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Ceramic re-wirable fuses in a switchboard

How will I know if my switchboard needs to be replaced

Your electrical switchboard plays a vital role in the electrical system of your home, rental property, office or workshop. It functions by distributing electricity to various areas within your premises, and disseminates the electrical current into smaller load circuits, while providing circuit protection.

The repercussions from the sudden failure of a switchboard can be costly in both terms of time and finances, so there are a number of things that we recommend keeping an eye out for that may be early warning signs that your electrical switchboard may need replacing.


The age of the switchboard

The age of the switchboard plays a large role in determining whether or not the switch needs replacing. If your switchboard is over 25 years old, it is not designed to handle the various, modern electrical appliances that have been produced in recent years – many of which have a higher electrical load.

If you’re unsure of the age of your switchboard, a quick indicator of age can be the presence of ceramic re-wirable fuses, black HRC fuses & or brown circuit breakers. Ceramic re-wirable fuses were actually prohibited years ago as they provide no protection against faulty appliances and potential electric shock.

You may also notice black asbestos paneling on the main panel.

If your switch board looks like any of the photos below you will require a switch board upgrade:

Ceramic re-wirable fuses in a switchboard
Ceramic re-wirable fuses in a switchboard


Black HRC fuses in a switchboard
Black HRC fuses in a switchboard


Brown Circuit Breakers in a Switchboard
Brown Circuit Breakers in a Switchboard


Slim Circuit Breakers or Texas Instrument Breakers in a Switchboard
Slim Circuit Breakers or Texas Instrument Breakers in a Switchboard


Frequent safety switch or circuit breaker tripping

If you notice that your safety switch or circuit breakers trip frequently, it could be a sign that your switchboard is overloaded or not functioning properly. A safety switch is there to protect your electrical system, and will trip when there is an electrical fault that could cause damage to the circuit.


  • We recommend unplugging all appliances and trying to turn the circuit back on one at a time.
  • If the problem continues after you have un-plugged all the appliances, please give us a call on 8260 4978 for a P1 faults job.


Flickering lights or power fluctuations

Do your lights sometimes flicker?  Or have you noticed power fluctuations in the home?

A single light flickering is likely an isolated issue, but multiple lights flickering throughout the home could indicate an issue with the switchboard.

Power fluctuations can also be noted through lights glowing brighter or dimmer, incandescent bulbs blowing prematurely, the failure of electronic equipment, or interference in your radio or tv reception.


Signs of overheating

Signs of overheating on your switchboard can be noticed through crackling sounds, sight (i.e. burn marks) and or smell.  If you hear a crackling noise (arcing sounds) contact us immediately on 8260 4978.

If you see burn marks, discolouration, smell hot plastic or a burning scent in or around your switchboard – this can indicate loose connections, or faulty components. All of which mean that you have a problem needing to be looked at sooner rather than later.

Burning smells or arcing should be treated with caution.  We recommend contacting us immediately for a P1 faults job.


Inadequate number of circuits

If you find yourself needing to re-set the circuit every time you’re in the kitchen, while running a load of washing and drying your hair – this could be a sign that you maybe overloading that circuit and require a new one installed. New or upgraded switchboards have space for additional circuits which will allow for room for an additional circuit to be installed, reducing the risk of overloading it again.


Lack of safety features

Older switchboards will often lack important safety features like residual current devices (RCDs/rcbos), which are important as they are designed to trip off (within a required time frame set by the government) the supply of electricity when the electricity leaks to earth at a harmful level.



If you think your switchboard might be showing any of the aforementioned signs, you may be due for a switchboard replacement or switchboard upgrade.

The C & R All Spark Electrical team is here to help.  We are licensed and experienced in the replacement and upgrades of electrical switchboards.

Call us on 08 260 4978, or request an estimate via our Contact form.

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