RCDs V’s Circuit Breakers

What is the difference between an RCD and a Circuit Breaker?

Sometimes there is a misconception regarding the difference between an RCD (Residual Current Device) and a Circuit Breaker. Let’s explain…

An RCD is typically known as a Safety Switch, designed to protect against electrocution and will detect any disruption of electrical flow through an electrical circuit. If the flow of electricity returning through the circuit does not exactly match the amount of electrical flow entering the circuit, the RCD will ‘switch off,’ due to electricity leakage (leakage to earth). The RCD ‘thinks’ that the leakage to earth is electricity going through a person and into the ground, therefore switching off the power supply to prevent any form of an electric shock.

A Circuit Breaker on the other hand is an electrical switch, designed to protect an electrical circuit from damage, caused by an excess electrical flow (current draw), due to an overload or short circuit.

Circuit Breakers will not ‘switch off’ the power to the circuit in the event of an earth leakage fault. They will activate by switching the power ‘off,’ in the event of a high current fault, short circuit or overload, such as when too many appliances are plugged into a single power point, or when one of the appliances is faulty.

 

How does an RCD work?

An RCD constantly monitors the current flowing in both the ‘active’ and ‘neutral’ wires supplying a circuit or an item of equipment; which under normal circumstances should be an equal current flow in both wires. When an earth leakage occurs, it creates an imbalance, the RCD detects this and will automatically ‘cut off power’ before damage or injury transpires. RCDs must disconnect power supply (switch off) within 30 milli-seconds of leakage detection. RCD’s in Patient Protected Areas (such as hospitals) must ‘cut off power’ within 10 milliseconds of detecting a leakage.

“Even a 30mA of current could be enough to cause a person to go into cardiac arrest or cause irreversible damage to their body.”

Fixed RCDs can be identified by the ‘Test’ button. Portable RCD’s (plug into a socket outlet) and Socket Outlet RCD’s (incorporated into an outlet) also have a ‘Test’ button. If you can’t identify a ‘Test’ button, then it’s likely to not be an RCD.

 

Are RCDs compulsory? Do all circuits require RCDs?

 All circuits rated 32A or less that are supplying socket outlets, lighting, hand held equipment or equipment that present as an increased risk of an electrical shock must be RCD protected (unless labelled otherwise for a specific item of equipment). All new circuit installations require RCDs to be installed, or when the circuit installations require additional protection (30 Amps +).

For Commercial and Industrial installations RCDs must be installed within a switchboard at which the final sub-circuit originates. This is a mandatory requirement of the AS/NZS 3000:2018 Wiring Rules Standard. Even though the standard calls for RCDs on all sub-circuits up to and including 32 Amps, exemptions apply. If a single item of electrical equipment (e.g. light) which isn’t RCD protected is to be replaced with an equivalent item within the same location, then the exemption may apply.

When switchboards are altered or replaced, RCDs are required for final sub-circuits. RCDs are also required to protect socket outlets when they’re added to an existing circuit. However, RCD protection only needs to be installed at the origin of the additional wiring. When all circuit protection within a switchboard is replaced, then additional RCD protection is required for the final sub-circuits supplied by that switchboard.

 

Looking to upgrade a switchboard? Call Prolux Electrical Contractors on 1800 800 880 and let us ensure your commercial and industrial buildings run safe and efficiently. 

Eastland’s Town Square Awarded Winning Design

Eastland_Outdoor_Lighting_Prolux_Electrical_Contractors

Eastland’s Town Square has been named as the best shopping centre exterior in South East Asia and the Pacific 2019, in the prestigious Prix Versailles architecture awards for its extraordinary design.

The Prix Versailles promotes design and architecture as tools for sustainable development across cultural, social and ecological spheres, with judges spanning from across sectors of architecture, art, politics, fashion, food, philosophy and beyond.

Designed by London’s Acme and Melbourne’s Buchan Group the $665m transformation of Eastland shopping centre is one of the world’s best examples of commercial architecture. The building’s Town Square civic and restaurant precinct has been noted by international judges with its impressive circular glass-enclosed pavilion as the main entrance and stand-out feature, named ‘the shard.’

It’s a great example of a retail precinct that encourages connection and discovery.

Prolux have been part of the award winning design with the installation of the new outdoor lighting and heating to the stylish mirrored canopies.

The world title global awards are unveiled at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris in September, with Eastland noted as a worthy contender.

Congratulations to Prolux, 15 years of service

From its humble beginnings in 2004, Prolux had a vision to revolutionise electrical building maintenance and provide turnkey electrical fit-out solutions. Fifteen years later, Prolux is providing electrical building compliance solutions and maintenance to over 400 commercial and industrial properties throughout Australia.

End-of-trip Facilities providing the wellbeing drawcard for Commercial Tenants

The introduction of convenient lavish end-of-trip facilities is fast becoming adopted by commercial offices and workplaces to cater for those choosing to help themselves and our environment by ‘riding to work.’

Employers are getting on board with end-of-trip facilities as they know the importance of corporate social responsibility and their role in an era of addressing a greater environmental consciousness and increased awareness of health for their employees.

A healthier office leads to more productive and happier staff and less cars on the roads equates to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions; a win win for all.

Cars equate for over 50% of Australia’s total transport greenhouse gas emissions

For the employer, a reduction in traffic reduces the need to allocate more parking spaces, less construction costs associated with building parking towers and more space to be utilised to benefit the tenants in other ways: relaxation areas, chill-out zones or exclusive lounges. And by taking care of cyclists, joggers or walkers who get to work based on their efforts and not by those driving or utilising public transport, they’re not only creating a healthier workplace, but also helping to reshape the way in which our city is engineered. For what seems as convenience, is in fact forward-thinking in design.

It’s all about the end-user

A healthier workforce, increased staff well-being, higher productivity, an improved corporate image and reduced demand for car parking are all seen as benefits for leasing tenants, along with a reduction in carbon emissions for us all.

So what do end-of-trip facilities provide?

End-of-trip facilities include provisions such as bike racks, change rooms, showers and personal storage lockers. Many lavish tenancies are providing more appealing facilities to ensure busy executives have a clean, calm and comfortable place to start their day, or freshen-up after lunch-time recreation.

Take one of Melbourne’s prestigious office towers for example, located at 101 Collins Street. Last year the entire ground floor car park was replaced with a luxury end-of-trip facility, boasting personal grooming stations, lounge seating and parking for 500 bikes. This facility mimics the amenities of a six-star hotel or wellness centre with its fluffy towels, muted lighting, terrazzo floors, wood-panel and fabric walls, black marble showers, hydration stations and an opulent reception lounge.

Developers are incorporating such facilities into new commercial buildings, along with many older buildings being refurbished to host the highly sort after amenities. These changes are happening in response to the rising number of people who are using alternative methods of travel to work, rather than driving or using public transport. And that’s great news for sustainability.

Photos C/O: AXA Investment Management

The humble beginnings of Prolux

In 2003 when an aspiring young man by the name of Alex Lamblin decided to start his own business as an electrician, it was simply – one man, one van, one set of tools.

Today Alex is the Director of this business, Prolux Electrical Contractors, leading the company as electrical experts in commercial and industrial building maintenance solutions throughout Melbourne and growing…

The main reason I started my own business was to fill a void or should I say stigma attached to tradesmen being unreliable, untidy and costly. For me it was about providing great service from the beginning and that’s been my main focus.

Alex Lamblin

 

 

Fast forward 15 years to 2018 and Prolux have managed to achieve success not only by becoming one of Melbourne’s sort after electrical maintenance contractors, but expanding to what is becoming a National enterprise.

Our vision is to revolutionise electrical building maintenance procedures and provide professional, turnkey fit-out solutions.

 

Prolux kicks off in Queensland

This year saw Prolux set up shop in Brisbane, with Ashley Hyne leading the team.

Ashley has been with the company for nearly a decade. In addition to his vast electrical knowledge, he brings expertise in the areas of automation systems, computer networking and wireless infrastructure to projects.

 

 

 

For me, working with multi-national property groups, global real estate entities, health, education and government institutions allows us as electrical contractors to help shape the future of the buildings in which they occupy. We go in with a mindset of achieving sustainability and efficiency for the client, whilst utilising technology in the best possible way.

Ashley Hyne

So what’s the Prolux difference?

With the lack of electrical contracting companies focusing on customer service, reliability and consistency; Prolux hold these as their core values and point of difference; along with achieving solutions and outcomes for their customers as priority is what makes Prolux stand out. Looking ahead, Prolux is set to building on their solid reputation by consistently providing five-star service to Facility Managers, building owners, fit-out companies and direct businesses alike.

Never compromise on Core Values

Prolux live and breathe their values, they’re attainable and commendable.

Communication above all else
This is the most important value. Without communication everything else falls part.

 

We are Prolux
It isn’t about the individual, but about what the team can achieve. Everyone takes ownership of the business and treats it as their own.

 

Quality that inspires
We utilise our skills, knowledge and fellow team members to create inspirational & industry leading work. Everyone takes pride in what we achieve together.

 

Uphold honesty and integrity at all times
Building strong and long lasting relationships with our clients based on honesty and integrity.

 

Work hard, have fun and make a difference
We work hard first and foremost. As a team we enjoy a joke, smile and have fun in what we do. When we work hard, enjoy each other’s company and have fun, it makes a difference to the quality of work and provides the customer with a positive perception.

 

Alex feels that in order to maintain the company’s core values, the rate of growth has to be carefully monitored, to ensure these values are never compromised.

 

Prolux has a strong presence, reputation and repeat clientele which stands as proof that we are a trusted name within the industry. Our values are who we are and that will never change.

 

The countdown is on for the 2020 ban on Halogen light bulbs

September 2020 marks the cut-off date for the nationwide ban on halogen light bulbs.

The halogen ban was announced in February 2018 at the COAG Energy Council meeting.

Ministers met to discuss their top priority – ensuring the security, reliability, affordability and sustainability of the electricity market whilst working towards a lower emissions future.

Many consumers have already made the change and prefer LED products. Good quality LED lamps can last up to 15 times longer than halogen lamps and consume one-quarter of the energy to produce the same amount of light output, said Lighting Council Chief Executive Richard Mulcahy.

It is expected that shops will phase out halogen lights before the ban comes in effect. The bulbs are manufactured overseas and then imported into Australia, so once current stock depletes the bulbs will be phased out.

It should be noted however that there will still be a small number of exemptions for applications where LED technology is not yet suitable e.g. oven lights (high temperature) and particular theatrical lighting.

The bulb switch estimates to save Australian consumers in excess of 1.5 billion, over the next 10 years.

 

Why are Halogen light bulbs being phased out?

Halogen bulbs are quite hot to touch, due to the halogen gas sealed within the bulb. They have been linked to fires, and are essentially a fire hazard. Halogen bulbs are quite expensive to run and they are harmful to the environment, with their inefficiency converting all the electrical energy into heat rather than light. So why use them in the first place? Put simply, they look good.

The Federal Government’s policy is mirroring action being taken in Europe to totally phase out halogen lights by 2020 and introduce minimum standards for LED lights; minimum efficiency requirements of 85 lumens per watt and a maximum standby power of 0.5W on all light sources as part of a review of the Ecodesign laws.

 

Still need to upgrade your workplace to LED lighting or looking for ways to save on energy?

Call us today on 1800 800 880 for a free ProGreen Sustainable Solutions Audit at your workplace.

 

Improving Power Quality in Commercial Buildings

As a Facility Manager you’d be aware of the importance of using compliant electrical accessories and undertaking electrical testing to Australian Standards, but have you given much thought to the regulations surrounding Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) running throughout the commercial buildings you manage? NHP has and as a result they’ve released a compliant EMC Isolator for use with Variable Speed Drives (VSD’s) which successfully addresses EMC concerns.

Firstly let’s take a look at the issues surrounding EMC, and how you can identify them and effectively manage the problems.

What is Radio Frequency Interference and how does it affect EMC Compliance?

Have you ever had electronic equipment within close proximity to VSD’s that malfunction? If so, this is caused by Radio Frequency Interference (RFI), due to high frequency switching in the inverter of the VSD. This malfunction emphasises the importance of using screened cables (commonly referred to as VSD cables). What is not always understood is the importance of earthing the screen of the cable at the VSD and the motor end, in order to prevent RFI emissions. If an isolator is required on the output cable of the VSD, then a metal lined EMC Isolator with metal EMC cable glands must be used and adequately bonded to the screened VSD cable. This continuation of screening creates a ‘Faraday cage’ between the VSD and the motor, ensuring that no RFI is omitted from the circuit. The level of allowable RFI in a VSD circuit is outlined in AS 61800.3-2005. An EMC Isolator ensures consistent operation of industrial and electronic equipment, making it ideal for use where maintaining EMC Compliance throughout the installation is vital – particularly applications with motors controlled by VSDs, e.g. water pumps and air conditioning systems.

Achieve improved power quality with the ‘NHP Katko Series EMC Isolator’

Locally tested to comply with EN55011, the Katko EMC Isolator ensures safe operation in environments with electromagnetic disturbances, so you can ensure a high level of safety without compromise.

For added application flexibility, the compact unit has been specifically designed to occupy less space, ensuring easy installation and operation with a choice of larger enclosures for increased wiring space.

The key benefits include:

  • Electromagnetic Compatibility to EN55011 – safe within a sensitive environment
  • Pre-installed earth terminal – protects people and equipment from interference
  • EMC glands – suitable shielding of cable for electromagnetic purposes
  • Quality IP65/IP66 rating – ‘dust tight’ and protected against moisture (heavy seas or powerful jets) and heat
  • Copper coated enclosure lining.

How can you reduce Harmonics and enhance performance within power systems?

Another factor to consider in your building is reducing harmonics. Harmonic voltages and currents in an electric power system are a result of non-linear electric loads (e.g. office equipment such as computers and printers, fluorescent and LED lighting, battery chargers and also VSDs – equipment used to control the speed of machinery, as these can all play a part in power quality problems. As an example, if an internal power supply regulation is too noisy, that can adversely affect sensitive analogue measurements (for sensor products), or lower the performance of a radio transmitter (for wireless products).

Harmonics within power systems can also result in an increase in generating heat within the equipment and conductors, creating torque pulsations in motors (premature bearing failure) and misfiring within variable speed drives. Therefore, a reduction of harmonics is also considered highly desirable.

How are non-linear loads affecting Harmonics in buildings?

Years ago, non-linear loads were mainly found in heavy industrial applications, such as furnaces, heavy rectifiers for electrolytic refining, large VFDs, etc. The harmonics they generated were typically localised and often addressed by knowledgeable experts. However, times have changed, and today harmonic problems are common in not only industrial applications but in commercial buildings as well. This is primarily due to the new power conversion technologies, such as the Switch-Mode Power Supply (SMPS), which is found in practically every electronic device. The SMPS is an excellent power supply, but it’s also a highly non-linear load. Their proliferation has made them a substantial portion of the total load in most commercial buildings.

 

An LED light is one example of an electrical load with a non-linear characteristic, due to the rectifier circuit it uses (as shown in the above graph). The current waveform, blue, is highly distorted.

 

Prolux Electrical Contractors specialise in commercial and industrial electrical building maintenance and are proficient in replacing standard isolators with quality VSD EMC Isolators to maintain EMC Compliance.

Call us on 1800 800 880 to ensure your commercial building’s equipment is protected and running efficiently, whilst complying with regulatory standards.