Thermal cutoffs are a crucial electrical safety component and feature in a variety of products. Depending on the specific product, a thermal cutoff may be present in the form of a switch or a fuse. Thermal cutoffs are used to exclusively measure heat and to disconnect an electrical flow in the event of overheating or malfunction.
How do thermal cutoffs work?
Thermal cutoffs are used to measure the heat of a specific device, or a component within an electrical device. If a thermal cutoff detects temperatures above a specific threshold, they will cut the electrical current and shut the component or device down. They are designed to stop electrical flow before further overheating occurs, thus preventing things from catching fire. Thermal cutoffs only measure heat; they do not have the capacity to measure electric current in the same way a traditional fuse does.
What is the difference between a thermal fuse and a thermal switch?
Thermal cutoffs will either be in the form of a thermal fuse or a thermal switch. The main difference between the two is that a thermal fuse is a single use component. Like an electric fuse, once a thermal fuse has been triggered due to excess heat, or fails, you will need to replace it. In contrast, a thermal switch can reset itself whenever the temperature drops.
Can a thermal fuse be bypassed?
It is possible to bypass a thermal fuse using electrical tape. However, this can be highly dangerous, especially if a thermal fuse has been triggered and the cause not investigated. Rather than bypassing a thermal fuse, you should investigate the reason for trigger or failure, and arrange to replace the fuse at the earliest opportunity.
How do you know if a thermal fuse is blown?
You can use a multimeter to discover if a thermal fuse has blown or otherwise not working correctly. To test, touch the right wire of your multimeter to the right side of the fuse, followed by the left. If your multimeter doesn’t return a reading, your fuse has blown or has failed, and needs replacing.