In USA do you use fuses on the main panel?

ramironchis

Member
Location
Ecuador
Hello,
Im from Ecuador, over here we have a code but is pretty basic, we don't use gfci nor afci, last week I was in USA and I found this breakers now Im working hard to try to understand how they work and if I can implement them in our installations, but first I cannot find a document with an exact explanation how afci and gfci internally work if anyone has or could let me know where I can find it I'll really appreciate it, and in my way trying to understand how it works I saw an image when I can see fuses in the main panel, I don't know why are them in there someone could explain it to me.

Thanks in advance
 

GoldDigger

Moderator
Staff member
Hello,
Im from Ecuador, over here we have a code but is pretty basic, we don't use gfci nor afci, last week I was in USA and I found this breakers now Im working hard to try to understand how they work and if I can implement them in our installations, but first I cannot find a document with an exact explanation how afci and gfci internally work if anyone has or could let me know where I can find it I'll really appreciate it, and in my way trying to understand how it works I saw an image when I can see fuses in the main panel, I don't know why are them in there someone could explain it to me.

Thanks in advance
A serious suggestion:

1. Google "GFCI breaker"
2. Google "AFCI breaker"

You will find some basic discussions, with Wikipedia being a good starting point. Just do not expect too much detail about the circuitry.
The details of how AFCI actually detects and evaluates the transient signatures it sees are to a large extent trade secrets of the manufacturer. But the basic components and simplified functional description will be good enough to get you started.
 

JDBrown

Senior Member
Location
California
Regarding fuses in a main panel:

In the past, it was common to use fuses for overcurrent protection in a panelboard. While it is still acceptable by Code, it's not that common anymore -- we typically use circuit breakers now, except maybe in some special applications.
 

broadgage

Senior Member
Location
London, England
Same in the UK, fuses still permitted, but largely displaced by MCBs.

In many countries, the electricity company have a main fuse (or less commonly a circuit breaker) to protect the suppliers network from short circuits or gross overloads in the consumers installation. This is often sealed or locked to prevent tampering.

In the USA, this is not the usuall practice and reliance is normally placed on a main circuit breaker in the consumers equipment.

Although GFCIs may not be a requirement in your country, there is a lot to be said for the voluntary use of these especialy for appliances. They are a valuable safety feature.
 
Same in the UK, fuses still permitted, but largely displaced by MCBs.
MCB = miniature circuit breaker

You'll also see RCD (residual current device), which is effectively the same as the GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter, which isn't an over-current sensing device). UK and US practice use different names for similar things.

And to confuse things, neither is the same as a GFD (ground fault detector). :D
 

ramironchis

Member
Location
Ecuador
Thanks a lot, It really help me Im writing an essay soy if someone could help to find how exactly afci and gfci works I'll really appreciate it or at least a good explanation about them both.
 
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