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Easy way to calculate transformer fault current

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    Easy way to calculate transformer fault current

    This quick calculation can help you determine the fault current on the secondary of a transformer for the purpose of selecting the correct overcurrent protective devices that can interrupt the available fault current.

    Fault Current = Full Load Amps / % Impedance (Z)

    Example: Calculate the maximum fault current for a transformer rated 13.8kV-480Y/277V 1000kVA 5.75%Z


    Step 1: Determine Full Load Amps (FLA)

    You can determine the Full Load Amps of a transformer with the following formula: FLA = VA / L-L Voltage x 1.732, so using the example above we get FLA = 1000000 / 480 x 1.732 or 1000000 / 831.36 = 1202.84 (note the conversion from kVA to VA, 1000 x 1000 = 1000000).

    FLA = 1203 amperes


    Step 2: Divide FLA by Impedance
    The next step is to simply divide the number obtained in step 1 by the transformer nameplate impedance. Using the example above we get: 1203 / 0.0575 = 20921.73 (REMEMBER TO CONVERT PERCENT TO DECIMAL, if 100% = 1.00 then 5.75% = 0.0575).

    FC = 20,922 amperes


    If a main breaker was to be installed in the circuit on the secondary of the transformer used in this example, it would have to have an Interrupting Rating greater than 21,000A.


    Reference: Simple Methods for Calculating Short Circuit Current Without a Computer By Dennis McKeown, PE [PDF]

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