Better to blow a fuse

Checking a critical part of electrical system reliability

By Antoinette Price

Ever run the washing machine, ironed a shirt and blown a fuse?

Electrical distribution box
Electricity distribution box contains wires fuses and contactors

Part of electrical power systems

Low voltage power fuses (equal to or less than 1,500V), are designed to protect electrical power systems, should there be an accidental or unintentional fault in the system wiring or components. They open circuits when excessive over-currents are present and prevent further damage occurring to the system.

Used across many industries, they safeguard electrical systems of photovoltaic (PV) technology from fault currents or lightning strikes. They are also part of the complex industrial electronics of manufacturing, used in automotive electronics, domestic appliances hazardous area mining, marine, in wiring for homes and lighting systems.

IEC Technical Committee (TC) 32 and its subcommittees (SCs) produce International Standards for fuses. IEC TC 32/SC 32B for low voltage fuses has developed the IEC 60269 series of Standards. These are applied to fuses used to protect against overload and/or short-circuit currents in all types of circuits in electrical installations (industrial and domestic) and in systems apparatus or components (motors, electro-domestic appliances, semiconductor devices). The Standards also include labelling, electrical characteristics for design and maintenance and testing requirements.

Checking the safety measures

Given that electrical faults in systems, devices or machinery could cause serious damage to the environment and jeopardize human safety, it is crucial to ensure that safety measures will work when they are needed.

IECEE, the IEC System of Conformity Assessment Schemes for Electrotechnical Equipment and Components, was established to test and certify electrical and electronic equipment.

Testing ensures safety, quality and consistency

IECEE CB Scheme provides the assurance that tested and certified electrical and electronic components, equipment and products meet the strictest levels of safety, functionality and performance, in compliance with the relevant IEC International Standards.

In the case of low voltage fuses, IEC 60269 recommends testing aspects, including temperature rise and power dissipation, verifying rated current, overload and checking time current characteristics.

Everyone stands to benefit from this process. Manufacturers and suppliers must ensure their products comply with relevant safety standards, while buyers and wholesalers want to be sure of the quality of products purchased and unhindered market access.

Find out more about IECEE and its CA Schemes.

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Electrical distribution box Electricity distribution box contains wires fuses and contactors