Your Guide to Choosing the Best Consumer Unit

As you may already be aware, here at Expert Electrical, we have a panel of experts who are ready and willing to take your call and answer any and all questions you may have. This is one of our promises to our customers, and we are glad to say that we have been able to fulfill and keep this promise for years.

One of the aspects that we like to prioritise is answering our customers’ questions about certain products and their usefulness – such as consumer units as well as RCDs, circuit breakers, and RCBOs. If you have questions or concerns about the above-mentioned products, we’re here to give you the answers you need.

The basics on consumer units

 Consumer Unit

Almost every property which has an electric supply – which is most modern properties today – will have a consumer unit in order to distribute the proper amount of electricity to the different circuits in the property. A consumer unit has a number of important purposes, but one of its most essential purposes is to enable the use of a variety of circuits which can also be protected individually by a circuit breaker.

For instance, your property can have a separate electricity supply for the upstairs area and the downstairs area, and your property can even have a separate electricity supply for the outdoors or for its exteriors. This is where the importance of a consumer unit comes in, because it allows different circuits to be used for these electricity supplies.

The consumer unit is basically the centre point for your electricity supply – it supplies the essential wiring system for whatever electrical sources you may have in your property, building, or household, which normally includes lighting, plugs and sockets, and so on.

The modern use of consumer units

When they first came out, consumer units originally housed electrical fuses and were also known by the name ‘fuse boards.’ But today, things are a bit different in that miniature circuit breakers (also referred to as MCBs) have significantly replaced the original fuses. So if there is ever an electrical overload, the miniature circuit breaker (MCB) can be easily reset by you or anyone with a simple flick of the switch. A fuse, however, would have to be replaced (it should be taken out first, of course) by a professional, and the professional should also be in charge of rewiring it. In certain cases, this can cost a bit of expense. But MCBs and circuit breakers fulfill an important purpose, particularly when it comes to protecting your property or household from fires and other accidents.

Modern Consumer Units

Another purpose for a circuit breaker would be for the disconnection of the supply of electricity, which allows you or someone else to safely and easily change or replace a light bulb, replace a switch or plug socket, and more.

Ensuring safety for your property

If you would like your property’s safety to be further enhanced with the proper circuit protection, you can make use of a safety device which you can use for the disconnection of electricity. This is particularly useful if there is an actual imbalance or disparity in the current of electricity.

Property Safety

The safety device we are speaking about is called a residual current device, also known as an RCD. This special safety device can provide you and your property with an extra layer of protection because it has the ability to trip out in a much faster manner compared to the normal or standard circuit breaker. The RCD, or residual current device, not only provides this additional layer of protection – it can also save lives because it is able to disconnect in such a quick way that it prevents humans from suddenly being shocked by electricity. And, with the recent enforcement of regulations, particularly the 17th edition regulation, it is required nowadays for there to be a residual current device or RCD installed in a consumer unit. However, you should also know that rather than using an RCD, you can also make use of an RCBO (a device which is a combination of a miniature circuit breaker and an RCD).

Details on Chint’s consumer units

Chint is one manufacturer which has been specialising in miniature circuit breakers, circuit breakers, and other consumer units for years. The brand has always been preferred by electricians and other electrical experts, and for good reason.

One common and popular consumer unit produced and manufactured by the Chint brand is distinguished by its make-up, since it is made from Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, or ABS. This polymer is known for its flame retardant properties, and it follows that it has a great insulation property when it comes to electricity as well. These properties make it an ideal polymer or material for extra protection.

But whilst ABS is a great choice of material for consumer units, consumer units are still also made from steel. A consumer unit made from steel is usually maximised in industrial locations and properties, or if armoured cable is in use. A steel consumer unit is usually shaped like a box, and it is accompanied by a lid that is of a polycarbonate transparent material. It also comes in a variety of sizes.

More on small units and large units

If you are interested in smaller consumer units, there is one kind that is popular with many customers. One example of a smaller unit for circuit protection is a garage unit, and this comes with a single circuit breaker and a residual current device or RCD. If you are interested in a larger consumer unit, on the other hand, you have the option of choosing double-stacked units (usually comprised of two residual current devices along with a main switch) – and this provides ample circuit protection for as much as 32 electrical circuits. Larger consumer units like these are most appropriate and used more often for industrial settings as well as commercial settings.

The conclusion

At the end of the day, the consumer unit is an altogether crucial component, being the primary electricity distributor in any household or property. It would be a risk and would pose a danger if you only have a single circuit which runs through your household or property without any circuit protection. It’s easy to realise the usefulness and impact of the proper consumer unit that contributes to circuit protection, because it has saved – and continues to save – a good number of lives each year.

How to Correctly Utilize Power Supplies and Transformers

In this day and age, most of the devices and equipment we utilize today are rather sensitive to fluctuations in voltage levels and power cuts. This is especially true in the case of equipment using nanotechnology. It is therefore paramount that one is able to provide the correct kind and amount of power from a reliable power supply source. Finding the right tools for the particular job has been an affair of ages. For example using a 110V power supply for an appliance that has a rating of 230V may have catastrophic results for you, your equipment and your premises, be it your home or business.

Mean Well Power Supplies

Finding the best combination of power supply for your equipment and devices is making it safer and more reliable for yourself. You can easily get the most efficient power supply and transformer from expert electrical, the leading online store in the UK for all your electrical needs. With safety in mind, the products offered are high quality and approved by the respective relevant authorities and adhere to regulation. There is also a very vast choice you can make and the prices are really reasonable.  You may opt to take a Din Rail Power Supply  and choose from a number of Mean Well Power supplies that match up your appliance or equipment wattage and voltage rating. For example, the Mean Well 15W Power Supply 1.25A 12VDC  is a din rail mountable, single output power supply that has inbuilt overload, over voltage and short circuit protection. This is the safety and reliability expected of any top class device.

Mean-Well-DR-15

On the other hand, you may be in need of a reliable transformer instead for you individual problem. Depending on what you want in particular, there is an assortment of transformers all the way from the smaller 50VA 230/415V Input To 12/24/48/110/240V Output all the way to the much more powerful  250VA 230/415V Input To 12/24/48/110/240V Output.

NDK(BK)-300-01

Whatever appliances you like the choice is yours, but you have to get the proper power and voltage that will guarantee your safety and provide reliability. Have a safe day.

CLICK HERE to view our range which includes brands like Mean Well, Omron and Chint.

 

How To Achieve The Best Circuit Protection

RCBOs (residual current circuit breaker with overload protection) incorporate the latest features in safety and comply with the most up to date wiring policies and regulations. They operate on earth fault and current overload situations which means they operate like a combined MCB and RCD at the same time in one single pole device. On top of all that, the device will work perfectly while tripping safely in a real situation or while testing, even if locked in an on or off state.

RCBO

RCBOs can slot into the existing space of an MCB into your consumer unit as they are only one modular width at 18mm wide. They come with ample cabling that is also colour coded for easy installation. They are available in an assortment of tripping varieties that include B or C type both with a tripping sensitivity of 30mA. The breaking capacity is 10kA as standard.

Alternatively for non-consumer unit applications you could opt for a double pole RCBO that has single pole and neutral in two modular spacings making it 36mm wide.

NBH8LE-40

When choosing the right RCBO for your circuit you should always make sure that the current rating of the device is lower than that of the cable used. This allows for faster tripping in case the cable starts overheating, maintaining the cable’s integrity but you should also consider increasing overload protection by installing an additional monitoring relay separately just to be on the safe side.

Expert Electrical will assist in you indeed in your quest for added safety in your next electrical project.

 

 

What is an RCD?

A basic circuit protection setup would consist of a consumer unit, miniature circuit breakers, RCBO’s and residual current devices. In this article I will provide information about the residual current device and explain its uses.

A residual current device or better known as an RCD is a key safety device in the electrical world. An RCD is used primarily to protect a human being from a hazardous electrical shock. If there is a defect with an appliance in the household, the RCD reacts because of the power surge and disconnects the electric current. The RCD is fundamentally designed to respond quickly. The residual current device oversees the electric current and the instant of any abnormal activity the device rapidly reacts.

The Simple fact is that a residual current device prevents many fatalities around the world from electrical shock. It can be classed as a life saver in due respect because of the safety capabilities it provides. Furthermore, the RCD prevents many non-fatal injuries too in the domestic and commercial sector where electricity is involved. Residual current devices are generally installed by qualified electricians who usually pair it with a consumer unit to house the device and connect it to the electrical network.

The appearance of a common RCD is a small switch which you can operate and is located inside a consumer unit or fuse board. It is quite easy to locate a consumer unit in a household. It generally looks like a white box and can be typically located anywhere from underneath the stairs, the garage, a basement or maybe even a kitchen cupboard.

In a case where a light bulb fails in a household the RCD will need to be reset in order for the lighting circuit to work again. The surge of electricity that causes the light bulb to fail will ultimately trip out the RCD. To enable the lighting circuit to work again just flip the switch on the RCD to reset the circuit. Once reset, the lighting circuit should come back on and return to normal.

Overall it is vital to have an RCD in operation located in a household. If there is not one installed there could be a risk of not having full circuit protection for the electrical circuits. Lighting or many other appliances could be at risk of failure if there is one power surge through the electrical current. In order to be protected from these power surges it is highly recommended that this key safety device is installed within the property.

Expert Electrical RCD & Circuit Protection

www.expertelectrical.co.uk/circuit-protection

 

 

 

 

 

 

Information about Consumer Units, RCD’s, RCBO’s and Circuit Breakers

Almost all properties that have an electricity supply will be fitted with a consumer unit to distribute electricity to the circuits. One of the main uses of a consumer unit is that it enables there to be different circuits to be used and individually protected by a circuit breaker. For example there can be a separate supply of electricity for upstairs and downstairs or even outdoors too. The consumer unit is best described as the centre point for supplying the wiring system for all electrical sources located in the household such as plug sockets, lighting etc.

Originally consumer units housed fuses and were called fuse boards. Miniature circuit breakers have now replaced fuses. In the event of an overload a miniature circuit breaker can be reset by anyone, simply by flicking the switch. A fuse would have to be taken out and rewired by a professional which could be costly in some cases. A circuit breaker also can be used to disconnect the electricity supply allowing to safely change a light bulb or replace a plug socket for example.

To ensure safe and more reliable circuit protection, a safety device can be used to disconnect the electricity if there is an imbalance in the electrical current. The device is known as an RCD or residual current device. An RCD provides this extra level of protection as it trips out much quicker than the normal circuit breaker. This device has the capabilities of saving lives as it disconnects so quickly it prevents a human being from being electrically shocked. With the new enforcement of the 17th Edition Regulations there has to be a residual current device installed within the consumer unit. Instead of using an RCD you can also use an RCBO which is a combination of both RCD and a miniature circuit breaker.

A common consumer unit manufactured by Chint is made out of ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene).  ABS is a strong flame retardant polymer and it has great electrical insulation properties which makes it the ideal material. Consumer units can also be produced using other materials such as steel. Steel consumer units are mainly used in industrial premises or when armoured cable is used. The consumer unit is generally box shaped accompanied with a polycarbonate transparent lid and are available in many different sizes.

A typical example of a small sized unit would be a garage unit which has an RCD and one circuit breaker. The RCD would be used as the main incoming device and the circuit breaker as the outgoing device. A larger unit could be anything up to a double stacked unit, which would have two RCD’s and a main switch. This type could provide circuit protection for up to 32 circuits. These larger units are more commonly used commercially or in the industrial sector.

Overall the consumer unit is a vital component and it is the primary distributor of electricity in the household. It simply would be very risky and too dangerous to have one circuit running through the household with no circuit protection. We should be appreciative of the technology that goes into circuit protection because it saves thousands of lives every year.

Thanks for reading

Expert Electrical Supplies

Consumer Unit

 

 

Solar Photovoltaic Panel Blog

Solar Photovoltaic Blog

In current times of energy efficiency and renewable energy being popular. Solar photovoltaic panels are an excellent solution for an eco-friendly energy source. Due to the growing demand for renewable energy sources, the manufacturing of solar cells and photovoltaic design has advanced considerably in recent years hence why it is the world’s fastest growing energy technology.

State of the art and precision solar module manufacturing enables the solar cells to maintain peak power and minimize energy loss to allow maximum energy gains.  IV and EL tests are carried out to guarantee reliability and quality over a number of years.

Chint Solar Photovoltaic panels are very capable of providing a good renewable energy source for a sustained period of time. A Chint Solar Photovoltaic panel paired with an inverter could be used in a variety of applications where electricity is needed.  This could be ideal for remote locations or buildings where electricity mains access is difficult.

Expert Electrical Supplies Ltd offers two main types of photovoltaic panel being monocrystalline for a lower wattage output and polycrystalline for a higher wattage output.  All panels are assembled with high quality, smooth aluminium alloy frame to encapsulate the solar cell module. On request we can provide an array of different sizes of solar photovoltaic panels and inverters to accommodate the selected panel. Please feel free to contact us on: 01706 860011 for further information or to enquire about our range of Chint Solar Photovoltaic Panels and Inverters.

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Chint Solar Photovoltaic Panel