Isolator: Types and Applications
Thanks to the rapid development of technology nowadays, there are various kinds of isolation switches on the market, designed for different uses. They may be intended specifically for industrial applications or for home use. Choice of isolator switches depends on the requirement and application. We'll take a look at them one at a time and try to understand what's special about them. In this article, we will talk about types and applications of isolator.
Based on their installation location, isolators (dis-connectors) can be classified into two types: outdoor isolators and indoor isolators.
Those, especially high-voltage types that are installed for outdoor use and the others that are fixed indoors such as isolators used with kitchen tools or other household appliances. It's easy to understand that outdoor isolators must be able to withstand the corrosion or damage inflicted by wind, rain, snow, dirt or any other harsh weather conditions.
Isolator switches are also available with several different pole configurations, from single pole to six poles, with the majority being triple pole isolators, isolator switches with a higher number of poles. Triple pole (3P) and four pole (4P) are used with more complex equipment and electrical installations.
Single pole isolator. It is mostly used with single-phase circuits. Also, it is usually located in the live leg of the circuit; so, make sure you power this section down before repair work can be carried out. That said, they are mostly used for small appliances like lights, and are not as safe to use as double pole isolator switches.
Double pole isolator. It is also used for single-phase circuits and are designed to isolate circuit breakers and transmission lines for the purpose of maintenance. Double pole isolator switches further have mechanical switches, representing both the live and neutral legs of the connection.
3 pole isolator. It is a ideal with three-phase supplies and quite simply put, feature three interlocked switches in the three live legs. 3 pole isolator switches are equally useful for certain types of devices, for instance, a fan isolator switch often employs a 3 pole isolator switch because there are usually three lines that have to be disconnected before the fan can be isolated.
4 pole isolator. This kind of isolator shares some similarities with the 3 pole isolator switch but in addition to the three live legs, it has another neutral leg.
Where is an Isolator Switch Used?
All electrical equipment requires servicing and maintenance from time to time. Current protection devices such as isolators have become standard equipment and are installed in everything from domestic housing to electrical substations.
High voltage isolator switches, in particular, are used in power grids and substations to efficiently isolate very high voltage apparatuses such as transformers and circuit-breakers when they are due for maintenance. In high voltage power systems, isolators are used in conjunction with circuit breakers to provide an extra layer of safety.
Following, we'll take a look at some of the tools and devices that require an isolation switch.
- Extractor fans. Extractor fans are commonly found in bathrooms or kitchens and serve the purpose of removing stale and humid air to replace it with fresh air. The more stringent building regulations have witnessed an increasing requirement of extractor fans. They need isolation switches for repairs or maintenance. Fans commonly use 3-pole isolation switches as there are three lines that usually need to be disconnected to fully isolate the fan.
- Electrical showers. Electrical showers are common in most homes and outfitting with an isolator switch is often required; as showers tend to be fitted in more humid and wet locations like bathrooms where installation carries a greater risk of electric shock. Therefore, for safety, electrical showers must have an isolation switch installed.
- Refrigerators. Especially large ones, need an isolation switch to ease the risks associated with maintenance and repairs for the reason that refrigerators are in close proximity to water and could be dangerous if not handled properly.
- Air Conditioners. It is advisable to equip your outdoor unit with an isolator switch as it protects the appliance from strikes in a storm and also prevents your home safety switch from tripping in the event of a fault.
If you want to know more information about isolator switch, please click this video.