What Is the Difference Between RCD and PRCD?

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What Is the Difference Between RCD and PRCD?

Electricity powers the things we use in our day to day lives and is all around us. It powers our lights, electric stoves, computers, televisions, and even the internet. Electricity is a type of energy that results from charged particles like an electron or proton, and can be accumulated (static), or dynamic (current).

In order for our homes and establishments to be powered and connected to power, electricity must first be at power stations, which are large spinning turbines that generate electricity. These maybe renewable, using water, wind and solar power, or non-renewable, which is the most common, using coal and other fossil fuels. This electric current produced is then sent through a transformer, that can then increase voltage in order to help with the distance that needs to be covered in order to reach a certain place.

This electrical charge is carried by transmission lines that are spread out across long distances. Once it finishes with the transmission lines, it then goes to a substation, where voltage can be lowered as it will then be sent to smaller power lines. This is then sent through distribution lines connected commercially or in private establishments and homes.

Electricity reaches these places and passes through a meter, which is the tool for measuring the amount of electricity used in the establishment. In these establishments, electricity flows and travels through the wires and is then regulated by outlets and switches, which helps power whatever you need!

How electricity flows, Solar Schools

More than often, accidents happen because of the non-regulation of the flow of electricity in establishments. Injuries and electrical fires can be sustained by touching live wires and the blowing up of fuses and circuit breakers. When not careful, electrocution may occur due to the unsuspected cuts in the wires in our bathrooms, living rooms, and even lawns!

What Is a Residual Current Device?

Thankfully enough, there is a device that helps regulate and protect the flow of electricity, and that is a Residual Current Device (RCD).  An RCD is designed to prevent electric shock and may also provide protection against fires caused by electricity. It generally gives another layer of comfort in addition to circuit breakers and fuses. This safety device automatically turns of electricity once it detects a fault.

How RCD’s Work

This RCD does all this by monitoring electric current flow in the circuits it protects. When it detects electricity flowing through a different, or an unintended path, the RCD will automatically turn of the circuit, reducing fatal risks. It quickly and automatically disconnects a circuit if it detects that electric current if not balanced between supply and return conductors of a circuit.  If there is indeed a difference, a leakage current is assumed, and this is a hazard in itself.

Double pole RCDs disconnect both energized and return conductors when a fault is seen, while single pole RCDs only disconnect the energized conductor. If the fault left the return wire in a ground potential that isn’t the expected one, the single pole RCD will leave the conductor still connected to the circuit when it detects a fault. These devices can be tested and are resettable, as a test button can create a safe small leakage condition, and the reset button reconnects the conductors after the fixing of the damage or fault.

What Are RCD’s for?

RCDs aim to protect you from the risks and dangers in areas that have huge potentials for electric anomalies like bathrooms. They aim to protect the user, rather than focusing entirely on the device that might be damaged. There are many types of RCDs, such as a fixed RCD, a socket-outlet RCD, and a Portable RCD. Fixed and socket-outlet RCDs are the most common types.

A fixed RCD is installed in a fuse box and protects a circuit or a group of circuits. Similar to a fixed RCD, a socket-outlet RCD is also fixed, but instead of being installed at the fuse box, it is used in replacement to a normal socket-outlet, and provides protection to the person in contact with the device being plugged in or out.

A Fixed Residual Current Device

What Is a Portable Residual Current Device?

Portable RCDs (PRCDs), on the other hand, have the advantages of both the fixed RCD and the socket outlet RCD. A PRCD can be plugged into any type or standard socket-outlet. Aside from that, it can also have appliances plugged into it. PRCDs are advantageous because they are proven useful when neither a fixed nor socket outlet RCDs are available.

Advantages of a PRCD

A PRCD has all the benefits of a fixed or a normal RCD, but with the advantage of being portable, meaning you can bring it and use the device wherever you want! PRCDs provide protection to the person in contact with the concerned equipment or appliance.

It is unlikely that people testing will not need an RCD tester so when purchasing a new PAT it obviously makes sense to add this in.

Metrotest sells RCD Testers designed to help electricians and limited license holders – including individuals in the test and tag industry. They were established in 1998 and are a famous electrical safety company in both New Zealand and Australia. Find RCD Testers at Metrotest today!

PRCD Testers from Metrotest

RCD Testers from Metrotest

Reducing the risk of a faulty RCD can increase the protection of your home against potential electrical fire and circuit damage. That’s why it helps to use a RCD Tester. Check out the Sonel Metro EasiPAT and learn how this effective appliance can you help you.