This lesson provides students with an understanding of the working principle of the
Air Circuit Breaker and the protection incorporated in it for safe operation of
Figure 1 shows an Air Circuit Breaker of the draw-out type found in main
switchboard of an a.c. system. It is used to connect the alternator safely onto the
bus bars as well as to disconnect it safely should a serious malfunction occur. It can
break a circuit in abnormal conditions - under-voltage, over-current, short-circuit,
reverse power- in an installation. It thus disconnect automatically a faulty circuit.
1. The main contacts are kept closed and latched against high spring force.
2. Quick acting tripping action is provided by release spring.
3. Cooling and splitting of arc is done by arc chutes. Arcing contacts close earlier
4. Closing coil is provided to close the circuit breaker. This coil operates on d.c. power from rectifier and is energised by a closing relay operated by a push- button.
6. This coil operates on d.c. power. A push-button switch for opening the circuit breaker by de-energising the no-volt coil is used. Normally-open contacts are used for de-energising the coil and trip the circuit breaker by electronic over- current and reverse power relays.
In the event of low voltage (50 % to 70% of rated voltage), ACB trips because the
no-volt coil is de-energised to release the mechanical latch. See simplified diagram
of ACB in Figure 2.
Closure by mistake of an alternator breaker when machine is dead is prevented by
an under-voltage trip. This protective measure is fitted when alternators are
arranged for parallel operation. Instantaneous operation of the trip is necessary to
prevent closure of the breaker.
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