At some point a Jeeper decides to install a new gadget or modify an electrical component. Often these electrical items are a CB radio, auxillary lights, or a piece of audio equipment..the list goes on. So many times we see poor wiring techniques it’s amazing there isn’t more failures and fires.
In this section we talk about fuses, fuse blocks, and circuit breakers.
What are fuses and circuit breakers?
Simply put fuses and circuit breakers are electrical safety devices that will cut the circuit if the current exceeds the maximum safe level for the circuit. Fuses and breakers operate differently but the end result is the same.
There are many types of fuses and many configurations. There are essentially two most common type fuses found in automotive applications, glass tube aka Bosch and blade. Blade style fuses are found in most modern vehicles and are easy to change and identify.
Fuses are rated by the amount of current they can tolerate before failure. Using the proper fuse to protect a circuit is critical. Placing a higher rating fuse in a circuit can cause the components in the circuit to fail before the fuse and cause a fire. Matching wire gauge to fuse rating helps to ensure all components function together.
Jeeps can have several fuse locations, often they are inside the Jeep or within the engine compartment. Modern Jeeps have a central fuse block conveniently located and labeled. Several companies make add-on fuse blocks that allow for many added extra circuits. Painless Wiring makes quality blocks that we have used on our Jeeps in the past. See Painless Wiring All-Weather Fuse Block Install
A circuit breaker functions similar to a fuse by breaking the circuit in the case the current exceeds the maximum rating but can be reset when the overload is corrected or removed. A fuse burns out during an overload but a breaker can trip a switch that can be easily reset. Often in vehicles circuit breakers are only used to protect higher current circuits and external panels.