Change to Australian wiring rules

ABB Australia Pty Ltd

Wednesday, 16 February, 2022


Change to Australian wiring rules

This year will be a milestone year for the application of residual current devices in Australia, with changes to the Standards Australia wiring rules that will change the selection of the RCDs used.

Standards Australia Wiring Rules amended

Type AC (alternating current) residual current devices (RCD) have commonly been used in Australia for over 20 years, providing basic protection against electric faults and fire by detecting residual currents with a sinusoidal alternating current waveshape.

However, with the increased adoption of renewables, electronics and emerging technologies (such as variable-speed drives, LED lighting, washing machines, dishwashers and tumble dryers), there has been an increasing presence of earth faults with direct current (DC) waveforms in addition to conventional sinusoidal earth faults. This can cause a dangerous situation as these DC waveforms are unable to be detected by standard Type AC RCDs.

To address this, Standards Australia has implemented Amendment 2 of AS/NZS 3000:2018 Cl 2.6.2.2.2 that now requires the use of RCDs that not only detect sinusoidal alternating current, but also identify residual pulsating direct currents.

Due to the change of requirements, ABB has been able to consolidate its stock profile to match the new market requirements. ABB’s extensive range of RCD solutions — Type A, Type F and Type B RCDs — are fully compliant with this new requirement.

“Changes in standards are generally reflective of the product developments and innovations of the electrical industry. The safety regulators and Standards Australia regularly review the international trends to ensure Australia is leading or matching the global safety standards,” said Shun Mizuta, Product Marketing Manager – Energy Distribution, Electrification, ABB Australia.

“Higher levels of RCD protection are currently available for specific applications such as solutions requiring high immunity. The new minimum standard requirement of Type A RCDs is an effective move to increase the level of safety for consumers. Further developments in areas such as Arc Fault Detection Devices (AFDD) are likely to be included in standards to further enhance public safety.”

What does it mean for the industry?

The Amendment 2 requires that Type AC RCD will no longer be permitted to be sold or installed in Australia after 2 April, 2023. This means the local market needs to complete the necessary product transition during 2022. Changing from Type AC to Type A as the new minimum standard is a functional transition to a higher level of safety as required by the electrical safety regulators. The transition to Type A is not retrospective, so existing installations will not be affected.

ABB has announced it is well prepared to support customers with the migration of Type AC RCDs to Type A, or better, across its product range. The extensive range of ABB solutions include RCCBs and RCBOs in various profiles and ratings to suit every application.

With a consolidated range of RCDs available, ABB is committed to providing the right solutions to protect customers’ final sub-circuit in accordance with the new requirements.

Visit ABB’s website for more information: resources.ipd.com.au/rcd/.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/puhimec

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