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  SURVEY: Breakers or Fuses

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Author Topic:   SURVEY: Breakers or Fuses
contender posted 01-20-2012 09:18 PM ET (US)   Profile for contender   Send Email to contender  
[In the process of] rewiring and rebuilding my larger boat, [I am] just wondering how many of you prefer breakers to fuses. I'm currently installing a new electrical panel that will have eight switches and eight breakers. To protect the breakers and switches from the salt elements I dipped them each in liquid tape. I cleaned off the terminal ends for the connections. Waiting for the local plastic place custom plexiglass panel to install and do the wiring. Lot easier to work on the panel outside of the boat and on my work bench. Take care
jimh posted 01-21-2012 09:42 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I prefer fast-acting fuses to protect individual loads like very expensive electronic devices. Circuit breakers are useful to protect secondary power distribution and branch circuit wiring components. I employ a combination of fuses and circuit breakers. A circuit breaker is good for protecting the wiring, but a fuse is better for protecting a sensitive and expensive electronic device.

Some installations on boats use a circuit breaker as a control element, that is, the circuit breaker is repeatedly switched ON or OFF to control the load in the circuit. If planning this sort of operation, be certain the circuit breaker is designed for and rated for repeated ON-OFF operation, as some are not.

I plan to overhaul the electrical power distribution on my boat next summer. I have already purchased the new secondary power distribution panel. It employs blade fuses. This panel is a 12-circuit panel. The cost of the panel and the fuses it will use, including spare fuses, is less than the cost of two circuit breakers. In addition to the cost of the circuit breakers, in most cases one would need a special panel to mount them. The prefabricated panel is also expensive. The fuse panel is much less expensive.

The shape and configuration of the prefabricated circuit breaker panel also constrains where it may be installed, and this is particularly cumbrous on a small boat where space at the helm station is always limited.

6992WHALER posted 01-21-2012 02:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for 6992WHALER  Send Email to 6992WHALER     
I agree with Jim on combining fuses and circuit breakers. A little safety redundancy.
contender posted 01-21-2012 03:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for contender  Send Email to contender     
Yes, I have to agree also, I'll just put/connect a in-line fuse for the radio and electronics....
Chuck Tribolet posted 01-22-2012 12:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
I have three circuit breakers (running lights, bilge pump,
and accessories) that were factory installed. The accessory
circuit splits out to, IIRC, six fused circuits: VHF, depth
finder, GPS, and I don't remember the other three.


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