Sympathetic Tripping

Sympathetic Tripping refers to the phenomenon in Electrical Systems when a protective device in a healthy section of the system operates for a fault in another section of the system.  Sympathetic tripping results in unnecessary loss of power for healthy equipment. 

There are many causes for sympathetic tripping.  The most common reason is undervoltage which occurs across the system when there is a heavy current due to a short-circuit or an earth fault. 

Another reason for sympathetic tripping can be the flow of capacitive currents in the healthy feeders when one of the feeders gets grounded. 

In Transformers and Generators the Differential relay sometimes operates for an overcurrent which is outside its zone.  This is due to the dc component of the earth fault current.

Preventing Sympathetic Tripping   

Sympathetic Tripping can be prevented by designing smaller feeders with the total loads equally balanced across the different feeders

Reducing the fault level can result in lesser currents in the event of faults.  The fault level can be reduced by the use of current limiting reactors which increase the impedance.

Extreme Inverse settings in IDMT relays can also help the relays discriminate between sympathetic overcurrents and genuine faults. 

Increasing fault clearing times in the faulty feeders reduces the duration of the undervoltage across the system. 

Modern Differential relays have an inbuilt dc filter which prevent sympathetic tripping due to dc components during earth faults.