A simple mechanical switch, an isolator, does not contain a system to extinguish arcs. A circuit breaker is composed of an electromechanical switch and a relay. It incorporates an arc-extinguishing device.
The circuit breaker and isolator are installed side by side.
Circuit breakers and isolators have a few other differences. Isolators are typically used in industrial settings, while circuit breakers are also used in domestic settings.
Circuit breakers are used to break load faults, unlike isolators. Circuit breakers are capable of breaking load faults.
An isolator is designed to be used in an off-load condition and therefore has a lower resistance capacity. If it is used in an on-load condition, it can catch fire. On the other hand, a circuit breaker has a higher withstanding capacity because it can handle high currents and regulate them.
This post was written by Justin Tidd, Director at Becker/SMC. For nearly a half a century, Becker Mining has been at the forefront of safety, producing the best Electrical Supply House in the industry. Becker/SMC is the industry’s leader in increasingly more sophisticated electrical control systems. Most of the major innovations, design features and specialized electrical components have been developed by Becker/SMC.