Short Circuit Protection in Dc Circuits

By: Mitja KoprivĂ…?ek - Eti d.d.

The importance of use of fuses as protection elements in DC circuits has increased recently. This article deals with some theoretical points and explanations of basic notions in DC circuits. Further on, some of the most common applications are described, where conventional shortcircuit protection is not sufficient enough and special requirements of designers or customers are necessary. Besides world trends in the field, some ETI new products, developed for DC circuits are presented.

Introduction - theory

As DC fuses have become more and more important lately, we will have a closer look at the situation in the field of short circuit protection in DC circuits.

The fuses are a universal protection element for AC and DC ciruits. Certainly, the capability to break a short circuit is different for AC and DC conditions of use. There is no universal formula to determine the highest rated DC voltage on the basis of the maximum fuse AC voltage data. To understand the proper use of DC circuit fuses, we have to know some of the basic information on their operation principle.

Current-timing and other power fuse characteristics are normally issued in the production catalogues. They are concentrated on AC rating for 50 Hz frequency (sometimes even 60 Hz). The voltage of this frequency is more often used in public and industry electricity supply

The DC fuses were used in the past too, mainly in low-voltage and low-power circuits (for example, entertainment electronics, vehicle installation short circuit protection). Of course, some usual applications of DC fuses are known on the market, like electric motor protection in towing vehicles (locomotives and trams), electromagnets and freight vehicles using accumulator energy (forklifts).

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