Why You'll Love Littelfuse's NER Monitors

Why You'll Love Littelfuse's NER Monitors

The Dugald River Zinc Mine, located in the north-west of Cloncurry in Northern Queensland, and owned by MMG, had Neutral Earthing Resistor’s installed on site and they were doing annual periodic maintenance checks to verify NER resistance and integrity during shutdowns. They had identified that with this type of testing you could only be confident of the NER integrity at the time you checked. The NER could fail at any time after a check and before the next, but you would not be aware of the failure. This was of concern to the Electrical Engineers on site and the Fuseco team were engaged to provide some advice.

The Solution

Fuseco suggested installing the SE-330AU relay, which would continually check the integrity of the NER without the need to power down. If any issues with the NER arise, the relay promptly detects the problem and signals the issue via the selected communications. The SE-330AU is a sophisticated monitoring relay compliant with AS2081 standards, tailored for low and medium voltage transformers and generators in the Australian market. It oversees earth leakage current at the system level, fluctuations in neutral-to-earth resistance and voltage, ensuring that the NER is operational and undamaged. This is crucial, as a malfunctioning or faulty NER can disable the current-sensing earth-fault feeder protection, potentially leading to an incorrect system earthing status.


By having a relay that would check for NER integrity, there was no need for annual checks that were time-consuming and ineffective. The Dugald Zinc Mine Engineering team was very happy to replace manual checks with a relay solution.

Why You’ll Love Littelfuse’s SE-330AU Series

  • The SE-330AU combines the measured values of resistance, current, and voltage to continuously determine that the NER is intact.
  • It is able to detect a resistor failure with or without an earth fault present. Sensing resistors are matched to the system voltage and are used to monitor NGRs on systems up to 35 kV.
  • The SE-330AU NER integrity function complies with AS/NZS 2081.8.2011.
  • Outputs include four relay outputs and an analog output.
  • A mini USB port is included to view measured values, configure settings, and check event records.
  • An on-board micro SD card can be used for long-term data logging.
  • Network communications options are available.
  • For non-AS/NZS 2081 applications, see the SE-330 or SE-330HV.



Why Fuseco?

FUSECO are the leading experts in Protection Relays across Australia. We can be active participants in those crucial early concept phase discussions regarding the various solutions available, or for the most practical retrofit solutions for existing infrastructure. There are many techniques which can be utilised and there is room for those methods when applied correctly.

Please contact the team at FUSECO for further information and completive pricing for all your Protection Relay requirements.

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Top FAQs

A protection relay is a device that receives inputs typically from current transformers CT’s (but can be other sources) and then compares these inputs to set levels. If these inputs exceed the set levels a protection relay can then provide that information via display or indication, feed that information to other electronic control devices or it can be connected to a circuit breaker to isolate power.

Yes, currently Fuseco can offer both earth leakage and NER relays that are compliant to AS2081:2011. The relay manufacturer (Littelfuse) is also currently in the final stages of development for an AS2081:2011 compliant continuity relay that we expect to release in the near term.

An arc fault is a type of electrical fault that results from the breakdown of an insulating medium between two conductors where the energy is enough to sustain an arc across the insulator (often air) and can cause extreme amounts of light (arc flash), immense heat upwards of 19,000 degrees, and a resulting explosive pressure wave (arc blast). By using a relay that has optical sensors we can detect the flash of light the emanates from an Arc Flash and within 1 msec send a signal to a breaker to interrupt power. Because of the immense energy being released by an Arc Flash reaction time is critical. It can be seen on the graph that with a relay reaction time of only 1 msec (+ circuit breaker reaction time) we can interrupt power before the Arc Flash can result in critical damage.

An arc-flash happens when electric current flows through an air gap between conductors. There are several ways this can happen but the most common occurrence is when conductor insulation is worn or broken down.

The most important aspects of arc-flash relays are:

  • reaction time
  • trip reliability
  • ease of installation
  • sensor flexibility
  • software
  • sensor design
  • avoidance of nuisance tripping
  • scalability

To gain a deeper understanding of which features to consider when selecting an arc-flash relay please refer to the downloadable application guides.

Arc-flash relays are a necessary component in an electrical cabinet because they reduce the amount of incident energy in the system. While an arc-flash relay cannot prevent an arc flash from happening, it will protect critical assets and workers’ safety by reducing the severity of the flash. An arc-flash relay is an integral part of an arc-flash protection scheme that can minimize damage, and save money, time, and lives.

Three phase power systems are most often solidly earthed, however by using a Neutral Earthing Resistor (NER) a power system can be resistance earthed. This is done so that if an earth fault were to occur the amount of fault current will be limited by the NER resistance. One potential problem with a resistance earthed system is; what happens if the NER goes open circuit due to damage? If this were to happen the power system has now changed from a resistance earthed system to a system with no earth reference (floating). Now the NER is no longer restricting the amount of fault current and other devices that rely on an earth reference in order to operate, cannot do so. By using a NER monitoring relay the resistance and integrity of a NER can be continually monitored to detect for any variance in the NER resistance or integrity.

An earth fault can occur as a result of inadvertent contact between and energized conductor and earth or equipment frame. There can also be earth leakage from a system without “inadvertent contact”. This type of fault can be called capacitive earth leakage and it is caused by a capacitive effect between a high power conductor and earth. Small amount of earth leakage current can occur as a result of this capacitive effect. Whether it is smaller amounts current from capacitive earth leakage or larger amounts of current from direct inadvertent contact an earth leakage relay can detect this fault current. In all electrical circuits, current returns to its source. An earth fault relay can use a zero sequence CT to monitor phase current to ensure that all current coming from the source returns on those same conductors or it can monitor current in the connection between transformer neutral and earth. By either method the earth leakage relay detect any lost current to earth.

Hi Tim, just wanted to thank you and the Fuseco team for your help. You've managed to help us solve some nagging issues here and the Littelfuse SE-330AU relay installation has saved us a lot of time. Thanks!

Mark Sherman

PGS Silver, Queensland

Just wanted to send a note of thanks to you guys. When it comes to relays, your advice & service is high level & appreciated. Cheers.

Jesse Marshall

Newcrest WA

The Littelfuse SE-701 & the CT's are functioning well. Thanks guys, really appreciate your help. Good to work with people you can rely on.

Cliff Peligro

Alpha Coal, Queensland

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