Core-Balance Current Transformer [CBCT]:

Please share and spread the word:

Core Balance Current Transformer-CBCT:

Core-Balance Current Transformer CBCT also called as Zero Sequence CT.

In this type of CT a single ring or rectangular shaped core of magnetic material, encircles the conductors of all the three phases. A secondary coil is wound on the core connected to a relay circuit.

Core Balance Current Transformer without Cable Termination
CBCT inside Cable chamber without Cable

This ground fault relay, detects the ground leakage current and trips the faulty circuit.

The topics covered in this post are

  • Principle of CBCT
  • Mounting of CBCT
  • Selection of CBCT
  • CBCT for Motor protection

Principle of CBCT for Earth fault Protection:

In absence of an earth fault in the load or the supply cable, the current in the secondary of Core Balance Current Transformer is negligible. Under balanced load and without earth fault,

Ie= (Ir+ Iy+ Ib) =0

However during an earth fault on load side of zero sequence CT,

Ie= (Ir+ Iy+ Ib) =3 I0

Where I0 is the zero sequence component.

The relay connected on secondary side of CBCT (Zero Sequence CT) senses this current and thus it will operate.

Core-Balance Current Transformer Mounting:

The following is the correct procedure for the proper mounting of these CTs.

1.It is necessary to pass all the Three, Three and half or Four cores of the cable through the core of the CBCT to detect the unbalance or the ground leakage in 3-core cables and only ground leakage in 3-1/2 and 4 core cables.

Core Balance Current Transformer with 3-Core Cable Termination
CBCT with 3-Core Cable
  • Three Core cable:  A 3-core cable will detect an unbalance in the three phases, whether this is the result of unequal loading in the three phases or a ground fault.
  • Three and half or Four Core Cables: These cables will detect only a ground leakage as the amount of unbalance, when unbalance occurs, will be offset by the flow of this unbalance current through the return path of neutral circuit.

2. In armoured cables, armouring must be removed before passing the cable through the CBCT to avoid an induced e.m.f through the armour and the corresponding magnetizing current which may affect the performance of the current transformer.

3. As such CTs are required to detect small out-of-balance currents, the connecting leads should be properly terminated and must be short to contain the lead resistance as far as possible.

Selection of CBCT:

The required CBCT is selected based on the following factors.

  • Minimum primary ground leakage current
  • Nominal CT ratio. This may be such that on the smallest ground fault the current on the secondary is sufficient to operate the relay.
  • Relay setting
  • CT secondary current, 1A or 5A
  • Minimum excitation current required at the relay operating voltage
  • Knee point voltage
  • Number of cables in parallel
  • Limiting dimensions and internal diameter (ID) of the CT. ID will depend upon the size of the cable.

CBCT for Motor Protection:

CBCT is used in motor protection for providing Zero sequence protection. The core of core- balance CT surrounds the power cable connected to the induction motor. The earthing lead from the cable-sheath to earth must be taken through the eye of the CT core.

Core Balance Current Transformer Protection for 3-Phase Motor
Motor Protection with CBCT

The CT core is excited by ir+ iy+ ib+ isheath+ iearth. The effect of (isheath+ iearth) is cancelled when the earth lead is taken through the eye of CT core. There by the protection responds only to ir+ iy+ ib value current.

17 thoughts on “Core-Balance Current Transformer [CBCT]:

  1. Mohd Azam Khan

    How knee point voltage affect CBCT design specially for large motors say more than 1500 kW or so. If anyone can guide on this.

  2. S.kumar

    Can I install cbct ? If the phase current is unbalance from each other’s. And what is the result of ELR in this condition.

    1. phanibabu Post author

      Hi..Kumar CBCT is preferred to detect small amount of currents only mainly leakage currents. For large values of unbalanced currents Over current relays and Earth fault relays are sufficient no need to use CBCT.

      1. Bharat Kumar Lauhar

        Dear Sir,

        As you said don’t use CBCT+ ELR for unbalanced load, But it is necessary to use ELR+CBCT for mining area then the ELR will not work in the unbalance condition. So please give any suggestion to avoid unnecessary tripping and also if you know any special ELR+CBCT which is measure only leakage current instead of unbalance current


    Hiii sir,

    Can we use CBCT for a floating neutral system or ungrounded system to detect the earth fault. If we can then kindly give brief information with a practical example.


    1. phanibabu Post author

      Hi Prudhvi,
      The purpose of floating grounding is to avoid unnecessary tripping or shutdown. For small leakage currents, the system should not get tripped frequently. So we don’t want primary earth fault protection for such critical systems. Normally it is used in UPS like Control circuits of all types are of particular importance. If the earth fault currents are high, as a backup Earth fault relays always used. CBCT is used where Zero sequence protection is available but not for floating grounded systems.

      1. phanibabu Post author

        Hi Nasir,
        • CBCT is well suited for use on low resistance grounded systems, but not well suited for use on solidly grounded systems. For solidly grounded systems Overcurrent relay protection is used.

        • CBCT is used to detect ZERO sequence currents only. It is possible to detect these currents by, passing three core or four core cable only as explained above in this post. For detecting Ground faults using Earth fault relay-51N protection [Residual Ground Current Measuring] is used. Observe this connection here. [Question Number-4]

        • Neutral CT is used in the case of REF protection in transformer protection this is not the same as CBCT. Observe this connection here.

  4. Prashant Sawant

    My ground fault level is 51G (46.5A) & CBCT rating is 40A & set at 30mA SO IS THIS CORRECT DESIGN OR ANY IMPACT ON SYSTEM DUE TO SUCH DESIGN? or i need to change the CT Ratio / setting? please advice

  5. Dulal Pramanik

    Hi, I have a problem, CBCT of 3 cores cable measuring 1.07A current wheres neutral side CT measuring 0A. The cables are armored and the armored earthing are U looped & back through CBCT to Earthing Bar. The Generator has some unbalance current, the CBCT measuring current increases with increasing the generator load. What could be the reason for that problem?

    1. phanibabu Post author

      Hi Dulal,
      It is my pleasure to answer your query. I think there is a problem with CBCT mounting. Just go through the article once again and checkpoint number 2 in CBCT mounting. This is stated as follows.
      In armored cables, armoring must be removed before passing the cable through the CBCT to avoid an induced e.m.f through the armor and the corresponding magnetizing current which may affect the performance of the current transformer.

  6. chandrashekar patil


    Can we use the CBCT for 11 KV system on generator side ,we have generator side resistance grounding and maximum fault current is 5 Amps

    We are planning to use 20/1 Amps CBCT where as our main CT is 500/1 Amps and planning LT CT of 20/1 Amps for sensitive earth fault

    Can you suggest on above …

  7. tapan samant

    Does CBCT has ratio 100/5 Or 100/1 ?
    Does it have class ?
    Does it have current limitation above which it saturates ?

    1. phanibabu Post author

      Yes Tapan
      CBCTs have ratio-Common values of nominal ratio of CBCTs are 50/1, 100/1
      PS-Class and also it has saturation limit.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *