RCD Plug

What is an RCD Adapter and How to tell if Your Socket is RCD Protected?

Abbreviated as Residual Current Device, RCD is a very important life-saving device that can protect you from electric shocks if you touch something live as a bare wire. Electric fires can also be prevented or protection against them can be provided by RCD adapters. Ordinary fuses and circuit-breakers cannot provide you the same level of protection as an RCD. It detects defects in electricity and automatically turns it off to save you from any potential harm. For example, if you are mowing the lawn and accidentally cut through the cables and touch the live wires then you can get electrocuted in such a case. But with RCD you will be protected from such incidents because it will detect the unusual movement of current through the circuits and turn off the circuit very quickly.

How to tell if a Socket is RCD Protected?

If any new socket is to supply equipment outdoors then it is automatically expected to be RCD protected since 1992. If an extension length is greater than 15m then it is always recommended to include RCD as a part of it. If the lead is mostly used at home then it can easily be checked for RCD protection. But if the lead is intended to be used in many locations then it will not be so easy to tell. In order to comply with UK requirements, all the leads that are over 15m must be supplied with residual current device protection. From 2008 it is required for all 13A sockets to be protected by RCD adapters. You need to follow a few steps to determine whether a socket is protected or not.

  1. The first thing you need to do is take a look at your consumer units. If a fuse carrier that relied on original consumer units had a piece of s fuse wire that was placed between its two terminals then it is not RCD protected.
  • In a later variation cartridge, fuses were used a larger version of which is mostly used in 13A plugs then in such cases, it is not protected.
  • When MCB’s were introduced at first they were plugged into the traditional consumer units instead of the fuses. In such case, as they have a small red button for testing they are not RCDs but are circuit breakers. Therefore, no RCD protection is present.
  • And MCB with no test button and only with consumer units and the main switch had no RCD protection. 
  • Now consumer units that have one or more RCD and an RCBO with a test button are RCD protected.
  1. You should always check if 30mA is stated on the RCD/RCBO. If it is stated then move to the next step. In some older installations, you will find RCDs with 100mA but they are not compatible with modern standards.
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Then plug something like a lamp to easily tell if it is on or off. After that press the test button that is present towards the right side of MCB. If the switch on the unit flicks downwards then it indicates that it is operating correctly. If the item that was plugged into the socket has turned off then that will indicate that the socket is protected by an RCD adapter. The switch on the unit must be pushed upwards to turn back the power.

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