Category: Company Updates

Choosing the Right Protection: Exploring Automotive Circuit Breakers

Automotive electrical systems require reliable protection against overcurrent situations. One essential component in this regard is the automotive circuit breaker. In this post, we will delve into the world of automotive circuit breakers, exploring their types, functions, and applications. 

What is an Automotive Circuit Breaker?

An automotive circuit breaker is a protective device designed to interrupt electrical circuits in the event of excessive current flow. It serves as a safety mechanism, preventing damage to wiring, components, and other electrical systems within a vehicle. By interrupting the circuit when an overcurrent condition occurs, automotive circuit breakers ensure the safety and reliability of automotive electrical systems.

What are the Different Types of Automotive Circuit Breakers?

When selecting an automotive circuit breaker, consider where the breaker will be mounted, the current rating the breaker needs to carry, and the type of reset method. The reset methods include: 

  • Type I Automatic Reset: Type I automotive circuit breakers feature an automatic reset function. They are designed to automatically restore power to the circuit once the overcurrent condition is resolved. This type of circuit breaker is commonly used in applications where temporary overloads are expected, such as in lighting or accessory circuits.
  • Type II Modified Reset or Non-cycling: Type II automotive circuit breakers differ from Type I in that they require manual intervention to reset after an overcurrent event. These circuit breakers provide a visual indication when they trip, allowing engineers to identify and address the underlying issue causing the overcurrent. Type II circuit breakers are suitable for critical circuits that require immediate attention upon tripping.
  • Type III Manual Reset: Type III automotive circuit breakers are manually resettable circuit protection devices. They require manual intervention to restore power to the circuit after an overcurrent event. This type of circuit breaker is commonly used in applications where deliberate action is necessary to ensure the circuit is safe before resetting.
  • Type III Switchable: Type III switchable automotive circuit breakers combine the characteristics of manual reset and switchable circuit breakers. They offer the flexibility of manual or automatic reset options, allowing engineers to choose the most suitable reset mechanism based on the specific requirements of the application.

Applications of Automotive Circuit Breakers:

Automotive circuit breakers find wide-ranging applications in vehicles, serving as critical protection components in various electrical systems, including but not limited to:

  • Power distribution systems
  • Lighting circuits
  • Accessory circuits
  • Audio systems
  • Battery protection
  • Motor circuits

By incorporating automotive circuit breakers into these systems, design engineers ensure the safety, reliability, and longevity of the vehicle's electrical infrastructure.

Need help designing-in the right circuit breaker for your application?

With on-staff engineering, Chief offers design-in support for a variety of components including circuit breakers, power distribution modules, and more. Contact us today to get started!