Electrical Fuse Identification

Written by herbert harris
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Electrical Fuse Identification
Ceramic Fuse (fusibles image by serge simo from Fotolia.com)

While it's not that complicated to correctly identify electrical fuses, it is an activity that requires attention to detail when going about replacing one that's blown. Mistakenly (would anyone do it on purpose?) replacing a blown fuse with one of a different current rating, especially a higher one, can create potentially dangerous and even fatal conditions.

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About Identifying Electrical Fuses

In most cases replacing a fuse will take less time and effort than locating it. Although a fuse can be replaced with another that may differ somewhat in appearance, the replacement should have the identical current and voltage ratings. These specifications can be found on most fuses. Most people will only deal with car or electrical appliance fuses.

Electrical Fuse Identification
5 and 10 Amp Car Fuses (fusible image by matteo NATALE from Fotolia.com)

Types of Fuse Identifying Information

Fuses can be identified by numerous factors and characteristics. There are fuses designed for A/C and D/C electricity. There are "slow-blow" fuses and "fast-blow" fuses. There are glass, ceramic, plastic and metal fuses. There are fuses that are screwed in, soldered in, bolted on or slot-mounted. All must be identified correctly when being replaced.

Where To Find Fuse Identifying Information

Information that details the current and voltage rating for a fuse can normally be found on the fuse itself. For car fuses this information may also be on the fuse box cover and in the owner's manual. Fuses used in home appliances and some stereo equipment will have the information on the screw-in fuse holder. Buss fuses used in older homes will have the amp rating printed on its top.

Significance of Identifying Electrical Fuses

Fuses are used to protect circuits, equipment and appliances of all types by sacrificing themselves when they sense too much electricity flowing through them. This is down by a small piece of metal that melts and opens the circuit. A fuse with a higher current rating in the same circuit may not blow soon enough to prevent a fire hazard. This makes it extremely critical to only replace fuses with those of identical current ratings. Doing otherwise can be dangerous to things and people.

Tips on Electrical Fuses

If you replace a fuse with an exact equal and the new fuse blows, it means you have a problem that needs to be located and addressed. When replacing a fuse and the new fuse corrects the situation, secure a replacement fuse as soon as possible for the next time you need one. Keep car fuses handy, especially for things like headlights, indicators and wipers as they allow safety devices to function.

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