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What Are Electrical Distribution Boards?

What Are Electrical Distribution Boards?

  2022-08-22         sparksdirect         Product News » Consumer Units News

Have you ever wondered what are electrical distribution boards? If so, you're in the right place! In this blog post, we'll define electrical distribution boards and explain how they work. 

We'll also discuss the differences between consumer units and distribution boards. By the end of this post, you'll have a better understanding of what electrical distribution boards are and why they're such an important part of any electrical installation. So let's get started!

What Is An Electrical Distribution Board?

An electrical distribution board is a crucial element of any electricity supply system. Its job is to take an incoming electrical power feed and split it into multiple secondary or subsidiary circuits. A distribution board is more than just a box; it is a complete system with neutral linkages, an earth leakage device, and interconnecting cables, all designed to ensure safe and efficient electrical distribution in your home or building. 

The primary cable enters the distribution board and is then routed to secondary circuits such as lights and plugs through breakers. Most of the time, each of these secondary circuits will be protected by a fuse or breaker. This helps to prevent overloading and circuit damage. 

Consumer Unit Vs Distribution Boards (What's The Difference?)

When it comes to the electrical wiring, there are a few different terms that you might come across. Two of these terms are consumer units and distribution boards. But what exactly is the difference between the two?

The two types of panelboards most often found in buildings in the UK are consumer units and distribution boards. 

You will usually recognise consumer units as metal or plastic enclosures, containing various fuses and breaker switches. These can be used to isolate the incoming mains electricity supply to specific building areas. In this sense, a consumer unit is simply a distribution board that has been approved as a suitable and safe electric panel design for domestic use. 

Hager Domestic consumer units at Sparks - domestic electrical distribution boards

Distribution boards are typically used in industrial settings where there is a higher volume and variety of electrical equipment in use. 

So, what's the difference between these two types of panelboards? Consumer units are designed to easily isolate specific areas in a domestic or residential building, while distribution boards are designed for high volumes of electrical equipment, such as larger flat buildings, factories, workshops, retail, etc. While both types of panelboards are essential for managing electricity in buildings, they serve different purposes. 

If you are looking for a consumer unit for your home we’d recommend seeking the advice of a professional as there are multiple factors they will need to take into account.

Types Of Distribution Boards

Consumer unit distribution boards are primarily divided into three types namely main switch, dual RCD and high integrity consumer units. But how do you know if you need one and which type is best for your needs? These are some of the questions we'll explore in this post as we take a closer look at distribution boards.

1. Main Switch Distribution Board

A main switch consumer unit is a type of consumer unit distribution board that is considered to be one of the safest and most robust protective devices for incoming mains power. 

All circuits are fully separated, and each is independently protected from earth leakage via RCBOs (residual current breaker with overcurrent protection). This makes the main switch consumer unit an ideal choice for those who want the highest level of safety for their home or office.

2. Dual RCD Distribution Board

Hager VML12020 Dual Row 20+20 Way Amendment 3 Metal Consumer Unit 100A Switch Disconnector Incomer with Knockouts Hager Fuseboard

A dual RCD consumer unit is a type of distribution board that offers two Residual Current Device (RCD) breakers. These breakers offer protection against overheating, electrical fires, or accidentally touching a live wire. As the name suggests, a dual RCD consumer unit has two circuit banks which are each protected by one of the RCD breakers. 

This makes the overall unit more protective than other models on the market and thus a more popular choice for many consumers. If you are looking for a reliable and effective way to protect your home from electrical hazards, then a dual RCD consumer unit may be the perfect solution for you.

3. High Integrity Distribution Board

A high integrity consumer unit is a type of consumer unit distribution board that is more common in larger buildings where more sub-circuits branch off from the incoming mains supply. They generally have dual RCD protection with additional RCBOs that can be added based on the specific configuration needed. 

High integrity consumer units help to protect against electrical hazards by tripping the current when it detects a sudden increase or drop. This helps to prevent fires and electrocutions by stopping the flow of electricity before it becomes dangerous. In addition, high-integrity consumer units are often equipped with emergency stop buttons that can be used to shut off power in the event of an emergency. 

Overall, high-integrity consumer units are a vital part of any electrical system in a large building. They provide an extra layer of safety and protection against potential hazards, making them an essential component of any property.

4. Sub Distribution Boards

There are various types of electrical panel boards and sub-distribution boards in widespread use. The best electrical distribution board for you will depend on a number of factors, including compliance with codes and requirements, operating conditions, accessibility, and more.

For example, Type A and Type B distribution boards have different busbar layouts. This can be important when deciding which board to use in a particular setting. Additionally, both of these boards are compatible with different overcurrent protective devices (OCPD). It's important to consider all of these factors when choosing the right board for your needs.

Conclusion

Electrical distribution boards, or consumer units as they are more commonly known, come in all shapes and sizes. The best electrical distribution board for your home will depend on the type of property you have and how much power you need. 

At Sparks Direct, we have a wide range of boards to suit every application, so contact us if you need help finding the right one for your needs.

We also offer a collection of the best electrical boards available on the market today, so you can be sure that your home is safe and protected at all times.