 Single Fault Condition Assessment
excluded from this test, or have modified test An assessment is made of whether a single fault
requirements e.g. those using D-type connectors condition such as an overload, or an open or short circuit,
2. 1.5kV r.m.s., 50/60Hz for 1 minute across normally applied to the product may cause an electric shock or fire

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hazard. In the case of doubt, type testing is carried out 21.5.2 Humidity Test
to ensure that the product is safe. The humidity test is performed to ensure that the
product will withstand and operate correctly when
subjected to 93% relative humidity at a constant
21.4.4 Earth Bonding Impedance
temperature of 40°C for 56 days. Tests are performed to
Class 1 products that rely on a protective earth ensure that the product functions correctly within
connection for safety are subjected to an earth bonding specification after 21 and 56 days. After the test, visual
impedance (EBI) type test. This ensures that the earth inspections are made for any signs of unacceptable
path between the protective earth connection and any corrosion and mould growth.
accessible earthed part is sufficiently low to avoid
damage in the event of a single fault occurring. The test
is conducted using a test voltage of 12V maximum and a 21.5.3 Cyclic Temperature/Humidity Test
test current of twice the recommended maximum This is a short-term test that stresses the relay by
protective fuse rating. After 1 minute with the current subjecting it to temperature cycling in conjunction with
flowing in the circuit under test, the EBI shall not exceed high humidity.
0.1Ω. The test does not replace the 56 day humidity test, but is
used for testing extension to ranges or minor
modifications to prove that the design is unaffected.
21.4.5 CE Marking
The applicable standard is IEC 60068-2-30 and test
A CE mark on the product, or its packaging, shows that
R e l a y Te s t i n g a n d C o m m i s s i o n i n g

conditions of:
compliance is claimed against relevant European
+25°C ±3°C and 95% relative humidity/+55°C ±2°C and
Community directives e.g. Low Voltage Directive
95% relative humidity
73/23/EEC and Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC)
Directive 89/336/EEC. are used, over the 24 hour cycle shown in Figure 21.9.
Relative humidity %

100 96%
90 95% 95%
80 90%

Various tests have to be conducted to prove that a relay End of temperature temperature
can withstand the effects of the environment in which it rise
is expected to work. They consist of: the following tests: +55°C

1. temperature
Ambient Temperature °C

2. humidity
3. enclosure protection
4. mechanical
These tests are described in the following sections. +28°C

• 21 • +25°C
3h 3h +22°C Time
12h±0.5h 6h
21.5.1 Temperature Test 24h

Temperature tests are performed to ensure that a

Figure 21.9: Cyclic temperature/humidity
product can withstand extremes in temperatures, both test profile
hot and cold, during transit, storage and operating For these tests the relay is placed in a humidity cabinet,
conditions. Storage and transit conditions are defined as and energised with normal in-service quantities for the
a temperature range of –25°C to +70°C and operating as complete duration of the tests. In practical terms this
–25°C to +55°C. usually means energising the relay with currents and
Dry heat withstand tests are performed at 70°C for 96 voltages such that it is 10% from the threshold for
hours with the relay de-energised. Cold withstand tests operation. Throughout the duration of the test the relay is
are performed at –40°C for 96 hours with the relay de- monitored to ensure that no unwanted operations occur.
energised. Operating range tests are carried out with the Once the relay is removed from the humidity cabinet, its
product energised, checking all main functions operate insulation resistance is measured to ensure that it has
within tolerance over the specified working temperature not deteriorated to below the claimed level. The relay is
range –25°C to +55°C. then functionally tested again, and finally dismantled to

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check for signs of component corrosion and growth.

The acceptance criterion is that no unwanted operations
shall occur including transient operation of indicating
devices. After the test the relay’s insulation resistance
should not have significantly reduced, and it should
perform all of its main protection and communications
functions within the claimed tolerance. The relay should
also suffer no significant corrosion or growth, and
photographs are usually taken of each PCB and the case
as a record of this.

21.5.4 Enclosure Protection Test

Enclosure protection tests prove that the casing system Figure 21.10: Relay undergoing seismic test
and connectors on the product protect against the ingress
of dust, moisture, water droplets (striking the case at pre- 1.2A
defined angles) and other pollutants. An ‘acceptable’ level A
of dust or water may penetrate the case during testing,
but must not impair normal product operation, safety or Pulse shape (half sine)
cause tracking across insulated parts of connectors. +0.2A

R e l a y Te s t i n g a n d C o m m i s s i o n i n g
0.4D D D
21.5.5 Mechanical Tests
2.5D 2.5D
Mechanical tests simulate a number of different 2.4D = T1
mechanical conditions that the product may have to
6D = T2
endure during its lifetime. These fall into two categories
D - duration of nominal pulse
a. response to disturbances while energised A - peak acceleration of nominal pulse
T1- minimum time for monitoring of pulse when conventional
b. response to disturbances during transportation shock/bump machine is used
T2 - as T1 when a vibration generator is used
(de-energised state)
Tests in the first category are concerned with the Figure 21.11: Shock/Bump Impulse waveform
response to vibration, shock and seismic disturbance.
The test levels for shock and bump tests are:
The tests are designed to simulate normal in-service
conditions for the product, for example earthquakes. Shock response (energised):
These tests are performed in all three axes, with the 3 pulses, each 10g, 11ms duration
product energised in its normal (quiescent) state. During
the test, all output contacts are continually monitored Shock withstand (de-energised):
for change using contact follower circuits. Vibration 3 pulses, 15g, 11ms duration • 21 •
levels of 1gn, over a 10Hz-150Hz frequency sweep are
Bump (de-energised):
used. Seismic tests use excitation in a single axis, using
a test frequency of 35Hz and peak displacements of 1000 pulses, 10g, 16ms duration
7.5mm and 3.5mm in the x and y axes respectively below
the crossover frequency and peak accelerations of 2.0gn
and 1.0gn in these axes above the crossover frequency. 21.6 SOFTWARE TYPE TESTS

The second category consists of vibration endurance, Digital and numerical relays contain software to
shock withstand and bump tests. They are designed to implement the protection and measurement functions of
simulate the longer-term affects of shock and vibration a relay. This software must be thoroughly tested, to
that could occur during transportation. These tests are ensure that the relay complies with all specifications and
performed with the product de-energised. After these that disturbances of various kinds do not result in
tests, the product must still operate within its unexpected results. Software is tested in various stages:
specification and show no signs of permanent a. unit testing
mechanical damage. Equipment undergoing a seismic
b. integration testing
type test is shown in Figure 21.10, while the waveform
for the shock/bump test is shown in Figure 21.11 c. functional qualification testing

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The purpose of unit testing is to determine if an 21.6.3 Unit Testing Environment

individual function or procedure implemented using Both Dynamic and Static Unit Testing are performed in
software, or small group of closely related functions, is the host environment rather than the target
free of data, logic, or standards errors. It is much easier environment. Dynamic Unit Testing uses a test harness
to detect these types of errors in individual units or small to execute the unit(s) concerned. The test harness is
groups of units than it is in an integrated software designed such that it simulates the interfaces of the
architecture and/or system. Unit testing is typically unit(s) being tested - both software-software interfaces
performed against the software detailed design and by and software-hardware interfaces - using what are
the developer of the unit(s). known as stubs. The test harness provides the test data
Integration testing typically focuses on these interfaces to those units being tested and outputs the test results
and also issues such as performance, timings and in a form understandable to a developer. There are many
commercially available testing tools to automate test
synchronisation that are not applicable in unit testing.
harness production and the execution of tests.
Integration testing also focuses on ‘stressing’ the
software and related interfaces.
Integration testing is ‘black box’ in nature, i.e. it does not 21.6.4 Software/Software Integration Testing
take into account the structure of individual units. It is Software/Software Integration Testing is performed in
typically performed against the software architectural the host environment. It uses a test harness to simulate
and detailed design. The specified software requirements inputs and outputs, hardware calls and system calls (e.g.
would typically also be used as a source for some of the the target environment operating system).
R e l a y Te s t i n g a n d C o m m i s s i o n i n g

test cases.

21.6.5 Software/Hardware Integration Testing

21.6.1 Static Unit Testing
Software/Hardware Integration Testing is performed in
Static Unit Testing (or static analysis as it is often called) the target environment, i.e. it uses the actual target
analyses the unit(s) source code for complexity, precision hardware, operating system, drivers etc. It is usually
tracking, initialisation checking, value tracking, strong performed after Software/Software Integration Testing.
type checking, macro analysis etc. While Static Unit Testing the interfaces to the hardware is an important
Testing can be performed manually, it is a laborious and feature of Software/Hardware Integration Testing.
error prone process and is best performed using a Test cases for Integration Testing are typically based on
proprietary automated static unit analysis tool. It is those defined for Validation Testing. However the
important to ensure that any such tool is configured emphasis should be on finding errors and problems.
correctly and used consistently during development. Performing a dry run of the validation testing often
completes Integration Testing.

21.6.2 Dynamic Testing

21.6.6 Validation Testing
Dynamic Testing is concerned with the runtime
• 21 • behaviour of the unit(s) being tested and so therefore,
The purpose of Validation Testing (also known as
Software Acceptance Testing) is to verify that the
the unit(s) must be executed. Dynamic unit testing can
software meets its specified functional requirements.
be sub-divided into ‘black box’ testing and ‘white box’
Validation Testing is performed against the software
testing. ‘Black box’ testing verifies the implementation
requirements specification, using the target
of the requirement(s) allocated to the unit(s). It takes no
environment. In ideal circumstances, someone
account of the internal structure of the unit(s) being independent of the software development performs the
tested. It is only concerned with providing known inputs tests. Validation Testing is ‘black box’ in nature, i.e. it
and determining if the outputs from the unit(s) are does not take into account the internal structure of the
correct for those inputs. ‘White box’ testing is concerned software. For relays, the non-protection functions
with testing the internal structure of the unit(s) and included in the software are considered to be as
measuring the test coverage, i.e. how much of the code important as the protection functions, and hence tested
within the unit(s) has been executed during the tests. in the same manner.
The objective of the unit testing may, for example, be to Each validation test should have predefined evaluation
achieve 100% statement coverage, in which every line of criteria, to be used to decide if the test has passed or
the code is executed at least once, or to execute every failed. The evaluation criteria should be explicit with no
possible path through the unit(s) at least once. room for interpretation or ambiguity.

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21.6.7 Traceability of Validation Tests Power system simulators can be divided into two types:
Traceability of validation tests to software requirements a. those which use analogue models of a power
is vital. Each software requirement documented in the system
software requirements specification should have at least
b. those which model the power system
one validation test, and it is important to be able to
mathematically using digital simulation techniques
prove this.

21.7.1 Use of Power System Analogue Models

21.6.8 Software Modifications - Regression Testing
For many years, relays have been tested on analogue models
Regression Testing is not a type test in its’ own right. It
of power systems such as artificial transmission lines, or test
is the overall name given to the testing performed when
plant capable of supplying significant amounts of current
an existing software product is changed. The purpose of
[21.1]. However, these approaches have significant
Regression Testing is to show that unintended changes
limitations in the current and voltage waveforms that can
to the functionality (i.e. errors and defects) have not
be generated, and are not suitable for automated,
been introduced.
unattended, testing programmes. While still used on a
Each change to an existing software product must be limited basis for testing electromechanical and static relays,
considered in its’ own right. It is impossible to specify a a radically different approach is required for dynamic
standard set of regression tests that can be applied as a testing of numerical relays.
‘catch-all’ for introduced errors and defects. Each
change to the software must be analysed to determine

R e l a y Te s t i n g a n d C o m m i s s i o n i n g
what risk there might be of unintentional changes to the 21.7.2 Use of Microprocessor Based Simulation
functionality being introduced. Those areas of highest Equipment
risk will need to be regression tested. The ultimate The complexity of numerical relays, reliant on software
regression test is to perform the complete Validation for implementation of the functions included, dictates
Testing programme again, updated to take account of some kind of automated test equipment. The functions
the changes made. of even a simple numerical overcurrent relay (including
Regression Testing is extremely important. If it is not all auxiliary functions) can take several months of
performed, there is a high risk of errors being found in automated, 24 hours/day testing to test completely. If
the field. Performing it will not reduce to zero the such test equipment was able to apply realistic current
chance of an error or defect remaining in the software, and voltage waveforms that closely match those found
but it will reduce it. Determining the Regression Testing on power systems during fault conditions, the equipment
that is required is made much easier if there is can be used either for type testing of individual relay
traceability from properly documented software designs or of a complete protection scheme designed for
requirements through design (again properly a specific application. In recognition of this, a new
documented and up to date), coding and testing. generation of power system simulators has been
developed, which is capable of providing a far more
accurate simulation of power system conditions than has
21.7 DYNAMIC VALIDATION TYPE TESTING been possible in the past. The simulator enables relays
to be tested under a wide range of system conditions, • 21 •
There are two possible methods of dynamically proving
representing the equivalent of many years of site
the satisfactory performance of protection relays or
schemes; the first method is by actually applying faults
on the power system and the second is to carry out Simulation hardware
comprehensive testing on a power system simulator.
Equipment is now available to provide high-speed, highly
The former method is extremely unlikely to be used – accurate modelling of a section of a power system. The
lead times are lengthy and the risk of damage occurring equipment is based on distributed microprocessor-based
makes the tests very expensive. It is therefore only used hardware containing software models of the various
on a very limited basis and the faults applied are elements of a power system, and is shown in Figure 21.12.
restricted in number and type. Because of this, a proving The modules have outputs linked to current and voltage
period for new protection equipment under service sources that have a similar transient capability and have
conditions has usually been required. As faults may suitable output levels for direct connection to the inputs
occur on the power system at infrequent intervals, it can of relays –i.e. 110V for voltage and 1A/5A for current.
take a number of years before any possible shortcomings Inputs are also provided to monitor the response of relays
are discovered, during which time further installations under test (contact closures for tripping, etc.) and these
may have occurred. inputs can be used as part of the model of the power

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R e l a y Te s t i n g a n d C o m m i s s i o n i n g

Figure 21.12: Digital power system simulator

for relay/protection scheme testing

system. The software is also capable of modelling the test results being available on completion
dynamic response of CT’s and VT’s accurately. A block schematic of the equipment is shown in Figure
Where it is desired to check the response of a relay or 21.13, is based around a computer which calculates and
protection scheme to an actual power system transient, stores the digital data representing the system voltages
the transient can be simulated using sophisticated power and currents. The computer controls conversion of the
systems analysis software and the results transferred digital data into analogue signals, and it monitors and
digitally to the simulator, or the event recorder recording controls the relays being tested.
of the transient can be used, in either digital or analogue Simulation software
form as inputs to the simulator model. Output signal
conversion involves circuits to eliminate the quantisation Unlike most traditional software used for power systems
steps normally found in conventional D/A conversion. analysis, the software used is suitable for the modelling
Analogue models of the system transducer the fast transients that occur in the first few
characteristics can be interposed between the signal milliseconds after fault inception. Two very accurate
processors and the output amplifiers when required. simulation programs are used, one based on time domain
This equipment shows many advantages over traditional and the other on frequency domain techniques. In both
• 21 • test equipment: programs, single and double circuit transmission lines are
represented by fully distributed parameter models. The
a. the power system model is capable of reproducing line parameters are calculated from the physical
high frequency transients such as travelling waves construction of the line (symmetrical, asymmetrical,
b. tests involving very long time constants can be transposed or non-transposed), taking into account the
carried out effect of conductor geometry, conductor internal
c. it is not affected by the harmonic content, noise impedance and the earth return path. It also includes,
and frequency variations in the a.c. supply where appropriate, the frequency dependence of the line
parameters in the frequency domain program. The
d. it is capable of representing the variation in the frequency dependent variable effects are calculated
current associated with generator faults and power using Fast Fourier Transforms and the results are
swings converted to the time domain. Conventional current
e. saturation effects in CT’s and VT’s can be modelled transformers and capacitor voltage transformers can be
f. a set of test routines can be specified in software and
then left to run unattended (or with only occasional The fault can be applied at any one point in the system and
monitoring) to completion, with a detailed record of can be any combination of phase to phase or phase

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IB Linear
D/A CT Current
conversion model amplifier

I/O test
Computer VB Linear
Keyboard Sub- D/A CVT Voltage
system conversion model amplifier
Keyboard Storage Key :
CT - Current transformer
CVT - Capacitor voltage transformer Signalling
VDU - Visual display unit Channel

Communications (When required) To second RTDS

link to second

R e l a y Te s t i n g a n d C o m m i s s i o n i n g
Figure 21.13: Block diagram of microprocessor-based automated relay test system

to earth, resistive, or non-linear phase to earth arcing faults. power frequency

For series compensated lines, flashover across a series
h. the use of direct coupled current amplifiers allows
capacitor following a short circuit fault can be simulated.
time constants of any length
The frequency domain model is not suitable for i. capable of simulating slow system changes
developing faults and switching sequences, therefore the
widely used Electromagnetic Transient Program (EMTP), j. reproduces fault currents whose peak amplitude
working in the time domain, is employed in such cases. varies with time

In addition to these two programs, a simulation program k. transducer models can be included
based on lumped resistance and inductance parameters l. automatic testing removes the likelihood of
is used. This simulation is used to represent systems with measurement and setting errors
long time constants and slow system changes due, for
m. two such equipments can be linked together to
example, to power swings.
simulate a system model with two relaying points Simulator applications
The simulator is also used for the production testing of
The simulator is used for checking the accuracy of relays, in which most of the advantages listed above • 21 •
calibration and performing type tests on a wide range of apply. As the tests and measurements are made
protection relays during their development. It has the automatically, the quality of testing is also greatly
following advantages over existing test methods: enhanced. Further, in cases of suspected malfunction of
a. 'state of the art' power system modelling data can a relay in the field under known fault conditions, the
be used to test relays simulator can be used to replicate the power system and
fault conditions, and conduct a detailed investigation
b. freedom from frequency variations and noise or into the performance of the relay. Finally, complex
harmonic content of the a.c. supply protection schemes can be modelled, using both the
c. the relay under test does not burden the power relays intended for use and software models of them as
system simulation appropriate, to check the suitability of the proposed
scheme under a wide variety of conditions. To illustrate
d. all tests are accurately repeatable this, Figure 21.14(a) shows a section of a particular power
e. wide bandwidth signals can be produced system modelled. The waveforms of Figure 21.14(b) show
the three phase voltages and currents at the primaries of
f. a wide range of frequencies can be reproduced
VT1 and CT1 for the fault condition indicated in Figure
g. selected harmonics may be superimposed on the 21.14(a).

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3G L

Infinite bus
4G CB3 CT3 F3 F4 CT4 CB4

Line 2


CB1 CT1 F1 F2 CT2 CB2
load 1 Line 1

load 2 VT1 VT2

load 3

Relay 1 Relay 2
R e l a y Te s t i n g a n d C o m m i s s i o n i n g

(a) Example power system






Figure 21.14: Example of application study


0 0.08 0.16 0.24 0.32 0.4 0.48 0.56

(b) Voltages and currents at VT1/CT1


Production testing of protection relays is becoming far
more demanding as the accuracy and complexity of the
• 21 • products increase. Electronic power amplifiers are used
to supply accurate voltages and currents of high stability
to the relay under test. The inclusion of a computer in the
test system allows more complex testing to be performed
at an economical cost, with the advantage of speed and
repeatability of tests from one relay to another.
Figure 21.15 shows a modern computer-controlled test
bench. The hardware is mounted in a special rack. Each
Figure 21.15: Modern computer-controlled
unit of the test system is connected to the computer via test bench
an interface bus. Individual test programs for each type
of relay are required, but the interface used is standard
for all relay types. Control of input waveforms and Because software is extensively tested at the type-
analogue measurements, the monitoring of output testing stage, there is normally no need to check the
signals and the analysis of test data are performed by the correct functioning of the software. Checks are limited
computer. A printout of the test results can also be to determining that the analogue and digital I/O is
produced if required. functioning correctly. This is achieved for inputs by

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applying known voltage and current inputs to the relay b. general inspection of the equipment, checking all
under test and checking that the software has captured connections, wires on relays terminals, labels on
the correct values. Similarly, digital outputs are terminal boards, etc.
exercised by using test software to actuate each output c. insulation resistance measurement of all circuits
and checking that the correct output is energised.
Provided that appropriate procedures are in place to d. perform relay self-test procedure and external
ensure that only type-tested software is downloaded, communications checks on digital/numerical relays
there is no need to check the correct functioning of the e. test main current transformers
software in the relay. The final step is to download the
software appropriate to the relay and store it in the f. test main voltage transformers
EPROM fitted in the relay. g. check that protection relay alarm/trip settings
have been entered correctly
h. tripping and alarm circuit checks to prove correct
Installation of a protection scheme at site creates a
In addition, the following checks may be carried out,
number of possibilities for errors in the implementation
depending on the factors noted earlier.
of the scheme to occur. Even if the scheme has been
thoroughly tested in the factory, wiring to the CT’s and i. secondary injection test on each relay to prove
VT’s on site may be incorrectly carried out, or the operation at one or more setting values
CT’s/VT’s may have been incorrectly installed. The impact j. primary injection tests on each relay to prove

R e l a y Te s t i n g a n d C o m m i s s i o n i n g
of such errors may range from simply being a nuisance stability for external faults and to determine the
(tripping occurs repeatedly on energisation, requiring effective current setting for internal faults (essential
investigation to locate and correct the error(s)) through for some types of electromechanical relays)
to failure to trip under fault conditions, leading to major
equipment damage, disruption to supplies and potential k. testing of protection scheme logic
hazards to personnel. The strategies available to remove This section details the tests required to cover items
these risks are many, but all involve some kind of testing (a)–(g) above. Secondary injection test equipment is
at site. covered in Section 21.10 and Section 21.11 details the
Commissioning tests at site are therefore invariably secondary injection that may be carried out. Section
performed before protection equipment is set to work. 21.12 covers primary injection testing, and Section 21.13
The aims of commissioning tests are: details the checks required on any logic involved in the
protection scheme. Finally, Section 21.14 details the tests
1. to ensure that the equipment has not been required on alarm/tripping circuits tripping/alarm
damaged during transit or installation circuits.
2. to ensure that the installation work has been
carried out correctly
21.9.1 Insulation Tests
3. to prove the correct functioning of the protection
scheme as a whole All the deliberate earth connections on the wiring to be
tested should first be removed, for example earthing • 21 •
The tests carried out will normally vary according to the links on current transformers, voltage transformers and
protection scheme involved, the relay technology used, d.c. supplies. Some insulation testers generate impulses
and the policy of the client. In many cases, the tests with peak voltages exceeding 5kV. In these instances
actually conducted are determined at the time of any electronic equipment should be disconnected while
commissioning by mutual agreement between the the external wiring insulation is checked.
client’s representative and the commissioning team.
The insulation resistance should be measured to earth
Hence, it is not possible to provide a definitive list of
and between electrically separate circuits. The readings
tests that are required during commissioning. This
are recorded and compared with subsequent routine
section therefore describes the tests commonly carried
tests to check for any deterioration of the insulation.
out during commissioning.
The insulation resistance measured depends on the
The following tests are invariably carried out, since the
amount of wiring involved, its grade, and the site
protection scheme will not function correctly if faults exist.
humidity. Generally, if the test is restricted to one
a. wiring diagram check, using circuit diagrams cubicle, a reading of several hundred megohms should be
showing all the reference numbers of the obtained. If long lengths of site wiring are involved, the
interconnecting wiring reading could be only a few megohms.

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21.9.2 Relay Self-Test Procedure robust moving coil, permanent magnet, centre-zero type.
A low voltage battery is used, via a single-pole push-
Digital and numerical relays will have a self-test
button switch, to energise the primary winding. On
procedure that is detailed in the appropriate relay
closing the push-button, the d.c. ammeter, A, should give
manual. These tests should be followed to determine if
a positive flick and on opening, a negative flick.
the relay is operating correctly. This will normally involve
checking of the relay watchdog circuit, exercising all Magnetisation Curve
digital inputs and outputs and checking that the relay
Several points should be checked on each current
analogue inputs are within calibration by applying a test
transformer magnetisation curve. This can be done by
current or voltage. For these tests, the relay outputs are
energising the secondary winding from the local mains
normally disconnected from the remainder of the
supply through a variable auto-transformer while the
protection scheme, as it is a test carried out to prove
primary circuit remains open; see Figure 21.17. The
correct relay, rather than scheme, operation.
characteristic is measured at suitable intervals of applied
Unit protection schemes involve relays that need to voltage, until the magnetising current is seen to rise very
communicate with each other. This leads to additional rapidly for a small increase in voltage. This indicates the
testing requirements. The communications path approximate knee-point or saturation flux level of the
between the relays is tested using suitable equipment to current transformer. The magnetising current should
ensure that the path is complete and that the received then be recorded at similar voltage intervals as it is
signal strength is within specification. Numerical relays reduced to zero.
may be fitted with loopback test facilities that enable
Care must be taken that the test equipment is suitably
either part of or the entire communications link to be
rated. The short-time current rating must be in excess of
R e l a y Te s t i n g a n d C o m m i s s i o n i n g

tested from one end.

the CT secondary current rating, to allow for the
After completion of these tests, it is usual to enter the measurement of the saturation current. This will be in
relay settings required. This can be done manually via excess of the CT secondary current rating. As the
the relay front panel controls, or using a portable PC and magnetising current will not be sinusoidal, a moving iron
suitable software. Whichever method is used, a check by or dynamometer type ammeter should be used.
a second person that the correct settings have been used
It is often found that current transformers with
is desirable, and the settings recorded. Programmable
secondary ratings of 1A or less have a knee-point voltage
scheme logic that is required is also entered at this stage.
higher than the local mains supply. In these cases, a
step-up interposing transformer must be used to obtain
the necessary voltage to check the magnetisation curve.
21.9.3 Current Transformer Tests
The following tests are normally carried out prior to
energisation of the main circuits. Test plug isolating
current transformers Variable transformer
from relay coils 250V 8A Polarity check A B C

P2 P1
_ S2 S1 + To relay a.c. supply
• 21 • P1 S

P2 S2 Step-up transformer
if required
Main circuit
breaker open
_ +
Figure 21.17: Testing current transformer
magnetising curve

21.9.4 Voltage Transformer Tests

Figure 21.16: Current transformer Voltage transformers require testing for polarity and
polarity check
phasing. Polarity check
Each current transformer should be individually tested to
verify that the primary and secondary polarity markings The voltage transformer polarity can be checked using
are correct; see Figure 21.16. The ammeter connected to the method for CT polarity tests. Care must be taken to
the secondary of the current transformer should be a connect the battery supply to the primary winding, with

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the polarity ammeter connected to the secondary Correct phasing should be further substantiated when
winding. If the voltage transformer is of the capacitor carrying out ‘on load’ tests on any phase-angle sensitive
type, then the polarity of the transformer at the bottom relays, at the relay terminals. Load current in a known
of the capacitor stack should be checked. phase CT secondary should be compared with the
associated phase to neutral VT secondary voltage. The Ratio check
phase angle between them should be measured, and
This check can be carried out when the main circuit is should relate to the power factor of the system load.
first made live. The voltage transformer secondary
If the three-phase voltage transformer has a broken-
voltage is compared with the secondary voltage shown
delta tertiary winding, then a check should be made of
on the nameplate.
the voltage across the two connections from the broken Phasing check delta VN and VL, as shown in Figure 21.18. With the
The secondary connections for a three-phase voltage rated balanced three-phase supply voltage applied to the
transformer or a bank of three single-phase voltage voltage transformer primary windings, the broken-delta
transformers must be carefully checked for phasing. voltage should be below 5V with the rated burden
With the main circuit alive, the phase rotation is checked connected.
using a phase rotation meter connected across the three
phases, as shown in Figure 21.18. Provided an existing
21.9.5 Protection Relay Setting Checks
proven VT is available on the same primary system, and
that secondary earthing is employed, all that is now At some point during commissioning, the alarm and trip
necessary to prove correct phasing is a voltage check settings of the relay elements involved will require to be

R e l a y Te s t i n g a n d C o m m i s s i o n i n g
between, say, both ‘A’ phase secondary outputs. There entered and/or checked. Where the complete scheme is
should be nominally little or no voltage if the phasing is engineered and supplied by a single contractor, the
correct. However, this test does not detect if the phase settings may already have been entered prior to despatch
sequence is correct, but the phases are displaced by 120° from the factory, and hence this need not be repeated.
from their correct position, i.e. phase A occupies the The method of entering settings varies according to the
position of phase C or phase B in Figure 21.18. This can relay technology used. For electromechanical and static
be checked by removing the fuses from phases B and C relays, manual entry of the settings for each relay
(say) and measuring the phase-earth voltages on the element is required. This method can also be used for
secondary of the VT. If the phasing is correct, only phase digital/numerical relays. However, the amount of data to
A should be healthy, phases B and C should have only a be entered is much greater, and therefore it is usual to
small residual voltage. use appropriate software, normally supplied by the
manufacturer, for this purpose. The software also makes
A the essential task of making a record of the data entered
B much easier.
Once the data has been entered, it should be checked for
compliance with the recommended settings as
calculated from the protection setting study. Where
V1 appropriate software is used for data entry, the checks
can be considered complete if the data is checked prior • 21 •
V2 to download of the settings to the relay. Otherwise, a
check may required subsequent to data entry by
inspection and recording of the relay settings, or it may
be considered adequate to do this at the time of data
V entry. The recorded settings form an essential part of the
VL commissioning documentation provided to the client.

Secondary injection tests are always done prior to
primary injection tests. The purpose of secondary
injection testing is to prove the correct operation of the
A B C protection scheme that is downstream from the inputs to
Phase rotation
the protection relay(s). Secondary injection tests are
always done prior to primary injection tests. This is
Figure 21.18: Voltage transformer
phasing check

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because the risks during initial testing to the LV side of

the equipment under test are minimised. The primary
(HV) side of the equipment is disconnected, so that no
damage can occur. These tests and the equipment
necessary to perform them are generally described in the
manufacturer's manuals for the relays, but brief details
are given below for the main types of protection relays.

21.10.1 Test Blocks/Plugs for Secondary

Injection Equipment
It is common practice to provide test blocks or test Figure 21.19: Modern test block/plugs
sockets in the relay circuits so that connections can
readily be made to the test equipment without
disturbing wiring. Test plugs of either multi-finger or 21.10.2 Secondary Injection Test Sets
single-finger design (for monitoring the current in one The type of the relay to be tested determines the type of
CT secondary circuit) are used to connect test equipment equipment used to provide the secondary injection
to the relay under test. currents and voltages. Many electromechanical relays
The top and bottom contact of each test plug finger is have a non-linear current coil impedance when the relay
separated by an insulating strip, so that the relay circuits operates and this can cause the test current waveform to
R e l a y Te s t i n g a n d C o m m i s s i o n i n g

can be completely isolated from the switchgear wiring be distorted if the injection supply voltage is fed directly
when the test plug is inserted. To avoid open-circuiting to the coil. The presence of harmonics in the current
CT secondary terminals, it is therefore essential that CT waveform may affect the torque of electromechanical
shorting jumper links are fitted across all appropriate relays and give unreliable test results, so some injection
‘live side’ terminals of the test plug BEFORE it is inserted. test sets use an adjustable series reactance to control the
With the test plug inserted in position, all the test current. This keeps the power dissipation small and the
circuitry can now be connected to the isolated ‘relay equipment light and compact.
side’ test plug terminals. Some modern test blocks Many test sets are portable and include precision
incorporate the live-side jumper links within the block ammeters and voltmeters and timing equipment. Test
and these can be set to the ‘closed’ or ‘open’ position as sets may have both voltage and current outputs. The
appropriate, either manually prior to removing the cover former are high-voltage, low current outputs for use
and inserting the test plug, or automatically upon with relay elements that require signal inputs from a VT
removal of the cover. Removal of the cover also exposes as well as a CT. The current outputs are high-current,
the colour-coded face-plate of the block, clearly low voltage to connect to relay CT inputs. It is
indicating that the protection scheme is not in service, important, however, to ensure that the test set current
and may also disconnect any d.c. auxiliary supplies used outputs are true current sources, and hence are not
for powering relay tripping outputs. affected by the load impedance of a relay element
Withdrawing the test plug immediately restores the current coil. Use of a test set with a current output that
• 21 • connections to the main current transformers and is essentially a voltage source can give rise to serious
problems when testing electromechanical relays. Any
voltage transformers and removes the test connections.
significant impedance mismatch between the output of
Replacement of the test block cover then removes the
the test set and the relay current coil during relay
short circuits that had been applied to the main CT
operation will give rise to a variation in current from that
secondary circuits. Where several relays are used in a
desired and possible error in the test results. The relay
protection scheme, one or more test blocks may be fitted
operation time may be greater than expected (never less
on the relay panel enabling the whole scheme to be
than expected) or relay ‘chatter’ may occur. It is quite
tested, rather than just one relay at a time.
common for such errors to only be found much later,
Test blocks usually offer facilities for the monitoring and after a fault has caused major damage to equipment
secondary injection testing of any power system through failure of the primary protection to operate.
protection scheme. The test block may be used either Failure investigation then shows that the reason for the
with a multi-fingered test plug to allow isolation and primary protection to operate is an incorrectly set relay,
monitoring of all the selected conductor paths, or with a due in turn to use of a test set with a current output
single finger test plug that allows the currents on consisting of a voltage-source when the relay was last
individual conductors to be monitored. A modern test tested. Figure 21.20 shows typical waveforms resulting
block and test plugs are illustrated in Figure 21.19. from use of test set current output that is a voltage

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V relay/source

Saturation level of
magnetic circuit (current)
limited only by D.C.
resistance of
Time relay coil

Relay with saturation

of CDG magnetic circuit
(phase shift from CDG
inductive load shown).

a) Relay current coil waveform distorted due to use of voltage source

R e l a y Te s t i n g a n d C o m m i s s i o n i n g
Sinusoidal CURRENT when
changing impedance of relay
is swamped out by high
source impedance


Typical VOLTAGE waveform

appearing across relay
current coils with sinusoidal I
above the relay setting (10 x shown).

• 21 •
b) Undistorted relay current coil current distorted due to use of current source

Figure 21.20: Relay current coil waveforms

source – the distorted relay coil current waveform gives 3-phase output set. Much greater precision in the
rise to an extended operation time compared to the setting of the magnitudes and phase angles is possible,
expected value. compared to traditional test sets. Digital signals to
exercise the internal logic elements of the relays may
Modern test sets are computer based. They comprise a also be provided. The alarm and trip outputs of the relay
PC (usually a standard laptop PC with suitable software) are connected to digital inputs on the PC so that correct
and a power amplifier that takes the low-level outputs operation of the relay, including accuracy of the relay
from the PC and amplifies them into voltage and current tripping characteristic can be monitored and displayed
signals suitable for application to the VT and CT inputs of on-screen, saved for inclusion in reports generated later,
the relay. The phase angle between voltage and current or printed for an immediate record to present to the
outputs will be adjustable, as also will the phase angles client. Optional features may include GPS time
between the individual voltages or currents making up a synchronising equipment and remote-located amplifiers

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to facilitate testing of unit protection schemes, and

digital I/O for exercising the programmable scheme logic
of modern relays.
The software for modern test sets is capable of testing
the functionality of a wide variety of relays, and
conducting a set of tests automatically. Such sets ease
the task of the commissioning engineer. The software
will normally offer options for testing, ranging from a
test carried out at a particular point on the characteristic
to complete determination of the tripping characteristic
automatically. This feature can be helpful if there is any
reason to doubt that the relay is operating correctly with
the tripping characteristic specified. Figure 21.21
illustrates a modern PC-based test set.
Traditional test sets use an arrangement of adjustable
transformers and reactors to provide control of current
and voltage without incurring high power dissipation.
Some relays require adjustment of the phase between
the injected voltages and currents, and so phase shifting
transformers may be used. Figure 21.22 shows the
R e l a y Te s t i n g a n d C o m m i s s i o n i n g

circuit diagram of a traditional test set suitable for

overcurrent relay resting, while Figure 21.23 shows the
circuit diagram for a test set for directional/distance Figure 21.21: Modern PC-based secondary
injection test set
relays. Timers are included so that the response time of
the relay can be measured.

testing will be largely determined by the client

21.11 SECONDARY INJECTION TESTING specification and relay technology used, and may range
The purpose of secondary injection testing is to check from a simple check of the relay characteristic at a single
that the protection scheme from the relay input point to a complete verification of the tripping
terminals onwards is functioning correctly with the characteristics of the scheme, including the response to
settings specified. This is achieved by applying suitable transient waveforms and harmonics and checking of
inputs from a test set to the inputs of the relays and relay bias characteristics. This may be important when
checking if the appropriate alarm/trip signals occur at the protection scheme includes transformers and/or
the relay/control room/CB locations. The extent of generators.

• 21 •
Coarse Range
control adjusting CT

K2 K1 I

Fine control I> Relay

250V variable
a.c. supply coil
Start Stop
timer timer

Injection Relay short-circuiting

Backing Medium transformer switch
transformer control
10% control reactor
Relay current, I = Ammeter reading (A) K1 x K2

Figure 21.22: Circuit diagram of traditional test set for overcurrent relays

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Supply switch Fault A-N

A X( )
B 440V
C 3 pphase 22.5
N 4 wire supply
Choke 20.0
Relay 17.5
control 15.0
adjusting CT 12.5
A 10.0
A V > voltage element
440/110V 5.0
shiftingg Variable transformer for current control 2.5
To other voltage V Voltmeter 0.0
elements A Ammeter
of relayy PA Phase angle -2.5
under test meter
(if required) -5.0
Figure 21.23: Circuit diagram for traditional -10.0
test set for directional/distance relays -15.0 -10.0 -5.0 0.0 5.0 10.0 15.0 R( )

Figure 21.24: Distance relay zone checking

using search technique and tolerance bands
The testing should include any scheme logic. If the logic
is implemented using the programmable scheme logic
facilities available with most digital or numerical relays, X

R e l a y Te s t i n g a n d C o m m i s s i o n i n g
appropriate digital inputs may need to be applied and
outputs monitored (see Section 21.13). It is clear that a
modern test set can facilitate such tests, leading to a
reduced time required for testing.

21.11.1 Schemes using Digital or Numerical R
Relay Technology
The policy for secondary injection testing varies widely.
In some cases, manufacturers recommend, and clients
accept, that if a digital or numerical relay passes its’ self-
Figure 21.25: Testing of power swing
test, it can be relied upon to operate at the settings used blocking element – discrete points
and that testing can therefore be confined to those parts
of the scheme external to the relay. In such cases,
secondary injection testing is not required at all. More
often, it is required that one element of each relay
(usually the simplest) is exercised, using a secondary
injection test set, to check that relay operation occurs at
the conditions expected, based on the setting of the • 21 •
relay element concerned. Another alternative is for the
complete functionality of each relay to be exercised. This
is rarely required with a digital or numerical relay,
probably only being carried out in the event of a
suspected relay malfunction.
To illustrate the results that can be obtained, Figure Figure 21.26: Simulated power swing waveform
21.24 shows the results obtained by a modern test set
when determining the reach settings of a distance relay 21.11.2 Schemes using
using a search technique. Another example is the testing Electromechanical/Static Relay Technology
of the Power Swing blocking element of a distance relay. Schemes using single function electromechanical or
Figure 21.25 illustrates such a test, based on using static relays will usually require each relay to be
discrete impedance points. This kind of test may not be exercised. Thus a scheme with distance and back-up
adequate in all cases, and test equipment may have the overcurrent elements will require a test on each of these
ability to generate the waveforms simulating a power functions, thereby taking up more time than if a digital
swing and apply them to the relay (Figure 21.26). or numerical relay is used. Similarly, it may be important

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to check the relay characteristic over a range of input of VT’s/CT’s may not then be discovered until either
currents to confirm parameters for an overcurrent relay spurious tripping occurs in service, or more seriously,
such as: failure to trip on a fault. This hazard is much reduced
where digital/numerical relays are used, since the current
i. the minimum current that gives operation at each
and voltage measurement/display facilities that exist in
current setting
such relays enable checking of relay input values against
ii. the maximum current at which resetting takes those from other proven sources. Many connection/wiring
place errors can be found in this way, and by isolating
iii. the operating time at suitable values of current temporarily the relay trip outputs, unwanted trips can be
iv. the time/current curve at two or three points with
Primary injection testing is, however, the only way to
the time multiplier setting TMS at 1
prove correct installation and operation of the whole of
v. the resetting time at zero current with the TMS at 1 a protection scheme. As noted in the previous section,
Similar considerations apply to distance and unit primary injection tests are always carried out after
protection relays of these technologies. secondary injection tests, to ensure that problems are
limited to the VT’s and CT’s involved, plus associated
wiring, all other equipment in the protection scheme
21.11.3 Test Circuits for Secondary Injection Testing having been proven satisfactory from the secondary
injection tests.
The test circuits used will depend on the type of relay
and test set being used. Unless the test circuits are
R e l a y Te s t i n g a n d C o m m i s s i o n i n g

simple and obvious, the relay commissioning manual will 21.12.1 Test Facilities
give details of the circuits to be used. Commonly used
An alternator is the most useful source of power for
test circuits can also be found in Chapter 23 of reference
providing the heavy current necessary for primary
[21.1]. When using the circuits in this reference, suitable
injection. Unfortunately, it is rarely available, since it
simplifications can easily be made if digital or numerical
requires not only a spare alternator, but also spare
relays are being tested, to allow for their built-in
busbars capable of being connected to the alternator and
measurement capabilities – external ammeters and
circuit under test. Therefore, primary injection is usually
voltmeters may not be required.
carried out by means of a portable injection transformer
All results should be carefully noted and filed for record (Figure 21.27), arranged to operate from the local mains
purposes. Departures from the expected results must be supply and having several low voltage, heavy current
thoroughly investigated and the cause determined. After windings. These can be connected in series or parallel
rectification of errors, all tests whose results may have according to the current required and the resistance of
been affected (even those that may have given correct the primary circuit. Outputs of 10V and 1000A can be
results) should be repeated to ensure that the protection obtained. Alternatively, modern PC-controlled test sets
scheme has been implemented according to have power amplifiers capable of injecting currents up to
specification. about 200A for a single unit, with higher current ratings
being possible by using multiple units in parallel.
This type of test involves the entire circuit; current
transformer primary and secondary windings, relay coils,
trip and alarm circuits, and all intervening wiring are
checked. There is no need to disturb wiring, which
obviates the hazard of open-circuiting current
transformers, and there is generally no need for any 250V a.c.
switching in the current transformer or relay circuits. supply
The drawback of such tests is that they are time
consuming and expensive to organise. Increasingly,
reliance is placed on all wiring and installation diagrams
being correct and the installation being carried out as Variable transformer Injection transformer
per drawings, and secondary injection testing being 40A 250/10 + 10 + 10 + 10V
completed satisfactorily. Under these circumstances, the
primary injection tests may be omitted. However, wiring Figure 21.27: Traditional primary
injection test set
errors between VT’s/CT’s and relays, or incorrect polarity

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If the main current transformers are fitted with test the residual circuit, or relay display, will give a reading of
windings, these can be used for primary injection instead a few milliamperes with rated current injected if the
of the primary winding. The current required for primary current transformers are of correct polarity. A reading
injection is then greatly reduced and can usually be proportional to twice the primary current will be
obtained using secondary injection test equipment. obtained if they are of wrong polarity. Because of this, a
Unfortunately, test windings are not often provided, high-range ammeter should be used initially, for example
because of space limitations in the main current one giving full-scale deflection for twice the rated
transformer housings or the cost of the windings. secondary current. If an electromechanical earth-fault
relay with a low setting is also connected in the residual
circuit, it is advisable to temporarily short-circuit its
21.12.2 CT Ratio Check operating coil during the test, to prevent possible
Current is passed through the primary conductors and overheating. The single-phase injection should be
measured on the test set ammeter, A1 in Figure 21.28. carried out for each pair of phases.
The secondary current is measured on the ammeter A2 or Temporary
relay display, and the ratio of the value on A1 to that on short circuit
A2 should closely approximate to the ratio marked on
the current transformer nameplate. 250V a.c. Primary
supply injection
test set B
A B C Relay
Test plug

R e l a y Te s t i n g a n d C o m m i s s i o n i n g
Temporary A
short circuit
Figure 21.29: Polarity check on main current

P1 Relay
S1 21.12.4 Primary Injection Testing of Relay Elements
As with secondary injection testing, the tests to be
carried out will be those specified by the client, and/or
S2 those detailed in the relay commissioning manual.
P2 Digital and numerical relays usually require far fewer
Relay or test block tests to prove correct operation, and these may be
contact fingers
restricted to observations of current and voltage on the
relay display under normal load conditions.

Primary injection
• 21 •
250V Protection schemes often involve the use of logic to
a.c. supply
determine the conditions under which designated circuit
Figure 21.28: Current transformer ratio check breakers should be tripped. Simple examples of such
logic can be found in Chapters 9-14. Traditionally, this
logic was implemented by means of discrete relays,
21.12.3 CT Polarity Check separate from the relays used for protection. Such
implementations would occur where electromechanical
If the equipment includes directional, differential or or static relay technology is used. However, digital and
earth fault relays, the polarity of the main current numerical relays normally include programmable logic as
transformers must be checked. It is not necessary to part of the software within the relay, together with
conduct the test if only overcurrent relays are used. associated digital I/O. This facility (commonly referred to
The circuit for checking the polarity with a single-phase as Programmable Scheme Logic, or PSL) offers important
test set is shown in Figure 21.29. A short circuit is placed advantages to the user, by saving space and permitting
across the phases of the primary circuit on one side of modifications to the protection scheme logic through
the current transformers while single-phase injection is software if the protection scheme requirements change
carried out on the other side. The ammeter connected in with time. Changes to the logic are carried out using

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software hosted on a PC (or similar computer) and Many designs of withdrawable circuit breaker can be
downloaded to the relay. Use of languages defined in IEC operated while in the maintenance position, so that
61131, such as ladder logic or Boolean algebra is substation operation can continue unaffected except for
common for such software, and is readily understood by the circuit controlled by the circuit breaker involved. In
Protection Engineers. Further, there are several other cases, isolators can be used to avoid the need for
commonly encountered protection functions that busbar de-energisation if the circuit involved is not ready
manufacturers may supply with relays as one or more for energisation.
‘default’ logic schemes.
Because software is used, it is essential to carefully test 21.15 PERIODIC MAINTENANCE TESTS
the logic during commissioning to ensure correct
operation. The only exception to this may be if the Periodic testing is necessary to ensure that a protection
relevant ‘default’ scheme is used. Such logic schemes scheme continues to provide satisfactory performance
will have been proven during relay type testing, and so for many years after installation. All equipment is
there is no need for proving tests during commissioning. subject to gradual degradation with time, and regular
However, where a customer generates the scheme logic, testing is intended to identify the equipment concerned
it is necessary to ensure that the commissioning tests so that remedial action can be taken before scheme
conducted are adequate to prove the functionality of the maloperation occurs. However, due care should be taken
scheme in all respects. A specific test procedure should in this task, otherwise faults may be introduced as a
be prepared, and this procedure should include: direct result of the remedial work.

a. checking of the scheme logic specification and The clearance of a fault on the system is correct only if
R e l a y Te s t i n g a n d C o m m i s s i o n i n g

diagrams to ensure that the objectives of the logic the number of circuit breakers opened is the minimum
are achieved necessary to remove the fault. A small proportion of
faults are incorrectly cleared, the main reasons being:
b. testing of the logic to ensure that the functionality
of the scheme is proven a. limitations in protection scheme design

c. testing of the logic, as required, to ensure that no b. faulty relays

output occurs for the relevant input signal c. defects in the secondary wiring
d. incorrect connections
The degree of testing of the logic will largely depend on
e. incorrect settings
the criticality of the application and complexity of the
logic. The responsibility for ensuring that a suitable test f. known application shortcomings accepted as
procedure is produced for logic schemes other than the improbable occurrences
‘default’ one(s) supplied lies with the specifier of the g. pilot wire faults due to previous unrevealed
logic. Relay manufacturers cannot be expected to take damage to a pilot cable
responsibility for the correct operation of logic schemes
that they have not designed and supplied. h. various other causes, such as switching errors,
testing errors, and relay operation due to
mechanical shock
• 21 • 21.14 TRIPPING AND ALARM ANNUNCIATION TESTS The self-checking facilities of numerical relays assist in
If primary and/or secondary injection tests are not carried minimising failures due to faulty relays. Defects in
out, the tripping and alarm circuits will not have been secondary wiring and incorrect connections are virtually
checked. Even where such checks have been carried out, eliminated if proper commissioning after scheme
CB trip coils and/or Control Room alarm circuits may have installation/alteration is carried out. The possibility of
been isolated. In such cases, it is essential that all of the incorrect settings is minimised by regular reviews of
tripping and alarm circuits are checked. relay settings. Network fault levels change over time,
and hence setting calculations may need to be revised.
This is done by closing the protection relay contacts Switching and testing errors are minimised by adequate
manually and checking that: training of personnel, use of proven software, and well-
1. the correct circuit breakers are tripped designed systematic working procedures. All of these
can be said to be within the control of the user.
2. the alarm circuits are energised
The remaining three causes are not controllable, while
3. the correct flag indications are given
two of these three are unavoidable – engineering is not
4. there is no maloperation of other apparatus that science and there will always be situations that a
may be connected to the same master trip relay or protection relay cannot reasonably be expected to cover
circuit breaker at an affordable cost.

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21.15.1 Frequency of Inspection and Testing 21.16 PROTECTION SCHEME DESIGN

Although protection equipment should be in sound
condition when first put into service, problems can If the following principles are adhered to as far as
develop unchecked and unrevealed because of its possible, the danger of back-feeds is lessened and fault
infrequent operation. With digital and numerical relays, investigation is made easier:
the in-built self-testing routines can be expected to
i. test blocks should be used, to enable a test plug to
reveal and annunciate most faults, but this does not
be used, and a defective unit to be replaced quickly
cover any other components that, together, comprise the
without interrupting service
protection scheme. Regular inspection and testing of a
protection scheme is therefore required. In practice, the ii. circuits should be kept as electrically separate as
frequency of testing may be limited by lack of staff or by possible, and the use of common wires should be
the operating conditions on the power system. avoided, except where these are essential to the
correct functioning of the circuits
It is desirable to carry out maintenance on protection
equipment at times when the associated power apparatus iii. each group of circuits which is electrically
is out of service. This is facilitated by co-operation separate from other circuits should be earthed
between the maintenance staff concerned and the through an independent earth link
network operations control centre. Maintenance tests
iv. where a common voltage transformer or d.c.
may sometimes have to be made when the protected
supply is used for feeding several circuits, each
circuit is on load. The particular equipment to be tested
circuit should be fed through separate links or
should be taken out of commission and adequate back-up

R e l a y Te s t i n g a n d C o m m i s s i o n i n g
fuses. Withdrawal of these should completely
protection provided for the duration of the tests. Such
isolate the circuit concerned
back-up protection may not be fully discriminative, but
should be sufficient to clear any fault on the apparatus v. power supplies to protection schemes should be
whose main protection is temporarily out of service. segregated from those supplying other equipment and
provided with fully discriminative circuit protection
Maintenance is assisted by the displays of measured
quantities provided on digital and numerical relays. Incorrect vi. a single auxiliary switch should not be used for
display of a quantity is a clear indication that something is interrupting or closing more than one circuit
wrong, either in the relay itself or the input circuits. vii. terminations in relay panels require good access,
as these may have to be altered if extensions are
made. Modern panels are provided with special
21.15.2 Maintenance Tests
test facilities, so that no connections need be
Primary injection tests are normally only conducted out disturbed during routine testing
during initial commissioning. If scheme maloperation
viii. junction boxes should be of adequate size and, if
has occurred and the protection relays involved are
outdoors, must be made waterproof
suspect, or alterations have been made involving the
wiring to the relays from the VT’s/CT’s, the primary ix. all wiring should be ferruled for identification and
injection tests may have to be repeated. phase-coloured
Secondary injection tests may be carried out at suitable x. electromechanical relays should have high • 21 •
intervals to check relay performance, and, if possible, the operating and restraint torques and high contact
relay should be allowed to trip the circuit breakers pressures; jewel bearings should be shrouded to
involved. The interval between tests will depend upon exclude dust and the use of very thin wire for coils
the criticality of the circuit involved, the availability of and connections should be avoided. Dust-tight
the circuit for testing and the technology of the relays cases with an efficient breather are essential on
used. Secondary injection testing is only necessary on these types of electromechanical element
the selected relay setting and the results should be
xi. static, digital and numerical relays should have test
checked against those obtained during the initial
facilities accessible from the front to assist in fault
commissioning of the equipment.
finding. The relay manual should clearly detail the
It is better not to interfere with relay contacts at all expected results at each test point when healthy
unless they are obviously corroded. The performance of
the contacts is fully checked when the relay is actuated.
Insulation tests should also be carried out on the relay
wiring to earth and between circuits, using a 1000V 21.1 Protective Relays Application Guide, 3rd edition.
tester. These tests are necessary to detect any ALSTOM Transmission and Distribution,
deterioration in the insulation resistance. Protection and Control, 1987.

Network Protection & Automation Guide • 397 •