By Aditya Taneja and Ulrich Klapper, Omicron Electronics

A circuit breaker is an electrical switch designed to protect an electrical circuit from damage caused by overload or short circuit. It is also used to isolate part of a healthy circuit for regular maintenance. Its operation can therefore be both automatic and manual. Its basic function is to immediately discontinue electrical flow.

The circuit breaker plays a significant role within the power system where it:

  • Minimises losses in closed position.
  • Opens and closes on command.
  • Opens or closes a circuit to connect the power to/from the transmission line (O – break, C – make).
  • Opens a circuit for planned maintenance (O – break).
  • Opens a circuit at system fault to protect the system behind the circuit breaker (O – break, O-C -reclose, O-CO auto-reclose).
  • Isolates between poles (TRV), open contacts and earth.

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