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Protective Relay Lab Development

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Various Prospectives in Power Systems

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1279.1 - 26.1279.9



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Paper Authors


Paul Villeneuve University of Maine

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Mr. Villeneuve is an Associate Professor in the Electrical Engineering Technology Program at the University of Maine. He specializes in power systems design, analysis, and modeling. He has over 20 years of industry experience with conventional, nuclear, and renewable energy generators.

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Protective Relay Lab DevelopmentAbstractProtective relays are employed by utilities, generators, industrial facilities, and others to providesophisticated real time protection of electric energy delivery systems. Protective relays haveevolved from single function electro-mechanical devices to multi-function microprocessor baseddevices. This evolution has resulted in much greater control and protection capabilities but farmore complicated devices to set up and configure. In addition, these microprocessor baseddevices provide opportunities for users to customize the relays by adding additional control,protection, and metering features not inherently built into the relays. Further, the relays providecommunication capability greatly enhancing information exchange while reducing the need forhard wiring. In fact, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) has developed IEC61850 to provide manufacturers and system integrators guidelines and protocols to automateelectrical energy transmission and distribution stations. Microprocessor based protective relaysprovide engineering technology programs an opportunity to expose students to real worldapplications involving power system analysis and design, Boolean algebra programming, andhardware design and specification.Due to the complexity of the protective relay designs and the importance of a highly availableand reliable electric energy delivery systems, significant testing is required of these designs.Sophisticated relay test systems have been developed to ensure that the proper relay settings areused and that the relays actuate within the prescribed times based on input signals. An exampleis an overcurrent condition. A protective relay should not operate until the overcurrent exceeds aminimum value (pickup level) for a specified period of time (timeout). Periodic testing to ensureproper relay operation is mandated of utilities by North American Electric Reliability Council(NERC). These test equipment are evolving to complex microprocessor devices that requireprogramming to verify and automate testing. As a result, operators of the test equipment must behighly trained and knowledgeable of the relays and test equipment.In an effort to expand The University of Maine’s Electrical Engineering Technology program aprotective relay lab is being developed. The lab is being developed using donated SchweitzerEngineering Labs, Inc. (SELINC) microprocessor based protective relays. The equipment isbeing setup to mimic real world conditions. Further, a CMC 356 relay testing tool online fromOmicron USA is being used to validate operation of the relays and expose students to state of theart test equipment. The relay lab will be used as a basis for a course specific to protective relaysand system design. This paper will describe the efforts put forth by faculty and students todevelop the lab. It will describe some of the lab procedures developed to develop studentexpertise with the equipment. Finally, it will provide the reader with some information todevelop their own relay lab.

Villeneuve, P. (2015, June), Protective Relay Lab Development Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24616

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