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Miniature circuit breaker

Circuit breakers are used to protect electrical circuitry from damage due to an overcurrent condition, such as an overload condition or a relatively high level short circuit or fault condition. Circuit breakers used in residential and light commercial applications are commonly referred to as miniature circuit breakers because of their limited size. Miniature circuit breakers are commonly used for providing automatic circuit interruption upon detection of undesired overcurrent conditions on the circuit being monitored. These overcurrent conditions include, among others, overload conditions, ground faults and short-circuit conditions. Miniature circuit breakers are widely used in electrical consumer units of domestic dwellings and small industrial premises to protect and control the electrical supply to respective electrical circuits of the building. Such circuit breakers typically have a pair of separable contacts opened and closed by a spring biased operating mechanism. A thermal-magnetic trip device actuates the operating mechanism to open the separable contacts in response to persistent overcurrent conditions and to short circuits. Such circuit breakers typically additionally include a magnetic trip mechanism that triggers the operating mechanism in the event of a sudden increase in the current flowing through the circuit breaker. Many such miniature circuit breakers have a handle that is manually used to turn the circuit breaker off and on and that assumes a position intermediate the off and on positions to signal that the circuit breaker has tripped open. Usually, circuit breakers of this type for multiple circuits within a residence or commercial structure are mounted together within a load center which may be located in a basement or other remote location. A relatively more advanced miniature circuit breaker additionally includes a ground fault detection system that is operatively connected with the operating mechanism to open the contacts in the event of a line-to-ground fault or a neutral-to-ground fault. The ground fault detection system of the ground fault circuit breaker typically includes a pair of spaced current transformers and a circuit board.

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