Melbourne Commercial Electricians Logo

(03) 9123 6457

An electrical switchboard is a device that divides the electrical power supply into subsidiary circuits. It usually includes a combination of distribution boards, panel boards, and protective devices like fuses and circuit breakers. 

Experienced electricians in Melbourne know these parts are vital in managing electrical flow while providing overload protection for the different electrical systems.

In this blog, we’ll talk about the role of an electrical switchboard, its main parts, and how to choose the right one for your home.

What is the Role of an Electrical Switchboard?

The role of an electrical switchboard is to distribute electrical power within a building or facility systematically. It functions as a crucial hub for electrical circuits, effectively directing electricity from one or multiple sources to various points of use.

Switchboards play a pivotal role in ensuring that electrical systems operate efficiently and safely by managing the flow of current. They are essential in both residential and commercial settings, as they facilitate the reliable and effective use of electricity throughout the premises.

A switchboard is also vital in protecting against electrical hazards. It includes protective devices like circuit breakers or fuses, which serve to prevent overloads and short circuits. These safety mechanisms are crucial in mitigating the risk of electrical fires or damage to equipment.

Furthermore, in larger or more complex installations, the power board might also incorporate advanced features such as control panels and monitoring systems.

4 Main Parts of an Electrical Switchboard

The 4 main parts of an electrical switchboard are circuit breakers, main switch, busbars, and residual current devices.

Circuit Breakers

Circuit breakers play a crucial role in any electrical switchboard. They function as protective devices, automatically cutting off the current flow when excessive current, indicative of a fault or overload, is detected. Their ability to swiftly interrupt power supply ensures safety, minimising risks of electrical fires and equipment damage.

Main Switch

The main switch is the control hub for the electrical supply within a switchboard. It allows for the complete isolation of electricity to the premises, facilitating safe maintenance or emergency interventions. This switch is fundamental for ensuring control over the entire electrical system.

Busbars

Busbars are integral components, serving as the main conduits for electrical current distribution in a switchboard. These metallic strips or bars ensure the effective distribution of power to various circuits, maintaining efficiency and order within the system.

Residual Current Devices (RCDs)

RCDs, commonly known as safety switches, are designed to prevent electric shock. They monitor the current balance between live and neutral wires, tripping to cut off the electricity if an imbalance is detected. This often indicates current leakage through an earth fault, which can pose a severe risk to personal safety.

Electrical Switchboard

How Can I Choose the Right Switchboard for My Home?

You can choose the right switchboard for your home by considering the following:

  • Assess Power Requirements: Gauge your home’s electricity needs, factoring in all appliances and potential future expansions.
  • Compliance with Standards: Check that your switchboard and fuse box are in line with the Australian Standards (AS/NZS 3000) for electrical installations.
  • Safety Features: Seek out switchboards featuring RCDs and circuit breakers to boost safety.
  • Material Quality: Choose a switchboard constructed from high-quality materials, ensuring longevity and enhanced performance.
  • Room for Future Upgrades: Opt for a switchboard that offers additional space for new circuits, preparing for any electrical upgrades down the line.
  • Expert Guidance: Get advice from a licenced electrician who can provide tailored recommendations based on your home’s unique electrical needs and configuration.
  • Warranty and Support: Pick a switchboard backed by a solid warranty and reliable customer support.

Can I Install a Switchboard On My Own?

No, you can’t install a switchboard on your own. Only a licenced electrician is allowed to perform any sort of electrical installation or maintenance on your property.