Earth Fault Monitoring in Ungrounded DC systems

Monitoring Earth Faults in Ungrounded dc systems is vital to prevent any sudden tripping in the system. In ungrounded DC systems, an earth fault in one terminal will not cause any disturbance and the system will continue to run normally. However, should an earth fault occur at the other terminal also, then there will be a virtual short-circuit between the two terminals through the earth.

Such faults occur without any indication and are difficult to identify. Hence a system to monitor the earth faults in a DC system is vital.

This is a schematic of a simple design of an earth fault monitoring system for ungrounded DC systems. The system consists of two bulbs. Each bulb is connected to one terminal of the power source and the ground. Thus, one bulb is connected between the anode and the ground while another is connected across the cathode and the ground as shown in the image.

Under normal terminals, the voltage across the bulbs will be zero and they will be off. However, in the event of a ground fault between the positive terminal and the earth, the voltage across the bulb connected to the cathode will be equal to the system voltage. This will cause the lamp to glow, indicating an earth fault.