POWER TRANSFORMER AUTOMATIC TAP CHANGER CONTROLS BASIC INFORMATION


How Transformer Tap Changer Control Works?

The tap-changing mechanism is usually motor-driven and can be controlled manually and automatically. In the automatic mode, the output voltage of the transformer is compared to a reference voltage and a raise/lower signal is sent to the tap changer motor when the output voltage falls outside a specified band, called a dead band.

The dead band must not be smaller than the voltage between taps; otherwise, it will ‘‘hunt’’ endlessly and burn up the tap changer. The dead band must not be too wide, however, because the purpose of voltage regulation will be defeated.

Ordinarily, the dead band is set to a voltage between two and three tap increments. With the tap voltage typically around 1% of the nominal secondary voltage, this provides regulation within a 2–3% range.

If two or more transformers with load tap changers are connected in parallel, then it is important that all transformers operate at the same transformer turns ratio; otherwise, excessive circulating KVAR results. The way this is implemented is to have the tap changer on one of the parallel transformers control voltage as the lead tap changer, with the other tap changers as the followers.

Circuitry is installed on the followers to sense the direction of reactive power flow through each transformer. If too much reactive power is flowing from the primary to the secondary, then its secondary taps are lowered.

If too much reactive power is flowing from the secondary to the primary, then secondary taps are raised. Appropriate dead bands are established to prevent the LTCs from hunting and to limit interactions among the tap changer controls.

One such control scheme, called a load-balancing method, is depicted in Figure 6.16 for three transformers with voltage regulators supplying a common load bus.

  FIGURE 6.16 A load-balancing control scheme for three parallel transformers with load tap changers.

If the three transformer impedances equal and if the transformers are set on the proper tap positions, the transformer secondary currents will all be in phase with the load current and there will be no current unbalance.

If one or more transformer is set on the wrong tap, circulating currents will flow in all three transformers. The principle of operation of the load-balancing method is to separate each of the transformer secondary currents into a load current component and a circulating-current component. The transformer secondary currents flow through current transformers, labeled CT 1, CT 2, and CT 3 in Figure 6.16.

The currents at the CT secondaries split into two paths at each of the CT secondary windings. Path 1 (to the right) goes through a set of auxiliary transformers, labeled CT 4, CT 5, and CT 6. The secondaries of the auxiliary CTs are connected in series, forcing the currents in all three primary windings equal one another, each being one-third of the total load current. By default, the unbalance-current components must flow in path 2 to the left.

Each of the circulating-current components (also called unbalanced current components) flows through an inductive reactance element, called a paralleling reactor. The paralleling reactors are labeled jX in Figure 6.16. In general, the unbalance-current components of the three transformers are unequal.

The voltages developed across the paralleling reactors are added to the sensed voltages at the secondary windings of the main transformers, which are used to control the movement of the tap changers.

If transformer 1 is on a higher tap position than transformer 2 or transformer 3, the unbalanced currents flowing through the parallel reactors increase the sensed voltage at transformer 1 and reduce the sensed voltages at transformers 2 and 3.

This causes transformer 1 to lower its taps and transformers 2 and 3 to raise their taps. If transformer 1 is on a lower tap position than transformers 2 and 3, the unbalanced currents flowing through the parallel reactors decrease the sensed voltage at transformer 1 and increase the sensed voltages at transformers 2 and 3. This causes transformer 1 to raise its taps and transformers 2 and 3 to lower their taps.

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