In electrical engineering, a disconnector or isolator switch is used to make sure that an electrical circuit can be completely de-energised for service or maintenance. Such switches are often found in electrical distribution and industrial applications where machinery must have its source of driving power removed for adjustment or repair. High-voltage isolation switches are used in electrical substations to allow isolation of apparatus such as circuit breakers and transformers, and transmission lines, for maintenance. Isolating switches are commonly fitted to domestic extractor fans when used in bathrooms in the UK. Often the isolation switch is not intended for normal control of the circuit and is only used for isolation.

Isolator switches have provisions for a padlock so that inadvertent operation is not possible (see: Lockout-Tagout). In high voltage or complex systems, these padlocks may be part of a trapped-key interlock system to ensure proper sequence of operation. In some designs the isolator switch has the additional ability to earth the isolated circuit thereby providing additional safety. Such an arrangement would apply to circuits which inter-connect power distribution systems where both end of the circuit need to be isolated.

The major difference between an isolator and a circuit breaker is that an isolator is an off-load device intended to be opened only after current has been interrupted by some other control device. Safety regulations of the utility must prevent any attempt to open the disconnector while it supplies a circuit.

Standards in some countries for safety may require either local motor isolators or lockable overloads (which can be padlocked).


External links

Media related to Disconnecting switch at Wikimedia Commons

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Look at other dictionaries:

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