What does an electrical fuse do, really?
Most of what you need to know about fuses and how they work can be learned in the 1983 holiday classic, A Christmas Story. Just one look at that outlet overloaded with about 37 power cords coming into it has taught us all the valuable lesson that too much is just too much.
The difference is that most of us will probably never be able to change a fuse quite as quickly as Mr. Parker. Is it because he has that deep of an understanding about what fuses really do? Judging by his decision to add yet another cord to the mix, probably not. But we can take his example to the next level to gain a better understanding about a fuse's purpose.
Pardon the Interruption, By Definition
A Voltage and Amperage Manager
Knowing that a particular amount of electricity is needed for the toaster to work, the fuse is there to make sure that just the right amount of electric current is making its way to the outlet where the toaster is plugged in. Too little electricity, and the heating coils wouldn't even be able to get hot-too much and the toaster itself would be toast. The fuse isn't necessarily limiting the amount of electricity, but it keeps the flow just right.
What If the Dam Breaks?
Now, if the Hoover Dam experienced this kind of overload with water, it could break and there would be no way to stop the massive amount of water from bursting down the valley. However, when this happens with electricity, a fuse is designed to "blow" or "trip" and shut the flow of electricity off completely. In this sense, a fuse is providing protection, which prevents wires from melting, electric circuits in appliances from getting fried, and so on.
Fuses Here, Fuses There, Fuses Everywhere
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