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Switching and Control Devices

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Switching and Control Devices


Are included all types of switches, fuses, circuit breakers and a large number of other devices, the purposes of which are to make or break, or change the connections in an electric circuit, under either normal or abnormal conditions.

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SWITCHES FUSES BREAKERS

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SWITCHES
The most familiar form of switch is a manually

operated electromechanical device with one or more sets of electrical contacts. Each set of contacts can be in one of two states: either 'closed' meaning the contacts are touching and electricity can flow between them, or 'open', meaning the contacts are separated and non-conducting.

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Electrical Switches.

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CLASSES OF SWITCHES
Knife switches
A knife switch is a type of switch used to control the flow of electricity in a circuit. It is composed of a hinge which allows a metal lever, or knife, to be lifted from or inserted into a slot or jaw.

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Disconnecting Switches
for power circuits it is necessary to use some type of circuit breaker to open or close the circuit. In order to isolate the circuit breakers, it is generally considered good practice to connect the knife switches in series with the circuit breakers.

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Air-break Switches
An air break switch comprising one or more fixed contacts and one or more movable contacts which are movable between open and closed positions, and a coil which, preferably in conjunction with magnetically susceptible material acting as a flux director.

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Control Switches
This class include all switches that are used to control the operation of other equipment.

A clothes dryer using a load control switch to reduce peak

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Auxiliary Switches
A switch actuated by the main device (such as a circuit breaker) for signaling, interlocking, or other purposes. In this class are included all switches or contactors that are actuated by some other control switch or device.

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Oil Switches
An oil switch is a high-voltage switch whose contacts are opened and closed in oil. The switch is actually immersed in an oil bath and contained in a steel tank.

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Magnetic-impulse Switches
This type of switch, the arc is extinguished by blowing it magnetically into arc chutes where it is lengthened cooled, and interrupted. The magnetic effect is produced by the circuit current which is passed through suitable coils, setting up a strong magnetic field across the space between the switch contacts as they are opened.

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FUSES
In electronics and electrical engineering a fuse (from the

Latin "fusus" meaning to melt) is a type of sacrificial overcurrent protection device. Its essential component is a metal wire or strip that melts when too much current flows, which interrupts the circuit in which it is connected. Short circuit, overload or device failure is often the reason for excessive current.

A fuse interrupts excessive current (blows) so that further

damage by overheating or fire is prevented. Wiring regulations often define a maximum fuse current rating for particular circuits. Overcurrent protection devices are essential in electrical systems to limit threats to human life and property damage. Fuses are selected to allow passage of normal current and of excessive current only for short 4/8/12 periods.

CLASSES OF FUSES
Cartridge Fuses
Come in a cylindrical shape and have contacts points at each end. They have a fuse link connected to the two ends and protect the circuit from over-current. It is composed of strong fiber casing inside of which is enclosed a fuse wire generally an alloy of lead.

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Transformer Fuse Block and Cutout


The proper protection of distribution circuits has for years been recognized as best fulfilled by means of fuses. Distribution transformers are as a general rule placed on poles, towers, or in manholes and in any automatic protection would be too entirely complicated and expensive. Fuses offer a simple and cheap method of protection, It is common practice tom place these fuses in the secondary of such transformers, thereby protecting the transformers against short circuits or overloads. There are two types of fuses that are generally used for these purpose.

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Expulsion Fuse
For higher voltages such as found in power circuits or main feeders, there is often a demand for a fuse, on account of its simplicity. The expulsion type-fuse has been developed for such service. This device is consists of a hollow tube, made of some heat-resisting substance such as fiber with a lining of asbestos or some other material, through which is passed a fuse wire. One end of the tube is closed and connected to the line; the other end is opened and allows the fuse wire to project out and connect to the other terminal.

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Circuit Breakers
A circuit breaker is a complex circuit-breaking device with

the following duties:


a. b.

Makes or breaks both normal and abnormal currents. Appropriately manages the high-energy arc associated with current interruption. The problem has become more acute due to interconnection of power stations resulting in very high fault levels.\ Effects current interruption only when it is called upon to do so by the relay circuits. In fact they are required to trip for a minimum of the internal fault current and remain inoperative for a maximum of through fault current. Rapid and successive automatic breaking and making to aid stable system operation
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c.

d. e.

In addition to the making and breaking capabilities, a circuit breaker is required to do following tasks under the following typical conditions:

a. Short-circuit interruption b. Interruption of small inductive currents c. Capacitor switching d. Interruption of short-line fault e. Asynchronous switching

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A circuit breaker is a switching i.e. current interrupting

or making device in switchgear. In more proper words, a circuit breaker is defined as a piece of equipment which can do any one of the following tasks:

a. Makes or breaks a circuit either manually or by

remote control under normal conditions conditions

b. Breaks a circuit automatically under fault c. Makes a circuit either manually or by remote

control under fault conditions

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A Circuit Breaker with Internal Structure

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Operating Principle
The primary function of the circuit breakers mechanism is to

provide the means for opening and closing the contacts. Initially, this seems to be a rather simple and straightforward requirement. However, when one considers the fact that most circuit breakers, once placed into service, will remain in the closed position for long periods of time, and yet on the few occasions when they are called upon to open or close, they must do so reliably, without any delay or sluggishness, then one realizes that the demands on the mechanisms are not as simple as was first thought.

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Arc Phenomenon

Classification of Circuit Breakers


Based on Voltage
Low Medium High/Extra High Ultra High

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Based on Location
Indoor Outdoor

Based on External Design


Dead Tank Live Tank

Based on Interrupting media


Air Break Air Blast Oil SF6

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Oil Circuit Breakers


In such circuit breakers, some insulating oil (i.e., transformer

oil) is used as an arc quenching medium. The contacts are opened under oil and an arc is struck between them. The heat of the arc evaporates the surrounding oil and dissociates it into a substantial volume of hydrogen gas at a high pressure. This large volume of the hydrogen gas pushes the oil away from the arc.

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Advantages:

1. Oil absorbs the arc energy to produces hydrogen gas during arcing. The hydrogen has excellent cooling properties and helps extinguish the arc. (In addition to hydrogen gas, a small proportion of methane, ethylene, and acetylene are also generated in oil decomposition.) 2. The oil provides insulation for the live exposed contacts from the earthed portions of the container. 3. Oil provides insulation between the contacts 4/8/12 after the arc has been extinguished

Disadvantages:

1. Oil is inflammable and may cause fire hazards. When a defective circuit breaker fails under pressure, it may cause an explosion. 2. The hydrogen generated during arcing, when combined with air, may form an explosive mixture. 3. During arcing, oil decomposes and becomes polluted by carbon particles, which reduces its 4/8/12 dielectric strength. Hence, it requires periodic

Types of Oil Circuit Breakers


Bulk Oil Circuit Breakers

These circuit breakers use a large quantity of oil. The oil has to serve two purposes: 1. It extinguishes the arc during opening of contacts. 2. It insulates the current conducting parts from one another and from the earthed tank.

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Minimum Oil Circuit Breakers

These circuit breakers use a small quantity of oil. In such circuit breakers, oil is used only for arc extinction; the current conducting parts insulated by air or porcelain or organic insulating material. In these circuit breakers, the oil requirement can be minimized by placing the interrupting units, in insulating chambers at live potential, on an insulator column.
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Air-Blast Circuit Breakers


These circuit breakers employ a high pressure air-

blast as an arc quenching medium. The contacts are opened in a flow of air-blast established by the opening of the blast valve. The air-blast cools the arc and sweeps away the arcing products of the atmosphere. Consequently, the arc is extinguished and flow of current is interrupted. interrupted, more breaking units are used, in series. Dry and clean air supply is one of the most essential requirements for the operation of the airblast circuit breakers.
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Whenever current at high voltages needs to be

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Advantages:

1. The risk of fire is eliminated in these circuit breakers. 2. The arcing products are completely removed by the blast whereas the oil deteriorates with successive operations. So the expenditure of oil replacement is avoided in air-blast circuit breakers. 3. The size of these breakers is reduced, as the dielectric strength grows so rapidly that final contact gap for the arc extinction is very small. 4. Due to the rapid growth of the4/8/12 dielectric

Disadvantages:

1. These circuit breakers are very sensitive to the variation s in the rate of rise of restriking voltage. 2. The air-blast is supplied by the compressor plant that needs considerable maintenance tages:

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Sulphur Hexafluoride (SF6) Circuit Breakers


In these circuit breakers, Sulphur hexafluoride gas (SF6) is used as the arc quenching medium. The SF6is an electronegative gas and has a strong tendency to absorb free electrons.
Applications

SF6 circuit breakers find use in systems with voltages ranging in 115 kV to 230 kV, as they are designed for this range with power ratings of 10 MVA to 20 MVA and 4/8/12 interrupting time less than 3 cycles.

Advantages:

1. Because of the high conductivity of the arc in the SF6 gas, the arc energy is low. (Arc voltage is between 150 and 200V.) 2. Due to the low energy the contact erosion is small. 3. The gaseous medium SF6 possesses excellent dielectric and arc quenching properties. After arc extinction, the dissociated gas molecules recombine almost completely to reform SF6. This means that practically no loss/consumption of the quenching medium occurs.
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4. Due to the superior arc quenching property of the SF6 gas, such circuit breakers have very short arcing time. Furthermore, they can interrupt much larger current. 5. These breakers give noiseless operation due to its closed gas circuit and no exhaust to atmosphere unlike the air-blast circuit breaker. 6. The SF6 gas is not inflammable, so there is no risk of fire in SF6 breakers. 7. Since SF6 breakers are totally enclosed and sealed from the atmosphere, they are particularly suitable 4/8/12 where explosion hazards exist, i.e. in coal mines.

Disadvantages:

1. These circuit breakers are expensive due to

the high cost of SF6 gas.

2. Since SF6 gas has to be reconditioned after

every operation of the breaker, additional equipment is required for this purpose.

3. The SF6gas has been identified as a

greenhouse gas, and safety regulations are being introduced in many countries in order to prevent its release into the atmosphere.
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Vacuum Circuit Breakers


In such circuit breakers, the vacuum is used as the

arc quenching medium. The vacuum circuit breaker takes the advantage of non-sustainability of electric arc in vacuum, and employs the principle of contact separation under vacuum where there is no ionization due to medium. The initial arc caused by field and thermionic emissions during the contacts separation, will die away soon, as there is no further ionization because of vacuum.

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Applications

For a country like Pakistan, where distances are quite long and accessibility to remote areas are difficult, the installation of such outdoor, maintenance-free circuit breakers should prove a definite advantage. Vacuum circuit breakers are being employed for outdoor applications ranging from 22 kV to 66 kV. This technology has been found to be most suitable for medium voltage application though the experimental interrupters for the 72.5 kV and 145 kV have been developed, they were not found to be commercially viable.
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Advantages:

1. The vacuum circuit breakers are compact in size and have longer lives. 2. Operating energy requirements are low, because the mechanism must move only relatively small masses at moderate speed, over very short distances. 3. Because of the very low voltage across the metal vapor arc, energy is very low. (Arc voltage is between 50 and 100V.) 4. Due to the very low arc energy, the rapid 4/8/12 movement of the arc root over the contact and

5. There is no generation of gases during and after the circuit breaker operation. 6. The outstanding feature of these breakers is that it can break any heavy fault current perfectly just before the contacts reach a definite open position. 7. They can successfully withstand lightning surges. 8. It is now possible to produce cost-effective VI (vacuum interrupter) designs with electrical 4/8/12 lives that exceed the required mechanical life of the circuit breakers, and that will even be able

Air Circuit Breakers


Air circuit breaker is defined as a circuit breaker, in

which the contacts open and close in air at atmospheric pressure. In general, the use of this type of circuit breakers is restricted to low voltage applications or high security installations where the risk of an oil fire or oil contamination of the environment is too high to be tolerated. Countries following the American practice used air circuit breakers almost exclusively for systems up to 15 kV until the advent of the new vacuum and SF6 technologies.

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