Premium Membership ♕

Save 50% on all EEP Academy courses with Enterprise Membership Plan and study specialized LV/MV/HV technical articles & guides.

Home / Technical Articles / EHV/HV Underground Cable Sheath Earthing (part 2/2)

Continued from previous part: EHV/HV Cable Sheath Earthing (part 1/2)

Accessories for HT Cable Sheath Bonding

1. Function of Link Box?

Link box
Link box

Link Box is electrically and mechanically one of the integral accessories of HV underground above ground cable bonding system, associated with HV XLPE power cable systems. Link boxes are used with cable joints and terminations to provide easy access to shield breaks for test purposes and to limit voltage build-up on the sheath.

Lightning, fault currents and switching operations can cause over voltages on the cable sheath. The link box optimizes loss management in the cable shield on cables grounded both sides. In HT Cable the bonding system is so designed that the cable sheaths are bonded and earthed or with SVL in such way as to eliminate or reduce the circulating sheath currents.

Link Boxes are used with cable joints and terminations to provide easy access to shield breaks for test purposes and to limit voltage build-up on the sheath. The link box is part of bonding system, which is essential of improving current carrying capacity and human protection.

2. Sheath Voltage Limiters (SVL) (Surge Arrestors)

SVL is protective device to limit induce voltages appearing on the bonded cable system due to short circuit.

It is necessary to fit SVL’s between the metallic screen and ground inside the link box. The screen separation of power cable joint (insulated joint) will be protected against possible damages as a result of induced voltages caused by short circuit/break down.

Type of Sheath Bonding for HT Cable

There is normally three type of bonding for LT/HT cable screen:

  1. Single Point Bonded
    1. One Side Single Point Bonded System.
    2. Split Single Point Bonded System.
  2. Both End Bonded System
  3. Cross Bonded System

1. Single point bonded system

1a. One Side Single Bonded System

Single point bonded system
Single point bonded system
  • A system is single point bonded if the arrangements are such that the cable sheaths provide no path for the flow of circulating currents or external fault currents.
  • This is the simplest form of special bonding. The sheaths of the three cable sections are connected and grounded at one point only along their length. At all other points there will be a voltage between sheath and ground and between screens of adjacent phases of the cable circuit that will be at its maximum at the farthest point from the ground bond.
  • This induced voltage is proportional to the cable length and current. Single-point bonding can only be used for limited route lengths, but in general the accepted screen voltage potential limits the length
  • The sheaths must therefore be adequately insulated from ground. Since there is no closed sheath circuit, except through the sheath voltage limiter, current does not normally flow longitudinally along the sheaths and no sheath circulation current loss occurs.
  • Open circuit in cable screen, no circulating current.
  • Zero volt at the earthed end, standing voltage at the unearthed end.
  • Optional PVC insulated earth continuity conductor required to provide path for fault current, if returning from earth is undesirable, such as in a coal mine.
  • SVL installed at the unearthed end to protect the cable insulation during fault conditions.
  • Induced voltage proportional to the length of the cable and the current carried in the cable .
  • Zero volt with respect to the earth grid voltage at the earthed end, standing voltage at the unearthed end.
  • Circulating current in the earth–continuity conductor is not significant, as magnetic fields from phases are partially balanced.
  • The magnitude of the standing voltage is depended on the magnitude of the current flows in the core, much higher if there is an earth fault.
  • High voltage appears on the unearthed end can cause arcing and damage outer PVC sheath.
  • The voltage on the screen during a fault also depends on the earthing condition.

Standing voltage at the unearthed end during earth fault condition:

  • During a ground fault on the power system the zero sequence current carried by the cable conductors could return by whatever external paths are available. A ground fault in the immediate vicinity of the cable can cause a large difference in ground potential rise between the two ends of the cable system, posing hazards to personnel and equipment.
  • For this reason, single-point bonded cable installations need a parallel ground conductor, grounded at both ends of the cable route and installed very close to the cable conductors, to carry the fault current during ground faults and to limit the voltage rise of the sheath during ground faults to an acceptable level.
  • The parallel ground continuity conductor is usually insulated to avoid corrosion and transposed, if the cables are not transposed, to avoid circulating currents and losses during normal operating conditions.
  • Voltage at the unearthed end during an earth fault consists of two voltage components. Induced voltage due to fault current in the core.


  • No circulating current.
  • No heating in the cable screen.
  • Economical.


  • Standing voltage at the un–earthed end.
  • Requires SVL if standing voltage during fault is excessive.
  • Requires additional earth continuity conductor for fault current if earth returned current is undesirable. Higher magnetic fields around the cable compared to solidly bonded system.
  • Standing voltage on the cable screen is proportional to the length of the cable and the magnitude of current in the core.
  • Typically suitable for cable sections less than 500 m, or one drum length.

1b. Split Single Point-bonded System

Split single point bonded system
Split single point bonded system

  • It is also known as double length single point bonding System.
  • Cable screen continuity is interrupted at the midpoint and SVLs need to be fitted at each side of the isolation joint.
  • Other requirements are identical to single–point–bonding system like SVL, Earth continuity Conductor, Transposition of earth continuity conductor.
  • Effectively two sections of single–point–bonding.
  • No circulating current and Zero volt at the earthed ends, standing voltage at the sectionalizing joint.


  • No circulating current in the screen.
  • No heating effect in the cable screen.
  • Suitable for longer cable section compared to single–point–bonding system and solidly bonded single-core system.
  • Economical.


  • Standing voltage exists at the screen and sectionalizing insulation joint.
  • Requires SVL to protect the un–earthed end.
  • Requires separate earth continuity conductor for zero sequence current.
  • Not suitable for cable sections over 1000 m.
  • Suitable for 300~1000 m long cable sections, double the length of single–point–bonding system.

2. Both End Solidly Bonded (Single-core cable) systems

Both End Solidly Bonded (Single-core cable) systems
Both End Solidly Bonded (Single-core cable) systems

  • Most Simple and Common method.
  • Cable screen is bonded to earth grids at both ends (via link box).
  • To eliminate the induced voltages in Cable Screen is to bond (Earth) the sheath at both ends of the cable circuit.
  • This eliminates the need for the parallel continuity conductor used in single bonding systems. It also eliminates the need to provide SVL, such as that used at the free end of single-point bonding cable circuits
  • Significant circulating current in the screen Proportional to the core current and cable length and de rates cable.
  • Could lay cable in compact trefoil formation if permissible.
  • Suitable for route length of more than 500 Meter.
  • Very small standing voltage in the order of several volts.


  • Minimum material required.
  • Most economical if heating is not a main issue.
  • Provides path for fault current, minimizing earth return current and EGVR at cable destination.
  • Does not require screen voltage limiter (SVL).
  • Less electromagnetic radiation.


  • Provides path for circulating current.
  • Heating effects in cable screen, greater losses .Cable therefore might need to be de–rated or larger cable required.
  • Transfers voltages between sites when there is an EGVR at one site.
  • Can lay cables in trefoil formation to reduce screen losses .
  • Normally applies to short cable section of tens of meters long. Circulating current is proportional to the length of the cable and the magnitude of the load current.

3. Cross-bonded cable system

Cross bonded cable system with transposed
Cross bonded cable system with transposed

  • A system is cross-bonded if the arrangements are such that the circuit provides electrically continuous sheath runs from earthed termination to earthed termination but with the sheaths so sectionalized and cross-connected in order to reduce the sheath circulating currents.
  • In This Type voltage will be induced between screen and earth, but no significant current will flow.
  • The maximum induced voltage will appear at the link boxes for cross-bonding. This method permits a cable current-carrying capacity as high as with single-point bonding but longer route lengths than the latter. It requires screen separation and additional link boxes.
  • For cross bonding, the cable length is divided into three approximately equal sections. Each of the three alternating magnetic fields induces a voltage with a phase shift of 120° in the cable shields.
  • The cross bonding takes place in the link boxes. Ideally, the vectorial addition of the induced voltages results in U (Rise) = 0. In practice, the cable length and the laying conditions will vary, resulting in a small residual voltage and a negligible current. Since there is no current flow, there are practically no losses in the screen.
  • The total of the three voltages is zero, thus the ends of the three sections can be grounded.
  • Summing up induced voltage in sectionalized screen from each phase resulting in neutralization of induced voltages in three consecutive minor sections.
  • Normally one drum length (500 m approx) per minor section.
  • Sectionalizing position and cable jointing position should be coincident.
  • Solidly earthed at major section joints.
  • Transpose cable core to balance the magnitude of induced voltages to be summed up.
  • Link box should be used at every sectionalizing joint and balanced impedance in all phases.
  • Induced voltage magnitude profile along the screen of a major section in the cross–bonding cable system.
  • Virtually zero circulating current and Voltage to the remote earth at the solidly earthed ends.
  • In order to obtain optimal result, two ‘‘crosses’’ exist. One is Transposition of cable core crossing cable core at each section and second is Cross bond the cable screens effectively no transposition of screen.
  • Cross bonding of cable screen: It is cancelled induced voltage in the screen at every major Section joint.
  • Transposition of cables: It is ensure voltages to be summed up have similar magnitude .Greater standing voltage at the screen of the outer cable.
  • Standing voltages exist at screen and majority of section joints cable and joints must be installed as an insulated screen system.

Requirement of transpose for cables core

Cross bonded cable system without transposed
Cross bonded cable system without transposed

  • If core not transposed, not well neutralized resulting in some circulating currents.
  • Cable should be transposed and the screen needs to be cross bonded at each sectionalizing joint position for optimal neutralization


  • Not required any earth continuity conductor.
  • Virtually zero circulating current in the screen.
  • Standing voltage in the screen is controlled.
  • Technically superior than other methods.
  • Suitable for long distance cable network.


  • Technically complicated.
  • More expensive.

Bonding Method Comparison

Earthing MethodStanding Voltage at Cable EndSheath Voltage Limiter RequiredApplication
Single End Bonding



Up to 500 Meter
Double End Bonding



Up to 1 Km and Substations short connections, hardly applied for HV cables, rather for MV and LV cables
Cross Bonding

Only at cross bonding points


Long distance connectionswhere joints are required

Sheath Losses according to type of Bonding

  • Sheath losses are current-dependent losses and are generated by the induced currents when load current flows in cable conductors.
  • The sheath currents in single-core cables are induced by “transformer” effect; the magnetic field of alternating current flowing in cable conductor which induces voltages in cable sheath or other parallel conductors.
  • The sheath induced electromotive forces (EMF) generate two types of losses: circulating current losses (Y1) and eddy current losses (Y2), so the total losses in cable metallic sheath are: Y= Y1+Y2
  • The eddy currents circulating radially and longitudinally of cable sheaths are generated on similar principles of skin and proximity effects i.e. they are induced by the conductor currents, sheath circulating currents and by currents circulating in close proximity current carrying conductors.
  • They are generated in cable sheath irrespective of bonding system of single core cables or of three-core cables
  • The eddy currents are generally of smaller magnitude when comparing with circuit (circulating) currents of solidly bonded cable sheaths and may be neglects except in the case of large segmental conductors and are calculated in accordance with formulae given in the IEC60287.
  • Circulating currents are generated in cable sheath if the sheaths form a closed loop when bonded together at the remote ends or intermediate points along the cable route.
  • These losses are named sheath circulating current losses and they are determined by the magnitude of current in cable conductor, frequency, mean diameter, the resistance of cable sheath and the distance between single-core cables.


There is much disagreement as to whether the cable shield should be grounded at both ends or at only one end. If grounded at only one end, any possible fault current must traverse the length from the fault to the grounded end, imposing high current on the usually very light shield conductor. Such a current could readily damage or destroy the shield and require replacement of the entire cable rather than only the faulted section.

With both ends grounded, the fault current would divide and flow to both ends, reducing the duty on the shield, with consequently less chance of damage.

Multiple grounding, rather than just grounding at both ends, is simply the grounding of the cable shield or sheath at all access points, such as manholes or pull boxes. This also limits possible shield damage to only the faulted section.


  1. Mitton Consulting.
  2. EMElectricals

Premium Membership

Get access to premium HV/MV/LV technical articles, electrical engineering guides, research studies and much more! It helps you to shape up your technical skills in your everyday life as an electrical engineer.
More Information

Edvard Csanyi

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 facilities. Professional in AutoCAD programming.


  1. Fahad
    Feb 01, 2023

    A very informative article indeed.

    Kindly correct graph and diagram of following two, as they seemed interchange.
    Single point bonded system
    Both end solidly grounded

  2. Jitendra Kumar
    Sep 11, 2022

    Can we use SLV with link box for 33 KV Overhead XLPE AB cable size 3Core 240 Sqmm +120 sq mm.

  3. Bert Boonen
    Feb 11, 2022

    Is it safe to work in a link box when the 220kv cable is switched off?

  4. Nabeel.PT
    Jan 28, 2019

    Dear Mr. Edvard

    I have a situation here on my site; in my site am facing with circulating current it is due to the unbalanced sectional length.

    As per the received calculation the circulating current in direct buried is around 4.68 which very high as per the client requirement the maximum is 3.

    Could you please suggest a solution for it.


    1×630 AL/XLPE/LAT/HDPE 69 kV cable

    4 circit; trefoil formation
    MVA 46, Load 385 Amps

    cross bonding system

    section length :


    what is the solution to avoid high circulating current

  5. Abhishek
    Feb 02, 2018

    Sir, is we need separate earthing pit for svl link box or we can connect it to the main earth grid of any substation????

  6. Colin Flatters
    Oct 05, 2016

    The sheath currents in single-core cables are induced by “transformer” effect; the magnetic field of alternating current flowing in cable conductor which induces voltages in cable sheath or other parallel conductors.

    How can we determine the induced current in the sheath ? How does this relate to load current base? Cable is based on iec60502-2 Table B2 flat spaced conductors. Notes state cable sheaths are are Earthed both ends !

  7. soumitra mondal
    May 09, 2016

    if a 132 kv circuit having 6 section having 550m of equal length what will be the cross bonding diagram?

  8. Ajith
    Apr 14, 2015

    Our VSD driven 6.6 kV motor at the zone 2 hazardous area has a very high earth current in the earthing circuit . The cables are single core and earthed both ends ( both armor and screen ) . Can we apply the method of single point bonding along with laying of dedicated bonding conductor ( from MTB to VSD ) to resolve the issue..?


  9. Gufran Khan
    Mar 31, 2014

    Dear Sir,

    I have one doubt, for cross bonding, it is assumed that 3 sections must be approximately equal, what happens if 3 sections are not equal. why is it required?

    Appreciate your immediate response.

    • Ahmed Adel Gouda
      Apr 10, 2014

      unbalanced system will present, and induced current will circulate in the cable metallic sheath. which causes more losses and reduce the cable ampicity.

    • Angays
      Jun 19, 2014

      You need three sections equal because voltage induced depends on length of cable. You need to think this is an alternative current system so direction of electrical field created need to be compensated 1/3 of phase 1 + 1/3 of phase 2 + 1/3 of phase 3 makes finally 0 from a vector calculation point of view

  10. Raihan
    Mar 06, 2014

    Dear Sir,

    The diagram & graph of single point bonding and both end solid bonding has been misplaced.

  11. riadoh
    Feb 14, 2013

    Dear Evard, as per ANSI/IEEE Std 575-1 988 , there paralel conductor connect to end of link box. CMIW

  12. Ashok Parikh
    Jan 29, 2012

    One of the excellent portals for practicing electrical engineers and professionals providing guidelines to resolve numbers of issues being encountered and information for latest developments in this very vital field. Electric power is extremely vital input to sustain all the activities of life, be it domestic or industrial and hence its reliability and availability with better economy (energy conservation) is a must. I have recently started looking to this portal, however I have learned a lot within very short duration. I will also definitely upload few of the fundamentals on which I am working at present. – Ashok Parikh

Leave a Comment

Tell us what you're thinking. We care about your opinion! Please keep in mind that comments are moderated and rel="nofollow" is in use. So, please do not use a spammy keyword or a domain as your name, or it will be deleted. Let's have a professional and meaningful conversation instead. Thanks for dropping by!

97  −  ninety four  =  

Learn How to Design Power Systems

Learn to design LV/MV/HV power systems through professional video courses. Lifetime access. Enjoy learning!

Subscribe to Weekly Newsletter

Subscribe to our Weekly Digest newsletter and receive free updates on new technical articles, video courses and guides (PDF).
EEP Academy Courses - A hand crafted cutting-edge electrical engineering knowledge