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Difference Between Fuse and Circuit Breaker

The fuse and circuit breaker are circuit protection devices used to protect the system from over-current conditions in power system industries. Both do the same but differs from their various characteristics and working principle. Let’s see the difference between the fuse and circuit breaker.

But, before that, we will explore why we need fuse and circuit breakers?

Need for Circuit Breaker and Fuse

In most of the electrical and electronics applications, it is quite common that electrical system experience over current. This may overheat the components present inside the system and affect the system reliability and in some cases, it may totally damage the system along with the persons nearby.

Disadvantages of Over Current

  • Overheats system components
  • Damages equipment
  • Damage insulation
  • Bends and twists bus cables.
  • Cracks will occur for cables and insulators, and Spacers
  • Fire explosions and hazardous fumes exist due to over current.

Moreover, an increase in loads (lights, motors, machines) results in overload and short circuit problems. To overcome this, overload protection devices such as fuse and circuit breakers are used.

Comparison

Fuse Circuit Breaker
Fuse works on the principle of electrical and thermal properties of the conducting materials Circuit breaker works on the principle of electromagnetism and switching
It operates automatically It operates manually and automatically
It needs to be replaced after every operation No replacement is required
It can be used only once. It is a one-time protection device It can be reused
No auxiliary contact is required They are available with auxiliary contact
It cannot be used as ON/OFF switch It is used as ON/OFF switch
It can break the circuit It can make or break the circuit
They are independent of ambient temperature It depends on ambient temperature
Fuse is small It is larger in size
It provides protection against only power overloads It provides protection against power overloads and short circuits
Fuse can detect and interrupt the fault current It performs only interruption. Faults are detected by the relay system
Breaking capacity of the fuse is low Breaking capacity is high for circuit breakers
Operating time is very less (0.002 secs) Operating time is more than fuse (0.02 – 0.05 secs)
Cost is low Cost is high

Conclusion

Based on the difference between fuse and circuit breaker, a fuse is used in electricity meters for houses and in electronic circuits for overcurrent protection. A circuit breaker is reliable as well as reusable as it controls high currents.  But, if you want to switch circuits with small currents relays are preferable.

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