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Working Principle of ELCB and RCB October 1, 2011 7 Comments Working Principle of ELCB and RCB An Eart!

Leakage Circ"it Breaker #ELCB$ is a de%ice "sed to directl& detect c"rrents leaking to eart! from an installation and c"t t!e po'er and mainl& "sed in (( eart!ing s&stems) (!ere are t'o t&pes of ELCBs, 1) *oltage Eart! Leakage Circ"it Breaker #%oltage+ELCB$ 2) C"rrent Eart! Leakage C"rrent Eart! Leakage Circ"it Breaker #C"rrent+ELCB$) *oltage+ELCBs 'ere first introd"ced abo"t si,t& &ears ago and C"rrent+ELCB 'as first introd"ced abo"t fort& &ears ago) -or man& &ears, t!e %oltage operated ELCB and t!e differential c"rrent operated ELCB 'ere bot! referred to as ELCBs beca"se it 'as a simpler name to remember) B"t t!e "se of a common name for t'o different de%ices ga%e rise to considerable conf"sion in t!e electrical ind"str&) .f t!e 'rong t&pe 'as "sed on an installation, t!e le%el of protection gi%en co"ld be s"bstantiall& less t!an t!at intended) (o ignore t!is conf"sion, .EC decided to appl& t!e term Resid"al C"rrent /e%ice #RC/$ to differential c"rrent operated ELCBs) Resid"al c"rrent refers to an& c"rrent o%er and abo%e t!e load c"rrent *oltage Base ELCB) • *oltage+ELCB is a %oltage operated circ"it breaker) (!e de%ice 'ill f"nction '!en t!e C"rrent passes t!ro"g! t!e ELCB) *oltage+ELCB contains rela& Coil '!ic! it being connected to t!e metallic load bod& at one end and it is connected to gro"nd 'ire at t!e ot!er end) .f t!e %oltage of t!e E0"ipment bod& is rise #b& to"c!ing P!ase to metal Part or -ail"re of .ns"lation of E0"ipment$ '!ic! co"ld ca"se t!e difference bet'een eart! and load bod& %oltage, t!e danger of electric s!ock 'ill occ"r) (!is %oltage difference 'ill prod"ce an electric c"rrent from t!e load metallic bod& passes t!e rela& loop and to eart!) W!en %oltage on t!e e0"ipment metallic bod& rose to t!e danger le%el '!ic! e,ceed to 10*olt, t!e flo'ing c"rrent t!ro"g! rela& loop co"ld mo%e t!e rela& contact b& disconnecting t!e s"ppl& c"rrent to a%oid from an& danger electric s!ock) (!e ELCB detects fa"lt c"rrents from li%e to t!e eart! #gro"nd$ 'ire 'it!in t!e installation it protects) .f s"fficient %oltage appears across t!e ELCB2s sense coil, it 'ill s'itc! off t!e po'er, and remain off "ntil man"all& reset) 3 %oltage+sensing ELCB does not sense fa"lt c"rrents from li%e to an& ot!er eart!ed bod&)

since a single eart! stake 'ill ine%itabl& !a%e a m"c! !ig!er impedance t!an !"ndreds of meters of metal ser%ice pipes b"ried in t!e gro"nd) • The way to identify an ELCB is by looking for green or green and yellow earth wires entering the device. (!e& rel& on %oltage ret"rning to t!e trip %ia t!e eart! 'ire d"ring a fa"lt and afford onl& limited protection to t!e installation and no personal protection at all) 7o" s!o"ld "se pl"g in 80m3 RC/2s for an& appliances and e. t!e& 'ill disconnect t!e s"ppl&) 4o'e%er. and disconnected t!e s"ppl& if t!e eart! 'ire %oltage 'as o%er 10 %olts) (!ese de%ices are no longer "sed d"e to its dra'backs like if t!e fa"lt is bet'een li%e and a circ"it eart!. as t!e %oltage on t!e circ"it eart! 'ill not c!ange) E%en if t!e fa"lt is bet'een li%e and a circ"it eart!. parallel eart! pat!s created %ia gas or 'ater pipes can res"lt in t!e ELCB being b&passed) 6ost of t!e fa"lt c"rrent 'ill flo' %ia t!e gas or 'ater pipes.• • (!ese ELCBs monitored t!e %oltage on t!e eart! 'ire. t!e& 'ill 5O( disconnect. if t!e fa"lt is bet'een li%e and some ot!er eart! #s"c! as a person or a metal 'ater pipe$.tension leads t!at ma& be "sed o"tside as a minim"m) Advantages .

t!is is not al'a&s t!e case. again tripping t!e ELCB) . beca"se eart!ing s&stems are "s"all& "se common eart! Rod) (!e& ma& be tripped b& e. presenting t!e ELCB sense coil 'it! eno"g! %oltage to ca"se it to trip) .f t!e installation2s eart! rod is placed close to t!e eart! rod of a neig!boring b"ilding. a (5+9 eart! or a (5+C+9 combined ne"tral and eart!) 3s electricall& leak& appliances s"c! as some 'ater !eaters.f eit!er of t!e eart! 'ires become disconnected from t!e ELCB. 'as!ing mac!ines and cookers ma& ca"se t!e ELCB to trip) ELCBs introd"ce additional resistance and an additional point of fail"re into t!e eart!ing s&stem) Can 'e ass"me '!et!er O"r Electrical 9&stem is protected against Eart! Protection or not b& onl& Pressing ELCB (est 9'itc!: • C!ecking t!e !ealt! of t!e ELCB is simple and &o" can do it easil& b& pressing (E9( P"s! B"tton 9'itc! of ELCB) (!e test p"s!+b"tton 'ill test '!et!er t!e ELCB "nit is 'orking properl& or not) Can 'e ass"me t!at .ternal %oltages from somet!ing connected to t!e eart!ing s&stem s"c! as metal pipes.f ELCB is (rip after Pressing (E9( 9'itc! of ELCB t!an &o"r s&stem is protected against eart! protection: (!en &o" are 'rong) . a nearb& !ig! c"rrent lig!tning strike 'ill ca"se a %oltage gradient in t!e soil.f t!ere is an acc"m"lated or b"rden of c"rrents ca"sed b& items 'it! lo'ered ins"lation resistance d"e to older e0"ipment. and t!e possibilit& t!at an& additional connection to eart! on t!e protected s&stem can disable t!e detector) 5"isance tripping especiall& d"ring t!"nderstorms) isadvantages! • • • • • (!e& do not detect fa"lts t!at don2t pass c"rrent t!ro"g! t!e CPC to t!e eart! rod) (!e& do not allo' a single b"ilding s&stem to be easil& split into m"ltiple sections 'it! independent fa"lt protection. b"t ELCBs are on a%erage m"c! older t!an RCB so an old ELCB is more likel& to !a%e some "ncommon fa"lt c"rrent 'a%eform t!at it 'ill not respond to) *oltage+operated ELCB are t!e re0"irement for a second connection. a !ig! eart! leakage c"rrent in t!e ot!er b"ilding can raise t!e local gro"nd potential and ca"se a %oltage difference across t!e t'o eart!s. it 'ill no longer trip or t!e installation 'ill often no longer be properl& eart!ed) 9ome ELCBs do not respond to rectified fa"lt c"rrent) (!is iss"e is common for ELCBs and RC/s.• • • • • • • • • ELCBs !a%e one ad%antage o%er RC/s t!e& are less sensiti%e to fa"lt conditions. or 'it! !eating elements. or rain conditions can ca"se t!e ins"lation resistance to lo'er d"e to moist"re tracking) .f t!ere is a some m3 '!ic! is e0"al to ELCB rating t!an ELCB ma& gi%e n"isance (ripping) . t!"s t!ere are sit"ations in '!ic! an ELCB can n"isance trip) W!en an installation !as t'o connections to eart!. and t!erefore !a%e fe'er n"isance trips) W!ile %oltage and c"rrent on t!e eart! line is "s"all& fa"lt c"rrent from a li%e 'ire.

e Eart! Resistance) C"rrent#operated ELCB $RCB%! • C"rrent+operated ELCBs are generall& kno'n as Resid"al+c"rrent de%ices #RC/$) (!ese also protect against eart! leakage) Bot! circ"it cond"ctors #s"ppl& and ret"rn$ are r"n t!ro"g! a sensing coil< an& imbalance of t!e c"rrents means t!e magnetic field does not perfectl& cancel) (!e de%ice detects t!e imbalance and trips t!e contact) W!en t!e term ELCB is "sed it "s"all& means a %oltage+operated de%ice) 9imilar de%ices t!at are c"rrent operated are called resid"al+c"rrent de%ices) 4o'e%er.t is a reall& sad fact t!at all t!e '!ile t!is mis"nderstanding !as left man& !omes totall& "nprotected from t!e risk of electric s!ocks) (!is brings "s or alarming "s to t!ink o%er second basic re0"irement for eart! protection) (!e second re0"irement for t!e proper operation of a !ome s!ock protection s&stem is electrical gro"nding) We can ass"me t!at t!e ELCB is t!e brain for the shock protection. t!is gro"nding s!o"ld preferabl& be inspected reg"larl& at s!orter inter%als b& t!e !omeo'ner and need to po"r Water in Eart!ing Pit at Reg"lar inter%al of (ime to minimi. 'it!o"t a f"nctional gro"nding #Proper Eart!ing of Electrical 9&stem$ t!ere is totall& no protection against electrical s!ocks in &o"r !o"se e%en if 7o" !a%e installed ELCB and its (E9( s'itc! s!o' proper res"lt) Looking after t!e ELCB alone is not eno"g!) (!e electrical Eart!ing s&stem m"st also be in good 'orking order for t!e s!ock protection s&stem to 'ork) .n addition to ro"tine inspections t!at s!o"ld be done b& t!e 0"alified electrician.• • • (!e test facilit& pro%ided on t!e !ome ELCB 'ill onl& confirm t!e !ealt! of t!e ELCB "nit. and t!e gro"nding as t!e backbone) (!erefore.ard does occ"r) . some companies "se t!e term ELCB to disting"is! !ig! sensiti%it& c"rrent operated 8 p!ase de%ices t!at trip in t!e milliamp range from traditional 8 p!ase gro"nd fa"lt de%ices t!at operate at m"c! !ig!er c"rrents) • • Typical RCB circ"it . b"t t!at test does not confirm t!at t!e ELCB 'ill trip '!en an electric s!ock !a.

es$ bet'een t!e p!ase and t!e ne"tral coils& it is called the resid"al c"rrent devise.• • • • • (!e s"ppl& coil. #t!e res"lting fl".pressed as t!e rated resid"al operating c"rrent. bot! t!e p!ase and ne"tral connection is isolated) o RC/ sensiti%it& is e. is no longer . inside t!e transformer core is not balanced an&more) (!e total s"m of t!e opposing magnetic fl". t!e assembled s&stem is called resid"al c"rrent circ"it breaker #RCCB$ or resid"al c"rrent de%ise #RC/$) (!e incoming c"rrent !as to pass t!ro"g! t!e circ"it breaker first before going to t!e p!ase coil) (!e ret"rn ne"tral pat! passes t!ro"g! t!e second circ"it breaker pole) /"ring tripping '!en a fa"lt is detected.n a sit"ation '!en t!ere is fa"lt or a leakage to eart! in t!e load circ"it. is '!at 'e call a resid"al fl". t!e ne"tral coil and t!e searc! coil all 'o"nd on a common transformer core) On a !ealt!& circ"it t!e same c"rrent passes t!ro"g! t!e p!ase coil.) Wit! t!e same c"rrent passing t!ro"g! bot! coils. t!"s making it possible to di%ide RC/s into t!ree gro"ps according to t!eir .ero) (!is net remaining fl".t is t!is c"rrent t!at operates t!e trip coil of t!e circ"it breaker) 9ince t!e trip c"rrent is dri%en b& t!e resid"al magnetic fl". or an&'!ere bet'een t!e load circ"it and t!e o"tp"t connection of t!e RCB circ"it.) (!e periodicall& c!anging resid"al fl". Wit! a circ"it breaker incorporated as part of t!e circ"it.=n %al"e) o 4ig! sensiti%it& #)*$ >+ 10+ 80 m3 #for direct+contact ? life in@"r& protection$ . t!e net effect bet'een bot! fl". t!eir magnetic effect 'ill cancel o"t "nder a !ealt!& circ"it condition) .. inside t!e transformer core crosses pat! 'it! t!e 'inding of t!e searc! coil) (!is action prod"ces an electromoti%e force #e)m)f)$ across t!e searc! coil) 3n electromoti%e force is act"all& an alternating %oltage) (!e ind"ced %oltage across t!e searc! coil prod"ces a c"rrent inside t!e 'iring of t!e trip circ"it) . noted '(n) Preferred %al"es !a%e been defined b& t!e . t!e c"rrent ret"rning t!ro"g! t!e ne"tral coil !as been red"ced) (!en t!e magnetic fl". t!e load and ret"rn back t!ro"g! t!e ne"tral coil) Bot! t!e p!ase and t!e ne"tral coils are 'o"nd in s"c! a 'a& t!at t!e& 'ill prod"ce an opposing magnetic fl".EC.

. . p"lse bridge connection o t'o p"lse bridge connection line+to+line 'it! or 'it!o"t p!ase+angle monitoring. . independent of t!e polarit&) (&pe B RC/ for '!ic! tripping is ens"red • • • • • as for t&pe 3 for resid"al sin"soidal c"rrents "p to 1000 4. and 10 ms for 1. 200 ms for 2.=n 6a. .=n .=n.e of RCB! 1. 110 ms for 2. .o o 9tandard . for resid"al sin"soidal c"rrents s"perposed b& a p"re direct c"rrent for p"lsating direct c"rrents s"perposed b& a p"re direct c"rrent for resid"al c"rrents '!ic! ma& res"lt from rectif&ing circ"its o t!ree p"lse star connection or si. . . and B0 ms for 1. 'it! or 'it!o"t p!ase+angle control.=n. independentl& of t!e polarit& o (!ere are t'o gro"ps of de%ices Break ti. and 110 ms for 1.=n.=n. .=n. .#general "se$ for instantaneo"s RC/s #i)e) 'it!o"t a time dela&$ • • 6inim"m break time immediate 6a.=n 1.im"m break time 200 ms for 1.=n. * #selecti%e$ or T #time dela&ed$ for RC/s 'it! a s!ort time delay #t&picall& "sed in circ"its containing s"rge s"ppressors$ • • 6inim"m break time 180 ms for 1.im"m break time 100 ms for 1.EC >0711 #Aeneral re0"irements for resid"al c"rrent operated protecti%e de%ices$ defines t!ree t&pes of RC/ depending on t!e c!aracteristics of t!e fa"lt c"rrent) (&pe AC RC/ for '!ic! tripping is ens"red for resid"al sin"soidal alternating c"rrents *ensitivity of RCB! • • 6edi"m sensiti%it& #+*$ 100+ 800+ 100+ 1000 m3 #for fire protection$ Lo' sensiti%it& #L*$ 8+ 10+ 80 3 #t&picall& for protection of mac!ine$ Type of RCB! (&pe A RC/ for '!ic! tripping is ens"red • • • for resid"al sin"soidal alternating c"rrents for resid"al p"lsating direct c"rrents -or resid"al p"lsating direct c"rrents s"perimposed b& a smoot! direct c"rrent of 0)00> 3. >0 ms for 2. .