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Transformer protection

Transformer protection should take into account the power, voltage, vector group and the importance of the unit within a particular system. Depending on these factors, the transformers can be assigned to one of the two general groups.

HV/MV/LV Transformer Protection Schemes
HV/MV/LV Transformer Protection Schemes

Let’s see these two groups in details:

MV/LV transformers

The protection of these units should include overcurrent protection for both the MV and LV windings, plus devices such as overpressure protection (e.g. Buchholz surge), and thermal protection, as indicated in Figure 1 below. Typical ratios for inter- busbar MV/LV transformers at substations are 33/11, 34.5/13.2 and 13.2/4.16 kV.

Protection scheme for MV/LV transformer
Figure 1 – Protection scheme for MV/LV transformer

Go back to Transformer Groups ↑

HV/MV/LV transformers and autotransformers

In addition to the protection listed for the MV/LV transformers, the protection for transformers in this group should include overall differential protection, which is essential because of its reliability and high speed of operation. In this case, shown in Figure 2, since the transformer has three windings, a three terminal type of differential protection is required.

The diagram also includes the differential busbar protection, which is usually installed on large transformers connected to HV busbars. As the transformer has an LV winding, overcurrent protection for this winding has been included as well.

Typical ratios for HV/MV transformers are: 132/33, 145/ 11, 132/11, 115/34.5 and 115/13.2 kV.

Protection schematic for an HV/MV/LV transformer
Figure 3 – Protection schematic for an HV/MV/LV transformer

It is common to use autotransformers where large powers are involved and the voltage ratio is around 2:1. Typical ratios for autotransformers are 275/132 kV and 230/115 kV.

The protection schemes for autotransformers are very similar to those for HV/MV/LV transformers since autotransformers can be treated as three winding units for protection purposes.

The protection for this type of transformer is essentially the same as that quoted in the previous paragraph, taking into account the modifications to the overcurrent relay connections (see Figure 2).

Go back to Transformer Groups ↑

Reference // Protection of Electricity Distribution Networks – Juan M. Gers and Edward J. Holmes

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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.


    Oct 20, 2019

    You have helped a lot of electrical engineer congratulations

    Oct 20, 2019

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  3. David
    Feb 04, 2017

    Thanks Edvard, your information which gave to us is very useful, I am very appreciated.

  4. ojo olanrewaju
    Jan 03, 2017

    I want to ask a few questions about capacitor bank, what is different between parallel capacitor bank and series I need just aa brief answer. Thanks

  5. Subrahmanyam
    Jan 11, 2016

    Please let me know the difference between REF and SEF protection scheme of Transformers

  6. khin shwe
    Jan 07, 2016

    your article is very good and very useful for me.

  7. sk ajamat ali
    Dec 16, 2015

    Please specify what the number means in the drawin4

  8. Canh Thanh Phan
    Nov 28, 2015

    please help me about document of HV/MV/LV Transformer Protection Schemes

  9. vinothkumar
    Nov 28, 2015

    hi your article is very good and very useful for me and other members

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