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    Circuit Breakers

    RS Components stock an extensive range of high-quality devices within our electrical circuit breakers range, you can find residential MCBs, RCBOs, and RCCBs as well as thermal automotive and magnetic circuit breakers.

    What are circuit breakers and their uses?

    An electrical circuit breaker is designed to provide protection for a power circuit from excess current. It is similar to a fuse, but is a switch device that can be reset if tripped. The main advantages of circuit breakers are that they're reusable and can react quickly in the event of a fault, making them ideal for applications such as the fault protection switches found in many houses.

    How does a circuit breaker work?

    There are many types of circuit breakers and they all work in a slightly different way. Essentially, when excess current or electric leakage is detected, they're designed to trip a mechanism to break the circuit.

    Circuit breaker types

    Circuit breaker designs differ depending on the amount of voltage that is required to work with. Most of them are designed for a specific use.

    Magnetic circuit breakers – use solenoid components to separate the contacts. These are complex circuit breakers that sometimes use fluid and hydraulic mechanisms to gain more control over the solenoid action.

    Thermal breakers – react almost instantly to different types of overcurrent conditions using an electromagnet and bimetallic strips.

    Residual current circuit breakers (RCCBs) – are used to protect against residual current only and help to prevent injury from electric shocks. They are classified into types by letter. Types AC, A, B, and S are most commonly used.

    Miniature circuit breakers (MCBs) – provide protection from overcurrent and short-circuit only. They are also classified into types, with types B, C, and D being the most common.

    Residual circuit breaker with overload (RCBOs) – these devices can protect from short circuit, overload current and residual current as they combine all the functions of an MCB and an RCCB circuit breaker.

    What is the difference between fuses and circuit breakers?

    Fuses are simple devices that no longer work once they are used, while a circuit breaker can be reset and reused many times, within the limitations specified by the manufacturer.