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Low voltage switchboard

Let’s start with some basic definitions from the United States National Electrical Code (NEC). Low voltage switchboard is generally defined as a large single panel, frame, or assembly of panels on which are mounted on the face, back, or both, switches, overcurrent and other protective devices, buses, and usually instruments.

Lessons I learned during installation and wiring of LV switchboard
Lessons I learned during installation and wiring of LV switchboard

These assemblies are generally accessible from the rear as well as from the front and are not intended to be installed in cabinets. Modern switchboards are totally enclosed to minimize the probability of spreading fire to adjacent combustible materials and to guard live parts.

Busbars are arranged to avoid inductive overheating of the enclosure or any nearby metal. Service busbars are isolated by barriers from the remainder of the switchboard to avoid inadvertent contact by personnel or tools during maintenance.

Here are some of the lessons I learned designing LV switchboards:

  1. Switchboards and panelboards are different
  2. Access
  3. Transport
  4. Housekeeping
  5. Insulating mats
  6. Location
  7. Architecture
  8. Layouts and clearances
  9. Breakers, fuses or both
  10. Metering
  11. Preplanning
  12. Coordination

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Amar M

Electrical engineer specializing in the complete lifecycle (concept through to construction) of LV/MV designs as they pertain to the power requirements of various building types such as commercial, physical sciences, pharmaceutical, and others.

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