What Is An Electronic Fuse and How Does It Work

When working with devices that run on electrical circuits, whether AC or DC, it is important to protect your system from excessive current flows. While circuit breakers are a common choice for reuse, electronic fuses are still used in some applications and comply with all necessary codes. Fuses are intended for one time use and work to break a circuit when temperatures or power levels rise too high. Read on to learn more about how electronic fuses work and the applications in which they should be used.

The main purpose of an electrical fuse is to eliminate potential dangers such as those caused by excessive temperatures and power surges, both of which can cause a circuit to catch fire. Within the circuit, fuses act as an intentional weak spot, meaning they are the first component of the circuit to stop conducting electricity when power or temperature levels start to rise. As an expendable part intended for one-time use, an electrical fuse will be sacrificed in the instance of a high current from an overloaded or short circuit by melting it and breaking the circuit.

In older systems that include various electrical circuits, such as the electricity supplied to the various devices in an old home, the circuits would all be connected to a fuse box with a fuse attached to each circuit. This metal box acts as a central hub where all circuits are broken off from a single incoming voltage supply. With between six to twelve fuses in a single fuse box, these fuse boxes, or service panels, are capable of quickly cutting several amperes of current.

For a single fuse to work efficiently, it must be the weakest component of the circuit. As such, it must contain a fusible section with a piece capable of melting. This piece, referred to as a fusing element, is made of a metal strip sealed inside a glass body. Once this piece melts, the circuit is effectively broken and the entire system is safe from both overheating and power surges. This being said, one must manually replace the broken fuse in order to use the circuit again, unlike applications that rely on circuit breakers. While both electrical fuses and circuit breakers are classified as Overcurrent Protection Devices (OCPD) by the National Electric Code, only a circuit breaker can be used repeatedly.

Fuses can blow for several reasons to protect a circuit. One such circumstance is when a system experiences overload due to too many devices being connected to a single electric circuit. Fuses can also blow in the instance of a short circuit; when a low resistance electricity path receives a high volume current, a fuse will also break. Ground faults occur when a hot wire touches anything that is grounded, causing a fuse to blow. Many accidents, such as water leakage, faulty handling, and more, can overwhelm a circuit, so electronic fuses prevent danger in many different ways.

To begin procuring electronic fuses, turn to NSN Unlimited. With rapid lead times and around-the-clock service, we have you covered for all the high-caliber parts you require for your electronic devices. As such, we encourage you to explore our inventory as you see fit before submitting an Instant Request for Quote (RFQ) form to receive a custom quotation for your comparisons within 15 minutes or less. For further information or to receive one-on-one assistance, call or email us at any time; we are available around-the-clock!


October 31, 2022

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