Fuses are an important protective device for electrical components. Fuses work by blowing out, or melting, and interrupting electrical current when the circuit becomes overloaded for a specific amount of time. The overload tolerance varies depending on the application and the fuse, because some applications, such as vehicle components, experience frequent, temporary overloads. Other applications can potentially become damaged beyond repair as the result of a brief over-current.
Fuse specifications include voltage rating, interrupt rating, current rating and rated braking capacity. These specifications indicate the conditions at which a fuse will blow. Fuses are mounted in a couple of ways. They can be mounted on a surface by soldering or temporary clipping. Fuses are also made from a variety of materials, and hazardous materials typically should be avoided. Fuses made from non-hazardous materials are labeled with "RoHS compliant." When buying fuses, consider the following:
1. Buy time-delay fuses if your application experiences temporary over-currents.
2. Use fast-acting fuses with applications that can't tolerate any kind of extended overload.
3. Purchase automotive fuses when installing fuses in vehicles.
Buy a fuse with a time delayTime-delay fuses are used in applications where brief overloads occasionally occur without damaging the equipment. Time-delay fuses are also called "slow-blow fuses" and generally take longer than 10 seconds to blow out. With continuous overload, the fuse heats up and melts solder contained within the fuse, which then releases a spring causing the blowout.
Purchase an industrial fuse that's fast actingFast-acting fuses are necessary when even a momentary overload would be detrimental to the application's electrical circuit. Fast-acting fuses vary in how quickly they blow out, and some manufacturers offer models called "very fast-acting" fuses. A properly functioning fast-acting fuse will blow before an over-current can cause damage.
Order automotive fusesAutomotive fuses are designed to function under the unique conditions within a vehicle. Automotive fuses are designed to blow out with a continuous overload, as vehicles often experience momentary overloads, such as when the motor starts.
Use a general-purpose electric fuseMany electric fuses have versatile uses. When purchasing a general-purpose electric fuse, check the fuse's specifications to make sure it's compatible with the application and will blow out before an over-current can cause damage.
- When checking fuse prices, look for discounts when buying in bulk. Fuse blowouts are commonplace and you'll need to keep a stock of fuses to prevent equipment downtime.