What you need to know about electrical distribution board

The electrical transmission and distribution system in recent years has evolved into something smarter and has been conceptualized as more secure, economical, efficient, resilient and sustainable in the long run.

Also called a distribution box or cabinet, an electrical distribution board is a low-voltage power distribution device that is assembled with switchgear, measuring instruments, protection appliances and auxiliary equipment in a semi a closed metal cabinet.

An electrical distribution board is a system that divides an electrical power feed into subsidiary circuits at the same time providing a protective fuse popularly known as a circuit breaker is a common metal enclosure.

It is an integral part of every electrical installation. As implied by the name, an electrical control board is used to distribute or supply power through circuits to various points in residential or commercial buildings.

Functions of an electrical distribution board

The supply of power coming from the main electrical network goes to a building through one feeding cable. This feeding cable is connected to the electrical power distribution board either from the top part of the panel or bottom to supply electrical power to various points within the building.

Sometimes known as breaker panel boxes, fuse boards, circuit breaker panels, consumer units or CU, they are mostly used for further distribution of power to various sub-circuits.

Electrical control boards according to Mr. Martin Wabwoba, Senior Electrical Engineer at , contain special circuit breakers which splits the amount of electrical power either single or three-phase and distributing it into mini circuit breakers. Each mini-circuit is connected to a particular cable that leads to an individual power outlet.  

Being a comprehensive control box, the power distribution board integrates power distribution, measurement, protection, control, and reactive power compensation. It constitutes a low-voltage distribution box that requires switchgear, measuring instruments, protection appliances and auxiliary assembled in a closed or semi-closed metal cabinet or on a screen. In normal operation, the circuits can be connected or disconnected using manual or automatic switches. This makes it convenient to control and manage in case of electrical fault.

Components of a power distribution board

To ensure an appropriate amount of electrical power flow to your home or industrial appliances, an electrical distribution panel should be composed of three parts namely: main breaker, circuit breaker and bus bars.

Main breaker

These are large double pole circuit breakers that limit the amount of electricity getting into your home or industry from the outside. These breakers ensure that your power usage is controlled as dictated by the appliances being supplied with power. Without proper power control, your appliances and wires may explode leading to a fire eruption in industry or home. Essentially, the main breaker plays a key role in the regulation of electrical power.

Circuit breaker

In a power distribution board, circuit breakers are responsible for the flow of electrical power to your home. According to Mr. Wabwoba, when you switch off one of the circuit breakers, you will have turned off the flow of electricity to the correlating appliance. Circuit breakers are connected to certain appliances in your residential or commercial building. They work on an on and off basis.   

Bus bars

The bus bar in an electrical panel is responsible for the transfer of power from the electrical meter to the circuit. Composed of two thick wires, usually black, they receive power from the main meter and ensure transfer to prospective circuits. Bus bars are two: neutral bus bars and grounding bus bars.

Neutral bus bars connect to the main circuit wire and are used for providing a point of contact with wires to return electricity to the distribution board as soon as the power is sent to the appliance.

Grounding bus bars are used for taking all grounding wires from the breaker panels and connecting them to the ground bar. They are also connected to the grounding conductor.

According to Wabwoba, power distribution boards should be powder coated to give an admirable appeal and for durability purposes. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *