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Continental Radial System beter than UK Rings

Discussion in 'Electrics Outside of the UK' started by Doctor Drivel, 4 Aug 2007.

  1. Doctor Drivel

    Doctor Drivel

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    I tend to agree with this. There are few advantages in the UK de-facto ring circuit system.

    - They have live and neutral MCB breakers on their CUs, while we only break on the live.
    - We have 32A rings while they have 16A radials to the sockets.
    - Our plug tops only protect the live.
    - Their circuit MCB breakers, trip at the same current as our RCDs and only trip that circuit.
    - In British systems the RCD acts faster than the MCB breakers making them pretty useless as protecting devices.
    - In our systems the RCD knocks off all the power (well depending on whether there are protected circuits or not).
    - They have heavy loading appliances having their own circuits at the CU, and each circuit its own MCB breaker. No tripping the whole circuit or house, only that circuit.
    - Some appliance makers rely on the user to install the correct amp rating fuse in the plug top (say 3 A). Few are ever fitted with 13A being the norm.
    - Continental systems have finer appliance protection in the appliance not the plug.

    The UK is virtually unique in implementing rings as a de-facto standard. They are NOT mandatory. They came about to cut down on cable costs and were used in ships to ring the ship in lighting circuits. Rings are not outlawed in many EU countries as long as "BS EN" British plugs and sockets are used. The fuse in the plug must be used in rings circuits. Using British sockets and plugs in the EU is not illegal.

    A Continental system of live/neutral MCB breakers at the CU and radials can be implemented in the UK, and are available in the UK.

    The UK is superior in equipotential earth bonding

    I was reading that radial circuits are to be mandatory in Europe. Not sure if this is to be phased in.
     
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  3. briwire

    briwire

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    I agree with you about rings. I have noticed a shift over here toward using more 20A radial circuits to supply a cluster of sockets in installations.

    I would say that our plug tops are far superior. better made and the fact that they are fused can offer greater protection.
     
  4. kevindgas

    kevindgas

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    as posted the euro way is far safer in many respects
    the english way can be made safer by fitting MCB with neutral break rather than the normal live break only they are readily availble for many boards

    so much for harmonisation (reason for colour code change) :LOL:
     
  5. JohnD

    JohnD

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    Not the ones I've seen. Which countries have you looked at?

    This is not correct

    this is wrong

    this is generally wrong. And, in my house, completely wrong.

    This is also UK practice for electric cookers and immersion heaters. We have few other fixed heavy loads.

    What do you mean?

    Out of interest, where did you get your "information" from? I fear it is not reliable.



    btw, the UK ring is wonderful. I pity those unfortunate foreigners who must live without it, and our superb fused plug.
     
  6. bengasman

    bengasman

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    In the old days with limited options and fuse boards with 3 or 4 fuses the ring was a wonderful thing. Today, you get a good quality cu with 12 mcbs and an rcd for about £100. So why not have 2 radials per floor and a separate breaker for the lights on each floor? A ring is inherently unsafe as a break in a cable will not stop the ring from working but leaves it open for overload. I can not think of any reason to install a ring rather than a radial in the 21st century.
     
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  8. aptsys

    aptsys

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    His user name is Doctor Drivel. It all sounds like drivel to me.
     
  9. bernardgreen

    bernardgreen

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    Not so sure about it being safer to break the neutral in an overload situation. Keeping the equipment tied to a neutral which in the UK is close to ground would in my opinion prevent equipment and wiring from floating.

    If a neutral has been opened by an MCB and then a live fed from another MCB shorts to the disconnected live or neutral ( as in cable damage ) then there is no route to trip the second MCB and thus the first circuit is live even though its MCB has tripped out and has a fault current short between its live and neutral.
     
  10. briwire

    briwire

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    Why should there be a need to break the neutral anyway?

    Agree about the rings though. Far better to use more radials.

    Our plug tops are by far the best design in the world. Robust, safe and able to protect the appliance if the correct fuse is fitted.

    BTW, next time you are on holiday in Spain or Greece, have a look at the elctrics and see if you still gree that it is better than ours. Even Germany fit sockets next to sinks.
     
  11. mdbalson

    mdbalson

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    And in NZ they fit sockets next to the sink in bathrooms (OK the sockets are RCD ones)
     
  12. bernardgreen

    bernardgreen

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    In some places the neutral arriving at the property can be many volts above ground due to poor design and construction of the supply network. In these circumstances if the neutral is more than 50 volts then breaking the neutral could be safer than not breaking it.
     
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