A residual current device, or RCD, is a potentially life-saving device that is programmed to prevent users from getting fatally electrocuted if they mistakenly touch a live wire that has electricity from your Utility Bidder. An RCD can provide a higher level of protection in comparison to circuit breakers and regular fuses. 

What Is The Role Of An RCD?

The RCD is an electrically susceptible device that is capable of switching off the electricity if it detects a fault within the circuit. The main role of the RCD is to safeguard users from the possibility of electrical shock or fire when there is an earth fault in the circuit. This could happen if you accidentally cut an electrical wire while mowing the lawn and become exposed to the live wires. Another example is when an appliance malfunctions and causes an electrical current to flow directly through the appliance to earth. 

The role of RCDs is very important in electrically precarious situations such as near a swimming pool, garden, or bathroom. The RCD will automatically identify when current is travelling through an unintended route, such as a person touching a live wire, and it will switch off the electrical supply to that specific circuit. This limits the risk of serious injury or death due to electrocution to the individual touching the live wire. Let’s look at the different kinds of RCDs.

Fixed RCDs

Fixed RCDs are mounted in the consumer unit, or fusebox, and they can provide assurance for single or groups of circuits. A fixed RCD delivers maximum protection at the highest level of the circuit. A fixed RCD installed in the consumer unit is a means of protection for all of the wires, sockets, and possibly connected appliances on that circuit because it constantly monitors the functioning of all of these electrical devices at once. 

Socket RCDs

A socket-outlet combining a residual current device (SRCD) provides a form of protection from electrical shock only for the circuit that is plugged into the SRCD. This means that only that circuit will be disconnected if there is an earth fault within the circuit. The circuit supplying power to the SRCD will remain unaffected and can continue to supply power to all of the other circuits in the household. The problem is that it does not protect users if there is an earth fault within the SRCD and this means that there will be a fault voltage present. 

Portable RCDs

A portable RCD may have a plug pin segment or it may have a socket-outlet segment and they may have terminals or external flexible cords. Take note, that these RCDs do not form a part of any fixed electrical installation. A portable RCD has a rated voltage of not more than 250 V a.c. single-phase and a maximum rated current of not more than 16 A with a rated residual current of no more than 30 mA. These portable RCDs can protect from electrical shock due to earth failures for outdoor appliances such as a garden tool for trimming hedges, a lawnmower, or an outdoor blower.

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