Replacing my old db- ABB or Schneider breakers

The CBI breakers are quite old and the db itself is from eons ago, was suggested to go with ABB or Schneider breakers, got some prices for them from Voltex
ABB approximately R38 each
Schneider approximately R49 each

If ABB is cheaper I would go with that. I also like Hager.

You would need conversion clips to make the din rail breakers fit in your dB.

1 Like

Schneider or ABB are fine. I have seen a panel builder who uses both.
But these are IEC devices and mount on DIN rail. The CBI circuit breakers have a different mounting rail.
The adapters that allow one to fit an IEC CB into a CBI board aren’t without their own hassles.
So best is to to replace the DB as well that is made for DIN rail mounting devices.
PS: CBI breakers are only used in domestic and basic distribution applications. IEC circuit breakers are used in industrial applications

1 Like

I went with Schneider firstly because it’s a good brand and I found it easy to get more. Even Leroy Merlin and buildit hardware stock Schneider.

This statement is quit interesting and I guess different industries uses different standards.

I have been in the industrial bakery industry for 14 years, the standard breakers were CBI, after that I was in the mining industry and all the DB boards ext were equipped with CBI. Only third party equipment and some of the instrumentation panels were equipped with din rail breakers.

Both industry standards required all new dbs to be equipped with CBI breakers.

Am using DIN rail surface mount db on top of the old db, will be extending all the wires, have an electrician doing the conversion, so that I have a proper coc


It’s obviously a budget issue vs. how up market your plant is.
Factories, shops, warehousing etc.aren’t going to fuss about the circuit breakers that are installed.
But if, for example you have a server farm with backup power I would be very surprised to find CBI equipment installed.

CBI is between 3 and 4 times more expensive than Din Rail, so the budget argument doesn’t carry weight for me. I have never once in my life saw a server room fed by Din rail breakers.

1 Like

Are you referring to their minature circuit breakers?: Miniature Circuit Breakers | CBI-electric (Circuit Breaker Industries)

Yes, that is correct.

Great Choice…

1 Like

I prefer DIN-rail for the simple reason that it is (or at least appears to be) an international standard.

The Samite/CBI/mini-rail stuff, on the other hand, allows you to fit more breakers in the same physical space. And I really do think a CBI earth leakage is better quality and more resistant to nuisance tripping than the cheapy DIN stuff.

We learned a big lesson some years back when My fathers house needed a three phase Earth Leakage and we bought a “China Version from a Electrical Shop” About a year later they came home to a DB board burning after the earth leakage set itself alight, The fire had reached up the wall towards the ceiling and had it been 10 minute later the fire would be in the roof and probably burned the house down. We only install CBi earth leakage / Over voltage. In those days it was over R4000 plus but I dont want a house to burn down. We used to have CBi as a customer in jet Park.They build quality stuff, You will never get rubbish buying CBI or Schneider. I dont know ABB or Hager as they are not as easily to find and buy. Certainly Avoid the “Chinese Brands” that they sell in South Africa. I see a lot of them in Townhouse where the contractor is trying to cut costs and have had failures in a townhouse I look after. We have a older DB and used the CBi Samite with the Metal Bracket to hold the Circuit breaker. We sleep well at night in Thunderstorms or Eskom Power Surges.

When you do a DIN-rail install, ABB is top notch, and Hager is an excellent budget option. Some years ago I looked into the specifications for these, and I found that Hager and ABB both typically rate their RCDs for 20 000 mechanical operations and 10 000 electrical operations:

Then your Schneiders are right there with them:


Now compare a more budget Chint breaker (which is far from complete crap, but much closer):

And then we’ll not go down to the AC/DC branded stuff…

1 Like

For a CoC to be issued are only certain switchgear brands approved?
Do they need to be on the approved list?

As long as they are tested to the correct IEC standard, they are allowed, or that is my guess.

If I trace that back to the original sources: SANS10142-1 says you need SANS 556-1 for breakers and SANS 767-1 for RCDs. Those will probably correspond to some equivalent IEC number.