Definitions Used for Current Transformer



A current transformer is an instrument transformer, used along with measuring or protective devices, in which the secondary current is proportional to the primary current (under normal conditions of operation) and differs from it by an angle that is approximately zero.


Current transformers perform the following functions:

  • Current transformers supply the protective relays with currents of magnitude proportional to those of power circuit but sufficiently reduced in magnitude.
  • The measuring devices cannot be directly connected to the high magnitude supplies. Hence current transformers are used to supply those devices with currents of magnitude proportional to those of power.
  • A current transformer also isolates the measuring instruments from high voltage circuits.

1)  Rated primary current:

  • The value of primary current which appears in the designation of the transformer and on which the performance of the current transformer is based.

2)    Rated secondary current:

  • The value of secondary current which appears in the designation of the transformer and on which the performance of the current transformer is based.
  • Typical values of secondary current are 1 A or 5 A. In the case of transformer differential protection, secondary currents of 1/ root 3 A and 5/ root 3 A are also specified.

3)    Rated burden:

  • The apparent power of the secondary circuit in Volt-amperes expressed at the rated secondary current and at a specific power factor (0.8 for almost all standards)

4)    Rated output:

  • The value of the apparent power (in volt-amperes at a specified power (factor) which the current transformer is intended to supply to the secondary circuit at the rated secondary current and with rated burden connected to it.5) Short time rating:
    • The value of primary current (in kA) that the CT should be able to withstand both thermally and dynamically without damage to the windings, with the secondary circuit being short-circuited. The time specified is usually 1 or 3 seconds.

    5 )  Rated insulation level:

That combination of voltage values (power frequency and lightning impulse, or where            applicable, lightning and switching impulse) which characterizes the insulation of a transformer with regard to its capability to withstand by dielectric stresses. For low voltage transformer the test voltage 4kV, at power-frequency, applied during 1 minute.

    6) Rated short-time thermal current (Ith):

  • The rms value of the primary current which the current transformer will withstand for a rated time, with their secondary winding short circuited without suffering harmful effects.

7) Rated dynamic current (Idyn):

  • The peak value of the primary current which a current transformer will withstand, without being damaged electrically for mechanically by the resulting electromagnetic forces, the secondary winding being short-circuited.

8) Rated continuous thermal current (Un)

  • The value of current which can be permitted to flow continuously in the primary winding, the secondary windings being connected to the rated burdens, without the temperature rise exceeding the specified values.

9) Sensitivity

  • Sensitivity is defined as the lowest value of primary fault current, within the protected zone, which will cause the relay to operate. To provide fast operation on an in zone fault, the current transformer should have a ‘Knee Point Voltage’ at least twice the setting voltage of the relay.

10) Field Adjustment of Current Transformer Ratio:

  • The ratio of current transformers can be field adjusted to fulfil the needs of the application.  Passing

more secondary turns or more primary turns through the window will increase or decrease the turns ratio.

11) Phase displacement:

  • The difference in phase between the primary and secondary current vectors, the direction of the vectors being so chosen that the angle is zero for the perfect transformer. The phase displacement is said to be positive when the secondary current vector leads the primary current vector. It is usually express in minutes

12) Highest system voltage:

  • The highest rms line to line voltage which can be sustained under normal operating conditions at any time and at any point on the system. It excludes temporary voltage variations due to fault condition and the sudden disconnection of large loads.


  • The error with a transformer introduces into the measurement of a current and which arises from the fact that actual transformation ratio is not equal to the rated transformer ratio. The current error expressed in percentage is given by the formula:
  • Current error in % = (Ka(Is-Ip)) x 100 / Ip
  • Where Ka= rated transformation ratio ,Ip= actual primary current, Is= actual secondary current when Ip is flowing under the conditions of measurement.


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