Jumper Wires

by Kevin C. Carpenter, CBET

This is a simple topic, and you may be wondering what of importance could be said of it. A wise, old radiology repairman taught me this trick, and it is time I shared it with the rest of you.

Purchase an assortment of jumper wires with alligator clips on each end. Also, purchase miniature circuit breakers of the following amperages: 1/2A, 1A, 3A, 5A, 10A, and 15A. Cut each jumper wire in half and solder a circuit breaker between the two ends. While it costs a few dollars to construct these “fused” jumper wires, they are very helpful when troubleshooting a device that repeatedly blows fuses. Substitute the appropriate circuit breaker jumper for the blown fuse and troubleshoot.

Keep in mind that circuit breakers “open” (react) much slower than fast-blow fuses. Therefore, substituting a circuit breaker for a fast-blow fuse may not protect the equipment adequately. These circuit breaker jumpers are best-suited to applications which normally use slow-blow fuses. Once the repair is completed, replace the circuit breaker jumper with the appropriate fuse.

These handy tools are also useful as “safety” jumper wires. When troubleshooting, it is occasionally necessary to jumper two points of a circuit together. If the wrong two points are connected, the circuit breaker may open before the circuit is damaged. When used as a “safety” jumper, the circuit breaker should have a low current rating.

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This page was published on 9/18/98