Low Voltage Circuit Breaker Tips To Help You

By: Rudy Silva


A low circuit breaker is ideal for circuits that are rated at 600 volts or lower. Its applications include residential, commercial and industrial. The characteristics of low circuit breakers are set by International Standards such as the IEC 947.

Such circuit breakers are generally mounted in draw-out enclosures which allow the removal and interchange without having to dismantle the switchgear. There are two common types of low voltage circuit breakers. These are the Miniature Circuit Breaker and the Molded Case Circuit Breaker.

In the Miniature Circuit Breakers, the rated current is not more than 100A. They are ideal for thermal or thermal-magnetic operation, and the trip characteristics are not adjustable.

In Molded Case Low Voltage Circuit Breaker, the rated current is up to 1000A. Its trip current may be adjustable in larger ratings, and the operation includes thermal or thermal-magnetic.

Low voltage circuit breakers are designed for Direct-Current applications like the DC supplied for subway lines. In this case, special breakers are needed for Direct Current because the arc does not have the natural capacity to go out on each half cycle similar to Alternating Current or AC.

Direct Current Circuit Breakers have blow-out coils which produce a magnetic field that stretches the arc in interrupting Direct Current. In addition, the large low voltage molded case and power circuit breakers may feature electrical motor operators to allow them to be tripped and closed using a remote controller.

They may also form part of an automatic transfer switch system for standby power. Deterioration of a low voltage circuit breaker is normal. The deterioration begins as soon as you installed the circuit breaker. If it is not monitored, the deterioration can cause failures and malfunctions.

To prevent this from happening, it is advisable to have an electrical preventive maintenance and testing program to recognize deterioration process, and provide necessary resolutions.

A good and organized maintenance program is able to lessen the accidents, and decrease the unplanned shutdowns. It also lengthens the mean time between failures of electrical equipment.

Low voltage circuit breakers that operate at 600 volts Alternating Current should be inspected and maintained every 1 and 3 years, depending on the operating conditions.

In most cases, conditions that require regular inspection are high humidity and high ambient temperature, older equipment, frequent fault operations, frequent switching operations, corrosive atmosphere and dusty atmosphere.

All breakers, including low voltage circuit breakers, with the exception of some, have a linkage between the operating handle and contacts that allow a quick break contact action, regardless of how fast the operating handle is moved.

The handle of low voltage circuit breaker is designed so that it cannot be closed on a short circuit or overload condition. If the circuit breaker opens under one of these conditions, the handle will proceed to the trip-free position.

The trip-free position is often in mid-way between the OFF and On positions. Unless the handle is pushed to the OFF position, it cannot be re-shut. Your home circuit breaker needs to be maintained as well.

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