So What Is an ‘RCBO’?

So What Is an ‘RCBO’?

RCBO stands for Residual Current Breaker with Overcurrent. An RCBO is actually a composite unit of two separate electrical devices, and so to understand what one is and what its purpose is, it is necessary to first look at the two devices that have spawned its development.

Residual Current Devices

A Residual Current Device (RCD) is an electrical component which detects imbalances in the electrical current of a circuit and then immediately disconnects the electricity supply to the circuit. RCD’s are designed to protect against accidental electrocution when a person touches the live wire of an active electrical circuit. They work by detecting any variation between the live and neutral conductors. If a variance is detected then the electrical contacts are quickly forced apart and the circuit is broken. This process takes place within a matter of milliseconds, stopping the flow of current before it can do any serious damage.

Miniature Circuit Breakers

A Miniature Circuit Breaker (MCB) on the other hand is designed to protect appliances and larger electrical circuits from overloads or short circuits. Operating on a similar basis to an RCD, the MCB detects faults in the power flowing through a particular circuit, and upon doing so separates the electrical contacts, breaking the circuit, and thus preventing damage to the device or appliance.

An RCBO combines both of these devices into a single unit. It is designed to interrupt the electrical circuit in the event of a current imbalance caused by an individual touching the live wire, and also if an overload or short circuit is detected.

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RCBO’s- a single module solution

An RCBO is an effective means of protecting against both overloads and earth leaks, while only using a single unit. This can be particularly useful when space is limited. Depending on the specific application they are being used for, it may be more cost-effective to use individual Residual Current Devices and Miniature Circuit Breakers together. If in doubt, its best to consult a qualified and knowledgeable electrician.

Newlec Single Pole RCBO’s are available for a range of power ratings, and are a practical and economical solution for a range of wiring and circuitry needs. For ease of installation, the unit features raised mounting feet designed for uneven surfaces. The Wylex NSBS Type C Single Pole RCBO also provides a single module solution for circuitry protection.

The Type C DPN Schneider RCBO meanwhile features two pole switching of phase and neutral, and is suitable for providing protection against both overloads and short circuits for domestic, commercial and industrial purposes.

An RCBO can be used to protect both people and equipment in a cost effective way. RCBO’s are suitable for a range of applications in the home and in commercial and public buildings. They provide a vital failsafe system for electrical circuits, and peace of mind for the user.