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Electrical Switchboard

May 05, 2017 | Helpful Tips, Electrical Safety Tips, Electrical Services

What is a  electrical switchboard? 

Electrical power systems work as power is sent from the utility provider which then in line moves through an electric switchboard. That switchboards then relays the electricity throughout a number of circuits. The power is then moved to feeders and then distributed to locations throughout the reach of the power grid.

An electric switchboard is an electrical device that distributes electricity from one electrical source to another electrical source. It is a major component used in power distribution process. It is made up of several electric panels. Each electric panel contains switches that redirect electricity. An electrical switchboard is a single large panel or can be a combination of electrical panels on which switches and other power control equipment are mounted. The main purpose of the board is to control the flow of power. It divides the main current supplied to it into several smaller chunks and distributes it to the devices. In precise, switchboards supply power to transformers, panels, and other equipment and from there power further gets distributed.

An electrical switchboard gets power supply from a power generator or any other major power source. The operator working on controlling a board must be protected from electrocution. This is provided by fuses and switches mounted on the board. The amount of power received by switchboards must be equal to the amount of power distributed by them. There are controls which monitor this power distribution process. There are several load sharing controls, plus gauges mounted on the board to control power supply.

What some types of switchboards?

There are several types of electric switchboards based on current rating, construction type, interrupt rating, operating type, voltage type, insulation medium, and others. Inner part of the board contains several busbars, strips of aluminum and copper to which switches are connected. The main purpose of electric switchboards is to supply power to each and every single recipient electrical device. The amount of current should depend on the amount of power used by the device to function properly. The electrical board receives power from a major power source like generator and then gets distributed to each of the electrical devices or appliances used by the consumer.

Where is a switchboard located? 

Your switchboard and power meter might not be in the same place - because your electricity meter needs to be in a position where meter readers (people employed to read meters) can get at them, the power meter is likely to be at the front of your house even if your switchboard isn't. On rare occasions - like in apartment buildings with limited public access - your switchboard and power meter might be combined, although in that case there will be sub-distribution boards in the individual apartments.

If your switchboard isn't located at the front of your house near your power meter, it may be in a small cabinet in a hallway or cupboard somewhere.

How much does it approximately cost to replace a switchboard? 

There's more to replacing a switchboard than just taking the old switchboard off and installing a new one. By law, when an electrician replaces a switchboard or modifies your system in any way, they must also bring the home's entire system up to Australian Standard AS3000. To do that, testing and perhaps other modifications will be required. Because of this, quotes for replacing a switchboard can vary dramatically in price. For example:

Replacing a switchboard and fuse box alone might cost $700-$800.

If other cabling, circuits, and/or 3 phase power are needed, the bill might be $2000 to $3000.

If your house needs rewiring, expect to pay well over $5,000.

These prices are approimate due to may factor contributing to the replacement of a switchboard. 

When do I need to replace my switchboard and how do I know it needs replacing? 

Your switchboard is the ‘control panel’ of your home’s electrical wiring. If your switchboard is getting on in years, you need to consider upgrading it for the following important reasons:

• Short-circuits – older switchboard have a greater propensity to short-circuit, meaning that there is a risk of the fuses catching fire, or risk of electric shocks. If your current switchboard still uses replaceable wires on the fuses, it is a safety hazard and needs to be replaced.

• Insufficient power supply – our homes nowadays rely on many more appliances to run than they did in our parents’ day. With a reliance on computers, air conditioners, home theatres, microwave ovens, fitness equipment, pool pumps, stereos and more, it is essential that the switchboard is able to handle the amount of electricity required by the household. Indications of an insufficient power supply are: power tripping, flickering lights.

• Safety Switch – this gives you the ability to cut down or restore power when necessary, a feature not present on older switchboards. An electrical safety switch is a crucial feature of modern switchboards.

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