Asee peer logo

The Use Of Computer Relay Models To Teach Power System Protection In A Distance Education Setting

Download Paper |


1997 Annual Conference


Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Publication Date

June 15, 1997

Start Date

June 15, 1997

End Date

June 18, 1997



Page Count


Page Numbers

2.433.1 - 2.433.6

Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Robert E. Wilson

author page

Brian K. Johnson

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2533

The Use of Computer Relay Models to Teach Power System Protection in a Distance Education Setting

Brian K. Johnson, Robert E. Wilson University of Idaho/Western Area Power Administration

Abstract The specialized study of electric power system protection is a very detailed and abstract subject. However, problems with power system protection equipment can have visible, catastrophic results such as system blackouts. The authors used computer software models of protective relays to give both on-campus students and off-campus outreach students greater insight as to how relays behave under steady-state and transient conditions. Specialized courses in system protection are of interest to engineers and students across the continent, but the enrollment on the originating campus may be only two or three students. Universities are using high technology solutions such as video tape and compressed video to offer courses to students in many locations. This paper discusses the experiences obtained in a graduate level power system protection course that used computer simulations to help teach the subject.

I. Introduction High-voltage electric power systems are exposed to lightning strikes, insulation failure, and equipment failure. Faulted portions of the power grid must be isolated before a blackout occurs. The protective equipment of a modern power system is a complex collection of relays, instrument transformers and circuit breakers. Misoperation of the protective equipment affects the dependability and reliability of the power system. Relay misoperation can have disastrous effects, as evidenced by the major power blackouts in the Western U.S. on December 14, 1994, July 2, 1996, and August 10, 1996. Power system designers and researchers have been able to simulate the transient response of most system components, such as transmission lines, transformers, instrument transformers, a few protective relays, and other components. It is important that students in relay engineering courses learn how to test the steady-state and transient response of protective relays and verify relay settings. The Electromagnetic Transients Program (EMTP) is a large time-domain simulation program that is a power industry-accepted method for studying the transient response of system components. EMTP simulations can be performed on personal computers, which are available to students and are an integral part of practicing engineer's equipment. Several large utilities have built relay testing laboratories that subject commercial relays to transient waveforms [1,2,3]. Laboratory testing is accurate and complete, but the costs of these laboratories are high. Relay test laboratories are beyond the means of most universities, so a more cost effective method to teach relay testing is needed. This is even more important when many of the students enrolled in the class are distance education students viewing the course via videotape. A relay testing method based entirely on computer simulations provides a cost- effective solution, but it also must be both accurate and user-friendly to provide an effective

Wilson, R. E., & Johnson, B. K. (1997, June), The Use Of Computer Relay Models To Teach Power System Protection In A Distance Education Setting Paper presented at 1997 Annual Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 1997 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015