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The relays detect the abnormal conditions in

the electrical circuits by constantly

measuring the electrical quantities which are
different under normal and fault conditions.
The electrical quantities which may change
under fault
conditions are voltage, current, frequency
and phase angle.


In electrical engineering, a protective
relay is a device designed to detect the fault and
initiate the operation of the circuit breaker to
isolate the defective element from the rest of the
system when a fault occurred.
It may give alarm or visible indication to
alert the operator.

Components of relays
The relay circuit connections can be divided
into three parts:
(i) First part is the primary winding of a
current transformer (C.T.) which is connected
in series with the line to be protected.
(ii) Second part consists of secondary winding
of C.T. and the relay operating coil.
(iii) Third part is the tripping circuit which
may be either a.c. or d.c. It consists of a
source of supply, the trip coil of the circuit

Relay connected to system

Design considerations of
electromagnetic relay
1. Coils The coil should withstand a test
of 2500 V
For CT the current ratings are 1A/5A
For PT the voltage is 110V
2. Movable assembly -It should be light
Less friction
3. Relay contacts -- Should be robust to make
or break duty

4. Bearings Pivot and jewel bearings

5. Cases Flush mounted dust proof
6. Operation indicator Coloured flags
are used
7.Adjustment of reset -- Done by

Principle of operation of
There are two operating principles for
(i) Electromagnetic attraction
(ii) Electromagnetic induction

1. Electromagnetic attraction
Electromagnetic attraction relays
operate by virtue of a plunger being
drawn into a solenoid, or an armature
being attracted to the poles of an
electromagnet. Such relays may be
actuated by d-c or by a-c quantities.

2. Electromagnetic induction
Electromagnetic-induction relays use the
principle of the induction motor whereby
torque is developed by induction in a rotor;
this operating principle applies only to relays
actuated by alternating current, and in
dealing with those relays we shall call them
simply "induction-type" relays

Classifications of relays

Electromagnetic relays


Attraction type
1. Attraction armature type
Hinged armature type
Modified hinged armature type
2. Plunger type
3. Balanced beam type
4. Moving coil type
5. Polarized type
6. Reed relay
Induction type
(disc type and cup type)

Shaded pole type

Watt-hour meter type
Induction cup type
Printed disc dynamometer type

Attraction armature type

Principle of operation
Electromagnetic attraction relays operate by
virtue of an armature being attracted to the
poles of an electromagnet or a plunger being
drawn into a solenoid.
Such relays may be actuated by d.c. or a.c.
The force developed is proportional to the
square of current or square of flux thro the coil.
The force developed is given by
Fe = KI2 = K(I2Max - I2Maxcos2t)

Attraction armature type

Hinged Armature Type

Modified hinged armature


Plunger type relay

It is working under the principle that
the plunger is attracted by the
As in the attracted armature type of
relays, the force or torque is given by
The force developed is given by
Fe = KI2 = K(I2Max - I2Maxcos2t)

Plunger type relay

Balanced beam type relay

Moving coil type

Polarised relay
A relay which responds to the direction of the
current, voltage, power.

Reed relay

Induction relays
Induction Relays
Electromagnetic induction relays operate on
the principle of induction motor and are
widely used for protective relaying purposes
involving a.c. quantities.
An induction relay essentially consists of a
pivoted aluminum disc placed in two
alternating magnetic fields of the same
frequency but displaced in time and space.
The torque is produced in the disc by the
interaction of one of the magnetic fields with
the currents induced in the disc by the other.

Induction type relays

The basic construction of this relay is just like four poles
or eight pole induction motor.
The number of poles in the relay depends upon the
number of winding to be accommodated.
A rotating magnetic field is produced by different pairs of
field poles.
In four poles design both pair of poles are supplied from
same current transformers secondary,
But phase difference between the currents of two pole
pairs is 90 deg

This is done by inserting an inductor in series

with coil of one pole pair, and by inserting a
resistor in series with coil of another pole pair.
The rotating magnetic field induces current in
the aluminium drum or cup.
As per working principle of induction motor,
the cup starts rotating in the direction of
rotating magnetic field, with a speed slightly
less than the speed of rotating magnetic field.

Types of induction type


(i) Shaded pole type of relay

The general arrangement of shaded-pole
structure is shown in Fig. below It consists
of a pivoted aluminum disc free to rotate in
the air-gap of an electromagnet.
One half of each pole of the magnet is
surrounded by a copper band known as
shading ring. The alternating flux s in the
shaded portion of the poles will, owing to
the reaction of the current induced in the
ring, lag behind the flux u in the unshaded
portion by an angle .
These two a.c. fluxes differing in phase will

Shaded pole type of relay

(i) Shaded pole type

(ii) Watt-hour-meter type of

This structure gets its name from the fact that it is
used in watt-hour meters. The general arrangement
of this type of relay is shown in Fig.
It consists of a pivoted aluminium disc arranged to
rotate freely between the poles of two
electromagnets. The upper electromagnet carries
two windings ; the pirmary and the secondary. The
primary winding carries the relay current I1 while
the secondary winding is connected to the winding
of the lower magnet. The primary current induces
e.m.f. in the secondary and so circulates a current
I2 in it.

The flux 2 Induced in the lower magnet by the

current in the secondary winding of the upper
magnet will lag behind 1 by an angle . The two
fluxes 1 and 2 differing in phase by will
produce a driving torque on the disc proportional
to 12sin .

(ii) Watt-hour-meter type


(iii) Induction cup type relay

Thermal relay

Time current characteristics

(iv) Inverse Definite Minimum Time

current (IDMT) relay
These relays will give inverse time
characteristics at lower values of fault
current and definite time
characteristics at higher values of fault

Types of Over current Relay(IDMT)

1. Instantaneous Over current (Definite
Current) Relay
2. Definite Time Over current Relay
3. Inverse time over current relay(IDMT)
Moderately Inverse
Very Inverse Time
Extremely Inverse

1. Instantaneous Overcurrent relay (Definite Current)

Definite current relay operate instantaneously when the current reaches a predetermined value.

Instantaneous Overcurrent Relay Definite Current

Operates in a definite time when current exceeds its Pick-up value.
Its operation criterion is only current magnitude (without time delay).
Operating time is constant.
There is no intentional time delay.
Coordination of definite-current relays is based on the fact that the fault current varies with the
position of the fault because of the difference in the impedance between the fault and the source
The relay located furthest from the source operate for a low current value
The operating currents are progressively increased for the other relays when moving towards the
It operates in 0.1s or less
Application: This type is applied to the outgoing feeders.

2. Definite Time Overcurrent Relays

In this type, two conditions must be satisfied for operation (tripping), current must
exceed the setting value and the fault must be continuous at least a time equal to
time setting of the relay.

Definite time of overcurrent relay

Modern relays may contain more than one stage of protection each stage includes
each own current and time setting.
1.For Operation of Definite Time Overcurrent Relay operating time is constant
2.Its operation is independent of the magnitude of current above the pick-up value.
3.It has pick-up and time dial settings, desired time delay can be set with the help of
an intentional time delay mechanism.
4.Easy to coordinate.
5.Constant tripping time independent of in feed variation and fault location.

3. Inverse Time Overcurrent Relays (IDMT Relay)

In this type of relays, operating time is inversely changed with
current. So, high current will operate overcurrent relay faster
than lower ones. There are standard inverse, very inverse and
extremely inverse types

The operating time of an overcurrent relay can be

moved up (made slower) by adjusting the time dial
setting. The lowest time dial setting (fastest operating
time) is generally 0.5 and the slowest is 10.
Operates when current exceeds its pick-up value.
Operating time depends on the magnitude of current.
It gives inverse time current characteristics at lower
values of fault current and definite time characteristics
at higher values
An inverse characteristic is obtained if the value of plug
setting multiplier is below 10, for values between 10
and 20 characteristics tend towards definite time

Inverse Time Over current Relays

3.1. Normal Inverse Time Over current
The accuracy of the operating time may range
from 5 to 7.5% of the nominal operating time
as specified in the relevant norms.
The uncertainty of the operating time and the
necessary operating time may require a
grading margin of 0.4 to 0.5 seconds.

3.2.Very Inverse Time Over current Relay

Gives more inverse characteristics than that of IDMT.
Used where there is a reduction in fault current, as
the distance from source increases.
Particularly effective with ground faults because of
their steep characteristics.
Very inverse over current relays are particularly
suitable if the short-circuit current drops rapidly with
the distance from the substation.
The grading margin may be reduced to a value in the
range from 0.3 to 0.4 seconds when over current
relays with very inverse characteristics are used.

3.3. Extremely Inverse Time Overcurrent Relay

It has more inverse characteristics than that of IDMT
and very inverse overcurrent relay.
Suitable for the protection of machines against
The operating time of a time overcurrent relay with an
extremely inverse time-current characteristic is
approximately inversely proportional to the square of
the current
The use of extremely inverse overcurrent relays makes
it possible to use a short time delay in spite of high
switching-in currents.
Used when Fault current is dependent on fault location

According to application of
Over current, over voltage, over
frequency and over power relay
Under current, under voltage, under
frequency and under power relay
Directional over current relay
Non directional over current relay
Directional power relay
Distance relay

Non directional over current

These relays are used for earth
leakage protection.
These relays will operate when the
current exceeds the preset value.
The construction is as that of the
watt hour meter type of relays.


Operating characteristics

Directional power relay

These relays will operate for the
reverse flow direction of the
actuating quantity.
The construction is as that of the
watt hour meter.

Directional over current


Universal torque equation

Most of the relays consists of electromagnets.
These electromagnets have either current
winding or voltage winding and in some cases
The torque produced is interaction of the
fluxes produced by these windings.
The torque developed by the current winding
is KI2.
The torque developed by the voltage winding
is KV2

If both current and voltage windings are

used then the torque developed is
where is angle between V & I
is relay maximum torque angle.
If a relay consists of all the torques then
T = K1I2 +K2V2 + K3VIcos(-) + K4 where
tap settings and K4 is spring constant

Distance relay
Distance relays are used for distance
protection whose action depends
upon the distance btw feeding point
and fault.
The time of operation is a function of
ratio between voltage and current. Ie
The impedance between the relay
and fault depends on the electrical
distance between them.

Types of distance relays

1. impedance relay
2. reactance relay
3. admittance relay or mho relay

Impedance type distance

An impedance relay is voltage restrained
over current relay.
This relay measures the impedance up to
the point of fault and gives tripping
command if the impedance is less than relay
setting impedance Z (replica impedance).
This relay continuously monitors voltage(V)
and current(I) through CT and PT and
operates when the V/I ratio falls below the
set value.

Reactance relay
Reactance relays are high speed
It consists of over current unit and
directional unit.
The directional unit develops
negative torque when the current
lags behind the voltage by 90.

Mho relay or admittance

In impedance relay a separate unit is
needed for direction and same can
not be included.
So in mho relay the directional unit is
inherently made by adding a voltage
winding called polarising winding.
This relay works on measuring of
admittance Y

R X diagram of mho relay

Differential relay
These relays operate when the
phasor difference of two or more
electrical quantities differ from the
predefined value.
This type of relays operate on a
result of comparison between phase
angle and magnitude of currents
entering and leaving the system.

Types of differential relay

1. current differential relay
2. biased beam relay or percentage
differential relay.
3. voltage balance differential relay

Current differential relay

Biased beam relay or percentage

differential relay
This relay is designed to operate the
difference in current in terms of
fractional relation of actual current

Voltage balance differential


Time current characteristics of

The general expression for time
current characteristics is given by

Buchholz relay
Buchholz relay is a safety device which is generally
used in large oil immersed transformers (rated more
than 500 kVA). It is a type of oil and gas actuated
protection relay.

It is used for the protection of a transformer from the

faults occurring inside the transformer, such as impulse
breakdown of the insulating oil, insulation failure of
turns etc.

Buchholz relay

Working principle
Whenever a fault occurs inside the
transformer, such as insulation failure of
turns, breakdown of core or excess core
heating, the fault is accompanied by
production of excess heat. This excess
heat decomposes the transformer
insulating oil which results in production of
gas. The generation of gases depend on
intensity the of fault. Gas bubbles tend to
flow in upward direction towards
conservator and hence they are collected
in the buchholz relay which is placed on

Construction of Buchholz

Buchholz relay consists of an oil filled


There are two hinged floats, one at the top

and other at the bottom in the chamber.
Each float is accompanied by a mercury
The mercury switch on the upper float is
connected to an alarm circuit and that on
the lower float is connected to an external

Whenever a minor fault occurs inside the transformer,

heat is produced by the fault currents. The produced
heat causes decomposition of transformer oil and gas
bubbles are produced.
These gas bubbles flow in upward direction and get
collected in the buchholz relay. The collected gas
displaces the oil in buchholz relay and the
displacement is equivalent to the volume of gas
collected. The displacement of oil causes the upper
float to close the upper mercury switch which is
connected to an alarm circuit.
Hence, when minor fault occurs, the connected alarm
gets activated. The collected amount of gas indicates
the severity of the fault occurred. During minor faults

During major faults, like phase to earth short circuit,

the heat generated is high and a large amount of
gas is produced.
This large amount of gas will similarly flow upwards,
but its motion is high enough to tilt the lower float in
the buccholz relay.
In this case, the lower float will cause the lower
mercury switch which will trip the transformer from
the supply, i.e. transformer is isolated from the

Advantages of Buchholz

Buchholz relay indicates the internal faults

due to heating and it helps in avoiding the
major faults.
Severity of the fault can be determined
without even dismantling the transformer.
If a major fault occurs, the transformer can
be isolated with the help of buchholz relay to
prevent accidents.




The negative relays are also called

phase unbalance relays because these
relays provide protection against negative
currents existing due to unbalanced loads or
phase-phase faults.
The unbalanced currents are dangerous
from generators and motors point of view as
these currents can cause overheating.
Negative sequence relays are generally
used to give protection to generators and

Plug - time Setting Multiplier for

electromagnetic relays (PSM)
The actual rms current flowing in the relay
is expressed as a multiple of setting current
is plug setting multiplier (PSM).
Suppose the rating of relay is 5A and it is
set to 200% ie 10A. If the current flowing
through relay is 100A then plug setting
multiplier is 10.
If PSM is 4 means 40A and 6 means 60A.
If the same relay is set to 50% ie 2.5A then
PSM 4 means 10A and 6 means 15A.

Current setting
The current above the set value the relay
Suppose the current setting is 5A the relay
operates when the current exceeds 5A.
Normally settings are done as 50% to 200%.
For 5A set relay the settings are
For earth fault, the relay settings are 20% to

Static relays

Long life (High Reliability): more than

109 operations
High Range of Setting compared to
electromechanical Relay
More Accurate compared to
electromechanical Relay
Low Electromagnetic Interference.
Less power consumption.
Shock and vibration resistant
Microprocessor compatible.
Isolation of Voltage

No moving parts: There are no moving parts to

wear out or arcing contacts to deteriorate that
are often the primary cause of failure with an
Electro Mechanical Relay.
No mechanical contact bounce or arcing: A
solid-state relay doesnt depend on
mechanical forces or moving contacts for its
operation but performs electronically. Thus,
timing is very accurate even for currents as
low as the pickup value. There is no
mechanical contact bounce or arcing, and
reset times are extremely short.

Solid state relays are fast becoming the better

choice in many applications, especially
throughout the telecommunication and
microprocessor control industries.
Cost Issues: In the past, there has been a
rather large gap between the price of an
electromechanical relay and the price of a
solid state relay. With continual advancement
in manufacturing technology, this gap has
been reduced dramatically making the
advantages of solid state technology
accessible to a growing number of design

Limitations of static relays

Auxiliary voltage requirement for Relay
Static relays are sensitive to voltage transients
which are caused by operation of breaker and
isolator in the primary circuit of CTs and PTs.
Serious over voltage is also caused by
breaking of control circuit, relay contacts etc.
Such voltage spikes of small duration can
damage the semiconductor components and
also cause mal operation of relays.
Temperature dependence of static relays: The
characteristics of semiconductor devices are

Highly sophisticated isolation and filter circuits

are required to be built into the relay design to
take care of electromagnetic interference and
transient switching disturbances in the power
Highly reliable power supply circuits are
Effect of environmental conditions like humidity,
high ambient temperature, dust accumulation
on PCB leading to tracking.
The component failure.
Non availability of fault data.

Difference between static and

electromagnetic relays
Power consumption
Moving contacts

Effect of
Position of relay


Static relays

Very less 1 milliwatt
High 2 watt
No moving contacts. So, Moving contacts are
No problem of Arcing
present. Problem like
No needs to replace
Arcing, Replacement of
contacts is necessary.
No effect of Gravity on Gravitational force can
operation of static relay. affect the relay.
Relay can be installed
at any location and at
any position.
1 relay can perform
various functions. (1
relay can be used as
over current relay,
under voltage relay

This relay has to be

installed straight only
and away from
magnetic field.
1 relay can perform
only 1 function. (1 relay
can be used as over
current only for under
voltage we use another

Delay in operation

Easily provided

Not provided


Compact (small)


Accuracy and speed



Effect of vibrations and

External supply required

No or less effect

Yes, vibrations directly

Yes, Dc supply is required

for level detector, timing
circuit etc.

No need of external supply

Voltage change

Can damage this relay

because electronic
components are used.

Change of voltage causes

no effect.



Cheap. (Not costly)

Effect of temperature

May damage the electronic No effect of temperature.


Types of over current relays

Static directional over current relay
(i) instantaneous
(ii) definite time
(iii) inverse time
Static distance relay
Static differential relay

Instantaneous over current


Definite time over current


Inverse time over current