DB Boards are essential components of residential and commercial electrical supply systems, dividing the mains electrical supply and regulating and directing current to the various subsidiary electrical circuits required in homes and buildings.

DB Boards at the very least feature circuit-breakers for each subsidiary circuit, safety mechanisms for current overload and residual current, and an earth-leakage switch that will trip the circuit-breaker on the DB Board. More complex electrical supply systems will have DB Boards with other features such as timers, bell transformers and dimmers.
DB Boards can also be configured to regulate alternative electrical supply on failure of the mains supply – an increasingly popular feature in South Africa.

Every home or flat has at least one DB Board to divide either the mains supply or the already divided electrical supply from a building’s mains DB Board, though you may call it something else – an electrical panel, an electrical switch pane, breaker panel/breaker box, earth-leakage board or fuse box.

Depending on a building’s electrical supply needs and circuits, DB Boards can be single or three-phase – with 3-phase supplying the most power and flexibility.

DB Boards come in a variety of sizes, with different mountings, casings and features – adaptable for any building. Main DB Boards will be placed where the mains supply comes in, dividing it and sending current to secondary ‘fuse boxes’ for features such as swimming pools, or for individual units in an apartment building.

Maintaining DB Boards:
It is essential that DB Boards be professionally maintained for safe and uninterrupted electrical supply. They need to be opened up, the wiring checked, the circuit-breakers tested, and any faulty switches replaced. Earth switches are the most important of these as they break the electrical current in the event of an electrical fault or overload in any one of the circuits.

A distribution board has to comply with the requirements of SANS 10142. All items of electrical equipment used in a distribution board should comply with the requirements of this standard:

  • The distribution board must be suitable for the environmental conditions in which it used.
  • Distribution boards shall be protected against corrosion and all unoccupied openings of a distribution board must be fitted with a blanking plate.
  • During normal operation the DB Board must not exceed a height of 2,2metres above floor, but may be mounted higher if it can be disconnected from the supply by a switch disconnector that is less than 2.2 metres above floor level.
  • A spare capacity should be fitted if an installation is likely to be extended
  • All incoming and outgoing circuits of the distribution board must have permanent labeling for identification.

Electrical faults and shorts should trip your DB board. If you know that you have a fault in your electrical supply and your board is NOT tripping, it is time to find a professional. Woodmans Electrical is an electrician for Ballito and the North Coast who will gladly attend to any residential or commercial faults that you have. Please contact us if you require any electrical services.