Electric shock, fires and arcing are major electrical hazards. This is where the safety feature of electric panels come into play in residential and commercial buildings. As integral components they protect us against short circuits and electrocutions. But have you ever wondered how these units work?
The brain of your electrical wiring system, electrical panel is a service box connecting the main power line and is responsible for distributing power to the entire building through circuit branch units. Also known as breaker panels, they are made up of several switchgear, circuit breakers and control gear assemblies grouped into one or more enclosures. Individual circuit breakers route electricity to a specific part of your home and may contain a label that identifies the area.
Whether you’re looking to replace/upgrade your electric panels or simply have a basic understanding of how this nifty unit functions, this excerpt is of help to home and business owners.
Functioning of electric panels
When power from the utility grid reaches the building’s electric meter, it’s routed through the panel to all areas/rooms. The panels store single pole circuit breakers and double pole breakers deemed important to ensure the safety of your facilities. While single pole breakers can only handle 15-20 amps, double poles regulate up to 200 amps and are paired with larger devices.
Connected to a circuit, breaker switches trip and cut off electricity automatically whenever there is a short circuit in any of the appliances (due to excessive power surge or faulty components). Once this happens, the breaker turns to off position and needs to be manually reset. To prevent undue interference, electrical panels are mostly installed in secluded places in residences, mostly behind doors embedded in a wall. In commercial spaces, the grey boxes can often be found in basements, garages, storage, or utility rooms.
Types of panels:
According to the application, there are several types of electric panels with distinct characteristics used in the industry. The panels are laid with different parts: feeders, circuit breakers, bus bars (grounding, neutral or hot as per use) and transfer switches. We list down 5 types of panels to help you understand the functions of these smart devices.
PCC (Power control center) panel
This is the main electrical panel to control all loads to machines, devices and lights in your home or office. The two-pole circuit breaker inside the box is used to shut off power in case of emergencies or when electrical works are carried out. The panel also houses the ground and neutral bus bars, which act as a safety feature preventing overheating caused by wiring issues or defective appliances.
This panel is used to control all lights of a building or company. This kind of circuit breaker provides overcurrent protection and disconnects lights, appliances and other minor load circuits without difficulty.
MCC (Motor Control Center) panel
A power feeder to all motors of a company, MSS panels consist of circuit breakers, contactors, VFD (Variable Frequency Drive), motor starters, capacitor banks, etc.
This low voltage panel contains electrical components to control various mechanical functions, with some operating with DC voltage. It offers centralized control and protection of equipment in industrial, commercial, and utility installations involving transformers, generators, and power feeder circuits. It comprises relays, PLCs, NO, NC, alarm circuits, buzzer circuit, etc.
An acronym for Plumbing, Heating and Electrical, PHE panels are low-capacity sub-panels connecting small water pumps, heaters, water filters, motors, and other electrical devices. Another type of sub-panel is the hydrant panel where all fire hydrant devices, sprinkler pumps, and jockey pumps are connected.
I hope this article has helped you gain a basic understanding of the functioning of electrical panels and the purpose they serve.
Upgrade your electricals
The right electrical upgrade can significantly improve the value and appearance of any home or business. At Electric Way, a top electrical supplier in Dubai, we supply all types of quality electrical products- panel wiring, switches and sockets and cable accessories in bulk at unbeatable prices.
Our well-trained and certified electricians have all the experience and expertise to complete electrical installations from start to finish, with minimal disturbance to your daily operations. Should you require further information on wide-ranging electricals in Dubai, contact our electricians on +971 4 817 0777