Circuit Breakers vs Fuses for expedition vehicles - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old May 31st, 2013, 11:07 AM
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Circuit Breakers vs Fuses for expedition vehicles

Does anyone have an opinion on which is better for an "expedition vehicle" (the definition of which seems to differ for most people )

On one side are the typical blade fuses, whether full size or the ISO 280 style mini-blades. They blow, you have to find the circuit that blew, pull out the fuse, replace it, etc.

On the other are miniaturized aircraft-style breakers such as ETA 483's. They pop out, you instantly know what caused the problem, and you can reset the breaker if you feel it was a spurious error.

Therefore, is it generally speaking preferable to use breakers whenever possible? Or is there some hidden problem with breakers that manifest themselves in remote places that make them unsuitable for use in overland apps?
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  #2  
Old May 31st, 2013, 11:25 AM
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I prefer the breakers. My only issue with them is that they take up a lot of room. Fuse is really small in comparison.
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  #3  
Old May 31st, 2013, 12:41 PM
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breakers if budget and space allows
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  #4  
Old May 31st, 2013, 12:55 PM
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Curious...I'm sure there are threads about that on here. I hesitate to consider trying to improve upon LR's technological master piece. Is anyone doing this now, as a project?
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Old May 31st, 2013, 01:00 PM
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mark kellgren
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not sure it's worth the effort for the factory harness, but I would consider it for future accessories as an option. there are circuit breaker fuses that can fit in the standard blade socket. you can get them at any auto parts stores, but they are much bigger. should fit in a D fuse bus though with the cover on. they are not sealed though, so I would be concerned about their weather resistance in a wading.
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Old May 31st, 2013, 01:12 PM
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Bill, I found the following threads directly address the topic:

http://www.defendersource.com/forum/...light=breakers

http://www.defendersource.com/forum/...light=breakers
"When do you use circuit breakers versus fuses? I don’t have a great answer on this one but most circuit breakers for automotive use are self resetting which can be convenient, but if they ever fail (none of mine have ever failed) you better have a spare or be prepared to bypass it and run the risk of an unprotected circuit. Replace it as soon as humanly possible if you do. I have my aux lights on a circuit breaker—my logic was if a water crossing cause a fault, it would come back on when safe and I would not have to change a fuse. My electric fans are fused though because I wanted to be able to fix them readily if I needed to. So when do you use one over the other? No clue. If anyone has good advice on this, I am always willing to learn."

I guess this thread is directly on the suitability of breakers vs fuses over the long haul. I currently use two bussmann boxes (with I believe 23 ISO 280 fuses and 9 relays) but wiring the ISO 280 boxes was a nightmare. I am considering a (far down the road project) rewire with breakers as they have screw terminals.
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Old May 31st, 2013, 01:36 PM
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I have similar thoughts and considerations. A thread(s) to keep an eye on for future consideration(s).
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  #8  
Old May 31st, 2013, 02:14 PM
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Here is a pic of a breaker panel I have laying around. As you can see it has only a few circuits and it is rather large. I think BEP sells these in groups of 4 breakers, but they have a fancy backlit face and LED that lights up when the circuit is on. I personally would only use these types of breakers because they are designed for a marine environment....tinned connectors and sealed guts.
I didn't use this panel, rather I made up a layout in Illustrator that gave me alignment marks for drilling. I printed it and taped this to the fiberglass bulkhead on the boat and hand drilled all the holes for my breakers. I have attached the jpg, but can send the Illustrator one if you want it. A CNC can do the holes from that.
Anyway, yes the electro-magnetic breakers are the schnitzle. I find them used all the time and have a fairly big stash ranging from 5-50A. They retail for about 12-15 each but I have always paid only a few bucks at the most. They don't "wear out" so as long as the case isn't cracked and the terminals in good shape they are perfectly fine.
I would also point out the post you referenced has several glaring wrongnesses in it. If you need some advice and expertise when doing your wiring I am your humble servant.
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  #9  
Old May 31st, 2013, 02:43 PM
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Although I like the idea of not carrying extra fuses, one problem with breakers is dead shorts. With a low voltage/amperage thing like a car/truck this might not be a problem, but one reason fuses are safer is that they cannot fuse shut. The contracts on a breaker can become so hot that the contacts actually weld together, preventing the protective action from occurring. And once circuit breakers have tripped enough times, they may not trip when needed. Fuses cannot have either of these problems.
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  #10  
Old May 31st, 2013, 03:02 PM
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I think a breaker would be nice on an accessory port - one where you would run a portable air compressor or other high-draw something that risks getting hot and tripping the fuse.
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  #11  
Old May 31st, 2013, 03:17 PM
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Let's go over this again. Circuit protection is for the wire, not the thing at the end of the wire.
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1966 109 5 door wagon 300Tdi "spermaceti fueled"
1994 RRC LeWiB "ruining the air behind me"
1968 2A 88

All my troubles are Rover
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  #12  
Old May 31st, 2013, 03:24 PM
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yea.... I let the magic smoke out of the wire on an "temporary" accessory plug I put on my truck. My problem is that I attached too high of a load (and the plug had no fuse).

I have been wheeling with guys that plug thier air pumps in to the accessory plug and it runs for a while and then blows the fuse. sometimes they have an extra fuse and the finish the job, sometimes they have an extra fuse and it just blows again.... so a breaker might be nice in that situation.

But I am just 'supposin' - cause I love my truck with its three fuses and no plans to add anything else to the equation. I just carry a small envelope of those old glass vial fuses with the tool bag and I am set. (Some of my fuses still say LUCAS on them - so I assume they are 1980 originals from the UK.)
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  #13  
Old May 31st, 2013, 03:28 PM
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PS those are all Carlingswitch breakers. They come in a wide variety of configurations and colors. The ones you usually find for marine use have white red black or green toggles, and have screw connectors for crimped ring terminals.

PPS accessory plugs, and automotive wiring in general, is usually done with the smallest g wire that they can get away with. If I were going to run a pump off a lighter plug (and I question how effective any pump that plugs into the lighter plug can possibly be) I would redo the wires to be at minimum 14g.
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1994 RRC LeWiB "ruining the air behind me"
1968 2A 88

All my troubles are Rover
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