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Short Circuit Capacity: Basic Calculations and Transformer Sizing

Copyright 2001 Francis J. Martino

Short circuit capacity calculation is used for many applications: sizing of transformers
selecting the interrupting capacity ratings of circuit !rea"ers and fuses determining if a
line reactor is re#uired for use $ith a %aria!le fre#uency dri%e etc.
&he purpose of the presentation is to gain a !asic understanding of short circuit capacity.
&he application e'ample utilizes transformer sizing for motor loads.
Conductor impedances and their associated %oltage drop are ignored not only to present a
simplified illustration !ut also to pro%ide a method of appro'imation !y $hich a plant
engineer electrician or production manager $ill !e a!le to either e%aluate a ne$ application
or re%ie$ an e'isting application pro!lem and resol%e the matter #uic"ly.
(iterature containing a detailed discussion of short circuit capacity calculations are
a%aila!le $ithin the electrical po$er transmission industry. )1*
&he follo$ing calculations $ill determine the e'tra "+, capacity re#uired for a three
phase transformer that is used to feed a single three phase motor that is started $ith
full %oltage applied to its terminals or -across.the.line.-
&$o transformers $ill !e discussed the first ha%ing an unlimited short circuit "+,
capacity a%aila!le at its primary terminals and the second ha%ing a much lo$er input
short circuit capacity a%aila!le.
"+, of a single phase transformer / + ' ,
"+, of a three phase transformer / + ' , ' 1.012 $here 1.012 / the s#uare root of 1.
&he s#uare root of 1 is introduced for the reason that in a three phase system
the phases are 120 degrees apart and therefore can not !e added arithmetically.
&hey $ill add alge!raically.
Transformer Connected To Utility Power Line
&he first transformer is rated 1000 "+, 230 secondary %olts 4.045 impedance.
6ated full load amp output of the transformer is
1000 "+, 7 8230 ' 1.0129 / 1201 amps
&he 4.045 impedance rating indicates that 1201 amps $ill flo$ in the secondary if
the secondary is short circuited line to line and the primary %oltage is raised from
zero %olts to a point at $hich 4.045 of 230 %olts or 20.: %olts appears at the
secondary terminals. &herefore the impedance 8;9 of the transformer secondary may
no$ !e calculated:
; / + 7 < / 20.: %olts 7 1201 amps / .022=2 ohms
&he transformer is connected directly to the utility po$er lines $hich $e $ill
assume are capa!le of supplying the transformer $ith an unlimited short circuit
"+, capacity. &he utility company $ill al$ays determine and ad%ise of the short
circuit capacity a%aila!le at any facility upon re#uest.
>ith unlimited short circuit "+, a%aila!le from the utility the short circuit
amperage capacity $hich the transformer can deli%er from its secondary is
230 %olts 7 .022=2 / 20=22 amps
,n alternati%e method of calculating short circuit capacity for the a!o%e
transformer is:
1201 amps ' 100 7 4.045 / 1201 7 .0404 / 20=22 amps
,nother alternati%e is to consult a reference manual. Cutler. ?ammer Consulting
,pplication Catalog 12th @dition gi%es the specifications for the a!o%e mentioned
transformer and the %alue of the short circuit capacity in &a!le ,24 on page ,.4=.
&he short circuit capacity is gi%en as 20=00 amps.
Ao$ $e are ready to apply a motor to the terminals of the transformer secondary.
>e must determine the %oltage drop $hich $ill !e caused !y the motor inrush on
start. <f the %oltage remains $ithin the rated %oltage of the motor then no o%ersizing
of the transformer is re#uired.
Motors rated for 2:0 %olts are for use $ith distri!ution systems that are rated at
230 %olts. &he rating system allo$s a t$enty %olt drop in the distri!ution system
$hich may occur along the feeder ca!les $hich connect the po$er transformer to
the load. &he A@M, specification for a standard motor is that it re#uires the motor to
!e capa!le of operating at plus or minus 105 of nameplate %oltage. &herefore the
%oltage drop on inrush should not !e allo$ed to drop !elo$ 2:0 %olts less 105
or 212 %olts.
&he transformer $ill !e as"ed to supply po$er to a motor $hich has a full load amp
rating of 1201 amps $hich $ill fully load the transformer. &herefore $e $ill rate
the motor at 2:0 + ' 1201 , ' 1.012 or =43.4 "+,. >e $ill assume that our motor
$ill ha%e an inrush of :005 of its full load rating $hich $ill cause an inrush of
2:0 + ' 1201 , ' :005 ' 1.012 / 4041 "+,
&he %oltage drop at the transformer terminals $ill !e proportional to the motor load.
&he %oltage drop $ill !e e'pressed as a percentage of the inrush motor load compared
to the ma'imum capa!ility of the transformer. )2* &he transformer has a ma'imum "+,
capacity at its short circuit capa!ility $hich is
230 + ' 20=22 , ' 1.012 / 101=4 "+,
&he %oltage drop on motor inrush $ill !e
4041 "+, 7 101=4 "+, / .111 or 11.15
&he transformer output %oltage $ill drop to 230 ' .::= or 121 %olts. &hus $e can
see that the transformer is much too small to use a motor that has a full load rating
e#ual to the full load capacity of the transformer.
&he transformer must !e sized so that its short circuit capa!ilty is e#ual to or
greater than 4041 "+, times 10 or 40410 "+, in order to ha%e a %oltage drop of 105
or less. &herefore the short circuit amperage capacity of the transformer to !e used
must !e a minimum of
40410 "+, 7 8230 + ' 1.0129 / :=10: amps
, typical 2400 "+, 4.045 impedance transformer $ill ha%e a short circuit capacity of
42100 amps. &he ne't highest standard size transformer at 1040 "+, $ill ha%e a :.45
impedance and $ould ha%e a short circuit output capa!ility of :=1=4 amps $hich $ill !e
<n the particular application discussed the ratio of the selected standard size
transformer "+, to motor "+, is 1040 "+, 7 =43.4 "+, / 1.=1. &hus the transformer
rating is 1=15 larger or nearly four times the rating of the motor. Aote the non.linear
effect of the impedance rating of the transformers on their short circuit capacities.
Transformer Connected To An Upstream Transformer
&he second transformer $e $ill e'amine $ill ha%e a finite short circuit capacity
a%aila!le at its primary rather than an unlimited capacity. >e $ill assume that a facility
deri%es its po$er from the same 1000 "+, transformer mentioned a!o%e and that the
second transformer is connected directly to the terminals of the 1000 "+, transformer.
&hus feeder ca!les !et$een the t$o transformers are eliminated and the impedance of
ca!les are not ta"en into account. ?o$e%er the smaller the motor leads the less $ill !e
!oth the short circuit capacity and the %oltage deli%ered to the motor terminals.
&he second transformer $hich $ill ha%e a 230 %olt primary and a 230 %olt secondary $ill
!e used to po$er a 20 ?B 1 phase 2:0 %olt motor $hich $ill !e started at full %oltage. &he
motor $ill !e the only load on the transformer.
Sales catalogs !y %arious manufacturers $ill in%aria!ly recommend a -minimum
transformer "+,- of 21.: for use $ith a 20 ?B motor. &he minimum transformer "+, ratings
are for use $ith multiple motors on a single transformer. , multiple motor configuration
$ill !e discussed in the ne't section of this article.
&he 21.: "+, is calculated as follo$s:
230 %olts ' 2: nominal amps ' 1.012 / 21.: "+,
&he transformer manufacturers $ill gi%e a 20 ?B motor a nominal full load amp rating
of 20 amps thus allo$ing no e'tra capacity:
2:0 %olts ' 20 nominal amps ' 1.012 / 21.4 "+,
Cne motor manufacturer has rated a 20 ?B motor at 2: Full (oad ,mps 2:0 +,C
204 (oc"ed 6otor ,mps 315 Bo$er Factor. &he motor $ill present a load of
2:0 %olts ' 2: amps ' 1.012 / 20.0 "+,
&he starting motor "+, load $ith inrush current $ill !e
2:0 + ' 204 , ' 1.012 / 1:1.1 "+,
>e $ill consider using a 10 "+, general purpose transformer to supply the 20 ?B motor.
&he transformer $ill ha%e a nominal impedance of 2.05 and an ouptut of 1:.1 amps at
230 %olts. &he short circuit current capacity that can !e deli%ered to the 21.: "+,
transformer !y the upstream 1000 "+, transformer is 20=22 amps or 101=4 "+,.
&he short circuit amperage capacity of a transfomer $ith a limited system short circuit
capacity a%aila!le at its primary is:
transformer full load amps 7 8transformer impedance D upstream system impedance as seen
!y the transformer9
upstream system impedance as seen !y the transformer /
transformer "+, 7 a%aila!le primary short circuit capacity "+,
1:.1 amps 7 )2.05 D 810 "+, 7 101=4 "+,9* /
1:.1 7 82.05 D .001059 / 1:.1 7 .0230 / 1243 short circuit amps
&he transformer output %oltage drop upon motor inrush $ill !e:
motor inrush "+, 7 short circuit "+, /
1:1.1 "+, 7 8230 + ' 1243 , ' 1.0129 / 1:1.1 "+, 7 102: "+, /
.14: / 14.: 5
, 10 "+, transformer rating is too small as the motor %oltage drop $ill e'ceed 105.
, 24 "+, transformer $ith a 2.25 impedance and an output of 42.1 amps at 230 %olts
$ould ha%e a short circuit capacity of 2012 amps. &he %oltage drop upon motor inrush
$ould !e =.::5.
For a single motor and transformer com!ination one transformer manufacturer
recommends that the motor full load running current not e'ceed :45 of the transformer
full load amp rating. )1* &hus for our 2: amp motor the transformer rating should !e
a minimum of 20 amps or 11.1 "+,.
Multiple Motors n A Single Transformer
&he minimum transformer "+, is gi%en !y transformer manufacturers so that a transformer
may !e sized properly for multiple motors. <f there are fi%e motors on one transformer add
the minimum "+, ratings and then add transformer capacity as necessary to accomodate the
inrush current of the largest motor.
&he transformer thusly selected $ill !e capa!le of running and starting all fi%e motors
pro%ided that only one motor is started at any one time. ,dditional capacity $ill !e re#uired
for motors starting simultaneously.
,lso if any motor is started more than once per hour add 205 to that motorEs minimum
"+, rating to compensate for heat losses $ithin the transformer.
Motor Contri!ution to Short Circuit Capacity
>hen a fault condition occurs po$er system %oltage $ill drop dramatically. ,ll motors
that are running at that time $ill not !e a!le to sustain their running speed. ,s those motors
slo$ in speed the stored energy $ithin their fields $ill !e discharged into the po$er line.
&he nominal discharge of a motor $ill contri!ute to the fault a current e#ual to up to four
times its full load current.
>ith our 1000 "+, 1201 amp transformer e'ample gi%en a!o%e $e $ill assume that all
1201 amps of load are from motors. &he actual short circuit current $ill e#ual 20=22 amps
plus 2005 of 1201 amps for a total of 2401: short circuit amps.
>hen sizing the transformer for motor loads the fault current contri!ution from the
motors $ill not !e a consideration for sizing. ?o$e%er the motor contri!ution must !e
considered $hen sizing all !ranch circuit fuses and circuit !rea"ers. &he interrupting
capacity ratings of those de%ices must e#ual or e'ceed the total short circuit capacity
a%aila!le at the point of application.
Motor contri!ution to short circuit capacity must !e included $hen adding a %aria!le
fre#uency dri%e to the system. See +aria!le Fre#uency Fri%es: Source <mpedance
and (ine 6eactors
)1* -Cutler.?ammer Consulting ,pplication Catalog- pu!lished !y Cutler.?ammer
Fi%ision of @aton Corporation Bitts!urgh B,.
)2* -Short Circuit Capacity and +oltage Sag- <@@@ 8<nstitute of @lectrical and @lectronic
@ngineers9 <ndustry ,pplication Society 8<,S9 Magazine July7,ugust 2000 page 13. Gou
might find this magazine in uni%ersities $hich ha%e @lectrical @nginneering programs.
Fo not get it confused $ith <@@@ &ransactions on <ndustry ,pplications $hich is a
different pu!lication.
)1* -Bo$er Fistri!ution Broducts- Catalog ,&F.01 ,cme @lectric Corporation 1==4
page 124.
Bo$er Huality and Fri%es ((C