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-   -   When were ring mains introduced in domestic housing? (https://www.vintage-radio.net/forum/showthread.php?t=179516)

rontech 29th Apr 2021 12:38 pm

When were ring mains introduced in domestic housing?
 
I was watching an episode of Foyle's War recently. A woman living alone was plunged into darkness. She called up a male friend who came round and told her that the "ring main" had fused. He repaired the fuse with fuse wire. The episode was set in 1941! I believe ring mains with 13 amp sockets etc came in some time after the war had ended. The family home built 1939 had old style 5 amp and 15 amp three pin switched sockets. We moved to a new built house in 1954 which had the new ring main system.

Comments anyone?

Cobaltblue 29th Apr 2021 12:41 pm

Re: When were ring mains introduced in domestic housing.
 
This is what Wikipedia has to say about it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ring_c...20of%20Ireland.

So 1942 to 1947 which is a bit earlier than I expected.

Cheers

Mike T

paulsherwin 29th Apr 2021 12:56 pm

Re: When were ring mains introduced in domestic housing.
 
Ring mains only became common some time after that though. Most housing built in the 1950s housebuilding boom used ring mains, and there was a mass rewiring of older housing in the 60s.

No domestic properties would have used ring mains in 1941. FW is reasonably historically accurate and has a nice period feel, but doesn't put a huge amount of money and effort into getting everything exactly right, and there is a long record of anachronisms and 'alternative history'.

dave walsh 29th Apr 2021 2:48 pm

Re: When were ring mains introduced in domestic housing.
 
Paul's right. I lived at a terraced house with Round Pin 5 or 15 amp sockets [unfused] on the individual radial cables until we moved to a "new build" semi detached estate house [The Dare to Build Company] near Blackford Bridge in Bury [1958]. It had futuristic "ring main" circuits with the [now] familiar fused plugs. Despite this we spent the first night with Kerosene Lamps and a Camping Stove. The electrician came round next day and used his Megger to trace a large nail that had been hammered through one leg of the ground floor ring. He demonstrated what he was doing as I was so interested. The Fuse Box was replaced because one section had burn't out and he gave it to me. I was delighted!

Despite the flexibility of the system we weren't exactly overburdened with 13 amp sockets. I was never sure if that was a pure money saving exercise or uncertainty about how many would actually be required in practise? There were only two singles in the rear living room and my dad had someone in to replace one of these with a surface mount double quite quickly. The front [best] room had a 3kw wall mounted electric fire but NO sockets at all:shrug: Quite inconvenient really. NO sockets in the boxroom either! As I got older a friend of my Dad's supervised some additions to the ring when I convinced my parents that I could "tap in" to the electric fire feed and also install four doubles in the tiny box room by extending the ring from the bedroom next door [there's!] I was using it as a radio shack by then, powered from a light socket adaptor [1930's style]. Power to the bench went via the redundant Fuse Box [burnt section removed] and low level fuses. The family were instructed that turning off power there would quickly isolate isolate any equipment I was working on if I was in difficulty8-o.

My Mentor didn't give dates about the ring system when he explained it to me but he did say that it had been exclusive to Industry before and during the War and it was still a very new aspect of house building then. During the sixties I was in a lot houses trying to set up guitar systems with friends etc and even doing some jobs with my electrician father-in-law. The was no major rush into the modern system as I recall and a lot of people were ignorant or suspicious in relation to 13 amp plugs and wiring for a long time. There's always a certain amount of artistic license in drama and the electrical side is usually where this occurs. Foyles War is pretty good at creating the right period atmosphere [I think] so the odd discrepancy can be forgiven perhaps?

Dave W

Boulevardier 29th Apr 2021 3:34 pm

Re: When were ring mains introduced in domestic housing.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by dave walsh (Post 1369257)
The was no major rush into the modern system as I recall and a lot of people were ignorant or suspicious in relation to 13 amp plugs and wiring for a long time.
Dave W

I suspect a major reason was that rewiring a whole house would have meant redecorating every room as well (perhaps also extensive replastering if the plaster was already old and tired). That's a big cost and disruption consideration, and just as much of a disincentive today!

Mike

ColinB 29th Apr 2021 3:42 pm

Re: When were ring mains introduced in domestic housing.
 
Indeed!

Don't forget, that in 1960, round pin circuits wouldn't have been unduly old. With a predicted life span for VIR cable of approx 30 years, not too much of it would have been deemed as 'old', I would imagine.

stevehertz 29th Apr 2021 4:11 pm

Re: When were ring mains introduced in domestic housing.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Boulevardier (Post 1369272)
Quote:

Originally Posted by dave walsh (Post 1369257)
The was no major rush into the modern system as I recall and a lot of people were ignorant or suspicious in relation to 13 amp plugs and wiring for a long time.
Dave W

I suspect a major reason was that rewiring a whole house would have meant redecorating every room as well (perhaps also extensive replastering if the plaster was already old and tired). That's a big cost and disruption consideration, and just as much of a disincentive today!

Mike

Indeed, but I'm sure in my dark and distant past I've seen houses with mains wiring going around rooms tucked under lengths of wooden moulding or even just tacked on top of skirting and up door frames and into the next room etc. No-one seemed to worry about the regs in those days. Not saying it was right, but I'm fairly sure it was rife.

Lancs Lad 29th Apr 2021 5:38 pm

Re: When were ring mains introduced in domestic housing?
 
But, surely, the lighting circuits were radials? Totally separate from the ring final circuits that supplied power to the sockets.

Why would a 'ring main' fuse blowing plunge the whole house into darkness? Unless they were only lighting the house with table and standard lamps plugged into wall sockets.

It doesn't make any sense to me!

stevehertz 29th Apr 2021 5:52 pm

Re: When were ring mains introduced in domestic housing?
 
At my gran's old cottage when I used to go there in the early 60s, there was one ceiling lamp in the sitting room cum-dining room cum-kitchen, comprising a 40w bulb hanging from the ceiling with a side socket on it to connect say, the tele. Other rooms were lit with oil lamps and candles.

rontech 29th Apr 2021 6:07 pm

Re: When were ring mains introduced in domestic housing?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Lancs Lad (Post 1369324)
But, surely, the lighting circuits were radials? Totally separate from the ring final circuits that supplied power to the sockets.

Why would a 'ring main' fuse blowing plunge the whole house into darkness? Unless they were only lighting the house with table and standard lamps plugged into wall sockets.

It doesn't make any sense to me!

That's why I posted in the first place it made no sense to me either. The producers clearly did not understand. I suppose it is nit picking in a way but I found it interesting

Boulevardier 29th Apr 2021 6:20 pm

Re: When were ring mains introduced in domestic housing?
 
Very well spotted Rontech and Peter! I missed that bit completely!

Mike

dave walsh 29th Apr 2021 6:36 pm

Re: When were ring mains introduced in domestic housing?
 
Apart from the misuse of that term "ring main" in Foyles War, the plot line repair would have stood up! It's not really a technical issue as it clearly was all radials in 1941. As I suggested in my post 4*, anything electrical is usually misunderstood the most easily. On the other hand a film crew techie or a consultant should be able to spot that sort of an anomalie8-\

If anybody is confused and wondering why the radial chain lighting circuit [at least] wasn't still on in 1958???. It was late in the day by the time we finished moving in when the ring main blew, the Fuse Box was damaged and the best option was to power down everything for the night.

[Today's Foyle episode had a few references to Bexhill where the criminal lodged]. Bexhill was to Hastings as Hove is to Brighton ie "posher"!]

The worst mistake I've seen was a 50's living room display sporting a white 13amp socket. It was probably actually there for the contemporary museum Vac but uncovered and it stood out like the proverbial. Nobody had noticed the disconnect!

Dave W

In 1941, I think all the circuits power or light would have been radial Peter - no ring at all.

Lancs Lad 29th Apr 2021 7:03 pm

Re: When were ring mains introduced in domestic housing?
 
What brand was the socket , Dave?

I bet it was a 1960s unswitched MK - probably in white/ivory.

bionicmerlin 29th Apr 2021 7:19 pm

Re: When were ring mains introduced in domestic housing?
 
I would say although the ring main had been around several years in my area it wasnít widely installed un to the late 50s . Lots of people had old fashioned ideas and were stuck in there ways . I once worked in a old peopleís home and it was rewired in 1973 but the owners insisted on round pin sockets not a ring main.
Andy

broadgage 29th Apr 2021 7:31 pm

Re: When were ring mains introduced in domestic housing?
 
13 amp sockets were only meant to be installed on 50 cycle AC circuits at 230/250 volts.
So the older round pin sockets were still required, even in new houses, if the supply was DC or non standard AC.
DC mains largely "went out with the war" at least for new supplies and most new housing estates were served with standard voltage AC.
However some new homes were built not in large estates but on bomb sites in existing urban areas, these might well have had DC or non standard AC supplies.
The Weir report into the future of electricity supply recommended that all new electrification schemes should be 50 cycles AC.
Domestic supplies to be single phase, 2 wire, 240 volts with an earthed neutral. Normally obtained from 3 phase, 4 wire main at 240/415 volts.
Single phase, 3 wire systems at 240/480 volts were allowed as an alternative.
Additions, extensions, and improvements to existing DC or non standard AC systems were allowed, but "new schemes" for public supplies had to be standardised.

One merit of the 13 amp system, in the early days thereof, was that the presence of a 13 amp socket SHOULD denote an AC supply of standard voltage and frequency, to which an unskilled person could connect any appliance with a matching plug.

The presence of other types of socket outlet, in an unfamiliar building, might make enquiry or testing prudent before use.

Richard_FM 29th Apr 2021 9:20 pm

Re: When were ring mains introduced in domestic housing?
 
My Dad was good at spotting terminology like this that was wrong.

I've noticed in some historical buildings the sockets tend to be those floor mounted ones with a sprung flap which can easily be hidden under a rug.

emeritus 29th Apr 2021 10:56 pm

Re: When were ring mains introduced in domestic housing?
 
I saw that programme to, and didn't mention it to my wife, who gets annoyed when I point out this sort of thing! AFAIR it was a 3A fuse that was blown, consistent with the early 13A system that I understand from old books and a MK 13A plug that has a 3-position flag showing fuse type, originally had only 3A, 7A , and 13A fuses. Most 1940's domestic wiring would surely have been fused at only 5A, 15A, or 30A using a wired ceramic fuse carrier. I would think that a sysyem designed in the early 1940's would not have been found in a domestic dwellng during the war: I doubt that many new houses for private dwellings were built then, and I would think that supplies of electricity cables etc. would have been reserved for government use.

Skywave 29th Apr 2021 11:14 pm

Re: When were ring mains introduced in domestic housing.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by stevehertz (Post 1369280)
Indeed, but I'm sure in my dark and distant past I've seen houses with mains wiring going around rooms tucked under lengths of wooden moulding or even just tacked on top of skirting and up door frames and into the next room etc.

I suppose it depends what you define as the "dark and distant past." The first house I bought in 1979 (a Victorian terrace) had ring main wiring tacked on top of skirting in some places & around door frames.

Al.

Craig Sawyers 29th Apr 2021 11:18 pm

Re: When were ring mains introduced in domestic housing.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Boulevardier (Post 1369272)
Quote:

Originally Posted by dave walsh (Post 1369257)
The was no major rush into the modern system as I recall and a lot of people were ignorant or suspicious in relation to 13 amp plugs and wiring for a long time.
Dave W

I suspect a major reason was that rewiring a whole house would have meant redecorating every room as well (perhaps also extensive replastering if the plaster was already old and tired). That's a big cost and disruption consideration, and just as much of a disincentive today!

Mike

I was brought up in the semi detached bungalow my grandfather bought in the 30's. The wiring insulation had seriously packed in by the late 60's so my dad got the place rewired as a ring main in modern twin and earth. Red and black of course with solid green earth.

For some reason I don't recall the obvious disruption this must have caused. But I remember my old man showing me how to wire a mains plug, and letting me loose (under his watchful eye).

I certainly remember when colours changed to brown/blue/green-yellow. I had a mental debate on which was live and which neutral when I was adding a mains plug some years later. I decided that blue looked less menacing than brown. Which of course was the right choice.

All fifty-ish years ago....

Craig

stevehertz 30th Apr 2021 7:18 am

Re: When were ring mains introduced in domestic housing.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Craig Sawyers (Post 1369437)
Quote:

Originally Posted by Boulevardier (Post 1369272)
Quote:

Originally Posted by dave walsh (Post 1369257)
The was no major rush into the modern system as I recall and a lot of people were ignorant or suspicious in relation to 13 amp plugs and wiring for a long time.
Dave W

I suspect a major reason was that rewiring a whole house would have meant redecorating every room as well (perhaps also extensive replastering if the plaster was already old and tired). That's a big cost and disruption consideration, and just as much of a disincentive today!

Mike



I certainly remember when colours changed to brown/blue/green-yellow. I had a mental debate on which was live and which neutral when I was adding a mains plug some years later. I decided that blue looked less menacing than brown. Which of course was the right choice.

All fifty-ish years ago....

Craig

I always worked on basis that red and brown are the closest colours out of the four.

paulsherwin 30th Apr 2021 8:34 am

Re: When were ring mains introduced in domestic housing?
 
Many houses were rewired in a fairly basic manner in the 1960s, with the wiring routed behind skirting boards and sockets in patresses mounted on the front. Little or no plaster work was involved. Most of the disruption came from the need to lift floorboards.

My current house (1935) seems to have been rewired in the late 70s, and does have proper sockets mounted into the walls (though not enough), so it appears the expected standard had risen by then.

Skywave 30th Apr 2021 11:56 am

Re: When were ring mains introduced in domestic housing.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by stevehertz (Post 1369479)
I always worked on basis that red and brown are the closest colours out of the four.

Ditto. And, of course, blue is 'close' to black.
That colour 'alliance': red to brown; black to blue, I always suspected for being the reason brown and blue were chosen in the first place.

Al. / Apr. 30

emeritus 30th Apr 2021 12:46 pm

Re: When were ring mains introduced in domestic housing?
 
Re #16, floor-mounted sockets appear in the GEC catalogues for 1893 and 1911, along with surface-mounted ones.

paulsherwin 30th Apr 2021 12:54 pm

Re: When were ring mains introduced in domestic housing?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by emeritus (Post 1369577)
Re #16, floor-mounted sockets appear in the GEC catalogues for 1893 and 1911, along with surface-mounted ones.

They are standard in the theatre lighting world, where they are known as 'dips' or 'stage dips'.

kellymarie 30th Apr 2021 12:58 pm

Re: When were ring mains introduced in domestic housing?
 
My parents house in Thatcham near Newbury was rewired in about 1981 after a similar house just up the road caught fire and the electricity board said the wiring was perished and thats what caused it so the council had the whole estate rewired we went from 5 and 15 amp round sockets on rewritable fuses to 30 amp ring mains on a 30 amp MCB. and if course 5 amp for lights I remember the whole house was served by one ring main I got in trouble cos I managed to trip the MCB while dad was watching the news he was cross with me for weeks! As an aside the estate was converted to PME earthing shortly after that I remember there being a LOT of green yellow cable run down poles and a rats nest of them in our meter cupboard

Lucien Nunes 30th Apr 2021 2:05 pm

Re: When were ring mains introduced in domestic housing?
 
Quote:

That colour 'alliance': red to brown; black to blue, I always suspected for being the reason brown and blue were chosen in the first place
The choice of colours for a European standard was complicated by the variety of different systems in use at the time. Red, for example, meant live in the UK, neutral in Holland and earth in Germany. Black was almost universally used as live except in UK- derived systems where it was neutral. Therefore neither of these colours was a good contender for standardisation. Where already in use, brown and blue had generally consistent meanings, were easy to implement as stable pigments, and were not generally rendered indistinguishable by colour-blindness. Brown had been earth in pre-war UK but long since superseded by green.

emeritus 30th Apr 2021 2:17 pm

Re: When were ring mains introduced in domestic housing?
 
Whe my Aunt's post-war council house , originally provided with 13A D&S sockets, was rewired in the 1970's, they used surface-mounted MI cables clipped to the plaster and surface-mounted BS 1363 13A sockets.



My 1950's Odhams "Radio Television and Electrical Repairs" shows how to install a new socket using TRS cable run down the wall to the skirting board and clipped to a plaster surface using strap-type clips, wooden capping being used where appearance was important. It mentions that saddle clips (metal staples with a pad of insulation) could be used on wooden surfaces. The electrician who checked and passed the wiring I had installed in our new extension, happened to mention that he was doing a job for someone where they wanted the cable to match the existing one that was surface- fixed using strap clips but he had been unable to find any, partly down to not knowing what they were called. As it turned out, the original lighting cable in the garage which I was replacing at the same time, had been attached by strap clips, so rather than just wrenching them off, I carefully removed and straightened them and gave them to him.

PS. Odhams initially only mentions 3A and 13A fuses. 7A seems to have been added by a later revision.

Lucien Nunes 30th Apr 2021 3:35 pm

Re: When were ring mains introduced in domestic housing?
 
'Stranded in Prescot,' the BI infomercial film from the mid-1930s, advocates surface cabling when first wiring existing occupied housing. At the time, lead-sheathed cables with both paper and rubber insulation were available, as well as TRS.

One might suppose that BI stood to make more money per point selling sheathed cables than singles for conduit installations; first on account of the higher price of the cable and second due to the longer routes usually needed to follow architectural edges (compared to concealed conduit, which due to its labour-intensive nature typically took short, straight routes.)

By the time rings made an appearance, conduit was obsolete for low-rise domestic work and 7/.029 TRS, soon followed by PE/PVC, was the cable of choice.

Chris55000 30th Apr 2021 5:18 pm

Re: When were ring mains introduced in domestic housing?
 
Hi!

My friend's semi, built in 1958, was wired ring–mains but only one single socket–outlet was provided in each room!

Trouble is improving it now would be a massive upheaval because we're cram–jam in every room now!

With regards to lighting circuits, the modern system, generally referred to as "loop–in", was introduced in 1966 along with requirements for a continuous p.e. conductor (then referred to as "earth–continuity–conductor" in those days) – this allowed the modern style of low profile four–terminal ceiling rose to be used instead of the old–fashioned bulbous type.

The remaining types of circuits have been unchanged for many decades, the main differences between old and new circuits are the colour–coding, use of modern mcbs, and relaxations on regulations regarding "diversity" (a calculation that allows lower–rated circuits to be installed based on consuming appliances and loads only being part used at any one time!)

Chris Williams

Dave Moll 30th Apr 2021 5:59 pm

Re: When were ring mains introduced in domestic housing?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Lucien Nunes (Post 1369612)
Where already in use, brown and blue had generally consistent meanings...

Except of course in the UK, where blue, along with red and yellow, were used for the three phases.

So with "harmonisation" blue went from phase to neutral, while black went from neutral to phase (along with brown and grey).

russell_w_b 30th Apr 2021 9:03 pm

Re: When were ring mains introduced in domestic housing?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Dave Moll (Post 1369714)
Except of course in the UK, where blue, along with red and yellow, were used for the three phases.

I liked it when the phase colours were red, white and blue: my initials! :) When I was an apprentice in the '70s we still came across red, white and blue wiring. When we had Marconi BD272 and B6122 HF senders at Skelton, the voltmeter switches were marked R-W-B.

I believe Green was once used as a live phase colour too!

Lucien Nunes 3rd May 2021 9:28 pm

Re: When were ring mains introduced in domestic housing?
 
Quote:

Except of course in the UK, where blue, along with red and yellow, were used for the three phases.
Yes, but as usual we were the odd one out. Although the adoption of blue as neutral in the flexible cords of single-phase appliances predated harmonisation of fixed wiring by 34 years, no conflict would arise in a single-phase installation, and in a three-phase one the meaning of each core colour would be clear from context.

Historically, green was used as a line conductor, and I have a meter board with a green 'G' waterslide transfer over one cutout. Russia and China still use green as L2.

Returning to the subject of rings, in this thread we are using the archaic term 'ring main' synonymously with 'ring final circuit' but it is frowned upon in the electrical installation world today. 'Ring circuit' is OK but 'ring main' is now definitely reserved for distribution cables belonging to the DNO. Younger, recently-qualified electricians know that 'ring main' is a deprecated term in the context of installation work, but are often unaware that it was once accepted usage. When the older term slips out in conversation with older hands, the discussion sometimes jumps back 40 years from RCBOs to 7/.029 and buckle clips.

This thread also highlights the inconsistent use amongst people-with-an-interest-in-electricity-who-are-not-practicing-electricians of the words 'line', 'live' and 'phase.' All have been used at times to refer to the 'brown wire' that is not near earth potential. The correct term is now 'line'; together the line and neutral conductors are called the 'live' conductors i.e. the ones that deliver energy and are not protective conductors. I like to be historically consistent but it causes confusion. If I talk on an electrical forum about 'connecting two 7/.029 live conductors to the L terminal in a socket-outlet on a ring main' I will immediately trigger some keyboard warrior responses correcting me to 'line' and 'ring circuit' despite these terms not being applicable in the days of installing 7/.029.

Ted Kendall 3rd May 2021 9:58 pm

Re: When were ring mains introduced in domestic housing?
 
After Sir John Reith was ejected from his cabinet post by Sir Winston Churchill in 1942, he commmenced his years in the wilderness by chairing the IEE committee which, among other things, promulgated the ring main.

Maarten 3rd May 2021 11:33 pm

Re: When were ring mains introduced in domestic housing.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Skywave (Post 1369558)
Quote:

Originally Posted by stevehertz (Post 1369479)
I always worked on basis that red and brown are the closest colours out of the four.

Ditto. And, of course, blue is 'close' to black.
That colour 'alliance': red to brown; black to blue, I always suspected for being the reason brown and blue were chosen in the first place.

Maybe, but not in the Netherlands, where green was live, red was neutral and gray was earth.

G6Tanuki 4th May 2021 3:36 pm

Re: When were ring mains introduced in domestic housing?
 
When my parents had their house built in 1955 it was fitted with a mix of both ring and radial circuits.

There were two rings - one upstairs, one downstairs. Only the master-bedroom was graced with two 13A sockets; the other bedrooms had one each and there was one on the top landing.

Downstairs, the lounge had four 13A sockets - one was a double! - the living-room got one, there was one in the hall, and two in the kitchen [one mounted down-low and intended for the fridge].

All these were unswitched.

There were also some 15A round-pin sockets. One on the intermediate-landing [where the stairs turned the corner], and one in the kitchen [intended to power washing-machine/Burco-boiler]. The cooker-point likewise had a 15A socket. Another 15A socket - big metal-clad Clang-type with screw-on cover - was on an outside wall for garden power-tools, greenhouse-heater, vacuum-cleaner when cleaning the car etc.

The upstairs and downstairs rings were wired strangely: yes they were rings done in 7/029" rubber-covered T&E but they each terminated in a metal-cased junction-box, from which a length of 1-inch conduit containing rather thick 'singles' ran back to the [metal cased] fusebox under the stairs.

I never understood the logic of this particular way of doing things.

Telleadict 4th May 2021 4:44 pm

Re: When were ring mains introduced in domestic housing?
 
Quote:

I never understood the logic of this particular way of doing things.
It sounds as though whoever did that wiring was struggling a bit with the "new" way of doing things.

I know that the property next door to me was built in 1960 and that had, until updated, all radials and one or two 15amp sockets per room. I understand the wiring was done by the then village electrician-cum-agricultureal-enginer - the work was good but the idea of enough outlets to be useful can't have reached him;)

duncanlowe 4th May 2021 5:23 pm

Re: When were ring mains introduced in domestic housing?
 
Low socket count was quite common, even later in the sixties. My parents house had one ring for sockets, all single unswitched. It was common to get a single to double adaptor, which essentially was a surface mount double pattress that had a frame to fit it over a recessed single. A standard double socket was then fitted.

I was reminded of this, as when my parents moved out of their house, they reported a problem with one of these sockets. A quick check showed that the actual problem was an open fuse in the extension plugged in, but also that my Dad had wired the socket with L/N reversed, back in the early seventies, and it had never been noticed. That's a worry, given that they had a 'professionally' fitted new consumer unit a good twenty years earlier. Maybe I'm expecting too much that each socket would have been checked after an upgrade like this?

G6Tanuki 4th May 2021 5:36 pm

Re: When were ring mains introduced in domestic housing?
 
I remember those conversion-frames for instaling a 2-way 13A socket where there was originally just a single-outlet.

There were similar frames available to transition between the old 1950s/60s pattress-boxes with the fixing screws vertical and newer sockets with the fixing-screws horizontal - so removing the need to chisel-out the old pattress, instal a new one - then replaster and redecorate!

All the 13A outlets in my parents' house were unswitched. The only socket-with-a-switch was the round-pin 15A one on the cooker-control (which also had natty red neons to show when the cooker or socket were switched on).

When did switched-sockets become the norm?

merlinmaxwell 4th May 2021 6:45 pm

Re: When were ring mains introduced in domestic housing?
 
I am not being flippant (honestly) but what does "deprecated" mean? In the same vein as "redacted" meaning blanked out, just to confuse mere mortals.

dave walsh 4th May 2021 6:54 pm

Re: When were ring mains introduced in domestic housing?
 
The question of disruption, destruction, cost and upheaval might actually be more problematic in more recent days than "back in the day". Others have pointed out that surface wiring and cables behind door architraves etc was often used to "modernise". Even in more recent days I've seen properties "ringed" with surface mount sockets , switches etc and cables in matching trunking although I'm not a particular fan of those unless it's [say] a Workshop.

I had a Victorian house in the mid eighties which was [effectively] one quarter of the original building. Just a large "three up" and two down really but containing the original staircase for the whole building, high ceilings, mouldings etc. I got some [high] quotes for a re-wire but the only people really prepared to consider the job would clearly have also cut and chased the period details to death 8-o.

After some exploration under floors etc, I decided that I would have a go myself by finding concealed routes in the structure [you could do DIY electrics then8-\]. I was very pleased with the final result as there was little evidence of a re-wire. All it took really was some thought, patience and the deployment of a few longer cable runs "behind the scenery" instead of ugly chases and breaking through decorative plasterwork. I finished up with a couple of "rings" to serve the total floor area.
It was a very satisfying exercise! In the overall context, the extra cabling cost was fairly irrelevant.

Dave W

m0cemdave 4th May 2021 7:53 pm

Re: When were ring mains introduced in domestic housing?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by merlinmaxwell (Post 1371079)
I am not being flippant (honestly) but what does "deprecated" mean? In the same vein as "redacted" meaning blanked out, just to confuse mere mortals.

I regard it as the official term for "frowned upon" ...

duncanlowe 4th May 2021 8:00 pm

Re: When were ring mains introduced in domestic housing?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by merlinmaxwell (Post 1371079)
I am not being flippant (honestly) but what does "deprecated" mean? In the same vein as "redacted" meaning blanked out, just to confuse mere mortals.

It means no longer used for new stuff. So not actually obsolete, but shouldn't be used for new work, and at some point in the future will be obsolete and unsupported. I've only really come accross it in terms of software stuff, where certain structures, modules, instructions or whatever will continue to work, but shouldn't really be included because at some point you won't be able to maintain it.

winston_1 4th May 2021 8:29 pm

Re: When were ring mains introduced in domestic housing?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by dave walsh (Post 1371087)
[you could do DIY electrics then8-\].

You still can. But it is notifiable work.

rambo1152 4th May 2021 9:02 pm

Re: When were ring mains introduced in domestic housing?
 
"Deprecated" in the context of obsolete or superseded, is often seen in Unix/Linux documentation.

Richard_FM 4th May 2021 9:28 pm

Re: When were ring mains introduced in domestic housing?
 
My parents' house was a bit lacking in sockets for a 1970's house, and over the years we added some more, mostly by fitting double sockets in the place of singles.

Paul Stenning 5th May 2021 10:19 am

Re: When were ring mains introduced in domestic housing?
 
When my parents' house was rewired in the early 60s (just after they bought it and before I was born) it was a sort of hybrid ring/spur system. The ring was under the upstairs floor to the locations of sockets on the ground and first floors, then round junction boxes were used under the floor for a single cable to each socket.

Sockets (MK single switched 13A) were surface mounted on the skirting boards upstairs (so no visible cable) and for downstairs the cables just ran down in corners and along skirting boards to wherever the sockets were needed. This used the aluminium cable clips that were tacked to the wall and wrapped around the cable so less visible than modern plastic ones, especially when it was all painted over.

Cables were just notched into the joists under the floorboards, but there were never any nail issues as the positions were marked on the floorboards with red paint.

The lighting was individual rubber cables in metal conduit with ceramic terminal blocks, probably from when the house was built in the early 30s as it would have been almost impossible to install that later. This was rewired in the late 70s, mainly because of regular fuses blowing due to the deterioration of the wiring.

Apart from some additional sockets (mostly spurs off existing ones), a consumer unit in place of individual fuseboxes in the 90s, and a separate installation for storage heaters in the early 80s, the wiring remained unchanged and worked fine until the house was sold to a developer four years ago after mum died. It will now all have been ripped out and replaced.

bionicmerlin 5th May 2021 10:45 am

Re: When were ring mains introduced in domestic housing?
 
When I was an apprentice in the late 70s early 80s it was a busy time for us as all of a sudden people wanted to have there houses upgraded with ring mains. Most of the time it was not economical to just retire the sockets so we often done the whole house .in those days I would say about 70% of the time we would be doing surface drops only hiding cables under the floor.. customers didnít want there walls chopping out.
We had one customer insist that everything was surface, not going into lofts or taking floors up . Saying cables should show for safety reasons. Mind you using buckle clips did look very neat if you brought cables down in the corners .
Itís very rare these days but I still very occasionally use them Andy

rambo1152 5th May 2021 3:43 pm

Re: When were ring mains introduced in domestic housing?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by bionicmerlin (Post 1371292)
Mind you, using buckle clips did look very neat if you brought cables down in the corners .
Itís very rare these days but I still very occasionally use them Andy

Low profile metal cable-clips have made a comeback, because of recent regulatory changes.

https://www.screwfix.com/p/schneider...100-pack/767gv

Lucien Nunes 5th May 2021 4:52 pm

Re: When were ring mains introduced in domestic housing?
 
Quote:

The ring was under the upstairs floor to the locations of sockets on the ground and first floors, then round junction boxes were used under the floor for a single cable to each socket.
This was a popular system in the earlier days of rings that still triggers lively debate about its merits and demerits. It does not affect the load distribution on a ring, nor are any cables unprotected against overload, therefore one can ignore the fact that each point is spur-like in construction. It is easier to chase in one cable to the point and easier to terminate.

A technical advantage historically given some importance was the ability, when wiring via traditional circular junction boxes with slotted pillar terminals, to run the ring itself as a single unbroken cable with the sheath and insulation removed mid-span at each JB. This is somewhat nullified today by the requirement for all junctions to be accessible for inspection unless certified maintenance-free to BS5733. Any JB under nailed floorboards must therefore be MF, but there are no MF accessories that accommodate an unbroken cable run, so one might as well make the connection in the socket-outlet.

Another aspect (more applicable to commercial than domestic) is leakage current. Historically, before the widespread adoption of SMPSUs, operational leakage current was minimal. Today, the aggregate current from many small Class I electronic loads within the rating of a single 32A final can exceed 10mA, at which level a high-integrity CPC is required. This can be satisfied with a ring CPC using dual-terminal accessories, so that any one terminal can be open-circuited without loss of CPC connectivity to the MET. The unbroken cable of a spiky ring via round JBs also satisfies this. With a limit of 3.5mA per 13A socket and one double socket per spur the single cable is acceptable too (although not if serving one hard-wired FCU point leaking >10mA; that would need to be on the ring proper)

Disadvantages include not being able to extend a cable from a socket to a second point, since the spur cable is not then protected against overload; one must take it direct from the ring. Plus a greater number of accessories, which even if MF, are a potential point of failure, and do take time to wire.

emeritus 5th May 2021 5:39 pm

Re: When were ring mains introduced in domestic housing?
 
Three years ago I couldn't find anyone on line selling the buckle clips that my electrician was looking for, which is why I gave him my recyled ones. Perhaps they go by a different name these days.


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