Panel Boards or Distribution Panels are components of an electrical supply system, which main purpose is the division of electrical power feed to subsidiary circuits, while providing a protective fuse for each circuit that it houses.
Now, let us familiarize ourselves with the parts of a Panel board.
These often limit the current in a single circuit. A single circuit breaker is typically limited to 20 amperes. This means that 20 amps of current will heat the bimetallic strip to bend it downward and release the spring-loaded trip-lever. Since the heating is fairly slow, another mechanism is employed to handle large surges from a short circuit. A small electromagnet consisting of wire loops around a piece of iron will pull the bimetallic strip down instantly in case of a large current surge.
A ground wire provides a conducting path to the earth which is independent of the normal current-carrying path in an electrical appliance. It is connected to the electrical neutral at the panel board to guarantee a low enough resistance path to trip the circuit breaker in case of an electrical fault.
Now, before you start, know the instructions and local electrical codes and laws in your area. This is crucial to make sure that they may be able to give you service if you needed one. There are certain instances where an electric company refuses to provide service if an equipment has been damaged or codes have been disobeyed.
Here are instructions on how to properly install a Panel board:
1. First, calculate the quantity and size of the panel board and wires needed for the job. Accurately measure the height and width of each wall that you wish to place your panel board on. Remember to jot down the exact dimensions, specifying the board size if applicable. Use the acquired figures to determine your material needs, or if possible, consult a professional electrician.
2. Drill holes for the screws that you are going to use to attach the panel board to your wall. Hammer in plastic wall plugs on the holes that you have drilled, and align the holes on back of your panel board, and screw it in place.
3. Attach the circuit breakers, make sure that all circuit breakers are in their off-position. And check each one for hints of corrosion.
4. Pull in the wires. The location of entry and exit of wire will differ depending on country standards. It could either be from the top or the bottom of the panel board. Now, attach them to the the circuit breakers.
Now, these may be no-brainier steps, but it is absolutely vital that you ask a professional electrician to look at your work. Although you may have done this yourself, there will be no certainty that you will get your installation right the first time. As they say, better to be safe than sorry. Consult with a professional electrician who could point out to you errors that you can learn from, and give you tips that you can use for the safety of your home and loved ones.