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Fuses Tutorial

If there is a fault in a piece of equipment then excessive current may flow. This will cause overheating and possibly a fire. Fuses protect against this happening. Current from the supply to the equipment flows through the fuse.

Electronic Fuses Diagram

The fuse is a piece of wire which can carry a stated current. If the current rises above this value it will melt.

If the fuse melts (blows) then there is an open circuit and no current can then flow thus protecting the equipment by isolating it from the power supply.

The fuse must be able to carry slightly more than the normal operating current of the equipment to allow for tolerances and small current surges.

With some equipment there is a very large surge of current for a short time at switch on. If a fuse is fitted to withstand this large current there would be no protection against faults which cause the current to rise slightly above the normal value.

Therefore special antis urge fuses are fitted. These can stand 10 times the rated current for 10 milliseconds. If the surge lasts longer than this the fuse will blow.

Always find out why the fuse blew before replacing it. Occasionally they grow tired and fail. If the fuse is black and silvery then it is likely that there is a dead short (very low resistance) somewhere.


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