How do You Wire an RCBO?

by Richard.E Davies - Date: 2010-11-20 - Word Count: 504 Share This!

A residual circuit breaker (RCB) is an electrical wiring device that disconnects a circuit when the electrical current is not balanced, between the energized conductor and the neutral conductor. This imbalance can be caused by current leakage, through the body of a person who is grounded and accidentally touching the energised part of the circuit.

A lethal shock can be obtained in these conditions. The device disconnects the circuit quickly enough to mitigate the harm caused by such shocks. However they are not intended to provide protection against overload or short circuit conditions.

Residual current and over current protection can be combined in the same device for installation into the service panel. This device is known as a GFCI in the United States, and an RCBO (Residual Circuit Breaker Overload) in Europe. Once the device is purchased, a common problem for customers is how to correctly wire the device into the breaker box.

Please be advised that the description below is generic information of basic wiring for an RCBO. Anyone who does not have a good knowledge of electrical wiring should hire a professional to carry out their installation.

The first step is to open your breaker box and make sure there is sufficient room to install the RCBO. You are going to be using a device, which is plugged where a standard breaker would usually be fitted.

Turn off the breaker to check you have the correct circuit. Once you have the right circuit, turn off the main circuit breaker to the box and disconnect the wire leading from it. There will be only one wire leading from the breaker as it is a twenty amp 110 volt circuit.

The main breaker has by this point already been disconnected, so you will been a torch or flashlight to carry out the next step. Trace the other wires in your cable, one will be bare and the other is white. The lead that connected the breaker should be black. The white wire will be connected to the bus bar. Disconnect the white and black wires and prepare the ends.

As the ends are now clear, is it time to connect the RCBO device. The blue or green wire from the top of the device needs to be connected to the neutral bus bar. The bottom of the device will read L out and N out. The black wire connects to L out and the white wire connects to N out. The bare wire is to stay in its original position.

You can wire the device plugged or wire it before you plug it in. This type of device is fed by the hot bar inside the box, which will make contact with the back of the device when plugged in. You can place the device in the main breaker, or at the control box for the area you are protecting.

Once the device is installed test the neutral and check there is no voltage reading. Cut off the power before wiring it up and testing. You should consult you instruction manual when testing.

Richard E.Davies - Neweys Online offers a range of products from cable management, to lighting peripherals such as emergency lighting, and thorn lighting peripherals, and other items such as fans and a range of other cable and electrical products such as cable trunking and rcbo items from top manufacturers, as well as Newey & Eyre's own brand range - Newlec.n
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