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Circuit Board


thaibeachlovers

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Hi,

I'm in Pattaya, and checked out circuit boards in Home Pro. The ones with breakers, RCBO etc installed are about 4500 with a few breakers, but all over 10 amps.

The sole breaker in my MIL's house is 10 amps. I'd like to get a board with 4 breakers, but should they all be 10 amps ( or less for a lighting circuit. )?

Plenty of empty boxes that I can add components to, but lots of different brands. Any recommendations for a brand, or can I go by price?

If I am adding a circuit board, can I add a circuit for an electric water heater when the meter is rated 5/15, and if so, what amps should the breaker be, is 2.5 mm wire OK, or should it be 4mm?

If I install the circuit board, the cable from the outside wires to the breaker is 4mm.

Thanks for any advice.

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The British are going to tell you the name is "Consumer Unit"

I call it "Load Center" Schneider bought Square D & they are a great brand.

The main installs on the left side & would be based on what size power meter is fitted to the pole & the size of the main wires coming in.

Sounds as if she might have 5/15 amp meter & a 32 amp main would be good. Perfect for a 10/30 amp meter too. They are modular & upgradeable.

I strongly advise you to invest in a Safe-T-Cut. Millions of Thais are still above ground because of these devices.

The square D load centers come in even numbers of breaker slots 4.6.8 10.12 etc.

You need not use all the slots. 10 amp breakers are fine for the lights, sockets, fridge etc. I'll try to find a picture of a normal breaker box.

Edited by snarky66
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The British are going to tell you the name is "Consumer Unit"

I call it "Load Center" Schneider bought Square D & they are a great brand.

The main installs on the left side & would be based on what size power meter is fitted to the pole & the size of the main wires coming in.

Sounds as if she might have 5/15 amp meter & a 32 amp main would be good. Perfect for a 10/30 amp meter too. They are modular & upgradeable.

I strongly advise you to invest in a Safe-T-Cut. Millions of Thais are still above ground because of these devices.

The square D load centers come in even numbers of breaker slots 4.6.8 10.12 etc.

You need not use all the slots. 10 amo breakers are fine for the lights, sockets, fridge etc. I'll try to find a picture of a normal breaker box.

Thanks for that advice.

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Woops. Water heater. You are now entering uncharted waters.

Most water heaters will pull about 10 amps so you need size the system correctly. Mine pulls 30 to 40 amps.

Be aware that you may need to install a new power meter & wiring from pole to load center. Ergo if you can go gas that would be excellent. Google search Rheem.The tankless ones.

Edited by snarky66
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I'll mostly agree with Snarky.

Square-D (Schneider) is a well known mid-quality brand.

You will need:-

A 20A double pole incoming breaker and a 30mA RCD (you can get a combined unit called an RCBO).

A 20A single pole breaker for the water heater (max 3.5kW), wire it with 2.5mm2

A 5A single pole breaker for lights (if they're on a separate circuit), wire them with 1.5mm2

A 16A single pole breaker for outlets, wire them with 2.5mm2

NOTE. If you are using existing wiring, the breaker for each circuit should be rated for the SMALLEST cable on that circuit.

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Home Pro is excellent for most stuff. Helpful staff too. But I usually source breaker box from an electrical supply store. Helps to take a picture with you. Then ask to see a catalog or brochure to locate the exact model that will suit your requirements. The supply stores are a little cheaper on price too. (Not so high overheads) They mostly sell to jobbers; retail much less so & ergo lower prices. Expect to get 10-25% discount on the published price.

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Unless money is very tight I would strongly suggest upgrade of meter service to 15/45 and probably a change of in house wires (which if they date back several decades are probably thinner than a hair) at this time if there is any chance you may want airconditioning at some time in the future (even for MIL'S). The 5/15 service is designed for lights/fans and small washer/refrigerator upcountry use and dates from 30-40 years ago.

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I'll mostly agree with Snarky.

Square-D (Schneider) is a well known mid-quality brand.

You will need:-

A 20A double pole incoming breaker and a 30mA RCD (you can get a combined unit called an RCBO).

A 20A single pole breaker for the water heater (max 3.5kW), wire it with 2.5mm2

A 5A single pole breaker for lights (if they're on a separate circuit), wire them with 1.5mm2

A 16A single pole breaker for outlets, wire them with 2.5mm2

NOTE. If you are using existing wiring, the breaker for each circuit should be rated for the SMALLEST cable on that circuit.

Thanks Crossy and all.

Was just up at Home Pro, and no 3.5 water heaters at a price that makes a heater and circuit board same price as a gas fired job. Will think on it tonight, and perhaps get both. Hopefully an investment in the future, as I do like my hot showers!

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Unless money is very tight I would strongly suggest upgrade of meter service to 15/45 and probably a change of in house wires (which if they date back several decades are probably thinner than a hair) at this time if there is any chance you may want airconditioning at some time in the future (even for MIL'S). The 5/15 service is designed for lights/fans and small washer/refrigerator upcountry use and dates from 30-40 years ago.

Thanks for the reply, but changing meters ain't gonna happen.

The wires from the pole certainly don't look thin ( some exposed wire ends are visible on a pole where they removed the meter and didn't tape the wire ends ), but I'm not going to measure them!

Air conditioning isn't going to happen either, as the house is basically one big room with no ceiling. It'd be like trying to cool Thailand. Thanks anyway.

All the high tension wire has just been replaced and new higher poles installed all along the highway.

Talking about electric water heaters, the one in the hotel bathroom doesn't have an earth wire. Wouldn't have worried about it before reading this forum!

Edited by thaibeachlovers
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I'll mostly agree with Snarky.

Square-D (Schneider) is a well known mid-quality brand.

You will need:-

A 20A double pole incoming breaker and a 30mA RCD (you can get a combined unit called an RCBO).

A 20A single pole breaker for the water heater (max 3.5kW), wire it with 2.5mm2

A 5A single pole breaker for lights (if they're on a separate circuit), wire them with 1.5mm2

A 16A single pole breaker for outlets, wire them with 2.5mm2

NOTE. If you are using existing wiring, the breaker for each circuit should be rated for the SMALLEST cable on that circuit.

Just up at Home Pro again, checking out the circuit boards.

Safe T Cut boards already made up for about 4,200 bht, but only 50 amp incoming breakers, and expensive to buy a 32 amp replacement.

So that leaves the Square D jobs. Can make up what I want for 4,400 baht, but smallest breaker available is 10amps.

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10A on the 1.5mm2 circuit will be fine to protect the cable although I am surprised that 10A is the smallest breaker, UK lighting circuits are usually 5A.

Thanks Crossy.

It may just be Pattaya Home Pro doesn't have smaller.

If I remember correctly, it's 5 amps in NZ as well.

PS. While all my plugs are wired direct to earth, should I also earth the circuit board box?

Edited by thaibeachlovers
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10A on the 1.5mm2 circuit will be fine to protect the cable although I am surprised that 10A is the smallest breaker, UK lighting circuits are usually 5A.

Thanks Crossy.

It may just be Pattaya Home Pro doesn't have smaller.

If I remember correctly, it's 5 amps in NZ as well.

PS. While all my plugs are wired direct to earth, should I also earth the circuit board box?

I have two Square D catalogs and both of them show 10 amp as the smallest MCB.

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10A on the 1.5mm2 circuit will be fine to protect the cable although I am surprised that 10A is the smallest breaker, UK lighting circuits are usually 5A.

Thanks Crossy.

It may just be Pattaya Home Pro doesn't have smaller.

If I remember correctly, it's 5 amps in NZ as well.

PS. While all my plugs are wired direct to earth, should I also earth the circuit board box?

I have two Square D catalogs and both of them show 10 amp as the smallest MCB.

Haco do 1A as their smallest MCB, I doubt that the lower rated ones are much in demand here so are not stocked by HomePro and the like. The other manufacturers do seem to have 10A as their lowest rating.

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You needn't pay Home Pro prices. See my above post.

I imagine the breaker boz is not more than 1000 baht & MCB are 200-300 baht each.

Not knowing where to find a local shop in Pattaya I went toHome Pro this am to get the stuff.

They only have 32 amp Safe T Cut at 600 baht more than the 50 amp version, and as they wouldn't lower it, I went to a small shop in Naklua that a fellow ( Thai ) customer told my wife about. Result, saved 2,000 bht on a 32 amp Safe T Cut RCBO.

Unfortunately, they didn't have Haco breakers, though they did have the boxes, so I'll be getting them from Home Pro. I don't want to use Square D as you have to use a mains breaker in their boxes, and I now have a very expensive one already, and I do need to keep costs down as much as possible.

I was also able to get a proper ratchet crimper for 800 bht, while Home Pro only have really expensive ones, or the cheap junk crimpers that bend the first time you try to use them.

The local shop was an experience though, as it is the most disorganised place I've ever seen. Still, some good deals to be had.

Edited by thaibeachlovers
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10A on the 1.5mm2 circuit will be fine to protect the cable although I am surprised that 10A is the smallest breaker, UK lighting circuits are usually 5A.

Thanks Crossy.

It may just be Pattaya Home Pro doesn't have smaller.

If I remember correctly, it's 5 amps in NZ as well.

PS. While all my plugs are wired direct to earth, should I also earth the circuit board box?

Yes, if the enclosure is metal. Earth with the same size as the main earth. If you do not have a main earth earth use a minimum of 2.5 sqmm. Connect to the earth bar.Connect the earth bar to the existing earthing system.

Edited by electau
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Excellent :)

For maximum protection set it to the lowest trip current on which it will reliably stay switched on.

Do not set it to 'bypass' as this removes all protection.

Thanks Crossy, you've been very helpful.

This has been a very educational experience, and I've learned more in the past month about house electrics than I learned in total before. It's one thing to be able to wire up a plug or light switch, but there's so much more to learn if one wants to do it properly.

The only protection device I ever knew about in NZ was the old heavy transformer, and recently the plug in RCD ( though I didn't know what the name was till I read it here ).

Thanks to all who have given of their knowledge, much appreciated.

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I see that Safe-T-Cut now do a combined unit which seems the best of both worlds ?

CONSUMER UNIT & RCBO Hybrid

This is a consumer unit with a Residual Current Breaker with Over-current protection (RCBO)

Yes indeed. Home pro stocks them. However, I could not use one, as they only had them with 50 amp main switch ( I was advised to go for the 30 amp size ), and costs a lot just to buy the switch as a replacement. Also there is no 10 amp breaker on the board for lighting.

They were about 5,000 baht. I bought a Safe T Cut RCBO and Haco breakers and box for about the same price.

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