By Erik Watkins

What Is A Shunt Trip Breaker & How Does It Works?

Last updated: Jan 5, 2023
What Is A Shunt Trip Breaker

Have you ever heard about this kind of breaker? And “what a shunt trip breaker is” usually appears when you hear about this for the first time.

Keep this article to get the best answer to the question above, its primary use, and when it is required.

What Is A Shunt Trip Circuit Breaker?

A circuit breaker “trips” once it detects a problem, cutting off power to the outlet or appliance in question and protecting the wire from burning.

An optional attachment to any circuit breaker, a shunt trip breaker allows for the breaker to be shut off remotely at any moment or immediately in the event of a power excess. Damage to or injury from equipment may be avoided in a crisis if this is in place.

There are two distinct categories for shunt trip breakers, automatic and manual. The breaker may be turned off from the exterior of the building through a remote button using manual switches. Conversely, mechanical switches interrupt power flow when they identify a surge coming from the grid.

How Does A Shunt Trip Breaker Work?

How Does A Shunt Trip Breaker Work

Electrical impulses often pass through your circuit breaker without being altered. Nevertheless, if these currents reach unsafe levels, an additional surge of energy will charge a magnet located just below the primary breaker switch. This will cause the switch to trip, resulting in the power being cut off.

Adding a shunt trip breaker provides an additional method to charge the magnets and trip the switches, which makes it possible to turn off the electricity remotely or automatically.

Some of the shunt trips are powered by an external source. When a power surge occurs at this source, a notification is delivered from the shunt trip towards the breaker, which causes the breaker to stop the power automatically.

Connecting to a remote switch that is situated outside the building may also be accomplished with the help of a shunt trip. The current is cut off when the user clicks a button on that switch, which causes an electrical surge to be sent via the shunt trip circuit.

Even though shunt trip breakers are optional in residences, many people put them there out of caution. But, these devices are also often used in businesses that use expensive industrial machinery or electronic wiring that are susceptible to being destroyed in the event of a power surge.

Why Are Shunt Trip Breakers Important?

In an unexpected power outage, you may give yourself an additional level of peace of mind by installing a shunt trip breaker in your house. Because of this, you will not risk injuring yourself or creating any electrical harm.

If there is a fire, one of the most common uses for shunt trips is to switch off any electrical equipment that could be present. For example, when a shunt trip is connected to a fire detection system, the power may be immediately turned off once the smoke detector senses a fire. This allows for eliminating any potential electrical hazards that the fire may cause.

If your smoke detector is connected to your home’s sprinkler system, installing a shunt trip is essential. This device might turn off your power as quickly as the smoke detector triggers the sprinkler, reducing the real damage to your electronic devices.

Where Do People Most Often Use Shunt Trip Breakers?

Shunt trips reduce power through additional sensors, not simply heat activation. For a household electrical system, this circuit breaker attachment is optional.

However, it’s advised for safety. Industrial equipment makes this particularly true. It may also shut off your main breaker manually in an emergency.

Before beginning the implementation of a shunt trip, take into consideration the associated costs and the system. It is possible that the breaker panel and the circuit breakers will need to be replaced if shunt trips are not supported. It’s also possible that a new cable will be required to connect the remote emergency switch to the breaker box.

In most business kitchens, elevators, and offices, shunt trip breakers are an essential safety device. ASME A17.1 is the standard that must be adhered to for elevators and escalators, while ANSI/ASME CSD-1 is the standard that must be attached to commercial kitchens. ASME regulations mandate these controls and safety standards.

Installing A Shunt Trip Accessory to a Breaker

Shunt trip relays can only be installed with breakers and shunts made by the same company. Plus, not all circuit-breaker models can use this part.

Adding a shunt trip connection is easy after establishing that your system is functioning. Watch this video from Schneider Electric for some guidelines:

Each circuit breaker has its instructions, so please follow them carefully. In addition, the make and model of the breaker are relevant.

The most critical step when setting up a sensor is to attach the shunt. If you want to be sure your shunt trip breaker is installed correctly, a shunt trip breaker diagram may be required.

It’s essential to verify the model and manufacturer of your breaker before commencing the installation. The manufacturer in some instances can only install the shunt trip and any other components. If you install your circuit breakers on your own, you might void the warranty. If you want to make alterations, you need either consult the manual or an electrician.


Here are some questions and answers related to the shunt trip breaker:

Does Shunt Trip Breaker Work?

Shunt trip breakers serve a vital purpose in the electrical system as a whole by providing an extra layer of protection for the circuits they are part of. In addition, they cut off electricity in times of crisis to avoid harm and damage to equipment.

What Are 3 Types Of Shunt Trip Breakers?

  • Standard breakers 
  • Around fault circuit interrupter circuit breakers (GFCIs)
  • Arc fault circuit interrupter circuit breakers 

They are the three fundamental circuit breaker types (AFCIs). And standard breakers include both single-pole and double-pole circuit breakers.

Why Is Shunt Used In MCCB?

Molded case circuit breakers (MCCBs) are often employed in electrical distribution systems to prevent overload and short circuits from damaging electrical components. In reaction to a voltage signal from the outside, the shunt release device, a built-in component of MCCB, releases the mechanism.


You have completely got the answer to what a shunt trip breaker is and understand its function. 

A circuit breaker’s shunt trip is an extra layer of safety that may be installed if desired. It’s meant to link up with another sensor. If the sensor is activated, the breaker will trip immediately. You may also set up a remote switch to turn it on and off.

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Automotive Mechanic at PowerAll

With 7 years experience in management positions leading automotive mechanics at PowerAll, Erik Watkins wishes to share useful knowledge and information about automotive mechanical equipment.


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