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What is the advantage of a miniature circuit breaker (mcb)?

What is the advantage of a miniature circuit breaker (mcb)?

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A famous Benjamin Franklin’s saying is, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Miniature Circuit Breakers are – that ounce of prevention.

In other words: They are SAVIORS. They save gadgets. They save buildings.

And above all, they save YOU.

Ready to know why MCBs are the heart of every modern building’s electrical panel?

Great!

This blog post aims to inform you about…

What is the advantage of a miniature circuit breaker?

Let’s get started.

What Is The Advantage of a Miniature Circuit Breaker

If you are scratching your head and wondering, why should I opt for a miniature circuit breaker? Are there any advantages?

There are many.

If we compress the purpose of MCBs in a word, the advantage of a miniature circuit breaker SAFETY!

Yes, a miniature circuit breaker provides the best protection facilities. It secures your appliances from short-circuits and overload of the current.

Wait, what?

Appliance damage, electric shock, and FIRE….???

All these words can horrify any person to bits. Don’t they?

A SHORT-CIRCUIT or an OVERLOAD can wreak such havoc.

Whether you aim to safeguard your household appliances or heavy electrical machines..

That doesn’t matter. It works for ALL.

To better understand the benefits of the MCBs and why you must use them, read on.

13 Amazing Advantages of Miniature Circuit Breaker

Ponder for a moment..

How have buildings become safer over the years?

The credit goes to the technology and the devices like Miniature Circuit Breakers.

The miniature circuit breaker or MCB is a tiny self-operating electric switch. It protects electric appliances and human beings from electric shocks and faults.

In the normal working condition of the electrical network..

 “Only a rated amount of current flows through the network!”

When any fault occurs in the network, that current rate exceeds the normal limit.

That high flow current needs an interruption. As soon as possible!

Why?

To save the electrical appliance from potential harm!

This is where MCB comes into play.

MCB figures out the unreasonable flow of current and breaks the circuit. Instantly!

Hence, it saves the electrical appliances and individuals. From any permanent damage or burns!

You can also notice this protective action by observing the tripping action of its knob.

See, MCBs are of great benefit.

Want to have a better insight into the MCB benefits? Scroll down.

#1. MCBs are compact.

MCBs have a compact stature that fits on DIN-type rails. Their compactness makes them easily installable.

#2. MCBs are used for protecting circuits.

The basic function of MCBs is to guard the circuit (wiring, connected load, equipment, and appliances), in case of:

  • Over-current
  •  Short-circuit
  • Overload

#3. MCBs support multiple circuits.

You may notice more than one MCB in a consumer unit. That’s for protecting smaller units. Say, for example, one for the living room, one for the dining room, and so on.

#4. MCBs boost flexibility.

Suppose there’s a defective device connected to your living room’s circuit. If you have separate MCBs protecting different cables, the MCB of the faulty zone will trip.

Not the rest of the house!

#5. MCBs are used to detect whether the current flow has any default or not.

MCBs identify the fault in the power flow. If it finds any, it cuts off the supply and prevents damage.

#6. MCBs prevent electrical devices from overloading.

When many devices consuming electricity from the same circuit draw too much energy, it results in an overload.

MCBs determine the extra flow and perform their critical task.

That is: to trip before the overload damages the cable.

#7. MCBs prevent electrical devices from short-circuiting.

The short circuit differs from overload.

A short circuit is a defect within the electric path. It happens when electricity takes a shortcut through a defective path. That too with low resistance.

So, the current soars up causing the wire to heat up or spark.

If MCB is installed, it can prevent short-circuiting by interrupting the flow of the current to the device.

#8. MCBs are quick.

MCBs are a fast-acting solution against sudden mishaps like over-current or short-circuit.

#9. MCBs have time-delay characteristics.

MCBs are time-delay tripping devices. In miniature circuit breakers, operating time is controlled by the size of the overcurrent passing through it. Whenever there is an overload – over enough to endanger the circuit – the device functions.

The typical action time of the MCBs is 2.5 milliseconds. Pretty quick, right?

#10. MCBs are reliable.

MCBs can handle large amounts of electricity. This characteristic makes them more reliable to use.

#11. MCBs equally distribute electrical energy.

The MCBs ensure equal distribution of electricity across all the connected devices. It reduces the risk of power fluctuations inside the house.

That’s the biggest benefit of MCBs so far!

#12. You can use MCBs with the Ground Fault Trip Mechanism.

A ground fault happens when a live wire gets in contact with a transferring surface that is NOT a part of the circuit system. As a result, the rate of electric current flow surges.

As the electric flow goes beyond the safer level, an MCB initiates its tripping mechanism and corrects the fault in the circuit system.

#13. MCBs are not only effective for household safety but are also effective for industrial applications.

MCBs play a vital role in optimizing the energy flow in industrial establishments. They maintain the efficiency of the heavy-duty machinery.

Industrial machinery requires a power supply up to 30 Ka in general. The high power supply demands the up-gradation of safety mechanisms. From old fuses to modern MCBs!

Miniature Circuit Breaker vs. Fuse

A Miniature Circuit Breaker and a Fuse – both are electrical safety devices.

Whenever there is an overload of current posing a risk to the circuit, these devices come into action. Their basic function is to detect faulty conditions and interrupt the electric flow.

Did you know?  The earlier MCBs invented by Hugo Stotz in 1923 resembled the fuses – they aimed to replace.

But now, A LOT has changed.

Although both of the devices serve the same purposes, Miniature Circuit Breakers are superior to Fuses.

Many users prefer MCBs over fuses.

Want to know why?

Below are some reasons. Good ones!

8 Ways a Miniature Circuit Breaker Outperform Fuses!

MCBs feature improved operational safety without any large cost.

There are many advantages of using MCBs in place of fuses.

Have a look at them below:

#1. MCBs are more sensitive to current than fuses.

MCBs are electromechanical devices. They are quick at detecting abnormalities in the electric circuit. An MCB automatically switches the electric circuit off right after it discovers any kind of defect.

#2. MCBs have a better interface.

MCBs feature a knob. You can use the knob to get it back to its normal working position. Perversely, the fuse contains a metal or wire strip that melts when too much current flows through it.

Fuse is a kind of sacrificial device – suitable only for one-time use.

#3. With MCBs, resuming the supply is easy.

In the case of MCB, it’s easier to return to start the power supply again. All you gotta do is push the knob to set it back to the on position. Yet, with fuses, you need to replace the whole fuse wire.

#4. Identifying defective zones becomes way easier with MCBs.

When using MCBs, the faulty circuit trips off. But, if you are using a fuse, you need to open the fuse grip. Then the complete fuse wire has to undergo a thorough check-up to identify the fault zone.

#5. MCBs are electrically safer to handle.

With MCBs, the user is not at risk of coming in contact with live wires. So, they are a safer option. So, with fuses, you can come up against live wires – which are a risk!

#6. MCBs are reusable.

MCBs are ideal because you can reuse them. You don’t have to replace them every time the fault occurs.

But the fuses? You can’t reuse them once they get faulty. It means MCBs have a low maintenance cost. Thus, they don’t put a hole in your wallet.

Plus, there is no replacement hassle!

#7. MCBs have a shorter tripping time than fuses.

When the current goes moderately over, MCBs also trip – just like fuses. But the difference is, they have a shorter tripping time.

#8. MCBs are more advanced devices than fuses.

Before, the fuses were the ONLY controlling agents of electrical faults. But as the technology advanced, MCBs came into the picture. MCBs not only outperformed fuses, but they also worked on an innovative mechanism.

MCBs employ two operating mechanisms.

  •  Thermal Tripping Effect: It works with the bimetallic strip. When some unsafe electric condition occurs, the bimetallic strip gets heated and deflects. This deflection opens up the contacts in MCB.
  • Magnetic Tripping Effect: During an unfavorable situation, the plunger joined with the tripping coil displaces. It strikes the trip lever that opens or trips the contacts.

5 Lesser-Known Disadvantages of Miniature Circuit Breaker

Psst…!! Did I say disadvantages of Miniature Circuit Breaker?

Yup! You read that right.

No doubt, the MCBs win over the fuses by overcoming the inabilities of fuses. Still, they have some disadvantages.

#1. MCBs are expensive.

MCBs have a higher price tag than conventional fuses. There are low-cost options as well.

But..

Inexpensive MCBs offer limited protection against unfavorable conditions. That’s a no-no in the electrical safety world.

MCBs that protect against the power range beyond 1000 amps are costlier.

#2. The cost of an MCB distribution board is greater than fuses. 

The next high expense after shopping the MCBs is its distribution box.

A distribution box is the main electrical supply system.

MCB distribution boxes are pricier than fuse distribution boxes.

#3. MCBs are vulnerable to heat.

MCBs are highly susceptible to the temperature changes of their operating environment.

The rise in temperature of the operating environment affects the bending of the bi-metallic strip within the MCBs.

It lessens the breaking capacity of MCBs.

#4. The bi-metallic strips within MCBs wear as they age.

Aging takes a toll on MCBs. The bi-metallic strip featured in MCBs gets damaged over time.

And this wear-and-tear slows down the breaker’s reaction time.

Eventually, the breaker’s capability to react timely diminishes.

#5. MCBs trip slowly as compared to other circuit breakers in case of overloads.

MCBs trip slowly in response to overloads. That’s to prevent the unnecessary tripping action against any slighter surge in the level of current.

So…

They are only useful in environments with little risk of surges.

#6. MCBs don’t protect against earth faults.

MCBs operate for short circuits and overloads. Only!

Thus, it doesn’t help in earth fault cases.

3 Tips for Buying the Right MCBs to Reap its True Benefits

If you are going to get MCBs for protecting your electric stuff, you have to select the proper safety device.

The type of MCB that you should buy depends on the particularities of your application and installation types.

And, admittedly better selection will make your life much safer.

How do you select the perfect MCB to enjoy the advantages in the real sense? Here are some factors you must compare:

  • The tripping characteristics
  • The breaking capacity – the largest current range an MCB can interrupt without destruction or releasing an arc.

             Breaking capacities are measured in kiloamperes (kA).

  • The number of trippable switches or poles – the pole options are Single Pole (1P) MCBs, Double Pole (2P) MCBs, Three-Pole Neutral (3P+N) MCBs, and Four-Pole MCBs.

Summary:

Miniature Circuit Breakers are loaded with safety advantages. Also, they are far better than fuses. By all means!

When you are setting up your dream home, you want to have the best safety for your appliances and yourself.

Or maybe…

You just want to upgrade your home’s electrical safety. The right safety gadgets can make a great difference.

For safety purposes, MCBs are the best bet.

They are:

  • Manageable
  • Cost-effective
  • Operate on modern technology
  • Available in many options, such as – A, B, C, D, K, and Z MCBs!

So, what type of safety device will you use for your protection?

Let us know in the comments below.

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