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POLYFUSE

INTRODUCTION
Current flow in a conductor always generates heat. Excess heat is damaging to electrical
component. Overcurrent protection devices are used to protect conductors from excessive current
flow. Thus protection devices are designed to keep the flow of current in a circuit at a safe level
to prevent the circuit conductors form overheating.
A fuse is one-tie over-current protection device employing a fusible link that melts (blows) after
the current exceeds a certain level for a certain length of time. A fuse interrupts excessive current
so that further damage by overheating or fire is prevented. Overcurrent protection devices are
essential in electrical systems to limit threats to human life and property damage. Fuses are
selected to allow passage of normal current and of excessive current only for short periods.
Polyfuse is resettable fuse that doesnt need to be replaced like the conventional fuse. Many
manufacturers also call it PolySwitch or MultiFuse. Polyfuse sre designed and made of PPTC
material in thin chip form. It is placed in series to protect a circuit. Polyfuse provide over-current
protection and automatic restoration.
Like traditional fuses, PPTC devices limit the flow of dangerously high current during fault
condition. Unlike traditional fuses, PPTC devices reset after the fault is cleared and the power to
the circuit is removed. Because a PPTC device does not usually have to be replaced after it trips
and because it is small enough to be mounted directly into a motor or on a circuit board, it can be
located inside electronic modules, junction boxes and power distribution centers.

OVERCURRENT PROTECTION
Polyfuse is a series element in a circuit. The PPTC device protects the circuit by going from a
low-resistance to a high-resistance state in response to an overcurrent condition. This is referred
to as "tripping" the device. In normal operation the device has a resistance that is much lower
than the remainder of the circuit. In response to an overcurrent condition, the device increases in
resistance (trips), reducing the current in the circuit to a value that can be safely carried by any of
the circuit elements. This change is the result of a rapid increase in the temperature of the device,
caused by I2R heating.

PRINCIPLE OF OPERATION
Technically these are not fuses but Polymeric Positive Temperature Coefficient (PPTC)
Thermistors. Polyfuse device operation is based on an overall energy balance. Under normal
operating conditions, the heat generated by the device and the heat lost by the device to the

environment are in balance at a relatively low temperature. If the current through the device is
increased while the ambient temperature is kept constant, the temperature of the device
increases. Further increases in either current, ambient temperature or both will cause the device
to reach a temperature where the resistance rapidly increases.
Any further increase in current or ambient temperature will cause the device to generate heat at a
rate greater than the rate at which heat can be dissipated, thus causing the device to heat up
rapidly. At this stage, a very large increase in resistance occurs for a very small change in
temperature. This is the normal operating region for a device in the tripped state. This large
change in resistance causes a corresponding decrease in the current flowing in the circuit. This
relation holds until the device resistance reaches the upper knee of the curve. As long as the
applied voltage remains at this level, the device will remain in the tripped state (that is, the
device will remain latched in its protective state). Once the voltage is decreased and the power is
removed the device will reset.

ADVANTAGES OVER TRADITIONAL FUSES


Conventional thermal fuses are not resettable and are therefore limited in their ability to match
the low temperature protection of PPTC devices. The selection of a low fusing temperature in
conventional thermal fuses is limited by the need to avoid nuisance tripping in temporary high
ambient temperature environments, such as car dashboards on a hot day or high storage
temperatures. Even thermal fuses with 94C or higher fusing temperature often nuisance trip
during normal operation or pack assembly.
ITEM
1. Resettable
2. Size
3. Warranty cost
4. Power Lost
5. Resistance

PPTC
Yes
Small
Low
Low
Low

CPTC
Yes
Medium
Low
High
High

Hence, the major benefits of polyfuse are as

Low base resistance


Latching (non-cycling) operation
Automatic reset ability
Short time to trip
No arcing during faulty situations
Small dimensions and compact design
Internationally standardized and approved
No accidental hot plugging

BI-METAL
Yes
Large
High
Low
Low

FUSE
No
Large
High
Low
Low

Withstand mechanical shocks and vibrations and comply with the safety norms

APPLICATIONS
PolyFuses are used in automobiles, batteries, computers and peripherals, industrial controls,
consumer electronics, medical electronics, lighting, security and fire alarm systems,
telecommunication equipment and a host of other applications where circuit protection is
required.
BATTERY PROTECTION
Batteries are constantly charged and discharged over their life-cycle. Over-charge results in an
increase in the temperature of the electrolyte. This could cause either a fire or an explosion.
Polyfuse play a vital role in the charging and discharging cycles of batteries. The Polyfuse low
resistance overcomes the additional series resistance introduced by the MOSFETs and the low
trip temperature can provide protection against thermal runaway in the case of an abusive
overcharge.