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Fuses and Circuit Breakers

Fuses – this is a wire or strip of metal

designed to melt when too much
current flows through it.
Types of Fuses
1. Rewirable fuse. This fuse
consists of a fuse, holder, and
fuse element, fuse carrier. The
holder and carrier are usually
made of porcelain. These fuses
have a colour code as follows:
45A – green
30A – red
20A - yellow
15A – blue
5A - white
2. Cartridge
Fuse – this
consist of a porcelain tube with
metal end caps to which the
fuse element is attached.
Theses fuses are found in 13A
plugs and many electrical
“Schematic symbols”

3. High-rupturing-capacity
fuses (H.R.C) – this type of
fuse is similar to the cartridge
fuse and is normally found
protecting motor circuits and
industrial wiring installations.
Circuit breakers - A circuit breaker
is a mechanical device that is
designed to make or break a circuit
under normal and abnormal
conditions. They can be reset.
There are two types of circuit
1. thermal
2. magnetic

 The circuit breaker must

detect a fault condition; in
low-voltage circuit
breakers this is usually
done within the breaker
enclosure. Circuit
breakers for large
currents or high voltages
are usually arranged
with pilot devices to sense
a fault current and to
operate the trip opening
mechanism. Once a fault is
detected, contacts within
the circuit breaker must
open to interrupt the
circuit. The circuit breaker
contacts must carry the load
current without excessive
heating, and must also
withstand the heat of the arc
produced when interrupting
the circuit. Contacts are
made of copper or copper
alloys, silver alloys, and
other materials.
The design includes the following

1. Actuator lever - used to

manually trip and reset the
circuit breaker. Also indicates
the status of the circuit breaker
(On or Off/tripped). Most
breakers are designed so they
can still trip even if the lever is held or locked in the "on"
position. This is sometimes referred to as "free trip" or
"positive trip" operation.
2. Actuator mechanism - forces the contacts together or apart.
3. Contacts - Allow current when touching and break the current
when moved apart.
4. Terminals
5. Bimetallic strip
6. Calibration screw - allows the manufacturer to precisely
adjust the trip current of the device after assembly.
7. Solenoid
8. Arc divider / extinguisher
devices give added personal protection
against electric shock, by rapidly
disconnecting from the supply. To use
them correctly you MUST follow the
specific instructions for the GFCI
being used.
They are installed in 15A or 20A
outlets outdoors, bathrooms or outlets
close to swimming pools. If the device
they are connected to falls into water,
the GFCI would automatically shut off
or disconnect the circuit.
Power Strip.

High voltage HRC fuses

Earth leakage circuit breaker
(ELCB) is a safety device used in
electrical installations with high earth
impedance to prevent shock.
There are two types of
 voltage operated and,
 current operated.
Voltage-operated ELCBs
provide a major advance in
safety for electrical supplies
with inadequate earth
Current-operated ELCBs are
generally known today
as RCDs (residual current
device). These also protect
against earth leakage, though
the details and method of
operation are different.


FUSE ELEMENT – part of the fuse
designed to melt from passing too
much current.
maximum current that a fuse will
carry without blowing the fuse. Eg.
5A, 10A, 15A etc.
maximum current that will blow the
FUSING FACTOR – the ratio of the
fusing current to the current rating.
SHORT CIRCUITS - when a closed
electrical path exists where it should
not be.
When an electrical short circuit
occurs, a high current will flow in
the circuit for as long as it takes for
the circuit breaker to trip to OFF or
for the fuse to blow.
Dangers of Short Circuits:
- It can cause wires to overheat and
catch fire
- If you are working with batteries,
it can cause the batteries to

1. An open circuit is a fault
that cuts off current flow in
a circuit.
2. When a closed path
becomes open.
OVERLOADS – When the current
or voltage in a circuit exceeds the
rating of the circuit.
EARTH FAULT – When excessive
current flows in a circuit due to a
connection between live parts and

The key to this photo is..

A: Neutral terminal block for the main isolating switch side of the unit.

B: Neutral terminal block for RCD side of the unit

C: Earth terminal block (takes both sides of unit)

D: Main double pole isolating switch.

E: Generally 80 - 100 Amp RCD with 30mA (milliamp) sensitivity.

F: Neutral link cable from Main switch to terminal block

G: Live feed from main switch to RCD.

H: Neutral link cable from main terminal block to RCD

I: Neutral link cable from RCD to RCD neutral terminal block.