The components involved in circuit protection vary across industries, especially when considering how much circuit magnitude differs among devices. Circuit protection devices prevent power loss by pinpointing the location of the issue and isolating it. In this blog, we will discuss some of the most common types of circuit protection devices on the market and why you should have them installed.
Diodes are the most basic form of circuit protection. They are unidirectional devices with low resistance to current flow in one direction and high resistance to current flow in the other direction. Such capabilities mean that they can limit the direction of current flow based on the component’s orientation. Protection circuits take advantage of diodes to prevent current from flowing in an improper direction and causing damage to sensitive components.
There are a wide range of diode technologies apart from protection circuits, including transient voltage suppressors (TVS), ESD suppressors, Schottky, and vacuum tubes. Moreover, depending on the specific device, some diodes operate in voltage ranges from 0.1V to 100kV with varying current capacities.
As their name suggests, overvoltage circuit protection systems ensure that, if the source voltage exceeds the intended amount, the circuit remains protected. As such, transient voltage spikes can be combated with the following devices:
In this section, we will outline some of the most commonly used circuit breakers and fuses.
A thermal cutoff switch and fuse belong in their own category because of the unique way in which they provide circuit protection. More specifically, thermal cutoffs depend on external inputs to trigger circuit protection. However, they rely on a one-time fusible link that, when exposed to ambient temperature over the melting temperature of the link, will fail to protect the circuit. In contrast, thermal switches operate like a resettable fuse or a reed switch, and they restrict the flow of current in the case of specified ambient temperatures.
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