Protective relays are on a hair trigger as they constantly look at the three-phase electric power system and try to decide whether the system is normal, or under fault conditions. If they detect a fault, they will attempt to isolate that fault from the rest of the electrical system.
Electro-mechanical relays use magnets and mechanisms to look for specific problems on the three-phase power system, and each relay model should have identical functions and wiring. This allows relay testers to follow a script that creates the specific criteria required to make the mechanisms move, and prove that that specific function is operating correctly. Relay testers do not need to understand the three-phase power system when testing this generation of relays because the relays are identical and perform simple functions.
Modern digital relays can be extremely complex with interactions between elements and endless logic configurations. This means that two identical relay models can have completely different functions. While it is possible to carry the electro-mechanical testing philosophy into the digital realm by re-programming the relay when testing each element, this style of testing will not prove that the relay will operate when required. A relay tester who understands the three-phase electrical system can build test plans that test the entire relay, instead of individual pieces of it, to make sure the relay operates when required. These procedures can also be more effective and efficient than traditional test procedures.
We will cover the following topics in this lesson to give you a foundation in three-phase electrical theory to help you become a better relay tester:
Introduction to Electrical Fundamentals and Frequency
Three-Phase Electric Power Systems
You might see this list and think that you already have a firm grasp on these topics. Test your knowledge with this quick quiz:
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The The Three-Phase Power System online training course is eligible for 4 NETA Continuing Technical Development Credits (CTDs). NETA Certified Technicians (Level III and Level IV) are required to earn a minimum of 48 CTDs every three years to maintain their certification. For more information about the CTD program and requirements, please contact the NETA office at email@example.com or 888-300-6382.
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