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Magnetic voltage transformers

Magnetic voltage transformers are used to provide a secondary signal that is proportional to the actual prevailing primary value. These signals are used to supply measuring instruments, meters, relays and other similar apparatuses.

Working principle and connections of magnetic voltage transformers
Working principle and connections of magnetic voltage transformers (photo credit: ABB)

The primary values measured are system currents and voltages. The secondary signal available has to fulfill the following criteria:

  1. Standardized nominal value
  2. Minimum ratio and phase displacement errors
  3. Capability to supply the power needed by the secondary protection and measurement devices
  4. Necessary insulation level against the primary circuits
  5. Predictable performance under primary system normal conditions and specially under abnormal conditions

The primary winding is affected by the actual network voltage at every instant of time. This primary voltage value is then converted to a secondary voltage value based on the rated voltage-transforming ratio of the voltage transformer.

The most common connection of the voltage transformer is between each phase and the ground separately (single pole), thus the value measured is the phase-to-earth voltage value.

In certain applications, the connection between phases (double-pole) is also used. The third variant would be a three-phase unit where the three-phase units are in one physical enclosure and the phases are star-connected against earth.

Like with the current transformers, a number of separate secondary cores are used for measuring and protection purposes. It is also possible to use one core for both measuring and protection.

Representation of a single-pole (on the left) voltage transformer with two secondary cores and a double-pole (on the right) with one secondary core
Figure 1 – Representation of a single-pole (on the left) voltage transformer with two secondary cores and a double-pole (on the right) with one secondary core

Unlike with current transformers, the voltage transformers normally cater for one fixed transforming ratio, and special designs with double transforming ratios can be employed based on the individual application needs.

The rated secondary AC voltage levels are usually either 100 V or 110 V, though also others exist, mainly in countries under the ANSI standard influence.

The most common type of a voltage transformer on the distribution side is a set of three single-pole ones having two separate cores, namely the star-connected one for measuring purposes and the broken-delta-connected one for residual voltage measurement.

A set of three single-pole VTs having two secondary cores
Figure 2 – A set of three single-pole VTs having two secondary cores

The secondary circuits of a voltage transformer have to be protected with fuses or miniature circuit breakers. These protection devices should be mounted as close to the voltage transformers as possible.

If there is a load resistor connected to the open-delta core of the voltage transformer for damping oscillation caused by the ferroresonance phenomenon, the resistor has to be connected to the voltage transformer side of the secondary circuit protection device.

The ferroresonance phenomenon is due to the resonance circuit formed by the single-pole VT inductance to earth and the unearthed system capacitance to earth. This resonance circuit can cause oscillations resulting in heating, and finally damaging, the voltage transformers. To damp down these oscillations, a load resistor is connected across the open-delta winding.

These problems are most likely to occur in un- earthed systems with minimum feeder length connected.

66 kV oil-insulated outdoor-type one-pole magnetic VT

A 66 kV oil-insulated outdoor-type one-pole magnetic voltage transformer
Figure 3 – A 66 kV oil-insulated outdoor-type one-pole magnetic voltage transformer

Where:

  1. Primary terminal
  2. Oil level sight glass
  3. Oil
  4. Quartz filling
  5. Insulator
  6. Lifting lug
  7. Secondary terminal box
  8. Neutral and terminal
  9. Expansion system
  10. Paper insulation
  11. Tank
  12. Primary windingGround connection

12 kV indoor epoxy resin-cased one-pole magnetic VT

A 12 kV indoor epoxy resin-cased one-pole magnetic voltage transformer
Figure 4 – A 12 kV indoor epoxy resin-cased one-pole magnetic voltage transformer

Where:

  1. Medium voltage terminals
  2. Primary coil
  3. Magnetic circuit
  4. Secondary winding
  5. Epoxy body
  6. Secondary outlets
  7. Base plate
  8. Cover of secondary terminals used for outlet sealing
  9. Nameplate

With an ideal voltage transformer, the ratio between the primary and secondary voltage always equals the ratio between the primary and secondary winding turns.

Principle presentation of a magnetic voltage transformer
Figure 5 – Principle presentation of a magnetic voltage transformer

The behavior of voltage transformers and the conformities to basic electrical laws can be demonstrated by the use of equivalent circuit shown below.

Equivalent circuit of a magnetic voltage transformer
Figure 6 – Equivalent circuit of a magnetic voltage transformer

From the above equivalent circuit, it can be seen that with a non-ideal transformer there are always some errors included in the measurement. These errors are mainly caused by the excitation current (Io) and the load current (I2), which introduces both ratio errors and angle errors between the reduced primary voltage and the actual secondary voltage.

The detailed core data describes the core performance with respect to the intended application. This data can be expressed according to the guidelines of one of the several international standards, like IEC, British Standards or IEEE. The following is based on the standards provided by IEC.

The issue is approached through an example. It is assumed here that a three-phase set of one-pole voltage transformer, having the below shown data labels, is used for energy measurement and residual overvoltage protection.


Example of reading voltage transformer data

Let’a take a look this example of VT:

  • 6600:√3/100: √3/100:3V
  • a – n 30VA cl.0.5
  • da – dn 100VA cl.6P 50Hz 400VA
  • 7.2/20/60kV
  • 1.9xUn 8h

6600:√3/100: √3/100:3V

These values determine the rated voltage ratio. The voltage transformer is a single-pole one intended for phase-to-ground voltage measurement. The rated primary voltage is 6600:√3V and the rated secondary voltages are 100:√3V and 100:3V.

The first secondary core is intended for a star connection giving out the phase-to-ground voltage signal on 100: √3V (approximately 57.7V) bases. The second secondary core is intended for a residual voltage measurement utilizing open-delta connection on 100:3V (approximately 33.3V) bases.

Under full (fault impedance is zero) earth fault situation in unearthed systems, the measured value from open-delta connection would be approximately 100V.


a – n 30VA cl.0.5

The marking a – n 30VA cl.0.5 is the detailed data for the first secondary core intended for measurement. The rated secondary burden is 30VA and the accuracy class is 0.5.

The markings “a” and “n” refer to the secondary terminal markings on the voltage transformer secondary connection box. To comply with the stated accuracy class, the voltage transformer has to fulfill certain requirements regarding voltage and phase displacement errors as shown below.

These limits apply to the secondary burdens between 25-100% of the rated burden.

Voltage transformer measurement requirements for classes 0.5 and 0.2
Figure 7 – Voltage transformer measurement requirements for classes 0.5 and 0.2 according to IEC standards. Plotted lines show the behavior of the transformer used in above example

da – dn 100VA cl.6P

The marking da – dn 100VA cl.6P is the detailed data for the second secondary core intended for protection. The rated secondary burden is100 VA and the accuracy class is 6P.

The markings “da” and “dn” refer to the secondary terminal markings on the voltage transformer secondary connection box. To comply with the stated accuracy class, the voltage transformer has to fulfill certain requirements regarding voltage and phase displacement errors as shown below.

These limits apply to the secondary burdens between 25-100% of the rated burden. If the open-delta-connected secondary protection winding is used only for ferroresonance damping resistor, it does not have to comply with accuracy requirements.

Accuracy requirements of the voltage transformers’ protection classes

Protection classVoltage error ±%Phase displacement ±min.
3P3.0120
6P6.0240

50Hz 400VA

Voltage transformers’ rated frequency is (50 Hz). The stated thermal-limiting output is 400 VA. This refers to an apparent power value at the rated secondary voltage that can be taken from a secondary winding under rated primary voltage conditions, without exceeding the limit of temperature rise (classes specified by the standard).

In this condition, the limits of error may be exceeded. If the voltage transformer has more than one secondary winding, this value is to be given separately, as an addition to the secondary core’s specific data.


7.2/20/60 kV

7.2 kV is the highest voltage for the equipment (RMS value). 20 kV is the rated power frequency withstanding voltage (rms test value). 60 kV is the rated lightning impulse withstanding voltage (peak test value).


1.9xUn 8h

The rated voltage factor (1.9) is the multiple of rated primary voltage to determine the maximum voltage at which the transformer must comply with the relevant thermal requirements and the stated accuracy requirements for a specified (8 h) rated time. The voltage factor is determined by the maximum operating voltage in a specific system.

The maximum operating voltage is on the other hand affected by the voltage transformers’ primary winding connections and system earthing conditions.

The following table demonstrates the dependencies.

Standard values of rated voltage factors and rated times according to IEC
Standard values of rated voltage factors and rated times according to IEC

Reference // Distribution Automation Handbook – Elements of power distribution systems by ABB

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About Author

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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

2 Comments


  1. Josè Severino Queiroz
    Aug 16, 2017

    This is a usual subject but it is well explained congratulion to you!

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