Difference WikiPhysics

Difference Between Fuse and Circuit Breaker

Main Difference

The main difference between Fuse and Circuit Breaker is that Fuse is the electrical device that plays its role both as a detection and interruption device whereas, the Circuit Breaker just interrupts the supply after receiving a signal from the relay.

Fuse vs. Circuit Breaker

Fuse is an electrical device that melts automatically in case of current overflow to save the system. On the other side, the circuit breaker is an electrical device or switch that used to interrupt the supply after receiving the signal about the fault in the system.

So, fuse plays its role both as a detection and interruption device, whereas, the circuit breaker has no role in the detection of the problem. It just interrupts the supply after receiving a signal from the relay. Fuse has a short operating time, like 0.002 sec or even less than it. As soon as a problem occurs, it melts and interrupts the supply. On the flip side, the circuit breaker has a comparatively long operating time that ranges between 0.1 to 0.2 seconds because it works after receiving a message from the relay.

ADVERTISEMENT

Fuse is an electrical device that can be used only once and then have to be replaced, whereas the circuit breaker is an electrical device that can be used again and again. It can be reset easily to use it again. The fuse works on the principle of the heating property of a conducting material. On the other side, the circuit breaker works on the principle of a switching mechanism that is electromechanical.

Moreover, the fuse does not depend on the ambient temperature. On the flip side, the circuit breaker depends on the ambient temperature. The fuse characteristic or feature curve shows a shift due to aging. On the other hand, the characteristic or feature curve of the circuit breaker does not shift. The fuse has a low cost while the circuit breaker has a high cost that based upon its application.

ADVERTISEMENT

A fuse can shield opposed overload. On the flip side, A circuit breaker can shield opposed both, i.e., short circuit and overload. The fuse does not provide any status signal or indication. On the other hand, the circuit breaker provides a status signal. The fuse is available in a single-pole version, whereas; the circuit breaker has both single and multiple pole versions.

So, the fuse mostly used in such electronic equipment that brings low current. On the other side, the circuit breaker used in such machines, motors, or electronic equipment that carry a large amount of current.

Comparison Chart

FuseCircuit Breaker
An electrical switch or device that used to detect the overload and interrupt the supply to protect an electrical system is known as a fuse.An electrical switch or device that used to interrupt the supply in case of any problem in the electrical system is known as a circuit breaker.
Size
Small in size.Large in size.
Cost
The fuse has a low cost.The circuit breaker has a high cost depending upon its application.
Function
The fuse melts automatically in case of current overflow to save the system.The circuit breaker interrupts the supply after receiving the signal from the relay about any fault in the system.
Working Principle
The fuse works on the principle of the heating property of a conducting material.It works on the principle of a switching mechanism that is electromechanical.
Role
The fuse plays its role both as a detection and interruption device.It works as an interruption device only.
Operating Time
Fuse has a very short operating time, like 0.002 sec or even less than it.The circuit breaker has a comparatively long operating time that ranges between 0.1 to 0.2 seconds.
Reuse
It can be used only once and then have to be replaced.It can be used again and again.
Dependence on Ambient Temperature
The fuse does not depend on the ambient temperature.The circuit breaker rests on the ambient or conditions temperature.
Characteristics Curve
The characteristic curve of the fuse shows shift due to aging.The characteristic curve of the circuit breaker does not show shifting.
Protection
It only protects against overload.A circuit breaker can protect against both, i.e., short circuit and overload.
Status Indication
The fuse does not give any status indication.The circuit breaker gives a status indication.
Version
It is available in a single-pole version.It has both single and multiple pole versions.
Auxiliary Connection
It does not require auxiliary connection.The circuit breaker is accessible with the auxiliary connection.
Switching Action
It does not use as an on-off switch.The circuit breaker can also be used on or off the circuit.
Breaking Aptitude
The fuse has a low breaking aptitude.The circuit breaker shows a high breaking aptitude.
Operating Mode
A fuse works automatically.It can be activated manually as well as automatically.
Usage
The fuse mostly used in such electronic equipment that draws low current.The circuit breaker is used in such machines, motors, or electronic equipment that draw a large amount of current.
ADVERTISEMENT

What is Fuse?

A fuse is an electrical switch or device that used to detect the overload and interrupt the supply to protect an electrical system. So, it is a safety device. It is composed of porcelain, glass, plastic material, and a thin piece of wire. In case of any fault in the electrical system, i.e., overflow of current, it melts automatically to break the contact of the circuit. Hence, it stops the supply to protect the system from damage.

So, Fuse works on the principle of the heating property of a conducting material. It plays its role both as a detection and interruption device. It detects the overflow as well as interrupts the supply by breaking contacts. Fuse shows a quicker effect. It works within 0.002 sec or even less than it. But, as it melts during operation so, it needs to be replaced and cannot be used again. It is small in size and has a low cost.

A fuse has different types based on residential and commercial use. A simple fuse made up of a filament or a metal wire which bounded in a ceramic or glass and metal casing. In homes, it plugged into a central fuse box that is the point from where the wiring of the building passes. In the case of normal flow, the fuse will allow the unobstructed power to pass between circuits. But, the filament melts in case of overload to stop the flow of electricity.

Fuses are available in different voltage and ratings to handle different capacities of electricity. For a circuit, the best fuse is that one which has a slightly higher rate than the normal operating value. The fuse mostly used in such electronic equipment that draws low current.

What is Circuit Breaker?

A circuit breaker is an electrical switch or device that used to interrupt the supply in case of any problem in the electrical system. Its fundamental role is the discontinuity of stream or current. Other devices like relay etc. do the detection of any fault in the system. It detects the fault in the system and sends the signal to the circuit breaker. Circuit breaker acts accordingly and interrupts the supply to save the electrical system from damage.

The circuit breaker works according to the principle of the switching mechanism that is electromechanical. It has a comparatively long operating time that ranges between 0.1 to 0.2 seconds. It can be used again and again by simply resetting it after solving the problem in the circuit.

It depends on the ambient temperature, and the characteristic curve does not show shifting. It can protect against both, i.e., short circuit and overload. The circuit breaker also gives a status indication. The circuit breaker can also be used on or off the circuit. It can be run manually as well as automatically.

The circuit breaker is accessible with auxiliary contact. It has both single and multiple pole versions and has a high breaking capacity. It used in such machines, motors, or electronic equipment that draw a large amount of current. Some breakers have many other characteristics as well. They can also be used for the measurement of electric quantity, fault recording, and management of distribution devices and systems, etc.

Key Differences

  1. An electrical switch or device that is used to detect the overload and interrupt the supply to protect an electrical system is known as a fuse. And an electrical switch or device that is used to interrupt the supply in case of any problem in the electrical system is known as a circuit breaker.
  2. A fuse is small in size. On the other side, the circuit breaker is large.
  3. The fuse has a low cost. Conversely, the circuit breaker has a high cost depending upon its application.
  4. The fuse melts automatically in case of current overflow to save the system. On the flip side, the circuit breaker interrupts the supply after receiving the signal from the relay about any fault in the system.
  5. The fuse works on the principle of the heating property of a conducting material. On the other side, the circuit breaker works on the principle of a switching mechanism that is electromechanical.
  6. The fuse plays its role both as a detection and interruption device while the circuit breaker works as an interruption device only.
  7. Fuse has a minimum running time, like 0.002 sec or even less than it. On the other hand, the circuit breaker has a comparatively long running time that ranges between 0.1 to 0.2 seconds.
  8. Fuse can be used only once and then have to be replaced, whereas; the circuit breaker can be used again and again by resetting it.
  9. The fuse does not depend on the ambient temperature. On the flip side, the circuit breaker depends on the ambient temperature.
  10. The fuse only guards against overload. On the flip side, a circuit breaker can protect against both, i.e., short circuit and overload.
  11. The fuse does not provide any status indication, whereas; the circuit breaker provides a status indication.
  12. The fuse is available in a single-pole version. On the other hand, the circuit breaker has both single and multiple pole versions.
  13. The fuse does not require auxiliary contact. On the other side, the circuit breaker is available with auxiliary contact.
  14. The fuse does not use as an on-off switch, while the circuit breaker can also be used to on or off the circuit.
  15. The fuse has low breaking capacity, but the circuit breaker has a high breaking capacity.
  16. The fuse works automatically. On the flip side, the circuit breaker can be operated manually as well as automatically.
  17. The fuse mostly used in such electronic equipment that draws low current. On the other hand, a circuit breaker used in such machines, motors, or electronic equipment that draw a large amount of current.

Comparison Video

YouTube video

Conclusion

The above discussion summarizes that the fuse is the electrical device used to detect and interrupt the supply in case of overload. On the other side, the circuit breaker is the electrical device that used to interrupt the supply in case of short circuit or overload after receiving a signal from the relay.

Harlon Moss

Harlon currently works as a quality moderator and content writer for Difference Wiki. He graduated from the University of California in 2010 with a degree in Computer Science. Follow him on Twitter @HarlonMoss