Fuse vs Circuit Breaker
Electricity is the main power source in our households and industry. With its innumerous advantages, still electricity may cause problems in any application if not regulated properly. An overload in electrical power can damage any appliances or machinery connected to the power supply line; perhaps even cause loss of life. Both fuses and circuit breakers are devices used to prevent damage due to power overloads. The idea behind the safety features like fuses and circuit breakers is to disconnect the internal circuit from the power main, when an excessive voltage or current tries to pass through that.
More about Fuses
Fuses are devices connected serially to a circuit in between the power supply and the internal circuit. All electrical fuses share a common principle of operation, but there are numerous variations and adaptations to better suit the requirements of the electrical system. A fuse consists of a thin conducting wire with special thermal properties connected to two terminals at the ends.
Every conductor shows at least a small resistance to the flow of current, and these current heats up the conductor. Fuses are designed such that, when the amount of current passing through the thin wire exceeds the allowable limit, the heat generated causes the melting of the metal wire, disconnecting the internal circuit from the power source. Electrical characteristics of the fuses are rated, and the electrical system must operate within these rated values, to operate without any disruption.
Fuses have a Rated Current (IN), which is the maximum allowable current before the breakdown. Rated Voltage is the minimum voltage at which the circuit will become open due to melting of the wire. Temperature affects the resistance of materials; hence the voltage at which the fuse blows. Therefore, temperature tolerance is also rated for a fuse and marked on the package of the fuse.
The size of the fuse may vary from a centimeter to about half a meter. Also, the packaging also changes depending on the application. Once a fuse is blown it has to be replaced with a new one.
More about Circuit Breakers
A circuit breaker is an automatic switch that is designed using electromechanical techniques to prevent power overload damage or short circuits. A circuit breaker has a solenoid inside, and it is kept at a certain voltage level, to keep the triggering mechanism in balance. Once a fault is observed in the circuit, such as an overload or a short circuit, the switch is triggered, and the current flow is discontinued. After solving the pertaining problem in the electrical system, the circuit breaker can be switched back to on again.
Like fuses, circuit breakers also come in many different sizes and packages, specialized to the requirements of the electrical system. They have current and a voltage rating indicating maximum allowable current and voltage.
What is the difference between the Fuses and the Circuit Breakers?
• The fuse is a device working on the electrical and thermal properties of the conducting material, while a circuit breaker is a device working on the electromechanical principles.
• Once used a fuse has to be replaced but the circuit breaker can be reused after correction of the fault in the system.
• Fuses offer protection against only power overloads, while circuit breaker offers protection against power overloads and short circuits (voltage imbalances).