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Getting To Know Your HDB Electrical Components

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Public housing in Singapore is managed by the Housing & Development Board (HDB).  Since all the public housing is being built and managed by them, there is usually a similar design for the electrical hardware, accessories, and electrical wiring in most flats. That said, Electrical problems in the flat such as power failure are quite common. Although it is advisable to contact an HDB Electrician at the earliest, it can sometimes be inconvenient to do so. Fortunately, some electrical problems can be easily resolved if anyone in the household understands the various components of installed electrical hardware. Thus, in order to help you out, let’s go through the main components of HDB electrical hardware and wiring below to help understand said components better.


Consumer Unit


One of the main units in the home installed by a licensed electrician is the consumer unit.  This is an electrical distribution board within an enclosure that is usually made of metal. It contains one or more double pole Miniature Circuit Breaker (MCB), a Residual Current Circuit breaker (RCCB), single pole MCBs, and terminals. The double pole MCB is connected to the main power supply while the single-pole MCB is connected to the various circuits in the house. Meanwhile, The RCCB is used to detect earth leakage current and causes a power trip if the current exceeds a specified threshold.


Differences Between MCB & RCCB


The MCB is designed to protect the circuit against high currents over a specific limit. If the current exceeds the set limit, the MCB will trip and open the circuit to hinder current flow. This prevents damage to the electrical wiring and appliances which would otherwise overheat and catch fire. The rated current for the MCB is usually 100 amps and it works on thermal principal.

The RCCB measures the current entering and exiting a device.  Should there be any difference between the two, it is due to the earth leakage current. When a difference in current is detected, the RCCB trips to prevent an electric shock. Typically, the rating is between 10 mA to 30 mA


Power Trip Scenarios and Solutions


Reason for MCB Trip        Ways to resolve trip
The circuit is overloaded,  making the power being supplied too high. There is a short circuit in the wiring or appliances connected
  1. Switch off all the appliances and devices connected to the circuit.
  2. Switch on the MCB that has tripped.
  3. If the MCB trips again, the issue may be caused by the wiring or the MCB In that case, it is best to contact a reliable electrician.
  4. If the MCB does not trip again, there may be a problem with one of the appliances. It is best to switch on each appliance one by one to detect the faulty appliance. A power failure will happen again when the faulty appliance is switched on.
  5. The faulty appliance, once identified, should be sent for repairs or be replaced.


Reason for RCCB Trip        Ways to resolve Trip
The amount of current entering and leaving a device differs
  1. Switch off all appliances and devices connected to the circuit.
  2. Next, Switch on the RCCB to reset it.
  3. If the RCCB can be reset, the issue is. caused by faulty wiring or appliance
  4. If the RCCB trips again, the issue is caused by faulty earthing of the appliances and wiring. You would need to engage an electrical contractor to repair this.

Be sure to exercise caution and take note of these when doing your own electrical troubleshooting.  Follow proper safety tips to protect electrical appliances from damage when a power trip occurs.


Plugs And Sockets


Power sockets installed in Singapore are designed to accommodate plugs conforming to the BS 1363 standard. This socket is also widely used in the UK, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, and several other countries.  Its corresponding plug was also designed to be much safer than other sockets.  Its insulated pins prevent electrical shocks in case contact is made with the pins accidentally. Additionally, the plug also incorporates a fuse to prevent damage to the plug, wiring, and electrical appliances connected if the current exceeds its limit. 


Electrical Plugs And How To Maintain Them


The different parts of an electrical plug are as follows:

  • Terminals for connecting the line or phase, neutral and earth wires of the cable. Typically, the cable used will have a brown wire for line, blue for neutral and green/yellow for earth 
  • A 13-ampere fuse for protection
  • White plastic enclosure with a hole for the cable 
  • Screws  to affix the cover on the plug

Before the plug is used, the cable should be properly installed in the plug.  In order to do so, take off its cover, cable sheath, and insulation. Afterward, affix the cables onto the corresponding terminals of the plug. If you are uncomfortable doing this on your own, contact a professional electrician for help.


Maintenance Tips


Here are some electrical maintenance tips to ensure the longevity of your appliances and wiring.

  • Appliances should only be connected  once you’ve checked the socket rating
  • Ensure that the cables are not damaged. If they are, you should opt for an electrical wiring upgrade.
  • Unplug appliances that are not in use


Common Electrical Problems And Solutions

Problem       Solutions
Blown Fuse
  • Replace the defective fuse with a new fuse of the  proper rating
Loose wiring connection
  • Ensure that the wires are tightly connected to the sockets 
Appliance connected is faulty
  • Repair or replace the faulty appliance.



Fuse Blows Frequently Or Plug Overheats

Problem       Solutions
Overloaded Circuit
  • Only plug in essential appliances  to reduce the load on the circuit
Loose wiring connection causing shorts
  • Ensure that the plugs are properly fixed into the socket
  • Check the wiring to ensure that there are no loose wire strands



Electrical Wiring

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The electrical wiring installed by the HDB is designed to last approximately 25 years. However, this figure may vary depending on factors such as the appliances connected, overloading, and frequency of maintenance. This should be done before planning electrical works for your home. Moreover, it is advisable to get the wiring in homes that are more than twenty years old, inspected by a licensed HDB electrician.  Once the inspection is completed, the HDB electrician will submit a form to the HDB to begin the needed works. After the wiring repair or replacement is completed, the HDB will inspect the completed rewiring before approving it.



HDB regulates all the electric work done in HDB flats. As such, only licensed HDB electricians are allowed to do any electrical work. So even if you do manage to do your own electrical troubleshooting, be sure to call an electrician with the proper license to do your electrical works for you.


Daylight Electrician Singapore provides complete electrical services including emergency electrician service in Singapore. Our network of electrical workers and EMA licensed electricians are specially trained to execute all kinds of electrical repairs and works including electrical installation such as light installation, ceiling fan installation, power failure recovery as well as electrical wiring and rewiring, power socket, electrical switches, light switches and DB Box replacement . We have over 10 years of electrician experience and have done thousands of electrical works for both residential (Landed, condo and HDB electrician) and commercial electrician. We are the highly recommended electrician in Singapore with many happy customers and positive reviews over the years both on Google and Facebook. WhatsApp us at +65 8241 0032 for transparent quotation and honest pricing for all your electrical needs or Call us at +65 6909 9921. We offer a fast and efficient service to serve any of your electrical needs!

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