# Learn How To Specify Current Transformers

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## Instrument and protection CTs

Current transformers are used to supply information to the protective relays and/or current, power and energy metering “instruments”. For this purpose they must supply a secondary current proportional to the primary current flowing through them and must be adapted to network characteristics: voltage, frequency and current.

They are defined by their ratio, power and accuracy class. Their class (accuracy as a function of CT load and of overcurrent) is chosen according to the application.

A “protection” current transformer (CT) must saturate sufficiently high to allow a relatively accurate measurement of the fault current by the protection whose operating threshold can be very high. Current transformers are thus expected to have an Accuracy Limit Factor (ALF) that is usually fairly high. Note that the associated “relay” must be able to withstand high overcurrents.

An “instrument”current transformer (CT) requires good accuracy around the nominal current value. The metering instruments do not need to withstand currents as high as the protection relays. This is why the “instrument” CTs, unlike the “protection” CTs, have the lowest possible Safety Factor (SF) in order to protect these instruments through earlier saturation.

Some current transformers have secondary windings dedicated to protection and metering. These “instrument” and “protection” CTs are governed by standard IEC 60044-1 (in France NF C 42-502).

The matching of CTs with protection relays calls for a thorough knowledge of current transformers. The following section gives a few reminders of CTs corresponding to this use.

### Characterisation of CTs

An example of a protection CT //

• Rated primary current: 200 A,
• Rated secondary current: 5 A.

Its accuracy load: Pn = 15 VA
Its accuracy limit factor is ALF = 10

For I = ALF. In, its accuracy is 5% (5P), (see figure 1)

To simplify, for the protection CT given in example, the ratio error is less than 5% at 10 In , if the real load consumes 15 VA at In. However these data are not sufficient. Also, it is useful to know the standard values.

### 12 definitions related to current transformers //

#### ≡ Rated (nominal) primary current I1

Defined by standards, it is chosen from the discrete values: 10 – 12.5 – 15 – 20 – 25 – 30 – 40 – 50 – 60 – 75 A and their decimal multiples.

#### ≡ Rated (nominal) secondary current I2

Equals 1A or 5 A.

#### ≡ Ratio (I1 / I2)

The primary and secondary currents are standard, thus these values are discrete. (Learn more about ratios of magnetic HV instrument current transformers – Here)

Load value on which the accuracy conditions are based.

#### ≡ Rated (nominal) accuracy power Pn

Expressed in VA, it is the apparent power supplied to the secondary circuit for the nominal (rated) secondary current and the accuracy load. The standard values are: 1 – 2.5 – 5 – 10 – 15 – 30 VA.

#### ≡ Real power Pr

In this technical article, it is the power corresponding to the real load consumption of the CT at In.

#### ≡ Accuracy class

This class defines the error limits guaranteed on the ratio and on the phase shift in specified power and current conditions. For the nominal 5P and 10P classes, the table in figure 6 defines these limits.

Figure 2 // Errors on the module and the phase at nominal current
(according to standard IEC 60044-1)

 Accuracy class Current error for the nominal current as a % Phase shift for the nominal current Composite errors for the accuracy limit current as a % Minutes Centiradians 5P ± 1 ± 60 ± 1.8 5 10P ± 3 – – 10

#### ≡ Special accuracy class

Class X is a class defined by British standard BS 3938. It must also be defined in the future standard IEC 60044-1 under the name of class PX. This class specifies the minimum value of the knee point voltage Vk of the CT.

It also imposes a maximum value of Rct (CT secondary winding resistance). Sometimes, it specifies the maximum value of the magnetising current Io at knee point voltage.

If we consider the magnetising curve V(Io) of the CT, the knee point voltage Vk is defined as the point on this curve from which a 10% increase in voltage causes a 50% increase in the magnetising current Io. Class X corresponds to a better metering accuracy than classes 5P and even more so 10P (see figure 3).

It is always possible to find an equivalence between a CT defined in class X and a 5P CT or in some cases even a 10P CT.

#### ≡ Real accuracy factor (Fp or Kr)

This is the ratio between the overcurrent corresponding to the nominal error and the rated current of the CT when the real load is different from the nominal load.

#### ≡ Accuracy limit factor (ALF or Kn)

This is the ratio between the nominal overcurrent (e.g. 10 In) and the rated current (In).

#### ≡ Short time withstand current

Expressed in kA, this is the maximum current Ith that can be withstood for one second (when the secondary is short-circuited). It represents the thermal withstand of the CT to overcurrents (the standard values are given by the standards mentioned in the appendix).

#### ≡ CT rated voltage

This is the rated voltage to which the CT primary is subjected. It is important to remember that the primary is at HV potential and that one of the terminals of the secondary (which must never be opened) is normally earthed.

Just as for any devices, a maximum withstand voltage for one minute at power frequency and a maximum impulse voltage withstand are also defined. Their values are defined by the standards.

For example: for a rated voltage of 24 kV, the CT must withstand 50 kV for 1 minute at 50 Hz and 125 kV at the impulse voltage.

### CT with several secondaries

Some current transformers may have several secondaries dedicated to protection or to metering. The most typical cases are CTs with 2 secondaries, more rarely with 3 secondaries. Physically, these CTs group in the same mould the equivalent of 2 or 3 separate CTs that can have different classes and ratios (see figure 4 below).

### Current transformers – VIDEO sessions

#### Current transformer model

Reference // Cahier Technique Schneider Electric no. 194 – Current transformers: how to specify them by Schneider Electric

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Edvard Csanyi

Edvard - Electrical engineer, programmer and founder of EEP. Highly specialized for design of LV/MV switchgears and LV high power busbar trunking (<6300A) in power substations, commercial buildings and industry fascilities. Professional in AutoCAD programming. Present on

Jul 24, 2017

Dear EDVARD sir, The technical information which you are providing is very useful

2. Amin Mustangin
Apr 20, 2017

Bismillah.

• Edvard
Apr 20, 2017

See the blue button on your left ‘Get PDF’ and follow the simple instructions. This makes PDF for you.

• Amin Mustangin
Apr 20, 2017

Thank you! I think should open it by using desktop/laptop.

• Edvard
Apr 20, 2017

Yes, sorry I didn’t mention this information. On mobile it’s not available.

3. Shantanu Deshpande
Dec 08, 2015

As always, the info is very impressively put together. Thanks man.

Further could you take up following topics:-

1. Metering CT: How to select a CT for an application. For eg. if we have a load of 400A on a source than can provide 800A, then should we go for a 400/1 CT, 600/1 CT or 1000/5 CT.

2. Effects of Under sizing, Over sizing the CT

3. CT callibration. Why and how ?

I ask this because I am dealing with an environment where we have variable load. The load increases, reaches peak and decreases over a period of time.

So would we be needed to change the CTs also with the load ?

4. Shreesh
Dec 07, 2015

Hello,
Could you talk about US standards based current transformers . Please make distinction between US and IEC ratings — so it is easy for reader to understand the different electrical markets.

5. sathish
Dec 05, 2015

Sir, I am very much impressed about ur site informations.

• Edvard
Dec 05, 2015

Thank you Sathish!