What are Panel Boards for?

Thinking Man

The question on everybody’s mind is, “What in the world is a Panel Board used for?” By everybody, I am referring to 2 very small groups of people that have a need to find out the meaning and purpose of panel boards. Either you are a student that’s only beginning to see the wonders of electrical engineering, or an adult who never really had much experience in the electrical field but has a very strong need to have some knowledge right at this moment.

If you are not among these demographics but are still reading this, then you are probably just a good old fashioned geek, like me!

ElectricianLet’s start off with a basic definition of a panel board: Also known as a distribution board, panel boards is the place where the power or electricity is produced. In other words, it is the source of power generation.

Next, panel boards allow the monitoring of the power being generated. It houses measuring equipment and their respective gauges. Generally, you can monitor the frequency, volts, amps and grounds on most panel boards.

Last but not least, it is not only the job of the panel board to generate power, but also to distribute it. This is why panel boards are also called distribution boards. Its job is to divide electrical feeds into supplementary circuits while, at the same time, providing a shielding or protective fuse for every circuit that’s within an enclosed space. Everything from circuit breakers to switches is within a distribution board.

To summarize all that up into one statement: The panel board is a central location for all major electrical generation, monitoring and distribution.

Now that we’ve gotten a little of the basics out of the way, let’s take a look at the other technical names a panel board has.  There are a lot of other things people refer to as panel boards such as these: breaker panel, circuit breaker panel, consumer unit, electrical panel, fuse board, electrical board, fuse box, breaker box, load center, power breakers, service panel, DB Board, ACDB, DCDB.

Different countries have different terminologies for panel/distribution boards, so don’t be surprised when nobody quite understands you the first time you mention a panel board. This is to reduce confusion in case you ever encounter any of these but are not familiar with what they’re called in a particular country or area. Just remember that all of these are also panel boards.

Another important note to remember is that different countries also have different styles of breaker arrangement. Before working on a certain panel board, be sure to make yourself familiar first with its type of design. You don’t want to be too confident that you end up being shocked at your mistake! Literally! Always remember that safety is number one when handling high voltage equipment such as panel boards.

That’s pretty much it, guys. Just remember that the a panel board is a component of electrical supply systems and its main functions are to (2) divide and distribute electrical feed to its supplementary circuits and, at the same time, (2) constantly provide a protective fuse to shield each circuit.

Panel Board

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