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December 14, 2009
Automotive High Amperage Fuses


As I’ve mentioned before in previous blogs, the power requirements for vehicle applications are growing each year.  One way the automotive industry is hoping to meet these new demands is to raise the standard voltage in vehicles from 12 VDC to 42 VDC.  (I wrote a blog not too long ago describing these new changes...please click here to review that blog).

Another way that car companies are meeting these power demands is by brute force.  Automotive companies have been increasing wire sizes over the years to handle the additional current demands.  With higher current draws, comes the need tor higher amperage fuses.

Several years ago, a Japanese company (Pacific Electric), helped to develop a new fuse standard of higher current fuses sometimes called automotive fusible link or more commonly known as a PAL™ fuse (PAL is a registered trade mark of Littelfuse).



PAL type fuses typically range from 20A to 140A and are generally found in the engine compartment of most cars and trucks (as opposed to being located under the dashboard as most other type fuses). 

Due to the increased current demand and physical location of the fuse, it is very important to understand that there are two distinct quality levels of the PAL-type fuse.  There are those types of fuses that incorporate the use of a ceramic stabilizer and those that don’t.  OptiFuse is a member of the manufacturers who do use a ceramic stabilizer.



We believe that the ceramic stabilizer is what makes the product perform properly  The ceramic stabilizer provides both physical stabilization from vibration as well as thermal stabilization by evenly distributing heat from the higher currents seen by the fuse

The ceramic stabilizer built into the fuse does add certain amount of cost to the fuse but without its use, the fuses can prematurely open causing nuisance opening of the fuse.  We believe that this design is essential in allowing the fuse to properly function.

Both Littelfuse and Pacific Electric (as well as OptiFuse) use this type of technology whereas Cooper Bussmann does not.

The PAL-type fuse is available in several sizes and versions of both male and female types.  The fuses, regardless of the version, are all rated at 32 VDC and have a 5,000 interrupting capacity.

Fuses are safety critical devices and they should be manufactured to the highest standards.

Thank you very much for supporting OptiFuse where quality always trumps cheap.

Jim Kalb

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