Selecting the Right Circuit Breaker for your Application

Most designers have a pretty good idea of what a circuit breaker is and what it does; if you need a refresher, here’s a quick definition:

A circuit breaker is an automatically operated electrical switch designed to protect an electrical circuit from damage caused by overload or short circuit.  It detects a fault condition and interrupts current flow.

Specifying the right breaker early in the design process can lead to a more robust design, avoid redesigns, decrease development costs, and add value to the end product. Seems pretty simple, right? But selecting the best circuit breaker for your application is a multi-step process. The basic functional parameters—voltage, current, and number of poles—are just the beginning. To refine your selection, you then have to consider mechanical and environmental factors, regulatory and safety issues, size and cost constraints, and more. 

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