0100DB0101

Cedar Rapids, IA, USA 06/01
Determining Current Carrying Capacity in Special Applications
1
Data Bulletin
© 1988–2001 Schneider Electric All Rights Reserved
To meet the requirements of Underwriters Laboratories Standard 489,
molded case circuit breakers are designed, built, and calibrated for use on
60 Hz ac systems in a 40°C (104°F) ambient temperature. Time/current
characteristic trip curves are drawn from actual test data that meets UL 489
testing requirements.
When applied at ambient temperatures other than 40°C, at frequencies other
than 60 Hz, on dc systems, or in other extreme conditions, the performance
characteristics of the circuit breaker may be affected. In these cases, the
current carrying capacity and/or trip characteristics of the circuit breaker may
vary. This bulletin explains how to correctly apply circuit breakers under these
special conditions.
Ambient temperature is defined as the temperature of the air surrounding a
circuit breaker. Since thermal-magnetic circuit breakers are temperature-
sensitive devices, their rated continuous current carrying capacity is based
on a UL specified 40°C (104°F) calibration temperature. When applied at
temperature other than 40°C, it is necessary to determine a circuit breaker’s
actual current carrying capacity under this condition.
Square D circuit breakers can be applied in ambient temperatures within the
range of -10°C to 60°C (14°F to 140°F). This document provides guidelines
to follow when adjusting for ambient conditions.
By properly applying an appropriate ambient rerating curve (see Figs. 4–27
on pages 5–12), a circuit breaker’s current carrying capacity at various
temperatures can be predicted.
Follow the procedure outlined in this bulletin and select cable per
NEC Table 310-16, taking ambient temperature into account.
• Ambient Temperatures Between 25°C and 40°C (77°F and 104°F):
No rerating is necessary.
• Ambient Temperatures Between -10°C and 24°C (14°F and 75°F):
Circuit breakers operating within this ambient temperature range will
carry more than their continuous current rating without tripping.
Nuisance tripping will not be a problem. However, if closer protection
of the equipment and conductor is required, the increased current
carrying capacity of the circuit breaker at the lower ambient
temperature should be taken into consideration.
• Ambient Temperatures Between 41°C and 60°C (106°F and 140°F):
Circuit breakers operating within this ambient temperature
range will carry less than rated continuous current and must
be carefully selected to prevent nuisance tripping.
The trip units on Square D electronic trip circuit breakers are ambient-
insensitive from -10°C to 60°C (14°F to 140°F). Temperatures outside this
range may damage the trip unit’s circuitry or other components.
Rerating due to ambient conditions is required on certain circuit breaker
frames to prevent overheating of internal circuit breaker components.
Consult Square D Company for appropriate circuit breaker rerating factors
and the National Electrical Code (NEC) for derating of conductors.
INTRODUCTION
RERATING FOR AMBIENT CONDITIONS
WHEN IS AMBIENT RERATING
NECESSARY?
Thermal-Magnetic Circuit Breakers
Electronic Trip Circuit Breakers
Determining Current Carrying Capacity in Special Applications 0100DB0101
Data Bulletin 06/01
© 1988–2001 Schneider Electric All Rights Reserved 2
To determine the continuous current carrying capacity of a thermal-magnetic
circuit breaker at an ambient temperature other than rated ambient
temperature (40°C), perform the following steps:
1. Choose the ambient rerating curve for the circuit breaker family involved
(see Figs. 4–27 on pages 5–12).
2. Find the curve for the circuit breaker you wish to apply. Note that the curve
crosses the 40°C (104°F) ambient temperature line at the circuit
breaker’s rated continuous current carrying capacity (“Circuit Breaker
Handle Rating” on the curve).
3. Follow this curve to the appropriate ambient temperature.
4. Read the adjusted continuous current carrying capacity at this point (on
the left axis).
5. Add in any other applicable factors, such as continuous loading, per the
NEC requirement discussed below.
For example, Figure 1 shows the ambient rerating curves for a 400 A frame
LA circuit breaker. What is the continuous current capacity of a 400 A circuit
breaker applied at 40°C (104°F)? At 10°C (50°F)? At 60°C (140°F)?
By finding 40°C on the horizontal axis and reading up to the 400 A curve, you
find that the circuit breaker will carry 400 A, which is its rated current carrying
capacity. If the circuit breaker will be used on a continuous load (defined as
three hours or more), Section 210-20(a) of the 1999 NEC requires that
loading not exceed 80% of the rating. Here, 400 A x .80 = 320 A.
As explained in Section 210-20(a) of the NEC:
“Where a branch circuit supplies continuous loads or any combination of
continuous and noncontinuous loads, the rating of the overcurrent device
shall not be less than the noncontinuous load plus 125 percent of the
continuous load.
“Exception: Where the assembly, including the overcurrent devices
protecting the branch circuit(s), is listed for operation at 100 percent of
its rating, the ampere rating of the overcurrent device shall be permitted
to be not less than the sum of the continuous load plus the
noncontinuous load.”
If you locate 10°C (50°F) on the horizontal axis and read up to the 400 A
curve, you find that the circuit breaker will carry 500 A. Again, if the circuit is
used on a continuous load, it must be applied at 80% of its rating. Here, this
is 500 A x .80 = 400 A.
Finally, if you apply the circuit breaker at 60°C, reading the curve will tell you
that the circuit breaker will carry 335 A. Used on a continuous load, the circuit
breaker must be applied at 80% of its rating. Here, this is 335 A x .80 = 272 A.
HOW TO RERATE CIRCUIT BREAKERS
FOR AMBIENT CONDITIONS
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(68)
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(140)
AMBIENT TEMPERATURE
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(˚F)
Figure 1: Ambient Rerating
Example—LA, LAL
Circuit Breakers
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0100DB0101 Determining Current Carrying Capacity in Special Applications
06/01 Data Bulletin
3 © 1988–2001 Schneider Electric All Rights Reserved
Application of thermal-magnetic circuit breakers at frequencies above 60 Hz
requires that special consideration be given to the effects of high frequency
on the circuit breaker characteristics. Thermal and magnetic operations must
be treated separately.
At frequencies below 60 Hz, the thermal rerating of thermal-magnetic circuit
breakers is negligible. However, at frequencies above 60 Hz, thermal rerating
is required.
One of the most common high frequency applications is at 400 Hz. Figure 2
indicates the thermal rerating multiplier to be used with each circuit breaker
family when applied on 400 Hz systems.
At frequencies above 60 Hz, tests indicate that it takes more current to
magnetically trip a circuit breaker than is required at 60 Hz. Figure 3 shows
the multipliers of 60 Hz current that it takes to instantaneously trip a circuit
breaker when applied at various frequencies.
At frequencies above 60 Hz, the interrupting capacity of thermal-magnetic
circuit breakers is less than the 60 Hz interrupting capacity.
RERATING FOR HIGH FREQUENCY
Thermal Performance
EXAMPLE
When applying a 200 ampere KA circuit breaker
on a 400 Hz system, the circuit breaker’s current
carrying capacity will be as follows:
• Non-continuous Loads (less than three hours):
Using Figure 2, the KA circuit breaker should
be applied at .92 of rating, or 184 amperes.
• Continuous Loads (three hours of more): NEC
Article 210-20(a) requires that standard circuit
breaker loading does not exceed 80% of the
circuit breaker’s rating when used for
continuous loads. (Unless the assembly is
rated for operation at 100% of rating.)
— Therefore, the current carrying capacity of
a 200 ampere KA circuit breaker operating
under continuous load at 400 Hz would be
200 A x .92 x .80 = 147 A.
100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000 2000 0
.5
.6
.7
.8
.9
1.0
EH, FY, FA
K
A
, L
A
, Q
4
, M
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, N
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PA, PC
QO
Q2
Current Rating in Amperes
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Figure 2: 400 Hz Thermal Rerating Multiplier
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1
Magnetic Performance
EXAMPLE
At 60 Hz, it takes 1000 amperes (nominal) to
instantaneously trip a 200 ampere KA circuit
breaker at its low setting. At 400 Hz, it takes
2600 amperes (2.6 multiples) to instantaneously
trip the same circuit breaker.
1
1.5
2
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Line Frequency in Hertz
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Figure 3: High Frequency Magnetic Trip Multiplier
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EXAMPLE
Unless specifically marked, on 400 Hz systems
the interrupting capacity of Square D circuit
breakers is reduced to 1/10 of the 60 Hz
interrupting capacity. This is generally acceptable
because most 400 Hz applications are generator
systems with a maximum available fault current of
1000 amperes or less.
Determining Current Carrying Capacity in Special Applications 0100DB0101
Data Bulletin 06/01
© 1988–2001 Schneider Electric All Rights Reserved 4
When applying thermal-magnetic circuit breakers at high altitudes, both
current and voltage adjustments are required. Current rerating is required
because of the reduced cooling effects of the thinner air present in high
altitude applications. Voltage rerating is necessary because of the reduced
dielectric strength of the air.
The following values are taken from the ANSI Standards C37-13-1981 and
C37-14-1979 and should be used when aplying Square D circuit breakers at
high altitudes:
Trip curves provide complete time/current characteristics of circuit breakers
when applied on ac systems only. When applying Square D thermal-
magnetic circuit breakers, 1000 A frame or less, on dc systems, the
circuit breaker’s thermal characteristics remain unchanged. The magnetic
portion of the curve, on the other hand, requires a multiplier to determine an
equivalent dc trip range. This is necessary because time-current curves are
drawn using root-mean-square (RMS) values of arc current, while dc current
is measured in peak amperes.
The table below lists this multiplier for the magnetic portion of each family of
thermal-magnetic circuit breakers:
Thermal-magnetic circuit breakers above 1000 A frame and all electronic trip
circuit breakers—unless specifically marked for use on dc systems—utilize
current transformers in the current detection circuitry and can not be used on
dc systems.
For interrupting ratings in dc applications, please refer to Square D data
bulletin 0600DB0104, “DC-rated Circuit Breakers.”
Altitude Multiplier
Altitude Current Voltage
0–6600 ft. (0–2011 m) 1 1
6600–8500 ft. (2011–2591 m) 0.99 0.95
8500–13000 ft. (2591–3962 m) 0.96 0.80
Circuit Breaker Family Continuous Current Multiplier
QO 1.2
Q1 1.3
Q2 1.35
EH 1.3
FA/FH 1.15
KA/KH HI: 1.15, LO: 1.3
LA/LH HI: 1.2, LO: 1.4
MA/MH HI; 1.1, LO: 1.2
RERATING FOR HIGH ALTITUDE
EXAMPLE
A 100 A, 600 Vac, FA circuit breaker is to be
applied at an altitude of 10,000 feet. Its current
carrying capacity must be adjusted to 0.96 of
rated current (100 x 0.96 = 96 amperes) and
voltage rating adjusted to 0.80 (600 x 0.80 = 480
Vac).
Therefore, when this circuit breaker is applied at
10,000 feet, it should be considered a 96 A, 480
Vac circuit breaker.
RERATING FOR DIRECT CURRENT
EXAMPLE
Determine the equivalent dc magnetic trip level for
a 200 ampere KA circuit breaker:
AC HI Value = 2000 A ± 20%
DC HI Value = 2000 A x 1.15 = 2300 A ± 20%
AC LO Value = 1000 A ± 25%
DC LO value = 1000 A x 1.3 = 1300 A ± 25%
0100DB0101 Determining Current Carrying Capacity in Special Applications
06/01 Data Bulletin
5 © 1988–2001 Schneider Electric All Rights Reserved
AMBIENT RERATING CURVES
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30 A
20 A
15 A
-10
(14)
0
(32)
20
(68)
40
(104)
60
(140)
AMBIENT TEMPERATURE
˚C
(˚F)
Figure 4: QOT Circuit
Breakers
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10 A
30 A
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40 A
60 A
50 A
110 A
125 A
-10
(14)
0
(32)
20
(68)
40
(104)
60
(140)
AMBIENT TEMPERATURE
˚C
(˚F)
Figure 5: QO, QOB Circuit
Breakers
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175 A
150 A
125 A
-10
(14)
0
(32)
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(68)
40
(104)
60
(140)
AMBIENT TEMPERATURE
˚C
(˚F)
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Figure 6: QE Circuit Breakers
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Determining Current Carrying Capacity in Special Applications 0100DB0101
Data Bulletin 06/01
© 1988–2001 Schneider Electric All Rights Reserved 6
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90 A
80 A
70 A
110 A
125 A
-10
(14)
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(32)
20
(68)
40
(104)
60
(140)
AMBIENT TEMPERATURE
˚C
(˚F)
Figure 7: QOM1 Circuit
Breakers
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200 A
225 A
150 A
-10
(14)
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(32)
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(68)
40
(104)
60
(140)
AMBIENT TEMPERATURE
˚C
(˚F)
Figure 8: QOM2 Circuit
Breakers
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200 A
225 A
150 A
125 A
100 A
-10
(14)
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(32)
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(68)
40
(104)
60
(140)
AMBIENT TEMPERATURE
˚C
(˚F)
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Figure 9: Q2 Circuit Breakers
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0100DB0101 Determining Current Carrying Capacity in Special Applications
06/01 Data Bulletin
7 © 1988–2001 Schneider Electric All Rights Reserved
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-10
(14)
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(32)
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(68)
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(104)
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(140)
AMBIENT TEMPERATURE
˚C
(˚F)
Figure 10: FY Circuit
Breakers
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(14)
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(32)
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(68)
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(104)
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(140)
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80 A
70 A
15 A
30 A
20 A
40 A
60 A
50 A
100 A
25 A
35 A
45 A
125 A
110 A
AMBIENT TEMPERATURE
˚C
(˚F)
Figure 11: EDB, EGB, EJB
Circuit Breakers
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80 A
70 A
15 A
30 A
20 A
40 A
60 A
50 A
100 A
25 A
-10
(14)
0
(32)
20
(68)
40
(104)
60
(140)
AMBIENT TEMPERATURE
˚C
(˚F)
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Figure 12: EH Circuit
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Determining Current Carrying Capacity in Special Applications 0100DB0101
Data Bulletin 06/01
© 1988–2001 Schneider Electric All Rights Reserved 8
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90 A
80 A
70 A
15 A
30 A
20 A
40 A
60 A
50 A
100 A
-10
(14)
0
(32)
20
(68)
40
(104)
60
(140)
AMBIENT TEMPERATURE
˚C
(˚F)
Figure 13: FA Circuit
Breakers
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225 A
250 A
175 A
150 A
125 A
350
75 A
100 A
-10
(14)
0
(32)
20
(68)
40
(104)
60
(140)
AMBIENT TEMPERATURE
˚C
(˚F)
Figure 14: KA Circuit
Breakers
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400 A
350 A
300 A
250 A
175 A
125 A
-10
(14)
0
(32)
20
(68)
40
(104)
60
(140)
AMBIENT TEMPERATURE
˚C
(˚F)
Figure 15: LA Circuit
Breakers
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0100DB0101 Determining Current Carrying Capacity in Special Applications
06/01 Data Bulletin
9 © 1988–2001 Schneider Electric All Rights Reserved
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C
A
R
R
Y
I
N
G

C
A
P
A
C
I
T
Y

(
A
M
P
E
R
E
S
)
600 A
500 A
450 A
400 A
350 A
300 A
150
200
250
300
350
400
450
500
550
600
650
700
750
800
850
-10
(14)
0
(32)
20
(68)
40
(104)
60
(140)
AMBIENT TEMPERATURE
˚C
(˚F)
C
i
r
c
u
i
t

B
r
e
a
k
e
r

H
a
n
d
l
e

R
a
t
i
n
g
Figure 16: LC Circuit
Breakers
0
1
0
0
3
0
1
5
100
200
300
400
500
600
700
800
900
1000
1100
1200
1300
C
U
R
R
E
N
T

C
A
R
R
Y
I
N
G

C
A
P
A
C
I
T
Y

(
A
M
P
E
R
E
S
)
400 A
500 A
600 A
300 A
200 A
125 A
1400
900 A
1000 A
800 A
700 A
-10
(14)
0
(32)
20
(68)
40
(104)
60
(140)
AMBIENT TEMPERATURE
˚C
(˚F)
Figure 17: MA Circuit
Breakers
C
i
r
c
u
i
t

B
r
e
a
k
e
r

H
a
n
d
l
e

R
a
t
i
n
g
0
1
0
0
3
0
1
6
200
400
600
800
1000
1200
1400
1600
C
U
R
R
E
N
T

C
A
R
R
Y
I
N
G

C
A
P
A
C
I
T
Y

(
A
M
P
E
R
E
S
)
1200 A
1000 A
800 A
600 A
700 A
-10
(14)
0
(32)
20
(68)
40
(104)
60
(140)
AMBIENT TEMPERATURE
˚C
(˚F)
C
i
r
c
u
i
t

B
r
e
a
k
e
r

H
a
n
d
l
e

R
a
t
i
n
g
Figure 18: NH Circuit
Breakers
0
1
0
0
3
0
1
7
Determining Current Carrying Capacity in Special Applications 0100DB0101
Data Bulletin 06/01
© 1988–2001 Schneider Electric All Rights Reserved 10
200
400
600
800
1000
1200
1400
1600
1800
2000
2200
2400
2600
C
U
R
R
E
N
T

C
A
R
R
Y
I
N
G

C
A
P
A
C
I
T
Y

(
A
M
P
E
R
E
S
)
1000 A
1200 A
1400 A
800 A
700 A
600 A
2800
2000 A
2500 A
1800 A
1600 A
3000
3200
-10
(14)
0
(32)
20
(68)
40
(104)
60
(140)
AMBIENT TEMPERATURE
˚C
(˚F)
Figure 19: PA Circuit
Breakers
C
i
r
c
u
i
t

B
r
e
a
k
e
r

H
a
n
d
l
e

R
a
t
i
n
g
0
1
0
0
3
0
1
8
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
110
120
130
140
150
160
C
U
R
R
E
N
T

C
A
R
R
Y
I
N
G

C
A
P
A
C
I
T
Y

(
A
M
P
E
R
E
S
)
90 A
80 A
70 A
30 A
20 A
40 A
60 A
50 A
100 A
-10
(14)
0
(32)
20
(68)
40
(104)
60
(140)
AMBIENT TEMPERATURE
˚C
(˚F)
Figure 20: FI Circuit
Breakers
(manufactured
before June 1985)
C
i
r
c
u
i
t

B
r
e
a
k
e
r

H
a
n
d
l
e

R
a
t
i
n
g
0
1
0
0
3
0
1
9
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
110
120
130
140
150
160
C
U
R
R
E
N
T

C
A
R
R
Y
I
N
G

C
A
P
A
C
I
T
Y

(
A
M
P
E
R
E
S
)
90 A
80 A
70 A
30 A
20 A
40 A
60 A
50 A
100 A
-10
(14)
0
(32)
20
(68)
40
(104)
60
(140)
AMBIENT TEMPERATURE
˚C
(˚F)
Figure 21: FI 600 V Circuit
Breakers
(manufactured
after June 1985
C
i
r
c
u
i
t

B
r
e
a
k
e
r

H
a
n
d
l
e

R
a
t
i
n
g
0
1
0
0
3
0
2
4
0100DB0101 Determining Current Carrying Capacity in Special Applications
06/01 Data Bulletin
11 © 1988–2001 Schneider Electric All Rights Reserved
25
50
75
100
125
150
175
200
225
250
275
300
C
U
R
R
E
N
T

C
A
R
R
Y
I
N
G

C
A
P
A
C
I
T
Y

(
A
M
P
E
R
E
S
)
225 A
200 A
175 A
150 A
125 A
110 A
-10
(14)
0
(32)
20
(68)
40
(104)
60
(140)
AMBIENT TEMPERATURE
˚C
(˚F)
C
i
r
c
u
i
t

B
r
e
a
k
e
r

H
a
n
d
l
e

R
a
t
i
n
g
Figure 22: KI Circuit Breakers
(manufactured
before April 1985)
0
1
0
0
3
0
2
3
50
100
150
175
200
225
250
275
C
U
R
R
E
N
T

C
A
R
R
Y
I
N
G

C
A
P
A
C
I
T
Y

(
A
M
P
E
R
E
S
)
175 A
150 A
125 A
110 A
25
125
75
300
325
250 A
225 A
200 A
-10
(14)
0
(32)
20
(68)
40
(104)
60
(140)
AMBIENT TEMPERATURE
˚C
(˚F)
Figure 23: KI 600 V Circuit
Breakers
(manufactured
after April 1985)
C
i
r
c
u
i
t

B
r
e
a
k
e
r

H
a
n
d
l
e

R
a
t
i
n
g
0
1
0
0
3
0
2
5
C
U
R
R
E
N
T

C
A
R
R
Y
I
N
G

C
A
P
A
C
I
T
Y

(
A
M
P
E
R
E
S
)
600 A
500 A
450 A
400 A
350 A
300 A
150
200
250
300
350
400
450
500
550
600
650
700
750
800
850
-10
(14)
0
(32)
20
(68)
40
(104)
60
(140)
AMBIENT TEMPERATURE
˚C
(˚F)
Figure 24: LI Circuit
Breakers
C
i
r
c
u
i
t

B
r
e
a
k
e
r

H
a
n
d
l
e

R
a
t
i
n
g
0
1
0
0
3
0
2
1
Electrical equipment should be serviced only by qualified personnel. No responsibility is assumed
by Schneider Electric for any consequences arising out of the use of this material. This document
is not intended as an instruction manual for untrained persons.
Determining Current Carrying Capacity in Special Applications 0100DB0101
Data Bulletin 06/01
Square D Company
PO Box 3069
3700 Sixth St SW
Cedar Rapids IA 52406-3069 USA
1-888-SquareD (1-888-778-2733)
www.SquareD.com
© 1988–2001 Schneider Electric All Rights Reserved 12
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
110
120
130
140
150
160
C
U
R
R
E
N
T

C
A
R
R
Y
I
N
G

C
A
P
A
C
I
T
Y

(
A
M
P
E
R
E
S
)
100 A
90 A
80 A
70 A
15 A
30 A
20 A
40 A
60 A
50 A
25 A
45 A
55 A
-10
(14)
0
(32)
20
(68)
40
(104)
60
(140)
AMBIENT TEMPERATURE
˚C
(˚F)
Figure 25: QI-QIT Circuit
Breakers
C
i
r
c
u
i
t

B
r
e
a
k
e
r

H
a
n
d
l
e

R
a
t
i
n
g
0
1
0
0
3
0
2
2
90
100
110
120
130
140
150
160
170
180
190
200
C
U
R
R
E
N
T

C
A
R
R
Y
I
N
G

C
A
P
A
C
I
T
Y

(
A
M
P
E
R
E
S
)
150 A
125 A
210
220
110 A
-10
(14)
0
(32)
20
(68)
40
(104)
60
(140)
AMBIENT TEMPERATURE
˚C
(˚F)
C
i
r
c
u
i
t

B
r
e
a
k
e
r

H
a
n
d
l
e

R
a
t
i
n
g
Figure 26: QIA Circuit
Breakers
0
1
0
0
3
0
2
3