How Do Electrical Isolators Work?

By Staff WriterLast Updated Apr 13, 2020 7:22:49 PM ET

Electrical isolators work by separating part of the electrical power from a system for safety during maintenance works. This is usually done by an off-load condition.


The work done by electrical isolators is made easier to achieve using an isolator. An isolator is a mechanical switch that is manually operated. Depending on the requirement of a given system, there are different types of isolators. With isolators, one is able to see any open circuit physically as compared to circuit breakers where no physical observation can be made.

Since no technique for arc quenching exists in isolators, the operation of electrical isolators should only be carried out when no possible current is flowing through a circuit. An isolator should not be used to open a completely closed live circuit. Additionally, live circuits should not be completed and closed using an isolator. This is to avoid large amounts of arcing from taking place at the isolator contacts. Hence isolators should only be opened after a circuit breaker is open and should be closed before closing a circuit breaker.

Electrical isolators can be operated using a motorized mechanism as well as by hand. Hand operation happens to be cheaper, compared to a motorized arrangement.