Service Disconnect Fuse Contacts

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by dave9600, Jan 10, 2009.

  1. dave9600

    dave9600 New Member

    Messages:
    3
    The service disconnect for our air handler has two 60A time-delay fuses. The fuse contacts (where the fuses plug into the disconnect) are oxidized. This is causing fuse failure. Two questions:

    1. What is the best way to clean the oxidation off the contacts? A wire brush didn't do much good.

    2. P=I^2xR. So as the resistance across the fuse increases because of the oxidation the heat is increasing across the fuse leading to premature fuse failure. Am I understanding this correctly?
  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,242
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    fuse

    You may also be incorrect as the the cause of the problem. If that situation has occurred, the contacts inside the switch have probably been overheated so they no longer have the ability to make a tight connection to the blades, and that is what is causing the heating condition.
  3. dave9600

    dave9600 New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Unless you're talking about a switch inside the unit itself I'm not sure I understand. There isn't a switch at the disconnect.
  4. Probedude

    Probedude New Member

    Messages:
    137
    Location:
    CA
    Your equation is correct and your assumption is likely correct too. What may be a complicating problem is the springy-ness of the fuse clips in your disconnect box is now fatiqued from heat. If so they likely are not applying enough force to keep intimate contact with the new fuse.
  5. dave9600

    dave9600 New Member

    Messages:
    3
    So I would be better off just replacing the disconnect altogether. That's kinda what I figured. :mad:
  6. Probedude

    Probedude New Member

    Messages:
    137
    Location:
    CA
    It would solve the problem if this is truly where your failure is.

    Have you confirmed that the fuse clips are heating up when the air handler is in operation (using an IR camera or thermometer)?

    Has anything changed on the air handler? (new motor, new blower, change in pulleys or pulley ratios).

    Dave
  7. Chris75

    Chris75 Electrician

    Messages:
    608
    Location:
    Litchfield, CT
    Of course there is, why do you think they call it a disconnect?
  8. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,562
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Because the I squred R losses are making the fuses blow? :D

    I would think that the best avenue would be to put an ammeter on the conductors and see what the unit is drawing but then again what do I know?
  9. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,242
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    disconnect

    "Disconnect" implies a switch at the fuse site, either a rotating switch or a pull out fuse holder. Either of these will lose their temper and tension if overheated by poor contact.
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