DC circuit breakers perform a critical role in systems we use daily, and even more so in automotive, defense, and robotics applications. A traditional circuit breaker is an electromechanical switch—either a stand-alone element or a part of a power distributiondevice—whose primary function is to protect electric circuits, components and systems from electrical hazard.
Essentially, a circuit breaker is what is known as a fuse, usually thermal or mechanical, that protects the electric devices or systems they are connected to by breaking the electronic circuit whenever the current rises above a certain level or in case of an electrical surge due to short circuit or overload. Without them, electronic systems, including mission-critical applications, would be destroyed with every power surge, leading critical systems to malfunction and jeopardizing the mission activity.
A smart circuit breaker, or SCB, serves the same purpose as a regular circuit breaker, but includes a layer of software that enables additional capabilities like remote control, real-time monitoring, parameter configuration, and predictive and preventive maintenance tools.
Since they aresolid-state circuit breakers, they guarantee rapid interruption and can clear a fault in microseconds. Advanced smart circuit breakers function as meters and deliver power consumption information in real time. They also include additional options that support flexible, rapid design, increase reliability, deliver predictive and preventive maintenance tools and more.
But how do those features benefit users?
Key benefits offered by smart circuit breakers
Smart electronic circuit breakers offer several significant benefits over standard mechanical or thermal circuit breakers:
Safety and reliability
Smart circuit breakers use semiconductor technologies, as electronic circuit breakers, they eliminate the need for outdated mechanical parts that often malfunction, experience erosion, wear and tear, and emit sparks. This significantly improves the safety and reliability of devices and systems.
Efficient energy use and sustainability
Sustainability is a key concern in the world today, and smart circuit breakers support sustainability by managing energy use more efficiently. For example, they can monitor and control power usage for efficient power distribution by providing meter usage information for each circuit in real time. This boosts operational efficiency, especially in high power consumption systems, and reduces the total amount of power used.
Downtime is costly, and in mission-critical applications, such as in defense, aviation or robotics, it can even be dangerous. Smart circuit breakers minimize downtime through predictive and preventative maintenance tools and information.SCBs provide alerts on abnormal performance, or when the system or device is in danger of malfunction or breakdown, so action can be taken before performance is impacted. They also help maintenance professionals pinpoint the problem with log files about events in the channel, eliminating the need for time-consuming detective work.
More flexibility and features
SCBs are very flexible and can easily be configured to meet the needs of each specific use case. They require less time in development, and immediate change possibilities. They also enable numerous new functions and features and can be controlled remotely. Smart circuit breakers can even be programmed with conditional logic related to status, scenarios, and conditions, according to real-time measurements, enabling them to change the device activity according to the status of the power that goes through them.
SCBs are the future—and the present
Almost every industry today is trending towards electrification, digitalization, and the use of smart platforms, both in defense and in civilian industries. In the military and aviation, Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) and Unmanned Guided Vehicles (UGVs) are being used more than ever before, and everything from wheels to weapons is monitored electronically. That’s why smart SCBs are not only the future, they are the present, the building blocks for reliable, intelligent power grids, especially in mobile platforms.
Redler has a patent for an advanced SCB that can identify short circuit currents and overload reliably in DC circuit breakers built for mobile platforms. We offer SCBs and PDUs that include a user-friendly interface, are cost effective and offer extensive options for any platform, on land, in the air, or at sea.