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Thread: Electronics in breakers

  1. #1
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    Electronics in breakers

    At what amperage do 600 volt (and under) breakers start to have electronics inside?

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    Are we to exclude GFCIs and AFCIs? Because those (obviously) include electronics.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mbrooke View Post
    At what amperage do 600 volt (and under) breakers start to have electronics inside?
    As an option or as standard?
    Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jim dungar View Post
    As an option or as standard?

    Standard


    I'd like to not have electronics.

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    Quote Originally Posted by synchro View Post
    Are we to exclude GFCIs and AFCIs? Because those (obviously) include electronics.
    Excluding GFCIs, AFCIs and GFP.

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    The only "electronics" in standard breakers I'm aware of are in adjustable-trip and, loosely, shunt-trip coils.
    Code references based on 2005 NEC
    Larry B. Fine
    Master Electrician
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    Richmond, VA

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    Quote Originally Posted by LarryFine View Post
    The only "electronics" in standard breakers I'm aware of are in adjustable-trip and, loosely, shunt-trip coils.
    What about high amp frame breakers with adjustable dials?

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    Quote Originally Posted by mbrooke View Post
    What about high amp frame breakers with adjustable dials?
    That's what I meant by 'adjustable-trip' breakers.
    Code references based on 2005 NEC
    Larry B. Fine
    Master Electrician
    Electrical Contractor
    Richmond, VA

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    Quote Originally Posted by LarryFine View Post
    That's what I meant by 'adjustable-trip' breakers.
    Ok, including those cartridges on Spectra breakers?

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    Quote Originally Posted by mbrooke View Post
    Ok, including those cartridges on Spectra breakers?
    Yes. In a nutshell once you get to 1000A and above, the requirement for GF trip has pushed everyone to use ETUs (Electronic Trip Units). Years ago you would add an external GF trip unit to an old T-M breaker, but that meant the mfrs had to support inventory for two different versions of the same frame and once ETUs became cheap, it made no more sense. With some mfrs that philosophy has now drifted down into lower frame sizes so even if you order a non-adjustable trip, you are still getting an ETU without an adjustment means. It varies from one mfr to another though.

    In the coming years we will see this more and more in new equipment as the old NEMA molded case breakers become obsolete and the mfrs become more and more global in focus. Rules that apply outside of North America called RoHS (meaning Reduction of Hazardous Substances, referred to as “rohass”) mean that the fiberglass reinforced plastic used in our old style breakers can no longer be used because it cannot be recycled. Newer breaker designs use different materials but required new frame engineering, leading to incompatibility with some older designs. So although we will still see the older designs made for decades into the future here in North America because of the installed base, it will be relegated to retrofit use and become very expensive. What we already have started seeing is new gear being designed and built to only use the new versions of breakers with no options for the older ones. How that relates to the original question is that many of these newer designs will have ETUs starting at 250A frames as standard.
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