How Much Do You Know About Circuit Breakers?

circuit breaker

Find out how an electric circuit breaker works: what is the principle, its role, and what are the different circuit breakers that will help you secure your home and company from electrocution and fire disasters.

What is a Circuit Breaker?

The circuit breaker is a device that cuts off electricity in the event of a short circuit or overcurrent. There are several types and we place them on the electrical panel of the installation. When the circuit breaker trips, we should investigate the problem before resetting it.

The Role Of The Electric Circuit Breaker

A circuit breaker works the same way as a switch, but it trips automatically. All the electrical circuits and all the devices are compulsorily connected to a circuit breaker in the electrical panel which protects them from short circuits. A short circuit occurs when two conductors of different polarities touch each other, causing excessive overcurrent. When all goes well, the current flows through the circuit breaker without being interrupted. If a short circuit occurs, a coil senses the overcurrent and creates a magnetic field that opens the circuit breaker contacts.

The circuit breaker also protects against overloads. Each circuit is designed to withstand a determined intensity. If it exceeds that intensity, the drivers heat up and the risk of fire increases. In the circuit breaker, the overload current passes through a thermal device which gradually deforms and ends up causing the circuit to open.


How It Works

In a house, we connect the meter to the general circuit breaker, which protects against overloads and short circuits. If too many devices are running simultaneously, the subscriber may exceed the power subscribed and cause a general cut. We connect branch circuit breakers to each zone of the dwelling. There are also earth leakage circuit breakers that protect people when they come into contact with metallic masses that are accidentally energized. If the masses of the devices are correctly connected to the earth, then the differential will detect the difference in intensity and cut the electrical circuit. To put the electricity back on, all you have to do is reset the circuit breaker, provided you have previously detected and removed the current leakage.

A well-protected electrical installation has many circuit breakers. More or less sensitive, they will perfectly protect both property and people.

Detopsy Electricals recommends that you periodically check that the circuit breakers are functioning correctly.

The Circuit Breaker And Modular Protection

There are various types of circuit breakers and related accessories. The 4 main electrical materials are:

  • The modular protection circuit breaker

  • The monobloc differential circuit breaker

  • Differential switch

  • Differential Block

The Modular Protection Circuit Breaker

We also call this electrical equipment a branch circuit breaker. It is always at the head of the electrical installation of a house. Installed as a replacement for fuses, it protects property and people in a home by preventing fires, short circuits, and all other incidents related to electricity.

The modular circuit breaker has 2 protections:

  • Thermal protection

  • Magnetic protection

> Click below to find our Schneider Electric’s range of circuit breakers:

  1. Acti9 MCB and Isolator Switch

  2. Coils & Thermal Shields

  3. Compact NSX – Micrologic Trip Unit

  4. Compact NSX – Thermal Magnetic Trip Unit

  5. Easypact CVS – Thermal Magnetic Trip Unit

  6. Easypact MCB and Isolator Switch

  7. Molded-Case Circuit Breaker (Compact NS Range)

  8. Molded-Case Circuit Breaker (Compact NSXm Range)

In this range, 4 main families stand out:

  • The single-phase circuit breaker

  • The bipolar circuit breaker

  • The three-pole circuit breaker

  • The four-pole circuit breakers

The MonoBloc Differential Circuit Breaker

We place this type of circuit breaker on the electrical network, between the general circuit breaker and the line that must be protected. We mainly use this type of circuit breaker for protecting certain types of electrical devices such as alarms or computer equipment.

The major advantage of the monobloc residual current circuit breaker is that it performs both the function of a circuit breaker and also a residual current device in one box. In addition, it makes it possible to cut the circuit of the electrical device connected to the circuit breaker in the event of an interruption or, on the contrary, to ensure the operation of the device it protects in the event of an electrical problem.

There are 2 versions of the monobloc residual current circuit breaker:

  • The single-phase

  • The tetrapolar

Differential Switch

This electrical equipment aims to protect property and people from problems that may encounter the electrical installation of a home by isolating the problem encountered from the rest of the circuit. The differential switch detects and cuts the current in devices with an electrical fault.

It is also possible to isolate the connected circuits manually. Here you will also find 2 ranges:

  • Single-phase differential switches

  • Four-pole differential switches

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The Differential Block

Here is some electrical equipment providing differential protection of the electrical installation: electrical protection compares the outgoing current and the incoming current in electrical devices.

The differential unit is a measuring device associated with the circuit breaker and which can be associated with a differential switch. It is used to detect a current difference between the distinct elements of an electrical installation and acts when we reach or exceed the minimum threshold of amperes.

3 major lines make up this electrical equipment:

  1. The mono / bipolar differential unit

  2. The three-pole differential unit

  3. The four-pole differential unit

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