Electronic Circuit Breaker System For Power Distribution

An electronic circuit breaker (ECB) is a switching device that can be operated manually and automatically to manage and shield an electrical power system. The switch is designed to safeguard electrical circuits from damage induced by overcurrent or overload or short circuit. Its primary function is interrupting current flow after protective relays detect a fault. The ECB is developed in such a way that it trips every time the current crosses the safe level to avoid overheating, melting, and potential fires.

Difference between Breaker and Fuse

Even though Electronic Circuit Breakers and fuses serve the same purpose, ECBs are more reliable and can be reused until it is completely damaged, giving them a longer shelf life. Fuses, on the other hand, can be used only once. Fuses are of a cylindrical shape made of glass and contain a thin filament. The filament becomes obsolete when tripped as it will burn off, melt, or become useless, and in rare cases, the glass cylinder may even crack.

Types of ECB

  • Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI)
  • Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCI)
  • Single-Pole Circuit Breakers
  • Double-Pole Circuit Breakers

Circuit breaker components

There are five universal circuit breaker components:

  • Frame
  • Operating mechanism
  • Contacts
  • Arc extinguisher
  • Trip unit

Advantages of Electronic Circuit Breaker

  • ECB protects from damage caused by the flow of excessive current
  • ECBs are more reliable than fuses
  • As it operates via a switch, it can be reset
  • Breakers are very sensitive in operation

Disadvantages of ECB

  • Installation and repair are on the expensive side as compared to fuse
  • ECBs react slower than fuses

When should you change your circuit breaker?

While Electronic Circuit Breakers have a robust design, they too age and get damaged. Changing your ECB timely to keep your appliances running safely is crucial. You must watch out for the following signs to know when to replace your ECB: 

Flickering lights: Flickering lights are one of the early signs that show your ECB is on the brink of getting damaged. It is suggested to contact a professional electrician before making any move.

ECB keeps tripping: If your ECB trips more often or while running two high-voltage appliances simultaneously, it is probably time to check your electronic circuit breaker.

Overheating of ECB: When your ECB or switch plates or switches are hot when you touch them, it’s a sign that something is wrong with your electrical system and requires immediate attention.

Burning Smell: Burning smell may not always come from your kitchen. It could be from overheating of wires and needs immediate attention. When your ECB starts to age, it may cause overheating of wires. Shutting down the main power remains the best option in this case. A professional electrician can be contacted for further action. 

Discoloured outlets: Discolouring of outlets is due to overheating of wires, and this may be caused due to improper working of your ECB.

Erratic functions of appliances: One of the signs of the poor condition of ECBs is when your devices start to function erratically. We recommend checking your ECB before changing your expensive home and kitchen appliances.

By Admin

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