RCD Protection: Is It Fit For Purpose?

 RCD Protection: Is It Fit For Purpose?

Andy Douglas, MD at Timeguard, asks whether your RCD protection is up to standard.

It’s now two years since the latest British Standard for RCD protection and, while there has been the usual period of grace to run down stocks of older devices, surely it’s time to ensure your customers get the full benefits of the latest thinking on their safety?

That’s where the new Valiance+ range of RCD-protected switched sockets and spurs comes in. Timeguard has undertaken a complete redesign, adding the latest generation of componentry throughout as well as the reassurance of compliance with latest safety standards. Both end-user safety and long-term reliability are improved.

The standard

Valiance+ is fully compliant with BS 7288:2016: Specification for residual current devices with or without overcurrent protection for socket-outlets for household and similar uses. This latest standard was published in November 2016, revising and updating BS 7288:1990.

The main visible sign of compliance with the standard is that there is now a dual-flag indication system to show whether the power is live RED – ON, or Green – OFF when the RCD is tripped. However, ‘under the bonnet’, other changes add up to greater reassurance for users. They mostly relate to EMC resilience, with more stringent testing to ensure products can withstand years of use and electrical or physical abuse and RF interference.

While it is still legal to sell and install devices certified to the older standard, one could ask as to who would want to compromise on safety regulations when newer complaint devices are on the market?

The range

The latest Timeguard Valiance+ range offers a complete range of 1 gang and 2 gang RCD switched sockets in both active and passive versions, so you can decide whether the power is automatically restored to the device when the power is restored, (essential for freezers etc.), or if it remains isolated until manually reset (essential for power tools, etc. with exposed moving parts).

There are white plastic and rugged metal clad variants in both 1- and 2- gang and a choice of three styles of RCD switched fuse spurs, as well as Weathersafe enclosed sockets for outdoor use.

Why bother with RCD sockets?

An RCD wiring accessory or residual current device is a life-saving device, designed to provide added protection for people against the risks of electrocution. If, for instance, someone cuts through the cable when mowing the lawn or touches a faulty appliance indoors, RCDs specifically detect earth leakage.

This could of course be leakage through the body of a person who is grounded and has accidentally come into contact with live components or cut wires. RCDs are designed to disconnect quickly enough to mitigate the harm caused by such shocks.

A miniature circuit breaker (mcb) at the consumer board is an automatically-operated electrical switch designed to protect an electrical circuit from damage caused by overload or short circuit. Installers have increasing knowledge and ideas on where the extra protection provided by RCD sockets and RCD spurs should be installed, although of course any socket that might conceivably supply power for outdoor use should have built-in RCD protection.

Just make sure the RCD sockets you fit are meeting the latest safety standards as well as looking good for installation anywhere.

For more information about the Valiance+ range from Timeguard visit: www.timeguard.com


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