Relay Panel: When to consider them over Controllable Breakers for Lighting

Working with circuits, there are certain situations where there is a need to control the voltage. Plenty of devices can perform systems control for you but what you need is efficiency. For the same purpose, one device that people are opting for is Relay Panel. However, is it worth the praise as compared to its counterpart Controllable Breakers? Let’s find out.

What is a Relay Panel?

The word Relay means “Switch.” In electronics, the relay is a switching device that informs the circuit breaker as a fault arises in the system. Think of it as a messenger to the circuit breaker control box whose duty is to tell the situation and let it decide what it has to do. It is a sensing device operating on low voltages, and under certain circumstances, it makes or breaks the circuit automatically.

-Relay Panel functions as a messenger to inform the fault- Picture

-Relay Panel functions as a messenger to inform the fault- Picture

Relay control panels have one or more relays mounted on them used to control the circuits. Typically, a relay panel can make connections to several courses at a time while deciding between the courses. It can also act as an amplifier, e.g., it turns a low voltage signal to high or vice versa.

What is a Controllable Circuit Breaker?

You have heard about typical circuit breakers, with the primary goal of regulating the flow of electricity in any house or commercial space. Controllable Circuits or innovative circuits work on the same principles but offer some extra features as well. It has a circuit breaker and a switch, all in one box that you can operate remotely.

A typical Controllable Circuit Breaker

-A typical Controllable Circuit Breaker- Picture

A controllable circuit can give you the benefits of both a circuit breaker and relay added to it. Nevertheless, for some situations where you do not need any extra help, it can be a costly choice.

Why Relay Panels for lighting control?

Relay panel-based lighting control system offers mechanically held relays that switch the light on and off. This system can be stand-alone or a part of a vast network. Using ultra-low voltage for activation, a relay can only turn the switch on and off without providing a light dimming facility. You can go for a relay-based system for the following situations.

You have fewer circuits to control

If you need to upgrade yourself from your existing lighting and add a few more circuits, you can choose a relay-based system for their control. You can enclose a system based on 60 or fewer relays separately and your existing circuit breaker in a box taking no more than 1 square ft. area. Lesser the number of circuits, the more pocket-friendly this option becomes.

uit breakers

-Circuit Board of four circuit breakers- Picture

You have a Breaker Panel

You can only add a relay penal that permits control of your lighting system without extra effort. Your existing breaker panel has to conform to the electrical code. If so, adding a relay panel will solve the problem, and you don’t have to upgrade all the wiring.

You don’t have a space issue

Sometimes, more relays require bigger space to get them fixed in circuits. Therefore, go for it if there is space around your circuit breaker to install a relay panel. If not, check other options.

You only need it for some time

A cycle is described as an operation of switching on and off a specific circuit. For an average relay, the number of functions it can undergo ranges from 20,000 to 30,000 or 5 years. Therefore, you can opt for relays if customer requirements call it for some time.

You need it for one or two-pole circuits

You can go for a relay-based Lighting controller for a single-pole circuit of 277 VAC or a two-pole circuit of 208-240 VAC. More significant is the load, less cost-effective your relay system can be, and hence not a feasible solution.

Why Control Breakers for Lighting Control?

Control Breakers are also another popular circuit control option to consider. Just like relay panels, it can be a stand-alone system or a part of a more extensive network. Furthermore, you cannot get the light diming option with this type of system as well. The only thing it lacks from a relay panel is durability since relays have two-way control over the portion of circuits.

You can still prefer a control breaker under the following scenarios.

You have more circuits to control

Since the relay panel is a costly option, you can go for a control breaker panel if you have a more significant number of circuits to control. You can hold up to 150 courses at a time at different voltages.

Complex circuitry require Controllable Breakers

-Complex circuitry require Controllable Breakers- Picture

You have limited space

Control breakers are a combination of circuits and switches, two in one. Therefore, it can save half of your space and is an ideal solution for congested breaker spaces

You need a solution for a long time

If you need a solution for a long time, you can rely upon control breakers. With an on and off-cycle range of 200,000 and mean Time to Failure ratings of 1.8 million operations, control breakers are considered robust devices in the electronic field.

You need it for more than two pole circuits

For circuits having two or three-pole configurations and range 120-480 VAC, control breakers prove to be an effective solution. You can easily count it in for greater loads.

You have a limited labor budget

Since a switch and circuit breaker in one system, a control breaker installation can cost you less than a relay installation.

le breakers installation

-Less Labor Cost for Controllable breakers installation- Picture


For lower voltage loads and fewer circuits, a relay control panel can be an excellent choice to make. While fixing it with an existing or new breaker box, wiring is the most critical part of the process. We here at Cloom offer custom wiring for your unique problems. With experience as a leading custom wiring harness manufacturer for ten years, your trust is our priority. Contact our support team now! 

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