Circuit breakers must always trip whenever a dangerous leakage level for humans is reached or they can cause economic losses to electrical installations. That said, these elements do not only trip on occasions caused by leakage in the installation, but due to external factors too, such as thunderstorms which frequently occur.
Self-reclosing RCCB devices are circuit-breakers with a built-in motor, whose function is to reclose if there is no permanent leakage in the installation.
This article presents a new design in Circutor's REC series, the REC4, as well as highlighting the benefits of installing such a device.
The new REC4 is a development of its predecessor, REC3, in terms of size, while maintaining all its features. The device now takes up only a 3-module space, which means that it can be easily installed in new or existing electrical panels.
It is also the ideal solution for panels with limited space, replacing the standard earth leakage protection (2 modules) and the thermal magnetic circuit breaker (2 modules) with the REC4 (3 modules) and a unipolar thermal magnetic circuit breaker (1 module), also referred to as DPN. Automatic reclosing is therefore incorporated by taking up the same space, avoiding the need to enlarge the electrical panel.
The REC4 also includes the possibility to cancel the reclosing system by selecting manual or automatic mode, and may be sealed up to prevent tampering during maintenance work or once in operation.
Once installed, it has LED indicators to quickly, visually check its status (ON/triggered/reclosing) at all times.
To ensure full personal safety, the device is equipped with protective insulation, which deactivates the automatic reclosing system in the event of direct contact during handling, thus avoiding any injuries during start-up or maintenance work.
Its installation is really simple, since its compact size allows it to be fitted as a current circuit breaker, and the user does not need to make any type of connection between the circuit breaker and the motor, as it is completely built into its housing.
The REC4's functions make it particularly well-designed for domestic use, where most loads are single-phase. More and more devices operate autonomously and are controlled remotely. This is why RCCB tripping may cause several household problems.
When we are away from home on holiday and the circuit breaker trips, the cables connecting electrical appliances such as fridges to the mains may become damaged, causing the contents of the fridge to get spoilt in a matter of hours. This problem causes economic losses in having to get rid of food and make us waste time cleaning it and switching it on again.
Another example of the way the REC4 self-reclosing RCCB can be used is to prevent tripping from disconnecting the home's burglar alarm, leaving the premises unprotected against vandalism and theft. Installations such as air conditioning, lighting, garden irrigation or pool maintenance are also remotely controlled nowadays by mobile devices. The device will help us to keep them working at all times, avoiding surprises on arriving home or at our second residence, the latter being possibly the most important case for our self-reclosing RCCB device.
However, the advantages are not just restricted to guaranteeing constant functioning of household appliances when we are away from home. There will be numerous occasions on which we will appreciate the REC4 self-reclosing device, e.g. when the lights suddenly go out at home, sparing us the discomfort of moving in the dark to the mains panel to flip the switch.
The main reason to equip infrastructures with the REC4 circuit breaker is to maximise single-phase load service continuity. The device will reclose almost instantly as long as there is no permanent leakage, avoiding shutdowns in different systems that lead to substantial economic losses which must be avoided at all costs.
Wherever equipment is operating autonomously from a remote location, Circutor's self-reclosing RCCB will safely reclose in the event of protections tripping.
In the event of transient leakage tripping, the system will ensure that the installation continues to operate normally. On the other hand, if permanent leakage is really occurring, the system will try to reclose up to three times and if it the leakage persists, reclosing will not be completed, leaving the circuit open for a specialist to inspect it.
For example, in the telecommunications industry it is very common to have different antennas spread over the country, with some of them located far away or inaccessible. A downtime in this type of infrastructure could lead to losses of around €30,000/min for the company, in addition to the cost and inconvenience of displacing personnel to the site to simply flip the switch.
Other examples along these lines would be public lighting installations, guaranteeing that the lighting system works in the city or on the roads, or the reclosing of low-cost petrol station facilities that do not have personnel on site to manually carry out reclosing. Instead of moving to locations to restore normal operation, the REC4 would restore the installation's proper functioning.
As regards the services sector, having the self-reclosing RCCB would be an important asset in systems like lighting, air-conditioning, surveillance camera networks or uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) to keep them working at all times, both in small establishments and large stores or shopping centres.
More information: Self-reclosing RCCB