Difference between Fuse and Circuit Breaker

Comparisons, Knowledgebase

A fuse and a circuit breaker are safety devices used in electrical systems. They both serve the same purpose: to protect the system from overloads and short circuits. However, there are some key differences between the two devices.

What Are Fuses?

fuse

Fuses are devices that are used to protect electrical circuits from overloads. They are designed to “blow” or interrupt the flow of electricity in the event of an overload, thereby preventing damage to equipment or fire.

What Are Circuit Breakers?

what is circuit breakers

Circuit breakers are devices that are used to protect electrical circuits from overloads. They are designed to “trip” or interrupt the flow of electricity in the event of an overload, there by preventing damage to equipment or fire.

 Difference Between Fuses And Circuit Breakers

what is fuse

  • Principle of operation: Fuses work by providing a low resistance path to ground when too much current flows through them. This effectively “blows” the fuse, interrupting the circuit. On the other hand, circuit breakers have moving parts that open and close the circuit as needed.
  • Speed of action: Fuses react quickly to an over-current condition, whereas circuit breakers take slightly longer.
  • Element used for tripping: The aspect that trips (or opens) the circuit in a fuse are made of a metal that melts when too many current flows through it. In a circuit breaker, the tripping element is usually a magnetic coil.
  • Protective functions: Both fuses and circuit breakers protect against over-current conditions. However, some circuit breakers can also protect against other diseases, such as Under-voltage, overloads, and short circuits.
  • Safety: Fuses must be replaced after they have been used. This can be difficult and dangerous, as the fuse may still be live. Circuit breakers can be reset after a trip, which is much safer.
  • Replacement: Fuses need to be replaced after they have been used once. Circuit breakers can be reset after they have been used once.
  • Material: Fuses are made of a metal wire that melts when an overload in the circuit occurs.
  • Circuit breakers are made of a switch that trips when there is an overload in the circuit.
  • Cost: Fuses are cheaper than circuit breakers. Circuit breakers are more expensive than fuses.

circuit breakers

What Is An Electric Fuse And How Does It Work?

An electric fuse is a safety device that protects electrical circuits from damage caused by excess current. Fuses are made of a metal alloy that melts when the current flowing through it becomes too high, thus opening the circuit and stopping the flow of electricity.

What About Safety Precautions?

Here are some tips for ensuring the safety of your fuse box or circuit breaker:

  • Always have a qualified electrician install or repair your fuse box or circuit breaker.
  • Never try to repair a fuse or circuit breaker yourself.
  • Regularly check your fuse box or circuit breaker for signs of wear and tear, and have it replaced if necessary.
  • Make sure all the wiring in your home or office is up to code and in good condition.
  • Never overload your electrical circuits.

Advantages Of Fuse Over Circuit Breaker

  • Fuses are cheaper than circuit breakers.
  • Fuses are more responsive than circuit breakers in an overload or short circuit. They act faster in such cases and prevent damage to the electrical system.
  • Fuses can be easily replaced, while circuit breakers require specialized tools and skills for replacement.
  • Fuses are more rugged and can withstand harsh conditions, while circuit breakers are more delicate and susceptible to damage.
  • Fuses need less maintenance than circuit breakers.

Advantages Of Circuit Breaker Over Fuse

  • A circuit breaker can be used multiple times, unlike a fuse that must be replaced after every use.
  • A circuit breaker trips faster than a fuse in an overload, thus providing better protection.
  • A circuit breaker can be reset easily after it trips while a fuse needs to be replaced.
  • A circuit breaker can be used to isolate a particular circuit, while a fuse cannot.
  • Circuit breakers are available in various sizes and ratings, while fuses are not.
  • Installing a circuit breaker is more accessible than installing a fuse.
  • Circuit breakers provide better safety as they do not require replacement after every use.

Types Of Circuit Breakers

Many circuit breakers are used in the electrical power distribution system. Air Circuit Breakers, Oil Circuit Breakers, Gas Circuit Breakers, and Vacuum Circuit breakers are widely used circuit breakers in the power system.

  • Air Circuit Breaker: An air circuit breaker (ACB) is a circuit breaker where the arc is extinguished in a
  • Vacuum chamber: Air circuit breakers are used for distribution systems up to 36 kV.
  • Oil Circuit Breaker: An oil circuit breaker (OCB) is a circuit breaker where the arc is extinguished between two oil-immersed electrodes. Oil circuit breakers are used for distribution systems up to 220 kV.

Types of Fuse

  • Blade fuses are the most common fuse used in automobiles and boats. They come in a variety of sizes, with each size corresponding to a different amperage rating. For example, a standard size for automobile blade fuses is the mini blade fuse, which has a rating of 5, 7.5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 amps.
  • Cartridge fuses are used in electrical panels to protect high-amperage circuits. They are available in various sizes and ratings, but the most common size used in residential applications is the 1/2-inch by 1-1/4-inch fuse, which has a rating of 60 amps.

FAQs

How do I properly maintain my fuse or circuit breaker?

To properly maintain your fuse or circuit breaker, you should regularly check the device for any signs of damage or wear. You should also ensure that the device is clean and free of any debris that could prevent it from functioning properly.

What should I do if my fuse or circuit breaker trips?

If your fuse or circuit breaker trips, you should check to see if anything could be causing the issue, such as a power surge or an overloaded circuit.

Conclusion

Fuses and circuit breakers are two types of devices that are used to protect electrical circuits. They both have advantages and disadvantages, so it is important to choose the right one for the job. Fuses are cheaper and easier to replace but can be damaged by repeated use. Circuit breakers are more expensive but more durable and can be reset if they trip.

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