Hardware-in-the-Loop Testing for Protective Relays Using Real Time Digital Simulator (RTDS)

Gaurav Yadav, Yuan Liao, Austin D. Burfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


With the increasing size and complexity of power systems, it is crucial to have an effective protection system in place to ensure its reliability. One of the important components of the protection system are relays. It is important for a relay to operate dependably and securely so that any fault can be cleared in time to minimize damages to the power network. However, it is important to test a relay in a realistic environment before commissioning it to the network. Testing a relay in the actual network can be expensive with limited fault scenarios. Hence, Hardware-in-the-Loop (HIL) testing is an efficient method to perform closed-loop testing of a relay since numerous fault cases can be simulated to provide a realistic operating environment for the relay under test. This paper sheds light on the HIL testing done for protective relays using a sample distribution system using RTDS. Two SEL-351 relays have been used in this experiment, and proper settings for the relays are calculated for coordination. The paper also describes the procedure of configuring the relay and other RTDS components crucial for interfacing of the relay with RTDS. After test setup, a pre-fault, fault, and post-fault analysis was done for the system. The results obtained from these analyses are cross-checked with the event history of the two SEL-351 relays, obtained with AcSELerator Quickset software. This paper provides thorough information for researchers to replicate the presented study or to develop new HIL experiments. It can also help in developing a fundamental understanding of the HIL testing setup that can be further applied to a more complex power system.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1039
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.


  • Hardware-in-the-Loop test
  • overcurrent protection
  • protective relay
  • real time digital simulator

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Optimization
  • Energy (miscellaneous)
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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