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How to Read MCB Nameplate

MCB (Miniature Circuit Breaker) is very common protection device (Such as fuse)
used in domestic and industrial wiring and application and most of us have tried to
buy MCB. It is very important device, which is to be procured with care.
But when we use to visit shops or take advice of our expert electrician then in most
of time, without any technical consideration they advise for a particular brand. For us,
especially who is not from electrical background, it is very tough to understand
technical points of MCB.
We just see the MCB rating and buy it. It is really a wrong practice. Your electrician
or shopkeeper may be suggesting you the right product but you also should know
about it while purchasing.

You may also read: Rated characteristics of Electrical Contactors

Deciding MCB is very simple. Most of the data is generally printed on a MCB. Only
few local companies hide information and you can easily ignore them. We would like

to tell you about printed information of MCB.


Also read: ELCB, RCB and RCD Circuit Breakers

Model Number.: All reputed manufacturer has a particular code of each
device type. It will be very easy to communicate with seller or manufacturer, if you
quote the model no., in case of any service complaint.
MCB Current and Curve Rating: As shown in example, it is mentioned C20
(and in the below image, it is B25). First letter is showing the characteristics curve.
There are three characteristics curves (In common use) available- B C & D. B
curve indicates that short circuit rating of device is in range of 3-5 times of
standard rated current (Which means, TIME for Trip initiation i.e. the less rating of
the the time will be Fast acting, like for protecting sensitive Electronics devices and
equipment). C curveindicates it to be 5-10 times and D curve indicates it to be
10-20 times. Be very careful while selecting this. On a resistive load (say heater,
normal lighting load) it will B Curve, for inductive load (Like pump, Motors etc.) it
will be C curve and for highly inductive or capacitive load it will be D curve. The
numeral part indicates rating of MCB in Ampere. In the given example it is 20A.
MCB rating is very important and be very precise about it.
Operating Voltage: It is in Volts and is the operational voltage for which
current rating is said. In three phase it is usually 400V or 415 V. For single phase it
is 230V or 240V. Choose as per your application only.


MCB Breaking Capacity: Breaking capacity can be defined as the maximum

level of fault current which can be safely cleared. It is written as in numerals like in
in example it is 10000. It means it 10000A = 10kA. Choose breaking capacity as
per your fault level possible. Since it is the parameter which may increase or
decrease the cost, so it should be properly decided. Breaking capacity should be
higher than the possible fault level. For domestic application where fault level
cannot be calculated easily, it advisable that go for a standard breaking capacity of
10kA which is easily available. Please note that this rating is mentioned as per
testing made on basis of IS 60898. If it is for IEC60947-2 then it need to be
mentioned separately.
Energy Class: MCB normally work on current limiting feature. It means that it
does not allow fault to get its peak and trip before that. But since there is some
time consumed in tripping, fault current will create some energy which will exist in
system. This energy is termed as let through energy. For efficient MCB operation it
should be limited. On basis of amount of energy it is classified in class 1, class 2
and class 3. Here Class 3 is best which allows maximum 1.5L joule/second. This is
being tested as per IS 60898.
Status Indicator: It shows the ON-Off Indication while in operation. Never
buy an MCB which dont have clear status indicator because serious damage may
be occurred with ON-OFF confusion of the device.
Operation Symbol: This is always printed by any good manufacturer. This
shows operation mechanism of MCB.
Additional Relevant Information : Information like Impulse voltage, ISI
marking etc are usually printed on side of MCB. However there are many
parameters on which quality of MCB should be judged but aim of this blog is to
make you aware of printed information on MCB.
Catalog No: Most of the MCB manufactures put the catalog number of the
MCB products. This code provide the overall information on the manufacture
website such as MCB specification and Datasheet ect.

Also read: Wiring of the Distribution Board with RCD.

Below is the typical MCB nameplate rating data which shows the most important
information printed on it.
These are generally:

Product Modal No
Max Current Rating
(6, 10, 16, 20, 25, 32, 40, 60, 63 etc)
Operation Symbol

Breaking Capacity Type

Breaking Capacity (Max Short Circuit Current)

Operating Voltage(230V, 400V, 440V)

Tripping Curve Type

Energy Class

ON-OFF Indication

Catalog No

P.S: Printing of MCB data may be placed as per the convenience of manufacturer.
Model No. of every manufacturers are of different style. No standard definition format
used but translated in easy words for easy understanding. for proper and more
information related to MCB rating nameplate, use the provided Datasheet by the
manufacturer of that MCB(s).