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To study the construction and working of MCB (Miniature Circuit Breaker)

and MCCB (Moulded Case Circuit Breaker).

These are used extensively in low voltage domestic, commercial and industrial
applications. They replace conventional fuses and combine the features of a good HRC fuse
and a good switch. For normal operation, it is used as a switch. During overloads or faults, it
automatically trips off. The tripping mecahnizm is actuated by magnetic and thermal sensing
devices provided within the MCB.
The circuit breakers were developed for protection as well as switching applications.
They have a number of advantages over fuses. They do not require frequent replacement or
rewiring in case of breakdown like the fuses do. The MCB or the MCCB remains undamaged
and also keeps the equipment safe.
Miniature circuit breakers (MCB) are used for currents up to 63 A. For higher
currents, MCCB (molded case circuit breaker) are used in low tension distribution system. In
India, they were first used in 1970. Their current rating is normally upto few hundreds of
Typical ratings of MCB
Current rating : 5, 10 , 15, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60A.
Voltage rating : 240V/415V AC ; 50V/11V DC
Interrupting capacity: AC : 3kA at 415V
DC : 3kA at 50V
There are two versions of MCCB available, based on their working principles.

Thermal magnetic

Microprocessor release

Thermal-magnetic is working on base of bimetal and electro-magnetic trigger. When

you have overload current running through MCCB the trigger is using bimetals nature and
start to bend till circuit breaking. The bimetal trigger is calibrated at 45C and for lower or
higher temperatures of ambient we can expect longer or shorter delay at breaking. For precise
results its necessary to consider compensation factor, which is provided from manufacturer.

At short circuit we have big electro-magnetic field, which is a cause for reaction of electromagnetic trigger.
Microprocessor or electronic release is working on monitoring of current true R.M.S
value. It is simulated and calculated from peak values, which installed microprocessor, can

Pictorial view:

Figure.1. MCB Pictorial view

Fig. 2. MCB Constructional diagram

The tripping mechanizm and the termonal contacts are assembled in a moulded case,
moulded out of thermosetting powders. They ensure high mechanical strength, high dielectric
strength and virtually no ageing. The current carrying parts are made out of electrolytic
copper or silver alloy depending upon the rating of the breaker. All other metal parts are of
non-ferrous non rusting type. Sufficient cross section for current carrying parts is provided to
ensure low temperature rise even under high ambient temperature environment. The arc chute
has a special construction which increases length of the arc by the magnetic field created by
the arc itself and the arc chute is so placed in the breaker that the hot gases may not come in
contact with any of the important parts of the breaker.
This circuit consists of bimetallic strip as well as instantaneous magnetic release type
short circuit protection. This release is fixed on individual poles and in case of three phase
circuit they are connected to a common strip bar thereby eliminating possibility of a single
phasing event of fault. Further the fixed and moving contacts separate within the arc.

Fig. 3: Experimental diagram for MCB testing

Operating Mechanism:
Its purpose is to change over the circuit breaker state from closed to open or viceversa. In closed position, sufficient pressure must hold the contacts together, overcoming all
mechanical and electromagnetic forces(caused by current flow). Opening must be fast, such
that the operating time between the instant of the trip signal being received to the final
contact seperation is of the order of 0.03s.(i.e. 1.5 cycles) in EHV breakers, and about 3
cycles in distribution breakers. The opening is under the relay trip signal, which energizes the
CB trip coil from a battery source. The mechanical energy required for the opening
ooperation is obtained by a spring charged during closing operation, or, in large breakers, the
spring may be kept charged during closed condition by means of an electric motor.
In MCBs, the arc is lengthened, cooled and splitted so as to increasethe resistance of
the arc. The rapid increase in the arc resistance causes the reduction in the fault current and
the fault current does not reach the prospective high value. The arc extinction process is
assisted by the current zeros in the AC wave. The voltage drop across the arc goes on
increasing with the increase in the arc resistance and at a current zero, when the recovery
voltage across the contacts is less than the arc voltage, the arc gets extingushed. The energy
in the system inductance at current zero is zero. Hence the arc interrution is easier.
Circuit breakers, particularly MCBs can be effectively used for feeder protection as
well as in domestic applications. In typical distribution system they can be used at

downstream places. In case of fault, a downstream MCB discriminates effectively. At same

time, it will protect cable to a greater degree if compared with switch fuse unit (SFU).
Considering fusing factor of HRC fuse and aging factor of rewirable fuse, the smaller
transformer (20 to 200 kVA) will be better protected with MCB. Single phasing can also be
completely avoided.
MCB can also be used as direct on line starter (DOL) for inductor motor if starting
torque is not abnormally large.
Comparison between switch fuse and MCB:
MCBs can be used to perform switching as well as protection function. Thus, it
scores over a switch fuse unit due to their strength and their superiority as far as technology is
concerned. Reliability in operation is apparent from the inverse time current characteristics.
Application and Advantages:
1) Overload protection, single phasing protection.
2) Tripping induction and looking facility.
3) No space and maintenance, no down time, good appearance.
4) Smaller dimensions.
5) Lighter supporting structure.
6) Arcing confirmed to molded case and can be placed in any direction in vertical plane.
7) Accessories under voltage shunt release and auxiliary contact block.
Some common manufacturers of MCB and MCCB:
1. Crompton & Greaves
2. ABB
3. Siemens
4. L&T
5. Anchor
6. Legrand
7. Schneider (Havells)

Observation table:
Sr. No. Current (A)

Time of operation(sec)













MCB rating- 6 A
Short circuit capacity- 10 kA
Draw the inverse time-current characteristics.

The molded case circuit breaker shows inverse time characteristics of operation. It
has a magnet release for short circuit protection and thermal release for overload protection.
The rating of MCB is according to graph.