Concept

Ring circuit

Summary
In electricity supply design, a ring circuit is an electrical wiring technique in which sockets and the distribution point are connected in a ring. It is contrasted with the usual radial circuit, in which sockets and the distribution point are connected in a line with the distribution point at one end. Ring circuits are also known as ring final circuits and often incorrectly as ring mains, a term used historically, or informally simply as rings. It is used primarily in the United Kingdom, where it was developed, and to a lesser extent in Ireland and Hong Kong. This design enables the use of smaller-diameter wire than would be used in a radial circuit of equivalent total current capacity. The reduced diameter conductors in the flexible cords connecting an appliance to the plug intended for use with sockets on a ring circuit are individually protected by a fuse in the plug. Its advantages over radial circuits are therefore reduced quantity of copper used, and greater flexibility of appliances and equipment that can be connected. Ideally, the ring circuit acts like two radial circuits proceeding in opposite directions around the ring, the dividing point between them dependent on the distribution of load in the ring. If the load is evenly split across the two directions, the current in each direction is half of the total, allowing the use of wire with half the total current-carrying capacity. In practice, the load does not always split evenly, so thicker wire is used. The ring starts at the consumer unit (also known as fuse box, distribution board, or breaker box), visits each socket in turn, and then returns to the consumer unit. The ring is fed from a fuse or circuit breaker in the consumer unit. Ring circuits are commonly used in British wiring with socket-outlets taking fused plugs to BS 1363. Because the breaker rating is much higher than that of any one socket outlet, the system can only be used with fused plugs or fused appliance outlets. They are generally wired with 2.
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