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TN system - High fault current-loop impedance

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General rules of electrical installation design
Connection to the MV utility distribution network
Connection to the LV utility distribution network
MV and LV architecture selection guide for buildings
LV Distribution
Protection against electric shocks and electrical fires
Sizing and protection of conductors
LV switchgear: functions and selection
Overvoltage protection
Energy Efficiency in electrical distribution
Power Factor Correction
Power harmonics management
Characteristics of particular sources and loads
PhotoVoltaic (PV) installation
Residential and other special locations
ElectroMagnetic Compatibility (EMC)


When the earth-fault current is limited due to an inevitably high fault-loop impedance, so that the overcurrent protection cannot be relied upon to trip the circuit within the prescribed time, the following possibilities should be considered:

Suggestion 1

(see Fig. F29)

  • Install a circuit breaker which has a lower instantaneous magnetic tripping level, for example: 2In ≤ Irm ≤ 4In
This affords protection for persons on circuits which are abnormally long. It must be checked, however, that high transient currents such as the starting currents of motors will not cause nuisance trip-outs.
  • Schneider Electric solutions
    • Type G Compact (2Im ≤ Irm ≤ 4Im)
    • Type B Acti 9 circuit breaker

Fig. F29Circuit breaker with low-set instantaneous magnetic tripping

Suggestion 2

(see Fig. F30)

  • Install a RCD on the circuit. The device does not need to be highly-sensitive (HS) (several amps to a few tens of amps). Where socket-outlets are involved, the particular circuits must, in any case, be protected by HS (≤ 30 mA) RCDs; generally one RCD for a number of socket outlets on a common circuit.
  • Schneider Electric solutions
    • RCD Vigi NG125 : IΔn = 1 or 3 A
    • Vigicompact REH or REM: IΔn = 3 to 30 A
    • Type B Acti 9 circuit breaker

Fig. F30RCD protection on TN systems with high earth-fault-loop impedance

Suggestion 3

Increase the size of the PE or PEN conductors and/or the phase conductors, to reduce the loop impedance.

Suggestion 4

Add supplementary equipotential conductors. This will have a similar effect to that of suggestion 3, i.e. a reduction in the earth-fault-loop resistance, while at the same time improving the existing touch-voltage protection measures. The effectiveness of this improvement may be checked by a resistance test between each exposed conductive part and the local main protective conductor.

For TN-C installations, bonding as shown in Fig. F31 is not allowed, and suggestion 3 should be adopted.

Fig. F31Improved equipotential bonding