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Differences amoung overcurrents, overloads and short circuits

Apr 6th, 2022 at 13:58   Phones & Tablets   Bareilly   144 views
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A circuit breaker is an electrical safety device designed to protect an electrical circuit from damage caused by an overcurrent or short circuit. Its basic function is to interrupt current flow to protect equipment and to prevent the risk of fire. Unlike a fuse, which operates once and then must be replaced, a circuit breaker can be reset (either manually or automatically) to resume normal operation.


Circuit breakers are made in varying sizes, from small devices that protect low-current circuits or individual household appliances, to large switchgear designed to protect high voltage circuits feeding an entire city. The generic function of a circuit breaker, or fuse, as an automatic means of removing power from a faulty system, is often abbreviated as OCPD (Over Current Protection Device). Also, there are many different types of Smart Circuit BreakerEwelink WIFI Circuit BreakerTuya WIFI Circuit BreakerRS485 Circuit BreakerRemote Control Circuit BreakerZigbee Circuit BreakerSolar Systems Circuit BreakerAutomatic Recloser Circuit BreakerDC WIFI Circuit BreakerRS485 DC Circuit Breaker, etc.


Differences amoung overcurrents, overloads and short circuits


NEC defines and overcurrent as any current in excess of the rated current of equipment of the ampacity of a conductor. An over current is the result of an overload, short circuit, arc or ground fault. Effects of overcurrent include fires, conductor insulation damage and equipment damage.


According to NEC, an overload is the operation of equipment in excess of normal, full-load rating, or of a conductor in excess of rated ampacity that, when it persists for a sufficient length of time would cause damage or dangerous overheating. An overload is NOT a short circuit, ground or arc fault.

Short Circuits

A short circuit is an overcurrent which greatly exceeds the normal full load current of the circuit. Also, as the name infers, a short circuit leaves the normal current carrying path of the circuit and takes a short-cut around the load and back to the power source. A short circuit is an overcurrent but not an overload.


Circuit breaker components

Although low and medium voltage circuit breakers have unique designs that are specific to amperage, voltage and application, there are five main components that are universal across the different types of circuit breakers. The five universal circuit breaker components are:


Frame – Protects internal parts of the circuit breaker from outside materials

Operating mechanism – Provides a means of opening and closing the circuit breaker

Contacts – Allows the current to flow through the circuit breaker when closed.

Arc extinguisher – Extinguishes an arc when the circuit breaker interrupts a fault.

Trip unit – Opens the operating mechanism in the event of a prolonged overload or short circuit.