What Is a Switchgear? | The Definitive Guide

What Is a Switchgear | Working of Switchgear | Types of Switchgear

Hello friends, in today’s article we will see what switchgear is. You will find out in this article how it works and how many types it has.


In today’s age, there is a particular need for electricity in the life of humanity, but when it comes to electricity, caution and safety become a matter of utmost importance. Maintaining a level of security becomes crucial for the distribution of electricity.

We use electricity there in various ways such as in industry, in household use, etc. There is a need for switchgear to secure the device in a different area and for wire connection.

With the help of switchgear, electricity can be easily distributed, which helps us in load distribution. The help of switchgear helps in identifying faults and defects in the line and can prevent significant damage caused by electricity.

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What is switchgear?

A switchgear definition is something that can be said in simple terms that can be used to control a power circuit as well as to protect a device. The electrical power system has a fuse and circuit breaker as an electrical disconnect switch. This can be used to control and secure the electrical machine.

The switchgear diagram is shown below.


It is connected directly to the supply system by placing the power transformer in low and high-voltage planes. With the help of this device de-energy for defect cleaning, testing, and maintenance.

This electrical machine plays an essential role in protecting against heavy currents. Not much current can cause a lot of damage to the machine and disrupt the service provided by it. That is why the use of this tool becomes essential to protect devices from damage like transformers, generators, lines, etc.

Features Available Through Switchgear:

The main feature of switchgear is as follows:

  • Can be controlled manually.
  • Works with speed.
  • Absolutely certain discrimination.
  • Absolute reliability.

Working of Switchgear:

One of the main functions of switchgear is to keep a device, such as a fuse, or switch relay circuit breaker, on and off. This allows operating devices such as electrical devices such as generators, distributors, transmission lines, etc. Once a short circuit occurs in the power system, a high current will flow from the device. To prevent this problem, it is used to detect a defect in the power system and to protect the machine or any electrical device from such damage.

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Components of  Switchgear:

Switchgear consists of two main components, one is power conducting and the other is control systems. The component for conducting electricity includes a component such as a fuse circuit breaker lighting arrester.

Which is used as a switch to turn off the electricity. Let’s talk about control if the control system consists of a control panel transformer, a component. Current protective relays and connected circuitry that controls, monitors, and secures power management components.

The Main Functions of a Switchgear:

The main functions of switchgear are as follows:

  • It protects the machine from short circuits and fault currents.
  • This allows the device to be disconnected from the main supply.
  • It can open and close electrical circuits under normal and abnormal conditions.
  • Increases the availability of the system to load more than one source.
  • Under normal circumstances, it works manually to ensure the safety of the operator and the use of proper electrical energy.
  • In abnormal conditions, it works mechanically and if there is a fault in the system it locates it and disconnects it from the mains in the power system.
  • So that it does not suffer any further damage from the power system.

Types of switchgear:

There are 3 main types of switchgear:

Sr. No. Types of switchgear
#1. Low Voltage
#2. Medium Voltage
#3. High voltage

#1. Low Voltage Switchgear (LV):

Low Voltage Switchgear

A power system with a capacity of up to 1 kV is known as LV or Low Voltage. This system mainly includes switches from Low Voltage Circuit breakers, Earth leakage Circuit breakers (ELCB), HRC Fuse, MCB Electrical Isolators, etc.

#2. Medium Voltage Switchgear (MV):

Medium Voltage Switchgear

Power Systems with a capacity of up to 36 kV are known as MV or Medium Voltage. These are available in different types such as metal enclosure without outdoor type, metal-enclosed indoor and outdoor type, etc.

Such equipment is used in substations such as minimum oil circuit breaker bulk oil circuit breaker SF6 gas-insulated, air magnetic, gas-insulated, vacuum, etc. The disintegration medium of this type of circuit breaker can be mainly vacuum, SF, and oil. The main condition of this type of power network is to break the current in the faulty state of this system.

It is capable of being used in ON/OFF operation, short circuit current interruption, capacitive current switching, inductive current switching, and some special applications.

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#3. High Voltage Switchgear (HV):

High Voltage Switchgear

A power system with a capacity of more than 36 kV is known as HV or High Voltage. When the level of voltage is thus increased, arcing is generated during its switching operation. Due to this special attention has to be paid to its design while making such a device. The main component of such a device is High Voltage.

The HV circuit breaker must therefore include some safe and reliable operation features. Operation of High Voltage Circuit Breaker is seen in very small quantities. Usually, this CB stays in state and can be operated after some time. Consequently, this should be reliable to perform certain safe operations when necessary.

Most Commonly Asked Questions:

Most Commonly Asked Questions

What is switchgear used for?

Electrical switchgear refers to a centralized collection of circuit breaker fuses and switches (circuit protection devices). Which works to protect and control electrical equipment. The circuit protection device is mounted in a metal structure.

What is the difference between a switchgear and a circuit breaker?

The switchgear has fuse switches and other power conductors. However, the circuit breaker is a common component found in switchgear. The circuit breaker experiences an anomaly during an electrical fault and will interrupt the power flow, effectively limiting damage to the system.

Is MCB A switchgear?

Examples of low-voltage switchgear include MCB, MCCB, SDF, fuse, relay, contactors, ACB, etc. In other words, both are examples of the switchgear family known as circuit breakers.

How many types of switchgear are there?

There are 3 main types of switchgear:

Sr. No. Types of switchgear
#1. Low Voltage
#2. Medium Voltage
#3. High voltage

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Hey, I am Vishnu Patil and I'm an Electrical Engineer and Electrical maestro. I have more than 10 years of experience with electricals. Through ElectricalGang I want to spread my knowledge with everyone else.

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