Circuit breakers are something that no building can go without. Circuit breakers are electrical switches that are automatically operated and are designed to interrupt an electric circuit in the event of a short circuit or an overload. They work on the basis of interrupting the continuity, or discontinue electric flow, when they detect a certain irregular condition. Circuit breakers come in all sizes, from the small box like devices that protect houses and apartments, to huge switchgears that are used for protecting high voltage circuits that feed an entire city. There are many different classifications and types of circuit breakers, depending on features like voltage class, structural features, interrupting type, and construction type. The main types of circuit breakers are the following: low voltage circuit breakers (less than 1000VAC), magnetic circuit breakers, thermal magnetic circuit breakers, common trip circuit breakers, medium voltage circuit breakers, high voltage circuit breakers, sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) high voltage circuit breakers, disconnecting circuit breakers (DCB), and other, more specific types, such as the residual current device, or residual current circuit breaker (RCD), residual current breaker with over-current protection (RCBO), earth leakage circuit breaker (ELCB), autorecloser circuit breaker, and polyswitch circuit breaker. Some companies offer technical services that provide circuit breaker service and technical support for industrial sized switchboards in power utilities, distribution systems, paper mills, shredders, food processing companies, and others. The main goal of these technical service companies is to optimize the reliability and the safety of an electrical system, and to reduce losses from down time. General electric circuit breakers are considered as one of the best on the market, for homeowners and for industrial companies. Because these circuit breakers can be reused, there are a lot of companies that offer refurbished GE circuit breakers for a fraction of the price of new ones.
General electric circuit breakers – how they work
For a circuit breaker to interrupt a circuit, it needs to detect a fault condition. When a fault condition is detected, the circuit breakers inner contacts open up, and this interrupts the electric current. The contacts must then carry the load current while withstanding the heat produced from the opening of the circuit. These contacts are made from silver alloys, copper alloys and generally high conductive materials. When the current is interrupted with the opening of the current, it generates an arc. The arc must be cooled, contained and gradually extinguished in a controlled manner, in order for the gaps between the contacts to be able to be reconnected and withstand the circuits’ voltage. The arc forms in an insulating medium such as an insulating gas, oil, air, or a vacuum, and then is extinguished using different techniques, such as: deflection of the arc, or lengthening, division into partial arcs, intensive cooling, parallel connecting capacitors with contacts in DC circuits, and zero point quenching.
General electric circuit breakers – low voltage circuit breakers
These circuit breakers are the most commonly used in domestic residents, and for industrial and commercial application. There are few different types of low voltage circuit breakers, like the MCB, or the miniature circuit breaker with a rated current that does not exceed 100 A; MCCB, or molded case circuit breaker, which is rated to the limit of 2500 A;
General electric circuit breakers – Thermal magnetic circuit breakers
Thermal magnetic circuit breakers are common in distribution boards. The thermal aspect of these circuit breakers provides the response feature ‘inverse time’. This enables slower or faster responses for smaller or larger over currents respectively.