A fuse is a short length of wire that will melt and separate if an excessive current is detected. It is a safety device that protects against electrical hazards that would occur if the current was allowed to flow through the circuit. There are two types of fuses, you should know about, the time delay and fast acting fuse. This article will look at the similarities and differences of the time delay vs. fast acting fuse.
Time delay vs. Fast Acting Fuse
If you are working with electricity, it is important to know when it is best to use a time delay vs. fast acting fuse. A time delay fuse is used in specific applications where it is necessary to allow a surge in electricity before the fuse actually blows. Although it might sound like this could lead to a dangerous situation, it is actually much safer when used in the recommended applications. It should also be noted that these time delay fuses are designed for specific applications and it’s not normally possible to fit a different fuse inside the receptacle.
How Do Fuses Work?
In understanding the differences in time delay vs. fast acting fuses, it’s important to understand how fuses work. When electricity travels through wires, they get hot. In incandescent lamps, electricity flows through a very thin wire called a filament that gets so hot it gives off light. In an electric toaster, the series of thin metal ribbons the electricity runs through makes it hot enough to heat bread. A fuse works in a similar manner, containing a thin piece of wire that is designed to carry a limited amount of electrical current. If a higher current passes through the wire, it will heat up to the point that it will burn or melt. When this happens, the circuit it’s fitted to will break and the current will stop flowing.
In a time delay, or slow blow, fuse the same principal applies as there is a normal fuse that has a burn out link. However, there is also a short connector which has a spring attached to it. The spring is soldered onto the fuse wire nad can cope with an overload of 100 or even 200 percent of the normal load without causing any harm to the elements. However, if the overload lasts for a longer time than the fuse is made to handle, the solder joint will melt and the contact will open.
Applications that Require a Time Delay vs. Fast Acting Fuse
Fast acting fuses are more common than their time delay counterparts. They are used in home appliances that are very sensitive to the changes in the flow of electricity. Because of this, they need a safety device that will be able to protect them adequately. A fast blow fuse will short when it senses a surge in electricity and protect the electronic circuit. They are used in purely resistive circuits where there are very few or no surges, or where IC and other sensitive components need to be protected.
Slow blow fuses are used in applications where there is a strong surge of electricity when the device first comes on, but it quickly regulates to lower capacities as the device continues running. Some examples of this include:
Motors: An electrical motor takes a lot more electricity to start than it does to continue operating making a slow blow fuse ideal for these applications.
Florescent Lamps: These also consume more power when they are switched on, but this amount of power decreases as it continues running. This is true of any device that contains a coil or starter motor.
Which is Safer: Time Delay Vs. Fast Acting Fuse
If it wasn’t for slow blow fuses, you would need to use a higher rated fuse to cope with the initial load of the light or motor. However, this higher rated fuse would be too big for the normal load of light. This could be dangerous because the fuse would not blow when the circuit is overloaded. The slow blow fuse will only allow for a certain amount of this current for a specific amount of time. If there is more current than the fuse is prepared to handle, or if it lasts a longer amount of time than the fuse can deal with, it will blow and cut off the circuit.
It is also worth noting that a fuse is a safety device and should always be replaced with the same type of fuse. Therefore, its important to know the differences between the two types of fuses. Both fuses should have a sticker or some type of raised lettering on them that indicates what type of fuse they are. If this is not evident on the fuse, you can also look inside the fuse to see if there is a spring present, which is a feature of the slow blow fuses.
If you are working with electricity, it is very important to know the differences in the time delay vs. fast acting fuse. This will help you use the safety devices effectively and prevent electrical hazards from occurring. Good luck protecting yourself and your family from potentially dangerous situations.