Discuss Why does the UK use rings for sockets? in the Electrical Wiring, Theories and Regulations area at ElectriciansForums.net

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pc1966

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Electricians strictly speaking should only be concerned with protecting the wiring they are installing.
Indeed, but we are musing about the hypothetical case of different mains plugs/sockets being adopted in the a country that has the 13A fused ones already.

Realistically that is just not going to happen. It is like changing the side of road you drive on - the carnage and legal compensation trouble that would follow for years (or decades) is simply not worth it for whatever apparent rationalisation or consistency it might achieve. It has been done before, in the 60s with far fewer cars on the road, a bit like the change of UK sockets post WW2 with far less electrical goods in use - but it would be utter chaos now.

The issue is not one of how manufacturers make good safe - they can do so for equipment intended for EU, etc, but adequate cable cross-section for the flex length to manage the I2t aspect. Even if that is wasteful of the Earth's resources compared to lower per-socket fuses.

No, the issue now would be people cutting off 3A fused plugs from fused appliances that have 0.5mm cable for putting it on to a unfused plug on 20A MCB supply, or DIYers fitting some unfused sockets off a 32A ring or 40A cooker radial, etc. We know that should not be done, but it would be done in this scenario.

Of course then we would have to have £150 AFDD to get more safety that a couple of £0.30 fuses would have achieved...
 
Even if ring circuits were ripped out and replaced with radials, I can't think of a single reason that could be put forward as grounds for dispensing with fused plugs.

The only complaint I've ever heard is that they aren't particularly pleasing to the eye, but I don't remember ever looking at a plug from any another country and thinking it was a thing of beauty.
 
Even if ring circuits were ripped out and replaced with radials, I can't think of a single reason that could be put forward as grounds for dispensing with fused plugs..

The only complaint I've ever heard is that they aren't particularly pleasing to the eye, but I don't remember ever looking at a plug from any another country and thinking it was a thing of beauty.
Aside from the ascetics of other countries plugs (valid point by the way) I see little point in inserting fuses in circuits if they don't have a specific role. Having to pull a washing machine out from under a worktop or having to take apart the "chimney" in an extractor hood in order to replace a fuse in a plugtop are two instances I could mention where I would prefer the European method of an unfused plugtop on a 16 amp mcb.
 
Aside from the ascetics of other countries plugs (valid point by the way) I see little point in inserting fuses in circuits if they don't have a specific role. Having to pull a washing machine out from under a worktop or having to take apart the "chimney" in an extractor hood in order to replace a fuse in a plugtop are two instances I could mention where I would prefer the European method of an unfused plugtop on a 16 amp mcb.

Fair point, but how often do appliance fuses need to be replaced? Obviously an electrician would see more instances of this than an average householder, but they do receive remuneration for that service. Washing machines are indeed a pain to move - expecially where vinyl flooring is concerned, but extractor outlets could often be sited above wall units and in many instances this inconvenience stems more from poor planning during installation. In my own home I've replaced a handful of fuses over decades, but these were instances where I was making exploratory checks on a failed appliance - on none of those occasions had the fuse blown.

I don't think that electricians having to replace an occasional fuse is reason enough to undergo the huge upheaval that would be inolved in ridding these islands of fused plugs. I'd also question whether removing the relatively minor inconvenience of an occasional blown would come close to compensating for the potential issues caused by such a move?
 
Fair point, but how often do appliance fuses need to be replaced? Obviously an electrician would see more instances of this than an average householder, but they do receive remuneration for that service. Washing machines are indeed a pain to move - expecially where vinyl flooring is concerned, but extractor outlets could often be sited above wall units and in many instances this inconvenience stems more from poor planning during installation. In my own home I've replaced a handful of fuses over decades, but these were instances where I was making exploratory checks on a failed appliance - on none of those occasions had the fuse blown.

I don't think that electricians having to replace an occasional fuse is reason enough to undergo the huge upheaval that would be inolved in ridding these islands of fused plugs. I'd also question whether removing the relatively minor inconvenience of an occasional blown would come close to compensating for the potential issues caused by such a move?
I completely agree about the upheaval that may be caused as outlined by "Pc1966". And holding on to the fused plugtop is certainly no disadvantage. Considering that all fixed appliances now have isolators anyway (if inaccessible which they usually are) it would be very easy to arrange a SFU above the worktop and have literally an "unfused" plug top on the appliance itself. Problem solved.
 

pc1966

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I completely agree about the upheaval that may be caused as outlined by "Pc1966". And holding on to the fused plugtop is certainly no disadvantage. Considering that all fixed appliances now have isolators anyway (if inaccessible which they usually are) it would be very easy to arrange a SFU above the worktop and have literally an "unfused" plug top on the appliance itself. Problem solved.
Or simpler still, just have the 13A sockets above the appliance?

As above, when something blows a 13A fuse it is almost always a hard fault that is going to need the unit removed from its hiding hole for repair or replacement (OK, for 3A fuses and bedside lights then occasionally they would go with a filament lamp's bulb). If it were RCD sockets prone to random trips it would be very different, but I think I have only once had a fuse blow that upon replacing no other fault was found.

But I did not look inside for any remnants of an evaporated spider...
 
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Or simpler still, just have the 13A sockets above the appliance?

As above, when something blows a 13A fuse it is almost always a hard fault that is going to need the unit removed from its hiding hole for repair or replacement (OK, for 3A fuses and bedside lights then occasionally they would go with a filament lamp's bulb). If it were RCD sockets prone to random trips it would be very different, but I think I have only once had a fuse blow that upon replacing no other fault was found.

But I did not look inside for any remnants of an evaporated spider...
Agreed. It's a very practical solution to have it about the appliance. But in a modern kitchen? Homeowners won't accept it
 
Appliances supplied with bare flex and connection plates fitted behind appliance would fulfil requirement for form and FCU above worktop providing function, although there'd be no end of complaints about the lost simplicity of a plugged connection.

I still don't see any practical issues with fused plugs hidden behind appliances, except where those appliances are integrated as that's just plain daft (although probably quite common).
 
Ah, the triumph of appearance over function! Could go in adjacent cupboards of course.
Yes. That is always my preferred solution. Issue there (in my experience at least) is that modern cupboards are now coming fitted out with all sorts of racking and specialised drawers meaning the socket is no longer accessible like we used to have with the old traditional cupboards. And inspectors are increasingly picky about what is and is, nt accessible. So to "avoid grey hairs" tend to stick to type
 

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