What is an electrical switch and how does it work?

Estimated read time 2 min read

A switch is an automatic device that interrupts the passage of electric current under certain conditions . It is used to protect people and other electrical elements connected to it electrician in Chattanooga, TN.

Unlike fuses that can only be used once, an electrical switch or breaker can always be reset once the problem that triggered it has been resolved.

Features and types of electrical switches

When purchasing these electrical components, some characteristics must be taken into consideration:

Working voltage: Voltage for which they are designed. They can be single-phase or three-phase.

Nominal intensity : As well as the voltage, it is the value of the working current.

Cutting power : The main intensity they can stop.

Closing power : major intensity they can support without being damaged.

Quantity of poles : The various number of connectors that can be related to each appliance.

The major kinds of switches are: thermal, magnetic, magnetothermic and differential . Beneath we will provide more details on those that are used most frequently in domestic installations such as the circuit breaker and the RCD.

Switch magnetermic

This device is responsible for interrupting the passage of current when a predefined limit is exceeded. It protects the rest of the installation and the connected devices from possible overloads or short circuits. As we have already seen on other occasions when talking about the electrical system of a house, each circuit installed must have its own magnetothermic switch .

A special type is the motor circuit breaker, which is very common in industrial environments. Its function is exactly the same but it is designed to withstand the current spikes that are generated when electric motors are turned on.

Differential switch

The differential switch is designed to protect people from possible electric shocks . It works in conjunction with the grounding of all elements of the installation.

This device compares the intensity that enters the circuit with that that comes out. If everything works correctly, they must be the same and the switch remains closed allowing the passage of electricity. If, for example, you come into contact with a part of the installation and get the shock, the output intensity would be lower by activating the switch that would interrupt it immediately.

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