Circuit Breakers is essential components in various industries and electrical systems. There are three different types of circuit breakers, each with its own unique function. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages, so knowing the difference between them is important if you are planning to buy one. Circuit breakers can be electronic or manual; electronic ones require no manual help while manual ones need manual action upon tripping of the breaker.
DescriptionA circuit breaker is a manually operated electric switch designed to prevent a short circuit or excessive current from a malfunctioning electric supply from damaging an electrical circuit. Its primary function is to interrupt power flow after a tripped fault is identified. It also relays a signal to a device to shut down the circuit, in case of a complete short-circuit. The three different types of circuit breakers are mini circuit breakers, multimeter circuit breakers, and open circuit breakers. Miniature circuit breakers are those used in miniature electricity systems whereas multimeter circuit breakers are used in large electrical systems.
ComponentsThe components of circuit breakers are made of three main components: contacts, solenoid, and load contacts. Contacts are the metallic parts that receive the physical motion and pressure from the switch contacts as power flows through it. Solenoid is the part that reacts to the physical movement and pressure of contacts and allows for a safe shutdown of the circuit. Load contacts is a metallic mass, which holds the bulk of the contact and distributes its weight equally across contacts.
Types There are mainly three types of low-voltage miniature circuit breakers. They are manual, electronic, and combination. The manual type needs manual pressure and force to extinguish the contacts. Electronic ones automatically detect a drop in voltage and will automatically shut down when the voltage falls below the predetermined level.
Types Of Short-circuit Current Interruptions Some common examples of short-circuit current interruptions are tripped, short-circuited, and overload interruptions caused by faulty wiring. Manual types are usually equipped with self-protection mechanisms such as safety relays, circuit breakers with built-in microprocessor, or circuit breakers with automatic over-riding of the command of the user. Electrical short-circuits may also be caused by overload or fluctuating loads, short-circuit currents caused by tripping, and faults in the wiring.
Common Problems And Solutions Overloading Of The Electric Current Interruptions An overload is a condition wherein there is too much electrical current flowing within a certain range. This overload can be caused by a short circuit in one of the connections of the circuit breaker, excessive or too frequent use of an overload switch, overloads caused by fluctuations, or excessive overloads within an electrical circuit itself. Overload can result from the overload of the alternating current that flows within the circuits because of insufficient or excess voltage supplied by the mains power supply or the thermal expansion that occurs in the wire connecting layers of cables. An overload may also be caused by the short circuit caused by a tripped or short-circuit current in one of the connections of the circuit breaker. Overheating can also be caused by fluctuating temperatures that exceed the set level of the electrical power supply. Other causes of overload are the presence of reverse polarity currents, the thermal expansion that occur in the wiring, and the excessive use of electrical equipment or appliances within a certain area.
Prevention Of Overload If an electrical supply overload situation is not immediately detected, it may result to a disastrous situation. The circuit breaker panel should be regularly inspected for any signs of overloaded electrical supplies so that they will know when to automatically cut off the power supply to the electrical equipment that are in danger. To prevent any further injuries, the circuit breaker box should be cleaned and maintained properly at all times. It is also recommended that all the wiring and electrical supplies are thoroughly checked by a service technician even when there is no problem with the electrical supplies themselves.
The presence of excessive trip current that is conducted through the distribution boards can easily result to overloads; thus, a trip wire is placed in strategic locations to avoid this happening. In addition to the regular inspection of the distribution boards, trip-wires should also be frequently inspected. The location of the trip wire is very important because if it is placed inside the circuit breaker box, overload currents may again flow into the other circuits even if there are no malfunctioning electrical supplies inside the box. Regular trips wirings help prevent the occurrence of a disastrous trip circuit that can potentially kill or injure people.