what is a shunt trip circuit breaker


What is a Shunt Trip Circuit Breaker?

A shunt trip circuit breaker is a type of circuit breaker that allows for the remote opening of the breaker from a remote location. It is mainly used in applications where it is necessary to quickly disconnect power to a circuit, such as in emergency situations or for maintenance purposes. The shunt trip function is achieved by utilizing an electromagnetic coil that, when activated, trips the circuit breaker and interrupts the flow of electricity.

The key feature of a shunt trip circuit breaker is its ability to remotely operate using a control switch or a push button. This makes it highly versatile and convenient for applications that require the ability to trip a circuit breaker from a remote location. In this article, we will take an in-depth look at the shunt trip circuit breaker, its operation, applications, and benefits.

Understanding the Operation of a Shunt Trip Circuit Breaker

The operation of a shunt trip circuit breaker is relatively simple. When a voltage is applied to the shunt coil, it creates an electromagnetic field that pulls the trip bar towards itself. This action releases the latch mechanism, causing the circuit breaker to trip and open the circuit. The shunt coil is designed to operate using a lower voltage than the main circuit, ensuring that the trip operation is safe and reliable.

To activate the shunt trip function, a control switch or a push button is used. When the switch or button is pressed, it sends a signal to the shunt coil, energizing it and initiating the trip action. The shunt trip mechanism can be powered by various sources, depending on the specific application. It can be powered by either a separate power supply or derived from the same power source as the main circuit.

The Applications of Shunt Trip Circuit Breakers

Shunt trip circuit breakers find wide applications in various industries due to their ability to remotely trip a circuit. Here are some of the common applications of shunt trip circuit breakers:

HVAC Systems

Shunt trip circuit breakers are extensively used in HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) systems. They provide a reliable and efficient way to disconnect power to refrigeration units, compressors, and other HVAC components. In the event of an emergency or maintenance requirement, the shunt trip circuit breaker can be remotely activated to cut off power, ensuring the safety of personnel and equipment.

Commercial Buildings

Shunt trip circuit breakers are commonly found in commercial buildings. They offer an added layer of safety by allowing authorized personnel to remotely trip a circuit breaker in case of emergencies, such as fires or electrical faults. This feature allows for quick isolation of the faulty circuit, reducing the risk of electrical hazards and minimizing potential damage.

Industrial Facilities

In industrial facilities, where large machinery and equipment are present, the use of shunt trip circuit breakers is crucial. These breakers provide a means to shut down power in emergency situations, preventing damage to equipment and ensuring the safety of workers. They are often integrated into complex control systems to facilitate remote tripping through a centralized control panel.

Medical Facilities

Shunt trip circuit breakers are also indispensable in medical facilities, where the uninterrupted power supply is critical. These breakers are commonly installed in emergency power distribution systems to protect vital medical equipment, such as life support systems and critical care devices. In the event of a system failure or malfunction, the shunt trip circuit breakers can be remotely activated to isolate the faulty circuit, allowing for swift troubleshooting and repairs.

Benefits of Shunt Trip Circuit Breakers

Now that we are familiar with the applications of shunt trip circuit breakers, let's explore some of the key benefits they offer:

Enhanced Safety

One of the primary advantages of shunt trip circuit breakers is their ability to enhance safety in various applications. By enabling remote tripping, they allow for the quick disconnection of power to a circuit in hazardous situations. This feature protects personnel and equipment from potential harm and minimizes the risk of electrical accidents or fires.

Convenience and Efficiency

Shunt trip circuit breakers provide a convenient and efficient solution for controlling and isolating circuits. The ability to remotely operate the breaker eliminates the need for manual intervention, saving time and effort. It also allows for faster response and action during emergency situations, ensuring the safety of people and equipment.

Flexibility and Adaptability

With the shunt trip feature, circuit breakers can be easily integrated into control systems and automated processes. This makes them highly flexible and adaptable to various environments and applications. They can be customized to suit specific requirements and integrated into complex control schemes, providing seamless operation and enhanced functionality.

Reduced Downtime

In industries where downtime can lead to substantial financial losses, shunt trip circuit breakers offer a significant advantage. By providing a quick and automated method to disconnect power, these breakers minimize the downtime associated with troubleshooting and repairs. This enables businesses to resume operations promptly and maintain productivity levels.


In conclusion, a shunt trip circuit breaker is a valuable component in various industries and applications. Its ability to remotely trip a circuit breaker offers enhanced safety, convenience, and efficiency. Whether it is in HVAC systems, commercial buildings, industrial facilities, or medical facilities, the shunt trip circuit breaker plays a crucial role in protecting personnel, equipment, and ensuring uninterrupted power supply.

The versatility and flexibility of shunt trip circuit breakers make them an essential part of modern electrical systems. As technology continues to advance, we can expect further innovations in this field, making shunt trip circuit breakers even more efficient and effective in the years to come.


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