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June 22, 2009
Short Circuit vs. Overloads...

Components that provide overcurrent protection - such as fuses and circuit breakers - provide protection for equipment and people against...well...overcurrents...  So what exactly are overcurrents?  There are two basic types of over currents - short circuits and overloads.
Short circuits are devastating super-high currents that melt or explode everything in their path.  Short circuits need to be eliminated extremely quickly (typically less than 1/100 of a second) in order to minimize damage to equipment and prevent harm to people who might be nearby.
The second type of overcurrent is typically less life-threatening but still extremely important. Overloads occurs when too many electrical devices are plugged into the same power source.  The primary overload damage comes from heating up and perhaps melting the wires in the circuit  (there are several other ways to create overloads but we’ll talk about those in future e-mails)
In summary:
  • There are two different types of overcurrents:  Short Circuits and Overloads
  • Short circuits create very high currents
  • Short circuits are extremely harmful to both circuit components and people and MUST be interrupted very quickly (under 1/100 of a second)
  • Overloads have considerably less current than a short circuit but still can create a lot of heat which can damage circuitry.
  • Circuits must be protected against BOTH types of circuit problems - sometime this means that two different protection devices must be used - one for short circuits and one for overloads

Thank you very much for your continued support of OptiFuse as we try to educate and inform...

Jim Kalb

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