• 30/ 09, 2019

Ever wondered what keeps the electricity going in your entire building? The working principle of an electrical distribution board is a fascinating one. It houses all the contact breakers, earth leakage units, doorbells and timers. In other words, it ensures that electrical supply is distributed in the building. The entire supply of electrical power comes from the network to the building via the main feeding cable. This cable transports electrical power from the electrical network to the building which is all connected via an electrical distribution board.

Most distribution boards are versatile in nature. They can be purchased as empty enclosures, a ready-to-use wired standard unit or something specially manufactured based on the user’s electrical requirement. The best part about an electrical distribution board is that you can have it for separate parts of your building, as long as each board is controlled by a switch disconnector. For instance, the swimming pool area could have a different distribution board, while the irrigation facility at your farmhouse could function on another distribution board.

The structural and technical aspects of an electrical distribution board vary, depending on the country and the electrical requirements. A typical electrical distribution board includes the following components – bus bar, fuse links, switches, bypass equipment and residual current detector (RSD). In today’s world, safety is of the utmost importance when it comes to working with wires and cables at home. Distribution boards must ensure the following:

  • The fuse shouldn’t allow overcurrent through the circuitry.
  • It should have sufficient space for other wires, fixtures and cables, in addition to it being easy to install as long as it is not close to any water splashes.
  • It shouldn’t be susceptible to corrosion and should be kept away from fire, particularly in spaces where food is cooked. Follow foolproof ways to ensure that your wiring and cables are of the best quality.
Types of electrical distribution boards:

Based on the application and requirements, here are some distribution boards (aka electrical panel boards) that one can choose:

Fuse Boxes:

A fuse box refers to a consumer unit where all the electricity is controlled and distributed. It’s important to know where it is located in your home because, in the event of an emergency, it is vital to find your fuse box with ease and turn it off to avoid a catastrophe. They contain three components – main switch, circuit breakers and residual current device.

Main Breaker Panel:

A commonly used distribution board, main breaker panels protect the circuits and keep an eye on the panel’s amperage capacity. They protect the circuits from getting overheated, with a breaker connected by 3 wires along each circuit. Incidentally, given its function, the main breaker panel can cut power to the house including the circuit breakers.

Main Lug Panel:

Main lug units are essentially used as a distribution board when there appears to be the main breaker upstream. Line wires run into these lugs, wherein the main lug panel can be used as a sub-panel when it is connected to a breaker from the main panel. In the event of an emergency, the disconnection at the meter can cut power without it entering the house.


Subpanels are easy to install, safer and efficient for homes. They are smaller and help in distributing power to a specific part of your home or area in the property, focusing as a satellite circuit breaker panel specifically convenient to the area it functions for. They get their power from the main panel and are free to adjust the current distribution around the area or property. They, however, do not have disconnects.

Transfer Switches:

A transfer switch shifts load between two electrical sources. Often described as a type of subpanel, transfer switches are best for backup power generators wherein they convert generator power to electrical power via the breaker panel. The idea is to have the best quality switchboard connection that ensures a seamless supply of power and guarantees safety. There are essentially two types of transfer switches – Manual Transfer Switches and Automatic Transfer Switches. Manual, like its name suggests, works when one operates the switch to generate the electrical load to the backup power. Automatic, on the other hand, is for when the utility source fails and the generator is used to provide electrical power temporarily. Automatic is considered more seamless and easy to use, with most homes opting for this convenient distribution board.

It is important to understand the different purposes of the distribution board. Bearing industrial uses in mind, different boards are suggested based on electricity and power usage and usage of cost-efficiency products. Here are some of the types of distribution boards used in industries:

  • Motor Control Centers (MCCs)
  • User-Friendly Human Machine Interface (HMI)
  • Operator Panels
  • Industrial Hydraulic Control Panels
  • Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) Panels
  • Industrial Hydraulic Control Panels
Important points to note about electrical distribution boards:

Invest in the necessary components: It should be understood that in addition to the cables and circuits, an electrical distribution board warrants a fuse link, a bus bar, a residual current detector and bypass equipment. For protection against shock or fire, the residual current detector is required.

Customise your electrical distribution board requirement:

It is possible that your distribution board could be similar to the residential building next to yours. However, let an expert study and decide what your building requires before you zero in on something that could be detrimental to your electrical board. Follow the local regulations and understand your building’s load requirements.

Never underestimate an electrical distribution board:

While you might assume that the purpose of an electrical distribution board is to merely distribute the electricity around your building, it should be taken into consideration that its main purpose is to keep the building and its people safe. While installing an electrical distribution board, ensure that it complies all the safety precautions and that it is accident-free. As they say, a stitch in time saves nine so ensure that what you install goes beyond its mere functions.

Install it in the right place:

One of the most important factors for installing an electrical distribution board is that it should be conveniently located, a place that is dry and easy to access. While for aesthetic reasons they might be put in a box in a corner, but ensure that the area isn’t prone to fire accidents. Always have the necessary documents and instructions manual on the side in the event of an emergency. You can come up with innovative ways to conceal your switchboard and circuit breakers, too. With a range of classy designs and finish, make your distribution board stand out and blend in with your house’s aesthetics. For high quality and safe options, visit Finolex – everybody’s favourite electrical professionals!

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