A circuit breaker operates automatically as an electrical switch to provide protection to an electrical circuit from being damaged by excessive current from an overload or short circuit. It interrupts the current flow if a fault is detected. Circuit breakers can be reset manually or technically to resume the operation, unlike fuses requiring replacement after one-time use.

Circuit breakers are available in various sizes and styles. A standard single-pole breaker serves up to 120-volt household circuits, whereas a double pole breaker serves up to 240-volt appliances and takes up two slots in a breaker box.

The varying sizes of circuit breakers include small devices that protect low-current circuits & individual household appliances, up to large switchgear designed to protect high voltage circuits that feed the entire city. The functions of a circuit breaker or a fuse are removing power from a system that has encountered a fault and is often abbreviated as OCPD (Overcurrent Protection Device).
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Most homes ideally have 100 to 200-amp breaker boxes depending on the amount of electricity that the panel needs to handle and the number of circuits added to the main circuit breaker panel. Therefore, when someone needs a more giant breaker box, they could be referring to the amps or the number of circuits.


Circuit breakers can be classified into many categories based on their features.

Voltage class, construction type, interrupting type, and structural features.


Low-voltage (less than 1,000 VAC) types are common in domestic, commercial, and industrial application and include:

Miniature circuit breaker (MCB)—rated current up to 125 A. Trip characteristics usually not adjustable. Thermal or thermal-magnetic operation. Breakers illustrated above are in this category.

Molded Case Circuit Breaker (MCCB)—rated current up to 1,600 A. Thermal or thermal-magnetic operation. Trip current may be adjustable in more extensive ratings.

Low-voltage power circuit breakers could be mounted in multi-tiers in low-voltage switchboards or switchgear cabinets.


● Standard breakers (single-pole & double pole breaker)

● Arc fault circuit interrupter

Standard Breakers:

A standard single-pole breaker serves up to 120-volt household circuits. In contrast, a double pole breaker, sometimes also called a Tandem circuit breaker, serves up to 240-volt appliances and takes up two slots in a breaker box.


AFCI, Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter, are conventional circuit breakers that respond only to overloads and short circuits, so they do not protect against arcing conditions that produce erratic and often reduced current. AFCIs are devices designed to protect against fires caused by arcing faults in the home electrical wiring. The AFCI circuit continuously monitors the current and discriminates between normal and unwanted arcing conditions. Once detected, the AFCI opens its internal contacts, thus de-energizing the course and reducing the fire’s potential to occur.



Solid-state circuit breakers, also known as digital circuit breakers, are a technological innovation, which promises advanced circuit breaker technology out of the mechanical level into the electrical. This promises several advantages, such as cutting the circuit in fractions of microseconds, better monitoring circuit loads, and longer lifetimes.


Magnetic circuit breakers use a solenoid (electromagnet) with a pulling force, which increases with the current. Specific designs utilize electromagnetic forces in addition to those of the solenoid. The circuit breaker contacts are held closed by a latch. As the wind in the solenoid increases beyond the rating of the circuit breaker, the solenoid’s pull releases the latch, which lets the contacts open by spring action. They are the most commonly used circuit breakers in the USA.


Thermal magnetic circuit breakers, which are the type found in most distribution boards in Europe and countries with similar wiring arrangements, incorporate both techniques with the electromagnet responding instantaneously to large surges in current (short circuits) and the bimetallic strip responding to less extreme but longer-term over-current conditions. The circuit breaker’s thermal portion provides a timely response feature that trips the circuit breaker sooner for larger over currents but allows smaller overloads to persist for a longer time. This allows short current spikes such as when a motor or other non-resistive load is switched on. With very large over-currents during a short circuit, the magnetic element trips the circuit breaker with no additional intentional delay.


A magnetic-hydraulic circuit breaker uses a solenoid coil to provide operating force to open the contacts. Magnetic-hydraulic breakers incorporate a hydraulic time delay feature using a viscous fluid. A spring restrains the core until the current exceeds the breaker rating. During an overload, the fluid restricts the speed of the solenoid motion. The delay permits brief current surges beyond normal running current for motor starting, energizing equipment, etc. Short-circuit currents provide sufficient solenoid force to release the latch regardless of core position thus bypassing the delay feature. Ambient temperature affects the time delay but does not affect the current rating of a magnetic breaker.

Common trip (ganged) breakers / Breaker Trip 

To provide simultaneous breaking on multiple circuits from a fault on any one, circuit breakers may be made as a ganged assembly. This is a very common requirement for 3 phase systems, where breaking may be either 3 or 4 poles (solid or switched neutral). Some makers make hanging kits to allow groups of single-phase breakers to be interlinked as required. That’s a brief on what circuit breakers are and how they work. To purchase one, follow the link and get detailed information about circuit breakers, their specifications, and price.

Circuit Breakers


The breaker may need to be replaced if it trips very easily, does not trip when it should, cannot be reset, is hot to the touch, or looks or smells burnt. If you can’t figure out the underlying issue or don’t feel knowledgeable or experienced enough to do the repair yourself, call a professional electrician. Working with electricity is dangerous, and it’s better to be safe than sorry.

When replacing a circuit breaker, you will need:

Here’s how to replace your circuit breaker:

That’s a brief on what circuit breakers are, how they work, what to do if they don’t work and how you can replace a circuit breaker. To purchase one, follow the link and get detailed information about circuit breaker’s specifications and price.

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