Electricity is a very dangerous source of energy to work with. It is necessary for you to understand the importance of using the right method when you are cutting off current and isolating a circuit while you are making adjustments with the electric equipment.

An isolator is a type of mechanical switching device. The main function of the electric isolator is to make sure to isolate different parts of an electrical circuit and make sure that the circuit is not generated while performing preservation. It cut off the damaged section from the working section

While shopping for these essentials you will come across various alternative names that they are known by like:

  • Isolation switches
  • Switch fuse disconnector
  • Fused isolator switches
  • Power isolation switches
  • Fused isolators
  • Disconnector, disconnecting, and disconnect switch
  • Fused or fused switch disconnector
  • Isolator switches

Functions of an Electric Isolator

As we have discussed above, electric isolators are used to cut off current while leaving a circuit isolated and working with the electrical equipment and making adjustments, so this is mainly used by the electricians, engineers, and technicians while they are working to keep them safe from being electrocuted.

The function of an electric isolator is very simple and it works on three levels:

  • Fully automatic
  • Semi-automatic
  • Manually operated

They minimize the risk of overcurrent and short circuits and also block the possibility of damage to the circuit hardware.

Types of Isolators

There are innumerable types of isolators available in the market for you to choose from. Choosing a type of isolator mainly depends on what work is required and only then you choose the particular type:

  • Double break isolator
  • Single break isolator
  • Pantograph isolator
  • MCB isolator

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Double break isolator

Under this type of double break isolator there are three loads of post insulators. The middle insulator has the tabular contact or a flat male that can be rotated directly by spinning the middle post insulator.

The lever mechanism at the bottom of the post insulator can help with the rotation of the middle post insulator.

Single break isolator

Under this type of isolator, the hand contact is divided into two components. The first-hand contact holds the male contact and the second-hand contact holds the female contact.

The hand contact shifts because of the post insulation rotation at which the hand is fixed. To open the hand contact as well as the insulation in an off condition, you need to rotate the post insulator counter-rotation stack.

Usually, a motor-operated isolator is used even though an emergency manual operated isolator is given.

Pantograph isolator

The pantograph insulators require the most minimum space to allow the current to switch gears. The pantograph insulator has both post insulators and operating insulators.

According to the placement based the insulators can be divided into 3 parts:

Bus side insulators-  to connect to the main bus a bus side isolator is required.

Lineside insulators- the line side insulators in required to connect the line side by a feeder

Transfer bus side insulators- the deranged bus side is aligned by the main bus of the isolator transformer

MCB isolator

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The miniature circuit breaker, also known as MCB in shorts, is extensively used in homes and offices. They operate on low power applications and have a compacted design so it can be used in a domestic wiring system systematically.

Where are Isolators Used?

Isolators are used widely in most of the machinery and circuits that you will come across. A local source for disconnection is provided on a piece of material such as a circuit or motor from the main incoming supply.

Isolators come up with or include the lock-off function that allows the piece of machinery or circuit to be locked off in situations where a component needs maintenance or fault-finding may be required. While you are performing maintenance on the system or fault-finding then this will make sure that no power gets through.

What are Isolators Made Of?

Plastic is a poor conductor of electricity and therefore the bodies of Isolators are widely made of plastic because they are usually managed or operated by hand while turning on or off the supply of the circuit or machinery. A path is made to allow supply through the terminal is made from a conductive piece of metal.

Electrical Isolator Operations

The electrical isolators are made in two ways:

  • Opening operation of the electric isolator
  • Closing operation of the electric isolator

Opening operation of the electric isolator

Under the opening operation of the electric isolator there are certain steps that you need to follow:

  • At first, you need to open the main circuit
  • Then open the isolator and separate the load from the system
  • If you have an isolator with an interlock system then you can turn off the earthing switch
  • The earthing switch can be turned off only when the isolator is open.

Closing operation of the electric isolator

Under the closing operation of the electric isolator there are certain steps that you need to follow:

  • Firstly you should disconnect the earth switch
  • You need to then close the isolator
  • Then you need to turn off the circuit breaker

Difference Between Electric Isolator and Circuit Breaker

One of the most evident differences between the electric isolator and a circuit breaker is that the circuit breaker at the current power condition can be turned on and off while in an isolator this is not possible. The two also differ in various other structures like:

  • Type of device
  • Operation
  • Device action
  • Their operational functions
  • Their withstand capacity

The Bottom Line

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In a nutshell, the application of the isolators are as follows:

  • The application of isolators requires high voltage devices. For Example- transformers
  • To prevent accidental usage these are protected with a lock
  • When there is a defect or fault in the substation, then the isolator cuts off the part of the substation.

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