fuse box and breaker box

  • Fuses are like plugs with wires stretched between the terminals. The wires break when they overload. You have to unplug the fuse, replace the wire with new fuse wire and plug it back in.

    Breakers are switches that trip when there's an overload. You just have to flick the switch to restore the circuit (but AFTER you've repaired, removed or replaced whatever overloaded the circuit in the first place!)


    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    What's the main difference between fuse box and breaker box? Cause I am thinking maybe mine is also a breaker box.
    Tricky question, because mine is both.
    Installed before the current generation of consumer units were developed, but after the end of the consumer-wired fuse, I have lots of separately-fused circuits with cartridge fuses housed in two consumer units each with its own earth leakage circuit breaker.

    I don't know if this is any help at all.
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    We have another electrifying (actually quite mundane, even boring) AE<>BE distinction.

    U.S. fuses screw in, like a light bulb. The wire, or filament, is entirely enclosed in glass or ceramic, and cannot be replaced. When the fuse "blows", or is overloaded, the filament breaks. The fuse then must be unscrewed and entirely replaced. We also have, in older structures, what panj calls cartridge fuses. To further confuse BE speakers, these are often called 'buss (or, wrongly, bus) fuses'.

    Here are pictures:

    Screw-in fuses

    Buss fuse

    Note: Buss Fuse is a trademark.
    Last edited:


    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Your screw-in fuse has blown a fuse, or else it is simply screwed.
    IE - the link doesn't work (it's tripod again).

    Those of us who are familiar with the non-public-transport variety of bus would understand bus fuses here too.
    I've never seen one quite so big in a domestic installation, though. On the other hand, pictures are often misleading. Are those bus fuse thingies about the length of the thickness of your thumb?


    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    OK - thanks.
    Those are indeed the kind of cartridge fuses I know and ... I know.

    Double-s buss fuse? How very strange, taking into account buss.
    We happily use the single-s bus - bus #3.

    But despite this rather elliptical digression ...

    The main difference between a fuse box and a breaker box is that in a fuse box the electrical main is connected to the house main circuits by fuses; in a breaker box, the electrical main is connected to the house main circuits by circuit breakers.
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