MCB Trip Curves – B, C, D, K, and Z trip curves

MCB (Miniature circuit breaker) is a re-settable device designed to protect a circuit from short circuits and overcurrents. The trip curve of an MCB (B, C, D, K, and Z curves) tells us about the trip current rating of Miniature Circuit breakers. The trip current rating is the minimum current at which the MCB will trip instantaneously. It is required that the trip current must persist for 0.1s.

Definition

The MCB trip curves, also known as I-t tripping characteristic consist of two sections viz, overload section and short circuit section. Overload section describes the trip time required for various levels of overload currents and the short circuit section describes the instantaneous trip current level of MCB.

Read More: Miniature Circuit Breaker (MCB) – Principle of operation

Class B trip curve

The MCB with class B trip characteristics trips instantaneously when the current flowing through it reaches between 3 to 5 times the rated current. These MCBs are suitable for cable protection.

Class C trip curve

MCB with class C trip characteristics trips instantaneously when the current flowing through it reaches between 5 to 10 times the rated current. Suitable Domestic and residential applications and electromagnetic starting loads with medium starting currents.

Class D trip curve

MCB with class D trip characteristics trips instantaneously when the current flowing through it reaches between Above 10(excluding 10) to 20 times the rated current. Suitable for inductive and motor loads with high starting currents.

Class K trip curve

MCB with class K trip characteristics trips instantaneously when the current flowing through it reaches between 8 to 12 times the rated current. Suitable for inductive and motor loads with high inrush currents.

Class Z trip curve

MCB with class Z trip characteristics trips instantaneously when the current flowing through it reaches between 2 to 3 times the rated current. These types of MCBs are highly sensitive to short circuits and are used for the protection of highly sensitive devices such as semiconductor devices.

MCB Trip Curves

Class A trip curve

MCB with class A trip characteristics trips instantaneously when the current flowing through it reaches between 2 to 3 times the rated current. Like Class Z MCBs, these are also highly sensitive to short circuits and are used for the protection of semiconductor devices.

MCBs with trip curve class B and trip curve class C is the most commonly used ones. MCBs with Class C trip curves can be found in the lighting power distribution boards in residential and commercial buildings. It trips as soon as the current rises between 5 to 10 times its rated current. Class B MCBs are used in the protection of electronic devices such as PLC, DC power supplies, etc. in control panels. It trips as soon as the current rises between 3 to 5 times its rated current.

In some applications, frequent current peaks occur for a very short period (100ms to 2s). For such applications, class Z-type MCBs shall be used. Class Z-type MCBs are used in circuits with semiconductor devices.

Importance of MCB trip curve types

It is important to choose an appropriate MCB current rating and trip curve in order to safeguard the circuit from damage during faults. Hence it is necessary to calculate the short circuit current and inrush current before choosing an appropriate MCB rating. If the chosen MCB rating is much higher than required, then it may not trip in the event of a fault. Similarly, if the MCB is underrated, then it may cause nuisance trips, for example even the starting currents or inrush currents may trip the MCB.

External selection tool: https://new.abb.com/low-voltage/solutions/selectivity/tools-support/curves

Trip curves for other circuit breakers

All circuit breakers, such as MCCB, ACB, VCB, etc have their own trip characteristics. The only thing is that may not follow the categorization as that of MCB. Also, the circuit breaker curve types are not the same for all types of circuit breakers. It varies from one circuit breaker type to the other and depends on many design factors.

Learn more about MCB:

Related Articles:
1. Difference between MCB and MCCB
2. Difference between contactors and relays
3. Difference between Soft Starters and VFDs
4. Difference between MCCB and RCCB
5. Difference between MCB and RCBO
6. Difference between RCCB and RCBO
7. Difference between MPCB and MCCB

24 thoughts on “MCB Trip Curves – B, C, D, K, and Z trip curves”

  1. Explanation is good but your second paragraph doesn’t match the charts. It looks like it is the B-curve that trips between 3-5 times its rated current, and C-curve that trips between 5-10 times its rated current.

    Reply
  2. The explanations are very good but in the video is a mistake at minute 0.38. The short circuit sections with the overload section are reversed.

    Reply
  3. On the c type Mcb on the time curves at a short circuit fault current at 220amp it shows dis connection at 6/7seconds are you saying that disconnection will be instant at this current or 6/7 seconds.

    Reply
  4. I use B-curve in my home when short circuit occured in the appliace MCB tripped but my appliance burned. My appliance lead wires were shorted by a metal piece was lying on it.I thought MCB could have protected but not. And I also headed big noise of it.

    Reply
    • Hi Younis,

      Sorry to hear that. This could be because the MCB was oversized: Much higher than the rated current of the appliance or the MCB could be faulty. We suggest you replace it with a new one. Make sure that you are choosing the right one.

      Reply
  5. sir
    Type C is used for average current load. Type B and C are the most commonly used in DBs. Tripping of MCB Type C is 5-10 times higher than normal. 
    eg: if a 6A mcb put in acircuit , the rated current is 6 A , then how ever the type c mcb with stand 5 to 10 times higherr than normal .

    Reply

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