Many times an engineer will use a fuse to protect PCB components. It’s logical then for the fuse to be placed right on the PCB itself.
There are several different options an engineer has when mounting the fuse:
- Use direct-solder axial-leaded fuses
- Use fuse clips to mount the fuse
- Use a special shock-proof encapsulated PCB fuseholder
All of the OptiFuse electronic glass and ceramic fuses come with the option of adding an optional axial lead to the ends of the fuse that allow the fuse to be directly soldered into the PCB. A "-P" signifies an axial-lead designation to any standard fuse part number (ex. FSA-P-1A).
The benefit of using axial leaded fuses is that they are typically cost-effective and easy to install whereas the primary negative factor is that they are not so easy to replace in the field.
Smaller sized axial-leaded fuses are generally available by OptiFuse in tape and reel / ammo pack to allow automated insertion of the fuse. The same UL ratings are applied to axial-leaded fuses as their non-leaded counterparts when applicable.
Fuse clips provide the most popular way to mount fuses to a PCB. Fuse clips are relatively inexpensive and provide the option for field-replaceability.
Some limitations of fuse clips are the limited current capacity (typically limited to 10 or 15 amps) and differing physical attributes from one manufacturer to another.
OptiFuse offers certain fuse clips in a tape and reel package to allow for automated insertion. UL / CSA typically does not test or rate fuse clips for safety.
PCB Shock-safe Fuseholders
Lastly, there is a method of mounting a fuse on a PCB using a shock-safe fuseholder. This method is most popular in Europe due to the prevailing IEC regulations.
As the name indicates, the shock-safe fuseholder does not allow a user to get electrocuted while pulling a fuse in order to test whether or not the fuse has opened (remember, unless the piece of equipment has been disconnected, the circuit still has voltage being applied even though the fuse has opened).
The PCB shock-safe fuseholder is available in a horizontal style (shown below) - PHC-01 or in a vertical style - PVC-01. The fuseholders are only available for metric 5 x 20 mm fuses as the chiefly used in Europe. The OptiFuse PCB shock-safe fuseholders come with al of the European agency approvals including VDE, IEC, Semko, Nemko and of course UL and CSA.
As you might imagine, the PCB shock-safe fuseholder is the least economical when compared with axial-leads and fuse clips but offer the maximum safety to equipment and personnel.
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