Using RCBOs for Event Power Distribution

Using RCBOs for Event Power Distribution

RCBOs are becoming increasingly popular in our power distribution boards for events.  There are key benefits for the production company and the end user in having individual RCBOs on each final circuit.

What are RCBOs?

An RCBO is a combined MCB and RCD in a single trip

An RCBO will trip / break an electrical circuit when there is either an overload (to much current flowing) or there is a leakage from live to earth. This gives the same protection as using a separate MCB and RCD for a single circuit.

Benefits of Having Individual RCBOs on all Final Circuits

  1. RCBOs give the same protection as a separate MCB and RCD, but in a smaller single case, and normally at a cheaper price than the MCB and RCD separately.
  2. The main benefit is seen when there is an electrical fault, causing a circuit breaker to trip out, but instead of an entire event or zone losing power, with RCBOs just the single circuit will trip.
  3. Fault identification: When a single circuit fails due to a fault, the responsible engineer will be able to find the fault much quicker, as the location of the fault has already been narrowed down to a single circuit.
  4. Resetting Trips: Powering up an event from a main breaker, can often be a lengthy business, with computerised systems, fans and motors etc. This is something you don’t want to do too often, due to the impact on other users of the power and the equipment being powered.

 Disadvantages of Having RCBOs

  1. Costs: The capital cost of each RCBO is between £25 to £50 each, when purchased from a reputable manufacturer.
  2. Cheap RCBOs: There are cheaper RCBOs normally manufactured in the Far East, but our experience of these cheap RCBOs is one of poor manufacturing quality, safety issues, and reliability, definitely something to avoid on a safety device. Our advice is to only use RCBOs from reputable manufacturers.
  3. Overload trip curve. Type B or Type C RCBOs are readily available. If you need a type D overload trip for electric motors or similar, an RCBO will not be suitable, you could use an RCD and a separate MCB

What Different Types of RCBO are available?

  1. Some RCBOs break the live and neutral circuits, some just the live.
  2. Some Din Rail Mounted RCBOs are made in a single module wide, some are two modules wide. A module is 17.6mm in width.
  3. Current Rating: RCBOs are available with Trip current ratings of 4 amps to 125 Amps, our most popular being 16A and 32A.
  4. Trip Sensitivity: RCBOs are available with trip current rated between 10mA and 1000mA, 30mA is the most popular.
  5. Trip Characteristics: Like with MCBs you can get RCBOs with a trip curve of Type B, Type C or Type K only.


We recommend the use of RCBOs with power distribution. Almost all of our customers appreciate that having RCBOs means that they can offer a more professional product to their customers. And when a fault has occurred the speed and stress of identifying and fixing the fault is dramatically improved by having RCBOs. It’s a price worth paying for.

Check out our range of Titan Power Distro’s with RCBO Protection or call 01752 817 140 and get your bespoke Distro with RCBOs made today.