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MCB Vs. RCBO, Which One Do You Prefer?

Date: 2023-12-27

Electrical safety is the first concern in any environment. If not handled correctly, it can pose series risks, including electrical shocks, burns and even fires. Circuit breakers, as one of the essential parts in electrical circuit, are used as a protective switch to prevents accidents and promotes a secure working and living environment. You may get confused with various types of circuit breakers that exist in the market, and surely under certain circumstances, there are considerable differences between each of them. In this article, we will talk about two of the most used ones – MCB and RCBO. 


An MCB or Miniature Circuit Breaker is an automatic switch that opens when excessive current flows through the circuit. It can provide protection against overcurrent and short circuits. Overall, MCB is a simple, easily operable device and is cost-effective too. 

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RCBO stands for Residual Current Circuit Breaker with Overload Protection. The small device offers protection against overloads, short circuits and earth leakage currents. It not only monitors the current flow through the line, but also the return flow in the neutral line. Thus, RCBO can be considered a combination of MCB and RCCB (Residual Current Circuit Breaker) to protect against all types of electrical dangers. 


While MCB does not protect against electric shock hazards directly, the primary role of RCBO is to detect earth leakage and prevent electric shocks. Earth leakage is dangerous for the human body. Typically, the human body can withstand a shock of 30mA. After this, it can lead to paralysis or even death for weaker human hearts. In this case, RCBO is more favored. 


Overall, MCB and RCBO are both commonly used in low-voltage power distribution and can be seen in distribution boards in homes, offices, commercial buildings, etc. MCB is often used to protect lighting circuits, air conditioners, and other home appliances. And RCBO is used mainly to interrupt power to water heaters, power sockets, and other electric appliances that have the possibility of electric shocks to humans. Thus, whether an RCBO is better than an MCB depends on the specific electrical functions and safety requirements