Since electricity was invented, there has been a need for circuit protection. In the beginning, the most basic form of circuit protection was using a smaller wire in series with a larger wire. When the current became too large due to an overload or fault, the smaller wire melted thus protecting the larger wire. This was the beginning of the fuse and while designs and materials have evolved over the years, the basics on how a fuse works have not changed.
In the 1930s, customers looked for a better alternative to a destructive failure protection device. There were also multiple ways to defeat a fuses protection that caused a concern for safety and the introduction of the circuit breaker was a solution to these issues. Circuit breakers have seen a significant change in technology over those years and fuses, once a fixture in protecting houses, now have been completely replaced in the housing industry. The need for ground fault and arc fault detection made obsolete the use of fuses in homes.
Fuse manufacturers are feeling pressure of trying to keep a bicycle technology alive in a microprocessor based world. Code changes requiring arc fault and ground fault in the home and Arc Flash protection in assemblies are driving customers away from fuse technology and towards the enhanced protection available in circuit breakers. LEEDS/Green initiatives encourage usage of re-settable devices, such as circuit breakers, to reduce waste disposal and encourage reusability. Ability to incorporate internal and external accessories in breakers, and communication and power metering capabilities in trip units, provide another benefit over fuses.
Circuit breakers have many advantages over fuses:
Eaton has a long history in the Electrical Business. We are a company that is made up of a legacy of two companies,
Cutler-hammer and Westinghouse, who have years of experience in circuit protection and control devices. For more information
on Eaton’s molded case and power breaker circuit protection click here!